breaking down barriers
We are a grassroots theatre company that recognises and understands barriers to accessing the arts. We have been proud to welcome multiple refugee and asylum seeking groups to our shows, which for the majority has been their first time ever visiting the theatre. We always run a discount ticket deal for refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants (irrelevant of immigration status), and will make sure our friends locally and nationally are aware of this deal.
However, we know that cheap tickets are not the only way to ensure our shows are accessible. If audience members cannot speak fluent English we find it helpful to explain the stories before the show starts. This helps them follow the plot and recognise the characters, and also means support workers can be aware of issues raised that might require further explaining. Our production manager Liam invites our refugee audience into the theatre first to meet with some of the actors, and briefs them on what will happen when the show starts (e.g. the lights will go off, phones need to be switched off…) We check in advance (through an email or phone chat) what languages the audience speak, in case any of the 9 languages our cast speak will come in handy in this pre-show introduction.
At the end of our shows we love meeting all of our audience members, but make sure to say hello to refugee groups first. Usually this is followed by an impromptu photo shoot and lots of selfies with our actors!
Some comments from refugee groups are below:
‘It was fantastic, it helped me understand my ESOL students’
‘This was my story. You told my story’
‘Wow. It made me feel happy. It made me feel sad. It was amazing’
‘It reminded me of my life but it was so funny too. These guys are too cool!’
‘It was an amazing experience for the boys and they were so absorbed in the events of the evening. It was fantastic for them to have the chance to go up on stage and meet the cast. It was so encouraging for them to meet guys who had similar stories and see these acted out with frankness, positivity and a good laugh! We hadn't been too sure what to expect, including me, but it exceeded our expectations and we had the time of our lives.’ (Secondary School teacher)
We encourage refugee groups to visit our ‘Workshops’ page to find out how Phosphoros Theatre could work with your group.