An overwhelming response – reactions to Migrations: Harbour Europe

From the 5th February 2019 for three afternoons, we took over Studio 2 at the Arcola Theatre with our readings and debates about theatre and migration. We presented “Genesis” by Chiara Boscaro, “The Sea Is My Nation” by Hala Moughanie, and “Closed Lands” by Simon Grangeat.

We were overwhelmed by the response. What had started as a simple showing to conclude our R&D, had turned into a three day theatre marathon, attended by almost 50 people daily.

Stelios Trakas, Lara Parmiani, Daiva Dominyka and Luiana Bonfin in “Genesis”

And what was particularly heart warming was how diverse our audiences were, a mix of migrants and refugees invited through partners organisations, students, researchers, actors, theatre makers, academics.

Not only the readings were so well received, but the Q&As and panels – curated by Szabolcs Musca from New Tides Platform and Migrant Dramaturgies Network – saw some fiery debates and an incredible participation.

We will soon release clips from the debates as downloadable podcast, and will share more details about feedback on the plays and plans for the future. Check this space!

Limited availability book your free tickets HERE

You can attend the readings and the debates of Migrations Harbour Europe free of charge. However lovely Studio 2 has limited capacity, so please BOOK YOUR FREE TICKETS to avoid disappointment.

by Chiara Boscaro (Italy)
Translated by Lara Parmiani

DATE: 5th February 2019 @1.30PM
VENUE: Arcola Theatre Studio 2
24 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL
Book your free ticket

A woman arrives in a foreign city. All around her, a language she can’t speak. Who is she? A refugee escaping war? Or somebody looking for a better place to bring a new life to the world? A modern morality play with the charm of a fairytale and the depth of an old myth

The reading will be followed by a Q&A chaired by Dr Bernadette Cochrane (University of Queensland, Australia)


by Hala Moughanie (Lebanon/France)
Translated by Ruth Valentine 

DATE: 6th February 2019 @1.30PM
VENUE: Arcola Theatre Studio 2 
24 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL
Book your free ticket

A man and his wife live in the suburbs of a city full of trash. On hearing “migrants from the war” are arriving, they decide to build a barbwire border around their makeshift property. But the encounter with two migrant women heading to the sea, has a surprising outcome.

The reading will be followed by a Q&A chaired by Dr Roxane Paire (France) 


by Simon Grangeat (France) 
Translated by Laure Fernandez

DATE: 7th February 2019 @1.30PM
VENUE: Arcola Theatre Studio 2
24 Ashwin St, London E8 3DL
Book your free ticket

A mix between reportage, traveller’s diary and medieval Passion play, this powerful and evocative ensemble piece traces the history of modern walls – real and metaphorical. Is history bound to repeat itself?

The reading will be followed by debate chaired by Dr Szabolcs Musca (University of Lisbon/ New Tides Platform, UK). Panel members: Dr Vicky Angelaki (University of Reading), Dr Graca P. Correa (University of Lisbon), Dr Bernadette Cochrane (University of Queensland), Dr Roxane Paire. 

Selection announcement!

It took us longer than anticipated to go through them 157 submissions but we’ve finally selected the three plays that will be workshopped early next year and presented as readings in February.  

They are:

Genesis, by Chiara Boscaro

La mer est ma nation, by Hala Moughanie

Terres Closes. by Simon Grangeat

These plays will be presented as staged readings at the Arcola Theatre on the 5th 6th and 7th of February at 1.30PM

We also would love to give a “special mention” to four writers whose work didn’t make the final selection but was certainly outstanding:

Welcome to Bulgaria, by Zdrava Kamenova and Gergana Dimitrova

Orli, by Tino Caspanello

Un mouchoir dans le ronce, by Anne Tinel

Under the bridge, by Abdulrahaman Khallouf

We want to thank our partners at New Tides Platforms and Migrant Dramaturgies Network, as well as Haringey Welcome. A special acknowledgement to our readers Ruth Valentine, Rockhaya Silla, Roxane Paire, Graca Correa, Vicky Angelaki, Bernadette Cochraine, Stéphane Resche, Fadi Skeiker, William Gregory, Deidan Williams, Szabi Musca, Luiana Bomfin, and Alicia Cubells

We are very excited to start working on the play. Cast and translating team to be announced soon. Watch this space!


TIME IS UP for MIGRATIONS: HARBOUR EUROPE. Now it’s selection time!

LegalAliens in collaboration with New Tides Platform and Migrant Dramaturgies Network have been looking for plays by European or EU-based playwrights on the theme of Migrations: Harbour Europe. Now TIME IS UP!

