Cardboard Citizens Launches Citizens Do to Help End Homelessness

Cathy Owen in Cathy by Cardboard Citizens.Credit Pamela Raith Photography
Cathy Owen in Cathy by Cardboard Citizens.Credit Pamela Raith Photography

Award-winning theatre company Cardboard Citizens has today announced Citizens Do, a grass-roots movement which aims to engage and empower everyday citizens to help tackle homelessness.

The campaign has been gaining momentum over the past three months as Cardboard Citizens toured the UK with Cathy, working with audience members to collate suggestions on how the public can help people with experience of homelessness. Over 1000 people so far have signed up for the movement and Cardboard Citizens is now calling on the general public to sign up by Wednesday 23 May at or share their actions using #CitizensDo.

Inspired by Ken Loach and Jeremy Sandford’s ground-breaking film Cathy Come Home, Ali Taylor’s Cathy continued Cardboard Citizens’ exploration of the state of housing and homelessness. Based on true stories, the timely drama explored the impact of spiralling social housing costs, gentrification and the challenges of forced relocation through the compelling story of one family. Following each performance the cast discussed the issues raised in the play with audience members, asking for suggestions on how the general public could be empowered to make a difference and tackle homelessness.

Over the course of the three month tour, hundreds of ideas were collated, ranging from addressing issues around stigma to offering spare rooms to homeless people. Inspired by these suggestions, people who signed up to be part of the movement have received an action or mission to tackle each week. The next stage of Citizens Do will see Cardboard Citizens continue to build the movement, helping enable people to make a difference. The organisation has worked with leading graphic artist Patrick Thomas, who has designed each of the actions which will be emailed each week to those who sign up for the movement.

Citizens Do marks the latest initiative by Cardboard Citizens to use theatre and the arts to reach the most marginalised in society and make a positive difference. During the original tour from 2016-2017, Cathy asked audiences for their ideas as to what government and policy makers could do to end homelessness. This resulted in hundreds of Cathy Law suggestions, the top five of which were presented by invitation to the House of Lords at the second reading of the Homelessness Reduction Bill.

Adrian Jackson, Cardboard Citizens’ Artistic Director said: “After the grandeur of the House of Lords last year, we are excited to live up to our name and try seeing what we mere citizens can do to make the world a better place. It’s an exciting experiment in using theatre to mobilise people.”

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