LONDON – Theatre Centre, the UK’s leading producer and pioneer for thought provoking theatre in schools, is excited to tour the world premiere of The Border by Afsaneh Gray, winner of the 2018 Brian Way Award. This outrageous Brechtian parable highlighting the absurdity of borders will tour extensively to both schools and theatres to engage audiences across the country in an urgent national conversation.
Developed in collaboration with young people in Croydon and Bedworth, as well as dramaturg Sarah Dickenson, The Border questions the meaning of borders and the lines we draw between ourselves and other people. Featuring a live break out debate, the play creates space for audiences to think and talk together in a time of fake news and information overload.
Life is turned upside down in one small town as East Oolia shuts the border with West Oolia, dividing here from there, us from them, this from that despite all the fruit tasting the same. In the midst of it all Julia’s beloved dog Stranger has gone missing. After a spate of dog thefts, she must find Stranger before the Dog Smugglers get their hands on her beloved Cockerpoo.
Alongside the bold storytelling, this high-energy production features an original score by composer Ted Barnes (long-time collaborator with Beth Orton, This is England by Shane Meadows) and playful set and costume design by Alice Hallifax (Donmar on Design; Pickle Jar, Soho Theatre) as well as lighting design by Neill Brinkworth (The Firm; Hampstead Theatre, Coat; Roundhouse).
Says writer Afsaneh Gray: “Writing The Border has been a huge amount of fun – it’s very contemporary in its political themes, but it’s also a heightened, absurd world where people throw cereal at each other or talk exclusively in soundbites, and where dogs are all-knowing beasts. In a way, those absurd touches feel pretty close to the real world right now! The world feels so extreme – and so confusing – that I wanted the story to be incredibly simple. I feel like a lot of us are in that situation – we just want to live our lives, but politics has become impossible to ignore. I think if you’re young, politics is super relevant right now – you can see the effects of political decisions on your future prospects in a way that just wasn’t the case even ten years ago. It’s important for young people to engage with politics, but it’s also important to figure out how you do that – how you listen to each other respectfully, how you inform yourself in a world full of disinformation. I wanted to start people on that journey.”