Our Arts Officer Belinda managed to grab a quick interview with the co-director Rosanna Jahangard at the Fringe.
Where did you get the idea for the play?
We read an article in the Guardian about hundreds of young people who go missing from Care, most of them minors from abroad who were either refugees or had clearly been trafficked into the country. We wanted to do the play on the fates of those children, to uncover the world of child trafficking and child labour in Britain.
Through social services we met Hanibal, an Eritrean refugee. His story was so gripping, so awe-inspiring, we had no choice but to work with him and write about it.
What involvement did refugees and people seeking asylum have in putting the play together?
Reading Refugee Support Group introduced us to young refugees. For many we were the only people who actually took the time to listen, and to talk about feelings rather than just facts.
At one point I sat in a room with 7 young men from Afghanistan and I was trying to explain what theatre and drama was. One of them said ‘that’s just what it’s like at home though, everyday’. That became the last line of the play: ‘If it’s drama you’re after, you should visit my home’.
Some of my cousins left Iran because of clashes with the authorities and are now asylum seekers and refugees, so I was able to relate to the people we were interviewing.
What are your plans for the future with the production?
We’re so proud a Youth Theatre with no audition process or hierarchy could stand alongside professional companies and get some recognition.
Since doing the play those involved have become very passionate about refugee rights and I think they would all like to consider keeping All the Queen’s Children alive in some way… so we’ll have to wait and see!