The stars at One Community shined once again on The Playground Theatre stage with their latest performance – an exploration of ‘freedom’ through music, poetry and visual art.

On Tuesday 9 April, One Community members and volunteers came together and enthralled a packed audience sharing original poems, songs and spoken word pieces – most of which were created through One Community’s weekly Well Written sessions.

Well Written was formed in 2019 by One Community Founder, Cate Latto,  the then Artistic Director of The Playground Theatre, Anthony Biggs, and actor, playwright, teacher and One Community champion, Stewart Permutt. Tuesday’s performance was dedicated to Stewart, who died earlier this year but who will forever be in the hearts and voices of One Community.

Each piece captivated the audience’s attention shining a unique and personal perspective on what it means to be free, particularly in the context of someone’s mental health journey. Here’s a snapshot of just some of these great pieces:

The performance was set against a backdrop of projected artworks created by One Community members at their Friday sessions at Bay 20 Centre. The addition of these visuals and carefully selected songs, with the One Community Music Studio maestros John Brough and Andy Caine playing in each piece, amplified the meaning of the spoken words creating a rich tapestry of art, love and care.

Audiences could also take home a collaborative zine containing all the performed pieces, as well as poems and artworks from anonymous contributors. This zine was collated by the marvellous One Community Volunteer, Cosima Cobley Carr, who described her process of weaving in art that compliments the poetry, creating a design that expresses freedom in all its forms.

As the forward explains, “Zines, with their roots in punk, DIY and feminist action, lend themselves particularly well to amplifying marginalised or unheard voices”. Cosima was proud to make “something that people can take with them and explore long after the performance.”

Cate Latto described One Community’s ability to “bring people who are absent into the space with us – on good days, bad days, and all days in between, we are One Community”. This was reflected beautifully by the performers stepping in to read for writers who couldn’t make the show.

The performers also read ‘A Night Concert with Joaquin Cortes’ – a poem by Ruth Isaacs who sadly passed away a few years ago. They also read contributions from One Community’s Poet Laureate,  Laura Cavill, including ‘This Path’ and ‘A to B’ which was described as one of Stewart Permutt’s personal favourites.

Many more One Community members, family, friends and colleagues were in the audience, including Ruth Isaacs’ sister Delilah Peck who said ‘Thank you for organising this Cate, it was very moving and One Community did you proud’.

Another wrote of the ‘Wonderful’ presentation, and spoke of “the uniqueness of One Community… How important it is to cherish this network”.

After an apt group performance of ‘With a little help from my friends’ with recorded vocals by another One Community member,  Anthony and Cate paid tribute to Stewart, describing his “irresistible smile” and his commitment to Well Written even when he was unwell: “he once zoomed in to host a session whilst staying on a ward in North London.”

Cate also paid tribute to Ruth Isaacs and Nuala Mullan, a much-loved colleague and One Community champion, who passed away in 2022.

Thank you to all the stars at One Community for making this happen – writers, performers and crew. Thanks also to those who fund this work at the Kensington and Chelsea Foundation and the CNWL NHS Health Charity, without who none of this is possible.

Thank you finally to everyone who attended the performance and helped make the day so special. We are all One Community!