Getting ready for Open Churches Week 2017
Spearheaded by Rachel Partington, Artistic Director of Theatre for Justice and a student at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Still Here will be performed in the grounds of St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. It is the first time the Church of England has sponsored a performance at the Fringe.
The play is based on the experiences of an Eritrean refugee who Rachel spent time with when she visited the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in December 2015. It tells the story of his journey from Eritrea to Calais, fleeing persecution for his Christian faith, as well as Rachel’s journey to Calais and meeting with him. The production draws on the talent of both cast and creatives from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
The play explains how the man Rachel met walked for nine days to leave his country, how the churches in his country were shut down, how worshipping Jesus was declared illegal and his mother and sister were imprisoned for their faith, and how even in his darkest hours he says that God had never left his side.
Speaking about her hopes for the play, Rachel said “After my visit to Calais I was determined that this man’s story must be heard and that these people must not be forgotten. Our vision for the show is to take to places where it could have real influence and we believe that Edinburgh is one of them. We hope that the Fringe will open doors to take the piece beyond, where it has the potential to move the hearts of those in power to further action.”
Rev Arun Arora, Director of Communications for the Church of England, said “It can be difficult to imagine the plight of those who find themselves persecuted for their faith and fleeing from their homes. As Christians we have a responsibility to speak up for the poor and the marginalised - this play is a powerful and creative away of doing just that, and we are privileged to sponsor it.”
The play previews on Wednesday 3 August and Thursday 4 August and starts its full run on Friday 5 August, showing until Wednesday 24 August at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at ZOO at St Mary’s South Lawn.