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Migration takes centre-stage in immersive theatre experience

  • Theatre group Take Back and Manchester University aim to put migration in the spotlight
  • Performance will highlight plight of refugees

A theatre company is staging a show to highlight the increasingly desperate plight of refugees throughout the world.

The Migration Lab at Manchester University has teamed up with award winning theatre group Take Back to create a multi-media theatre production called Belonging.

It will be showcased at the Hope Mill theatre which will be transformed into a warehouse space on the edge of a border. Audience members will have their papers checked and be given a map as they cross over the threshold.

The show touches on everything from border control, racism and the effects of Brexit on EU workers, with proceeds going to migration charities.

Migration issues are often presented in the popular press with an ‘inside/outsider’ dichotomy, but we would like to unsettle this and show that there are scales of grey within that which we are all complicity in creating and maintaining

Dr Cathy Wilcock, co-ordinator of Migration Lab, said: “There is not really one message to convey but it is intended to be a thought-provoking piece which asks people to question their own roles in producing hierarchies of belonging. Migration issues are often presented in the popular press with an ‘inside/outsider’ dichotomy, but we would like to unsettle this and show that there are scales of grey within that which we are all complicity in creating and maintaining.”

Migration Lab was formed in January and brings together more than 70 researchers to inform on migration issues. Actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, writer Becx Harrison and visual artist Grant Archer founded the Take Back Theatre in 2015 to produce show in response to social and political events.

Dr Wilcock adeed: “The experience has been really rewarding and enlightening for me, as an academic. You can really glimpse that it is possible to convey nuance and complexity in a very short space of time with theatre. Take Back are so talented at producing hard-hitting and insightful theatre that it’s been a real education for me to be part of the process.”

Be-Longing is on at the Hope Mill Theatre from (Tuesday 31 October) to 4 November, tickets are available here.

 

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