In response to an invitation by Shropshire Refugee Week. Students and Staff from the Shrewsbury School, Drama department created two videos.
'A Stranger's Case' by William Shakespeare, from The Book of Sir Thomas More. Read by Student's from the Shrewsbury School.
Tensions of feverish xenophobia reached a zenith on May 1, 1517, as riots broke out in London and a mob armed with stones, bricks, bats, boots and boiling water attacked the immigrants and looted their homes. Thomas More, then the city’s deputy sheriff, tried to reason with the crowd making a speech pleading on behalf of refugees.
The play 'The book of Sir Thomas More' was never performed in Shakespeare’s lifetime, because the Queen’s censor, Edmund Tilney, thought it may incite riots during a time when England was once again besieged by another immigrant crisis as french speaking Protestants arrived on these shores escaping war and persecution.
'Girl in the Blue T-Shirt'
a spoken word and dance piece,
devised and performed by Helen Brown, Head of Drama and Sian Archer, Dance and Movement Coach, Shrewsbury School.
In 2018, Helen Brown was working for an educational charity in Northern Iraq, looking for projects which Shrewsbury School could support. Helen visited a primary school called Al Bishara, housed in a temporary breeze block building on the outskirts of Erbil.
She was shown round the school by a beautiful Chaldean nun - Sister Samar. The children were refugees from Mosul, Baghdad, Aleppo. Every child she met had a story that could break your heart.
Her experiences meeting these children lead Helen to develop the 'Girl in the Blue T-shirt' with her colleague Sian Archer, as a way of expressing the unsaid emotional charge of meeting these children. The work was first preformed at the Ashton Theatre, Shrewsbury in 2019 as part of a Dance Showcase.
The Shrewsbury School community generously supports the Ankawa Foundation, that supports refugees in Iraq, part of this work is training teacher to provide education to the refugees community. For more information on the foundation please visit:
Children Displaced by Conflict is a project coordinated by the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative to celebrate the life achievements and values of Shropshire born philanthropist Eglantyne Jebb, who became the principal driving force in the development of Humanitarian organisation, Save the Children.
The Jebb Sculpture Garden
The suffering of child refugees forced to flee their homes in war-ravaged countries will be the focus of a new garden and art installation on the mereside in Ellesmere.
The garden to celebrate the centenary of the Save the Children charity founded by two local sisters, Eglantyne Jebb and Dorothy Buxton, who set up the aid agency in 1919 to help children left starving in Germany and Austria at the end of World War I.
Within the garden, visitors can follow an intricate maze-like pathway. This labyrinth will be developed with the help of Shrewsbury-based artists Sculpturelogic and will be installed by ‘Orchardfield’, ecological groundworkers.
The path leads to a sculpture of a lone refugee child seeking shelter created by artist John Merril. Another sculptural artwork overlooking the garden representing the Jebb sisters in abstract form has been commissioned from sculptor Nick Eames.
Over 600 people have engaged in the project. Local children and adults, including resettled families from Syria, Yemen and Myanmar have helped with the design of a labyrinth.
This Labyrinth symbolising the harrowing, traumatic journeys undertaken by displaced children seeking to escape dangerous conflicts across the world over the last century.
This project is the culmination of 18 month long project led by volunteers from the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative that attracted grants from the Arts Council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and donations from local businesses, organisations and individuals.
Members of the group have been working in partnership with Save the Children in Ellesmere and at UK level, members of the Jebb family, Shropshire Council, Ellesmere Town Council, seven local schools and various community groups generating more than 40 events and activities in the past year.
“We’re now entering the final stage of the project with the creation of the Jebb Garden. We hope it will provide a lasting memorial in Ellesmere to these two incredible women and provide another focal point for visitors to the town.”
The Chair of the project trustees, Len Graham
For more information follow the link:
Local children taking part in one of the workshops.
Sculptor Nick Eames at work in his studio
Installation of the Sheltering Child Sculpture by John Merrill
Dame Stephanie Shirley
Sadly, due to COVID19 and the subsequent lockdown, plans for the final phase of the art installation and centenary project, include a seminar at Ellesmere College’s art centre have been put on hold.
Among the speakers due to take part in the seminar, was 86-year-old Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley, who was forced to flee Nazi Germany in 1939 as a Kindertransport child refugee. After arriving in Britain, she was educated at Oswestry Girls High School and later became an information technology pioneer, businesswoman and philanthropist.
To read a transcript of her speech, click on the link below:
Refugee Rights Appeals
Amnesty International Shrewsbury members
invite you to support refugees through their Refugees Rights Appeals.
Members have been engaged in an e-letters during the lockdown to appeal to the Prime Minister of Malta to allow people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea and detained aboard ferry boats under the coordination of the Maltese government to disembark in Malta, receive appropriate assistance and, if they wish, seek asylum.
You can take part in this appeal, either by writing their own letter or by signing the pre-prepared letter on Amnesty International UK's website.
All of the relevant information can be found by following the link below:
Belgian Refugees in Shropshire
Shropshire Archives looks back to 100 years ago, when Shropshire welcomed a large influx of refugees.
After Germany invaded and occupied Belgium at the start of the First World War, many hundreds of thousands of civilians were displaced and fled to the coastal ports. The plight of Belgian refugees, and atrocities by the invading army, were widely reported in the press and there was great sympathy for the Belgian people. It is thought that up to 250,000 were given refuge in the UK.
To find out more follow the link below:
Belgian Refugees at Wellington