The Claim National Tour 2017

The Claim National Tour 2017

Issued: Mon, 30 Oct 2017 13:28:00 GMT

Prof Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, has collaborated on a new production by theatre makers Mark Maughan and Tim Cowbury touring this winter.

In response to a 41% rise in hate crimes despite a globally-recognised “Refugee Crisis”, The Claim – a potently relevant, comically provocative play about the UK asylum system – will tour the UK.

For full information on the performance and tour see their website:

This play realises two years of research and development with three theatre venue partners (ARC Stockton / Shoreditch Town Hall / Nuffield Southampton) and eight partner migrant organisations including GRAMNet, who have invested significantly in the project: financially, intellectually and ethically. With their close collaboration, and in addition to the main performance, the tour will include wraparound activities and outreach work, igniting conversations getting to the heart of this nationally debated topic.  The Claim was funded in part by the University of Glasgow’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account.

The Claim,  writtern by Tim Cowbury and directed by Mark Maughan, is a comically absurd and quietly shattering journey to the heart of our tolerant and fair society. 

Serge stands before us. He has a performance to give.

But why is he here? What is he claiming has happened to him? And what has Willy Wonka got to do with it?

The Claim gently invites you into the most British of interviews, then morphs into a dizzying onslaught of bureaucracy and prejudice. A bold, imaginative response to the stories of those seeking refuge in the UK, this play asks what happens when your life is at stake and all you have to save it are your words.

The Tour

From ethnically diverse cities (e.g. Sheffield, London), to high asylum-seeker dispersal areas (Stockton, Exeter, Glasgow) and towns receiving new arrivals (Canterbury), the tour has been curated to take The Claim where it can make an impact. Extended runs deepen audience and participant engagement (Manchester, London and Exeter) and will coincide with migration events organised by Counterpoints Arts (Stockton).


DatesLocationFurther Information
19 Oct 2017 ARC Stockton
(wraparound activities only)
22 - 23 Nov 2017 Sheffield Crucible

28 Nov - 2 Dec 2017

The Bike Shed Theatre
10 - 13 Jan 2018

Manchester Royal Exchange
16 - 27 Jan 2018

Shoreditch Town Hall
29 Jan 2018 Gulbenkian, Canterbury
31 Jan 2018

Platform Glasgow
Early Feb 2018 Newcastle GIFT festival     DATES TO BE CONFIRMED


Outreach initiative & Wraparound activities

A key discovery from the research and development phase of the project was that the more diverse the audience, the greater the impact of conversations, wraparound activities & actions inspired by the main performance. Engagement Producer, Rhea Lewis will implement a bespoke approach in each community to access networks representing a spectrum of opinions, the aim being to create welcoming spaces for people from backgrounds under-represented in theatre, providing some free transport and subsidised tickets.   

At a time when questions of representation are key, the project has deeply engaged asylum seekers and refugees from the project’s inception – thanks to the support of the University of Glasgow’s ESRC Impact Acceleration Account – building on Mark and Tim’s shared history of high-quality artistic output where participation is at the core of a project.   

The project will create dialogue within the places visited via spaces for discussion, learning and reflection. Carefully designed and tested wraparound activities with asylum seekers/refugees and partners have been devised following the ‘nothing about us without us’ philosophy (such as that promoted by refugee and asylum seeker welfare and advocacy organisation RISE), and will include post-show discussions, Q&As and one off legal surgeries in some locations to provide legal guidance to asylum seekers and refugees at any stage of their claim (in collaboration with Queen Mary Legal Advice Centre, Right To Remain and Freemans Solicitors).   There will also be recorded oral testimonies: working with the Write To Life group, a Freedom From Torture initiative, audiences will be able to listen to specially recorded oral testimonies from refugees sharing their own creative responses to the asylum interview process. ‘Ways you can make a change’ exit leaflets will inform theatre goers of direct action they can take after the show, providing legacy in a less quantifiable, equally valid way. 

The tour will also provide Decompression Spaces where audiences will have to chance to speak to local migrant organisation representatives after the performance which will allow audience members who wish it to make more active contribution and to find out more about activities in their area.

Talks and specialised workshops organised with collaborative partners and migrant organisations will accompany the tour taking the asylum process behind The Claim as its stimulus. 


Image: The Claim