Refugee Stories: Surviving and Celebrating 

Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees at The Wandsworth Arts Fringe Festival 2017

On Tuesday May 9th 2017 over 100 people gathered at the Sound Lounge, Tooting for an evening of Film, Comedy, Stories and Education.

 

Refugee Stories was the first ever event by Wandsworth Welcomes Refugees at The Wandsworth Arts Fringe where Filmmakers, writers, refugees and comediennes combined forces for a sold out show. 

The evening kicked off with a passionate plea from filmmaker and presenter Dena Arya for people to get involved in supporting refugees, and to consider related issues such as the arms trade and human rights in the upcoming election.

The crowd was absorbed by the documentary she made with Kyla Simone Bruce about what happened to refugees after the destruction of Calais, and her update on conditions now in France - where the police are confiscating refugee's tents and sleeping bags and doing everything they can to move them on.

Next we heard tales of a harrowing flight from Afghanistan over the mountains to Pakistan by Shabibi Shah, who at times was barefoot in winter, carrying her 4 month old baby, shepherding her other 2 small children and begging for food. Shabibi's grace and humour shone through her discussion with Marion Molteno, an award winning writer based in Clapham. Book sales afterwards were brisk! Please email us if you want links for the books

"What makes you really angry?" was the question two women in onesies were asking before they got on stage. What followed involved blenders, gazpacho and party poppers for the audience, and a horn every 60 seconds, A wacky and inspiring piece about being a force for change in your own life by Little Soldier Productions.

The evening was wonderfully compered by WWR's Fleur Anderson, featured artwork by Brixton artist Sophie Herxheimer and a collection at the end for Just Shelter's 24 June convoy to northern France raised £300!

"I would like to send a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved in creating and attending the show, in particular The Sound Lounge and the artists and performers who donated their time and the venue," said Nichole Beauchamp, the show's organiser. "It utterly refutes all the negative things you read in the press about public sentiment towards refugess. There is a lot of goodwill out there, a lot of people doing important work to improve the lives of refugees and a lot of people who want to support that."

Please enjoy more photos from what was a really special evening.

Thank you to Rahul Patel for taking and sharing your photos with us: