AVID Training
(You need to be a member and logged in to view this video)

In commemorating our 30th anniversary, AVID reflects on a collaboration aimed at raising awareness of the realities faced by individuals affected by immigration detention in the UK. In this project, we partnered with the University of Liverpool and Cut to the Chase Productions on a journey which combined art, activism, and lived experiences, culminating in a sharing session which we hope will be followed by a theatre production later in the year.

The project began from an adaptation of Virginia Woolf's "Between the Acts" set in a not-so-distant future where climate crises have internally displaced families in the UK, leading them to be detained in immigration removal centres. Under the guidance of playwright Ellie Lybeck and director Jen Heyes, this adaptation provided a platform for individuals with lived experiences of immigration detention to share their stories authentically.

From the outset, inclusivity and authenticity were paramount. We began with an online session in which individuals bravely shared their stories, laying the foundation for an adaptation rooted in truth. Subsequent in-person workshops became spaces of creative expression, where participants were encouraged to translate their experiences into movement, song, and art. These workshops fostered an environment of trust and collaboration, empowering individuals to reclaim their narratives.

The culminating sharing session underscored the power of collective storytelling. Prominent stakeholders in the theatre industry, alongside AVID members and partners, heard readings from Between the Acts, original songs and poems. This was followed by a panel discussion about the project, bridging the gap between art and advocacy.

Beyond the performance itself, the impact of this collaboration was felt in the community which it created. Participants spoke of feeling heard, respected, and empowered, finding solace in a community bonded by shared experiences during the process. Crucially, this collaboration sparked the will for further activism. Inspired by this journey of self-expression and reclaiming narratives, many of the participants expressed a desire to continue the endeavour and amplify their voices on a larger stage.

This collaboration stands as a testament to the transformative power of art and community. It is a reminder that, in amplifying marginalised voices, we not only tell stories – we ignite movements. Keep an eye on our website for information about the future of the production.

A snapshot of the sharing session which took place in Spring 2024.

Watch: Hidden Stories