11 Questions with the cast of The Jungle | Mohamed Sarrar

We sat down with Mohamed Sarrar who plays Omar in  The Jungle here at the Young Vic. Mohamed, who is originally from Sudan, came through the Calais “Jungle” before successfully making the crossing to the UK. A drummer and singer, he took part in Good Chance Theatre’s programme while there and since coming to the UK has performed in The Welcoming Party at Manchester International Festival and Borderline at the Brighton fringe.

1. Can you describe your character in The Jungle in three words?

Musical, energetic, soulful.

2.  What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this particular Young Vic production?

Being on the Young Vic stage and being able to tell people about the refugee crisis.

3. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

Hopefully audiences will feel closer to the crisis – and be inspired to help in their own small way.

4. Did you do anything unusual to prepare for this role?

I spent time in the Jungle camp so I didn’t need to prepare as I’d already lived there!

5. What was it like working with Good Chance Theatre?

I have always loved working with Good Chance Theatre, since the first time I found them. They treat refugees as humans. It’s an honour for me to work with them.

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Having a chat with the other performers and doing some humming as a vocal warm up.

Ammar Haj Ahmad (Safi) and Nahel Tzegai (Helene) in The Jungle at the Young Vic © Leon Puplett.jpg

Ammar Haj Ahmad (Safi) and Nahel Tzegai (Helene) in The Jungle at the Young Vic © Leon Puplett.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Not to lose touch with anyone who was kind to you.

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

I don’t have a specific one!

9. What is your favourite play (that you’ve seen / read / worked on)?

It’s actually a play I saw at the Young Vic – A Man of Good Hope.

10. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud.

This really funny Arabic joke about a pen – I can’t tell you it.

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something that you’ve never told anyone before.

Back home in Sudan, I fell in love with my Chemistry teacher, so I deliberately left the answers blank on my exam so my family would get me tutoring with her. If my dad found out he’d be very angry!

The Jungle runs until 9 Jan. Find out more about the production here. Tickets are sold out but you are welcome to queue for returns on the day. 

11 Questions with the cast of The Jungle | Elham Ehsas

We sat down with Elham Ehsas who plays Muzamil (Maz) in critically acclaimed The Jungle here at the Young Vic. Elham, who is originally from Afghanistan, moved to the UK aged 10 with his family and is one of a truly global cast of actors, including many from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through the Calais “Jungle” itself.

1. Can you describe your character in The Jungle in three words?

Brave, short-tempered, funny.

2. What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this particular Young Vic production?

The range of actors involved and their backgrounds.

3. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

I think it will make audiences more aware of what’s happening in their own back gardens.

4. Did you do anything unusual to prepare for this role?

I went to the Calais “Jungle” a few times.

5. What was it like working with Good Chance Theatre?

Really good!

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Practicing the harmonica.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“When going through hell, keep going.”

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them? 

Elon Musk. I’d say – “How’s it going?”

9. What’s your favourite play that you’ve ever seen/read/worked on?

Skellig! I watched it on a school trip when I was really young and had just moved to England and could barely speak English – it was amazing.

10. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Milan (Moein Ghobsheh who plays Omid) has a line in the play where he says “Iran will resist too!” and the way he says it always makes me laugh so much.

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something you’ve never told anyone before. 

In Afghanistan, when I was small, I loved the smell of soil when it gets wet (I think there’s a name for this…*), and I always wanted to taste it. So I’d lick the walls (which are made out of mud) to try and get that taste!

The Jungle runs until 9 Jan. Find out more about the production here. Tickets are sold out but you are welcome to queue for returns on the day. 

* Editor’s note: Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɪkɔːr/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek πέτρα petra, meaning “stone”, and ἰχώρ īchōr, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

Casting announcement: meet cast of The Jungle

We’re thrilled today to announce the cast for The Jungle – a co-production between Young Vic and the National Theatre with Good Chance Theatre, commissioned by the National Theatre. Running at the Young Vic from 7 Dec 2017 – 6 Jan 2018.

