On Saturday, I was able to go and watch RULE35, a new provocative interactive show that propels you straight into the heart of the British detention system.
The show was directed by Cheryl Martin who I think is a fantastic artist but in addition to this, the women who created and performed in the show were the WAST women I had worked with last year using creative agency to create awareness about their plight. So imagine my delight when the first guard to meet me at entrance of the show, was one of the inspirational women who practiced her poem with me. Except instead of a hello, she screamed at me to ‘Move’ and ’empty your bag!’
I was soon blindfolded and led to my chair, roughly pushed down and had to sweat out a rising fear under huge bright spotlights. The rest of the show took you through fear, sadness, frustration, anger and a tiny bit of happiness for the lucky few who gain leave to stay in the UK. Most don’t and are soon deported or treated like criminals in Yarls Wood.
The highlight for me had to be meeting the wonderful women at the end of the show. After taking photos with them, I checked with Maryam, one of the women who is still waiting for asylum status to be granted, if I could share them on social media. Her answer moved me to tears.. ‘Go ahead,’ she said, ‘We’re not afraid anymore!’ X