A place to belong with Castaways

'Castaways' by Mandala Theatre Company is coming to the Gulbenkian - let's delve deeper!

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These articles were written and submitted by young people across Kent, between August 2016 and July 2019. We are no longer adding new articles or maintaining old ones. Read more about Art31.

The new powerful play ‘Castaways’ is coming to the Gulbenkian on November 1st from Mandala Theatre Company. This show exhibits the struggles and lives of young people from different backgrounds living in the UK. ‘Castaways’ shows us behind the scenes of the real friendships, traumas and conflicts against the strife in the Middle East.

Throughout the play, we follow the lives of three teenagers: Sam, Asha and Kieran who were born on the same day, in the same town but from very different backgrounds. Growing up together, they were inseparable, watching out for each other, both at school and home. That is until a shocking event tears their world, and friendship, apart.

The show was described as ‘An intense, well-paced production that enables the voices of the urban young to be heard’ by Jon Lewis, Newbury Weekly News’, while Memela Cavanagh, Oxford Today, enjoyed the rollercoaster of the journey – ‘Emotional and funny, fast-paced and tragic’.

‘Castaways’ was developed amongst a series of creative workshops through Mandala Theatre Comapany, getting young people involved in script development. This is the second instalment of Mandala’s trilogy, starting the conversation around ‘Place, Identity and Belonging’, with their debut play ‘Night Light’ focusing on the fate of young people arriving unaccompanied in the UK seeking asylum.

After 28 workshop sessions, involving 227 young people, Mandala’s founder and artistic director Yasmin Sidhwa and playwright Atiha Sen Gupta created their story of three young people from a variety of backgrounds. Conversations within the workshops helped push the story as young people shared what their were proud of in their area, when they felt like outsiders and their views and experiences on subjects such as friendship, extremism and vulnerability.

Keeping young people involved, Yasmin and Atiha took their working script to four communities to gain feedback about what worked well, what could change and importantly, how it represented them and their lives.

The process was a journey for everyone, including the company. Yasmin felt that working with professional young actors from a variety of backgrounds, races and economic backgrounds found them with new layers to production due to the range of experiences and views on belonging each individual could bring.

While newly established in Oxford, Mandala Theatre hopes to bring people together and change young people’s lives through powerful performances and conversations, focusing on diversity and community. Their work hopes to provide a platform for debate and exploration, while nurturing young talent and giving hope to those from every background.

Not only can you watch and delve into the lives of young, vulnerable people in the UK at the Gulbenkian, the Mandala Theatre Company are also offering free workshops to schools bringing a 20+ group to see the show: an exciting offer that’s not to be missed.

Chloe Walker

Special Guest

I'm a second year Journalism student at Canterbury College with an interest in Fashion, Arts and Business.