Arts & Culture

THE JOURNEY by Badac Theatre – A drama based on true-life refugee experiences to tour both theatre and non theatre spaces

By Cait Sweeney at

The Journey by Badac Theatre is a compelling, fearless, intense and immersive slice of drama that is true to the experiences of refugees from across the globe fleeing conflict and, sometimes, certain death. Taking in both theatre and non-theatre venues it tours nationally in November and December and will be visiting Oxford on November 17.

To research the play director Steve Lambert visited Lebanon and camps on the Syrian border to learn of the desperate measures people can be forced to endure as they strive to survive. In the UK he worked with refugee communities and support organisations as well as Edinburgh based poet Ghazi Hussain, a former Palestinian refugee who fled Syria to escape torture and imprisonment – and was twice repatriated before being given leave to stay in Britain.

‘We have a legal and moral obligation to protect people fleeing bombs, bullets and tyrants, and throughout history those people have enriched our society.’ Actor Juliet Stevenson who took a refugee family into her home

Central characters in the play are a displaced mother and child who struggle to hold darkness and despair at bay during a punishing trek from their devastated, war ravaged homeland to a destination of perceived safety and security.

‘Badac are one of British Theatre’s best kept secrets’ Battersea Arts Centre

Steve Lambert noted ‘All over the world people are being forced to flee their homes to escape war, racial and religious persecution and sometimes worse. Often the countries they seek refuge in treat them as at best inconvenient and sometimes as undesirable, unwelcome and a threat. Perhaps if we had a better understanding of what they have been through we may be better able to show compassion. No one abandons their home if that home is safe and welcoming’.

The Journey tells of the emotional, psychological and physical effects experienced by those forced to flee their homes.

‘’This black experience is something to which any serious theatre-goer should submit’
The Scotsman ★★★★★ (on Badac’s Crucifixion)

Since the company’s launch in 1999, Badac Theatre Company has become established as one of the UK’s most controversial and confrontational theatre companies. As creators of extreme political art and adherents of Antonin Artaud’s ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ their unflinching work is brave, dark, all consuming and stunning in every meaning of the word. Highlighting rights violations around the world it provokes extreme reactions and polarises critics and audiences alike. Many find its brutality intensely moving and affecting, some leave, shocked and shaken. www.badactheatre.com

‘The visceral power of Badac’s work is extremely rare’ Steven Berkoff

On tour the play will be performed in a mix of both theatre and non-theatre spaces, in areas with a refugee population and with low engagement with the arts. ‘It’s too easy to just go to the usual touring theatre’s and NPO Arts Centre’s’ said Lambert. ‘Audiences can watch a show for an hour then return to comfortable warm homes to talk about inequality. I want to try to reach people who know about injustice from first hand experience’.

‘Frontline theatre in a war for truth’ ★★★★ Exeunt (on Badac’s Anna)

‘The formidable Badac Theatre Company create brutal calls to arms’ The List

Saturday 17th November 7.30pm
Oxford North Oxford Association Community Centre Diamond Place Summertown OX2 7DP
£10, £8 concs www.northoxfordassociation.co.uk