Inspired by her family becoming involved in hosting asylum seekers in their homes, and Rob Lawrie, the former soldier arrested at the Calais border trying to smuggle a child refugee in his van, writer Grace Chapman started developing Don’t Look Away in 2017, the same year it was longlisted for the Papatango playwriting award. Through further development the play now makes its production debut in this small UK tour, culminating in a run as part of the Pleasance Islington’s flagship new writing season.
- Bradford. Adnan, a young asylum seeker, enters a community centre covered in flour & asking for help.He finds Cath, a middle-aged cleaner, who reluctantly lets him stay in her son’s empty bedroom.A split-second decision which will change her life forever. Cath becomes increasingly entangled in Adnan’s asylum claim and, as her frustrations rise, so does her desire to take action, until her estranged son Jamie returns home and wants his room back. Determined to give both Jamie and Adnan a home Cath’s house becomes a microcosm of British society, where there isn’t enough to go around, and blame is quickly passed.
Don’t Look Away shifts focus away from the government’s response to the international refugee crisis to our individual power to make a difference; a powerful, timely production exploring the impact of the UK’s ‘hostile environment’ on those who witness it.
Julia Barrie plays Cath, and the role of refugee Adnan is played by Robert Hannouch. Brian Fletcher completes the cast as Jamie
Playwright Grace Chapman said, “This play is incredibly pertinent to me both on a personal and political level. Having witnessed first-hand the vacuum of support created by the UK’s ‘hostile environment’, I was inspired to tell the story of those individuals, including my family, striving to rectify this.”
NOVAE theatre is the sister company of internationally successful Idle Motion, resident ensemble at the New Diorama Theatre and Artistic Associates at The Lowry and Oxford Playhouse. Previous shows under Idle Motion include Shooting With Light, Borges and I and Voyager. NOVAE theatre launched in 2018 with It’s Not A Sprint at the Edinburgh Fringe (also appearing at Vault festival 2019). They produce female led new work inventive in its form and astonishing in its delivery.
Don’t Look Away by NOVAE theatre tours the UK 16 April – 18 May.