As we enter week two of rehearsals and gear up for the General Election, I’ve been thinking about the question many people have asked me.
Is The Welcoming Party political?
Well, it is allowing young people to practice being a political member of our society who can choose to engage with important issues of our time.
Is it telling children what to think? Who to vote for?
No, it is not our job to tell children what to think. Theatre for children can provoke feelings and reflections so that they can make up their own mind. Adults who accompany the children often engage in a more open way when seeing something through children’s eyes.
The Welcoming Party celebrates the idea of the UK being welcoming to those who need to relocate due to difficulty and danger in their homeland. It does not question whether people need asylum or delve into the reasons why. It accepts that, if they left their homes and everything important to them then they must have needed to.
The show focuses on their journey and the moment of their arrival. The stories are based on real experiences of people who have arrived from Sudan, Iraq, Nigeria, Congo and Syria.
The stories are told in an accessible and highly visual and musical way, allowing them to be interpreted from whatever perspective the audience member has, regardless of age or political leaning.
However, I would hope that it encourages empathy, an understanding of basic human rights and a recognition of our shared responsibility towards those in need.
As Artists it feels particularly vital right now to create something for Manchester International Festival which promotes unity not division.