From August to December 2016 artist Chad McCail lived at The White House and worked with a diverse group of people from the local community to write, design, build and stage a pantomime at the Civic Centre. Jack, Jill and the Beanstalk was a humorous, irreverent socialist pantomime co-written with local director Christina Ford. Chad ran daily workshops at The White House to create the puppets and set for the piece, working with the group and Christina to develop and update the story, which touched on a number of social and economic issues affecting the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Jack sells his dad’s old car to help his single mum who is in arrears, climbing the beanstalk with his girlfriend Jill, only to find a job centre, drunk and disenfranchised soldiers and a malevolent giant at the top. Jack, Jill and the puppets have to work together to rescue the people’s courage from the giant and change the world back down the beanstalk.
Technical theatre students from Barking and Dagenham College assisted local residents to make the puppets while the colleges’ Performing Arts students operated them and starred in the performance at the Civic Centre to an audience of 200 people over 4 performances. With music for the performance was provided by The Pad.
Chad’s residency lead to the formation of All Hands On Deck – a group made up of local residents who took part in creating the pantomime. All Hands On Deck enjoyed working together so much that they decided to keep meeting to create more set and prop design and support future residencies at the house.Supported by London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Heritage Lottery Fund, Genesis Foundation and the Foyle Foundation.