SPID Theatre Company is an arts organisation based in the Community Rooms of the Kensal House Estate, Ladbroke Grove.
We make ‘wraparound’ theatre for both professional performance and with our youth companies. I’ve directed SPID’s work for a decade, and in my role of Associate Director I’ve helped the company grow and develop its aesthetic and philosophy. We work in shared public space, connecting people and communities with their own spaces and communal history. We make interactive, promenade or site-specific shows where the audience are active players. We develop our ideas over years, learning as much from our community work as from our ‘professional’ work. We believe drama and the arts can open people’s minds by taking them ‘far far away’, so we take our inspiration from times and places far away from our own. We curate the Community Rooms as a local hub, running yoga and sports classes, and making the space available for residents to use for meetings, parties, or whatever they want, in line with the architect Maxwell Fry’s vision for the estate when he built it in the 1930s.
For SPID I’ve directed many plays by Artistic Director Helena Thompson, including Open House and Childsplay. I’ve also mentored SPID’s Outreach Director Nnenna Samson to write and direct work with and for young people, and build a thriving youth theatre.
SPID’s current project, Trellick Tales, explores the history of the iconic Trellick Towers Estate in West London. SPID has partnered with the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Twentieth Century Society to train young Trellick residents and locals aged 13-25 to interview older residents about their experiences of the estate, learn how to understand the architecture and design, lead guided tours of the buildings, and use the material they gather to create portfolios, radio shows and a site-specific theatre show in Trellick. Their work is accredited with an ArtsAward. Trellick Tales is part funded by a £50,000 Clore Prize Fund Award – a bid which I fronted. You can see the video which the Clore foundation commissioned for the award ceremony here (I’m co-presenting!).
Trellick Tales follows on from the success of SPID’s previous project, Kensal Voices, exploring the history of the modernist Kensal House Estate. You can see the brochure the young people produced here, see their tumblr record of the process and their show here, and listen the live radio show they produced here (start at 1min 25 secs).