Dear Home Office
JUNE 2016 – FEBRUARY 2017
Shortlisted for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award 2016
An appeal to those in power, uniquely created with and performed by our group of eight refugee young men who arrived in the UK as children from Afghanistan, Albania, Eritrea and Somalia. Searching for safety. Without their families. Holding on to their hopes and dreams for the future. They play versions of themselves on stage, offering a window into their world and the challenges they are now facing – navigating immigration and asylum interviews, assessments to prove their age, fitting in at college, buying coats for an English winter and learning to live alongside each other in Local Authority Care.
With the number of unaccompanied minors arriving in the UK on the rise, and the vast majority of them male, we explored multiple genres to tell their stories, using film, live music, dance, spoken word and comedy to offer vibrant alternatives to standard refugee narratives.
Written and directed by Dawn Harrison and Rosanna Jahangard.
Created in partnership with Afghan Association Paiwand with support from Southbank Centre. Funded by Arts Council England, with additional funding from the John Lyons Charity School Holiday Fund.
Dear Home Office: The Movie
After Dear Home Office's Edinburgh run, we were approached by an American Theatre Producer who funded us to make a film version of the play. This was shot by Director Ray Kilby, in partnership with London College of Communication in February 2017 and will be released in summer 2018.
A celebration of boyhood, resilience and coming of age.
Alchemy Festival (Southbank Centre), London
SOAS University, London
Pleasance Theatre, London
Being A Man Festival (Southbank Centre), London
Bunker Theatre, London
‘Ragged but essential theatre’
‘Powerful account of hidden lives, unheard voices’
THREE WEEKS ****
‘Dear Home Office is perhaps one of the best examples of art for a cause that you’ll see this festival.’
‘As this is their first time on stage, it’s a brave venture, and they deserve all credit for taking control of their own representation’
THE STAGE ****
‘Heartwarming, educational and humorous, this is a bold piece of theatre making that works admirably to win over the huge audience out there who want to hear its emotive message’
THE SCOTSMAN ***
‘Although the full names of the young actors are not used, they are impressive performers with a terrific sense of fun and force of personality, who – working in a language that is not their own – tells us more in a short hour about the current refugee crisis, and the UK’s questionable response to it, than we could learn from standard news bulletins in months’
THE LIST ***
‘A vivid and touching exploration of what home means’ | ‘The films of the boys settling in for Christmas away from families and marveling over snow deeply poignant, and it takes a hard heart to resist. These accounts are far too important to be kept secret’
ED FEST MAGAZINE ***
‘Poignant and powerful, Dear Home Office has a message we should all be listening to’
BOUQUETS & BRICKBATS BLOG *****
‘Theatre is a diverse art form that serves many purposes, but few of its incarnations are as affecting and important as a project like Dear Home Office’
‘It’s a raw and truthful expose – and it’s a vital piece of work’
‘Dear Home Office is bloody brilliant. The authenticity and proximity of them to the story you’re hearing is absolutely remarkable…These people have got virtually no experience in performing whatever, but they’re getting up and telling their story in a really unique way, and that’s exactly what the Fringe should be about’