"It just is." Paul Laverty. Atonement for a plagued society..haven't all romantic movements wished for a return to nature? No longer just admiration, but also

I felt supported, held, heard, validated...like in intense therapy. says Jane, in Where it Hurts about the NHS.

          Are we in a play or are we in life in the theatre? Jeremy asked himself, often confused, back in the GLAD days, disillusioned with RSC theatre he saw. He wanted "the shock and newness" of real people, as a critic described the homeless' play: "like theatre verite, as in cinema verite." We're down here all the time,Terry Rigby, the central philosopher character of the play commented on life in "Grassmarket's Mission hall". Lead critic of the Independent and Guardian, Irving Wardle, described it as the best reason to come to Edinburgh: if you see one play this Festival, make it Glad. (See Youtube (after first ten minutes to seventeen minutes, forty)

            What you want to draw out of us we don't even realise is there! I wish you good luck," Terry would wittily comment. 

            Yet soon Paris Pompidou would invite them, Berlin's most experimental theatre Volksbuehne, where Brecht began and invitations to work at the National Theatre and Moscow Arts Theatre.

            In Berlin a friend of Brecht came up smiling to the actors to say the theatre he was watching was the fulfillment of Brecht's mission. Soon they were asked by Walfriede Schmitt, a celebrated actress and rebel of the East to make a play with Berlin homeless. 

 Supporter, Ray Brooks, comments that it takes real kindness to make great theatre and film, as he experienced playing the lead in Ken Loach's first breakthrough film "Cathy Come Home".

            Glad explored the exploitation of women too. Lynne Killin played the pregnant girlfriend of Jimmy Watson, as female and male lead. Anyone who knew the company personally, such as the brilliant warden actor, David Benson, would have told you that Jean Findlay was key. As Producer, wise coactress, improvisor, director, Jean Findlay was as key to it as Jeremy Weller, Julia Negus, Steph Noblett and Jane Lumsden.

Social Justice, Eastern Europe, and Brechtian Berlin stages. How women moved to the foreground in theatre in the Nineties, from influential Jean Findlay,studing under Kantor, in Poland, to Lala Vula, with her Albanian roots directly leading to Eastern stages, like Moscow Arts Theatre and Volkbuehne, Berlin showing interest. The Paris Pompidou also invited "Glad to be Alive' Grassmarket Projects first project. Julia Negus, Sue Emmas, at Young Vic, writer, Lisa Goldman, at Soho Theatre,revealing exploitation with Red Room and Ewan McColl's Workers Movement, also pointing directly at social injustice.

As early as 1991, the Independent's Paul Taylor wrote on inspirational Jean Findlay's controversial hit, 'Big Tease' on sex workers: "as each girl danced, beautiful black-and-white photographs of her face were flashed up on a screen and, in voice-over, she told us about her life. A striking juxtaposition of human being and sex object."

From Moscow Arts' Theatre, as well as Bert Brecht's first theatre, the Volksbuehne, Berlin invited them.

Theatre Absolute's Julia Negus, like freelancer writer, and filmmaker, Naomi Seekings, photographers Lala Vula, Jean Findlay, also linguists, Sally Hampson, Jane Lumsden, later on Arts Council Scotland, formed spontaneously an impassioned community of bold individuals.

Another example, of those who like Jean, Lala, Sally, Jane Lumsden, Steph Noblett, a fluent German speaker converged on Berlin, was Lisa Goldman's pioneering role, having lived briefly in East Berlin, and so suggesting East German plays and solidarity with Belarus Free theatre, to find a London office.

Maybe there was common territory in Stephanie Noblett, Lala, Jean all speaking German and French, so that the company was de facto more easy travelling across borders than others. Given that Professor Halla Beloff, cocreator of the first Chair of Social Pyschology at Edinburgh, as well as her photographer son, Bruno and the former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway as Chair, gave the group further standing, it is hardly surprising that the work was soon top of the agenda for National Theatre director, Nick Hytner, inviting them, to try to keep pace with the much more experimental European stages' interest.

Other women include Geraldine Collinge, who helped run Battersea Arts Centre with Tom Morris, before he went to National with 'War Horse'. Then also Albanian Lala Meredith Vula,from Hirst's first 'Freeze', who assisted like Jean in many international Grassmarket Projects, now in Leicester, where a community project has started and also teaching at De Montfort.

