Mud City was a new piece of participatory theatre for Years 5 and 6 that ran parallel to the broader celebratory Refugee Week programme, raising awareness of the plight of refugees, especially those in large refugee camps. Mud City was one of an extraordinary trilogy of books by award-winning Canadian author Deborah Ellis that looks at the stories of young people living in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Mud City followed the fortunes of Afghan refugee Shauzia, as she copes with the difficulties of the Taliban regime, war in her country, a large refugee camp and life on the streets of Peshawar, Pakistan, before finally arriving as an asylum seeker in the UK.Our production is a team of actors, musicians and visual artists presenting parts of Shauzia’s story from Mud City in a day-long residency in primary schools. The audience of 9 and 10 year olds became active participants in this incredible journey, using drama, descriptive writing, music, screen-printing and shadow puppetry to explore how they might resolve the dilemmas faced by children like Shauzia.
The aim of Mud City was to make children in the UK more understanding of the context of refugees who arrive in this country; or to appreciate what it must be like to live in a refugee camp in the developing world and how children survive around the world living on rubbish dumps. They explored issues such as refuge and asylum, the global picture, children’s rights, and how we welcome new people from different places in the world into our communities.