Hearing the stories of refugees camped in Calais, desperate for a fresh start, gave writer Dermot Dolan inspiration for a new play that will debut at Barons Court Theatre this month.
His play, Calais, explores the lives of four Eritrean migrants, who have endured the trauma of detention centres, beatings, freezing temperatures and near-drowning to reach the French camp. Now in Calais, they hope to make it across the English Channel to a new life.
With echoes of Dermot’s time spent volunteering at a camp in Calais in earlier this year, the play aims to raise awareness of the plight of migrants, exploring what drives people to make perilous journeys and how much they would risk to reach their goals.
Dermot has been working closely with director Grace Smith, who runs theatre company The State of Grace, to bring the play to fruition.
Intense rehearsals with actors Michael Oku, Linda Gathu, Christien Bart-Gittens and Moe Idris are almost at an end, as Calais is set to launch on 26 April.
“We’re so excited to be putting on this play,” Grace said. “It is such an important story line and one that is in the news every day. We urge everyone to come along to learn about the plight of the refugees and to see just why they are running from their country.”
The production at the cosy theatre, which is based at The Curtains Up pub in Comeragh Rd, will have a 12-date run until 8 May.
As part of the play’s aim to help the Calais refugees, Dermot and Grace have also partnered with six professional artists who are creating unique pieces of work to be raffled during the theatre run.
The audience will be able to buy a £1 ticket to be in with a chance of winning one of the artworks – and the money raised is to be donated to the Brighton-based Hummingbird project, which carries out support work for refugees in Calais.
There is a £2 discount on the ticket price when quoting the code ‘Jungle’ if booking at the theatre in person or over the phone.