Manchester theatre group teams with university for immersive play about migration

Workshop at University of Manchester’s Migration Lab. Photo: Jill Jennings Workshop at University of Manchester’s Migration Lab. Photo: Jill Jennings
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Political theatre collective Take Back Theatre, set up by actor Julie Hesmondhalgh, is to create an immersive production about refugees in partnership with the University of Manchester’s Migration Lab.

The Migration Lab was launched earlier this year to allow space for researchers to work on dispelling misconceptions surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. The production, called Be//Longing, will showcase real stories of migration, with the proceeds being donated to charities Revive, United for Change and Operation Florian.

The immersive show will feature installations, music and live performance and is being produced by Take Back.

The audience will be taken through a checkpoint process before entering the theatre, which itself will be transformed to resemble a warehouse on the edge of a border.

Audience members will then be given a map covering the live performances, films, music and installations that explore various migration narratives, including the effects of Brexit on EU workers.

It will take place from October 31 to November 4 at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester.

Migration Lab coordinator and researcher Cathy Wilcock said: “There is a lot of fake news, especially with a subject like migration. When public opinion is so far removed from the facts it is important as academics to find as many communication channels in order to reach as many audiences as possible.

“Theatre is a powerful form of communication, and it is a very human medium that is needed to tell these stories.”

Hesmondhalgh added: “Hopefully the fusing of academic findings and the creative engagement of the theatrical experience will bring the many stories to light, and provide a beautiful and informative evening for our audiences in the wonderful Hope Mill Theatre.”