Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Power of Protest

Well done Act Up!


After they protested outside the Newham Council event this afternoon it seems as if the Council had a change of heart...  

In Act Up's words this is what happened:

"Act Up had a very successful campaign outside the Old Town Hall in Stratford this afternoon.  We held placards and handed out the leaflets to the people attending the event.
After one of the ticket holders to the event went and spoke on our behalf to the organisers two of us were invited in to hear an 'explanation' of what had happened.

IMG_2348.JPGWe met with the manager of the Old Town Hall and the person that organised the community centres and who had emailed us on Monday to tell that our performance was cancelled. They apologised for what they called a 'fatal error' in the way they had dealt with the situation. They said that the play was not festive enough for a Christmas party and that, as it was a ticketed event, the visitors wouldn't have had a choice of whether they wanted to watch our play or not. We explained how hurt the members of Act Up were and how we all saw it as censorship of disabled people's stories, as that was what the play had been about. They said that it was not censorship, that they truly believed in free speech and that the only reason they had cancelled it was because it was not a Christmas play! We said, the way to prove to our members that they were not trying to censor our play was to provide us another opportunity to perform it in the New Year. They promised that they would do so and would get back to us with dates of upcoming council events that we could perform at in January. They also sought to reassure us that we could continue to rehearse in the community centre.

We are happy that we organised the protest, as if we hadn't, the council would have just thought they could get away with treating us so appallingly. We very much hope that the council will provide us with opportunity to perform Atos stories in the new year, but will only be reassured when they actually give us a date of an event at which we can perform."


So well done Act Up &well done Newham for doing the decent thing. We WILL be watching to make sure you live up to your promise!


  1. Hi to all Atos Stories,

    My name is Daisy-May Pattison-Corney and I am a writer based in London. Along with my long-term collaborator, Rob Skinner, we are looking to create a verbatim theatre piece from the testimonies of people affected by the cuts. Like you, I believe in this period of unbelievable, brutal hardship for so many of our society's most vulnerable people, and at a time when so many of the services and institutions which most enrich our culture are being lost, each of us who see the cuts for what they are has a responsibility to contribute in any way we can to fighting their effects and challenging the anti-welfare propaganda and myths which have allowed the government to push them through.

    We are hoping to speak to as many people as possible who have experience of the cuts, with view to creating and staging a play which will contribute to the wider effort to get these vital stories heard. We feel that your work might offer a vital resource to us but, as we also want to use the technique of recorded delivery and focus on the sweeping effects of the cuts including but not exclusively on disabled people, we wondered if anybody from your organisation would be interested in meeting with us to discuss the project with view to contributing. We are happy to travel to wherever is necessary to facilitate such a meeting.

    Kind Regards,

    Rob Skinner

  2. Hi Rob and Daisy,

    We're not really an organisation - just a collaboration of writers - we've sought permission from people to create our plays but we don't have members or anything. We do have a Monologues version of the play which might fit more with what you are doing and might consider it being included in a wider piece if it was acknowledged. Please email us at

  3. Hi there,
    We are a group of researchers from the University of Mannheim interested in how social media is used to organize successful protest action and would love to hear from you. We have created an anonymous online survey. It is only 10 questions and takes less than 2 minutes. You can find it here:

    A Facebook group with all the details about our project and about our previous work on protest politics can be found here:
    Looking forward to hearing from you.