Salford Community Theatre was established in 2014 by a group of politically engaged theatre practitioners, who had the ambition of putting on socially engaged community theatre in Salford. We stand in the tradition of the Ann Jellicoe model of community plays, but seek to bring this out of its traditional setting and into a working class, urban environment.
We look to work with participants from Salford, to create artistically excellent theatre which examines elements of Salfords industrial, political, social and human history. Through the lense to the past we can connect contemporary Salfordians to their city through expression and art.
Through community theatre, we aim to enrich the lives of our actors through performance training, socials and building community. Taking part in theatre has had an impact on our participants political engagement, has improved mental health and well-being, decreased social isolation and built lifelong relationships through the plays.
In 2016 we put on our first production – an adaptation of socialist writer Walter Greenwood’s classic, Love on the Dole. With a cast of 25 we rehearsed the play over a 6-month period to allow for a ‘typical’ working schedule. The play opened at Islington Mill in July 2016. The stand-out moment of the play was undoubtedly the recreation of the March of the Unemployed and the Battle of Bexley Square which rang down Chapel Street for an entire week.
Currently we are working on our second community play, The Salford Docker. This is a new piece of theatre written by Sarah Weston. The play is the company’s first original script looking at the industrial decline of ‘Manchester’ Docks and the impact on the people of Salford who served there in the 50s and 70s through the contemporary lense of a Media City employee.
We are gratefully supported by the Futures Venture Foundation, Arts Council England and Salford Council.