We wanted to develop and create a powerful play called ‘Unknown Lives’. The play aims to share the stories faced by the refugee and asylum community during lockdown with the wider community across Scotland.
We would like to gather the stories and pilot an idea to create a powerful play about experiences of asylum seekers during covid-19.
Citizens Theatre Glasgow
04/10/21 – 07/11/2022
Group members with World Spirit Theatre, people seeking asylum and refuge. Citizens Theatre community learning team
Spreading good practice
Initially starting in October 2020, the project brought together members from the refugee community in Glasgow creating an online platform to share stories, experiences and barriers faced during lockdown. Throughout covid-19, life for people seeking asylum and refuge has not been easy. From not being able to work, experiencing moving from houses into hotel accommodation, social isolation, digital exclusion, loneliness, and disconnection with the community.
In consultation with World Spirit Theatre members and connections, we have identified the need for creative engagement and space for people to share feelings and explore stories. With our project, we want to provide platform for people to share their stories of migration and experiences during covid-19 and create a play to provide a platform for stories and experiences to be shared widely. Using creative methods such as theatre can be a very powerful tool for dialogue with the community and providing opportunities for the participants to build connections.
Involvement of New Scots in project
Everyone involved was a refugee or a former refugee.
From August 2022 until the end of the project, we have progressed on time with our project aims and outcomes.
We continued to meet on a weekly basis for rehearsals of the new play. We have done this together as a group by doing background research about media
narratives about migration. We were able to print and gather news articles to use within our play. Participants of the project also gathered stories and experiences of migration and being in the asylum process to contribute within the play.
Overall, the project was a great success with a final performance at the Kinning Park Complex. We have over 60 audience members joining. The play created a dialogue with the audience members which included members of the local community, migrants, and people within the asylum process.
The most challenging aspect related to some group members experiencing difficult times as they were still in the asylum process.
At some rehearsals, people shared their experience of being stressed and the impact this had on their wellbeing and mental health.
Group members created a supportive environment for each other as they were able to share their experiences and signpost to other organisations in Glasgow who may be able to provide further support.
Key learning included enjoying the process of creating a play and respecting various stories and journeys people experienced.
Working with people who are navigating the asylum process is never easy, however with compassion and care, the process will be more dignified and fun for everyone.