During the Nacht van de Vluchteling (Night of the Refugee) in Amsterdam, CONTAINED Project performed The Extraordinary Queuing Experience in collaboration with BOOST and local actors of refugee-, migrant-, and non-migrant background. 

Nacht van de Vluchteling & CONTAINED Project
The Nacht van de Vluchteling (Night of the Refugee) is a yearly event organized by Stichting Vluchteling. In the night of 17/18 June 2017, participants walked 40 kilometres on different routes in the Netherlands to raise funds to support refugees worldwide. On the Amsterdam route, CONTAINED Project performed the Extraordinary Queuing Experience, directed by Marieke van Houte.

Participants of this fundraising walk, who needed to get on the ferry to continue their walk, were confronted with arbitrary selection criteria and different strategies to get past the gatekeepers. For 10-15 minutes, they felt what it’s like if you really want to get into a place, but your access is blocked and you don’t know the rules of how to get in.
People were properly disturbed and frustrated, even though they knew it was a game. So what if this was real? What if this was about life or death? About taking care of your family? About realising your dreams? We, a group of actors and artists from Syria, Italy, Iran, Switzerland, Afghanistan and the Netherlands, let the audience feel a hint of some of the experience we had on our journeys. In an inviting, welcoming, entertaining, playful way, we hope to challenge views, provoke thoughts and spark dialogues. And given the first reactions, we succeeded in doing that!

Participatory rehearsal process
The Extraordinary Queuing Experience is a concept in which the content of the storylines, themes and characters are developed in a participatory rehearsal process with local actors of refugee-, migrant- and non-migrant background. In seven rehearsals, we explored the theme based on games, improvisations and reflections from the participants. The custom-made script is based on the input of the actors and embedded in the local context, while being representative of wider migration patterns. A photographer and three film makers were also involved in the production.

CONTAINED Project has developed different versions of this piece before. But it is the first time that we worked with recent newcomers, and we needed to communicate in four different languages each rehearsal, translating between Arabic, Dutch, Persian and English!

Some of us want to continue our lives as artists and actors, despite the fact that our lives have been displaced. Some of us went into the adventure of acting for the first time, and doing an incredible job. For some of us, the rehearsals brought up very recent memories, of crossing the borders in Turkey, Greece, Serbia, Macedonia. For some of us, it brings back old memories of moving, years or even decades ago. And some of us, living in the same place as we were born, relate to the topics of waiting, power, exclusion, and disruption, from other events in our lives. It turns out these experiences are of all times, and can happen to anyone, regardless of where you are from. So our question to you is: How Extraordinary was your last Queuing Experience?

An Extraordinary Queuing Experience near you?
The team of CONTAINED Project at BOOST is excited to continue playing together. And we are now being booked! See our events page for more information. If you are interested in a performance for your neighbourhood, school or event, that lets people experience rather than explain strategies and patterns of migration, followed by thought-provoking discussion, please get in touch

We would like to adapt and multiply the concept of the Extraordinary Queuing Experience to many different settings, preferably working with local actors of refugee, migrant- and non-migrant backgrounds and their experiences. If you would like us to develop and perform the Extraordinary Queuing Experience with (aspiring) actors in your community, neighbourhood or school, please also get in touch!

The Extraordinary Queuing Experience at the Night of the Refugee is part of the effort of CONTAINED Project to connect experience, research, and creative learning to create dialogues and more understanding about migration. Performers Abdoujabar Alwardi – Karin Anzivino – Eva Broers – Katayoon Chalabi – Remco Heijmans – Els van Poppel – Khasayar Pourmanj – Ayman Qattan – Maria Rast – Sima Rezaie – Farah Shretah – Josje van der Sloot – Shah Tabibi – Hassan Taheri – Director Marieke van Houte – Photography and Film Salar Ashari – Willem Hoogenboom – Masha Jahangard – Ibrahim Pero Post-show talks Younes Younes.