Norwich Theatre is delighted to announce that it has been re-awarded its Theatre of Sanctuary status by Norwich City of Sanctuary for its ongoing work with refugees and asylum seekers.
The award highlights Norwich Theatre’s commitment to being a place of support, safety and hospitality for refugees and asylum seekers in Norwich. The theatre is one of just 34 arts organisations across the UK to be awarded sanctuary status.
To become a Theatre of Sanctuary, a theatre must demonstrate a commitment to making refugees and asylum seekers feel valued, celebrated and included. Organisations are reassessed every three years.
On behalf of the Norwich City of Sanctuary awards committee, Ben Margolis said: “We are delighted to continue to recognise Norwich Theatre as a Theatre(s) of Sanctuary. We are grateful to live in a city where such a powerful and influential arts organisation has a commitment to Sanctuary at its heart and at all levels of the organisation.”
The panel were impressed by the range of initiatives, including Norwich Theatre’s commitment to platform a diverse range of artists across its stages and aim for strong representation of artists from the global majority.
Other initiatives included distributing 150 free tickets to Juventas Service, New Routes and Norwich International Youth Project for young people and adults they work with, as well as staff and volunteers, to visit the theatre and watch a show. The Encore community-ticketing scheme will continue over the next three years.
The theatre also participated in Refugee Week 2022 with two free events at Norwich Theatre Playhouse. Including the art project A Mile in my Shoes and a screening of the film Thank You for the Rain with a post-screening panel discussion.
Stephen Crocker, Chief Executive and Creative Director of Norwich Theatre, said: “I am so proud that Norwich Theatre has been re-awarded Theatre of Sanctuary status. The theatre is committed to being an open and safe space for all.
“We believe creativity and creative spaces play a vital role in bringing people together, building understanding, and stemming the tide of division. We hope our spaces and activities help people come together and form a community that shares global traditions and stories that enrich our stages.”
This year Norwich Theatre will launch its Community Choir, an informal session taking place twice a month for members of the community to unite, have fun and celebrate the artistry of music and voices from around the world. The choir will be free to attend and will be run by Samia Malik.
Already running is Theatre Makers | Migration Matters - developing a new piece of theatre that brings together migrants, refugees, asylum-seekers and host communities. The project aims to challenge prejudice and misconceptions and promote intercultural understanding. It provides a platform for long-travelled stories to inspire and influence understanding.
Also launching in 2023 is Living as an Artist Programme, which is a part of Norwich Theatre’s Artistic Development Programme. This rolling programme will celebrate the lives of artists through workshops, information resources, and peer-support groups. The programme will promote inclusivity, diversity and the process of artists recognising and celebrating their unique voices.