What does Home mean to you?  A place of sanctuary, a roof over your head or something else? This was the question posed by Active Inquiry Theatre Company in association with three local groups in Edinburgh: The Alma Project, Bethany Christian Trust and Shakti Women’s Aid.

With a short introduction by Gavin Crichton, Artistic Director 

“This project came about because the experience of Home for many of our performers has not always been a happy or easy one. We wanted to ask questions about why many people don’t feel secure in their homes in 21st Century Scotland. We wanted to start a conversation that went beyond Home being about a ‘roof over your head’ to a place where you can feel secure, safe and settled. This conversation and devising process has explored many of the injustices in our society today. We look forward to inviting audiences to contribute to this important dialogue.

Each group performed a short play to depict their interpretation of the concept from their lived experience.

Gregor, the lead character from The Alma Project seeks sanctuary from a bustling and noisy outside world but is bombarded with unwanted junk mail through his letterbox and threats of legal action as a result of possible overpayment of housing benefit. He has no success in managing to contact the local council by telephone despite numerous efforts.  

The three main characters from the Bethany Christian Trust each have their own issues around the space they live in.  Jessica is proud of having achieved home ownership but then faces financial ruin to deal with roof maintenance, Ryan is forced out of a tenancy due to a greedy landlord and Paul struggles to maintain a relationship with his son after a breakdown in his marriage.  

Oya, the lead from Shakti Women’s Aid is portrayed both in her youth and in later life and the decisions she makes leads her to need to seek sanctuary from domestic abuse.

The three interpretations were not without humour and comical touches, accompanied by many hand-crafted props and costumes. It was obvious that a great deal of work had been achieved in the short time these groups had been rehearsing. 

At the end of the show there was the opportunity to interact with audience members about what home means to each of us and to share feedback on the topics raised. If you do not manage to catch this show in the Fringe then I would encourage you to support it on its forthcoming tour of Scotland.

You can see Home at the St Johns at Just Festival until 17th August at 16:00. For tickets, go to https://tickets.edfringe.com/