It was a pleasure to perform at the New Vic Theatre in Stoke on Trent on 6 May 2022 as part of our research dissemination and celebration of our ongoing work on women's rights in fragile contexts.
We welcomed over 50 people from the Afghan community. Translators, journalists, and their families joined us for an evening of interactive games, performance magic, and a shared meal of different curries, spicy chicken, poppadum, onion bhaji, and daal.
Working across English, Urdu, and Pashtun, our activities started with a lively name game, followed by small groups making circles and using their bodies to communicate what is important in their lives. Parents and their children were laughing and moving about the theatre with tremendous energy and joy.
My own contribution involved an exploration of the importance of memories, the transcendent power of objects, and visions for the future, all of which were revealed through the power of magic.
The children were smiling with big bright eyes, squealing with laughter, and sharing their hopes for the future: no weapons, end to the war, peace, hope, and freedom.
Joined by my colleagues from The University of Nottingham, Professor Mihaela Kelemen (Rumania), Dr Subhan Ullah (Pakistan), Dr Lara Bianchi (Italy), Dr Anegli Santos (The Philippines), and Faiza Zafar (Pakistan), we worked with the amazing team from the New Vic Theatre to co-produce an evening to remember.
Our interactions, conversations, and activities were deeply moving and inspiring, as we listened to stories of the long war in Afghanistan, the sudden withdrawal of NATO forces in August 2021, and future prospects and challenges for Afghanistan and its people.
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