£13,000 European nod for work with homeless in the city

A script in hand performance of Ebeneezer Dealer which took place last December.
A script in hand performance of Ebeneezer Dealer which took place last December.

Homeless people in Lancaster will take their very personalversion of a Dickens classic story on tour, thanks to European funding.

Last year, a group of homeless people aged 19-70 who attend Lancaster District Homeless Action Service formed themselves into a theatre company - Alternative Outcomes - with the help of The Dukes Creative Learning Department.

The Life’s A Stage project saw the group create their own version of A Christmas Carol which was running at The Dukes during the festive season.

A script in hand performance of Ebenezer Dealer took place at The Dukes Centre for Creative Learning last December and since then, Alternative Outcomes have been developing the script and plan to tour it across the North West.

Their project has now attracted £13,000 from the European Social Fund.

Alternative Outcomes have taken Dickens original story and made it more relevant to their own lives so, in their version, Scrooge is a drug dealer who learns the error of his ways.

Creative Learning Officer, Paul Adams who has been working on the project with Alternative Outcomes.

He said: “The message of the story is that everyone can change.

“Developing this play has made the group feel valued, raised their self-esteem and improved their confidence.”

Alternative Outcomes is a group of between 10 and 15 homeless people who will not only perform Ebenezer Dealer but also produce and promote it as well as having responsibility for the costumes and lighting.

They are currently developing the script with awardwinning writer Ian Kershaw who is adapting Cinderella for The Dukes Christmas show later this year.

The half-hour performance of Ebenezer Dealer will tour to venues linked to homeless centres in Manchester, Liverpool, Wigan and Kendal from December 1.

The mini-tour will culminate in a finale at The Dukes on December 10.