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Rehearsals underway for ground-breaking theatre production in Middlesbrough

Residents of Middlesbrough are being encouraged to explore what item they would save during a flood as part of an interactive play

Residents and visitors to Middlesbrough are being encouraged to explore the backstories of sentimental items which have been washed away during a flood as part of a free, interactive performance.

Created by North East production company, Theatre Space and commissioned by the Environment Agency, ‘Washed Away’ invites the audience to choose an item and experience the joy, the sadness and the difference behind each irreplaceable possession lost and damaged by flood water.

Presented on the high street in Middlesbrough, the play mixes live performance with a vital message. The show will be held over the weekend of the 25th and 26th March with each part of the storytelling able to be experienced as a stand-alone piece or as a unique narrative.

Audience members can pick three of the eight different sentimental items during each performance. These could be anything from photo albums to soft toys or jewellery. Items can be picked at random at the start of each play, giving a different show each time, depending on what gets fished out of the waters. The play will also run two times each day, giving attendees the best chance to come and join in, completely free of charge.

‘Washed Away’ Aims not only to entertain but also deliver a potentially life-saving message about the risk of flooding. According to analysis produced by the Environment Agency, at least one in six people in England are at risk from flooding from rivers and the sea, with many more at risk from surface water flooding.

However, nearly two in three households at risk of flooding don’t believe it will happen to them.  And despite the research showing that almost two thirds of people (60%) have taken at least one action to prepare for flooding, as many as 1.5 million households, who are at risk, are yet to prepare.

Alex Scaife, Flood Resilience Engagement Advisor at the Environment Agency, said:

“It’s incredibly exciting to be working with Theatre Space to bring ‘Washed Away’ to the people of Middlesbrough. This ambitious production aims to challenge the audience and asks some important questions on how they would respond if a flood was forecast.

“We know how devastating flooding can be - the loss of your home, the financial stress, and the destruction of irreplaceable, sentimental belongings all place unbelievable strain on those affected. That is why it is vital that people take the necessary preparations as early as possible should the worst happen.

“I hope that as well as an exhilarating theatrical event, ‘Washed Away’ will get people reflecting and debating on the steps they can take to Prepare, Act and Survive.”

Corinne Kilvington, Theatre Space Artistic Director, said:

“We’re so excited to create a fun, engaging and interactive performance to help people think about the impact of flooding. It’s so easy to think ‘it’ll never happen to me’ but that dialogue has to change, because it’s a lot more of a possibility than we’d care to think.

“The team think it’s incredibly brave of the Environment Agency to try and tackle the subject in this way instead of relying on the usual channels and we are honoured to be creating the piece which will start conversations, challenge perceptions and above all entertain the audience.”

Audiences will be able to see the stories they didn’t catch live on the Theatre Space website after the performance at Theatre Space – Any Space Is A Theatre Space

People in flood risk areas should know what to do in a flood and they are encouraged to download the Environment Agency’s ‘Prepare. Act. Survive.’ flood plan to help reduce their risk.

Channel website: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/environment-agency

Original article link: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/rehearsals-underway-for-ground-breaking-theatre-production-in-middlesbrough

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