Archive for Oral History Transcripts

Brighton’s Finest – Homelessness and Addiction

Like a rich text document, BHT client Laura Maloney’s perceptive play explores the life stories of two people who have experienced street homelessness, addiction and recovery.

The play grew out of the BHT Heritage Oral History Project which explored 30 Years of Homelessness in Brighton and Hove and collected interviews from clients who have experienced homelessness and professionals who have worked in the sector over the past 30 years. The BHT client interviewers were trained by Dr Sam Carroll from the University of Sussex and when they had completed their interviews decided that they wanted to produce a play for Brighton Fringe Festival 2013 using the oral history transcripts to write the script.

Client interviewer, Laura Maloney attended a ‘Turning Oral History Transcript into Script’ course at the Oral History Society in London and wrote the script verbatim,  focusing mainly on two interviews with clients who had experienced a chaotic lifestyle, addiction and street homelessness for many years and have now found their way into recovery.

The actors gave a very sensitive performance depicting the life stories of V and T as they tell their story to the audience directly or their keyworker. The set was divided in two.  On stage left was an office setting with a desk and on stage right a street scene. The actors were word perfect coping with monologues to rival Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’. The simple, effective lighting and good sound quality alongside the dramatic script got rapturous applause.


Vanessa Yuill

When I was on the streets for that consistently long period of time it was like I said, I felt like a non-person at the time. You know, I felt dirty, I felt…just non-existent really. It was horrible…you’ve got nowhere to go, you don’t know what’s happening from one minute to the next, you’re always in danger, you never feel safe, I’ve put myself at risk consistently, I don’t think I ever really slept when I was outside because you can’t…it just drained very mental resource I had really and it was like.

I felt like I was living on the edge all the time; consistently living on the edge, never able to relax, never able to just be. Yeah, and I forget that sometimes just how degrading it was really, it was very degrading.