"I'm tired of being the gum on someone's shoe...."

"I'm tired of being the gum on someone's shoe...."


"I'm tired of being the gum on someone's shoe...."

Wheelchair-sky

SICK STORIES          A verbatim play           by Christina Katic

SICK STORIES              A verbatim play           

by Christina Katic

SICK STORIES              A verbatim play           

by Christina Katic

SICK STORIES

A verbatim play

by Christina Katic

SICK STORIES is a play made from real stories of people who've had to claim sick benefits.   Specifically Employment and Support Allowance. 

Otherwise known as ESA.   

This is the benefit you claim if you're too sick or disabled to work.  

SICK STORIES is a play made from real stories of people who've had to claim sick benefits.   Specifically Employment and Support Allowance. 

Otherwise known as ESA.   

This is the benefit you claim if you're too sick or disabled to work. 

 

"I wish I had a mood strip on my forehead - showing the level of pain I'm in....."     

                                     Benefits claimant   

"I wish I had a mood strip on my forehead - showing the level of pain I'm in....."     

                           Benefits claimant   

"I wish I had a mood strip on my forehead - showing the level of pain I'm in....."     

                              Benefits claimant   

"I wish I had a mood strip on my forehead - showing the level of pain I'm in....."     

Benefits claimant   

 

 

DWP Medical Assessment Centre

 

 DWP Assessment Centre - the House of Pain

 

 DWP Assessment Centre - the House of Pain

 

 DWP Assessment Centre - the House of Pain

Assessment centre photo May 2018

I've been a benefits adviser as well as a playwright.  When ESA started, I couldn't believe how bad it was.   Listening to people's struggles to get the benefit made me very angry.

That's why I started working on SICK STORIES.   

Real experiences.  Real voices. 

 

 

I've been a benefits adviser as well as a playwright.  When ESA started, I couldn't believe how bad it was.   Listening to people's struggles to get the benefit made me very angry.

That's why I started working on SICK STORIES.   

Real experiences.  Real voices. 

 

 "Government cut disability benefits of man with no legs 'because he could climb stairs with his arms' "

Independent, 1 March 2017

 


 "Government cut disability benefits of man with no legs 'because he could climb stairs with his arms' "

Independent, 1 March 2017


 "Government cut disability benefits of man with no legs 'because he could climb stairs with his arms' "

Independent, 1 March 2017

 "Government cut disability benefits of man with no legs 'because he could climb stairs with his arms' "

Independent, 1 March 2017

 

I've interviewed over 60 people.  People on ESA, people struggling to get ESA, benefits advisers, doctors, and skeptics.   I'm using their words to make a play. 

With many points of view, and different truths.   

I feel passionately that it's vital to give a voice to people who are not being heard. 


 I've interviewed over 60 people.  People on ESA, people struggling to get ESA, benefits advisers, doctors, and skeptics.   I'm using their words to make a play. 

With many points of view, and different truths.   

I feel passionately that it's vital to give a voice to people who are not being heard. 

So far...

In a development process generously supported by Arts Council England and with huge help and encouragement from Graeae Theatre Company, I worked on the material through workshops, led by director Amit Sharma.   Graeae commissioned me to write a script.

  

So far...

In a development process generously supported by Arts Council England and with huge help and encouragement from Graeae Theatre Company, I worked on the material through workshops, led by director Amit Sharma.   Graeae commissioned me to write a script.

Now working with director Gemma Kerr, and with support from the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, we are moving towards production later this year.

The next step is two workshops in early summer 2018.  We will work on the text, develop a performance language, and integrate music and songs into the play.  We'll also be looking at accessibility - we want every performance to be fully accessible.

We are working towards a production in 2019.

 

So far...

In a development process generously supported by Arts Council England and with huge help and encouragement from Graeae Theatre Company, I worked on the material through workshops, led by director Amit Sharma.   Graeae commissioned me to write a script.

Now working with director Gemma Kerr, and with support from the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, we are moving towards production later this year.

The next step is two workshops in early summer 2018.  We will work on the text, develop a performance language, and integrate music and songs into the play.  We'll also be looking at accessibility - we want every performance to be fully accessible.

We are working towards a production in 2019. 

Now working with director Gemma Kerr, and with support from the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich through a Testing Ground Commission, we Crowdfunded a workshop on the script in summer 2018.   We are moving towards production in 2019.

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  From left to right:  director Gemma Kerr, actors Mark Beer, Heather Gilmore, Tiiu Mortley and Cian Binchy, during our successful                             workshop on the script in summer 2018. 

