Acting giving the homeless a boost in their self-esteem

Oxford Mail: Tricia, pictured at rehearsals for the Hidden Spire project Picture: OX64015 Andrew Walmsley Buy this photo » Tricia, pictured at rehearsals for the Hidden Spire project Picture: OX64015 Andrew Walmsley

FOR people who are homeless real life is hard enough, so the last thing on their minds is acting in a play.

But those who have spent time living on the streets in Oxford are gaining a massive confidence boost by taking part in Hidden Spire: How Lucky Are You? a production at the Old Fire Station in George Street.

More than 40 people who have been homeless, or are currently homeless, are involved in the Arts at the Old Fire Station and Crisis Skylight Oxford production, as part of the Hidden Spire project, which launched last year.

They have been working over the last few months to write and put together the play alongside professional artists, which audiences can see from Thursday until Saturday.

Tricia, who found herself homeless earlier this year after losing her job, helped with the scriptwriting and plays Frances in the play.

She now rents a room in Wood Farm and is currently unemployed.

Tricia said: “I was homeless with no roof over my head for a few days.

“I was lucky enough to get into a hostel, Simon House, and I only spent three nights rough in Oxford.

“It is very difficult once you lose a job. There is loss of confidence, the finance and not knowing where to ask for help.”

Of the production she said: “It has helped with my self-esteem and confidence in front of people.”

Ryan, who was made homeless as a teenager due to a family breakdown, has just found somewhere to live in Oxford.

Also performing in the play, the 22-year-old said: “What it has done for me is it has enabled me to have a place where I don’t have to think about life problems.

“I can leave everything else at the door and focus on something positive.”

The play explores whether people can make their own luck and is supported by the Arts Council and Oxford City Council.

Kate Cocker, director of Crisis Skylight Oxford, said: “Hidden Spire will stir, enchant, amuse and intrigue. It will also show the value and the potential of combining a public art centre and resources for homeless people in the same building.

“And importantly it shows that excellent art and inclusive art can be the same thing.”

Jeremy Spafford, director of arts at the Old Fire Station, said: “The people of Oxford need to get Hidden Spire in their diaries.”

The play starts at 7.30pm from next Thursday, December 12 until Saturday December 14, with an additional matinee on Saturday at 2.30pm. Tickets are £12 and concessions are £10 and can be bought at ticketsoxford. com or 01865 305 305.

See http://hiddenspire.co.uk

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