Going Through, the UK premiere of the critically acclaimed French play Traversée opens at the Bush Theatre on 28 March. This production seamlessly mixes English, British Sign Language, Visual Vernacular and Creative Captioning and is directed by Bush Theatre Associate Director Omar Elerian (Misty, NASSIM) and translated by Kirsten Hazel Smith. The cast is Nadia Nadarajah and Charmaine Wombwell.
‘It’s not always children’s stories that happen to children.’
Youmna is deaf. She’s been looking after Nour since she was born. But when the men come to drive Nour away, Youmna cuts off her hair. And so begins one girl’s journey. By bus, by lorry, into the sound of gun-shots, through adolescence and across borders. All she can take with her is a little box and her memories of Youmna. Youmna, who told her that everything grows back – grass, desires, branches, even hair.
A story that continues to dominate the international news agenda, Going Through tells a familiar story through new eyes.
Mostly from the Middle East, South Asia, East and West Africa, children on the move in Europe have fled conflict, insecurity and deprivation. In 2018, some 127,000 additional refugees and migrants, 20 per cent of them children, entered Europe. * This influx is in addition to the 1.8 million refugees and migrants, including 433,000 children, who arrived in Europe between 2014 and 2017. Turkey is hosting some 3.9 million people, including 1.7 million children. Although many do reach North and Western Europe over time, approximately 45,000 children were still located in Greece, Italy and the Western Balkans at the end of 2018. Despite progress across the region, refugee and migrant children continue to face heightened risks of violence, including gender-based violence and abuse, in countries of arrival, transit and destination. This is largely due to insufficient and sub-standard reception capacities, inadequate access to health and education, overwhelmed asylum and child protection systems and rising xenophobia. Some 21,000 unaccompanied or separated children registered in Greece and Italy still lack the continuum of care and protection that their situations demand, as national legislation, policies and resource allocation have yet to align with international best practices. These circumstances are undermining the capacities of children—accompanied or unaccompanied—to recover from their ordeals, preventing the realization of children’s rights and jeopardizing their inclusion into new communities.
Writer and director Estelle Savasta runs ‘Hippolyte a mal au cœur’, a company creating ground-breaking bilingual work based in France. Her first play Seule dans ma peau d’âne received acclaim at the 2008 Molière awards. Going Through (originally Traversée) is her second play.