I hope to find and collect stories from members of the community who have at some point in their lives, left, and returned to Manchester. The aim of the research based project will be to explore the impact and issue of (re)integration and the subsequent effect this can have on what the concept of ‘community’ comes to mean to people; Do they still belong? Can they easily reintegrate? Is there a piece of community that they can never get back? Does this affect their cultural identity?
I will also focus on the decisions that led people to leave Manchester in the first place. The participants involved will explore each others stories and look at whether or not reintegration looks different from another perspective. Each story, decision and experience will be explored to deeper levels than the last, resulting in a fragmented and broken meta-narrative that tells the stories of several generations returning to a place they once called home. The final piece will be presented through video and installation, with the audience holding the power that will determine the answer to the question; are they really accepted back into the community?
As a recent graduate in Theatre Studies, I hope this project will give me the confidence to work independently as an artist and facilitator in the future. With the theme of reintegration holding resonance with my own experiences, I also hope to use this opportunity to understand more about the sub-community within a community that is struggling to cement its cultural identity.