Curious onlookers at the Calais migrants’ camp, otherwise known as the ‘jungle’, were treated to a performance of Hamlet from Shakespeare’s Globe.
Proceeding the performance, the cast members sang “A-Roving I Will Go”, a somewhat fitting choice for the approximately 6000 displaced peoples housed in the migrants’ camp.
The camp consists of refugees from Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan, just a few of the countries from which dangerous journeys to safety had been made.
The audience were given programme notes that explained the scenes in Arabic, Farsi, Pashto and Kurdish – a welcome addition for the somewhat bemused onlookers.
Despite the freezing conditions, the audience watched on in admiration whilst snacking on popcorn and pancakes, provided by the charity Refugee Community Kitchen, which supplies the camp with over 2000 hot meals a day.
“I like the play,” said Ali, to The Telegraph, who fled the conflict between rebels and Sudanese forces in his home region of Darfur. “It was difficult to understand all the language but we were trying. I read the notes in Arabic so I can understand the story.”
The original three hour performance was cut short due to the increasingly bitter weather, with the performers managing to portray the story of Hamlet, in a speedy 90 minutes.
Press officer, Claudia Conway, told The Telegraph said they were determined to bring, even a moment, of joy to the audience: “We wanted to give people entertainment, not boredom.”
The performance was staged in partnership with the Good Chance Theatre which runs workshops in the camp, teaching participants drama, singing and writing.
Tom Bird, producer of Globe to Globe, said: “It was encouraging to see the response from the audience here.”
Shakespeare’s Globe will continue their performance tour, aiming to perform Hamlet in every country in the world by April 23rd , to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.