The Class Project - Blog
We caught up with Rebecca Atkinson-Lord, who will be bringing her show The Class Project to our Studio this June...
Introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do…
I am Rebecca Atkinson-Lord a theatre maker and performer making work that is stealthily meaningful and uses fun and familiar ways to tell quietly subversive stories!
We are really looking forward to The Class Project coming to our Studio, can you tell us more about the show?
Well. The neat soundbite is that it’s a show about "the cultural dislocation of class mobility”. But it’s a bit more complex than that. It’s an autobiographical one person show about education and aspiration; about working to do better than your parents, but then finding that you don’t quite fit in anywhere. It’s about struggling to say the right thing and still speak in a voice that feels authentically yours. There’s a lot in it: class, education, money, politics, aspiration. The whole shebang.
What has been your favourite part of the process creating the show?
I think my favourite part was making the show in five different regions of the UK. Moving round the country as the show took shape, and hearing local people's stories of social mobility and class identity from each place I went, convinced me that this personal story I was telling would mean something to other people. It also meant that, even though the stories in the show are autobiographical, when I speak in the show I speak from the experience of lots of different people. That feels really exciting - to find a sort of shared experience and resonance in such a personal story.
What can audiences expect when they come to see it?
I think a lot of people share a similar experience of class identity - especially those raised under Thatcher and then New Labour with the incessant rhetoric of "pulling yourself up by your boot straps”; of betterment and aspiration. But it’s not really something we’re that good at talking explicitly and honestly about in Britain. We all get a bit funny and coy when asked about our class identity. Add to that all of the tensions around regional identity and it’s almost impossible to see things clearly.
For me, this political and cultural moment that we’re having just now feels like it’s full of potential to trigger a change for something better - to be better at understanding what society is versus what it could be. So it feels like the right time and place to be having the conversation at the heart of the show.
I hope The Class Project is a moving and engaging look at all of the confusion and contradiction around class identity that gives its audience some newly shaped thoughts that they can carry with them as they leave.
You can see The Class Project in our Studio on Friday 1 June at 8pm.