Reflections from the Legislative Theatre Launch

It’s been two weeks after our Fire Starter Festival launch, and we are still reflecting on our legislative theatre event, and the role of theatre in actively engaging citizens in making policy and legislation. 

The play, created and performed by forum theatre company Active Inquiry, saw the main character Morag desperately trying to receive help through various services, including mental health and housing. The audience became Spec-Actors with attendees becoming actively involved in the play as well as  policy makers, proposing and voting on potential new policies.

 The play say Morag (top right) play the game of ‘meritocracy’ (top left) to receive help with her mental health and housing challenges

You can view all policy suggestions that emerged during the event if you click on responses here.

The final policy proposal that participants came up with was “Morag’s Law: No wrong door, no wrong time, no wrong age”, arguing that there has to be an entitlement to accessing the broad range of support that is needed. If this does not happen then people need to know within days why and what they can do about it

At the end of the event 89% of event attendees approved and 11% disapproved this suggested initial policy proposal.

Participants engaged actively around Morag’s challenges and the proposal. You can read some of the deliberation made in the ‘chat’ after the proposal, below. 

What Next? Hear more from Active Inquiry at the Campfire on 3 March

The campfire on 3 March @ 4pm will explore the idea of theatre and democracy and will feature Gavin Crichton from Active Inquiry as a guest. Come along to the event – we would love to hear your reflections. This will be a chance to talk about Legislative Theatre and how we could use it in Scotland as well an opportunity to hear about Active Inquiry’s Drama for Democracy project. You can sign up here.
Our bi-weekly Campfires are free and open for all to attend. They take place every Wednesday and Friday at 4 pm and you can join us using the same Zoom login instructions every time. 

The Active Inquiry actors and the Fire Starter Team

 Deliberation after the proposal of ‘Morag’s Law’ in the Chat:

·       How do we have independent scrutiny to make sure it happens?

·   I wonder how the person centred approach as in Morag’s law can be wider accepted?  independent scrutiny is crucial

·   Comes back to systems and how we empower and educate everyone in the system to practically do that.

·   what might be the consequences for the system not upholding its side of Morag’s Law – who is accountable and how?

·   Participatory governance of this,  bringing the decisions into public deliberation is part of the puzzle. and no wrong solution…. inter generational co housing etc

·   The straightforward wording of Morag’s Law will ‘stick’ – what the related actions, entitlements responsibilities are will make it happen

·   Is there anywhere that things are working for people right now?  If so…why is it working and what is happening in micro terms to mean it is happening?

·   https://www.infofinland.fi/en/living-in-finland/family/children/children-s-and-youths-rights-and-obligations

·   Does this put even more pressure on already stretched services and personnel?

·   Community anchors are super important and need to take many shapes and sizes.

·   I believe the policy should be more person focused, led by the person, and less service focused.  No wrong door suggests service focus and they have the solutions.  I believe the policy should be user-led, keeps the person involved throughout, personalised, innovation, and solution focussed, because sometimes new solutions and designs come from people can be more effective, cost-effect, and beneficial for communities and people

·   we need to understand the power of transformative conversation – to help others see themselves as we see them

·   continue to make the services accountable when not working in a trauma informed & trauma responsive way

·   Show public support for this approach by writing to MSPs, Councillors etc As organisations we can implement it and show how it works

·   We need to re-imagine the system with decision-makers in the room.

·   Individuals and organisations giving young people a voice, notice when they need assistance and signpost accordingly.

·   Ensure Morag’s Law is shared widely – known, loved and owned by everyone

·   local transparency of Morag’s law…..

·   Women’s Aid could broaden our scope for women not directly experiencing abuse, but past abuse.

·   make the cost visible  both to individuals and to government of the current  failings

·   Each of us individually committing to understanding what we don’t know and acknowledging our own ‘privileges’ that may cloud our ability to really hear and listen.

A few notes on the context of this event

The aim of this session was to show how a session of Legislative Theatre could work. We realise that it is impossible to make policy in 2 hours but a session like this could be part of a much larger process that included more performances and time for deliberation and discussion. Please get in touch if you would like to chat further (gavin@activeinquiry.co.uk).

Legislative theatre play performed online. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.