Set on an overnight train somewhere in Europe, The Sleeper, will be a singular exploration of prejudice, language and identity. Weaving together a mix of real-life testimony from Syrian refugees, fiction and personal experience, Henry C. Krempels draws from his unusual story, The Immigration Train, commissioned by Vice Magazine in the summer of 2015, at the height of the immigration crisis.
The Sleeper describes a situation familiar to thousands of refugees over the past few years who have become stuck somewhere between leaving home and starting a new life. The play follows Karina, a British traveller, innocently reports a woman sleeping in her bed on the overnight train. Drawn together by this simple action, the group become enveloped in the tension that exists between absolute strangers, where the less they reveal about themselves the less obvious their differences will become.
Anima Theatre Company is a group of European writers, directors and actors focused on experimental theatre and new writing. As a company, we are interested in inclusive theatre, giving voice to those who struggle to be heard and always attempting to bring people to theatre who may never otherwise come into contact with it. Our aim is to promote collaboration, conversation and connectedness.
A large portion of our work has been about process, holding weekly workshops, often working with a number of actors on a range of ideas including absurdism and alternatives to naturalism. These often begin with short scripts written by the Artistic Director and founder, Henry C. Krempels.
The newest members of the group met on other projects, including a personal testimony piece Undercover (The Arcola), which explored mental health, and Thought to Flesh (Vaults Festival) an account of a young woman with Motor Neuron Disease supported by The Wellcome Trust.
RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND BUDGET
Through a process of workshops and rehearsals, we intend to work as closely as possible with Syrian refugees, in order to include these real accounts within the play.
It is so important for us to begin this story from a truthful place and we are looking for funding for the following:
- Rehearsal and Workshop space. It's going to cost a large sum of money just to get everyone in the same space at the same time. Rehearsal space in London, at £12 an hour, accounts for 60% of our budget, or £1800.
- Travel Expenses. We hope to pay the travel costs of any of our volunteers, refugees and affiliates who wish to be involved in the project. We would hate for people to be excluded because they can't afford to get to us. This will cost us £400 over 4 weeks.
- Reaching Out. Once the play is on its feet we are going to need to sell it. We are budgeting £300 for a designer to make sure we look as good as possible and £400 for PR so we reach as many communities as we can. This will also be taken care of by Andrew, our Communities Manager.
EXPERIMENTS AND FEEDBACK
In March we held two showcases of some extracts we've been working on, played in front of a mix of theatre-goers (Chelsea Theatre) and industry professionals (Young Vic Studios).
We had a brilliant cast of Lisa Moorish, Sarah Auber, Jules Armana and Shno Kamal and a hugely positive couple of showings.
So without further ado, here is some of our audience feedback:
Great writing – very atmospheric and thought provoking. Make it a play!
The disorientating opening works. There’s a chilling sense of loss and struggle. An uncomfortable play, performed well .
So refreshing to hear so many different accents on stage. There should be more of this.
Brave and well performed. The more one reflects, the more comes out of this piece.
HOW TO FOLLOW US
You will be able to follow the whole process on our blog.
We'll have photography, workshop and rehearsal updates and anything else that we share at: https://animatheatreco.wordpress.com
You can find us on Twitter - @animatheatreco
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/The-Sleeper-1912369799005191/
The original story published in Vice Magazine is here: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/the-immigration-train-876
Or the Italian version here: https://www.vice.com/it/article/treno-fantasma-migranti-milano-parigi-stazione-centrale-mezzanino-469
And the French version here: https://www.vice.com/fr/article/dans-le-train-des-migrants-entre-litalie-et-la-france-462
Thank you for your support! We couldn't do it without you.
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge for us is how to handle the testimonies we receive. During our six week development process, we plan to workshop with Syrian refugees based in London. We want them to tell us their stories and for us to listen. We know the stories belong to these people and how important they are. What we want is for them to be heard. We cannot offer therapy, cures, or diplomatic resolutions, but we can listen. And if that process helps, then the whole project will be worth it.
Aside from this, we are a group of experienced theatre-makers. We back ourselves to overcome the challenges of making original and compelling theatre. We learn a huge amount from each production and this will be no exception. Of course, we anticipate many challenges ahead but they are the hurdles that make theatre as interesting as it is, and the reason this is the thing we love doing.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)