Gone is a remarkable tale of resilience, told with beautiful handmade puppetry, physical theatre and poetry, inspired by the writing, experiences and true stories of refugee torture survivors Stone Flowers, interwoven with their vivid, atmospheric score.
A unique collaboration between puppet theatre company Box Tale Soup, Music Action International and refugee music collective Stone Flowers, Gone begun its UK Tour in 2016 and was performed at the Bridgewater Hall (Manchester) Heritage Centre (Macclesfield), Rich Mix (London), and the Mission Theatre (Bath). More tour dates will be announced in 2018.
Here we chat to Anahita (not actual name), a refugee torture survivor who sought safety in the UK and joined Stone Flowers in 2013.
What can you tell us about Stone Flowers? How has the music collective impacted on your life in the UK?
I’ve always been fascinated by music, but when I first arrived in the UK, I did not think about music at all. I felt like I was drowning and struggling with the difficulties of my life. I was introduced to Stone Flowers in March 2013 and after couple of sessions a miracle happened; Stone Flowers was pulling me out from the dark world that was surrounding me and, session by session, my world was getting brighter.
Stone Flowers have developed and performed Gone in partnership with Box Tale Soup. Can you briefly describe how the show was developed and what you think the most interesting aspect of this unique collaboration is?
It started with the true story of Stone Flowers members’ journeys from the beginning (fleeing their home country) to the end (arriving in the UK), and what they have gone through during this journey. Every one of us has a story that sounds hard to believe when it is told and you think it is a tale, but it’s not!
We shared and wrote our story and Box Tale Soup developed it into a play with their handmade puppets. Stone Flowers wrote their songs, poems and music with Music Action International. Then we all put everything together and the result was fantastic! When we practised the whole show for the first time, I couldn’t stop crying because the show was alive: it has our souls.
Why would you encourage someone to come and see Gone? What do you think is its most important message?
Gone gives the audience a clearer idea about refugees and helps them to understand the true story of a refugee’s life and why they come to the UK. We come here to seek peace, which is one of the first requirements of humanity, and which has been taken from us in so many different ways.
What does the future hold for Stone Flowers? What do you think is the most important thing someone can do to support refugees?
Stone Flowers has been a big support for all of us, helping us to cope with the difficult times we’ve had. We all hope that we can develop our shows and activities with Stone Flowers to continue to raise awareness about refugees.
By supporting organisations that work with refugees and help them in different ways, like Music Action International, people can show their support for refugees across the world. Trying to understand the truth about their life rather than judging them without enough knowledge is also very important. Gone gives you really important knowledge about that truth.
To hear what the audience response has been to Gone, click here