Untold Arts presents the world premiere of The Scar Test, a new play by Soho Theatre Westminster Prize award-winning writer Hannah Khalil.
Described as a “place of national concern” by the Prisons Watchdog in 2015, Yarl’s Wood is one of 11 similar detention centres around the UK where residents are held awaiting immigration clearance or deportation. A controversial centre that houses women refugees and asylum seekers, many of whom came to the UK fleeing torture and abuse, including sexual violence. The Scar Test tells the fictional stories of 11 female characters held in this disturbing place, where those most in need are kept under lock and key and denied basic human rights. Their lives are regulated, privacy is non-existent and they are offered minimal medical assistance.
Opening on 21 June during Refugee Week 2017, The Scar Test offers a powerful and disturbing snapshot of life inside the infamous Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre. Based on verbatim interviews and extensive research, it depicts the controversial and unsettling conditions faced by the women detained there, highlighting the urgent, widely unknown reality of immigration control in Britain. Playwright Hannah Khalil commented:
“The first time I visited Yarl’s Wood was in early 2016. It’s very odd, you drive along winding country lanes and then there’s suddenly an industrial estate, like a Premier Inn but behind barbed wire. I don’t think enough people realise that this is happening in the UK, right now and it is not acceptable. On a broader scale I’d hope it’s a stark warning about what can happen if we start to see other people as different or less deserving than we are. That way absolute danger lies as we should know from the past…”
Directed by Sara Joyce, the cast of The Scar Test includes Janet Etuk, Nadia Nadif, Shazia Nicholls, Rebecca Omogbehin and Lucy Sheen. Design is by Amelia Jane Hankin, lighting by Zoe Spurr and sound by Jo Walker.
The Scar Test tours the UK from 21 June – 22 July. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.