Plight of asylum seekers theme of new drama at Ards Arts Centre

Julie Maxwell, Raquel McKee and Tony Flynn star in Lives in Translation
Julie Maxwell, Raquel McKee and Tony Flynn star in Lives in Translation

A hard-hitting, powerful new production based on interviews with female Somali asylum seekers and their support workers is coming to Ards Arts Centre on Wednesday November 1. Written by Rosemary Jenkinson and directed by Paula McFetridge, Lives In Translation celebrates the human survival instinct through the story of one woman, Asha, who in fleeing conflict becomes trapped in a different struggle. She is trapped within the suffocating bureaucracy surrounding asylum seeking.

Performed by Tony Flynn, Julie Maxwell and Raquel McKee, featuring original music by Dónal O’Connor and video art by Conan McIvor, this poignant new drama explores how recent asylum seekers must navigate support systems through translation, how disempowering and frustrating this system can be, and ultimately how time is controlled most by those it affects least.

Paula McFetridge, artistic director of Kabosh, says: “Kabosh is dedicated to giving a voice to the people in our community whose stories most need to be heard. Those individuals going through the asylum and refugee process need to be represented in our shared culture and community.

“We aim to foster an understanding of the struggles endured and encourage informed debate.

“Theatre is a powerful tool for sharing perspectives collectively, the impact of which is felt long after the audience has left the space.

“Staging the performance in Ards Arts Centre, once the Newtownards town hall, is a powerful reminder that we, as citizens, have a role to play in making the labyrinth asylum journey easier to navigate for new residents, both by understanding what is demanded of them and being more accepting of their needs. We all have an active role to play.”

Speaking about the production, Amy McKelvey, community arts officer for Ards and North Down Borough Council said; “Kabosh is a long established, multi-award winning Belfast theatre company, renowned for its inspiring and thought provoking productions. We are delighted to welcome this Irish premiere to Ards Arts Centre to explore the plight of asylum seekers living in our communities and to highlight their personal experience.”

Tickets for the performance at Ards Arts Centre are priced £8 with a group discount for 10 people and over at £4 per ticket. Tickets can be booked at Ards Arts Centre box office. Call 02891 810 803 and visit www.ardsarts.com.