HANNAH AND HANNA IN DREAMLAND Makes UK Premiere This Autumn
Summer 1999. Margate's beaches are packed with day-trippers.... and its hotels filled with Kosovan asylum seekers - including Hanna (played by Celia Meiras), a survivor of Europe's most recent genocide. Hannah (Lisa Payne) is from Margate and bored with life in the rundown seaside town - hanging out with her boyfriend Bull and his prejudiced mates. The only things the two sixteen year olds have in common are their names and their love of singing along to their favourite pop songs....
Sixteen years later, Hanna returns to Margate - this time in search of a Syrian girl she befriended in Kosovo and who may have succeeded in getting across the Channel. The Calais 'Jungle' is close and attempts by its residents to reach England fill the local media. Hanna hopes her young friend will be welcome in Margate, but although the town has changed, alongside the coffee bars and vintage shops, there is still an undercurrent of hostility towards the migrants and refugees who are so desperate to enter the UK.
Just as in 1999, when Hanna's arrival turned Hannah's life upside down, so her return takes the friends on a journey which Hannah from Margate would not have thought possible. ...........
Hannah and Hanna in Dreamland is a new play by award winning writer / director John Retallack. It opens at the Marlowe in Canterbury in October this year, before touring to coastal communities in the South East and South West.
Hannah and Hanna in Dreamland incorporates and builds on the success of Retallack's earlier play, Hannah and Hanna, which opened at Theatre Royal Margate in 2001 and following successful runs in Edinburgh and London, did 3 extensive UK tours as well as touring India, the Philippines and Malaysia. It was performed in Israel, Sweden, France, Holland, Belgium and Germany, translated into 8 languages, broadcast on the World Service and received numerous awards, including a Herald Angel and a nomination for TMA Best Young People's Show.
Like the original play, Hannah and Hanna in Dreamland continues the story of Hannah from Margate and Hanna from Kosovo and augments the narrative with movement, music and visuals to tell the story of the two friends over a fifteen year period. It addresses issues of racism and migration at a time when the world is experiencing the largest displacement of people since World War 2, and explores the impact of incomers on communities and towns.
Hannah and Hanna in Dreamland will be visiting seven towns around the south east - Canterbury, Folkestone, Gravesend, Woolwich, Margate, Poole and Portsmouth. Topics of friendship, migration and integration will be explored through workshops with school and community groups, and statements from participants on how migration has impacted on their lives will be incorporated into a short film which will be screened at the end of selected performances in each location.
John Retallack is the author of twelve plays for young people and has adapted numerous texts for the stage and radio. He was the founding director of ATC Theatre, director of Oldham Coliseum, director of Oxford Stage Company, and the founding director of Company of Angels. From 2010 - 2013, he was Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic where he directed Owen Sheers' play Pink Mist. Prior to setting up the Oxford Playwriting Course, he was Tutor in Writing for Performance at Ruskin College in Oxford.
UK Arts International, founded by Jan Ryan in 1992, has presented more than fifty productions in the UK and internationally, including the first tours of Hannah and Hanna. UK Arts focuses on work that is culturally diverse, attracts new audiences to theatre and deals with topics that are of contemporary relevance. Previous work includes The Harder They Come (Barbican, Stratford East, West End, national tour, US and Canada), Township Stories (Edinburgh, London, national tour, Australian tour), Things Fall Apart (London, Washington DC, Lagos) and Hugh Masakela's Songs of Migration (London, Washington DC, South Africa).