Cardboard Citizens: Bystanders

  • Summerhall - TechCube 0
  • 11:30
  • Aug 25
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 12+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Cardboard Citizens
  • Warnings and additional info: -
  • Accessibility:
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


Written and directed by Adrian Jackson. ‘I was murdered once’. Shocking stories (and wild speculations) about the lives and deaths of homeless people. A Windrush generation boxer, a Polish migrant marked with a tattoo and a man with a bottle of gin and a television in his shopping trolley. Playfully serious and seriously playful. Last seen at the Fringe with Cathy in 2017, Cardboard Citizens return with an eye-opening collection of homeless histories. Are we mere bystanders?

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General venue access

  • Captioning
  • Accessible entry: Once in the courtyard, take the access ramp into the main reception, take a right down the corridor, past the cafe, through a corridor with neon strip lights in the walls(slightly inclined), past the red lecture and through the double doors into the ground floor of tech cube.
  • Wheelchair access type: Wheelchair accessible (please contact the venue for more information)

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

Captioned performances

  • Dates: 1 August, 3 August, 5 August, 24 August
  • Type: Closed (Own Device)
  • Booking options: You can book independently online, or contact our access team to book your tickets and request any specific seating locations or if booking a unit is required.

How and when to make an access booking

Our access tickets service is available to anyone who:

  • Would like to book specific accessibility services, e.g. a hearing loop, audio description headsets, captioning units, seating in relation to the location of the BSL interpreter
  • Requires extra assistance when at a venue
  • Has specific seating requirements
  • Is a wheelchair user
  • Requires a complimentary personal assistant ticket to attend a performance

Christina O'Beirne 115 days ago

How the system and the public can be ultimately held responsible for plight and deaths of those left out in the cold. One to make you think, question and appreciate your role in the wider fabric of life.

Mike Tivnen 120 days ago

Really entertaining despite the depressing nature of the subject matter: the plight of the homeless left to fend for themselves on Britain’s streets and the culpability of the police, the authorities and us - society – in the large number of unnecessary deaths. This is in large measure due to the cast of 4 - Jake Goode, Libby Liburd, Mark Lockyer and Andre Skeete - who adeptly interchange between roles, even staging an impromptu disco in the aisle. Video of real interviews and events is used to remind us this is no fictional story. It’s an eye-opener and a wake up call. If you needed reminding that homeless people are as deserving of our care and attention as the rest of society, this will do it for you.

Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

ThreeWeeks (4/5 stars) 110 days ago

This unflinching, humane and powerful production examines the harsh realities for homeless people and the often fatal consequences that we – the bystanders – all too often prefer to ignore. As the show unfolds like a piece of investigative journalism, the actors explain that this semi-verbatim, often speculative play will...

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The Times [paywall] (4/5 stars) 111 days ago

Cardboard Citizens has been making theatre for and about people with experience of homelessness for 25 years. Lately the company’s work has acquired an increased sense of urgency. In a poignant moment during this new show the cast passes around a list of the nearly 600 people who died on...

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The Scotsman (4/5 stars) 111 days ago

Homelessness is an easy problem to put in a box – and not necessarily a cardboard one....

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The List (5/5 stars) 114 days ago

A heartbreaking examination of collective responsibility...

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UK Theatre Web (5/5 stars) 115 days ago

The play is clever, in a good way, with plenty of humour but an awful lot of gut wrenching incidents - we, the audience were not involved in any of these events (I assume) so why did it make us all so guilty? Powerful stuff.

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One4Review (3/5 stars) 116 days ago

The latest show from Cardboard Citizens tells recent accounts of homeless people who have been victims of abuse and neglect, in many cases with fatal consequences. Most are high profile stories which have made the news. Including the plight of … Read More...

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British Theatre Guide (4/5 stars) 117 days ago

No one thinks it's safe to sleep on the streets. Being homeless can seriously damage your health. No wonder the UK death rate for the homeless has gone up each year and the Guardian newspaper can claim that “the average age of a rough sleeper at death was 43.”But there...

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The Skinny (4/5 stars) 119 days ago

A former British boxer is exiled to Jamaica for thirteen years, where he starves on the streets, unable to return home. A man from Poland, sleeping rough in Benidorm, is bribed by a drunk stag party from Newcastle into tattooing the groom's name and address on his forehead for £89....

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Edinburgh Festivals Magazine (5/5 stars) 119 days ago

Bystanders is an assured, humane, and brutal play. A ‘playful’ look at the lives and deaths of Britain’s homeless, it tells their stories with dignity and very dark humour. The focus is less on the ‘victims’ than the bystanders who witness them - in all their...

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Broadway Baby (4/5 stars) 121 days ago

Bystanders begins with staging reminiscent of a police detective’s office – plain desks, a few chairs, and piles of boxes full of paperwork and evidence. This subtly adds support to the premise that, although performed by actors, this is a work based on the testimonies of real people—that Bystanders is,...

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Broadway World (4/5 stars) 121 days ago

Bystanders is the latest production from Cardboard Citizens- a production company that has been working with the homeless community and telling their stories for 25 years. The piece draws from shocking news stories that have hit the headlines where homeless people have been treated terribly- but it also acknowledges the...

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Miro Magazine (3/5 stars) 122 days ago

Another timely and relevant piece on homelessness by award-winning Cardboard Citizens; however one whose form and narrative structure is less impressive than the themes it contains.
So while Bystanders might seem slightly rambling at times, its point still bites with a crystal-clear ferocity. It’s about the consequences of avoidance. It’s about not thinking to ask.

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FringeReview 122 days ago

The failings of authority and society to support homeless people is apparent in any theatre that aims to bring their experiences in front a wider audience. However, it can   be implicit and leave us with a rather general sort of ‘it really shouldn’t be like this’ feeling. Where Bystanders breaks...

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Theatre Weekly (5/5 stars) 124 days ago

Four incredibly natural and ductile actors envision six stories of homelessness in a genre, which they themselves, with a grain of salt, label as ‘intelligent theatre’ – a socio-political theatre that aims to capture the meaning rather than the exact words from the said accounts, reports and testimonies. The stories, although quite diverse, intersect and cross one in another. The show definitely owes its dynamism to the structure – chaotic yet well-knit makes the very same lines sound funny first, to unclothe their grim touch later on. Moreover, a clever use of both stage design and properties allows the actors to depict various spaces and circumstances effectively and authentically.

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Fest (4/5 stars) 125 days ago

Right-on outrage is easy to manufacture, but this sophisticated diatribe against society’s mistreatment of the people on its margins bides its time, carefully building the case for our collective failure on this issue. Bystanders is always one step ahead of its audience: sometimes confusing as it weaves together its tapestry...

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The Guardian (4/5 stars) 128 days ago

Someone at Cardboard Citizens has noticed a pattern. It’s no surprise that a company dedicated to the homeless is sensitive to the increase in rough sleeping, the product of government austerity; that’s a crisis hiding in plain sight. But what Bystanders highlights is an equally alarming attitudinal shift – and...

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Whats On Stage (4/5 stars) 129 days ago

Theatre company Cardboard Citizens returns to the Edinburgh Fringe with a new show that once again shines light on the little-heard stories of the homeless and the vulnerable. This time, it's a selection of tales which pose the question of how you or I might respond to someone in need....

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The Wee Review (3/5 stars) 129 days ago

Bystanders is a tribute to the shockingly high number of homeless people who die every year. Prompted by a report published last year by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that highlighted the under-reporting of these deaths, the play is an interesting mix of imaginative reconstruction and verbatim theatre. Established theatre company...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.