Shared?, an interactive play by Partisan Productions in collaboration with Clanmil Housing will tour venues across Northern Ireland as part of Good Relations Week 2023 

Shared? is a thought-provoking, moving and sometimes surprisingly funny exploration of contemporary housing issues and the human lives behind the social housing statistics and stereotypes.

Following a highly acclaimed run of its Belfast debut last year, social theatre company Partisan Productions, in partnership with Clanmil Housing will tour the play ‘Shared?’ across Northern Ireland as part of Good Relations week in September. 


The shows will be staged at the Glenavon Hotel, Cookstown on the 19th; the Barron Hall, Newtownabbey on the 21st; Old Town Hall in Banbridge on 26th and the Community Cinema in Newcastle on the 28th of September. There will also be workshops available on separate dates for everyone interested in taking a deeper delve into the issues portrayed in the play.


Shared? is a thought-provoking, moving and sometimes surprisingly funny exploration of contemporary housing issues and the human lives behind the social housing statistics and stereotypes.


Shared? follows a colourful cast of characters living in, and nearby to a shared housing association development where a rumour has been circulating and the local Neighbourhood App has taken a very odd turn. Partisan invite audiences to ‘meet these neighbours, from different countries, classes and cultures as their worlds begin to combine and collide’.


One of them is Emma; a single working mother, she has ‘earned’ enough ‘points’ to move into a new flat in a shared neighbourhood on the leafy side of town. But what’s the point in a point system when the teenage party girl downstairs, the one with the social worker, doesn’t seem to care that some people have to work?  All Emma really wants is to spend time with her 14 -year- old daughter who has developed some issues of her own. 


The cast includes award winning Northern Irish actor John Travers, well-loved actress Cathy Brennan-Bradley alongside new talent Sorcha McElroy, Orlaith Larkham and Rachael McCabe of comedy group Murder She Got Wrote Off.


Clanmil Housing, one of Northern Ireland’s leading housing associations, provides almost 6,000 homes for people to live well across the region.  They have been praised for being the first NI housing association to use forum theatre to encourage audiences to think and talk about social housing and sharing space; to actively listen for insights they can use and share to inform housing policy and ultimately improve the lives of people living together in Northern Ireland. 


Shared?’s playwright, Fintan Brady, describes forum theatre as, ‘ encouraging candid discussion of societal issues.  No two nights of Shared? will be the same as audiences watch the scripted play once; then it is performed again whilst audience members attempt to change the course or outcome of the drama. Spectators can become “spect-actors”, make suggestions or they can simply watch and enjoy the show.  When a few people do participate it becomes a very lively event.’


Clanmil facilitated conversations between Partisan, their residents and other community members during the script writing process. Brady states, ‘we wanted the storylines to genuinely reflect the experiences, issues and aspirations of people who live in or alongside areas of shared housing. Of course, people mentioned emblems and differing traditions, but a lot of the topics raised were about social housing in general. Whether it’s real, perceived, or rumoured, we gathered a lot of ideas and beliefs about the housing selection process, who lives in social housing, class differences and gentrification’.


Segregation between the two main religious communities is a long-running issue in the political and social history of Northern Ireland and it is often seen as both a cause and effect of the ‘Troubles’ and of post-conflict tensions. However, when surveyed, 78% of people in NI, said that if they had a choice, they would prefer to live in a mixed-religion neighbourhood.


Clanmil believe that shared housing; giving people the choice of living alongside people from many backgrounds and traditions in neighbourhoods that are welcoming to all is a route to a more shared society in Northern Ireland.


Clanmil manages eight shared housing developments across Northern Ireland and is currently promoting a further three.


Jennifer Cuthbert, Community Investment Manager with Clanmil says, “We are delighted with the success of Shared? last year and we’re looking forward to bringing it to a wider audience in some of the other locations where we manage shared housing. It is such an innovative approach to improving community relations and we hope it will help influence future housing policy.


The feedback that came up during the performances in Belfast was useful for us in shaping our Customer Promise which was unveiled in November 2022, followed by our first Customer Strategy in December which was co-designed with people living in Clanmil homes.


The upcoming tour will provide an opportunity for the people who live in Clanmil homes, along with community and political representatives and the wider public to get involved and share their views, and find out more about shared neighbourhoods and social housing in general.”


Cuthbert adds, ‘Clanmil continues to work in partnership with local Advisory Group stakeholders, and with residents to develop each scheme’s Good Relations Plan. The organisation’s Good Relations activities are part of Housing for All, the Department for Communities and Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s Shared Housing Programme, which forms part of the Programme for Government’.  


Partisan Productions are core funded by the Community Relations Council and the Arts Council NI.

Free admission.  To book visit and search Shared?

For full programme of Good Relation Week events: Good Relations Week


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