The Amazing Story of Talacre


1971, producer: ED Berman, director: Paul Morrison, 32 mins, 16-mm film, color. Excerpts 15 mins / © Inter-Action 1974. Original in the London Community Video Archive (LCVA).

The film tracks the development of a derelict site left vacant for a decade by the Local Council in central London. It shows how the urban co-operative Inter-Action Trust challenged Camden Council and encouraged the Council tenants to form the Talacre Action Group (TAG). Inter-Action and TAG were running summer play schemes on the site. It involved creating a giant adventure playground (a Dinosaur Drama Scape), community barbeques, door-to-door leafleting, meetings, teaching local youth to make videos along with participatory theater visits, including a living newspaper, by Inter-Action’s street theater company Prof Dogg’s Troupe.

Voices from the neighborhood (Mother and Father)
M The children aren’t allowed to play in the flats, they are not allowed to ball game and not to run upstairs. It means they’ve got to play on their own.
F The caretakers won’t let them play ball, they can’t ride their bikes, they can’t do anything here. This are just organized prisons, that’s what they are—government prisons.

Voice-over commentary
Inter-Action is a national charity concerned with the development of creative play for children. We moved into this area to live three and a half years ago. This year we wanted to start a summer play programme, here in our own neighborhood: A program, that will be run by local people themselves. Inter-Action hope to prove to them and to the Local Council, that the community can and should manage its own local resources. As a first move, we formed the Talacre Action Group, which represents the nearby tenants associations. Together we set out to clear the Talacre Road site, a derelict site used for years as a rubbish dump. And we ran a play program on it for the six weeks holiday.