Banking on you

Sarah Jones previews a politically-themed play on at CentrE17 this month

Food Bank As It Is

Shenine Rajakarunanayake, Alex Kapila, and Suzy Jacobsen, in Food Bank As It Is

Do you remember when Waltham Forest’s local food bank, Eat or Heat, opened its doors in 2013? Were you shocked to learn that despite our extensive welfare systems, our borough had succumbed to such a need?

Then you’ll be saddened – and likely incensed – to learn that the number of foodbanks in the UK has mushroomed to nearly 2,000 across Britain and become an essential part of our society.

Food Bank As It Is, a critically acclaimed touring play which seeks to galvanise change is coming to Walthamstow, for one night only, following 14 sell-out performances around the country.

Written by Tara Osman, the factual drama brings real life foodbank users vividly to life and will be performed as part of CentrE17’s inaugural festival It’s The End Of The World As We Know It, on Thursday 26th April.

“My role as a foodbank manager was sending me into despair,” says Tara. “Every referral sheet I processed represented a uniquely tragic story of human life on the breadline – another under-nourished family in crisis.”

Tara’s intense frustration inspired her to record some of the real-life stories she bore witness to on a daily basis.

“I really feel that there needs to be a much wider recognition that this is an urgent issue.

“This is a crisis situation and many people are in great distress. It mustn’t become part of our society that we provide emergency food aid as a matter of normality.”

Following a special performance of the play to MPs at the House of Commons last year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “The show tonight seemed, to me, totally realistic… I hope you can perform it in places with a much bigger audience than this because the message needs to get out there.”

An estimated one million food parcels are now handed out from foodbanks each year. Many are poorly paid workers such as nurses and carers, while others have mental health or physical disabilities.

Food Bank As It Is welcomes audiences of all political colours to engage in an after-show debate.

Food Bank As It Is shows at CentrE17 on Thursday 26th April. To book tickets: