THE JOURNEY, Based On True-Life Refugee Experiences Features Actors Who Themselves Have An Uncertain Future In The UK
Badac Theatre's The Journey is a compelling, fearless, intense and immersive slice of drama that is true to the experiences of refugees from across the globe fleeing conflict and, sometimes, certain death. It comes to Edinburgh's Out of the Blue Drill Hall on 10 and 11 November as part of a national tour that takes in both theatre and non-theatre venues.
To research the play director Steve Lambert visited Lebanon and camps on the Syrian border to learn of the desperate measures people can be forced to endure as they strive to survive. In the UK he worked with refugee communities and support organisations as well as Edinburgh based poet Ghazi Hussain, a former Palestinian refugee who fled Syria to escape torture and imprisonment - and was twice repatriated before being given leave to stay in Britain.
Describing her views on the refugee crisis actor Juliet Stevenson, who took a refugee family into her home, said 'We have a legal and moral obligation to protect people fleeing bombs, bullets and tyrants, and throughout history those people have enriched our society.'
Central characters in the play are a displaced mother and child who struggle to hold darkness and despair at bay during a punishing trek from their devastated, war ravaged homeland to a destination of perceived safety and security.
Steve Lambert noted 'All over the world people are being forced to flee their homes to escape war, racial and religious persecution and sometimes worse. Often the countries they seek refuge in treat them as at best inconvenient and sometimes as undesirable, unwelcome and a threat. Perhaps if we had a better understanding of what they have been through we may be better able to show compassion. No one abandons their home if that home is safe and welcoming'.
The Journey tells of the emotional, psychological and physical effects experienced by those forced to flee their homes.
Since the company's launch in 1999, Badac Theatre Company has become established as one of the UK's most controversial and confrontational theatre companies. As creators of extreme political art and adherents of Antonin Artaud's 'Theatre of Cruelty' their unflinching work is brave, dark, all consuming and stunning in every meaning of the word. Highlighting rights violations around the world it provokes extreme reactions and polarises critics and audiences alike. Many find its brutality intensely moving and affecting, some leave, shocked and shaken. www.badactheatre.com
On tour the play will be performed in a mix of both theatre and non-theatre spaces, in areas with a refugee population and with low engagement with the arts. 'It's too easy to just go to the usual touring theatre's and NPO Arts Centre's' said Lambert. 'Audiences can watch a show for an hour then return to comfortable warm homes to talk about inequality. I want to try to reach people who know about injustice from first hand experience'.
The Journey by Badac Theatre Company
A passionately compelling, fearless, intense and immersive slice of drama that is true to the experiences of refugees from across the globe, fleeing conflict and, sometime, certain death
Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th November 7.30pm
Edinburgh The Out of the Blue Drill Hall 36 Dalmeny Street EH6 8RG
£10, £8 (concs) 0131 555 7100 https://www.outoftheblue.org.uk