top of page

Journey of a Refugee | Stanley Arts Centre

Journey of a Refugee is an immersive, interactive and stunning piece of theatre that truly takes the audience on a journey. By both showcasing the harrowing journey of leaving a war torn nation, and then proceeding to include the audience in the later obstacles, the emotions engulf the audience.

Directed by Sue Buckmaster, it follows the story of Zain, a Sudan refugee seeking asylum in the UK. From depicting the harsh living conditions back home, to the pain, fear and loss he faces on his journey, to being detained at the border control, his story is beautifully unwoven before the audience.

His pain echoes the millions who face such circumstances, and this anguish ripples through the piece.


Zain is a quiet and sombre young man in a brilliantly subtle performance by Mohamed Sarrar. He becomes a manifestation of the line "lost my money, my bag and a bit of myself", which only makes the show's finale so much more empowering. Kassichana Okene-Jameson and Vivian Triantafyllopoulou as Kassi and Daphne are the two pillars of the show, enhancing each scene even without having clearly defined characters. Engaging the most with the audience, they quite literally pull the audience into this world. Adi Detemo as Ali is a wonder, surprising the audience with another layer mid show and the audience ache for his story as well. 

The choreography by Jose Agudo is flawless in incorporating props to tell the story. The lighting and sound with a strong score and intense blue washing, elevates the stakes and it grips at the audience. 

The audience are constantly on the move for this piece (although there are options to sit down though you may miss a few of the interactive moments), being guided by the cast and the staff at the friendly Stanley Arts Centre.  There's a brief use of puppetry yet it's one of the show's most powerful moments. A beautifully designed puppet (Naomi Oppenheim) of Zain's mother embracing her son one last time, and a drowning fellow refugee are two silent moments, yet speak volumes.

Set in what appears to be an abandoned renovation of a theatre, with scaffolding, metal cages, wooden crates, sheets and a dimly lit room, the space transforms into a magic environment. Flexible in creating a variety of landscapes and snapshots of Zain's journey and different worlds, the theatre manifests the space. The sound and lighting design (Frank Moon and Mark Doubleday) are exquisite, transforming the simple props into fine mastery additions to the story telling.


The show uses a range of different story telling which will help to really engage younger audience members, and the dialogues are fairly straight forward, opting to keep the language simple. The show is advertised as a children's show, yet will be appreciated, as well as educational and mesmerising to adults alike.

Journey of a Refugee is the best immersive and interactive theatre production I've witnessed. The show is powerful and stunning and is an absolute must experience. Phenomenal, incredible, brilliant from start to finish. It is currently playing at the Stanley Arts Centre until the 18th of February, for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Ali Wright


bottom of page