Inspired by true stories of refugees and displacement, Theatre-Rites with Agudo Dance Company bring Journey of a Refugee to London in February 2024.
This powerfully moving piece is inspired by Theatre-Rites’ acclaimed 2017 and 2018 production The Welcoming Party, which was originally co-produced by Theatre-Rites, Manchester International Festival, Z-Arts and the Ruhrtriennale Festival. This timely and engaging production explores the journey and arrival of a refugee to the UK, and the universal theme of people searching for a place they can call home.
Audiences young and old are encouraged to immerse themselves in the world of the performers, and experience true stories told through a beautiful blend of puppetry and performance. Dealing with complex and difficult stories in a simple and hopeful way, this promenade production is made for audiences of all ages.
Journey of a Refugee is at Stanley Arts Centre as part of the London Borough of Culture 2023 This Is Croydon. The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture award brings culture and creativity to Londoner’s doorsteps. It supports work designed and led by local people, empowering communities and contributing to the increased health and wellbeing of residents.
Sue Buckmaster, Director, said, We are delighted to be part of This is Croydon and to have the opportunity to install this immersive world in the wonderful Stanley Arts. Journey of a Refugee has been developed through careful conversations with people with lived experience of fleeing their homes. It is a truly collaborative show and I am hugely grateful to the dedication of the creative team and the commitment of our cast, some of whom have personal experience of being a refugee.
I have often been asked if Journey of a Refugee is political. And my answer is that I hope it allows young people to practice being a political member of our society, to exercise their right to engage with and reflect upon important issues of our time. It feels essential to recognise and inspire young people, and offer adults a chance to see things through their eyes. I hope that the production encourages empathy, an understanding of basic human rights and a recognition of our shared responsibility towards those in need.
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon added, Our year as London Borough of Culture continues to deliver a programme of events that are inclusive and accessible, and Agudo Dance are the embodiment of this. I’m delighted that they are supporting accessibility to performance by running 40 workshops for our schools, youth groups and young carers, so that the children and young people of our borough can experience theatre and performance and the themes behind Journey of a Refugee.
Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, also commented, Culture helps us build empathy and understanding and Journey of a Refugee is a powerful production, bringing the personal stories of a refugee to life for everyone to hear. The Mayor’s London Borough of Culture makes culture more accessible for all, it brings communities closer together and deepens our understanding of each other. The Mayor and I are very proud to be supporting this important project, helping us build a better London for everyone.
In Journey of a Refugee one of the original The Welcoming Party cast members, Mohamed Sarrar, a professional musician and performer and refugee from Sudan, will return to the production working alongside Croydon-based professional performer and refugee from Ethiopia Adi Detemo. Buckmaster works closely with performers to delicately unravel the personal stories they wany to share. The production is also performed by Kassichana Okene-Jameson and Vivian Triantafyllopoulou.