As a result of such formidable women, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard and many others helped Sue Emmas, at Young Vic, to dignify Belarus Free Theatre. Sue, like many of these women, are some of the least reconized but most influential women in British Theatre, along with Geraldine Collinge..who collobarted with Sue at Battersea Arts Centre, before running Stratford. If Grassmarket overreaches itself it seeks atonement too, with recent productions 'Where it Hurts' about women and NHS workers, on both sides, suffering mental abuse. Thomas McCrudden as well, in Doubting Thomas shows the willingness to continue trying to help the underclass of ex convicts and society's neglected is still showing they can create work like no other company. 

Money was Arts Council, but many of the younger translators were "just happy to go along for the ride." David Benson, illustrious actor, writer and voice artist, also become a figure of great significance for his endeavour and social conscience. "In fact the whole Ensemble was remarkably talented," Bruno Beloff later commented, as one of its first video chronicler..diarists with Benson and Graham.

It seems further proof that the Grassmarket Project was taking a road less travelled than other European, or particularly British theatre companies. Jean in Paris in the early Nineties had introduced Jean Luc Godard to Jeremy Weller who had encouraged them to continue on their path. Social intervention and stoic faith in a common task, were at the very root in fact of Jean Paul Sartre and Godard's littérature engagée. Like their highly considered work, Jean had also spent a year out in Krakow, with Jeremy, as students of Tadeusz Kantor, also showing interest in Grotowski and Tarkovsky. Counter to Western theatre Polish directors were easy with small audiences who felt theatre should purify and cleanse rather than be light entertainment..The first works grappled with existential alienation and emerged out of a long, drawn out critical appreciation of and engaging with victims of circumstance and social alienation, and then practical rehearsals, spread over months, during which actors, victims as one would profoundly alter their mutual understanding and relationship, as Irving Wardle astutely observed in the Independent. Also Paul Taylor observes:

"the lives of the dispossessed are best conveyed if they themselves are brought on- stage to tell their own stories. The results (which are the most memorable feature of each Festival) are routinely accused of pandering to liberal voyeurism and of exploiting the performers. One journalist this week added the charge of philistinism, on the grounds that some of Weller's pronouncements (though not his work) constitute an implicit slur on art, a throwback to a puritan equation of play-acting and untruth."
Actually women in theatre emerged from the 1990s, from Kay Adshead, to Lisa Goldman, who worked with Battersea Arts Centre, under Tom Morris, who had taken over from Jude Kelly. Lisa who had also lived in East Berlin went on to run the Soho theatre and write an everywo/man guide to experimental writing. She also suggested Belarus Free Theatre be supported, which became a strong force for reform having offices at the Young Vic. 

There is a flippancy in Paul Taylor's review of Jean's play that seemingly marks the sexist journalism of the Nineties, as her play about female students, making money for their studies at university caused a wave and was highly regarded : 

"The Big Tease was presented in a sleazy disco and, speaking as someone whose neck-tie was given an erection, fellated and then made to fall limp by a stripper (or so I'm told by my Daily Telegraph colleague; my own eyes were fixed on a trembling notebook), I have to admit there were too many moments in this piece where the line between being a spectactor of a show about strippers and being a voyeuristic participant in a strip-show became somewhat blurred...

"The best parts were the simplest: as each girl danced, beautiful black-and-white photographs of her face were flashed up on a screen and, in voice-over, she told us about her life. A striking juxtaposition of human being and sex object." On 'Mad', accused of possibly exploiting the women he seemingly does justice, stating: "the women re-live psychological and familial crises have a brave, seering immediacy and a generosity of revelation that only enhance the women's dignity." Or to quote Wardle, Mad teaches as "much about yourself as other people" as a drama of "present attachments". 

"What turns this into a piercing theatrical event, rather than a psychodrama session, is the fact that their re-enactment of the past forges a drama of present-tense attachments - particularly between the clinical victims and the 'normal' actors."


