World Factory

We constantly push the bounds of what theatre can be. What if it is an interactive business game where your newly formed team of six make decisions on how to run your Chinese garment factory in competition with fourteen other groups? What if, before and after, four actors present economic, political and social arguments for and against the globalised garment supply chain, flanked by giant video screens? What if the whole show makes you sit up and question whether you should buy that cheap top you’re only going to wear once? Welcome to World Factory at HOME.

A theatre show should, I believe, be judged on how it makes you feel at the end of the performance.  For an hour and a half you’re listening to arguments and putting forward your own to persuade your team. Profit or social responsibility?  High risk or low? High fashion or reliable workwear? Play by the rules or bend them?  There’s a hint of adrenalin.  But at the end, right at the end, you see how this industry works, and its economic and human consequences.  You see the impact of your choices.  This show leaves a powerful impression.

The whole event takes place on the main stage.  Four actors (Lucy Ellinson, Heather Lai, Jennifer Lim and Jamie Martin) act as coordinators, or dealers, throughout the game part of the show.  At the start they portray economic and social figures.  At the end they look at how well each team has performed, and they consider alternative, possibly better, futures.  They provide the energy for the show, and they provide the overall arguments that underpin everything we, the interactive audience, do.

This show is an incredibly well researched and intelligent look at the reality of the global garment industry.  The focus is China, but it could be Africa – the next stop on our quest for ever more disposable and lower cost clothing.  It’s highly interactive, great fun, intelligent and a real eye opener.

World Factory is at HOME from 7 to 10 December 2016.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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