- Practiced based PhD research with QMUL (London) 2020
Jeremy is also in the 2nd year of his Practiced based PhD research wirh QMUL (London). Some of the research questions he is exploring in his reading and practice are:
- How can a socially engaged theatre practice work with non-actors to produce a socially productive emotional experience for an audience?
- How can a socially engaged theatre practice produce audience empathy without essentialising or sentimentalising social experience?
- How can a socially engaged theatre practice challenge the socially prescribed roles played by its participants?
- How can a socially engaged theatre practice work with marginalised communities without re-stigmatizing or re-victimizing them?
- How can we define the expertise of the socially engaged theatre practitioner? How does this expertise work with or against the other kinds of expertise with which marginalized communities are obliged to engage (doctors, social workers, judicial system etc)?
- Edinburgh Festival 2019 Where it Hurts (link here)
The final work of the theatre director Jeremy Weller and his extremely moving performance. The performances are deeply personal, questioning the idea of what ‘care’ is whilst exploring how those who most need it live complex lives and are often not able to say what it is that really affects them. The other major theme that is explored in the work is the incredible dedication and sacrifices that are made by NHS staff to help those in the community who are most in need of support.
- Where it Hurts 2018 – NHS Residency (work in development)
Where it Hurts – an hour long performance involves members of different communities from across Edinburgh and some former staff of the NHS and those currently training to work in the NHS. Scenes include real life examples of mental ill health, suicide, addiction, domestic violence, neglect, family breakdown, childhood trauma, isolation, illness, self harm and of often having no one to turn to accept the staff of the NHS. The performance explores why individuals chose to spend their lives caring for others.
- Doglife 2017 – Based on the life and writings of Thomas McCrudden
Following on from the critically acclaimed “DOUBTING THOMAS” Jeremy Weller (winner of 6 Fringe First Awards) and Grassmarket Projects return with part two of a trilogy devised along with Thomas McCrudden – a former gangland enforcer struggling to change from a violent past to a more hopeful future. With a cast of untrained actors (and one Professional Actress) , the play focuses on Thomas’ attempts to love and to be loved – we see many of the women in his life on stage, along with many of his victims from whom he seeks forgiveness.
- Doubting Thomas 2016 – Based on the life and writings of Thomas McCrudden
Doubting Thomas is the true story of one man’s personal struggle to change from a tortured and violent past to a better, more hopeful future. The play is an intricate study of those that which society fears the most are actually the ones who are often most filled with fear themselves: Lost and forgotten and desperate for acceptance. Based on the writings and and life of Thomas McCrudden, a former gangland enforcer in Glasgow’s East End, Doubting Thomas was one of the most controversial and talked about shows of the Edinburgh fringe Festival 2016.
Starting May 2013 – Creative Practice in Prisons with Women Offenders
An Artlink Central creative programme evolving participatory arts practice and practitioners to support women offenders to progress artistically, access learning and improve mental health and wellbeing. Funded by Creative Scotland, The Robertson Trust and The VOLANT Charitable Trust through Foundation Scotland and delivered in partnership with Motherwell College and Scottish Prison Service.
- 2009 – 2010 – Film: Limboland: Part of trilogy in progress looking at young people and their issues with integration
Winner of Danish Film Academy’s ROBERT award for best extended fiction film, February 2011.
Can those we see as other find a place, a home amongst us? Can they live at peace with us, and with themselves? This is the question that confronts a group of second generation immigrants in Jeremy Weller’s controversial new film, LIMBOLAND.
A group of young, non-professional actors tell the story of their struggle to tread the path between conflicting cultures; the culture that brought them into the world, and the alien culture that surrounds them. Angry and confused, they are caught in the no-mans-land between the opposing cultures in a desperate struggle for their own identity that will ultimately lead to tragedy.
- Starting 2011 – Film: Chancen
Here & Now, set in Nakskov a remote part of Denmark, is a film drama devised with local teenagers.In development with Kong Gulerod Film.
- May 2011 – September 2011 – Theatre: Do You See Me? I See You
The project was crafted to work with 9th and 10th grade College Prep KIPPsters interested in drama. The program aimed to use the students’ shared stories to produce a professional, albeit unconventional, show about themselves. Many of the cast members lead lives of hardship marked by unstable households, bullying, prejudice, and violence; this project allows the students to speak freely about their pasts and their beliefs through a process that inspires reflection, bravery, sharing, and solidarity. The immersive technique Jeremy uses means that the young people, through role play, games, and improvisation reconstruct their real life situations and gain the insight to choose their own narrative.
- May 2005 – October 2006 – Theatre: The Foolish Young Man
A biting tale of how a man becomes disillusioned by the effects of success and money. Tired of the lies and pretence, he sets out to discover some truths, to find something real. He opens his home to a group of underprivileged young people, with unpredictable consequences.The Foolish Young Man, directed by GMP Artistic Director Jeremy Weller, was a collaboration with David Harewood (RSC, National Theatre and TV), 15 non-professional young performers and the Roundhouse.“One of the most immediate and edgy theatre performances I have ever seen. Young actors brought together by Grassmarket created a sense of raw realism so convincing that you had to remind yourself at times that this was a rehearsed performance. People came out stunned, realizing they had witnessed something remarkable” [Ben Emmerson, QC]
- May 2005 – September 2005- Theatre: Fathers and Sons
A play about fathers and sons and their underlying relationship, with a cast of 12 fathers and sons, both Danish and foreigners living in Denmark.The project explored painful and complex father son conflicts: What happens when a son grows up and separates from his father both physically and mentally the ultimate test of manhood, who is the ‘Man’ of the house? What happens when the father does not live up to expectations, but proves to be an average man like all the others? What is masculinity? Can a broken relationship to a father ever be resolved? Perhaps through one’s own child? The constant search, where is the father in the authoritative state, God, partner? The play is about the abandoned, wilful, appealing sons and their powerless, admired or distant fathers.