Perhaps having a grandmother who had been a writer who was revered by Edwin Muir for her simplicity, and disinterest in society ambition meant that Jean, by inheritance was free of any of the intellectual dandyism, or duplicity that dogs much of what is on in the West End. Her triology of plays from 1994 onward,were about "war imagined, remembered and threatened", as she put it in 'Three Plays'. The depth of emotion prefigures much of what Sarah Kane would go on to write. Jean came back from a nomination for the Prudential Awards, to tell that praise had been heaped on the troupe by others, saying they "wished" they "could have done work like that." With her introducing a younger Jeremy to Paris, as she was fluent in the language, it occurs that she also facilitated a major revolutionary coup in what was a fairly staid Edinburgh Festival. in fact Irving Wardle commented of Glad, the first homeless play, that "it made the official Festival like museum pieces." What occurred to bring such diverse theatremakers together? The big idea emerged from those who simply wanted a better society, after the Falklands, which was followed by Iraq which saw mass protests, and eventual massacres in Srebrenica and Falluja.In our wake a Parisian Big Idea for homeless theatre evolved, www.ratten07.de with homeless in Berlin. 

Associates also worked with Andrej Pugel, a Slovene who runs homeless theatre, Ljubljana and has included collaborating with prisoner groups in Edinburgh, Polmont and in London, Fluxx, Tony Cealy, Arts Council England often documented on BBC documentaries. In Excess. *See  Exchanges of ideas even as far as Saint Petersburg, suggest how useful research is to find alternatives. Russia's oldest homeless organisation shows ever more community based solutions. Karina wrote from outreach in Russia to portray her glowing response to having been in Oxford and London. The sky is not the limit. Richard Demarco's friends like Connery, in America Susan Sarandon encouraged us to be involved in Brazil's Recife. She donated her beach house to start planning and writing. 

As Naomi, David Benson, actor, writer and voice artist, or Jonathan Hodges show we can also be mindful of diverse, distant skies, as in fact each of our worlds is only an illusion, we either endorse, negotiate or radically alter by contemplation. The earliest work of Grassmarket Project was so wondered at that we received invitations to work with native Australians on Ayers Rock, as well as invited to work with Europe's coolest theatre, Volksbuhne, Berlin, where it could be justly said the Sixties citizen theatre began. While the National Theatre in London encouraged Grassmarket to perform there, the stage refused to involve the homeless under Waterloo Bridge. In Eastern Europe, particularly Berlin's theatre had been since the late Eighteenth Century, with Gerhart Hauptmann's a place where ordinary people were encouraged to watch and reflect on their own lives, with in 1889 'Before Sunrise'. "The Weavers' even put women on stage as he showed their uprising against industrialised dehumanisation. A foreunner to the 'Matchgirls'  by Bill Owen, known as Compo, in the Last of the Summer Wine, but also an astute social critic, looking back to 1888.  

The absurdist cruelty of self-reflection is summed up by Wardle as well: "Weller's self-lacerating paradox: using the theatre to release these buried voices while simultaneously scorning the exploitation of human lives in the trivial interest of theatrical entertainment."



