In early 2020, the Bristol-based theatre company Roustabout (creators of Luna and One Small Step) worked with 195 primary and secondary students to develop its new show, This Island’s Mine, exploring themes of colonialism, identity and place.
The making of the play is informed directly by the thoughts and opinions of those students. It is written and directed by Toby Hulse, who has twice won the Distinguished Play Award from the American Alliance of Theatre and Education. Set in the magical and comic world of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, this vital new play encourages young people to explore complex and sensitive issues of colonisation, immigration and national identity: Where do I belong? Where is my home? Is it truly mine?
The premiere production will tour in Autumn 2021 to 25 primary and secondary schools in the South West as well as to the following arts venues: Watermans, London (19 Sept), The Poly, Falmouth (25 Sept), Burton Taylor Studio, Oxford Playhouse (2-3 Oct), the egg, Bath (9 Oct), Theatr Clwyd, Mold (16 Oct), Bridport Arts Centre (23 Oct), Exeter Phoenix (24 Oct), The Pound, Corsham (27 Oct), Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol (28-31 Oct), Blackwood Miners Institute (6 Nov) and Valley Arts, Chew Valley (7 Nov).
Blending Brechtian and Forum Theatre techniques that encourage the audience to think, question and challenge, This Island’s Mine focuses on a debate between three inhabitants of an island – one of the first peoples (Ariel), a second generation religious refugee (Caliban) and a Western coloniser (Stephano) – who all believe the island is theirs.
Ariel was always here. Caliban was born here. And Stephano has just arrived. They all claim ‘this island’s mine’. But do any of them have that right? And what happens if they can’t agree?
Filled with magic, music and mayhem, Roustabout presents a playful and daring exploration of the place we choose to call home, for children and their families. At a time when young people are questioning closely their own experiences, identities and education, the play’s themes are more pressing than ever.
The production will be supported by an online educational resource, created with experts, academics, creatives and young people, designed to challenge, provoke and stimulate debate around these difficult but essential questions.
The cast of This Island’s Mine is Robin Hemmings (Oi Frog & Friends! (Pins and Needles); One Small Step (Oxford Playhouse); War Game (Bristol Old Vic)) as Caliban, Kesty Morrison (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (RSC); Hamlet (The Globe); The Price (The Young Vic)) as Ariel and Eleanor Pead (Why Would You (The Barbican); Too Late (Market Theatre Hitchin)) as Stephano.
The Creative Team is Writer and Director Toby Hulse, Associate Director Oliver de Rohan, Designer Maria Terry, Composer Tarek Merchant, Lighting Designer Jeremy Costello, Sound Designer Oliver Wareham, Set Builder Jonathan Attwood and Prop Maker Tish Mantripp.
This Island’s Mine was developed with support from Arts Council of England and Tobacco Factory Theatres, in partnership with the Cathedral Schools Trust, One Bristol Curriculum and University of Bristol.
For more information about This Island’s Mine, which is suitable for everyone aged 7+, visit https://www.roustabouttheatre.co.uk.