Hightown Housing Association is hosting two stage performances of ‘Cathy’ – a modern version of the seminal Ken Loach film, ‘Cathy Come Home’ – as part of a nationwide campaign to highlight the problem of homelessness in today’s society.
Tickets are now on sale for the poignant new drama, produced by the acclaimed Cardboard Citizens theatre group, which is being performed at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans on 7th and 8th November as part of a nationwide tour.
It will mark the 50th anniversary of the first showing of the award-winning ‘Cathy Come Home’ drama-documentary, highlighting the plight of a homeless family, on BBC Television in November 1966.
The performance of ‘Cathy’ is one of a range of initiatives organised by the ‘Homes for Cathy’ group of housing associations, which was set up to draw attention to the urgent and continuing need to provide homes for homeless people 50 years on. The housing associations in the Homes for Cathy group were set up by volunteers in direct response to ‘Cathy Come Home’.
Grandmother Angela Hosier was made homeless after being unable to cover her mortgage payments and bills when her ex-partner left. After initially living in her car, she spent two years ‘sofa surfing’ before being offered a flat by Hightown in Hemel Hempstead.
Angela, aged 57, said: “When I was sofa surfing, I didn’t have anywhere to call my own. Now I have my own space and independence. One of the best things about having my own place is that my daughters and grandchildren can finally come round to visit me. My mum lives just round the corner too. I feel like I’m starting to get my life back on track.”
But the number of people being made homeless is increasing nationally and at the last count there were 68,560 households living in temporary accommodation.
The Cardboard Citizens theatre group has been performing with and for homeless people for 25 years to try to make a real difference to those living at the margins of our society.
Its performance of ‘Cathy’ in St Albans follows sell-out appearances in London, Nottingham and Oxford, and is presented in a ‘Forum Theatre’ style, with the audience having the chance to comment after the show and offer ideas that might have changed the course of the characters’ lives.
As well as the two public performances hosted by Hightown in St Albans, there will also be a matinee performance for local schools.
Hightown manages three schemes for homeless people in St Albans and another in Hatfield. Donations made on the night of the shows will go Hightown’s Open Door charity for homeless people in Bricket Road, St Albans.
David Bogle, Chief Executive of Hightown Housing Association, said: “Despite housing associations and others building hundreds of thousands of homes since the screening of Cathy Come Home in 1966, the problem of homelessness has not gone away.
“We’re delighted to be hosting these performances and hope they will draw attention to the continuing plight of homeless people as part of the Homes for Cathy campaign.”
To book tickets for the performances of ‘Cathy’ at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans at 8pm on 7th and 8th November, go to: http://www.abbeytheatre.org.uk/whats-on/cathy/ or call the box office on 01727 857861.