Exodus Onstage Refugee Theatre Festival is a month of challenging and contemporary work exploring the themes of war, diaspora and asylum.
Twelve productions, of which ten are brand new works, will be premiered during November. Two of the productions are then set for Hampstead Theatre and the West End.
Highlights of the season include:
– Souk Kitchen, a theatre installation by local women’s refugee groups featuring live performance and the opportunity to sample foods from around the world (Zion Arts Centre, 5/6 November)
– the world premiere of Feelgood Theatre’s Slave: A Question of Freedom, based on the life of Mende Nazer who was trafficked from Sudan aged 12. Slave will transfer to the West End (The Lowry, 23-27 November)
– a new English language version of a play by Kurdistan Arts and Culture, a group of Kurdish artists in exile (One Night There, Waterside Arts Centre, 5&7 November)
– featuring artists from Iraq, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Cameroon, Another Country is an immersive journey into the life of a refugee, directed by the award-winning Cheryl Martin (Zion Arts Centre, 12 November).
Many events are family friendly, including a day of Sudanese art, music and drama (The Lowry, 31 October) and Souk Kitchen, where audience members are invited to enjoy the music, dance, storytelling and food of Africa and Asia (Zion Arts Centre, 5/6 November)
Free events include James Mackay’s photography exhibition ‘Even Though I ‘m Free I am Not’ featuring former Burmese prisoners of conscience, which won the Prix de la Photographie in Paris (Contact, throughout October and On The Eighth Day throughout November).
Cilla Baynes MBE, director of Community Arts North West, said: “Exodus Onstage is a unique opportunity for audiences to experience how events in other parts of the world directly affect what happens here in the UK, through the shared narratives and cultures of Greater Manchester’s refugee and asylum seeker communities. The last Exodus Onstage Festival in 2006 played to enthusiastic packed houses, proving that audiences in this region want to see and experience this work.”
Festival participants are exiled from countries including Bosnia, Cameroon, Kurdistan, Malaysia, Eritrea, Somalia, Angola, DR Congo, Sudan and Zimbabwe and now live and work around Greater Manchester.