Vegan Theatre Company Launches Crowdfunding Campaign To Produce New Scratch Night Shows On Ethics & Sustainability
London-based theatre group Patch Plays has launched a crowdfunding campaign to gain funding needed to produce their new shows at UK's first zero waste performance space. As a volunteer-run organisation they need to meet their fundraising target of £750 in order to make this project possible.
"After the amazing time we had in September, it's time for another Scratch Night! We cannot wait to showcase four new plays about veganism, animal ethics and the environment at the Greenhouse Theatre!", the group wrote in a post on Instagram.
Patch Plays, founded in London in August 2020 by Anastasia Bunce and Maria Majewska, is a company devoted to exploring the role of theatre in addressing issues surrounding veganism, environmental sustainability, animal ethics, and their intricate connection. The girls met while interning at the Finborough Theatre in the summer of 2019. The two bonded over being vegan but none of them thought at the time that they would one day run a company together. The situation changed during the pandemic when both of them struggled to find creative work.
Maria says: "We kept in touch and met up in early summer 2020, when we talked about how difficult it was to find creative work amidst the pandemic. Then the idea came to us - if there are no opportunities, let’s create them! That’s why we decided to produce our first Scratch Night. After this first event, we knew we had to create more vegan and environmental theatre, seeing a gap in the industry and wanting to explore new ways of communicating these messages to audiences."
The group is particularly interested in exploring the intersectionality of these issues and humanising them by placing them in a wide variety of narratives. They focus on telling personal and entertaining stories to engage audiences with these themes. Their main goal is to create space for audiences to reflect on their place in our neglected, divided, and complicated world. They aspire to challenge and provoke empathy, but also provide reassurance and inspiration for a better future.
"We are both obviously very passionate about veganism and animal welfare, considering all the benefits for our health and the environment," says Anastasia. "We noticed there weren’t many (if any) shows being made that placed veganism at the centre of the narrative or tried to engage audiences with thinking about it. Since empathy lies at the heart of what it is to be vegan for the both of us, it seemed only natural to us that the medium of theatre, which requires you to use your imagination and place yourself in someone (or something) else’s shoes (when writing, performing and watching a show) would be a wonderful way to bring audiences attention to sometimes provocative topics on an emotional level," she continues.
"There has been a lot of information in recent years in the media about veganism, which is great, and there are lots more informative documentaries being made which engage the public on an intellectual level - however what theatre can do to add to the vegan conversation is bring people to sympathise and emotionally engage with these topics, which can be a very powerful tool, " she adds.
In September 2020, the group successfully produced an outdoor Scratch Night that showcased 5 new short plays exploring topics such as food consumption, mass production, natural habitats, disparities in wealth and personal choice. The night received overwhelmingly positive feedback from audiences who responded well to the subject matter, voicing their appreciation of the delicacy, humour, and entertaining ways in which the material was presented.
Patch Plays members say their audience is not only vegan. The shows attract many meat eaters who through their theatre learn about veganism for the first time in life.
"Our audience included a range of both vegans and meat eaters, which was lovely as we want to create work to raise awareness and engage people who might not have ever even thought about veganism before," says Anastasia.
Maria adds: "We also believe it’s important to connect issues surrounding veganism and sustainability to themes our audiences may already care about and relate to. That’s why a lot of the shows we choose to produce explore the intersections of these themes with other issues such as feminism, identity, migration and family. We truly believe theatre can allow people to connect to topics they may not have ever engaged with otherwise!"
This year, the group is preparing a range of different shows from a comedy to a children's show. 'Meat Cute', a one-woman comedy originally performed at their September Scratch night, has since been developed into a full-length show and is now being rehearsed for performances at two London theatres.
Anastasia says: "We are really excited this year as we have a range of different shows planned, spanning from farcical one-woman comedy ‘Meat Cute’ about a woman who tries to convert her tinder dates to veganism, to a magical children’s wintertime show exploring the climate crisis and animal welfare through a moving story with music. Our upcoming show ‘Meat Cute’ is bright, loud, fast paced, absurd, Brechtian and hopefully provides food for thought on important topics through comedy, which we believe is a powerful way of engaging audiences in a welcoming and non-judgemental environment where they can reflect and process whilst coming away, hopefully entertained!"
Recently, the group has been working at The Greenhouse in London. The Greenhouse is the UK's First-Ever Zero-Waste performance space that aims to inspire the individuals to take action in response to climate change. As sustainable practice is a core part of Patch Plays' mission, the members say The Greenhouse is the perfect host for this project.
To support Patch Plays fundraising campaign click here.