Our final day in The Jungle was meant to be a quiet one…
Initially we were told that on Sundays the Theatre space is usually a bit quiet; then it emerged that for this particular Sunday the Theatre was to host a big media event and we imagined to be of use with some quiet behind-the scenes support. On the even of the event the Good Chance team decided that it would be great to offer a quiet and creative space in the small dome just for The Jungle residents, free from journalists and away from the hustle & bustle of the event. For that they asked us to do the same we’d done on the pervious 3 days: host an arts workshop.
We were very happy with that choice because after 3 days of trying different things we knew that drawing and colouring were on demand and we could easily integrate our Bird Cards into that. We had already begun to feel quite at home in the little dome so this seemed the easiest and most fulfilling option.
It wasn’t that easy to start with, though, because over night some people had entered the Theatre in a state of anger and damaged quite a bit of the already wonky furniture – two tables and two benches were beyond use and a lot of the solid wooden benches had disappeared. What could have easily felt like a set back was just taken note of by the team and then we set out to create new furniture. Artist Sue, who was working in the little dome alongside us, spread a clean blue tarp across the floor and used the two very low benches for people to sit on and work from there – making boardgames out of wood. The blue tarp was respected like a carpet and we noticed with astonishment that people took their shoes of – unprompted – before entering that space.
On the other side we cobbled together the two remaining tables under a sheet of brown Kraft paper and created a new bench out of a table that had lost it’s seat by taping a billboard on top of it. We also used one of Sue’s large boxes as a bench and then nicked some of the hired chairs from the large dome – so all in all we had a decent work space and furniture building turned into team building…
And it was worth all the effort because our little dome was again very popular with people who valued some quiet focused art work and the opportunity to create, reflect and share. It was also a bit surreal to know that on the other side of the dome an important event was going on with the likes of Jude Law, Tom Stoppard, Stephen Daldry, Sonja Friedman Tom Odell and others to express solidarity with the refugees in The Jungle and raise awareness about their situation while we were absorbed in writing, drawing, colouring, bird-cards, Persian poetry, sharing storied about home, love and loss. But mostly it was really powerful to be able to offer what we easily could offer and to know that it made a little difference.
We are very grateful to Good Chance Theatre for hosting us for these past 5 days – and we feel honoured to having been able to be here on the eve of massive changes: Good Chance Theatre have also received their eviction order and are currently exploring options for where to go from here.
We found the work of Good Chance Theatre incredibly inspirational and much needed in place where people have very little opportunity for normality, for self-expression, for coming together to share without words, for reminiscing and missing and for meeting people from across Europe who are keen to show that despite our Governments there are many people who care about the fate of people in The Jungle.
We are back in London now and look forward to a team meeting on Wednesday where we will explore where net with our impressions and art work from The Jungle – an exhibition is in the pipeline so watch this space!
And also check out the work of Good Chance Theatre here.