Protein dance company works with refugee centre

Vera Liber

Dance theatre company Protein will work with a group of refugees from the Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants in North London to create a performance piece to share with invited guests, family and friends.

It is hoped that the project, taking place at The Place over three weeks from 6 to 24 July, will deliver tangible benefits for the participants, including improved language skills, as well as offering a means of creative expression.

The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants, the only charity in London offering free daily language classes, support services and hot meals to refugees, is currently threatened with closure due to a funding cut and may close after the dance project if additional funds are not found.

Protein is returning to work with service users at the Centre, having first visited in 2013 as part of the research process for its show Border Tales, which had a sold-out run at The Place in spring 2014 and appeared last month in the Greenwich Dances festival. The experiences of refugees at the centre fed into the creative process for the show, which looks at multicultural Britain through the eyes of those who have made it their home.

Speaking about the project Luca Silvestrini, Artistic Director of Protein said: “I am passionate about the benefits that dance can offer vulnerable people and the transformative effect it can have on people’s lives and look forward to be working once more with the service users at the Islington Centre, a valuable resource for refugees that is sadly under threat of closure.”

Andy Ruiz Palma, Project Manager at the Islington Centre, said, “we have developed such a great mutually supportive relationship with Protein and their understanding of how to work best with those most in need is so valuable to a project like ours. The benefits are both immediate and long-lasting with participants enjoying each and every session and then discovering dance as a way to express oneself which in turn improves wellbeing and contributes to our inclusive sense of community.”

The project is part of Protein’s Real Life Real Dance strand of work that seeks to connect dance theatre with the real life experiences of performers and audiences alike. Recent Real Life Real Dance initiatives include a project with students at a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) close to the company’s base in Greenwich.

Next year, the company will debut May Contain Food, a brand new full length work choreographed by Luca Silvestrini with live music composed by Orlando Gough.