New play based on true-life refugee experiences includes 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 tours nationally through November and December with a Norwich date on 7 November at Norwich Arts Centre and Great Yarmouth’s Drill House on 7 December.
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 (including Norwich’s New Routes www.newroutes.org.uk) 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.
‘Badac are one of British Theatre’s best kept secrets’ Battersea Arts Centre
The result 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.
‘We have a legal and moral obligation to protect people fleeing bombs, bullets and tyrants, and throughout history those people have enriched our society.’ Actor Juliet Stevenson who took a refugee family into her home
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 immigrants. 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’.
‘Lambert and Gschwendtner movingly embody the emotional costs of war’ – The Stage ★★★★ (on Badac’s The Flood)
With a cast of that includes current British based refugee actors, some facing an uncertain future in the UK, The Journey tells of the emotional, psychological and physical effects experienced by those forced to flee their homes.
‘’This black experience is something to which any serious theatre-goer should submit’ – The Scotsman ★★★★★ (on Badac’s Crucifixion)
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.
‘The visceral power of Badac’s work is extremely rare’ – Steven Berkoff
In keeping with the ethos of the play, it will be performed on tour in a mix of both theatre and non-theatre spaces, in areas with a significant refugee population and low engagement with the arts (including Great Yarmouth Drill House on 7 December). ‘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 world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.’ – Albert Einstein
‘Frontline theatre in a war for truth’ ★★★★ – Exeunt (on Badac’s Anna)
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.
Wednesday 7th November 8.00pm
Norwich Arts Centre St Benedict’s Street NR2 4PG
£pay what you can 01603 660352 http://norwichartscentre.co.uk
Friday 7th December 8.00pm
Great Yarmouth The Drill Hall York Road NR30 2LZ
£8, £6 01493 745458 https://seachangearts.org.uk