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Feature: Jeremy Goldstein on 20 years of London Artists Projects

Legendary underground theatre producer London Artists Projects is celebrating 20 years of genre-busting work. In an unexpected plot twist the party kicks off in a town called Renmark, 300km northeast of Adelaide on 19th November.

Jeremy Goldstein, founder and director of London Artists Projects and long-time contributor to Run-Riot writes about his work.

Independent theatre producing is not for the faint hearted. Those of us who enter the fray do so at our own risk and operate in extreme fragility. But I am driven by art, activism, joy, beauty, meaning, and my belief in the transformative power of community storytelling to change people’s lives and the world we live in. My belief system has seen me through 20 years of intense highs and lows.


Photo: Kate Holmes (Truth to Power Café)


My signature projects include the internationally acclaimed Truth to Power Café and its new interconnecting work This Is Who I Am which opened in Singapore in June. The world premiere edition was commissioned by British Council Singapore and featured eight disabled artists from UK and Singapore responding to the title in short digital theatre works, before an in-person audience of 100,000 people at National Libraries in Singapore.  



Before that in February our first live stream of Truth to Power Café helped launch the world’s first Children’s Capital of Culture in Rotherham in South Yorkshire and achieved 22,000 online views.  

For independent political theatre, these figures are off the charts.

Both projects form part of a long-term body of work inspired by the political and philosophical beliefs of Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter and his Hackney Gang – a group of six friends that included my late father Mick Goldstein and the actor and poet Henry Woolf, whose poetry bejewels the work.  For sixty years the Hackney Gang believed in an independent media and remained firmly on the side of the occupied, the disempowered and their allies.  

It is these people I invite to appear in the shows, which conjure up the spirit of the East End with passionate truth-telling and poignant political expression from everyday community participants rising up in response to the question ‘who has power over you and what do you want to say to them?’ and title This Is Who I Am.

Right now, I’m in Australia preparing for the 51st performance and a live stream of Truth to Power Café as part of Adelaide LGBTQI+ Feast Festival. Quick reality check… that’s 51 newly created performances in multiple contexts with over 600 community voices in 7 countries in 4 years. My belief system gets me through.


Photo: Ken Leanfore (mother and son, Beverley Burlakov and Jeremy Goldstein)


This will be followed by the first Sydney edition of This Is Who I Am which I’m making with my mother Beverley aged 80 and a dozen elders from The Burger Centre in the inner Sydney suburb of Randwick. Burger Centre participants will share stories of migration, war, and the Holocaust, some of which I’m recording from the survivors themselves. In January we will take photo portraits of participants and their families, and in February I will direct and perform with the elders in a site-specific live event before an audience of people who matter to them.

My journey through LAP is organic. For much of my life I was afraid to speak up in public let alone perform on a stage under lights in a theatre. But everything changed in 2014 when my father died, and I was diagnosed with a stage four lymphoma. My father and I were estranged when he died, and the cancer made it more difficult. It was tough, but I gained new perspectives and resilience, and began a life changing journey that would eventually result in the creation of Truth to Power Café and This Is Who I Am.

Spurred on by theatre director Jen Heyes, I was able to confront and find peace with my past and in doing so create a cathartic set of theatrical experiences for participants and audiences.  In the benevolent shadow of the Hackney Gang, I was able to use the truth and the pain of my lived experience to allow others to express theirs. The cycle of my inherited trauma has been broken forever, and the projects have become the crucible for over six hundred stories from people who talk back to those that try to stop them.

Such is the power of art, I have also been able to reconcile my relationship with my father in death, and I am liberated as a result. As the Melbourne critic, playwright and academic Dr Robert Reid said, ‘it’s not just the memories, but the legacy they leave us with, which is alive and powerful, consciously and unconsciously giving shape to who we are, and what we think we can be.’

Despite LAP’s meagre resources, I look back in wonder at what we’ve achieved in our 20-year history. I have created what some refer to as our own unique theatrical genre of ‘truth to power theatre’ from the truth of my lived experience. For LAP to be doing what Dr Reid describes as ‘the most important work that theatre can – giving voice to those who are expected, and expect too, remain silent’ is miraculous.

As Pinter himself once wrote: ‘Never mind what it means. Get it down. Get it written. It is your story; it is all you have. Tell it. Write it down. Get it on the page, and then you can play with it; revise it; sculpt it; abort it. But get it done.’ 


Truth to Power Café – Renmark, South Australia

Saturday 19th November 0830am-0930am UK GMT 

Register from this link for the free live stream

Click here to sign London Artists Projects 20th Anniversary Birthday Book

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