The play, Night Light, which centres on the gut-churning experience of two young people seeking asylum, comes to the Capstone Theatre on Wednesday 25th January. Presented by Unity Theatre and specially commissioned by Mandala Theatre, a new Oxford-based theatre company, which has social justice at its core, the play previewed at an international theatre festival in Grenoble this summer, to enthusiastic reviews.
Night Light is Mandala’s debut production. Written by award-winning playwright Nadia Davids, and directed by Mandala’s artistic director Yasmin Sidhwa, formerly creative learning director at Oxford’s Pegasus Theatre, the play highlights the situation of young people arriving in England, alone and seeking sanctuary, and what happens to them when they turn 18.
Night Light’s relevance is greater than ever, post-Brexit, and Yasmin Sidhwa believes that exploring this issue in dramatic form can bring to life the problems faced by these young people, showing that they are not just a set of statistics. “They have no family and their homes have been destroyed. They have been housed and cared for in Britain, but at 18 they can be kicked out with nowhere to go. England has become their home but England no longer wants them.”
The Mandala team has talked to and run workshops with refugees and asylum seekers, and their experiences have hugely informed the play, as has academic research. They will also be involved in feedback after the show. Yasmin tells how one young refugee said:, “These are our lives and we want people to know about this.”
Night Light has been touring nationally since September, and comes to Liverpool’s Capstone Theatre on Wednesday 25th January. The production is the first part of a three-year creative programme. Supported by Arts Council England, the company aims to commission, produce and tour a new play each year, with actors aged 18 to 25 from diverse backgrounds. In addition, it will debate key issues with communities, including refugees, NGOs and charities, local councillors and politicians at each venue. The feedback Mandala gets will help to influence future government policy. “We hope that our post-show debates will be a platform for views from all sides, said Yasmin. “I would like people to go away having experienced something new and saying that they hadn’t thought of it like that.”
Tickets for the show are priced at £13.50 with concessions available at £11.50 and are available from the Box office on 0151 709 4988 or online at www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk.