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The Big Tramp

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Event: -
Learn About Homelessness in London

We might sometimes complain about the inadequacy of our house: there's not enough space, cracks are in the ceiling, the carpets getting threadbare. But we should consider ourselves lucky to have a roof over our heads at all. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live out on the streets? It is no bed of roses. In fact your bed is more likely to be a park bench, cardboard box, or a pile of rubbish.

In 2012 113,260 people in England declared themselves homeless, and it is something Cardboard Citizens wants to change. For the last twenty-three years they have been creating life-changing theatre with and for homeless people. The company performed on stage and on the streets, in hostels and in prisons, providing workshops, training, support and helping people grow in confidence by teaching them skills and giving them a sense of community.

As part of a fundraising event, they are inviting people to spend a night on the streets with them for The Big Tramp. Setting off at midnight on the Saturday 6th September, you'll spend a night travelling through London. On your journey you will learn about George Orwell's life on the road in London, visit the dosshouse where the hobo poet, WH Davies took shelter, see the church where Charles Dickens discovered homelessness and the location of Fagin's den from his novel Oliver Twist.

You'll also take a trip to the Bullring, where Cardboard Citizens began and meet people from Brunswick Square's soup kitchen. Your Big Tramp will end at Sunday dawn in the Kennington Workhouse building where Charlie Chaplin lived as a child. You will finish with breakfast and a screening Chaplin's The Tramp.

The tour will be led by experienced walking guide, Henry Eliot. You will also meet some of Cardboard Citizens' homeless members who will share their own personal experiences along the way. Anything you want to bring with you (such as a blanket) must be carried in a black bin liner.

Tickets are 29 or 20 concessions. All the money raised will go towards funding their 2015 forum theatre tour, in which they will employ four actors who have experienced homelessness to perform a play to other homeless members of society.
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Why? Raise money for charity
When: 6th Sept, 11pm
Phone: 02073778948
Where: Starts at Cardboard Citizens HQ
Cost: 29 or 20 concession
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