This is a truly global cast which includes actors from Afghanistan, Algeria, Eritrea, Iran, Sudan, Syria, the UK and Zimbabwe, including many from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through the Calais ‘Jungle’.

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Raphael Acloque makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle. 
Theatre includes:
As You Like It, Rabbit, Fast Labour, Nell Gwyn, Macbeth, Hindle Wakes, The Lady’s Tragedy, The Rivals, Death and the Maiden, The Comedy of Errors, The Duchess of Malfi (LAMDA)
Television includes:
24: Legacy, Knightfall, Humans, Tyrant, The Secret Agent, Versailles, La Maison D’Alexina
Film includes:
Allied, Burnt, The Danish Girl

Ammar Haj Ahmad makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle.Ammar-Haj-Ahmad.jpg
Theatre includes: LOVE (National Theatre / Birmingham Repertory); The Great Survey of Hastings (Ladie’s Parlour); Goats/Told From the Inside (Royal Court); Kan Yama (Cockpit Theatre); Mawlana (Mosaic Rooms); The Knight and the Crescent Hare (UK tour); Babel (Caledonian Park); One Thousand and One Nights (The Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, Toronto / Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh)
Television includes: Agatha Raisin, Letters from Baghdad plus many other Arabic television credits
Film includes: London Tomorrow, ALEGNA, Wall, Round Trip, Maqha Almawt, Wada’an, Monologue

Aliya Ali makes her Young Vic debut.

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Mohammad Amiri makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle.
Theatre includes:
Boy (Almeida)
Television includes: Unforgotten 2
Film includes: Fighting With My Family, City of Tiny Lights

 

Alyssa Denise D’Sousa makes her Young Vic debut.

Elham Ehsas makes his Young Vic debut.

trevor-fox.jpgTrevor Fox makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle. 
Theatre includes:
People Places & Things (UK Tour), Common (National Theatre), Billy Elliot, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time (West End); The Pitman Painters (National Theatre / New York); The Tempest, Cymbeline, The Oresteia, Measure For Measure, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Globe); Children’s Children, King Lear (Almeida)
Television includes: The Moonstone, Beowulf, Joe Maddison’s War, The Walk Daddy’s Girl, Our Friends In The North
Film includes: Bridget Jones – The Edge Of Reason, Billy Elliot

Moein Ghobsheh makes her Young Vic debut.

michael-gould.jpgMichael Gould returns to the Young Vic after appearing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A View from the Bridge (also West End / Broadway), Hamlet, Cruel and Tender. 
Theatre includes:
Waves, Women of Troy, Earthquakes in London, Our Class (National); The Audience (Apollo); The Ugly One (Royal Court); Othello (RSC); King Lear (Shakespeare’s Globe)
Television includes: Man Down, The Trial, Decline and Fall, The Bletchley Circle, Silent Witness, Wallander,
Film includes: Darkest Hour, Rogue One, Our Kind of Traitor, Crocodile, Private Peaceful, Room 8 (BAFTA Best Short)

Ansu-Kabia.jpgAnsu Kabia makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle. 
Theatre includes: 
Hamlet (RADA), Romeo and Juliet, Harlequinade, The Winter’s Tale (Garrick); To Sir With Love (Royal & Derngate / Tour); The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Mouse and His Child, Mojo, Little Eagles, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, As You Like It (RSC); She Rode Horses Like The Stock Exchange (Old Vic) and A Few Man Fridays (Cardboard Citizens)
Television includes: Wizards Vs Aliens, London’s Burning, Utopia, The Bill, 10 Days To War and Casualty
Film includes: Murder On The Orient Express
Bruk Kumelay makes his Young Vic debut.

