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Dom Moore

Review: CITIZEN

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Really, why does Mutley have so many barbers?!

Other than the, quite frankly, ridiculous amount of barbers on Mutley, what springs to mind when you think of Plymouth? Is it Smeaton’s Tower, Drake’s Island, Captain Jaspers, Seagulls, grey, concrete buildings, or odd looking new ones? Or is it more personal and sentimental than that for you? Is it your ever evolving story interwoven with the continually changing face of the city that makes this place so indescribably special?

CITIZEN, Directed by Lucy Hirst and performed by 23 amazingly brave and talented People’s Company members, brings the city and its stories to life in a show that, no matter where you’re from or what your background, speaks to you as a member of this complex and rapidly expanding community.

Combining some familiar faces, a shed load of heartfelt stories, tales of hope and resilience, of comeups and comedowns, community spirit and individual strength, of long held pain and cathartic redemption, CITIZEN asks you to think about all those individual stories that are threaded into the very heart of the city, and calls us to hold on tightly to the ties that unite us, not to those that divide us.

Being a born and bred Janner, or a visitor that’s never left, isn’t always easy. The show highlights some of the major inequalities and struggles that we need to face head on. From ethnicity and racism to homelessness and the unacceptable levels of poverty, It doesn’t shy away from the innate issues that the people of Plymouth face on a daily basis.

But, at the very heart of each genuine and authentic story, some of which are hard to hear at times, is a tale of hope: hope for the future, hope for increased diversity and tolerance, hope for prosperity and change. It reminds us that the greatest strength we all have is each other. Whether that’s close family and friends, the kindness of strangers, the companionship of a beloved pet that gives you a reason to keep going and move forward, or the moments of epiphany some find in their relationship with a higher power.

So when asked what makes me hopeful for this city, what inspires me and what I’d like to see more of, it is brave and bold shows like this one. It’s Plymouth having the desire and courage tell its stories; to create and expand beyond its current limits. To amplify our collective voices, and look for the wealth of inspiration and life that is all around us. It’s for individuals to come together; for us to see beyond the ubiquitous faces that walk passed us day in day out and journey into the very soul of those stories, battles, and dreams for a better tomorrow that define us all.

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