From to 10th June to 5th August 2017 we ran a Crowdfunding Campaign
Aim: Help refugees feel at home in UK by funding this interactive social inclusion project that is growing communities of belonging.
WE RAISED AN AMAZING £15,910
Below is a summary of our Appeal:
We are a company of 8 men and women trained and skilled in a playback theatre method of dialogue and enactment that has a rich history of community engagement. In this time of cut backs and austerity politics, funding for work in the arts and for community projects is harder than ever to find.
We urgently need your help now to continue this important work
The people we are working with have fled war and violence, have been trafficked or forced through terrible poverty to seek survival and a better life. We engage with people’s stories and experiences from their own lives through playback theatre methods, fostering a sense of community, well-being and togetherness, with good spirit and kindness.
Their stories range from everyday experiences of life in Plymouth to children remembering the horrors of war; memories of journeys by boat or trucks; months journeying from Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea – from the middle East or African countries, through the Jungle in Calais. Often their stories involve the pain or grief of being separated from or losing family members and loved ones.
Our project helps people feel connected, safe, heard, part of a community.
Helping refugees integrate into the local community
These refugees and asylum seekers are in a difficult time of transition. They are learning how to build a new life very different from the one left behind. Beginning a new life requires a sense of possibility and understanding of the people and culture around them. Our project is the vehicle through which this can and does happen. The interactive nature of the project fosters an atmosphere of belonging.
- We support refugees to feel less isolated
Every voice is welcomed so that feelings of isolation are diminished.
- Use of English language improves
English language ability is strengthened hugely as people hear and speak it in a safe and supportive atmosphere engaging with stories relevant to their lives.
- Care and wellbeing
There is often much laughter and playfulness in this project. Participation and sharing stories allows relaxation, fostering a sense of well-being.
- Breaking down barriers
We work at an interface between different cultures. The sessions support understanding of the UK host culture. Refugees and asylum seekers meet others from many different cultures. As they engage with the project barriers are broken down. Our interactive intervention allows important broadening of perspectives.
“Our hearts feel freer and bigger”
Feedback from the refugee women illustrated how the sessions help people come out of the sadness, loneliness, stress or depression from their past experiences as well as their unsettled, marginalised presence here in UK. They celebrated how the project brought them into a space of kindness, appreciation, generosity and togetherness. They loved listening to each others’ stories.They found new confidence to give voice to their own experiences and issues. They said the work we do with them helps them feel respected and build good connection between different cultures. Our sessions helped their English language improve in leaps and bounds –crucial for anchoring life here in England.
“It made me feel normal and it makes us feel confident because you’re telling your story, you’re telling your problem and you don’t feel shy or ashamed about it. You share it with everybody and you know how to share problems because when somebody doesn’t tell their problems and kept it inside they will feel like they are in prison or something like that. If we slightly open the door, you know you may get out and people get in.”
We want you to hear feedback from the Women’s Creative Group as we finished our last day with them after weeks of regular sessions. They are not speaking on this film as it is not straightforward or necessarily safe for them to be seen in a video in this way – for many different reasons. If you scroll down, you can read moving, representative quotes from them.
Through the course of last term we have had a request from the women’s creative group that they would like to learn the Playback Theatre form themselves and offer it in women only settings. We would love to be in a position to offer this training and to create a company of women who can serve one another’s stories with empathy, openness and understanding. This would be a wonderful achievement – developing confidence and communication skills as well as continuing the work we have begun.
Although the Campaign has stopped we still desperately need funds to expand the Project.
Please will you reach out to these refugees, asylum seekers hoping for safety, sanctuary and well-being – yet whose situation brings them to hover with minimal resources, living in uncertainty, marginalisation and limbo for months or even years here in the heart of our communities.