The 2001 census showed that only 2% of Plymouth's population were from a black and minority ethnic group, with small numbers representing a wide variety of backgrounds. In July 2002 the Home Office designated Plymouth as a dispersal centre for asylum seekers which has resulted in a sharp increase in numbers. Another dispersal centre, Leicester, already had an existing, well-integrated BME community (2001 census - 7.2%). In contrast Plymouth bore a dramatic change in demographic, in a short space of time which has meant that some communities have found it difficult to adjust. Many negative press stories relating to asylum seekers in Plymouth exacerbated the issue and the result has been that many communities have faced racism and discrimination due to a lack of understanding and experience. It is estimated that there are now 500 asylum seeking individuals or families in Plymouth, many of whom feel lonely and isolated and often not in touch with anyone from their country of origin.
Dialogues is an umbrella project encapsulating all Theatre Royal Plymouth's work with the refugee and asylum seeker communities in Plymouth. The general aim of the various strands is to enable refugees and people seeking asylum in Plymouth to build their confidence to share their stories and experiences with other communities, enhancing cohesion, and to access services in the city, including arts provision.
Strong links have been established over the last 5 years with asylum seekers and refugees living in Plymouth through regular weekly drama workshops led by professional drama practitioners. We now work with people from Iran, Algeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Iraq, Angola, Kurdistan, Sudan, Syria, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia, both male and female and ranging in age from 8 to 50+
We work in partnership with many other agencies and organisations who work with refugees and asylum seekers in the city including Students and Refugees Together; Refugee Action; AVID; Plymouth and District Racial Equality Council and Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support Council who are all aware of and support our work.
The Dialogues Programme is core funded by the Baring Foundation and consists of the following projects:
Dare to be Different
Dare to Dazzle
For more information please contact:
Community Projects Producer, Roxanne Peak-Payne
email@example.com 01752 230372