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The More Things Change

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is celebrating its work in the community over the past four years, including all of the people involved in that work, and it is with immense pleasure and pride that we present an evening full of music and song, poetry, drama and even humour, performed by the people who have created it – The More Things Change (Wed 19 – Thu 20 Jun).

The performers have drawn from their experiences of homelessness, mental health, addiction and violence to create an informative, passionate and sometimes humorous look at social issues in Bury St Edmunds during the past 200 years, in 50 year increments from 1819 to the present day. The play makes visible the invisible and communicates important universal stories buried in the experience of life in rural Suffolk. The title comes from the French saying ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same.’ This year, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds celebrates 200 years of existence and as such, the group has explored how different issues in society have, within that time, both changed and stayed the same.

The members devised the piece through the use of newspaper archives in conjunction with research from Theatre Royal’s Heritage Officer Dr Clare Barry. Then, Associate Artist and Playwright Danusia Iwaszko (Writer of The Wisdom Club and A Labour of Love) took those ideas to create an original and very special new play, ably assisted by Let’s Praise, the community orchestra who have partnered with us on this occasion.

Over the past four years, Theatre Royal’s Community Engagement Program has been working in the community in Bury St Edmunds and the surrounding areas with various partners and participants; with workshops on acting, theatre making and writing for stage and songs. Providing approximately 50 community participants with the opportunity to engage with this liberating process, giving them a voice and staging their special and unique stories in the theatre.

The programme works with vulnerable adult groups with high support needs; homeless and vulnerably housed participants; women fleeing domestic violence; people in recovery from addiction; young people at the YMCA; and the elderly at Age UK. The new Community Company is made up of people from across all of these groups, brought together to create theatre an extraordinary theatre group that will surprise audiences in Bury St Edmunds with their insight, wit and extraordinary perspectives.

The More Things Change has two performances at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Wed 19 and Thu 20 Jun at 7.30pm. Tickets are on sale at the Box Office, call 01284 769505, book online at www.theatreroyal.org/shows/the-more-things-change/ or visit the theatre in person.