New play asks why don't people vote?

WITH the nation more likely to vote in the X Factor than the general elections – a new play examining ordinary people s views is being staged in London to find out why. Look Left Look Right, Counted, produced by the Roundhouse, is a docume

Susanna Wilkey

WITH the nation more likely to vote in the X Factor than the

general elections - a new play examining ordinary people's views is being staged in London to find out why.

Look Left Look Right, Counted, produced by the Roundhouse, is a documentary play and showcases extracts from interviews with people about democracy and their right to vote.


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The election turnout is expected to be the lowest in modern history and the team behind Counted spent last year investigating why.

The stories in the play about what it means to feel counted are moving and humorous.

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It was devised and directed by Mimi Poskitt, Steve Bottoms and Ben Freedman. They used research about the road to voting by Leeds University as a starting point.

Ms Poskitt said: "We wanted to show what ordinary people think about the elections - not what you get in the news from the politicians.

"And we wanted to explore why voting numbers have declined so rapidly since the 1950s.

"So we conducted a series of interviews about how people feel about the voting and politics in general as well as their emotional attachment to voting.

"It is about democracy and how we engage with it in the UK. The play is really amusing.

"People are funny and, when you interview them, that really comes across. What I found is that people are not apathetic. It is that they are engaging in politics in a different way.

"Often, people are doing things like joining activist groups or becoming independent councillors or joining community groups in their local area."

Ms Poskitt says they came across a lot of people who feel disenfranchised from politics for various reasons.

"There are a lot of reasons why people do or do not vote," she said.

"For the older generations, it has become apparent that it is more of a duty for them to vote, which does not really apply to the younger generation.

"We interviewed a huge range of people from all different communities, including newspaper editors and former Labour adviser Alastair Campbell. The interesting thing was that women feel more strongly about voting and they want to vote because fairly recently someone fought for their right to vote."

The team feels that, with a general election only a couple of months away, the time is right to be

thinking about voting and what it means to you.

Counted opens on April 15 at the debating chamber, in County Hall, Belvedere Road, and is on until May 22. Tickets are �22 from the Roundhouse on 0844 482 8008 or online at www.round house.org.uk.

There will also be a weekend of workshops and debate about

voting for 11 to 25-year-olds at the Roundhouse on April 17 and 18.

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