We encouraged submissions that addressed and reflected on the broad topic of migration and Europe. While we acknowledged the importance of documentary/ verbatim plays that deal directly with migratory identities and experiences, we really wished to attract original, bold and imaginative scripts which fully embraced theatricality and offers creative/ aesthetic alternatives for (re)imagining migrancy in Europe today.

We welcomed plays that challenge stereotypes, clichés and dominant narratives of migration. The call was intentionally broad and could be approached literally, metaphorically or abstractly. We particularly encouraged submissions from strong female voices and playwrights who identify as migrants or of migrant descent

Submission requirements:

  • Written in a European language
  • Please include a one-page synopsis in English. If an English translation exists, it can also be attached, with the understanding that LegalAliens is likely to create a new translation. Also include a short bio.
  • Plays already performed in their original language are welcome, provided they’ve never been presented in the UK
  • Between 60-80 minutes in length
  • 1-5 actors (multi-roling accepted)
  • Submitted in .doc or .pdf format

Further details

We received over 150 submissions from 17 different countries. They will be read by a panel composed of theatre-makers (directors, actors, dramaturgs), translators, academics and theatre critics. Up to three plays will be selected and – if needed – translated into English. After selection, plays will be given a week of R&D with our team in London and presented as staged readings at the ArcolaTheatre in London. Staged readings will be followed by public debates. We hope to identify at least one play to take forward into full production, directed by Becka McFadden.

Shortlist announced by 12th December 2018.
Staged Readings: 5th 6th and 7th of February at the Arcola Theatre

Terms and Conditions

The readings are part of an R&D, they will be free of charge to attract the most diverse audience and no profit will be sought by the company. A £80 token will be offered to writers at this stage, plus usage of the English translation we’ll provide.

If a play is selected for full production later in the year, royalties will be negotiated according to the British Writers Guild (Fringe agreement)

Project Partners

New Tides Platform is an independent organisation established in 2015, exploring and encouraging cross-cultural exchanges and dialogue within contemporary performing arts. As a collaborative venture we work with universities, theatres and creative/ art organisations as well as journals and publishers. As facilitators of cultural projects, we provide a forum for encounters connecting academic research, contemporary theatre-making and communities of thinkers, makers and spectators. Working as an outreach platform, we develop local, national and international collaborations and networks that are responsive to social and cultural changes within and outside contemporary theatre practices. For more information, please visit:

Migrant Dramaturgies Network is an international research network developed in partnership with New Tides Platform (UK) and the Centre for Theatre Research at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. It is a platform for exchange and knowledge sharing between academics, theatre-makers and organisations involved in migrant theatre on various levels of artistic and cultural creation and development. We aim to explore emerging dramaturgies of theatrical responses to migration in light of recent migration and shifts in global politics and economics. We wish to map new theatrical forms of migrant representation and identify their impacts on national theatre cultures in shaping the perception of non-European migrants and migrant cultures. Visit our microblog at:


POKER FACE at VOILA! European Theatre Festival

Poker Face will return to London for two nights as part of the VOILA! European Festival at the COCKPIT Theatre on the 12th and 14th of November.

Tickets are already available, please book ahead for a £2 off by clicking on

More info soon!

LegalAliens at TACS 2017 !

We’re delighted to be part of TACS – an international festival taking place in Trieste from the 21st to the 27th of May 2017.

The aim of the festival is to “share theatre experience and knowledge”.

Companies from all over the world will present their work and teach workshops, in an atmosphere of international and multi-cultural collaboration.




We will present Poker Face on the 25th of May at 6.30PM at the beautiful Teatro Stabile Sloveno (a bilingual venue! Very befitting of our work…) and our director Becka McFadden and our translator/dramaturg Eva Daníčková will teach a practical workshop called “Movement in translation” about our method of physicalising the specifics of a language when working on a new text.

A carnet offering access to all shows is available at only 30EUR. Single tickets 5EUR. To book please go to


From 2015 LegalAliens ha started running Theatre of the Oppressed workshops with young people, migrants and refugees.

Our sessions involve warm up games directly inspired by August Boal’s “Games for an actors and non actors” in which participants discover space and movement through group and pair work, followed by simple devising tasks like creating a group sculpture or a multi-voice poem, and finally by improvisation.

2015-11-28 16.54.41 2015-11-28 18.06.40

We run complete “forum theatre” sessions, in which participants are invited to share an example of “oppression”, the example is performed, discussed, then performed a second time but this time everyone in the audience is invited to “freeze” the scene and swap with one of the actors in order to change the dynamics and potentially turn the victim into a winner

We’ve run sessions in schools, youth centre and recently during IGNITE! the annual event organised by The Challenge UK to empower young people.

