A home far from home

by Playback Theatre South West in Plymouth, United Kingdom

A home far from home
We did it
On 25th April 2024 we successfully raised £10,130 with 220 supporters in 42 days

Help us to help refugees feel welcome in Plymouth by funding this interactive social inclusion project growing communities of belonging.

by Playback Theatre South West in Plymouth, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

Extra money would allow this vital support for women refugees and asylum seekers to continue for a longer period.

The refugee crisis is right here on our doorstep. The situation of asylum seekers and refugees needs your urgent support. Their lives hang on very meagre resources, adrift and marginalised. In this time of cut backs and austerity politics, funding for work in the arts and for community projects is harder than ever to find.  

For 16 years, Playback Theatre South West has worked regularly with a group of women asylum seekers and refugees in Plymouth. Each year we have actively engaged with well over 100 women aged between 17 and 70. Currently our project supports 45 women attending on a weekly basis.

“ I feel at home. I feel joy and happiness. We feel like one.”

The project urgently needs funds to be able to continue. If you support us now, some 200 asylum seekers and refugees will have ongoing access to this project in the year starting in May 2024.


The women we work with have fled war and violence, have been trafficked or forced by intolerable circumstances to seek survival and safety. They have experienced trauma due to conflict or persecution, and endured traumatic journeys from places such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan, Libya, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, Sudan, Eritrea. Mental health conditions are often exacerbated by the complicated asylum process, insecure housing, destitution, loneliness and hostility towards refugees. Our project offers a therapeutic intervention through the method of Playback Theatre.

Our method is interactive and collaborative. Each session invites the women to tell stories of experiences in their lives. The stories they offer are then re-enacted, ‘played back’ to the group by highly skilled actors trained in the method, who are present in the room with the women throughout. The sessions are professionally enabled and ‘held’ with care, respect, kindness and support. Small incidents at home, in daily life or large stories from wider contexts are witnessed sympathetically, with poignancy and at times humour, by the whole group. The process generates sympathy, compassion and enables a powerful experience of trust and support among all present.

Common themes surface and the sessions invite listening, inclusivity and a shared emotional register from grief to joy, worry to delight, fear to determination. Together. Feedback from many of the women underlines deep appreciation of having times like this on the radar of their weekly challenges. We witness testimonies of insecurity, uncertainty and the fall-out of the rising hostilities that are confronting lives of already vulnerable people. Often stories emerge of the pain and grief of losing or leaving behind family members and loved ones.

Our project helps the women feel connected, safe, heard, part of a community.

Your support now, will make a big difference in the lives of people who are here now

Refugees and asylum seekers are in a difficult time of transition. The women are having to learn how to build a new life very different from the one they were forced to leave behind. Our project fosters a sense of possibility and opens understanding of people and the culture around them. The interactive nature of our work fosters a sense of belonging.


In their feedback, the women said our sessions help them come out of the sadness, loneliness, stress or depression from their past experiences as well lifting them from their unsettled, marginalised daily reality here in UK. They say that the laughter, playfulness and empathy the project generates, enable them to relax and gain some respite from the burdens they carry.

They said they loved listening to each others’ stories and found new confidence to give voice to their own experiences and issues. They celebrated ways our project brings them into a space of kindness, appreciation, freedom and togetherness. They said our project helps them feel respected and has enabled good connections between different cultures.

“Our hearts feel freer and bigger” 

Recent feedback quotes from participants

"It’s wonderful to have a meeting like this with all women… I love when we sing our names, it makes me happy to be here. Even when I’m sleeping, I close my eyes and remember what we do here. Hearing stories from people’s lives helps us learn from each other."

"Sometimes I feel sad when at home on my own… When I come here, I feel relief. I change other arrangements to make sure I can come. I have positive energy when I’m here. It makes me feel good to talk to people. I feel confident. It’s really good to be able to practise my English. Whenever I come it it’s always really good. I’m really happy you’re here."

"I love coming here. Everyone is so welcoming."

"This group is my favourite. The women here are very nice and very kind. We can be sad together and be happy together."

"You are so kind to us women. I have made a lot of friends."

"I have a small baby and when I stay at home, I feel depressed. When I come here, I play games, feel happy, relax and listen to other stories. Most of the women here are asylum seekers and I have a similar story. When I told my story I felt relief."


"I am happy when I see you. I live alone. I am very lonely here (in UK) It’s good you are here. (by translation)"

"I love this group. It gives me community. I have fun, make new friends. I am so excited on a Tuesday, I think ‘Oh it’s women’s group!’ My life is stressed out. But I love this group. I feel really happy when I come here."

"At home I think too much of the pain. When I come here, I forget about pain because I’m having fun, sharing about our lives, and encouraging each other. When I listen to others’ stories, I think we are very lucky here. We must keep going. It helps me to keep going and not look back."

"It gives me energy, to be here. It’s good to share feelings together, happy things together and also sad things. If we keep it within, it adds more stress and pressure. So sharing helps us feel more relaxed."

"When I come here, I can relax and rest." (using translation)

"I love this group because if the social interaction, friendship, laughing. Games, singing and activities. When we listen to each other we hear news about people’s countries that you don’t hear on mainstream media."

Our women’s project is about to come to standstill without funding to continue.

Due to lack of funding, the project risks ending very soon - at a crucial time, when integration into local life and overcoming trauma is more vital than ever to the future well-being of asylum seekers and refugees in our midst.

We urgently need your help to be able to continue this work

We need support for the participation and transport of the actors in our team.
We need support for the bus travel enabling women to cross the city and access the workshops and be home when school ends.

  • £250 will enable one refugee to access a whole year of activities.
  • £100 will pay bus fares for 20 asylum seekers and refugees to attend one session.
  • £15 will pay bus fares for 3 women to travel to attend a session

Your donation will really make a difference to many lives.

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