Adrian Jackson (Cardboard Citizens)

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Adrian Jackson, MBE is the founder-director and chief executive of a unique theatre company, Cardboard Citizens, in which most of the performers and many other employees are homeless and ex-homeless people, refugees or asylum-seekers.

Founded in 1991, the company tours theatre productions, especially inter-active Forum Theatre, to all sorts of venues, including hostels, day centres, schools and theatres; apart from the interactive Forum Theatre shows the company is renowned for, it has also mounted a number of larger-scale usually site-specific productions, including The Beggar’s Opera (with ENO), The Lower Depths (with London Bubble), Mincemeat and Cathy. In September 2003, Adrian directed a co-production of Pericles for Cardboard Citizens with the Royal Shakespeare Company. This was followed in November 2004 with a co-commissioning of playwright Sarah Woods, resulting in a new play Visible which was performed at the RSC’s New Work Festival, and in 2006 at Soho Theatre and touring. In Autumn 2006 he directed a site-specific production of Timon of Athens for Cardboard Citizens as part of the RSC’s Complete Works festival, and at Belfast Festival. In 2007, he devised and directed Down/Out, a reaction to George Orwell, and Going Going Gone for Cardboard Citizens, and Home and Away for Formaat Theatre in Rotterdam.

As well as being Cardboard Citizens’ Artistic Director and the deviser of a large number of plays with the company, Adrian Jackson is a well-travelled teacher and translator. He has worked as Augusto Boal’s translator on four books – most recently the Aesthetics of the Oppressed – and has collaborated with him on many occasions; apart from workshops, they also worked together on The Art of Legislation, an Artangel-sponsored piece of Legislative Theatre at County Hall in London.

He has taught the Theatre of the Oppressed work in many contexts, throughout Europe, as well as in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Adrian was previously Associate Director of London Bubble, a long-established London touring community theatre company, with whom he directed a number of productions including Once Upon a Time, Far Far from England by Farhana Sheikh, after Rudyard Kipling, Measure for Measure by Shakespeare and Too Much Too Young by Catherine Johnson, as well as a number of Forum Theatre projects with communities including Irish Travellers, Deaf people, and adults with learning difficulties.

He is currently working on his own book, provisionally entitled The Art of the Joker.

In December 2017 he was awarded an MBE for Services to the Arts in the 2018 New Year's Honours List.

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