A NEW play which explores the traumatising impact of the asylum system and its effect on families is set to preview in Kirkcaldy next week.
“Some Other Mother” by A J Taudevin is being performed at the Adam Smith Theatre on Thursday, June 6 at 7.30 p.m. to coincide with Refugee Week Scotland (June 17-23).
A J, who has been working with asylum seekers and refugees specifically with mothers and children, for the past six years in Scotland, told The Press she is really excited to be bringing her work to the town and hopes it will raise awareness of the struggles facing those seeking asylum.
She said: “The play is about how the asylum system is traumatic for the individuals affected. It’s the story of a single mother who is housed in Glasgow and is seeking asylum in the UK with her ten-year-old daughter.
“The story is told through the eyes of the daughter and how she comes to terms with being in a new place listening to a different language, full of strange Scots phrases, and trying to understand her new environment.
“She observes her mother slowly losing control of their future. Because it’s through her eyes it is really playful and quite funny in places as she re-creates things she sees and makes friends through her imagination. While it is a tragic story, it is also playful and fantastical at the same time.”
AJ was inspired to write “Some Other Mother” in part by the work of her brother, photojournalist Robin Taudevin, who in 2005 spent some time living with asylum-seeking families in Glasgow’s Kingsway Court.
An exhibition of his work is accompanying the play as it tours Scotland. She continued: “I moved to Glasgow from London as my brother was up here working with asylum seekers. I was documenting them through him and I met a lot of people waiting for the result of their asylum claim and made friends in the community.
“I became really involved as an activist for the rights of asylum seekers, campaigning on their behalf and I was working particularly with groups of women and mothers. We would offer them a cup of tea and a chat offering them friendship and discussing the struggles they were facing. I have been involved in this since 2007.”
She said “Some Other Mother” is quite gritty and may prove to be an eye-opener for audiences in the Lang Toun: “It is quite an angry piece of work and it’s not all roses and light,” she explained.
“It is surreal and wild and is basically a call to action. What I would like people to take away from the play is two things - more awareness of the situation asylum seekers are facing, particularly women and children, and for them to take action whether that be through sharing information about the asylum system or not judging asylum seekers too quickly.
“It’s also about a sense of community which is being eroded more and more so I hope it inspires people to feel part of their local community. The play will definately be an eye opener for some.”
A J’s other writing credits include “Chalk Farm”, “Demons”, “The Jean-Jacques Rousseau Show”, “UNtruth”, “The YelloWing” and she is on a year-long attachment with The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh as one of the Traverse Fifty. She also won the Playwrights Studio Scotland New Writers Award in 2010 and with their support she wrote “Some Other Mother”, which is touring Scotland this year.
A J added: “I am really excited about bringing the play to Kirkcaldy and it will be nice to open in a small town as opposed to one of the bigger cities. From what I hear of Kirkcaldy, we will be engaging with a really welcoming community.”
Naeem Khalid, FRAE Fife co-ordinator, said there are around 10-15 refugee families living in Fife and that FRAE Fife have supported them on immigration issues, benefits, community safety and education.
He said that due to a ‘no recourse to public funds’, not many agencies have the remit or the resources to support refugees/asylum seekers in the Kingdom. As a result the majority of them tend to move to Glasgow as the government has given contracts to agencies such as Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Refugee Council for support services.
While Maciej Dokurno, chairman of Fife Migrants Forum, said the Forum tries to help those affected wherever it can. He said: “We are a charity that seeks to support all migrants, including refugees fleeing persecution. We strive to ensure that everyone who comes here seeking protection is treated fairly and with dignity, throughout the asylum process and beyond.”
He added: “We would encourage refugees to contact our office in Kirkcaldy on (01592) 642927 for confidential advice and support.” Tickets for “Some Other Mother” are priced £12, £10 and £5 and are available from the Adam Smith Theatre.