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Theatre review: Here We Stay, Citz Studio, Glasgow

  • by JOYCE MCMILLAN
 

THE main auditorium at the Citizens’ is jumping, this weekend, with the final performances of Glasgow Girls, the theatre’s smash-hit musical about seven Drumchapel schoolgirls who, back in 2005, launched a fierce campaign in support of their asylum-seeker school friends.

Here We Stay

Citz Studio

Star rating: * * * *

If you want a passionate, vivid reminder that asylum-seekers continue to arrive in Glasgow, though, then this weekend there’s a chance to see this powerful 6pm curtain-raiser in the Circle Studio, presented by the Scottish Refugee Council and the Citizens’ Community Company.

Here We Stay is messy, rough-edged, and presented by a big community company of twenty performers; half are asylum seekers, many have never been on stage before. Yet the story it tells – of how these new Glaswegians arrived from Somalia and South Africa, Iran and Kurdistan, Egypt and Hong Kong, and how they struggle to survive and thrive – is so charged with energy, and so rich in its variety, that it fairly takes the breath away.

Where the dialogue stumbles and jokes around the lack of an immediate common language, the music soars and sings. Musical director and composer Matthew Brown leads a terrific six-piece band.

And if so many of the cast are now willing to call Glasgow their home, it’s partly because – thanks to Neil Packham and 
Elly Goodman, and their outstanding Citizens Community team – they have found a space where they can meet other Glasgow citizens in this rich human choir; and begin to share their music, along with all the dreams it contains.

 

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