Untold Arts presents the world premiere of The Scar Test, a new play by Soho Theatre Westminster Prize award-winning writer Hannah Khalil, which opens on 21 June during Refugee Week 2017 and offers a powerful and disturbing snapshot of life inside the infamous Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Based on verbatim interviews and extensive research, The Scar Test depicts the controversial and unsettling conditions faced by the women detained there, highlighting the urgent, widely unknown reality of immigration control in Britain.
Opening at The Place, Bedford on 21 June 2017, which is situated just seven miles from Yarl’s Wood IRC, The Scar Test tours to STUN in Manchester on 23 June, The Bohemian Balcony in Swindon on 26 and 27 June before transferring to Soho Theatre, London between 5 and 22 July 2017. Directed by Sara Joyce, the cast of The Scar Test includes Janet Etuk, Nadia Nadif, Shazia Nicholls, Rebecca Omogbehin and Lucy Sheen.
Described as a “place of national concern” by the Prisons Watchdog in 2015, Yarl’s Wood is one of 11 similar detention centres around the UK where residents are held awaiting immigration clearance or deportation. A controversial centre that houses women refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom came to the UK fleeing torture and abuse, including sexual violence. The Scar Test tells the fictional stories of 11 female characters held in this disturbing place, where those most in need are kept under lock and key and denied basic human rights. Their lives are regulated, privacy is non-existent and they are offered minimal medical assistance.
Taking its title from a procedure used to determine whether detainees have undergone torture in their home countries (despite the fact not all forms of torture leave external scars), The Scar Test uses physical theatre, humour and multiple languages to provide a compelling snapshot of daily life at the Centre.