In the face of a development proposal of Anglia Square, set to include nearly 1250 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, and a 200-bed hotel, the response has been mixed. Love it? Hate it? Don’t really care? Almost everybody has an opinion on the 1960s shopping centre. This mix of views is highlighted by the 120 posters pasted on walls and boards along Magdalen Street and the surrounding area, generated from research carried out by over 40 volunteers as part of the Common Lot’s Anglia Square: A Love Story.
The Common Lot is a Norwich-based theatre company, whose shows are “for, with and about the people of Norfolk”. It’s a real community effort, bringing together people from different backgrounds, working particularly to be inclusive of refugees and those new to the area. In the past, they have produced theatre shows exploring the history Norfolk; Kett’s Rebellion of 1549; the strangers of Norwich; and most recently, All Mouth, No Trousers, in 2018, a production highlighting the stories of Norfolk women, coinciding with Norwich’s Women of the World Festival and 100 years of (some) women’s suffrage.
With its topical focus from a historical point of view, Anglia Square: A Love Story is a production that makes the audience think about their own stance on the future of Anglia Square.
We are shepherded from place to place by actors still in character, and stewards, distinct in their yellow tops emblazoned with the production’s logo, beginning first at The Garth, behind St George’s Street, then moving on to a stage set outside the Playhouse, on the green. It’s fantastic. The audience is taken through several eras, the divide between the rich and poor (typically South and North residing, respectively) demonstrated by their physical separation and difference in the wealth of their costuming – which is spectacularly done. We see tension on both sides, conflict between the interests of both, setting us up for the conflict which will later become the key point of the story: what to do with Anglia Square.
Read the full review by Taryn Everdeen.