Good Chance To Open New Theatre At The Mexico/US Border
Five years since Good Chance built the first 'Theatre of Hope' in the Calais "Jungle" camp and began its ground-breaking international work with artists from refugee backgrounds, the award-winning charity is delighted to be opening a new Good Chance Dome at the Mexico/US border, in partnership with Tijuana's Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura (IMAC).
From 14 April to 13 June, Good Chance will run its latest 'Theatre of Hope' - a dedicated space for community-building and creative expression - in partnership with the IMAC, the Municipal Institute of Arts and Culture, in Tijuana, Mexico, where tens of thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded in legal limbo, in makeshift shelters across the sprawling city, while seeking to claim asylum in the United States.
Hundreds of shelters, housing 30 to 300 people each, are lifelines for the people living in them, but, because Tijuana is such a vast metropolis, there is little opportunity for them to connect and coordinate with each other and build community. As is common in these situations, shelters and organisations providing support necessarily focus on the most basic and urgent needs; it is often not possible for provision for art, culture, and expression to take precedence.
Good Chance and IMAC are working with partners across Tijuana including the theatre company Tijuana Hace Teatro and humanitarian organisations including Families Belong Together and Border Angels. The project is being led by two core members of the Good Chance team: Claudia Benítez, from Mexico, and Ana Guerrero, from Colombia.
Good Chance and three curators, including Jesús Quintero and Ramón Verdugo of Tijuana Hace Teatro, will work with these partners to programme performances by local artists, as well as inviting artists from across Mexico, the US and further afield to join a multi-disciplinary, participatory programme devised just as it was in Good Chance's original 'Theatre of Hope' in Calais. This dedicated space for creative expression will feature theatre, dance, singing, drumming, puppetry, poetry, illustration, and plenty more. Each Saturday afternoon will culminate in a Hope Show, where the public will be invited in to see what has been created across the week, to share different cultures, and to hear the stories of the people living in their city.
The Dome will be easily accessible via public transportation, and Good Chance plans to operate a regular bus service to and from the shelters to it, in order to enable migrants from across the city to access the Dome and to connect these groups of people to build strong, lasting community relationships.
Since 2015 the Good Chance Dome has popped up in nine locations worldwide, including Paris, New York, Coventry and on London's Southbank. Ahead of its arrival in Tijuana, the Dome will arrive in Sheffield for a four-day arts extravaganza celebrating and welcoming those who have migrated to the city from across the globe (Thursday 20 to Sunday 23 February at Barker's Pool in Sheffield).
It is also announced today that The Jungle, the multi-award-winning play from playwrights and Good Chance founders, Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, will return to St Ann's Warehouse from 2 April to 24 May ahead of its North American Tour which begins in Washington DC, co-presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, with performances (25 August to 13 September at Sidney Harman Hall) in the lead up to the 2020 US Presidential Election.
Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, Artistic Directors of Good Chance, said: "The Jungle is a play about the challenge of understanding each other. It came from a place where many different nationalities of refugees were forced to live side by side, and to somehow, despite intensely difficult and often perilous circumstances, get on as a community. It feels like a story that is more important than ever. We are so proud to have made this play with many of the friends we made while running a theatre in the Jungle refugee camp in Calais, and even more proud that alongside the running of the play, we will be building a brand new theatre in Tijuana. It is our hope that The Jungle, together with a Good Chance Dome on the border, will create new ways for all of us to understand the movements that are happening in our world today, and which are only increasing. Migration is not a possibility anymore, it is a fact. And it is our collective responsibility to find exciting new ways to welcome people into our societies."
Naomi Webb, Executive Director of Good Chance, said: "It's more important than ever that the story of the Calais Jungle is out there for audiences to see, and that alongside it Good Chance is bringing together migrants and local people on the US/Mexico border to share cultures and build community. Visiting Tijuana in 2019 we were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for the Dome from migrants living in shelters across the city and local arts and humanitarian groups. Our local partners are crucial everywhere Good Chance works, and we're delighted to be working alongside IMAC who are so dedicated to the project and to continuing artistic engagement with migrants and local people together."
Minerva Tapia Robles, Director of the Instituto Municipal de Arte y Cultura, said, "Talking about Tijuana is talking about diversity, and migration has been a key part of our city's cultural wealth. As an institution, we always seek to join forces with those who do not seek to build walls, but collaborative bridges. We are honored to be part of this project, and we open our arms to anyone who seeks to impact society through the arts and culture."