A Black Comedy exploring the challenges of being a Syrian Refugee.
Our new project ‘En-Scripted’ is a black comedy exploring the challenges of being a Syrian refugee during COVID - and beyond.
Inspired by the recent BBC comedy Staged, starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant, and at the instigation of our participants, we are developing a digital play and sketch show: written, performed, filmed and created remotely by a group of Syrian refugees.
‘En-Scripted’ will offer an honest and darkly humorous approach to the challenges of being a refugee, whilst working to raise awareness around the ongoing and still desperate Syrian refugee crisis, since the uprising began in 2011. It is now almost ten years since many of our participants fled their homes.
Majid's Driving Test
This sketch was developed, workshopped, and produced via Zoom by our cast of Syrian Refugees.
Based on Majid's experience taking his driving theory test when he first arrived in the U.K., the sketch plays on themes of the language barriers and communication problems that refugees often experience in their new homes.
The project is based around weekly Zoom workshops in which our participants recount and share stories and experiences of dark comedic value. Since converting to an online format in October 2020, our workshop capacity has grown to include over 50 Syrian refugees based in the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
In response to the popularity of these workshops, we are now creating a new series of workshops to cope with increased demand.
As well as providing the stimulus for our digital play, these workshops provide necessary psycho-social and therapeutic support to our participants. The opportunity we are creating to connect weekly with the diaspora is invaluable to many of our participants, offering a chance to escape feelings of isolation stemming from COVID-19 restrictions. In some cases, the workshops are reuniting family members who have not seen each other for six or seven years. We are also, through the digital workshops, able to work again with people who participated in our earlier projects, in Jordan and Germany. It is wonderful to be able to see so many old friends. Each participant is paid a per diem for appearing at the workshops - for data costs, and for their stories - which helps provide vital support during Covid, when, particularly in the Middle East, many refugees are finding it difficult to find the means to pay their rent and buy food as their jobs have largely disappeared and there is very little other outside financial support.
The final play and sketches will be co-written by this group of Syrian refugees. They will compile the stories and experiences into a dark comedy referencing major themes of leaving home, integrating into a new culture, the impacts of the pandemic, and families dispersed all over the globe. We will also touch on the well-known, frustrating, and at times comedic, obstacles posed by Zoom communication.
WHERE YOU WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE PLAY
‘En-Scripted’ will be available digitally on-line with Arabic and English subtitles. Moving forward - and COVID restrictions allowing - we will perform an adapted version at the Platform Theatre in Glasgow, the Pleasance Theatre in London, and at the Edinburgh Fringe 2021/22.
If you would like to support our work and the contribution of our participants, we would be deeply appreciative of a charitable donation or grant. Please either go to the donate page or email us directly for information.