pic by Angela Catlin. Members of Share My Table display their artwork ahead of performance and exhibition at Tramway
pic by Angela Catlin. Members of Share My Table display their artwork ahead of performance and exhibition at Tramway

New Scots from more than thirteen countries will perform at Tramway in Glasgow this weekend (20 & 21 October).

The performers all came to Scotland initially seeking refugee protection and will be performing publicly for the first time.

The group, called Share My Table, is made up of 40 men and women from Glasgow’s refugee community and includes people from Syria, Sudan, Libya, Nigeria, Iran and Iraq. The youngest performer is 18 and the oldest is in her 60s.

The performance and accompanying art exhibition have been devised by the group themselves and includes powerful reflections on the experience of forced migration and settling in Scotland.

Over the last six months the group has worked with two professional artists to learn a number of creative techniques, including photography, sculpture and performance. The group will take Tramway audiences on a ‘walking and talking’ journey throughout the show, exploring themes of identity, belonging and new beginnings.

Veronique, 43, from Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the performers. She said:

“My time with Share My Table, in just a few months, has been one of the greatest times in my life. Being with Share My Table means that I don’t feel homesick anymore, like I did before. When I first joined the group I didn’t know anyone, but now we are like one big family. Share My Table has brought us together and Scotland is now our home.”

Ahmad, 48, from Syria, also found friendship in the group. He said:

“Share My Table is a really great and useful programme. We have learned a lot – learning how to implement new work, learning about cooperation and participation. We have made new relationships and new friends. It is a unique programme and necessary for everyone.”

Pauline Diamond Salim, Acting Media Manager at Scottish Refugee Council said:

“Share My Table gives people from the refugee community in Glasgow the chance to tell their stories and present their ideas in the own words.  It gives audiences the chance to learn more about our new neighbours living and working among us in Scotland.

“We’re used to seeing news reports of people seeking refugee protection in desperate, life-threatening situations. While many of the people we work with have been through horrendous experiences they refuse to let this define them completely, as the creativity, energy and vibrancy of this performance shows.”

Councillor David McDonald, Chair of Glasgow Life and Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council said:

“Share My Table will be an enlightening experience for everyone who enjoys the performances at Tramway. There will be so many stories being told by so many distinct voices that it affords us all the opportunity to deepen our understanding of the experiences people have before they arrive in Glasgow to live.”

About Share My Table 

Meeting, making and eating since January 2017, Share My Table is a multi-art form project led by Scottish Refugee Council and Tramway and facilitated by Elena Mary Harris and Catrin Evans.

Performances: 20, 21 October, 6.30pm. Tickets £6/£8 from the box office 0845 330 3501 or online via www.tramway.org

Exhibition, 19-29 October Visual art produced during this project will be on display in Tramway’s Upper Foyer. Open daily, 12 – 5pm. Free.

Chris Pettigrew
Author: Chris Pettigrew