Audience and performers share a meal together around a 10m long concrete table in Leicester’s oldest building. A song of love and loss is sung, an English lesson was taught by a teacher, a traditional Persian dance was danced on the table to Britney Spears, photos of dispersed cast members were passed around, private conversation was made public.
9 performers, all Leicester-based refugees and asylum seekers, explore how we welcome people to our table, our country, our lives. When we talk about food, we talk about everything…
Why we made EatEat
“When did the word ‘refugee’ become an insult? In a climate of increasing mistrust of a faceless mass of outsiders I wanted to work with these individuals, put the truths of their lives in public. I wanted to explore also my own sense of belonging/not belonging.
I didn’t want to make a piece of exotica or a kind of pornography of experience. I wanted to make people laugh. I wanted to eat great food. At the same time, I did want to deal with people’s realities, give tiny insights into what they had left and what they had found.
Everyone has food to celebrate something – a birth, a death, a marriage. We have powerful memories of exquisite food, sacred food, hunger, the taste of something we didn’t want to eat, the smell of the kitchen we grew up in. We all have to eat.”
Renny O’Shea, Director
Credits and performance details
Performers: Kathy Dojan, Bilfer Ecin, Paulo George, Mohsen Karim, Ben Ncube, Ebrahim Persomi, Chris Sibanda, Omhala Wa Yozefu, Majeed Zarei.
Director Renny O’Shea; designer Simon Banham; writer Kevin Fegan; choreographer Sally Doughty; lighting designer Mike Brookes; composer & sound designer Olly Fox.
EatEat was commissioned by and made in collaboration with Leicester Haymarket Theatre in June 2003. It was made in a new form as Rantsoen with Victoria in Ghent, Belgium in June 2004.