The Class Project, written and performances by Rebecca Atkinson-Lord, is an autobiographical solo performance about ‘making good’ and growing up voiceless that explores regional identity, class mobility and what it means to be a citizen of nowhere.
This thoughtful and passionate new work (debuting at Edinburgh Fringe last year and Atkinson-Lord’s first solo show, challenges the status quo around being who you are versus who you have to be to succeed in society today. Reflecting on 200 years of personal and political history, The Class Project blends rhetoric from previous UK heads of government with the highly personal story of Rebecca’s heritage and early life in the Midlands.
Born and raised under Thatcher and her legacy, everything Rebecca’s parents taught her was about
betterment and aspiration. As a scholarship child at a private school, Rebecca was given elocution lessons to make sure she would never speak like her family again. Bullied by her sisters and cousins for sounding posh, when Rebecca went to university the genuinely posh students laughed at how she spoke. Thirty years on, Rebecca can pass for one of the Liberal Urban Elite, but all she wants is to go home; to have a home and a community where she’s not the odd one out.
The Class Project considers the places you belong in because you were born there and the places you adopt; that you pretend are your home and change yourself to try to belong in. Raising the question of entitlement and who gets to have a voice, the performance discusses becoming an imposter to move amongst the elite and how achieving can leave you exiled and isolated.
Rebecca Atkinson-Lord said: “The Class Project is my story. It’s about the cultural dislocation that’s
at the heart of social mobility. It’s about being taught that you’re not good enough and trying to fit in so hard that you forget who you are. It’s about being from a nation that sneers at the place you were born and all of the confusion and pride that comes with that. I’m bringing it to Edinburgh this year because I hate what Britain is becoming and I want to get people to talk a bit more about how we can be our best selves instead of the frightened and selfish people they tell us we should be.”
Rebecca Atkinson-Lord is a hybrid theatre maker who performs, directs, writes, devises and produces
theatre and performance. She has directed extensively arou
nd the UK and internationally. The Class Project is her first solo show and the first time performing at Gosforth Civic Theatre.
The Class Project, Gosforth Civic Theatre, 27 April, 13:30 (Babes in Arms Performance) & 19:30, 12+
Tickets £10 & £8 concession