Have you ever felt dissatisfied with something? Ever wanted to change it? Ever felt angry and frustrated by the terrible things going on in the world? Ever done something about it? I’m sure for the most people the answer to the first three questions is yes and the fourth one is perhaps a slightly hesitant no. At the same time I’m sure there are plenty out there that do lots to try and change the world.
I am very much in the first category. I get fired up and get angry I moan and bemoan things that I don’t like but do I do anything tangible to try and change things? No I don’t. I have never been to a protest. The idea of chanting loudly in the cold for four hours has never appealed to me. I wouldn’t know what to do if I did turn up at one. And what if I believe in something but I don’t know all the details and I end up just looking ignorant and stupid? I once met a guy involved in the protests at the power station. When I asked him “what are you trying to achieve? what is the cause?” He said “I don’t know but whatever it is I’m behind it 100%”. I don’t want to be that guy.
But then I saw what Pussy Riot had done in Russia, they stood up against something they didn’t like, they donned their brightly coloured balaclavas, and through punk music, informed the church they didn’t like being told who to vote for and they got put in prison for it. I started to feel like a bit of a coward. Then the news came of Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban for campaigning for education for women and girls and I began to feel a sort of guilt. I live in a country where I can protest without fear of imprisonment or death but I don’t. Well not yet anyway.
We were talking about making a piece of theatre about Pussy Riot or Malala, but then we started to think about their relevance in Britain. Would people sit up and listen, would people start to stand up for what they believe in? Or would they say ‘that doesn’t affect me’, or like me ‘It’s too cold to go outside and protest’. So perhaps it is better that we make an example of ourselves. Shouldn’t we try to do something to change the world, to change the things that make us mad and we know are not right? Hence the project, The Smallest Light. Inspired by courageous protestors who risk everything for what they believe in, four women, Hannah Stone, Ria Ashcroft, Rebecca D’Souza and Kristy Guest, will attempt to find quirky, playful ways to effect change in the world around them.