Re:Theatre Academy of Arts Award, Berlin

'Ratten07' the homeless Ensemble, who started with seven members in Berlin, with 'Plague' were keen to show they could continue. Looking back also the willingness of the Berlin Senate to continue supporting real street homeless on a career that turned some to trying out working as permanent stage hands and ensemble actors. The shelter of a theatre for homeless in Berlin led to extremely funny improvised scenes, where the new cast would portray themselves emerging out from under the revolving stage, where they may well have slept. They would replay scenes that Jeremy filmed, rubbing their heads, perhaps hungover, or simply complaining of the progress of a noisy rehearsal. The history of a workers' theatre slotted in as ideal for such jesting, as the theatre had been founded by two thousand workers, as a collective in 1890. Then Brecht started assisting Piskator in the 1920s, and would hardly have been able to build his critical epic theatre without this forerunner. In fact Piskator had coined the term 'epic', for a reaction to Hauptmann's naturalism. The society that  created such inequalities as Europe between the wars was similarly a melting pot of around one quarter of a million Russians, who were less enamoured of collectivisation than their serfs or peasants. Unsurprisingly the music and Jewish Klezmer, as well as ghetto of Mitte carried on influencing those who arrived and were educated to read Dostoevsky or Chekhov. Thomas and Heinrich Mann mingled with Kathe Kollwitz and as if to reassert Berlin as being as independentminded as ever, a young Angela Merkel lived in a squat in Mitte, round the corner when a student. She wishes to be seen as legitimate and so always attests when interviewed to having 'found out how to pay rent', as quick as she could register her flat. That she was from the East and had studied quantum chemistry is as every day for Berlin, as Kathe Kollwitz being able to help her husband, a doctor to help medicate the poor for free. Nowhere could have been more suitable both geographically and historically and geographically to welcome an astute, yet ragged, chaotic, but wise ensemble that Grassmarket Project was. Here the egos of actors were modified by stagehands really coming out with slogans that one might come across in a lecture on Eastern propaganda: the disarmingly straightforward conviction that labour is to be shared, by every man as equal: "Greif doch zu Kumpel!" "Lend us a hand, brother!" Or "Help us out, buddy!" when it came to lifting a heavy iron bed for the stage set from Edinburgh, or laying down set tiles. David Benson and Calum Findlay, every able young person from Scotland was expected to join in. The work was divided according to talent, but also whereever possible the young joined in, just as students would tell they did when it came to harvesting crops that might be rained on. Affairs of the heart showed Wally Schmitt, a renown actress, of film as well as stage, and founder of an independent union for actors, just before the Wall fell, in love with a stage hand. Some stage hands would go on to become directors or actors, as there was no streamlining evading one group.
The East Berlin circus collapsed after the Fall of the Wall as West Germany as victor wanted only their Circus to continue. As a result the gypsy caravans lined Kollwitz Street, the place where the artist had lived. They were open to express their disappointments and already then a sense of dismay at the simplistic Western values was apparent. When a prop designer, Joerg Landgraf, who went on to design stage sets as novice to Bert Neumann, told of vague acquaintances opening a computer shop, he admitted how contemptible he found their wish to be assimilated into the system of capitalism. "They were so stupid they put computers right by the shop door on tables, without security alarms. As a result they had everything stolen in the first week." ON March 13th 2011 Michael Billington visited Berlin to find a National Theatre sized subsidy in every major city: Hamburg, Munich Berlin. Twenty million for Deutsches Theatre with With a staff of five hundred people it could be said that theatre had a bigger budget than all the West End of London and National theatre together.

There is a sense of self sacrifice inherent in German work, perhaps reflected in the length of Thomas Mann novels, or Eastern European writers like Dostoevsky, whose work about salvation can include inner monologues like that of Dimitry Karamazov that continue over pages. Excerbating and dynamic as they are they seem to be suggesting to us that we must find solace in the chaos of life's endless overwhelming, bewilderment and suffering. 

On a personal level the stage hands and staff os such theatres are open to all psychological pressures as though they are performing in a Russian play themselves"I had to drink a beer," Sirkka Neumann protested as she described some unfortunate unwashed actors who proceeded to drink in the canteen of the Volksbuhne hours after performances.  

The military precision of working at German theatre is also evident in the name of the place Thomas Ostermeier works at: the Baracks, die Baracken a tiny space in front of the Deutsches Theatre. This tiny space, taking on a role like Royal Court led to Sarah Kane shouting out, when invited to conference, according to Michael Billington: "You need to find your own playwrights;" practical and honest as she was she hit on a question that needed asking. However, since the Sixties the West has looked to Berliner Ensemble.

It would be hard to regulate and avoid international exchange. War is a factor in all theatre history, reflected in more words of Billington, regarding the role theatre takes in portraying society. Form and subject in East European theatre have taken on the faith that lives can be changed by seeing reality up close, and the role spread widely through the Sixties in the West when asking if it is possible to change society. Women started to play a major role, such as Joan Baez with Jordan River and free love. The comparison of Sarah Kane to Jerry Springer is a result of her taking on themes that most baulk at and yet Dominic Dromgoole took on the Royal Court to portray women writers,, exclusively for a while.  

Re: Music

Alexandra Kremakova has won many awards and her music is on soundcloud. She composes and teaches. Music of Debbie Wiseman offered


Diversity was inbuilt, actors also from East, Norway, and Denmark. Ksenia Agarkova's father is a Lithuanian Russian speaking actor. Building on links from Berlin have worked well together with a vision of theatre as a way to increase understanding and using organic stories about nature as basis. Fringe First Awards, Academy of Arts and Prudential

Re:Sand Art.

Rangoli sand art, camera and producing are the best ways of spreading our message..by Jayson Singh

Luring people out of the comfort of believing they are worthless.

Where there is poverty there is no sense of self: the word art involves a faith in one's power to explore what is artificial but maybe would be better fun if it explored why kitsch is affordable to all and means more as a result and spreads understanding .