May 28, 2020

In our contemporary society, should every citizen not have the right to a permanent, secure home, and access to appropriate levels of support?

Dianne-Dominique Theakstone

Written wordHome, 2020

In the UK, housing is not a right. The social realism of this stage-play—‘Home’—highlights potential discriminatory attitudes many homeless and/or disabled housing seekers encounter. Inspiration stems from the author’s lived experiences of disablement, as well as studies conducted into disabled people’s experiences of housing. The play conveys the possible feelings of displacement, ‘otherness’ and isolation which can effect homeless individuals who move into a new community. The audience are given insights to the multi-layered nature of discriminatory attitudes. On one hand, the main character is visibly impaired and, on the other hand, all the residents of the sheltered housing scheme know that they were homeless. For some neighbours, the latter is indicative of additional problems and undesirable behaviour. The main character is written as gender neutral, and a director could use this to challenge the audience’s assumptions concerning traditional gender roles. An ambiguous identity enforces the premise that anybody can become homeless and/or experience disablement. However, ‘Home’ also shows that hope can spring from sometimes simple gestures of kindness. The play questions how we can change as individuals, as well as a society, in order to appreciate a person’s right to contribute, feel valued, and feel accepted.