Standing in My Own Truth
Written by Rani Moorthy with Christina Fonthes, Shahireh Sangrezeh, Fereshteh Mozaffari
Directed by Rani Moorthy and Rachel Brogan
Standing in My Own Truth formed part of CAN’s Refugee Women’s Theatre Programme aiming to encourage the talents of diverse women from Greater Manchester and create a voice for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds. The programme was designed to target woman that wanted to commit to a more in-depth theatre process and to speak out through the medium of theatre.
From April to June 2016, Rani Moorthy worked with a group of 13 women from Refugee and other migrant backgrounds to develop their writing and acting skills. The play was created, rehearsed and performed over just 10 sessions with a couple of additional rehearsal days so it was an intense and focussed process. The workshop process starting with writing based exercises drawing from the women’s personal experiences. About half way through the workshop process, Rani drew together the women’s writing and contributions, to create a script which was then rehearsed during the final four weeks. The final 25 minute piece was both intimate and impressionistic exploring the emotional and social dimensions of women’s lives. Truth emerged as a central theme amongst the participants as so many of the women had been accused of being liars during the process of their immigration or asylum cases, and indeed in their daily lives in the UK.
The resulting production performed at the Arnolfini Theatre in Bristol as part of the ACTA National Community Theatre Festival on Tuesday 14 June 2016 with panel discussion about the piece the following morning. The piece performed to an appreciate audience at STUN in Manchester the following week. Again the performance was followed by a post-show discussion with the Cast and Director.
Through a commission from ArtReach, CAN were able to develop the original script and rehearse the play towards three performances of Standing in My Own Truth as part of Journeys Festival International during October 2016 including full performances at Oldham Library Theatre and Manchester Museum and an extract performance at HOME Manchester.
Standing in My own Truth offered an intensive and supportive creative development opportunity for 16 refugee and migrant heritage women. The performance was seen be around 700 audience members and received excellent feedback.
“I don’t like complaining. I just want to express it through the arts. Theatre is a very powerful way. It is so powerful actually” (cast member)
“Refugees and migrants are often seen in a negative way. It was good to see that change, and to show the sad times and happy times, not just to be victims” (cast member)
“Very powerful. Moved to tears! A beautiful portrayal of individual stories echoing struggles and survival.”
“Beautiful powerful moments that were punctuated by music which made the performance even more heartfelt.”
Images: Drew Forsyth