Stage 3 Company is an activist theatre company, exploring socio-political themes and important current events. Stage 3 is the first performance piece produced by the Stages project (Project Director – Shana Swiss), and is a participatory performance devised by a group of students from Queen Mary University of London working with theatre director Canan Salih.
- to use performance as a tool for the facilitation of discussions around human rights issues such as discrimination, inequality and prejudice;
- to use art practices and academic research to promote understanding and compassion within communities;
- to encourage creative expression in order to catalyse individual and social change;
- to work with national and international organisations, school groups, community members and policy makers in order to tackle a vast range of political, social and humanitarian issues (from immigration and marginalisation, to identity, belonging and empathy);
- to support and/or foster the development of policies and practices that create more inclusive communities;
- to build collaborations and partnerships with organisations and charities to create and deliver interactive performances, online projects and workshops;
- to commit to making all aspects of our audience/collaborator experience enjoyable, universally welcoming and physically accessible.
Ariane has recently graduated from Queen Mary with a BA in Drama. She first became involved in People’s Palace Projects in February 2018 and was inspired by their approach to art as a way of communicating social and political issues, and most significantly the use of human rights templates, such as the Ten Stages of Genocide, to stimulate performance. Ariane helped devise the performance which debuted at the Tafahum festival in Tower Hamlets and consequently co-founded Stage 3. Through her work with Stage 3 and subsequent volunteering positions with organisations such as STAR and Whitechapel Mission, she was inspired to focus on activist theatre in my final year dissertation. Ariane is particularly interested in how theatre that documented or described the experience of being a refugee was received by those removed from the crisis and how this assisted in bring about social change. Since beginning this work she has become increasingly interested in refugee theatre and specifically what governmental and societal changes can be made for refugees in the UK. This focus was particularly inspired by Stage 3’s work with Safe Passage’s ‘Our Turn’ campaign. Since working with Stage 3 she has also been especially interested in the running of arts events and power of bringing together large communities to unite people or help create social change, such as Stage 3’s work with Kensington and Chelsea council that brought young people from unprivileged backgrounds together to learn about different education or career possibilities available to them. Furthermore, her passion for voluntary work has only increased since working with Stage 3. She recently worked with Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais and is involved with London-based outreach projects, which she hopes to continue even more so in the near future.
Blanka is a producer and performer focusing her work around social issues. She is a co-founder of Stage 3 Company and one of its performers. She has recently graduated from BA Drama at Queen Mary University where she was awarded the Silvia Perry Prize for an outstanding contribution to the department. She is also a founder of film production company Doorbell Films and is currently in pre-production for her first feature film. She worked as a mentor for young people as well as Creative Learning Assistant in the Barbican Centre. Speaking multiple languages helps her with her research as well as working in different locations.
Kerry is a recent Drama Graduate from Queen Mary, University of London, and a performer at Stage 3 Company. In 2018, Kerry joined Stage 3, who devised their first performance in collaboration with People’s Palace Projects. Kerry’s work with PPP inspired her to volunteer at the Refugee Community Kitchen in Calais, during December 2019. “It was a life changing experience and, subsequently, I hope to be able to return for a longer period of time in the near future.” Kerry also currently works in the Creative Learning department at the Barbican Centre, Europe’s largest arts and cultural venue. She works mainly with young people and community groups from the Barbican’s target London boroughs, as well as in Harlow, Manchester, and Norfolk. This work focuses on delivering a varied cross-arts programme for young people, including their Associate Schools. Kerry hopes to continue her work with school and community groups, particularly in relation to Theatre.
Grace is a young woman from ‘up North’ living in London. After completing her degree in English and History at Queen Mary University of London, Grace began working in social care where her love of supporting others and encouraging independence has grown. Within Stage 3, Grace is extremely interested about the social impact of the arts in the 21st century and how we can use performance and language as tools to promote inclusion and belonging. She is incredibly passionate about the discussions each performance creates and values these conversations immensely as starting points for future Stage 3 development. Alongside her job and voluntary positions, Grace enjoys creative writing, poetry, movement and yoga- she is soon to be a 200 hour Hatha yoga teacher.
