Let's seize the stage for women seeking sanctuary!

by Makani in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

Total raised £7,828

£12,000 target 11 days left
65% 102 supporters
Keep what you raise – this project will receive all pledges made by 27th June 2024 at 6:05pm

Together let's raise the curtain on this groundbreaking comedy, bringing the voices and stories of women seeking sanctuary to UK audiences.

by Makani in London, Greater London, United Kingdom

“This project is bringing us up into the limelight. It is giving us a voice. This is the place where we can fly.” - Julianah, project participant

We are so close to putting on a groundbreaking play created with inspiring women seeking sanctuary. It has the power to create a deep, human connection with those going through the experience of seeking asylum in the UK. We have a funding gap of just £12,000 that we have to fill in the next month. Can you help?

At a time when the government is trying to deport people seeking sanctuary to Rwanda, we are determined to give them the stage: in London, this July. 

The new play, 'I am Lysistrata', is based on the stories and perspectives of women who have been forced to leave their homes, and inspired by an ancient Greek comedy about women uniting to end a war. Our powerful cast come from countries as diverse as Ukraine, Syria, Zimbabwe and Pakistan; what they have in common is a desire to be heard.

We are nearly there - we have an incredible group of women who want to speak out, a creative team, a draft script, rehearsal space and a slot at London's prestigious Park Theatre in July. Now we need your help to bring these untold stories to the stage.

We have already secured funding from Arts Council England and the National Lottery Community Fund - but we need the last £12,000 to pay for technical costs such as set, costumes and lights, and access costs such as childcare and transportation to enable our participants to take part.

We are so close but not there yet - we really need your help to raise the last £12,000 by the end of June to get these women on stage in July.

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WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

  • At a time when the government and certain sections of the press are trying to dehumanise people seeking sanctuary, it has never been more important to connect as human beings. Theatre, and comedy in particular, offer us a way to do this.
  • The project provides women with a cathartic opportunity to tell their own stories in their own way - and a chance for audiences to hear these incredible untold tales.
  • The project offers a way to deal with trauma through creativity and community. There is professional mental health support on hand from our theatre therapist, a qualified psychiatrist who is regularly involved in group sessions and can offer one-to-one follow up as necessary.
  • The project also provides access to professional dramatic training with our director and playwright, and further opportunities through our project partners - increasing access to employment and diversity in the arts.
  • It's funny! This group of women, and the script, are hilarious as well as moving, inspiring and relevant - this play needs to be seen in its own right.


“It is really important to come together with other women who share your experience with war and loss.”  - Anastasiia, project participant 

"Like a torch, they lightened my path, showed me that I can, I actually can, I have what it takes to speak up." - Niveen, project participant 

"Knowing Aristophanes, and knowing Makani, I think this reimagining is going to be thought-provoking, moving, and very, very funny." Bettany Hughes, classicist and presenter

"As someone who deeply loves the theatre, and who cares passionately about human rights, this project is close to my heart. It is wonderful to see the transformative power of drama being channelled to help women develop confidence, to lift their voices, and to highlight their talents. I cannot wait to see the final performance."Sinéad Cusack, actor and project ambassador.

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WHO ARE WE?

This is a project by Makani, an organisation that works with women seeking sanctuary to overcome trauma, fight for their rights, and to transform their lives and the world around them. 

Our amazing actors are a group of strong women who have been forced to leave their homes and now live in London - originally from countries including Ukraine, Syria, Pakistan, DRC, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Our award-winning creative team includes director Sepy Baghaei, playwright Carmen Nasr, and theatre therapist Sara Alsaraf. 

Our producers are Hannah Nicholls, and Tabitha Ross and Itab Azzam of Makani, whose previous work includes 'Antigone of Syria'; Itab was also producer of BAFTA-winning documentary 'Exodus: Our Journey to Europe'.

Our inspiring partners include The Park Theatre who are hosting the production, Theatre Deli who are providing rehearsal space, and dozens of other arts and community organisations that have already done so much to get the project to this point. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you, and to everyone who has offered such exciting rewards to help this crowdfunder reach its target.

REWARDS

We have some incredible rewards on offer - see images below! Again thank you to everyone who has donated these to help us reach our goal.

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WE HAVE UNTIL THE END OF JUNE TO RAISE £12,000 TO GET THIS POWERFUL PRODUCTION TO THE STAGE - CAN YOU HELP US GET THERE?


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(You can find out more about the production and buy tickets at https://parktheatre.co.uk/event/i-am-lysistrata/ )

Rewards

This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£60 or more

8 of 15 claimed

Signed Syrian cookbook, and thank you

A signed copy of cookbook 'Syria: Recipes from Home' by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi ("Syrian cuisine deserves a high place in our culinary knowledge and Itab and Dina, with their brilliant recipes and fascinating stories, are the perfect authors to do this" - Ruth Rogers). If you wish, your name will be included in the thank yous on our website.

£20 or more

Delicious Syrian recipe, and thank you

We will send you an e-card with a delicious recipe from the celebrated cookbook 'Syria: Recipes from Home', by Itab Azzam and Dina Mousawi ("Syrian cuisine deserves a high place in our culinary knowledge and Itab and Dina, with their brilliant recipes and fascinating stories, are the perfect authors to do this" - Ruth Rogers). If you wish, your name will be included in the thank yous on our website.

£35 or more

1 of 2 claimed

Signed copy of 'Dead Famous' by Greg Jenner

A signed copy of historian and presenter Greg Jenner's book 'Dead Famous'; a surprising, funny, and fascinating exploration of both a bygone age and how we came to inhabit our modern, fame obsessed society. If you wish, your name will be included in the thank yous on our website.

