TROJANS UK 22
A NEW ADAPTATION OF EURIPIDES’ ANTI-WAR TRAGEDY
THE TROJAN WOMEN
with a cast of UK-based Ukrainian, Afghan and Syrian refugees - professional actors and amateurs - and community hosts
TROJANS UK 22 AT THE PLAYGROUND THEATRE AND THE FT WEEKEND FESTIVAL
"Astonishing...deeply moving... magnificent"
Audiences warmly received both our K&C Festival Showing at Playground and our two showings at the FT Weekend Festival of our exciting new production of Euripides' great anti-war tragedy, The Trojan Women - adapted by the Ukrainian, Afghan and Syrian cast, with the help of the Trojan Women team.
The production - the pilot project of Trojans UK 22-23-24 - was the result of 12 weeks of Community Drama Workshops for Ukrainian, Syrian and Afghan refugees, supported by Kensington and Chelsea Council. The cast all worked their own stories into the text of the play.
The 'Showing' of our adaptation was first performed on 10th August at Playground Theatre, Latimer Road, London W10 6RQ - to rave reviews and a standing ovation.
The new drama project included a core cast of professional Ukrainian, and Syrian-Palestinian actors - all exiles from their homelands - Arwa Omarem, Valery Danko and Alina Venerchuk - as well as the British actors Emma Bugge and Grace Haydn. Other participants included Ukraine's World Food Ambassador, Yurii Kovryzhenko.
These actors - working with British theatre professional Amanda Waggott - led community drama workshops for Afghan, Ukrainian and Syrian refugee participants.
This was the first step in Trojans UK, our planned country-wide tour of performances alongside community drama workshops in every place we tour.
We also provided childcare for participant's children and a hot lunch. The project was monitored by a psychologist.
The aims were, as ever, to help refugees get over isolation, trauma and depression, to give them a platform to tell their stories to their host communities, to build links between refugees and their host communities and try to provide new professional and personal opportunities. The multi-lingual workshops also helped the participants learn English.
We intend to and have been touring this production and the accompanying drama workshops round the UK over 18 – 24 months.
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ABOUT TROJANS UK 22
The Pilot Project Has Begun!
We spearheaded this project in Kensington, London, partnering with SET Kensington, The Ukrainian Community Centre and various Afghan and Syrian refugee networks and The Playground Theatre, Latimer Road, W10, commissioned by K+C Festival.
In the pilot project, we ran weekly multi-lingual mixed gender drama workshops – with accompanying creche and hot meal - at SET Kensington for three months, for refugees and host community members. We worked with the highly respected Syrian actor Arwa Omaren, who came here as an asylum seeker herself, and two Ukrainian actors, Alina Venerchuk, who arrived a few weeks before the project, and Valery Danko.
Alongside the new adaptation, we will be running further ten weeks of multi-lingual weekly drama workshops with refugees and host community members in different regions of the country. At every location we tour, we will incorporate local refugee/host community workshop members and their stories into the cast of the play, after a week of intensive rehearsals in each location.
We are incorporating host communities into the workshops, in order to help migrants make friends and build bonds with host community members, rather than find themselves stuck in ghettoes.
We are also running a creche for the participants’ children and provide participants with a hot meal, to help them build community ties.
The Play Itself
On top of the workshops, we also had a one-off four weeks of rehearsals with the refugee/host community professional cast to create the core of the play. Subsequently, we will re-rehearse the play for a week in each location with local cast members, who will supply the chorus etc, and work their own stories into the play.
London Mini Tour
On the back of the pilot project, the immediate aim is to set up a London-wide mini-tour and community drama workshops. In 2023 we performed at the Chelsea Theatre, on the World's End Council Estate, SW7, and are talking to other councils, community centres and theatres in South London, East London and North London. The intention is that in every theatre we will produce a performance which relates to and includes the local community, in order to build bonds.
Building on the success of the project in London, our future intention is to roll the tour out country-wide, partnering with local councils and communities.
Why Do It This Way?
The reason for recreating the project in this way is to expand our reach, both of the psycho-social support workshops and the advocacy reach of the play itself. We have always had enormous demand to tour our plays, but it is almost impossible to tour a play with an amateur cast – they have their own lives and families. However, by incorporating a core cast of refugees/host community who are professional actors, and working with refugee/host community amateurs in each individual area, we will be able to overcome this challenge to create a powerful and emotive production, while staying true to the key aims of our project.