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A Theater Erected in the Middle of a Refugee Camp (Video)

Zoe Romanowsky - published on 11/30/15 - updated on 06/07/17

Two playwrights set up a space for art and self-expression in the "Calais Jungle"

When two playwrights visited the “Calais Jungle,” an unofficial migrant and refugee camp outside Paris, they were struck by the abysmal living standards. Many different nationalities of people are crowded into the camp in makeshift tents—people from Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan—and despite their differences, there is still a sense of hope and optimism.

Much to their surprise, playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson found that people wanted to share their stories, so the two decided to create a safe, warm place where people could do that—and more. Together with volunteers from the camp community, they erected a large tent they named the Good Chance Theatre, which serves as a space for self-expression and connection through art, dance, writing, singing, poetry, storytelling and more. Ultimately, what the founders want to do is try to communicate the humanity that exists there.

The experience of art … is that it allows people to relax and takes them away from the sense of where they are into a separate space. … Thought there’s been lot of happiness here, there’s also a great deal of sadness. The only thing people need here, apart from a massive political shift, is houses and hope. And this is a massive beacon of hope, really.—Booma, a volunteer

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