On the 25th of January we performed In Flux for the first time at City Arts to a friendly crowd of people, many from the diverse Middle Eastern communities that have established themselves in Nottingham over the last years. It’s been a challenging project, one that has brought us up close to some of the issues of refuge and borders that are facing us all in what are increasingly ungenerous times.
Throughout the project we’ve had the full support of the Red Cross and their Tuesday Night group where volunteers help to teach English to those who have recently arrived in the city. We’ve spent time with a number of people who have found themselves having to make very hazardous journeys to find safety in the UK; as well as with those who have real insight and knowledge into issues of asylum, the refugee situation; and current day issues in the Middle East, especially around the contested nation of Kurdistan.
The show – which has been commissioned by The Centre for Hidden Histories – examines the history of borders in the Middle East and the implications of their continuing collapse on those who live in the region and those who are fleeing from the wars that have been unleashed there. We are thinking of it as a Performance Lecture for Three Storytellers and a Setar and it interweaves three monologues, all accompanied by film and projections – the history of the secretive Sykes-Picot agreement which led to the creation of Iraq and which was a key influence on the current map of the Middle East; the story of a woman whose sisters all live in Kurdistan and yet find themselves in four different countries; and a young man’s account of how he escaped the war in Syria to travel, via the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Ocean, to Nottingham.
Performed by a cast from Bakur, England, Iran and Syria the show currently lasts 80 minutes, but we’re determined to get that down to 70 as we work on the finishing touches before we take it out across Nottingham and further afield. We’ll post the dates as soon as we confirm them and we hope to see some of you there.