Alex-Lawther.jpgAlex Lawther makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle. 
Theatre includes:
Crushed Shells and Mud (Southwark Playhouse); The Glass Supper, Fault Lines (Hampstead Theatre); and South Downs (Harold Pinter/Chichester)
Television includes: The End of the Fucking World, Howards End, Black Mirror
Film includes: Ghost Stories, Goodbye Christoper Robin, Freak Show, Old Boys, Departure (winner, Best Actor – Dublin International Film Festival), The Imitation Game (winner, Young British Performer – London Film Critics’ Circle) and X+Y

Jo McInnes 1 (1).jpgJo McInnes makes her Young Vic debut in The Jungle. 
Theatre includes
Wastewater, Fleshwound, Bluebird (Royal Court); The House Of Bernarda Alba, The Children’s Hour (National Theatre); M.A.D (Bush); On Blindness,dirty butterfly (Soho Theatre);
Television includesEternal Law, Five Daughters, Material Girl, Recovery, Afterlife, Sorted, The World Of Impressionists, Spooks, Living It, Playing The Field
Film includesMe and Orson Welles, The New Romantics, My Wife is an Actress, Birthday Girl, Gangster No. 1
Jo also works extensively as a director.

John-Pfumojena.jpgJohn Pfumojena makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle.
Theatre includes: Bent, Peter Pan (National Theatre); Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe); Workshop Negative (The Gate); I Am Thomas (National Theatre of Scotland); Beasty Baby (Theatre Rights/Polka Theatre); Now You See Me (Immediate Theatre); The Maids (Zimbabwe tour); Water, Bread And Salt (Tangle Café and UK tour); Dream Nation (UK tour); Much Ado About Nothing (Reps Theatre Zimbabwe); The Coup, Waiting For Constitution (Theatre In The Park, Zimbabwe) and Diary Of A Madman (Spear Theatre Zimbabwe)

Rachel-Redford.jpgRachel Redford makes her Young Vic debut in The Jungle.
Theatre includes: The Crucible (Manchester Royal Exchange); Luna Gale (Hampstead Theatre); Closer (Donmar Warehouse); A Ghost From A Perfect Place (Arcola); Adler & Gibb (Royal Court); Not The Worst Place (Sherman Theatre / Theatr Clwyd); Parallel Lines (Chapter Arts Centre); A Family Affair (Sherman Theatre); The Acid Test, Blue Stockings, King Lear (RADA) and Romeo & Juliet (The Gate, Cardiff)
Television includes: Gap Year
Film includes: Testament Of Youth, The Riot Club and Nights

 

Rachid-Sabitri.jpgRachid Sabitri makes his Young Vic debut in The Jungle.
Theatre includes: Aladdin (West End); Romeo and Juliet (West End); I Call My Brothers (Off Broadway and Arcola); Twelfth Night (Westport Country Playhouse and Northampton Theatre Royal); Rafta Rafta (Old Globe, San Diego & National Theatre UK tour); The Tale of the Allergists Wife (La Marida Playhouse, LA)
Television includes: Homeland, Criminal Minds, Madam secretary, Generation Kill, Dr Who, The Odds, The Walk, Wannabes, The Bill, Casualty, Family Business, Blue Murder 
Radio includes: Silver Street, Together

Mohamed Sarrar makes his Young Vic debut.

ben-turner.jpgBen Turner returns to the Young Vic after appearing in Soldier’s Fortune.
Theatre includes: The Kite Runner, As You Like It (Wynham’s Theatre / UK tour); The Iliad (Royal Lyceum Theatre); Maiden Voices From The Uprising (Royal Court); Richard II, Caligula (Donmar Warehouse); Awake And Sing (Almeida) Measure For Measure/Habeus Corpus (tour) The Merchant Of Venice (RSC / tour)
Television includes: The Coroner, WPC 56, Death In Paradise, Casualty, The Bill, Dr Who, Love Soup
Film includes: Six Days, 300: Rise Of An Empire, The Fifth Estate, Adulthood, Syriana

