‘Asma – Routes Bedford’, a large-scale puppetry and sound installation theatre piece by physical theatre ensemble, Theatre Témoin, will be screened at a number of venues as part of Refugee Week 2019.
The commission, which was produced by Bedford Music in Detention and delivered by Bedford Creative Arts in partnership with The Higgins Bedford, was developed in collaboration with local refugee, asylum seeker and migrant groups, as well as local inclusion group Living it Up.
The project, which showcased in October 2018 as part of BedPop Fun Palaces at The Higgins, Bedford, has been made into a film by Andy Willsher and follows the story of Asma:
“Come sit, I can tell you want to hear the story”. Meet Asma, a Syrian woman forced to leave her homeland. Hear how she and her young daughter Rose escape from the dragons who take their home and flee from the wizard’s burning mist, and begin the long road to find safety. Inspired by true stories from across the globe, ‘Routes Bedford’ is a fantastical journey through danger, hope, and humanity.”
The details of Asma’s journey, including the character’s names, through to Rose’s teddy bear and the family’s vine leaves recipe came directly from participants who took part in a series of workshops. These were led, directed and finalised by Theatre Témoin, with the local refugee, migrant, and inclusion community groups in Bedford.
The workshops combined storytelling and music, based on the theme of journeys and migration. Participants listened to soundtracks of songs made with detainees at Yarl’s Wood IRC, and were invited to explore these personal journey’s through movement, writing and drawing. With this material, the artist created Asma and her character’s journey to Yarl’s Wood.
The film will appear as an installation at the following venues during Refugee Week 2019:
The Higgins Museum Bedford – 15th – 24th June
The Place Theatre Bedford – 18th – 20th June
*’Routes’ by Theatre Témoin. Commissioned by Without Walls, Stockton International Riverside Festival and Greenwich+Docklands International Festival. Supported using public funding by Arts Council England. R&D supported by Theatre Delicatessen.
Image: Screenshot of the film by Andy Willsher