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Ace up the sleeve

June 01 2023

A recently toured play by Cardboard Citizens shows the power and importance of storytelling. By Sophie Dianne

Without the experience, it’s hard to fully comprehend the true complexities of homelessness. Let alone the added complications of mental health or sexuality. But theatre company Cardboard Citizens put on a play this year grappling with these issues.

Faun tells the story of Ace, a 22-year-old who identifies as trans and queer. Currently sofa surfing and staying with their high-flying school friend Paige and her boyfriend, Ace is caught in a precarious situation. People-pleasing to get by and desperate to maintain a stable home, but quickly realising it's impossible to be true to yourself without making mistakes.

Cardboard Citizens hopes the play will shine a light on the homelessness crisis affecting trans people. Research by YouGov has shown that a quarter of trans people in Britain have experienced homelessness at some point in their lives. Among the harsh realities, Faun is peppered with quick-fire comedy and heart.

The show’s artistic director, Chris Sonnex, said: “It is artists that we often look to, to bring joy, highlight injustice, to humanise, activate and to bring people together. I know audiences across the country will inhabit all these things while experiencing this play and enjoy getting to know the main character Ace for all they are.”

Stories are, in my opinion, one of our most powerful tools, providing a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves. Faun hopes to shed the light on an issue that is otherwise so often overlooked. It is dignified but first and foremost, it is a celebration of the queer community. It provokes thought and raises questions we otherwise wouldn’t consider.

The company wanted the show to be accessible to those who have been directly affected by homelessness and poverty. Tickets were therefore priced at £1 or on a ‘pay what you feel basis.’ Faun toured from 28 March to 13 May, visiting Newcastle, London, Plymouth, Birmingham, Salford and Bristol.

Look out for more Cardboard Citizens projects on its website: