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Good Chance Theatre vows to expand despite Calais ‘war zone’

A drama workshop inside the Good Chance Theatre in the Calais migrant camp. Photo: Good Chance Theatre A drama workshop inside the Good Chance Theatre in the Calais migrant camp. Photo: Good Chance Theatre
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Founders of a theatre in the Calais migrant camp have vowed to continue providing a space for refugees, claiming that a court ruling to clear part of the site has created a “war zone”.

A judge last month ordered the southern part of the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais to be cleared, resulting in makeshift homes being demolished, with refugees being moved into nearby shipping containers or to other locations nearby.

However, the court ruling said the Good Chance Theatre could remain, with its founders vowing that they would continue to make art available to residents, wherever they are placed.

The theatre was formed in September last year.

Co-founder, playwright Joe Murphy, told The Stage: “I can’t emphasise how harrowing it’s been. It’s like a war zone. But in that, you need your refuge, your sanctuaries. We have operated as a sanctuary. In the past, we have been that place of vibrancy and excitement. At the moment, the theatre is a calm, tranquil place, and we are still getting great numbers.”

Murphy said that no timescale had been given for the clearance of the site, but said the theatre would “follow the needs of the people who have to live in this situation”.

“We will go where they need us, that may be closer to the shipping containers or to Dunkirk. We don’t know yet, but we will be responsive and we will be flexible,” he said.

Murphy added that he had received feedback from refugees now in the UK who had passed through the camp that the theatre had “kept them going” and provided them with a sense of community.

He added that there were plans to expand the offering.

“It’s such an overwhelming situation and we feel we have a responsibility to begin to think about how we can respond more broadly to it. We are hatching plans that will allow us to bring theatre to more people,” he said.

He revealed that the theatre was being formalised and that a board of trustees was in the process of being appointed for the venue.

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