An aerial shot of a long table with place settings lit centrally, with diners in the dark, can just see their hands

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 is taught by a teacher, photos of dispersed cast members are passed around, private conversation is made public, a traditional Persian dance was danced on the table to the sounds of Britney Spears…

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, somehow we talk about everything…

How we made it

When did the word 'refugee' become an insult rather than a simple description of circumstance?  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