Going Through, the UK premiere of the critically acclaimed French play Traversée opens at the Bush Theatre on 28 March (press night 3 April). This production seamlessly mixes English, British Sign Language, Visual Vernacular and Creative Captioning and is directed by Bush Theatre Associate Director Omar Elerian (Misty, NASSIM) and translated by Kirsten Hazel Smith.

The cast is Nadia Nadarajah and Charmaine Wombwell.

‘It's not always children's stories that happen to children.’

Youmna is deaf. She’s been looking after Nour since she was born. But when the men come to drive Nour away, Youmna cuts off her hair. And so begins one girl’s journey. By bus, by lorry, into the sound of gun-shots, through adolescence and across borders. All she can take with her is a little box and her memories of Youmna. Youmna, who told her that everything grows back - grass, desires, branches, even hair.
A story that continues to dominate the international news agenda, Going Through tells a familiar story through new eyes.
Mostly from the Middle East, South Asia, East and West Africa, children on the move in Europe have fled conflict, insecurity and deprivation. In 2018, some 127,000 additional refugees and migrants, 20 per cent of them children, entered Europe. * This influx is in addition to the 1.8 million refugees and migrants, including 433,000 children, who arrived in Europe between 2014 and 2017. Turkey is hosting some 3.9 million people, including 1.7 million children. Although many do reach North and Western Europe over time, approximately 45,000 children were still located in Greece, Italy and the Western Balkans at the end of 2018. Despite progress across the region, refugee and migrant children continue to face heightened risks of violence, including gender-based violence and abuse, in countries of arrival, transit and destination. This is largely due to insufficient and sub-standard reception capacities, inadequate access to health and education, overwhelmed asylum and child protection systems and rising xenophobia. Some 21,000 unaccompanied or separated children registered in Greece and Italy still lack the continuum of care and protection that their situations demand, as national legislation, policies and resource allocation have yet to align with international best practices. These circumstances are undermining the capacities of children—accompanied or unaccompanied—to recover from their ordeals, preventing the realization of children’s rights and jeopardizing their inclusion into new communities.

Writer and director Estelle Savasta runs ‘Hippolyte a mal au cœur’, a company creating ground-breaking bilingual work based in France. Her first play Seule dans ma peau d'âne received acclaim at the 2008 Molière awards. Going Through (originally Traversée) is her second play.

Omar Elerian is an award winning Italian /Palestinian theatre director, deviser and performer who trained at Jacques Lecoq International Theatre School in Paris. He was Associate Director of the Bush from 2012 – 2019. His directing credits for the Bush include Misty by Arinzé Kene which transferred to Trafalgar Studios, NASSIM by Nassim Soleimanpour, which has since toured around the world, One Cold Dark Night by Nancy Harris and Islands by Caroline Horton. As Associate Director, he has worked alongside Madani Younis on the Bush’s productions of Leave Taking, The Royale, Perseverance Drive and Chalet Lines. Other credits include acclaimed site-specific production The Mill – City of Dreams, Olivier Award nominated You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy, Testa di Rame (Italy), Les P’tites Grandes Choses (France) and L’Envers du Décor (France).

*Figures taken from 2018 UNICEF ‘Humanitarian Action for Children report

En Scène! is a platform launched in 2013 by the Institut français in London, dedicated to promote and produce French and francophone performing arts throughout the British territory. Its aim is to present to British audiences and institutions the richness and diversity of the French artists and productions, from theatre to dance, circus, and visual theatre, all the while questioning contemporary issues and debates.

Cross-Channel Theatre, managed by the Institut français in London, is a platform for the promotion of young emerging French playwrights in the United Kingdom. The Cross-Channel Theatre group, gathering a number of British professionals, selects the best French texts from contemporary theatre to be translated into English, and then brought on stage through readings, directed and interpreted by English directors and actors. The readings are designed to convince in order to engage a production process.

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