For many, a library is a place of sanctuary. Not only do libraries offer a world’s worth of books, but they also provide movies, music, and other services all available through just one card. However, some people fail to see the importance in keeping libraries open. One English writer, with the help of a performance art group, aims to keep libraries relevant.
Author Tony White and UK-based theater group Blast Theory came together to create A Place Free of Judgement, a worldwide interactive livestream performance that takes place in their local libraries. According to The Guardian, teenagers across three libraries in England led a thirteen-hour stream in which they shared what they thought libraries meant to them and reimagined what they could be. The teens are trained in writing, performance, and audiovisual skills for six months leading up to the livestream, and are given full use of the library.
After telling their own story, White’s novella Zombies Ate My Library was performed live by the participants. The stream also featured viewers, allowing them to express what their local library means to them and including it in the stream. The goal for this project is to shine a light on what libraries can offer and how they can remain relevant, especially during a time where library attendance is declining. They hope a new generation of library lovers will emerge from storytelling and keep the public spaces open.
The program will run in three more UK libraries this year and will stream the live show in October. The novelization of A Place Free of Judgement is available for preorder through Blast Theory’s website.
Featured image courtesy of Blast Theory