A raised fist holding a mug, writing on the mug reads The Welcome Revolution

"Can I invite you to a tea party?": Feat.Theatre's residency

| Wed 28 Feb 2018

“Can I invite you to a Tea Party?”

This was our most used one-liner during the first week of our two-week residency at artsdepot in January. We were given free rein to re-create the Creation Space into a bunting-heavy, tea-ready space to meet the local residents and talk to them about ‘welcome’, community and their experience of displacement and attitude towards strangers. It was the first time we had done any Tea Parties (as part of The Welcome Revolution project) so, we didn’t know exactly what to expect.

artsdepot had gotten us into contact with their own Creative Circle (for over 60s), so we were lucky enough to chat to some of the members on our first day. They were open to sharing their stories, answering our questions and participating in some of the arts & crafts activities, too. We could’ve stayed chatting for hours about their lives and all the amazing community-based activities and groups that they belong to. It was such a unique experience to have an intergenerational tea party, especially now amidst a 21st century context of technology and super-busy lifestyles, and we only hope that it can become a more regular occurrence in our daily lives.

Needless to say, it put us in high spirits for the rest of the week, and we were excited to hear stories from more Finchley locals, gather more material for our show, and most importantly have fun welcoming new people to our Tea Parties. artsdepot helped us facilitate these parties in the best way possible, giving us the tools to create an open and friendly atmosphere where people could come and go as they please. artsdepot being such a family-orientated building, we were delighted to get the chance to host a party aimed particularly at families on Sunday.

The Sunday tea party (hugely successful, if a bit manic) marked the turning point in our residency from Tea Party to show development. With so much amazing material, and so many materials, we had another week to progress, process, and explore the many possible ways of incorporating our Tea Parties in to a show.

Again, Team artsdepot allowed us to have full control of the Creation Space and we could share our ideas with them throughout the week – as well as over a cup of tea (if we hadn’t had enough of those already) and biscuits during their weekly Biscuit Wednesdays! They were happy to accommodate us with anything that we needed to aid our development, as tea and cake took a step aside for brainstorming, dancing, ball throwing and playing around with ideas for the set.

Without the Creation Space, we wouldn’t have had any space for our ideas to grow, and blossom, let alone host the tea parties in, which gave us invaluable material for our show – and meant we got to meet some inspiring and fascinating residents of Finchley.

We hope to be back in Finchley again soon and will forever consider it as the birthplace of The Welcome Revolution.

- Stella & Josie of Feat.Theatre. You can follow The Welcome Revolution on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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