Searching for a City of Sanctuary

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Working with organisations across the City of Newcastle including Cyrenians Homeless Charity, West End Refugee Services and Freedom From Torture, plus a number of theatre practitioners and filmmakers and artists and students from the Social Work and Arts & Social Science Faculties of Northumbria University.

A ‘place of sanctuary’ will be created in the centre of the city – a place filled with art and music and stories and food and beautiful objects. It will be a comfortable place where people will be safe to reflect on the state of their worlds and find moments of pleasure – of peace.

The performance is inspired by the writing of late North East-based poet Julia Darling

‘I’m not really a political person. I just like imagining  things. Imagine you could build a utopia, a free town, a place of imagination.’  

Julia Darling NE poet (1956 -2005)

And by the hundreds of people who have experienced homelessness within the North East.

‘If I won 5 million on the lottery I would like to give  something back to the city.  An ‘Academy of  Inspiration’ at the old Westmoreland Men’s Hostel. When I look at the building now I think it looks like a  person whose life is ebbing away”

Drew Foster Cyrenians Service User

‘Searching for a City of Sanctuary’ is about hope, determination and a need to celebrate all the people of the city. We asked 100 vulnerable and marginalised people about their vision of the city – they presented us with an inspiring and imaginative manifesto for a new way to live in the city. Together, with a collection of artists and people from the Social Care sector, they will work together to develop a theatrical performance consisting of a diverse collection of small narratives – voices from the margins – probing the stratified meanings of homelessness, exclusion and disillusionment.

Photo Credits – Maria Ferrie

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