'Giving a voice to people who don’t usually have one’
The latest film from a Baptist-supported ministry that aims to give homeless and marginalised people a voice through film and theatre has premiered
Penalty is this year’s offering from Acting on Impulse, a charity supported by Altrincham Baptist Church and set up by church member Lauren Pouchly.
All the actors are from Manchester’s fringe community. Many have been homeless, and most of them have issues that have kept them out of the mainstream of life.
Acting on Impulse has enjoyed creating films and stage performances with people on the margins since 2007.
Penalty tells the story of Danny and Jada who arrive at a hotel and discover they are surrounded by people who want something from them. Checking out may seem the best option – but do they have a choice?
Lauren, who wrote and directed Penalty, said, ‘The focus of storytelling has always been to get beneath the surface of homelessness issues, using the ideas, experience and talent of the people who join our acting workshops.
‘But this year, Penalty felt like a chance to push the boundaries a little (well, a lot), to dare to be bold and not completely cling on to the usual format. We wanted to challenge the actors and create something with a fresh approach.
‘Perception and judgement are issues that confront their daily lives, so we picked this up. Horror as a genre came to mind as a chance to look at these themes in a wild, fun and slightly wacky way.’
The workshops, directed by Rachel Muter, enabled the actors to explore the themes and draw out ideas for characters, setting and plot. They also received training in movement, which plays a significant part in setting the film’s atmosphere.
It was shot on location over three days at a hotel in Salford, with a cast of 21 and a 30-strong production team led by producer Luke Filz.
Luke said, ‘I’ve been working with Acting on Impulse for five years now and every year the projects seem to get bigger and better. The part that the charity plays in supporting the cast and helping to develop their ideas is one of a kind.
'They are giving a voice to people who don’t usually have one.’