50 years after Ken Loach’s landmark BBC drama Cathy Come Home, 23 people with their own experiences of homelessness get ready for the performance of their lives.

This documentary follows their journey to the sell out performance at the Barbican. Watched in 38 countries and a standing ovation. Now, the cast return to the reality of homelessness and benefit issues.

Wilderness Productions followed the rehearsals and all the drama on and off stage. The documentary takes in the truly diverse experiences of homelessness all the 23 actors have been and are going through. We follow several of the key participants, who share their stories and take us into hostels, shelters, the streets and poor accommodation through their own video diaries. Includes interviews with Ken Loach, who directed the original Cathy Come Home.

We’ve now released a sneak peek at some of the early footage. This footage focuses on some of the key actor members involved in the project and their experiences, including taking us to some of the places they have slept rough, and some of the extensive video diary footage they shot for us throughout the rehearsals.

The full documentary will follow the diverse lives and journeys of more of the cast, and also includes interviews with Ken Loach, homeless and housing experts and others providing the wider context of the housing and homelessness crisis alongside their amazing individual journeys.


In 1966, Ken Loach directed a TV play that was later to be rated as the most influential British television programme ever made. Gritty and shocking, the film broadcast to 12 million people. It told the story of Cathy and Reg, whose lives changed from having a flourishing relationship in a modern home, to poverty, unemployment and ultimately, homelessness and the loss of their children. The film changed perceptions of homelessness across the UK. Now 20 people with various experiences of homelessness come together for a groundbreaking stage performance of Cathy Come Home to 2000 people at the world-famous Barbican Centre in London.

At the end of 2015 it was announced that homelessness in London has soared 79% since 2010. Against a backdrop of this homeless crisis, Wilderness present a documentary that witnesses the transformation of some of these vulnerable individuals who gain confidence, purpose and drive through performing on a stage.

Directed by Michael Chandler

Produced by Hazel Chandler


The Performance Of A Lifetime: watch footage now!

%d bloggers like this: