Asylum drama to be staged in unique settings across Northern Ireland

Lives in Translation is a striking new site-specific production which will be brought to life in a variety of regional venues including courthouses

Written by Rosemary Jenkinson and directed by Paula McFetridge, Lives in Translation is a hard-hitting new production based on interviews with female Somali asylum seekers and their support workers. The show celebrates the human survival instinct through the story of one woman, Asha, who in fleeing conflict becomes trapped in a different struggle. She is trapped within the suffocating bureaucracy surrounding asylum seeking.

Staging the performance in Dungannon Courthouse is a powerful statement on how individuals going through the asylum process can be made to feel to feel as though they were on trial. It will be a once in a life time experience for audiences to see theatre brought to life in such a unique setting. Performed by Tony Flynn, Julie Maxwell and Raquel McKee, featuring original music by Dónal O’Connor and video art by Conan McIvor, this poignant new drama explores how recent asylum seekers must navigate support systems through translation, how disempowering and frustrating this system can be, and ultimately how time is controlled most by those it affects least.

Paula McFetridge, Artistic Director of Kabosh, says 'Kabosh is dedicated to giving voice to the people in our community whose stories most need to be heard. Those individuals going through the asylum and refugee process need to be represented in our shared culture and community. We aim to foster an understanding of the struggles endured and encourage informed debate. Theatre is a powerful tool for sharing perspectives collectively, the impact of which is felt long after the audience has left the space. Staging the performance in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin is a reminder of our intimate connection with language and how difficult and disempowering it can be when our words and stories are filtered through translation, when we are forced to rely on another’s interpretation. What gets lost in translation?'

Rosemary Jenkinson, playwright, says 'Two years ago, I was shocked to read in the papers about a refugee who felt so let down by government agencies that he set himself on fire outside Belfast City Hall to draw attention to his plight. The refugee crisis is clearly the urgent political story of our time. To write Lives in Translation I interviewed asylum seekers living in Belfast to learn the truth about their lives, from why they had to leave their countries through to the complexities of trying to claim asylum within the UK and Ireland”

Gilly Campbell, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, added, 'Lives in Translation is a powerful, challenging drama which reflects the times we live in and demonstrates the value of the arts in stimulating discussion around difficult social issues. The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is pleased to support Kabosh with this new production and I would encourage everyone to go along.'

The tour visits S13 Belfast (Oct 25 - 28), Downpatrick Courthouse (Oct 31) Ards Arts Centre (Nov 1), Dungannon Courthouse (Nov 2), and Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin (Nov 4) supported by National Lottery and public funding though the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Booking and information for all other performances can be found at