In summer 2013 After18 hosted a theatre production of Mazloom on the Leicester leg of a national tour. Mazloom is a portrait of Asef, a young Afghan who in the claustrophobic environment of his London flat recalls the dangerous journey he made to the UK alone and his fears for his impending deportation back to Afghanistan.
This closely reflects the life of many of After18’s young people, some of whom were in the audience. So, what did they make of the play and their first experience of live theatre?
It was interesting, I was thinking he is acting, he is not Afghan but he was doing everything like Afghani, how we feel. I really liked it, what he said was right. It’s nice to show the people how we are, if they don’t know any Afghani they know now how we are coming and feeling. He is acting he doesn’t want to go back. Even myself I don’t want to go back. I feel like I was born here, I’ve been here a long time, my mind has changed now and it’s too difficult to live in Afghanistan. So many boys was here, how many now left? I worry who is deport. If they don’t have any family in Afghanistan and they send from England how will they feel? it’s dangerous for them. If we can invite them [the play] again, everyone will come, other Afghans will want to see.
And there were also comments from other members of the audience that show the impact of the play on their understanding.
As the young man banged on the walls of his room the isolation of his journey was brought home. Beyond the statistics and political rhetoric, asylum seekers are frightened and traumatised young people seeking help.
It was a real eye opener, I had no idea we send them back as soon as they are adult.
We would like to thank the Mazloom Production for including Leicester in the tour and Embrace Arts for supporting it. More information about the play can be found at the official Mazloom website.
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