Belgrade awarded Theatre of Sanctuary status

Steve Orme

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has become one of only a handful of theatres across the UK to be awarded Theatre of Sanctuary status, recognising its commitment to becoming a welcoming and safe place.

The award was presented to the theatre during an event to mark Universal Children’s Day which featured a showcase of music, artwork and live performances by Syrian refugees.

To achieve Theatre of Sanctuary status, the Belgrade had to demonstrate to a visiting panel its ability to raise awareness of what it means to be a person seeking sanctuary and take action to support the inclusion of sanctuary seekers and refugees in its activities.

The Belgrade’s associate director, Justine Themen, said, “the Belgrade prides itself on welcoming and building strong relationships with the diverse communities in the city—whether as audiences, participants or artists. We recognise that a city is a continuously evolving place and we need to be responsive to change within it.

“We want to open our doors to newly-arriving communities to share their stories and build understanding. We look forward to the challenges and inspiration that come with this. A theatre is a space for dialogue within the city, celebrating both our differences and our shared humanity.”

The Belgrade is to co-design a short pilot programme of four workshops for newly arrived women using drama to build confidence and language skills.