C A T H Y C O M E H O M E at the B A R B I C A N
T H E G U A R D I A N R E V I E W
Cathy Come Home at the Barbican has been receiving incredible reviews in print and online media.
I created the overall Design (concept, costume, set, visuals) and Illustrations for this 50th anniversary celebration of Ken Loach’s seminal film about Homelessness.
The Guardian streamed the piece live on their Website and published a 4 star review in Thursday’s print edition of the Newspaper and online:
“What was moving about Tony Mcbride’s production was seeing the 22-strong cast recreate the original work with such passion and energy. Aided by Joanna Layla‘s elegant graphics and a score that included The Ballad of High Noon… they took us into the world of tenements, hostels and campsites as if evoking a whole society” Michael Billington’s review in The Guardian
You can read the article in full here:
i-D magazine also featured the production:
C A T H Y C O M E H O M E at the B A R B I C A N
I have just created the illustrations and design for a production of Ken Loach’s iconic film ‘Cathy Come Home’ at the Barbican. This page documents my illustration process – in collaboration with Cardboard Citizens.
Cardboard Citizens is proud to present a theatrical re-staging of Cathy Come Home, performed by a community ensemble drawn from its membership. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this seminal film, in its own 25th anniversary year, renowned theatre company Cardboard Citizens finds a home at the Barbican.
In 1966 a young film-maker called Ken Loach directed a pioneering BBC drama, written by Patrick Sandford, about a young family’s slide into homelessness. The screening of the film led to public outrage at the state of housing in Britain and became a defining cultural landmark, demonstrating the power of art to effect social and political change. With an authenticity born out of the experience of its members, Cardboard Citizens restages key scenes from the film, as a preface to a discussion asking the question: Homelessness 50 years on – what’s changed?
Shortly after the performance at the Barbican on Tuesday 5th July, I will upload the illustrations from the production to this page.
DESIGNING THE VISUALS
Do you remember what a house looked like when you were five years old? How does that image compare to what you call ‘home’ today? I started the design process by asking the cast to draw what their childhood selves thought ‘home’ should look like. Is home a structure, a feeling, a family, a cup of tea…?
The design works around a cardboard citizen’s vivid memory of being a 5 yr old and drawing a picture of what his ideal home looked like and then seeing parts of that picture start to disappear over his life into homelessness – like in Cathy Come Home. The design plays with the idea of ‘drawing in and erasing out’ – and the idea that the screen is a member of the ensemble, ‘home’ is a character on stage, and narrator as illustrator. Taking the shape of ‘home’ – in its various forms, deconstructing it to tangible symbols of home (tea, flame…) and further to the absence of home – home-less-ness. Starting and ending with the child’s eye view of home and separation.
The audience follow the line drawn on this journey to homelessness. All the motifs featured are informed by the visual responses of the Cardboard Citizen members to the script (both those alive at the time of Cathy Come Home and contemporary parallels).
PROCESS SKETCHBOOK – an edit of my illustration, ideas + process
A Preview of the Illustrated Set Projections for the Barbican
Projected illustrations and animations form the set of the play. The audience follows the line drawing in and erasing visual motifs of home into home-less-ness. Exploring the essence of ‘home’ from a family home to a derelict house to houseplant, fire, tea and community.
A FEW PHOTOS FROM THE BARBICAN
a selection of my drawings of cast members from the rehearsal room can be seen on instagram
Previous work with C A R D B O A R D C I T I Z E N S
Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure and privilege of working with theatre company Cardboard Citizens as a designer-in-residence. As the UK’s leading practitioners in Theatre of the Oppressed methodology, Cardboard Citizens tells stories that need to be told, through theatre performed on the stage, in the street, in hostels, centres and prisons. In particular empowering those who have experienced homelessness to explore their own narratives and share their experiences through forum theatre.
I have worked on the following productions, both as an illustrator, designer and art director:
A Matter of Mind: Cardboard Citizens x Wellcome Trust (2014)
META by Sarah Woods: Cardboard Citizens x Wellcome Trust (2016)
Street/life: Cardboard Citizens, funded by Gulbenkian (2015)
Speakeasy, parts I, II, III: Cardboard Citizens x Lyrix Organix as part of Islington Word Festival (2014, 2015, 2016)
Below is a selection of the illustrations from my work with Cardboard Citizens, starting with a series of reportge illustrations from my current role working with young actors on Speakeasy III
S P E A K E A S Y
A MATTER OF MIND | AMoM
An exploration of the teenage brain, its development, the pressures placed upon it and the impact of mindfulness.
For each day of the project I kept a daily blog of the design process. The sketchbook as an extension of the mind.
You can follow my blog HERE, or see an edit of the images below.
AMoM /// A Matter of Mind
Day 1: My first day as designer on the set of the Wellcome Trust funded multi-media project by theatre company Cardboard Citizens ‘A Matter of Mind’. An exploration of the teenage brain, its development, the pressures placed upon it and the impact of mindfulness.
Five actors, five white chairs.
Blown away by how the seemingly simplest objects become tools/visual signifiers for complex metaphors.
THE LYRIC HAMMERSMITH
ILLUSTRATIONS FOR THE DIGITAL PLAYSPACE
The Lyric Hammersmith officially re-opened following a multi-million pound capital development and creation of the new Reuben Foundation Wing on 28 April 2015. To celebrate and showcase the Lyric, a brand new site-specific performance ‘The Interventionists’ took place throughout the new performance spaces.
I was commissioned to create (in just a few days) the interactive illustrations for the digital play-space – touch-screen 360 degree visuals for a moving short story following a girl’s journey to find her heart following the loss of a parent.
Breaking down boundaries between digital and physical worlds actors interact with illustrations and animation in a this piece directed by Richard Weinman.
“I remember there was a tree….”