Nahel-Tzegai.jpgNahel Tzegai makes her Young Vic debut in The Jungle.
Theatre includes: How It Ended (Bush Theatre); Ring (BAC); The Ship’s Name (Royal Court); You Are Currently The Highest Bidder, Block 9, Virtually_Real (Roundhouse) and Isilwanyana Esoyikekayo (Trinity College)
Radio includes: Black Dog, Cuttin’ It and The Brave Little Tailor

The Jungle is directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, and written by Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy – the joint-artistic directors of Good Chance Theatre which was originally based in the ‘Jungle’ in Calais and then in the north of Paris next to the refugee welcome centre for the first half of 2017.

10% of tickets for The Jungle will be offered to refugees.

Find out more about the show and book your tickets here.

The Jungle Safe Space performance

Last year we introduced our first set of inclusive performances.  These included a Safe Space performance for those who have experienced mental health problems, a dementia friendly performance and a ‘babes in arms’ performance.  All of these were highly successful and rewarding.

We are pleased to offer a new inclusive performance.  Like the previous events, it is open to all audience members and has been created in partnership with the show’s creative and technical teams.

The Young Vic Safe Space performance of The Jungle particularly welcomes people who have experienced trauma, along with their families, friends, carers, as well as anyone who feels this relaxed atmosphere would be beneficial to them. It will be on 3 January at 2.30pm.

Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, the co-founders of Good Chance Theatre, originally conceived their dome in Calais as a place for people to share their highly traumatic experience and to escape or, if they chose to, to confront the situations they found themselves in. The Jungle Safe Space performance is a continuation of this vision and has been developed through conversations with In Place of War and Freedom from Torture.

There will be a dedicated ‘break-out’ room outside of the auditorium available throughout. During the performance, it will be possible to come and go as you wish. For example, it might be helpful to take some time out to relax in the ‘break-out’ room or bar, use the bathroom or get some fresh air outside.

There are a selection of tickets available to buy online but if you require something more specific or want to talk through your seating options, just contact the Welcome Team via email welcometeam@youngvic.org or give them a call 020 7922 2922.

For the past thirteen years, In Place of War has worked with creative communities in some of the most challenging contexts in the world. In Place of War is a support system for community artistic, creative and cultural organisations in places of conflict, revolution and areas suffering the consequences of conflict. Find out more about their work.

Freedom from Torture provides counselling, group therapy and ongoing support for survivors of torture in the UK, tailoring the support they offer to suit each person. Read about their projects, campaigns and fundraising work.

For a full list of all our upcoming accessible performances, visit our Access for All page.  If you’re coming to see a show and have specific access requirements, please contact us in advance so that we can make your visit as enjoyable as possible. For more information please call us on 020 7922 2922 (Textphone 18001 020 7922 2922).

Good Chance launch a brand new temporary theatre in Paris

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We’re pleased to announce that Young Vic associate company Good Chance have built and launched a new temporary theatre in Paris following on from their previous venue at the refugee camp in Calais last year.

The team have spent the last four months in Paris, trying to understand the complex problems faced by the growing refugee population there. Through meeting and talking with theatres, artists and humanitarian associations they set out to create an inclusive space that helps to create empathy and understanding through theatre and art.

The theatre is an impressive 11-metre dome, that will migrate through Paris with a longer term view of setting the theatre up during long encampments in different places. The Good Chance team will be creating a daily artistic programme with local people and refugees.

A spokesperson for Good Chance said “As the ties between Britain and Europe are redrawn, we want to build new cultural links with our French and international friends, standing alongside them as we re-imagine new, more exciting, more united worlds.

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The Good Chance team were joined by members of the Young Vic team to help with the build. 

Good Chance Paris will be in the north of the city in partnership with Collectif MU before moving to the gardens of the Theatre de la Ville for the duration of the Chantiers d’Europe Festival (2-24 May) before continuing its migration across Paris.

