A thoughtful dramatisation of life in the Calais “Jungle”


IT IS a rare play that starts before you’ve even walked into the theatre—but so it is with “The Jungle”. Every audience member is pre-assigned a “country” for the night, a section of the auditorium that corresponds to a nationality of the migrants cooped up at the camp in Calais waiting to make the perilous dash to Britain. Your correspondent was a Kuwaiti, and the auditorium of the Young Vic reconstructed the Afghan restaurant at the heart of what came to be known as “The Jungle”. The audience perch on pretty much the same wooden benches as the migrants used, and lean on the same flimsy tables. This is fully immersive theatre: the actors, themselves often former refugees, weave in and out of the crowd telling their stories, sometimes tragic, sometimes uplifting, always compelling.

“The Jungle” tells the story of the camp from its beginnings in January 2015 to its end in October 2016, when it was demolished by the French authorities. It was established to house the thousands of Palestinians, Afghans, Sudanese, Eritreans and…Continue reading

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