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LegalAliens Theatre: Ali in Wonder(Eng)land

LegalAliens Theatre is an ensemble of migrant theatre-makers. At the core of LegalAliens’ vision is a theatre that includes migrants as artists, creatives, participants and audiences, and foregrounds creative women, onstage and off. Based in Haringey, North London, their goal is to harness their city’s diversity to create theatre that reflects the complex intersection between migrant and international.
On July 10th and 11th, they present their new show at the Jacksons Lane in Highgate – Ali in Wonder(Eng)land.This is about the absurdity of immigration systems but seen through the lens of a grotesque and hilarious fairytale. It’s been devised over 18 months of weekly sessions, and features improvisations inspired by the Life in the UK test, physical theatre exercises, personal storytelling and a lot of comedy.

This mountain of material was generated entirely by participants. Director/dramaturg Lara Parmiani weaved it together using the famous Lewis Carroll’s story as a frame, but even that idea came from the group. So our “ALi” – played in turn by several performers – is an “illegal alien” who one day decides to leave their country, enchanted by an odd English rabbit… and find themselves somewhere beautiful but hostile, full of utterly grotesque characters. But Ali isn’t a victim. They react, stand up for themselves and shows everyone the absurdity of it all.

The creative team on Ali will be fully professional and made of artists from the LegalAliens ensemble as well as new additions like the projection designer Edalia Day. But all the 17 actors and musicians are community performers.Since 2012, this company have been trying to reach out to the theatre sector encouraging venues and producers to recognise the invisibility of migrants and refugees in theatre and act accordingly. What they strive to create is “migrant theatre’ in the widest sense of the term, meaning theatre that doesn’t just talks about migration but theatre where migrants play a key role as artists, creatives and facilitators.Legal Aliens were awarded Theatre Company of Sanctuary in 2022. Find out more about the award here.

PHOTO CREDIT for REHEARSAL pics: Kuan-Ying, Chou