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Good Chance pop-up theatre to open at Paris refugee centre

A drama workshop inside the Good Chance Theatre in the Calais migrant camp. Photo: Good Chance Theatre The previous Good Chance Theatre at a Calais migrant camp. Photo: Good Chance Theatre
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Pop-up theatre company Good Chance is to open a new temporary venue at a refugee welcome centre in Paris.

This will see the organisation, which originally set up a theatre for refugees in the Calais migrant camp, return for a second time to the French capital.

Earlier this year, Good Chance opened a theatre for five weeks in the north of the city, where it ran workshops and classes with refugees, many of whom lived on the streets of Paris. After this, the organisation opened an interactive exhibition at Theatre de la Ville on the Champs-Elysees during May.

Now, working in partnership with French humanitarian charity Emmaus Solidarite, Good Chance will open in the grounds of ‘la bulle’, Paris’ largest official refugee welcome centre.

Two pop-up white dome structures will be set up to offer a creative space to refugees and migrants newly arrived to Paris, of which there are estimated to be 80 to 100 people a day.

Artistic directors and founders of Good Chance Theatre Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson said: “Paris stands as a symbol for what is happening in lots of places across Europe.

“There is an acceptance that camps are not where refugees are living anymore. We are all going to have to find a way to live together and we believe that the arts are about finding ways to live together.”

They added: “We want to build a space in Paris where everyone is welcome, where local people can meet new arrivals and where the often difficult process of getting to know one another can begin. Art creates the best context for these meetings to happen: a non-political, safe and exploratory space for people to meet for the first time.”

The refugee centre, which is run by Emmaus Solidarite, offers temporary shelter to people who wish to begin the asylum process in France, and has welcomed close to 20,000 people during the past year.

Good Chance will set up the theatre, which is open to refugees, migrants, Parisians and local artists, on January 23 for an initial ten-week period.

Three guest curators will work with Good Chance founders Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson to create a bespoke artistic programme in the domes – with the second, smaller dome, being used as a studio space and occasionally a foyer to the larger dome.

The guest curators, who are all local artists, include Italian actor and director Elisa Giovannetti, Actors Touring Company founder member Jack Ellis and Theatre du Soleil member Vincent Mangado.

One of the most popular communal events in the Calais Jungle camp, called The Hope Show, will be reintroduced, running each Saturday night as a round-up of the highlights of the week in a review show.

Robertson and Murphy’s play The Jungle, inspired by their experiences working in the Calais migrant camp, opened at London’s Young Vic On December 15.

Good Chance is crowdfunding to raise a target of £90,000 towards its work in Paris. Donations can be made here.