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Participants at Elizabeth Fry approved premises taking part in an applied theatre warm-up  game

ISLINGTON PEOPLE'S THEATRE (IPT) is an Applied Theatre for Social Change Community Interest Company (CIC) incorporated in July 2019, based in Islington, North London. IPT  works with adults and community groups throughout the borough, using applied theatre and drama processes, such as improvisation and devising, to co-create socially engaged work for change. IPT  believes that these processes can offer a platform for those voices and communities who are not being heard, a way to re-connect with the self and others, reduce isolation, develop creativity and provide a space to explore and create alternatives.

After having to put the start of IPT's activities on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic throughout 2020,the company has recently been launched and the first IPT project will start in early 2022.

What is applied theatre?

Applied theatre is an umbrella term for a process that involves working with a range of drama and theatre practices. It mainly takes place with groups who have had no previous experience of working with drama or theatre practice, in non-traditional theatre settings such as;

  • site-specific venues
  • public spaces
  • community centres
  • schools
  • PRUs
  • treatment centres
  • prisons
  • approved premises
  • care homes

What we do

Islington People’s Theatre runs bespoke applied theatre projects from one day workshops to week long programmes. Additionally we run weekly sessions in blocks of eight, ten or twelve weeks long, depending on the needs of the group and the partner organisation.

Who we work with

We work with a range of adult community groups with an emphasis on working with vulnerable and marginalised groups including;

  • adults in recovery 
  • adults with experience of the Criminal Justice System
  • long term unemployed
  • women who are survivors of domestic abuse, trauma and homelessness
  • isolated adults
  • adults who are experiencing mental health issues
  • adults with dementia

Islington People's Theatre

The Indices of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2019, ranked Islington as the 53rd most deprived local authority area in England (out of 317 local authorities) and 6th most deprived local authority in London (out of 32) (Islington Council 2023).  It is a borough of striking social extremes with ‘London’s richest and poorest residents existing side by side, living entirely different lives’ (Cripplegate Foundation 2017).

We believe a People's Theatre in the borough offers the opportunity to work with those residents and community groups who are marginalised and affected by social justice issues. Our aim is to co-create work which actively addresses and challenges those issues caused by and creating inequality, poverty and stigmatisation.

The act of theatre is utopian, for it is predicated upon the possibility of another way being possible. As such, it is a small act of resistance against right-wing politicians – in Britain, from Thatcher to Cameron – who insist that there is no alternative. In the ever-changing action of becoming, there is always an alternative. The changes that applied theatre might sponsor – be they personal, social or political – may not bring about the collapse of neo-liberalism at a stroke, but they can constitute an important contribution to what John Holloway (2010) terms the ‘cracks’ in capitalism – those fissures opened up to let the imagination bloom like wild flowers amid broken concrete.

(Prentki, T. 2014 p.18)