£35 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Signed copy of 'Ask a Historian' by Greg Jenner

A signed copy of historian and presenter Greg Jenner's book 'Ask a Historian'; in which Greg provides answers to things you always wondered about, but didn’t know who to ask. Responding to 50 genuine questions from the public, Greg whisks you off on an entertaining tour through the ages. If you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£75 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Oshana crochet 'sama sunset' bag package

A stylish bag oozing with 70s retro chic, crochet with a cotton lining and zip-up interior pocket. Made by Syrian refugee women in Lebanon, this bag brings joy not only to the wearer but to its makers too, who find a dignified income, a supportive community, and a creative outlet for trauma through crochet. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£75 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Oshana crochet 'sama thistles' bag package

Can you spot the row of thistles in this handmade crochet bag with cotton lining and zip-up interior pocket? Made by Syrian refugee women in Lebanon, this bag brings joy not only to the wearer but to its makers too, who find a dignified income, a supportive community, and a creative outlet for trauma through crochet. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£80 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Oshana embroidered clutch package

You receive one of Oshana's signature clutch handbags (see image in main text), beautifully embroidered in traditional designs by Syrian refugee women who gain a dignified income, a supportive community and a creative outlet for trauma. Clutches are 20cm x 25cm, with a zip fastening, lined with damask. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£80 or more

0 of 1 claimed

Oshana 'shams' crochet shoulder bag package

This radiant bag is named after the Arabic word for sun. Made by Syrian refugee women in Lebanon, this crochet bag with a cotton lining and zip-up interior pocket brings joy to the wearer and its makers too, who find a dignified income, a supportive community, and a creative outlet for trauma through crochet. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£90 or more

0 of 5 claimed

Oshana embroidered cushion (Felastin) package

A gorgeous handmade and hand-embroidered cushion using traditional Palestinian cross-stitch motifs. Made by Syrian and Palestinian refugee women working with Oshana, who gain a dignified income, supportive community, and creative outlet for trauma. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£90 or more

1 of 5 claimed

Oshana embroidered cushion (Pink Palms) package

Based on traditional Syrian and Palestinian cross-stitch motifs representing mountains and palm trees, this beautiful cushion is hand-stitched by refugee women who rely on this work. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£100 or more

1 of 6 claimed

Show tickets package, and thank you

In your package is an 'I am Lysistrata' poster signed by the cast, and a pair of tickets for you and a friend to see the final show. You will also be sponsoring a pair of tickets for people from communities seeking sanctuary, who are often marginalised from the arts. If you wish, your name will be included in the thank yous on our website.

£120 or more

2 of 6 claimed

Oshana crochet shawl package

Joyful creativity unleashed, the Zaha crochet scarf is handmade by Oshana's expert Syrian refugee artisans. Sitting in a supportive circle with others, working without a strict pattern, this is group craft therapy as much as earning a living. Meanwhile, it will keep you cosy and colourful all winter long. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£200 or more

0 of 2 claimed

Oshana wall hanging package

This stunning wall hanging will bring joy, colour and elegance to any room. Based on traditional designs and stitched by Syrian refugee women who receive a dignified income, supportive community and a creative outlet for trauma through this work. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£350 or more

0 of 3 claimed

VIP Syrian cookery lesson and signed cookbook

Learn to cook delicious dishes from your new copy of 'Syria: Recipes from Home' in the inspiring kitchen of cookbook writer Itab Azzam, of whom River Cottage chef Ruth Rogers says "Syrian cuisine deserves a high place in our culinary knowledge and Itab and Dina, with their brilliant recipes and fascinating stories, are the perfect authors to do this". If you wish, your name will be included in the thank yous on our website.

£500 or more

1 of 2 claimed

VIP backstage access show package, and thank you

Two tickets to see the show with backstage access, an 'I am Lysistrata' poster signed by the cast, and a glass of fizz in The Park Theatre's gorgeous bar with our BAFTA-winning producer Itab Azzam. With the VIP package, you will also be sponsoring a pair of tickets for people from communities seeking sanctuary, who are often marginalised from the arts. If you wish, your name will be included in the thank yous on our website.

£35 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Signed copy of 'You are History' by Greg Jenner

A signed copy of historian and presenter Greg Jenner's book for kids 'You are History'; a fun, fact-filled global history of 50 everyday objects. If you wish, your name will be included in the thank yous on our website.

£50 or more

4 of 4 claimed

Oshana zip-up pouch package

You receive a stunning geometric embroidered zip-up pouch, perfect for a purse, make-up bag or even pencil case. Embroidered by Syrian refugee women who receive a dignified income, supportive community and creative outlet for trauma through this work, and based on traditional motifs, keeping cultural heritage alive. You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£50 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Ishkar package

You receive a £30 voucher for Ishkar, home of ethical and wonderful jewellery, clothing, and homeware, You'll also receive a delicious Syrian recipe emailed to you, and if you wish, your name included in the thank yous on our website.

£150 or more

2 of 2 claimed

Lulu Guinness x Oshana lips clutch

This limited edition archive piece is a collaboration between iconic handbag designer Lulu Guinness and Oshana, which supports Syrian refugee women through embroidery. These gorgeous clutches, intricately embroidered with Lulu's signature 'lips' motif, retailed at £120 on release in 2022. No longer publicly available, they are now collectable items.

£350 or more

1 of 1 claimed

Pippa Small gold and aquamarine pendant

We have just one incredible necklace from one of the UK's foremost ethical jewellery designers, Pippa Small MBE. This stunning piece is an 18kt Gold Vermeil Aquamarine Pendant on Cord from Pippa's Afghan Zindagi Now collection. Get it before it's gone!

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