On the road with The Roadless Trip… Birmingham
The Roadless Trip by Sarah Woods toured around various community groups in and around Birmingham, from 25-27 June 2015. Sarah Woods gives her account of this leg of the journey.
As a Midlander by birth, it’s always good to come back. The landscape feels familiar, as does that odd sense of identity the Midlands has developed by being the place that Southerners say is in the north and Northerners say is in the south. With neither the bravado of the north or the assurance of the south, there’s something lovely about the down-to-earth acceptance of the Midlands. I lived in Birmingham for a number of years in my twenties, and had one of my first plays on at Birmingham REP, so I also have a huge soft spot for the city.
One of the brilliant things about The Roadless Trip community tour, is that we take the show to community groups in their own spaces. We get to visit people on their own turf and see what it is they get up to. Our Birmingham tour took us to a really diverse range of community centres, support groups and housing projects – all with their own versions of the present – and hence the future.
While we have a sense of where we’re going with each performance – who we’ll be meeting and what their group is about, it’s always also a complete surprise. When we arrive.
We were treated with huge, characteristic warmth in Birmingham, never doing a get-in or get-out unaided.
We were also fed wherever we went. The AB+ HIV support centre laid on a Fareshare buffet – while we had a Fish and Chip Supper and Quiz night at Perry Common Community Centre, and a homemade, homegrown lunch at Kingstanding Community Food Project.
I learnt a huge amount, as I always do, from the people who talked to us after the shows. We talked a lot about change: how we deal with complex, world-shifting change in our own lives – and what lessons it gives us in dealing with complex global issues.
It reminded me, once again, that we are all of us experts. All of us carry within us life lessons that, if we’re lucky, we can tell as stories to help create a future that has at least learnt some of what the past has taught us.
While Aberystwyth saw John mount his own personal (accidental) badger cull and get a parking ticket, in Birmingham John was ILL. So much so that he missed his fish and chip supper. By the time we got to our final gig at the YMCA, he needed a little bit of a lie down.