Culture / dance / theatre

This is journey of a refugee

1 February 2024

This weekend a new immersive production opens at Stanley Arts as part of the This Is Croydon programme. Inspired by true stories of refugees and displacement, Journey of a Refugee is a blend of puppetry and performance, created by Theatre-Rites with Agudo Dance Company. We caught up with one of the cast, Croydon-based professional performer and refugee from Ethiopia, Adi Detemo, to find out more.

Croydonist: What’s your background in the arts?

Adi: I grew up acting and dancing from an early age.  I didn’t go to dance school, but I had an incredible coach Worku Semachew who taught me a lot. I practised a lot watching YouTube tutorials, dance films, music videos – just practising the moves.  After I came to the UK I was offered a place to study acting and dance at the Guilford School of Acting. I was also part of Frantic Assembly’s Ignition 2022.

Croydonist: How did you become involved in Journey of a Refugee and what’s your role?

Adi: A couple of people sent me the audition details and told me I should go and audition. There were some points mentioned like “can move, lives in Croydon, has a refugee background” and I felt like I could fit all three. I am playing Ali.

Croydonist: How have you found rehearsals so far?

Adi: Rehearsals have been challenging in a very positive way.  I’m gaining valuable knowledge from director Sue Buckmaster and choreographer Jose Agudo and my cast members and all the teams working on this project. Working with objects and puppets is a new experience for me and Sue’s unique approach to the object related work has been particularly enlightening, adding to the richness of my learning process and I’m so excited to be part of it.

Croydonist: Billed as an immersive and promenade performance, Journey of a Refugee sounds far from a typical theatre production – what can the audience expect?

Adi: The audience can expect boldness, rawness and also the audience are part of it. They are part of the story and by the end of it they will ask some questions, some questions they have never asked themselves before.

Croydonist: What are you most looking forward to about the production opening?

Adi: The people. The people coming and having that live experience, the live exchange with the audience. The emotions, the feelings, the stories. Having that transaction with the audience and sharing those kinds of moments. I’m expecting a lot!

Thanks to Adi for chatting with us.

If you’re fans of immersive theatre like we are, it’s not one to miss. Journey of a Refugee runs from this Saturday (3 February) to Sunday 18 February 2024 at Stanley Arts. You can book tickets here.

Photos courtesy of Theatre-Rites

Posted by Julia

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