Guest post by Titilola Dawudu, Oval House
The Croydon Avengers is at Oval House for Refugee Week 2018
Ovalhouse’s history has been all about championing voices that are usually silenced. Our longest running participatory programme, We Are London, bridging the gap for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, recently came to an end due to funding. So this work can continue, Ovalhouse are proud to be programming work during Refugee Week. We are co-producers with Maya Productions and Harrogate Theatre to create a comic-book, action-packed story called The Croydon Avengers about a trio of masked vigilantes who fight crime in London after discovering they have superpowers whilst in a Gatwick deportation centre. Written by award-winning playwright Oladipo Agboluaje, The Croydon Avengers is aimed at primary and secondary school children and families, shining a light on anyone who is seen to be different. It explores what it means to be British and turns its head on ugly stereotypes and prejudices people have with refugees and migrants. This will also be a part of our Schools Programme where we have invited nearly 300 children from years 5-7 to come into Ovalhouse and watch the play and have workshops based around its themes.
What we want is to celebrate the bravery of people leaving their homes to fight another day. What does it mean to survive in a country that is now unrecognisable and seek out a new life? With every fearful step, treading on uncommon ground, we can only imagine the level of displacement and uncertainty. I choose the word brave to describe these people purposefully. The Croydon Avengers follows three young people who are seen to be a threat to British identity, yet bravely and fearlessly protect the country that are rejecting them. ‘Where do we belong?’ is a question for these three superheroes, and most certainly a question for many. The ‘baddie’ in The Croydon Avengers is like most of us who see ‘other’ as a threat and believe the best way to handle it is to get rid of it.
The themes of the play are undeniable the themes of daily conversations sparked by the day’s news, political agendas or misinformed opinions. What we’re doing at Ovalhouse is uplifting these voices that are a part of the British landscape and we are connecting The Croydon Avengers with our Ovalhouse Family Day. We are encouraging families and children from refugee backgrounds to come into Ovalhouse. This is an arts-based community event where children can become their own superheroes in creative workshops exploring identity and home, and participate in a capoeira class to learn superhero moves! It is free with the aim to not only bring communities together, but also to encourage people into our space, making them aware that Ovalhouse is as a welcoming space for those brave, unheard voices.
The Croydon Avengers, 19-23rd June, 11am (school performances) and 7pm. Tickets £10/£7.
Ovalhouse Family Day, 23rd June, 10am – 2pm, free.
Titilola Dawudu is Ovalhouse’ Learning and Participation Manger. For more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.