Pioneering theatre company Good Chance are based at the Young Vic. Good Chance builds temporary theatres of hope and works in solidarity to make people’s voices heard.

For more information, please visit http://goodchance.org.uk/

Photography credit: David Sandison

 

HORIZONS | a season exploring the lives of refugees

The Young Vic presents:

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A new season across three strands of the Young Vic’s work – productions on all three stages, on film and through Taking Part projects – is launched today.

A note from our Artistic Director, David Lan:
“Horizons is the Young Vic’s response to the world as it is now. People in distress need help and they need to be heard. We want to provide a powerful means for audiences at home and abroad to connect with the political, social and human realities refugees face. These are the central stories of our age. We are thrilled and moved to be working with compassionate and fearless people, some of whom had never been to a theatre before, as well as writers and artists including Paul Mason, Ian Rickson, Deanna Rodger, Isango Ensemble, Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson.

We are delighted to welcome Good Chance to our home on The Cut as an associate company, and to be able to support the inspirational work of the Joes and their team. We are proud to have been recognized by City of Sanctuary with an award for our work with refugee communities. By becoming a Theatre of Sanctuary, we extend our commitment to raising awareness of the plight of refugees.”
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Horizons launches with the release of the Young Vic’s latest short film, Astoria, written and directed by Paul Mason, former economics editor of Channel 4 News and BBC’s Newsnight. It follows a Syrian refugee’s journey to the West. Once there, an encounter with the past in a Budapest hotel draws a parallel between Europe’s historical and current response to refugees.

We’ve also announced Now We Are Here (20 – 30 Jul) which tells the true stories of four LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people, all asylum seekers and refugees living in the UK. Over eight months, they participated in a series of workshops at the Young Vic led by director Ian Rickson and in partnership with charity Micro Rainbow International. Now, working with award-winning poet and spoken word artist Deanna Rodger, four actors will bring these important stories of intolerance, belonging and courage to the Young Vic’s Clare studio. The strictly limited run of performances will be free to attend. To book tickets, click here. We are welcoming donations to two charities, Micro Rainbow International and Room to Heal, chosen by our collaborators which work with refugees in the UK. Donations can be give online when booking free tickets or at our box office.

Previously announced work in the Horizons programme includes Queens of Syria, a multimedia production featuring an all-female cast of Syrian performing a new version of The Trojan Women, to the background of the award-winning documentary of their story. Queens of Syria is performed in Arabic and will tour the UK following its opening at the Young Vic (5 – 9 July). And A Man of Good Hope, co-produced with South Africa’s Isango Ensemble and the Royal Opera House, brings to life Jonny Steinberg’s extraordinary book about one refugee’s journey from Mogadishu to Cape Town. A Man of Good Hope runs at the Young Vic from 6 Oct – 12 Nov. Tickets for both shows are on sale now.

We’re also excited to announce that pioneering theatre company Good Chance will have a new base here at the Young Vic. As the company prepares to develop and continue its work with refugees, it will receive support from the Young Vic team. Joe and Joe said:
“We are thrilled to be working with the Young Vic. Having a home is so important. We know this from the people we work with. We are thankful to the Young Vic for giving us a home in London as we strive to build new theatres of hope.”

We are also delighted to receive a Theatre of Sanctuary Award from City of Sanctuary. The Award recognises our past and current endeavours to raise awareness of refugee communities and to take action to welcome and include them in its activities.
Amongst other projects in recent months, in April 2016 the Young Vic hosted the free-to-attend Beyond Borders conference in association with Counterpoints Arts and Platforma. The day provided a chance for artists and companies to hear about the Young Vic’s work with refugees and asylum seekers and to open up discussions on wider themes including pathways for artists from refugee and migrant backgrounds, how participatory work can link to a theatre’s programming, and international connections between artists.
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More on our Horizons announcement here: www.youngvic.org/horizons