InterACTion on stage, wearing patchwork waistcoats

The Journey of FaceFrontFest’23

The final performance of InterACtion’s ‘Freedom Pass’ took place on Thursday 27th July at the Dugdale Arts Centre (DAC) and brought FaceFrontFest’23 to a close. This years’ festival has been hugely successful for so many reasons, not least because it saw a return to us performing live to audiences again for the first time since 2019 – and what fantastic audiences they were!

We kicked off FaceFrontFest’23 with a sold out performance of ‘The Hero Next Door’, our new show for children and families written by award winning children’s author (and Face Front Patron) Onjali Q. Rauf MBE. This performance was the final date of an international (yes, we went to Wales!) tour that took us up and down the country over six weeks this summer, performing to hundreds of young (and young at heart) people.

Next to perform were our DDM group for young disabled/neurodiverse people, with their excellent show ‘Happy You Year’. This was a devised show about events of significance that had taken place for these young people over the last year, set against a backdrop of global events. It was standing room only as this brilliant bunch of young people performed at the Face Front Studio and received a huge round of applause at the end – along with a presentation of a mix of Bronze and Silver certificates for Arts Awards that they had completed earlier this year through Face Front – a very proud moment for all!

We were thrilled to have The Bridge group (our newest community group) represented at the festival through their collaboration with Enfield based Artists ‘Upsyched’ on the creation of a collection of paintings which were displayed at The DAC for two weeks and will soon be on display at the Face Front Studio.

Broken Silence performed to a sold-out audience at The DAC with their new show ‘All At Sea’. A cruise ship-based crime caper set during the roaring 20’s, ‘All At Sea’ was an original show, performed by a large ensemble cast of disabled adult actors and featured plenty of toe tapping songs and female empowerment – all to great applause.

The DAC then displayed a collection of photographic art works to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Face Front Inclusive Theatre. Enfield based artist Nigel Kellaway, was commissioned to create the series of images to mark the achievements of Face Front from its early days right up to its most recent production.

‘Freedom pass’ was our final show of the festival and was created by members of our intergenerational drama group; InterACTion. Picking up on the themes of significant moments and lessons we learn along the way, this heart-warming devised performance brought to the stage moments from cast members’ lives that they felt to be “…life changing moments”. ‘Freedom Pass’ was performed at Ponders End United Reform Church, Fore Street Library and finally at The DAC. At the end of each performance members of the audience were invited to share significant and life changing moments of their own with the room – and they did! This sharing made for a really touching and profound finale not only to the show, but also the festival. It highlighted the power of the arts to connect people both physically and emotionally to each other, and to provide a sense of community and place.

Face Front are proud and honoured to work in and with the people of Enfield and call it home. We want to thank everyone who took part in, came to see and supported FaceFrontFest’23. Special thanks to our funders: The National Lottery Community Fund, Arts Council England, and The People’s Health Trust.

We look forward to the journey ahead…