Who was involved in the working on this project?
Well of course the most important people were the young refugees who participated in our workshops and without whom the project could not have even begun. Their names are listed in the credits but anonymised and changed on film to maintain confidentiality. We had three groups in London, groups in Liverpool and in Birmingham and they were from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran. We made a decision to limit participation to boys from these areas for the purpose of this project but further workshops will deal with girls too and refugees from other countries.
Some boys spoke English and much of the work was designed to allow communication without language - laughter and tears are international! Our interpreters spoke Pashtu, Dari (Farsi) and Sorani and were really excellent joining in the action as the scene demanded. Of course we were working with teenagers so the action became over enthusiastic at times necessitating constant reminders that we were 'acting' and the occasional intervention to stop the re-enactments from becoming too realistic! In general the youngsters had a great time and in the final 'Buzz' of feedback at the end of each day made comments such as
"I have never done any acting and I did not know what we would do, but I really enjoyed it and want to do more"
"When we acted some of the pieces and did the dance, it reminded me of home and it felt good"
"It helped me to remember all the hard things that had happened to me and all the difficult journey and you helped me to feel I had achieved something"
"I enjoyed it so much, I would like to do this every day, Thank you very much"
And we too would like to do it every day - One of our aims is to raise funds so that we can have a permanent service to work with young refugees.
It is our practice to film some of the workshop sessions held with young people to give them feedback and to enable dialogue between groups of youth. The basis of the work is 'psychodramatic' in that it is not a drama class or merely a role play exercise but facilitates the expression and sharing of emotion and brings about healing and positive change.
We decided that the plight of the young asylum seekers needed to be brought to the attention of the public and those who may be able to help us in our work and to assist in making changes in the way that these children are handled by statutory authorities. The young people readily agreed to including footage of their sessions in our charity documentary and some also gave personal interviews. Time constraints meant that we could not include all the stories but many overlap and our enactments covered 'composites' of common experiences.
We were very clear that we wanted these young people to tell their stories themselves without professional 'experts' and without policy makers giving their views. Asylum does not present 'opinion' it presents hard facts delivered in a creative manner by traumatised children who have been very brave to put themselves on the 'front line'.
It is bound to engender controversy and discussion ... I firmly believe and hope that it will also engender compassion and assistance.
Credits (Full credits available at screenings)
A Dial-Media Production For Youth Support
Thank you to the many people who assisted in this project and to the young Asylum seekers without whom this work would not have been possible.
Dial-Media is a subdivision of the charity Youth Support Charity No 296080
All individuals gave informed consent to participation and whilst the drama was based on true stories, names were changed to maintain confidentiality.
All material is exclusively owned by Youth Support Charity and no reproduction or public showing of any material is allowed without prior permission.
This production is dedicated to the Children of
Iraq, Iran and all other areas of human conflict.
c Dial-Media 2009/2010