Leeds Playhouse – until 18 September 2021
Reviewed by Dawn Smallwood
Freedom Project is a Leeds Playhouse production, part of the theatre’s Theatre of Sanctuary programme, written by Luke Barnes and directed by Alexander Ferris. This looks at unaccompanied minors who leave their home countries and seek asylum in other countries. This resonates with both Mo and Hossein who have taken the same plights.
Staged centrally and intimately, the performances tells the story from their personal and global perspectives and their first-hand experiences. It is refreshing for those stories to be told about how they see and have seen things as unaccompanied minors leaving their home countries and looking for sanctuary elsewhere. Their story telling dispels the preconceptions and stereotypes that people may have about these countries along with its cultures and traditions.
The stories told are serious yet funny; honest yet genuine and spontaneous yet reflective which creates such a powerful content in an approximately 80-minute performance. Such stories should be told first hand by those who are and have been in this situation other than relying on limited one-sided sources which the men’s story testifies to this.
The audience is given an insight to the information, the reality and perspectives shared and they are invited to reconsider what life is really like as an unaccompanied minor fleeing from danger to seeking a new home in a new country. This performance gives hope not just for themselves but for everyone everywhere and “Follow your dreams” melodically echoes throughout the very latter stages of the production.
Excellent first-class qualitative productions are given by both Mohammadreza Bazarbashi and Hossein Ahmadi. The love and support they have received afterwards from an appreciative audience is evident that they have been emotively impacted and moved from the performances