Connected Communities

Playing with Food

We’ve collected a lot of data in the project so far, and we are now working on a variety of ways to share it with people in Liverpool and more widely. As part of another project, I visited Transition Town Tooting’s shop project, organised by Encounters Arts.


At the end of their project they had a short performance that drew from a range of material that had been contributed to the shop throughout the last week. Hearing these stories, rather than just reading them was really moving and so I wanted to do something similar to share the stories we collected on our two Memory Days. Luckily I was put in touch with Liz Postlethwaite, who is not only a theatre maker and director but also works on sustainable urban agriculture. We’ll be working together with a range of members from the Mr Seel’s Garden team to develop a play (or performance) for our final showcase event on the 27th of January at The Bluecoat.


We had our first planning session on Friday where we all got to know each other a bit better and also starting thinking about the craft of storying telling. One activity included a pair of people telling the same story to the group, while we tried to guess whose it was. Everyone was so convincing that we nearly always ended up guessing “Both!”.

Looking through the range of material we had to work with, we then also picked out key questions we wanted to ask, and thought about some of the themes that would be good to organise the work around.

After some great discussions about what the ‘local’ in local food really means we then started going through some of the quotes we’ll be using.

These included some about how shops used to be before supermarkets:

And our corner shop was Mr Waring, who was very, very helpful. My mother would put her order in to Mr Waring on a Friday morning and he would bring one carton of food over in the afternoon when she came home from work.  That’s a difference to the amount of food people are taking home now.

He sold everything.  All his food was on one side, and the potatoes were in a wooden fixture and they were set into like sections.  The potatoes and the carrots and the onions were all on that side.

There was always a chair, a seat, by the counter, and the people used to go in and have a chat.  Very, very personal.  And whereas now there are no seats at all in the big supermarkets.

And others about when most food used to only be available seasonally:

Q: And did you just get foods in the season?
A: Yes, yeah, proper season, yes. Nothing was forced, and everything tasted good you see. That’s what I say, when it’s not forced it’s lovely. You get a much better taste and it’s not messed about with, it’s not injected with this, that and the other chemicals, yeah. And that’s what it was you see, beautiful. So though we didn’t get what we can get now, what we did get was better. I will always–, I’ll swear to that. It was always–, it always tasted better.

As well as a wide variety of other themes. Thanks to everyone who came along and to the Bluecoat for providing us with rehearsal space! We’re all looking forward to our next workshop.

Michelle Bastian