New writing, politics and a return to High Tide Festival… The Stand and Be Counted (SBC) team behind Where We Began know how to push my buttons. I can’t wait to talk to them about this highly topical play…
When every citizen is ordered to return to their place of birth, Where We Began examines where we could end up.
The UK’s first Theatre Company of Sanctuary, Stand and Be Counted, present a wild and vivid vision of the future, combining storytelling, movement and live music.
Five performers from across the globe challenge existing notions of ‘home’ in a multilingual celebration of personal identity which comes to High Tide’s Walthamstow festival for one performance only as part of a 23-date national tour.
Where We Began centres around Tafadzwa Muchenje, an artist born in Zimbabwe, who SBC are currently supporting with a Home Office appeal to stay in the UK. Tafadzwa (Taf) is joined by three internationally acclaimed artists: Fernanda Mandagará, Shireen Farkhoy and Zoe Katsilerou, each portraying their autobiographic accounts of displacement which explore the free movement of people.
Where We Began is written by SBC’s artistic director Rosie MacPherson, who also performs in the production, directed by SBC’s Hannah Butterfield and produced by John Tomlinson. MacPherson explains:
“Where We Began is SBC’s biggest collaboration to date – taking our work to a new level with a multi-skilled cast from across the world. Taf came to see our production of TANJA in London in 2016 and was visibly affected during and after the performance. We met with him the following day and discovered the reason for his distress lay in his struggles to remain in the UK and fight for his citizenship.
“Taf was born in Zimbabwe and brought up in South Africa from the age of six months to ten years, after which he and his family moved to the UK on a Highly Skilled Migrant Visa (dependent, Tier 1). Since turning 21, he has been faced with deportment, meaning separation from his family, partner and friends. The Home Office wants him to return to his place of birth, Zimbabwe, but he has no family, friends or links there. His appeal has recently been accepted but is still in progress, and while so, he is unable to work, continue his studies or hold a passport or travel. As a result. he draws deeply on his own experiences and situation in the role he plays.”
Stand and Be Counted are the UK’s first “Theatre Company of Sanctuary”, alongside Theatres of Sanctuary, the Young Vic and Leeds Playhouse. Based at CAST, Doncaster, they are committed to making work with, about and for those seeking sanctuary in the UK and internationally.
After the 5.30pm HighTide performance on Sunday 23 September 2018, I’ll be joined by the Where We Began cast and Stand and Be Counted creative team.