 

 

Carol is played by Heather Gilmore in this video from our workshop, summer 2018.

 

Going forward


Building on the workshop, we have just applied for a scratch showing of work-in-progress at the PULSE Festival, at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich in June 2019.   This will be an interim step towards a one week run at a London venue in the second half of 2019.  This is specifically to reach out to an audience of "not-yet-claimants".  

Alongside this, we will be working towards a series of performances in association with two or three regional theatres, using a local site-specific venue such as a JobCentrePlus office or a local advice agency, as well as a theatre space.  We are looking to develop a package of community work in collaboration with the theatres, for example, a workshop where local people on benefits could use theatre / music to share their own stories, some of which could be included in a local performance.

In addition, we will target Deaf/disabled festivals - for example, SICK!, DaDaFest and Unlimited.

We will also look at non-theatre venues, such as the House of Commons, the Wellcome Foundation, and London museums, to increase the impact of what SICK Stories reveals - a real glimpse into the degradation, poverty and soul-destroying anxiety that living in Britain on benefits brings, and how people survive it.

 E: chris@sickbenefitsplay.org

T: @SICK_the_play

 

 

Have a look at this short video for more background on SICK Stories.

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 A New Wolsey Theatre Testing Ground Commission


 A New Wolsey Theatre Testing Ground Commission

 A New Wolsey Theatre Testing Ground Commission

 

Christina Katic, writer


I’m a playwright and screenwriter.  I’ve written for theatre, film, TV and radio.  My current work includes Loving Monsters, a film about Mary Shelley.    Cold Hands, a play about mothers and daughters, was produced at Theatre 503, Battersea.  I’ve written a drama about the start of the war in Croatia for BBC TV, (The Blood that’s in You), and a play about my father’s life for BBC radio (Snapshots).  I’ve also written for the Man in the Moon Theatre, Chelsea (Isle of the Departed) and for Manchester and Salisbury Youth Theatres (Airwaves, A Long Way from Kansas.)


 Christina Katic, writer


I’m a playwright and screenwriter.  I’ve written for theatre, film, TV and radio.  My current work includes Loving Monsters, a film about Mary Shelley.    Cold Hands, a play about mothers and daughters, was produced at Theatre 503, Battersea.  I’ve written a drama about the start of the war in Croatia for BBC TV, (The Blood that’s in You), and a play about my father’s life for BBC radio (Snapshots).  I’ve also written for the Man in the Moon Theatre, Chelsea (Isle of the Departed) and for Manchester and Salisbury Youth Theatres (Airwaves, A Long Way from Kansas.)

 Christina Katic, writer

I’m a playwright and screenwriter.  I’ve written for theatre, film, TV and radio.  My current work includes Loving Monsters, a film about Mary Shelley.    Cold Hands, a play about mothers and daughters, was produced at Theatre 503, Battersea.  I’ve written a drama about the start of the war in Croatia for BBC TV, (The Blood that’s in You), and a play about my father’s life for BBC radio (Snapshots).  I’ve also written for the Man in the Moon Theatre, Chelsea (Isle of the Departed) and for Manchester and Salisbury Youth Theatres (Airwaves, A Long Way from Kansas.)


 Christina Katic, writer

I’m a playwright and screenwriter.  I’ve written for theatre, film, TV and radio.  My current work includes Loving Monsters, a film about Mary Shelley.    Cold Hands, a play about mothers and daughters, was produced at Theatre 503, Battersea.  I’ve written a drama about the start of the war in Croatia for BBC TV, (The Blood that’s in You), and a play about my father’s life for BBC radio (Snapshots).  I’ve also written for the Man in the Moon Theatre, Chelsea (Isle of the Departed) and for Manchester and Salisbury Youth Theatres (Airwaves, A Long Way from Kansas.)

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Gemma Kerr, director


I have directed at theatres and venues across the UK including Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Southwark Playhouse, York Theatre Royal. I am an Associate Artist of Omnibus Theatre and I run High Hearted Theatre with writer Marcelo Dos Santos.

 


Gemma Kerr, director


I have directed at theatres and venues across the UK including Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Southwark Playhouse, York Theatre Royal. I am an Associate Artist of Omnibus Theatre and I run High Hearted Theatre with writer Marcelo Dos Santos.

Gemma Kerr, director

I have directed at theatres and venues across the UK including Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Greenwich + Docklands International Festival, Southwark Playhouse, York Theatre Royal. I am an Associate Artist of Omnibus Theatre and I run High Hearted Theatre with writer Marcelo Dos Santos.

Gemma image