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Shakespeare’s Globe announces full programme of events for Refugee Week 2019

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SHAKESPEARE’S Globe has announced its upcoming programme of events to mark Refugee Week, taking place between June 17 and June 23, 2019.

Joining the UK-wide celebration of the contribution of refugees to our national community, the Globe will invite refugee artists, performers and audiences to come together and share their own stories of migration and belonging.

On June 17, Where We Belong, a solo performance written and performed by Mohegan theatre-maker Madeline Sayet, and directed by Mei Ann Teo, will come to the candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for one night only.

An investigation into the impulses that divide and connect us, Where We Belong is a response to Madeline Sayet’s Shakespeare studies in the UK, which she abandoned after her Indigenous interpretation of Shakespeare was not understood. Inspired by her Mohegan ancestors who crossed the Atlantic in the 1700s to protect her people, Where We Belong explores Sayet’s search for belonging in a globalised world.

Madeline Sayet is a citizen of the Mohegan Tribe. For her work as a theatre maker she was named in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 List in the Hollywood & Entertainment category, is a TED Fellow, an MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow, and a recipient of The White House Champion of Change Award from President Obama.

Where We Belong is co-presented with Border Crossings’ ORIGINS Festival, a multidisciplinary festival focusing on intercultural dialogue and showcasing the very best artistic work from First Nations communities across the globe

On Tuesday, June 18, The Globe will celebrate the launch of Ben Holden’s new anthology My First Memory, which charts the origin stories of iconic figures from Einstein to Luther King, and Pankhurst to Angelou.

Alf Dubs and Melvyn Bragg, among others, will take a trip down memory lane on the Playhouse stage as they recount watershed childhood experiences. The evening will also explore the defining early memories of refugees, drawing on the book’s recollections from heroic figures such as Madeleine Albright, Yusra Mardini and Stefan Zweig, to lesser-known, courageous voices whose experiences are no less deserving of celebration.

Ben Holden is the editor, with his father Anthony, of the bestselling and acclaimed anthologies Poems That Make Grown Men Cry (2014) and Poems That Make Grown Women Cry (2016), both published in partnership with Amnesty International. My First Memory is published by Scribner in partnership with the Refugee Council.

On Thursday, June 20, The Merry Wives of Windsor, directed by Elle While, will be broadcast live from the Globe stage to cinemas across the UK in collaboration with More2Screen. Local migrant communities from cities across the country will receive free tickets to watch the production in their local cinema.

Voices in the Dark: From Across the Globe, a devised piece presented by the British Red Cross Young Refugee Service and Compass Collective, will take place on Saturday, June 22. Young refugees and asylum seekers will draw on Shakespeare’s explorations of home, refuge and belonging in a piece which will celebrate the stories and skills of young people from across the globe.

The British Red Cross Young Refugee Service runs weekly Life Skills Projects sessions in five London boroughs for unaccompanied refugees and asylum seekers aged 15-21 who have arrived in the UK within the last year. These workshops invite young people to find a cultural space for themselves in their new communities. The team at Compass Collective have experience in working in over 50 refugee centres across Europe and the Middle East. They specialise in bringing refugee and asylum seekers together in London, to share stories and build communities.

Globe on Tour will also return to the Globe stage for Refugee Week. The touring company of eight actors will offer audiences a trio of plays which explore the themes of refuge and displacement. Continuing last summer’s experiment, which revived the Shakespearean tradition of allowing audiences to vote for the play they’d like to see, this year’s audiences will cast their votes for The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night or Pericles, all stories of lost families, new homes, and what it means to belong.

Writer and performer Sabrina Richmond will also take up a post as the Globe’s Artist in Residence for the duration of Refugee Week, as part of Counterpoints Arts’ Refugee Week Leadership Project. Born of three generations of migratory people, Sabrina Richmond’s family raised her in exile from South Africa’s apartheid regime. At her artistic core, Richmond continues to search for ways to answer ‘what is home?’ especially when faced with the anonymous machine of the immigration system.

Sabrina Richmond is a performer and writer with a postgraduate degree in Media Theory & Practice and undergraduate in journalism. Her earliest theatre experience was a verbatim theatre piece about The Struggle using gumboot dancing. She undertook acting studies at New York Film Academy, and has performed in theatres across London. Her play An African in the Snow – a migratory experience of loving and living in the cracks of identity across five countries – has an upcoming short residency at The Pleasance theatre’s LABS programme.

Counterpoints Arts is a leading national organisation in the field of arts, migration and cultural change. Their mission is to support and produce the arts by and about migrants and refugees, seeking to ensure that their contributions are recognised and welcomed within British arts, history and culture.

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