A critical mass of multi-commissions and performances that respond to 21st century life.
Humanistan was our artistic programme for 2019-2022. Nine new works provoked us to consider that the social and political systems that surround, and arguably are currently failing us, should not be allowed to define our experiences of ‘being human’.
Our confirmed artists for 2021 were Stephen Lightbown and Sharron Devine. Find out about each piece in the Humanistan Archive section.
In November 2019, Birmingham-based artist and activist Amahra Spence wrote and performed Utopia at the Shop Front Theatre as the first of our Humanistan commissions. Set against the current backdrop of deportations and the hostile environment pursued by the Conservative government, Amahra’s solo piece told the story of three individuals each brought together to find support and belief in their collective power.
Other artists commissioned in the programme were Marius Mates, Jamaal O’Driscoll, Marso Riviere, Katie Walters, Sarah Woods and Glenn Noble.
HUMAN-ISTAN / HUMAN-COUNTRY
The definition of ‘istan’ means land, country, place.
The intention behind Humanistan is to create a critical mass of multi-commissions and performance that responds to 21st century life. It includes the creating of high-quality theatre experiences, that forge meaningful connections that challenge division and isolation in society, and that celebrate our humanity.
Thematically, Humanistan inspired by the words of the poet Benjamin Zephaniah: “what are you prepared to give up for a more equal society?” and equally so by the words of community artist and writer Francois Matarasso, who says “…societies belong to people, not governments. They are built through relationships, not treaties, (they are built) in what we DO, not what we say.”