Syeda Tasmia Tahia
Syeda Tasmia Tahia is a writer, poet and theatre performer, a regular in London’s theatre world since debuting in 2012. Some of her previous work include “Nemesis 2 – The Gamechanger” – Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019 and “Hostile Environment” (directorial debut), and “Daal-Bhaat: Us Two Bengali Girls”. She is a member of the Romantic Novelist Association, Young Trustee for Sadlers Wells Theatre, Legacy Youth Board member for the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and one of the US Embassy’s Young Leaders in the UK. She is currently working to publish her first novel, a YA political thriller about privilege and activism.
“Stage 3 has been a transformative experience for me, opening up to new ideas and techniques. Touring the performance exposed me to different views and the immersive theatre experience helped me rediscover my craft with each performance. STAGES, as a project, has helped me grow more confident in challenging stereotypes and addressing difficult societal conversations through art.”
Kalina is a Bulgarian performance artist and writer. Her work spans across various media and takes diverse forms – photography, video, live performance and installation. Having finished a Master’s degree in Live Art (2020) at Queen Mary University of London, her research focus is currently on the historical and contemporary development of performance art in Eastern Europe.
Being a core member of Stage 3 Company (a performance-based activist group and an associate company of STAGES/PPP), her practice and research is strongly influenced by sociological debates, human rights issues and political affairs. She is also the project manager for another of STAGES‘ projects which started in 2019.
“Working with STAGES has been a life changing experience which made me much more confident in my decision to continue my professional development in the strand of performance and education in order to look for and provide accessible ways for using the Arts as a tool for social change and personal growth.’’
Xinyue is a performer, storyteller and teaching artist from China. She is the co-founder of Stage 3 Company, an associate company of STAGES and an activist group using a performance-based approach to open discussions on significant social issues.
After finishing her MA in Theatre and Performance with First Class Honours at Queen Mary University of London, she continues developing her practice in various organisations and institutions in France and China. She is now pursuing an MFA in Theatre and Dance for Youth and Communities at the University of Texas at Austin. As a teaching artist, Xinyue is interested in community theatre projects that create shared places of learning with a sense of connectedness.
“Working and creating as a member of the Stage 3 Company has been a rewarding journey for me, so much so that I would say there is a before and after-Stage 3 for me as a theatre practitioner. The experience has significantly changed my understanding of theatre as a form of art. Among the many inspirations and insights I received, what I cherish most are the voices, both of my own and other people involved. In a world of division and conflicts, we are often told that ‘this is not your concern.’ But this is not true. No one is an island. A grain of dust from the air can feel as heavy as a mountain on the head of an ordinary individual. But when we find our voices in this, it is the start of change.”
Additional Founding Members of Stage 3 Company
Chrisanthi Livadiotis 2018-2021
Chrisanthi is a Greek-Cypriot performer, activist and co-founder of Stage 3. Alongside performing and devising the show she is now the rehearsal director for the company. She graduated from her BA Drama course with a First Class Honours degree from Queen Mary University of London during which she was chosen to undertake a semester abroad at Columbia University in New York. She has worked as a motivational presenter in schools, a student and theatre mentor and drama club leader. As a solo artist she often juxtaposes movement and text to make work that challenges the ordinary by playing with the extraordinary. Chrisanthi is currently working with web-design company Delphi Art, producing corporate marketing videos for websites and media platforms.
“Stage 3 became a space to educate others whilst at the same time informing and educating ourselves. Stage 3 has left an incredible influence on both my performance career and my awareness of the world and how to live and help others.”
Hannah Johnson 2018-2019
Hannah is a geneticist with a performing arts background, who joined Stage 3 in 2018 to assist in research during the devising process. She is passionate about the use of theatre to communicate science and spark discussion. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Medical Genetics at Queen Mary University of London she is now pursuing a MSc and PhD in Medical Statistics.
“During the project I felt a bit ashamed of not really knowing much about genocides that have taken place since the second world war. However during the past year I became much more aware of world events that were being covered in the news that are really end stages of genocide (preparation, persecution and extermination) but were not being called out as such.
“I found the Srebrenica Memorial really affected me. England played Croatia that evening [in 2018] and on my way home the streets were suddenly filled with people chanting, ‘It’s just a small town in Serbia.’ These were people who were old enough to have seen the media coverage over 20 years ago and it really hit me how easy it is to forget major, horrific events when they don’t affect you directly. There is a lot of focus in schools to teach about the Holocaust so that the following generations don’t make the same mistakes. But genocide still happens all over the world. Being part of Stage 3 is a way for me to take part in reminding people that these events happen and are happening.”
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More about the Stages project at PPP: https://peoplespalaceprojects.org.uk/en/projects/stages/