Camden People's Theatre Presents NO DIRECTION HOME
No Direction Home, Camden People's Theatre's new festival exploring displacement, migration and refuge, fearlessly asks what it means to be an exile or a descendent of exiles, to whom do we owe refuge and who gets to make a home in Britain today.
Unofficial records state that since the early 1990s, nearly 35,000 people have died trying to reach Europe, not just at sea but in detention centres, asylum units and within their new communities. The recent Windrush scandal and changes in EU regulations have plunged thousands into uncertainty about if, and where, they belong, and every day people are forced to flee violence closer to home. CPT's new festival will recount stories of those in exile ranging from those who have lived it to those who have inherited it, with topics ranging from the de-funding of women's refuges to the ongoing migrant crisis and beyond. From the heart-breaking to the heartwarming, this three-week event features workshops, discussions and electrifying new theatre from the brightest and boldest of UK and International Artists.
A newly announced highlight of the festival will be No Direction Home Stand Up Night, a one night only stand-up comedy gig written and performed by refugees and migrants. CPT are partnering with Counterpoint Arts to feature a line-up of first-time comedians coached for this special event by one third of sketch troupe Pappy's, Tom Parry. Tom was nominated as Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2015, and this year directed the Best Newcomer-winning show, Ciaran Dowd - Don Rodolfo.
Performing from 6th - 10th Nov, Cash Carraway is a self-confessed 'refuge connoisseur' telling her story of how she and her daughter have tried to begin a new life free from domestic violence. Over 16 years, 13 refuges and 12 productions of The Vagina Monologues, Refuge Woman is a spoken-word performance looking at the media portrayal of working-class women, government cuts to domestic violence services and life in a woman's refuge. The show is supported by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the performance on Thursday 8th will be followed by a Q&A with local journalists who contributed to their research into domestic violence in Camden.
Haunting recollections of the media images of child refugees are evoked in Beyond the Blue (5th Nov), a new play for adults written by children in response to the refugee crisis that also offers a vivid and charming insight into children's view of the world. In Pizza Shop Heroes, four refugee and asylum-seeking young men take us from a pizza shop across centuries and continents to explore past, present and futures. This revealing, witty and lyric show is based on the actors lived experiences and created by Phosphoros Theatre whose previous productions include the acclaimed Dear Home Office. From And from the political to the absurd, Josh Gardner's Laud of the Rings (30 - 31 Nov) recollects his monumental journey from Oxford to Istanbul dressed as Frodo Baggins in an anarchic approach to performance that questions privilege and migration.
Two homegrown shows with performers from across the globe, Adventures in Black and White and Where We Began have been developed with support from CPT. Adventures in Black and White follows the parallel lives of two people in exile, one in Siberia, the other in Sussex, while Where We Began will be a multi-lingual, wild and vivid vision of the future, combining storytelling, movement and live music.
The festival also includes a Long Table discussion with Music in Detention & Lois Weaver, a special public event assembling people from arts, migration and social justice backgrounds to explore the role of the arts in developing strategies around radical hospitality. Music in Detention is one of the very few companies allowed into detention centres to work with immigration detainees, bringing them together with professional musicians and local communities to share, create and enjoy music.
Artistic Director of Camden People's Theatre Brian Logan said, "The refugee crisis and austerity. The upsurge of British nativism in light of Brexit. Donald Trump and his wall. Everywhere you look, welcomes are being revoked, care withdrawn, and hospitality is at a premium. And everywhere we at CPT looked, electrifying artists are making work about it. 'No Direction Home' brings together that work, and creates a context to talk about humans on the move. We've taken our time to bring this festival to life, working closely with community partners and artists with lived experience of displacement, migration and refuge. We're now excited to welcome you to three weeks of entertaining, urgent and insightful performances bringing those subjects to the stage."
Camden People's Theatre is a central London space dedicated year-round to supporting early-career artists - particularly those making work about issues that matter to people right now. Its mission is to refresh and strengthen the performance sector with a new generation of artists who bring a fresh perspective to contemporary concerns, and create new artistic forms with which to address them; and to present their work to a new generation of audiences. CPT regularly stages festivals of adventurous theatre exploring contemporary social, political and cultural issues. Recent examples include: Common People, on working-class experience (2018), Hotbed: A Festival of Sex (2017) and Whose London is it Anyway? on the housing crisis (2016).