Cutting-edge arts show at DMU recalls harrowing stories of refugees


Harrowing stories of people who fled war, persecution, disease and famine to find sanctuary in the UK are the inspiration behind a cutting-edge arts show coming to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).  


A refugee camp in Eritrea

Students from DMU’s Performing Arts course will join professional musicians for Hope, Sanctuary and Place, which is one of the main draws of the Festival of Research at DMU later this month.

The thought-provoking show fuses performance arts and interactive technology with a new score by innovative composer Craig Vear, Professor of Digital Performance (Music) at DMU. It builds on a creative collaboration with eight refugees and asylum-seekers, from countries including Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Iran and Pakistan.

Prof Vear said: “What we are trying to do, with dignity and respect, is express something about the experiences of our refugees and asylum seekers.

“We want to give an insight into their lives – to give an idea what it would be like to live that life - and to break down the barriers society has set up.”

Students on the Arts Council England-supported project have been working with writer and community artist Jayne Williams and Tony Graham, former artistic director of the Unicorn Theatre in London.

The performance uses the multi-media Pop-Up Play software which was developed by Prof Vear with Spark Arts.

“I’m interested in how digital technology transforms lives in performing arts,” said Prof Vear. “When you think of playing computer games, for instance, people get consumed by them. They become engrossed, as if they were actually there in them. That’s what we want to emulate.

“What you’ll actually see on the night is an interactive performance. There will be webcams, a large projection screen, musicians and performers. The score will be a digital collage.

“It has interactivity at its heart, like a computer game. The audience will be part authors and part participants”

The finished work will be 20 minutes long, and will be performed to an audience limited to around 40 people.

Hope, Sanctuary and Place: Digital Operatic Stories of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Leicester has been supported by Arts Council England, #DMUlocal and the Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities at De Montfort University.

The project has also received support from the City Of Sanctuary (Leicester) and the Red Cross.

It will be performed on Tuesday, June 27 at 6pm in the PACE building at De Montfort University. For more information and to secure a place, contact  #DMUlocal.


Posted on Tuesday 20th June 2017

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