Christina Fonthes, Shahireh Sangrezeh, Fereshteh Mozaffari
Standing in My Own Truth, part of CAN's ground-breaking Exodus theatre programme, championed the voices of women from new migrant and refugee backgrounds who wanted to speak their own truths through the medium of performance.
From April to June 2016, Director/Writer Rani Moorthy, worked with 13 women to develop their writing and performance skills. Standing in My Own Truth was an intense process taking place over 10 sessions – with some additional days for rehearsals – beginning with writing exercises to capture the women’s experiences. At the mid-point, Rani drew together the women’s writing to create a script that was rehearsed over four weeks before a debut performance as part of STUN’s programme at Z-arts.
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.
“I don’t like complaining. I just want to express it through the arts. Theatre is a very powerful way.”
The resulting production was performed at the Arnolfini Theatre in Bristol as part of the ACTA National Community Theatre Festival on Tuesday 14 June 2016 with a panel discussion about the piece the following morning. The piece was performed to an appreciative audience at STUN in Manchester the following week with a post-show discussion.
Through a further commission from ArtReach, CAN was 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, with Rachel Brogan directing. The performance was seen by around 700 audience members and received excellent feedback.
Standing In My Own Truth offered an intensive and supportive creative development opportunity for 16 refugee and migrant heritage women. The performance was seen by around 700 audience members and received excellent feedback.
“Very powerful. Moved to tears! A beautiful portrayal of individual stories echoing struggles and survival.”