Sheffield College students tell their stories for Migration Matters Festival

17th June 2020

Sheffield College students will tell their family stories of migration as part of the city’s Migration Matters Festival this week.

The festival recognises the positive impact that migration and refugees have had on Sheffield and the UK, and takes place from June 15th to 20th.

It also celebrates sanctuary and seeks to inspire hope for migrant, refugee and sanctuary seeking artists. Due to Covid-19, the festival is being held online.

As part of the programme, 14 Sheffield College performing arts students have worked with Chol Theatre and Arts Company to connect with a group of young people living in Brooklyn, New York.

Through live discussions, recorded interviews and a live-streamed performance, they have created a play based on their families’ personal stories of migration.

At a live online event, on Thursday, June 18th from 4pm to 5pm, the young people, their tutor, and a member of the Chol Theatre team, will share their experience so far.

A documentary of the process, made by local filmmaker, Sean Lovell, will also be screened including footage of the young people's first live performance to Brooklyn.

The live online event will finish with a Q&A session. For details, and to register, please visit https://www.migrationmattersfestival.co.uk/2020/chol

Sheffield College student Devante Edwards, aged 17, said:

"I found working with the students from Brooklyn one of the greatest opportunities the College has provided. It gave us a chance to share our story to people who we've not met before and who understand what it's like being a migrant."

He explained:

"I have learnt that it is important to take the time to listen to everyone when they share their story. It takes confidence to do such a thing! I think the festival is a really good idea. I like how it is showing migration through art - it is very expressive.”

Devante added:

"My long term career ambition is to become a successful television actor. I would love to also do theatre as I find it very interesting and expressive. Every time I watch theatre, I feel so inspired to be the best actor I can be.

"I'd like to thank Chol Theatre's Vicky and Lauren for taking time to come into our lesson and help us throughout the milestones in our work, as well as our class teacher Jo Davies, who made sure we were comfortable and ready to perform. It is greatly appreciated!"

Joanne Davies, Learning Development Coach, Creative and Design Faculty, The Sheffield College, said:

The students found this project very engaging. They learnt about why people migrate and explored the impact on families. They also shared stories about their own families' experiences of migration.”

She added:

“Collaborating with the students in New York was an amazing experience that allowed all of the young people to share similarities and differences in the British and American cultures. It was exciting for the students to work with a professional theatre company and develop the skills to help them go further in their careers.”

For information about the festival, visit: https://www.migrationmattersfestival.co.uk/

Follow @MigMatFest on Twitter and Instagram. You can also find the festival on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/migrationmattersfestival/

For more information about performing arts courses at The Sheffield College starting this September, please visit www.sheffcol.ac.uk or call 0114 2602600.

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