If you run a school, youth centre, refugee centre or charity and are interested in Forum Theatre or in a Theatre of the Oppressed session please contact us at

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue sea

With the refugees crisis becoming more and more prominent in the news, with threats or more war in the Middle East and further displacement of people, we feel, as artist, the need to use theatre to make sense of what is going on around us.

2015-09-18 17.54.01

LegalAliens’ project Between the Devil and the Deep Blue sea has two purposes

– Offer theatre workshops to refugees and asylum seekers, based on Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, in order for them not only to share their stories but to try and make sense of their experiences, the differences between expectations and the reality of their new “host” country, understand the real meaning of language and culture – there’s a lot of talking about “befriending” but what is really a friend? What does the word mean in different languages, which kind of responsibilities it carries?

– Create a play inspired by the stories we hear as well as multimedia events featuring photos, videos, audio contributions and art.


We’ve created a Facebook page, called Between the devil and the deep blue sea ( and we invite anyone who has a story to contribute

THE FIFTH LARGEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD- Our new project on migration

230 million people live in a country they were not born in, if it was a separate nation, it would be the fifth largest country in the world. This statistic is our starting point for the project we intend to develop. As a group of artists from different ethnic and national background, we have an abiding interest in the status of migrants in European society and the lives of the diaspora, with a special focus on the obstacles, discrimination and pressure they face. With so much press dedicated to the negative impact of immigration we feel the need to do something to re-address the balance and be part of a more nuanced debate.

The spectre of “the others” is always present, “foreigners” invading our shores, stealing our jobs, taking our benefits, cloggging our hospitals, speaking threatening mysterious idioms and pracitising suspicious religions… But who are the “migrants”? Are we sure we know these people we’re supposed to be so scared of? Are we sure we couldn’t be them one day, if God forbid our Western societies should collapse and we should find ourselves threatened by poverty, war or simply unemployment?


The debate over immigration has turned people on each other. Has made people in sedated white only seaside towns terrified of “Eastern Europeans, Muslims, blacks!” No matter none of such communities live there, they might take over if we don’t stop them… “They”…

The others

The ones who speak different

The ones who eat smelly food

The ones with all those kids

The ones who are happy to work for less (usually because there are employees happy to pay them MUCH less, but never mind that)

But what does it mean to be the citizen of the fifth largest country in the world? And what are the norms and values of this new space that they have created? How does it transform the host country? What pushes a person to leave everything behind? It could be a desire to explore, the consequences of war, economic hardship, persecution or simply a job offer. A recurring theme of our pilot session at Migrant Voice was the normality of the lives these people had prior to departure (even refugees fleeing warzones had school exams, family homes, birthday parties before their lives were torn into pieces). The strive to succeed. And the sense of dislocation and otherness they have to contend with, even when they’ve been living in their “new country” for decades. This is what we’d like to explore: the shared experiences. The geography of this new place they’ve created.

As artists, we felt it was our duty to explore all this. Our goal is to create a big project for, with and about migrants.  We’d like to engage as many people as possible – migrants, expats, asylum seekers, refugees, international students – to hear their stories, encourage them to express their voice, find a way to represent their experience in dramatic form if possible, creating moments of community performance inspired by Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. We’d like eventually to devise and write an original show inspired by the stories we’ll hear, take it back to the people who generated the material, opening up to discussion.

The first step, of course, if meeting people. Gathering stories. Making simple theatre. We started a month ago at Migrant Voice, a charity run by two amazing women Nazek Ramadan and Anne Stoltenberg, who’ve decided to dedicate their lives to literally getting migrants heard. We organised a tester workshop with a group of people willing to share their stories. And what an evening it was! If we ever had a doubt theatre can be relevant and necessary, and able to create a “charged” atmosphere that gives participants – performers and audiences – a sense of empowerment and freedom, our session at Migrant Voice swept all doubts away. It was intense and beautiful, in two an a half hours people from all over the world and very different walks of life, became a unity where stories were shared together with tears, sobs, laughter and jokes. Some participants dares telling stories about their painful experiences they’d never told anyone before and we felt humbled and honoured that they felt “safe” and welcomed enough to do that.

2015-01-30 21.30.34 (2)

This is what we want to do. Listening, enabling, gathering. We want to help give a voice to these people everyone talks ABOUT but not many people bother to talk TO.  We’re now reaching out to other charities, associations, organisations to take this project forward. When an anonymous mass of “migrants” become a group of individuals with the same human experiences as everyone else, it’s harder to discriminate. Or at least we hope so.

If you’re interested in finding out more, if you’re a migrant who’d like to take part in a workshop, talk to us – even anonymously – or if you run a charity or group who would like to collaborate with us, please contact us at