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In 2019 PWB returned to deliver our outreach work in Calais and Dunkirk twice.

Tour 1 – 13th to 18th May 2019 with Jess, Chez working with Project Play and Flying Seagulls Project

Delivered 7 sessions with an estimated 134  participants (22 female) and a TOTAL of 15 hours outreach work and two shows with 238 estimated in the audience.

Working with: Project Play 3 times, Refugee Youth Service  3 times and Secours Catholique once


Tour 2 – 6th to the 9th Nov 2019 with a full PWB team: Jess, Chez, Gina, Jamie, Rowan and Meg

Delivered 10 sessions with an estimated 154 participants (58 female) and a TOTAL of 19 hours outreach work and two shows with 39 estimated in the audience.

Working with: Project Play 5 times, Refugee Youth Service  4 times and the Women and Children’s Centre once

WORKSHOP COMMENTS from the team to give you an insight into some of the issues the refugees and the team had to deal with during the visit.

MAY 2019

“Gentle one to one interactions using small bike, guttering and balls. Project play created a lovely safe space for the small ones which felt focused and easy for dropping in and out as appropriate. This is a difficult time for project play because all of the families living here were evicted/cleared last week. There were 2 new families so it was good that we could hold space to allow for their logistics to happen. All the children came to the fire show and enjoyed the magic that was created.”

“The refugees were welcoming and formed a supportive community audience. The feedback we received from our partner organisation was that it created a special atmosphere that brought everyone together which rarely happens. The fire show was energised and magical and the refugees were incredibly grateful.”

“In the pre-brief by the partner organisation we were warned of a slightly hostile environment as there are approximately 10 Mafia who have a control on the area and some of the young people. There were approximately 30 young people on the site of which about 25 engaged. We only had an hour due to another session. We assembled the tight rope which was very popular along with the balance equipment, contact balls and clubs. Games were improvised with balls and clubs such as piggy in the middle and a team building club game. We could feel an underlying tension at this particular distribution point with some ‘playful’ aggression. Although a short session it was worthwhile, we hope we broke a cycle of monotony. ”

NOV 2019

“This was a joint session ran by The Flying Seagulls and Performers Without Borders. It was a great opportunity for us to see how The Flying Seagulls facilitate games and play. The kids seemed delighted to see The Flying Seagulls as they have been returning to Dunkirk monthly. Over a series of sessions the children then become used to facilitated play. If we are doing a one off session a show may be more appropriate.”

“We facilitate group games and free play with juggling clubs, balls, diabolos and flower sticks.  The atmosphere at the small distribution point was calm and many other refugees enjoyed observing the games and play as it was a welcome distraction. We had opportunity to build relationships with the younger refugees. Our partners at the Refugee Youth Service helped to bring in minors to the session and introduced them personally to us which was very helpful and successful.”

“We worked in Secours Catholique with 5 older women and 1 10 year old boy who we knew from our trip in December. Chez played 1-2-1 with him, it appeared that he was acting out his experiences of trying to get to the UK, i.e he suggested to play to hide and seek and was playfully violent with the juggling clubs. This reinforced the power of returning regularly to Calais. Jess focused on the women beginning with some standing yoga and self and shared massage. Music and singing with the guitar held the space and some women opted to learn a song or listen to the music. The session was gentle as a response to the needs of the women. “

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