- May 2004 – September 2005 –Theatre: We Are
Exploring 31 young people’s experience of “integration,” coming from Somalia, Iraq, Turkey, Sierra Leone and Palestine.The project seeks to give the audience an emotional understanding to what it means to be a “Danish foreigner”, in comparison to the rather distant and naïve portrayal the media often gives. Ultimately the project aimed to realize the full meaning behind a mutual “integration” with all its complexities as well as opportunities. The young people in “We Are” used the stage as a place of free expression, in which they chose to share their life journeys, dreams and inner conflicts. It is “Theatre Verité” where the clichés are dispersed and the raw truth of these young lives emerges.
- May 2003 – September 2004 – Theatre: De Andre (The Others)
With first and second-generation Jewish and Palestinian youth, acting together on the same stage in Copenhagen, Denmark.The play explores the impact the conflict has upon the media that records it. Georg Larsen [an internationally-renowned war reporter, playing himself], the main character, is a documentary filmmaker who goes to Palestine and Israel to investigate the Middle Eastern conflict. As the conflict begins to enter him, he experiences the loss of himself personally. Research was conducted in Gaza, Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and included interviews with members from Hamas, Hezbolah, Islamic Jihad, suicide bombers families, the Israeli special-forces and the head of the Hebron Settlers Movement.
- April 2000 – December 2000 – Theatre: The Island
The harrowing story of a group of former young Kosovan inmates from Serbian concentration camps, many of whom had been victims of torture. Commissioned by the Transregional Centre for Democratic Studies, The New School, New York and The Ford Foundation. The theme of the work is an investigation into the possibilities of reconciliation and an end to the revenge killings.
- May 1999 – September 1999 – Theatre: This is The Real
This Is The Real emerged of a five month workshop program and involved forty teenage Afro-American and Hispanic (ex)-gang members.
- May 1997 – August 1998 – Theatre: Soldiers
Winner of Scotsman Fringe First – What happens to a man when he kills? A former Scots Guard, a Croatian General, a Croatian Soldier and a Freelance War Reporter collide in a controversial portrayal of accountability.One of the most controversial of Weller’s work to date, Soldiers closed early, sparking off a heated public discussion about the role of theatre in society. Three participants had refused to continue their public stage appearances after the Croatian General’s full name had appeared against his wishes in the national press.
- October 1995 – June 1996 – Theatre: Kvinder (Women)
Kvinder involved a number of Danish women, who had answered an advert in a local paper looking for women with experiences of isolation.
- May 1994 – April 1996 – Theatre: 20-52
Winner of Scotsman Fringe First – 20-52 involved a cast of eight, including Stephanie Lightfoot-Bennett, whose three-year struggle to discover the truth behind her twin brother’s death in police custody lay at the core of the production. The play explored issues of violence, racism and injustice.
- January 1993 – December 1996 – Theatre: Der Dumme Junge (The Foolish Young Man)
Der Dumme Junge involved a cast of nineteen drawn largely from the Munich Youth Project ‘Streetwork Neuhausen’. Four men and one woman were professional actors, but the remaining fourteen participants were a mixture of football hooligans, criminals, homeless and international refugees from the former Yugoslavia, Benin, Liberia, China, the Czech Republic and Albania. Der Dumme Junge told the story of an idealistic, Philosophy student, who, disillusioned with the world, decides to drop out of University in order to follow his quest for reality. Believing in the authenticity of those living at the margins of society, he invites them into his flat to share their lives. Der Dumme Junge continued to play in repertoire at the Kammerspiele for two years.
- January 1992 – September 1993 – Theatre: One Moment
Winner of Scotsman Fringe First – Developed during the European Year of the Aged, One Moment took a closer look at the experiences of its participants with old age. By revealing the frustrations, strengths, values and dreams of these individuals, existing perceptions of the elderly were being challenged.
- January 1992 – May 1993 – Theatre: 14 Hamlets
14 Hamlets involved a cast of professional actors and individuals who had answered a newspaper advert asking people to come forward if they felt that they could relate to Shakespeare’s Hamlet.The production told the story of its own production process: a cross-section of people have come to audition for the part of Hamlet in the belief that their own personal experiences have turned them into soul-mates of the Shakespearian character.
- January 1991 – February 1996 – Theatre: Mad
Winner of Scotsman Fringe First – Developed with the guidance of the then General Manager of the Mental Health Service and a psychologist, Mad explored the experiences of its cast members and through those questioned society’s vision of madness.
- May 1990 – August 1991 – Theatre: Bad
Winner of Scotsman Fringe First – Bad emerged out of drama workshops, which had been held at Edinburgh’s Polmont Young Offenders institution over the course of two years. A special parole was obtained for the young men to appear at the Edinburgh Festival, under guard.Involving seven (ex)-inmates, three prison officers, the prison psychiatrist, a drama student, one professional actor and five experienced support actors, Bad took a closer look at the experiences and motivations of young criminals as well as exploring perceptions of ‘badness’ within their social contexts.
- January 1989 – August 1999 – Theatre: Glad
Winner of Scotsman Fringe First – Based on the experiences of selective members of Edinburgh’s homeless community, the production involved twelve homeless men from the Grassmarket area of the city, who alongside two support actors confronted their audience with personal experiences of boredom, violence, alcoholism, drug addiction and social exclusion. It is considered to be one of the best top 10 in the world of community Arts based plays.