A play and a campaign, Tanja is a new piece from Strawberry Blonde Curls that blends drama, spoken word, physicality, puppetry, sign language and verbatim theatre. Tanya is written by and stars former Yarl’s Wood detainee Emily Ntshangase-Wood.
Immigration is at the centre of every debate right now, in politics, pubs, hairdressers and schools. But despite this, very few people have heard of Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre, a building wrapped in barbed wire fencing in the idyllic Bedfordshire countryside that houses up to 400 vulnerable female asylum seekers and is run by an all-male staff.
Tanja is a drama about a woman. She’s an individual, yet she stands for and represents all the women who have, and continue to, suffer. Set in her room at Yarl’s Wood, this is her story, her life, her love of own culture and music, her (despite everything) love of England and its quirky eccentricities and the abuse she has suffered in her quest for refuge.
No journalists or visitors are allowed inside. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women was denied access because the centre is protected by the Official Secrets Act. There have been numerous allegations of sexual assault which have led to the dismissal of male guards. Women who have already fled war, torture, rape, domestic violence and sexual trafficking are put on 24/7 supervision by male members of staff.
John Tomlinson, the director of Strawberry Blonde Curls, said “This one (Tanya) has a good chance to actually make a change. We’ve got a massive opportunity and we’re grateful, but we won’t rest until this is settled. We’ll make, rehearse, tour, talk and shout about it for a long time. We work in an industry of make believe, but not this – this is now, this is real. Let’s challenge the injustices experienced by women who seek asylum in the UK.”
Tickets for Tanja are priced: £10.50 / £9 concessions.
You can book your tickets for Tanja here.