The People’s Platform

20 May 2016

The People’s Platform

People in Merthyr will stage a one off piece of theatre and live debate exploring the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2016) and how it relates to their lives.

A collaboration between Cardiff University, POSSIB, Lleisiau mewn Celf/Voices in Art, Common Wealth and National Theatre Wales TEAM, The People’s Platform will bring together people and the policy makers who represent them, to discuss issues raised by the Act through theatre and debate.

Coming into force in April 2016, the Act aims to encourage public bodies to think more about the long-term, work better with people and communities and each other, look to prevent problems and take a more joined-up approach.

The project has emerged as part of the University’s Representing Communities research, funded under the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Connected Communities Research Programme.

Led by Dr Eva Elliott of the University’s School of Social Sciences, the research explores how the arts and humanities can contribute to better understanding of health and wellbeing for those making decisions at local and national policy levels.

The People’s Platform production will involve four Welsh artists, a newly formed local theatre company and new localMerthyr actors from underrepresented groups getting up close to the audience.

In a policy dialogue format not tried in Wales before, the actors will present short performances related to the seven goals of the Act, encouraging discussion between audience members.  It aims to help reimagine how we can influence policy and create change, by valuing local people as the experts of their own lives.

Ellie Byrne, Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences who is part of the research team said: “Over the last three years we have aimed to uncover the less-often reported side of health and wellbeing for people living in the north of Merthyr Tydfil. An important part of our work has been about challenging media images of the area, seen in programmes such as Skint, which screened in the UK last year. A challenge we face is talking about health and wellbeing without further stigmatising the area, but also without ignoring some of the very real difficulties faced by residents. We’ve found that theatre and performance can provide a platform for these types of discussion, and we’re really excited to be working with POSSIB, Common Wealth, National Theatre Wales and our participants on this.”

Jên Angharad of POSSIB, a bilingual arts project funded by the Big Lottery says:  “The arts are integral to our cultural heritage in Wales and remain a powerful form of creativity and expression through which we can make sense of our world and reimagine our futures. The Peoples Platform is one of a number of arts projects we’ve celebrated over the past three years, all of which have been possible because of the creativity, commitment and energy of the schools and people in North Merthyr who have taken part.”

The People’s Platform takes place from 7-9pm on 16 June 2016 at Penydarren Social Club, Alexandra Avenue, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 9AF. Tickets for the event are free.For more information please contact Ellie Byrne on ByrneE@Cardiff.ac.uk.