Our third ‘Fringe Spotlight’ instalment is from Jeanette Hill, writer of ‘Migrant Sisters’, a play that tackles Brexit.
Migrant Sisters ask we don’t blame them in the wake of Brexit at this year’s Fringe.
Sisters Theatre Company presents
By Jeanette Hill
Brand new Sisters Theatre Company are set to make their Edinburgh Festival Fringe debut with a play that looks at the ups and downs of Brexit and the various perspectives of migrants living in the UK. It also features original funky folk music from Edinburgh musician Martina Canon-Ball and her Irish, Scots and Polish band.
The play takes a serious, yet humorous, look at Brexit, as well as the current and historical issues of migration and how they have been treated over generations. Migrant Sisters shines a light on the working and housing conditions described by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, which encourage local populations to lash out against new arrivals, but also on the empty hills and glens that Alex Salmond described when he explained why Scots had a different approach to migration. Different ages of women from divergent backgrounds share experiences and consider why these things are happening again in this politically relevant debut.
Talking about why she created the show, playwright Jeanette Hill says, “I’ve always been interested in political drama since being a working-class girl in Lanarkshire and being blown away by the 7:84 Company, but though I’m approaching 60, in the current political climate, I felt the time was right to bring Migrant Sisters to the stage.”
The play examines the post-Brexit effects of increases in attacks on people who came to the UK to work, study or be with their families and research for the play included talks with NHS staff from Spain and Romania, but also local populations working in other fields, such as contract cleaners, who have experienced the effects of free movement of labour on their already hard working conditions. Many of the latter actually voted Leave and their thoughts have informed the work. There is a lot of debate around Brexit of course, but Migrant Sisters takes this research and attempts to portray very real argument in an entertaining way.
Sisters Theatre Company intends to focus on new writing from women of divergent backgrounds and ages. It takes a collaborative approach incorporating real experiences to hopefully achieve authenticity in its performances. Its work will include serious themes but hopefully always tackled with humour and tolerance. Both feminist and left wing, the company believes we are living in times too difficult for the world not to take a stance and aims to provide the audience with new theatre which is entertaining, thought-provoking and steeped in music which both charms an audience but also offers hope.
The company began with Bernie Barrett and Jeanette Hill who had a comedy duo. Bernie has a keen interest in Irish women’s history, including those in her own family who emigrated to America. A comedian who takes a gentle approach to left-wing politics, she was the perfect fit for Jeanette’s work. Ana and Ingrid joined the company with great enthusiasm, as well as their own history and experience of migration; with them came the Eastern European, Spanish, Mexican and Jewish experiences. An Edinburgh musician, the magnificent Martina Canon-Ball will write and perform the music with her band comprised of a Scots/Irish fiddler and a Polish drummer. A truly international company.