Mary Chater
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Clifford Chance Foundation makes grant to Shakespeare In Italy outreach project

Grant funding for project working with Well Written and One Community in West London

Shakespeare in Italy Theatre Company is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the Clifford Chance Foundation. The £5000 grant is for a community project Aliens Order linked to our production of A Merchant of Venice.
Across the world, law firm Clifford Chance's pro bono and community outreach practice focuses on partnering with NGOs and charities that enable access to justice, education, a healthy environment and sustainable economic opportunity. The Clifford Chance Foundation works hard to ensure that its support makes a real difference and achieves impact in the communities around the world where the firm is based and does business.
• The grant makes it possible for Shakespeare in Italy to further enhance its outreach programme alongside productions and its aim to make the arts and drama in particular accessible to all. The project will pick up on themes of justice, mercy and alienation in the play. Shakespeare uses the word ‘alien’ when describing a Venetian law and how it applies to those like Shylock.
Exploring how alienation, isolation and injustice affects lives today, and how communities work to triumph over these forces will be central to the project.
Thanks to the grant our outreach team, including a playwright and film-maker, will work with the Well Written group on ideas and scripts for short pieces to be read or performed to camera. The group began as service users of St Charles Mental Health Centre, and is part of the outreach programme One Community. The group meets weekly at Bay 20 Hub, West London, a community space built by BBC DIY SOS in response to the Grenfell Tower fire. Well Written started in 2018 and a year later won an award from Adult Learning Within Reach (WEA) for a similar project called Journeys with The Playground Theatre. Group members will get the chance to express themselves, enhance their experience and knowledge, and share their finished work.

BACKGROUND Aliens Order 1: a 2017 Arts Council funded Shakespeare in Italy theatre project in Peterborough. Here many Italians arrived in the UK to work in the brick factories and the gravel pits in Cambridgeshire during the 1950s where they had to sign up to a national registration card called Aliens Order. They had to carry this card with them and it had to be stamped routinely at the city police station. The project was an opportunity for the community to celebrate the Italian culture and how it integrated and added to the vibrancy of the community.

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