A new theatre has been created in Calais refugee camp by English playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson.

Good Chance Theatre was launched on September 30 at Camp Calais also known as ‘The Jungle’. The theatre offers a safe environment where migrants can create and share performance art.

According to Agence France-Presse the Jungle provides shelter for approximately 6,000 refugees. However, with just 3 water points available, the camp has recently come under attack for ‘serious human rights violation’.

The migrant crisis has reached an all time high as according to BBC reports, approximately 218,394 refugees reached Europe by sea in October. This is a monthly record according to the UN.

For Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson their support for the refugee crisis has taken on a different identity, by unleashing a creative space in the Jungle they have demonstrated that despite the extreme difficulty the refugees face, there is still hope.

The distinctive dome shaped tent of the Good Chance Theatre provides various writing, dramatic and choral singing workshops. Joe Myrphy stated that a ‘desire to do something about what is happening across Europe’ was the catalyst for their artistic endeavour.

“As people, we felt we needed to do something. As playwrights we believed that theatre could do that,” he said.

Good Chance Theatre is funded by various private donors, having recently received support from the Young Victoria Theatre. Materials and equipment have been donated as part of the campaign, ‘Young Vic Taking Part’.

Murphy and Robertson plan to stage weekly productions created by the refugees as well as inviting touring theatre companies and artists to perform. They offer activities across a myriad of art forms, constantly building on the creative potential for performing arts at the camp.

Murphy and Robertson’s vision is clear, “we’re here to relive, enthuse and hopefully inspire whoever wants to be a part of the theatre”.

Their endeavour has already attracted political attention, with Green Party Leader, Natalie Benn and Party Assembly Member, Jenny Jones visiting the site in late October.

As Robertston states, “this is sometimes work about the situation and sometimes work that is completely unrelated. We are not prescriptive. This is an open home for everyone and we are looking forward to developing this further”.

Good Chance Theatre is still an evolving concept with hopes for a productive future. For more information, follow their progress @GoodChanceCal.

Words by: Catherine McMaster
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