London Peace Prize
Gabriella Apicella (left) teaches writing of women characters for film and runs writers workshops for women who have been prostitutes seeking a way out; Angela Neustatter (right) is a freelance journalist and writer of the acclaimed book A Home for the Heart.
How it all began...
I was moved to create the London Peace Prize being emotionally shocked by the 2011 riots in Ealing, London, where I was living. The question in the air was: Why Ealing? I wondered if it was about disengagement from a supportive community, from a caring community. Was there such a community? Was anyone trying to build it? Why were the young rioters not involved in organising social protest that would improve the society they were so angry about?
So I thought it might be useful to sponsor this London Peace through Community Award to bring to people’s attention the individuals whose work is making changes in their community, whose work is about building neighbourliness, understanding and positive activities. Positive action is the only way to heal and bring about “Peace”. No overly-restrictive laws, no police cells and no lack of jobs or decent housing will ever achieve it.
Charter of The Award
The London Peace Prize is a resident-based award given to a person whose life's endeavours have contributed to enhancing understanding and neighbourliness. Nominees will be chosen from people who have made invaluable contributions to our community. We aim to offer two awards to commend both an adult and a young person who have made a difference.
I showed Dean Leo, who helps run workshops, Pater Noster Square where it warns 'you are trespassing' before then inviting you to walk freely across, before then refining that by telling you 'this can be revoked at any time'; it seems amusing at first, but then you realise that inspite of a sculpture of shepherd with his sheep, we are only partly welcome in some locations. How this might apply to our personal relationships is something we wish to explore; edgy and Kafkaesque is the way we might see it, but perhaps there is a sinister tone also, as homeless gathering there feel whenever they are out.
Jeremy Weller, Jude Armani, Jean Findlay, Rupert Ferguson, all who have supported our homeless projects longterm. Rupert was the first to write about us, even before the BBC followed us to Berlin. Jude Armani of Astell support the homeless at St Augustine and have funding from Coldplay. They also made us aware we could ask Pret A Manger for support. Henrietta Garnett Bloomsbury heiress is a local who also supported us financially.
Chelsea Theatre at World's End is now our base to do workshops and experimental short film. The community of homeless from the Borough are welcome to join us on Saturdays and other days organised. We aim to reach as many as possible and help as stage hands or backstage is as welcome as actors. Contact with St Martin's, Passage day centre, St Mungo's Hammersmith. It continues forging new ground with homeless, professionals so intimately interlinked on stage that each can take experience and grow from it.
Retrospectively we also mention Jean and Annie Findlay and Jeremy Weller, for having the guts to start 'a day in the life of a homeless hostel' play in Edinburgh, which toured to London, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, the latter two, with British Council support. Annie in fact might have inspired the whole Project at the start by taking her coat off on Edinburgh's Meadows, in a freezing winter, to give to an old homeless man who was shivering! Cultured,compassionate humorous the sisters (four all together) were like Scottish Bloomsbury might have been. Rupert Ferguson wrote a radio docu about us for a competition, before even the tours had begun. He also dedicates time writing about the origin of homeless problems in the community abuse of trust and problems of individuals who have been victims of corruption. Like twin of Jeremy with his insistence on benefitting the vulnerable he comes in contact with.
Board and Supporters
Tom Wiseman ( Pictured with Prof Jim Haynes, Paris)Has supported alongside Charlie work with homeless from Edinburgh's street to Berlin.
Renata Nedela Trained as a lawyer has since become an actress with a verve and enthusiasm to involve others and participate.
Timothy West President of LAMDA and a celebrated actor renowned for his film and television work. He has appeared in a short film for Charlie Wiseman "World March for Peace", involving youths and so encouraging their confidence in performing.
Angela Neustatter, who has been a freelance journalist for three decades with various newspapers and editing "Young minds", with a professional focus on youth matters:- a top alternative voice whose upbringing at Summerhill is reflected by her strong sense of self and her success as a journalist with a special interest in youth education and matters is also the author of the book "A Home for the Heart'' (2012). We discuss how our "family background gives us a place of peace to come from when we go out into the world".She has been much inspired by Gandhi’s outlook and peaceful method of working:"Like Gandhi taught by being at peace it spills out like a puddle...."
Marie Storck therapist who has also been active raising concerns in the Community for years. She has also worked as a dealer in art and antiques and pianist
Ray Brooks who starred in 'Cathy Come Home' by Ken Loach which led to Shelter. Ray (and his wife Sadie) has been a friend since my childhood, with his daughter Emma my first playmate. His Hollywood debut was "The Knack and How to Get It": his autobioraphy "G Learning My Lines" Friends like Ken Loach and Lennon
Charles Wiseman writer and director whose main life’s work has been playwriting and producing theatre involving young people and the homeless in addition to professional actors. His productions have played at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Volksbuhne Theatre Berlin, London fringe theatres. He has also made film for the Millenium awards which involved mentoring disadvantaged youths.
Ann Pavett, who as well as fufilling the ambition of running 'Ealing Arts' and starting the OPEN Ealing she has inspired me with the confidence to run the award.
Jude Kelly, longterm friend and brilliant runner of Southbank Centre, she first invited me to West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Ken Loach who directed Ray, also a responsible thinker on social issues. Our first play 'Glad to be Alive' was justly called a 'Cathy Come Home for the Nineties' by Irving Wardle, Sunday Independent which gives our work a unique connection to his ouevre as well as the fact of our being invited to Berlin's People's Stage, Volksbuhne which in the 1890s showed the first social realist work with Gerhart Hauptmann which is why we were the first British company ever invited there when we toured 'Glad' as a day in the life of street folk.
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