"Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

United Nations 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' (1948), Article 27.1

The need

In our increasingly fractured world, where inequality is rising and disadvantaged communities are increasingly marginalised, expression and debate are more important than ever. There are now 22.5 million people worldwide classified as refugees; 28,300 people are forced to flee their homes every day because of conflict and persecution (UNHCR, 2017).

In a global 2017 IPSOS poll, 44% of people agreed that immigration has made their country change in ways they don’t like. This is symptomatic of societies in which difference fosters suspicion rather than open-minded acceptance. Without safe spaces in which expression can help to overcome these attitudes, and promote collaboration and co-creation, communities have no way of coming together or working together for change.

How the arts can help

As the British Council reports in a 2014 paper Culture Matters: Why culture should be at the heart of future public policy: “Culture creates the space where individuals can express, explore and re-imagine complex and difficult issues. This can allow received views of the world to be questioned and enables the development of genuine understanding and the building of new communities. It is able to bring together protagonists from intellectually or culturally disparate or opposed groups, and build trust and dialogue in a way that nothing else can.”

As the makeup of our communities changes, integration and understanding are essential to stimulating constructive dialogue rather than destructive conflict. Theatre and the arts are more vital than ever in facilitating this, and in ensuring everyone whatever their circumstance has the right and ability to freely express themselves. A 2011 UNHCR report on artistic activities in refugee camps found that:

“Artistic activity, especially that which involves active participation, may provide tools to address the holistic wellbeing of refugees in camps. The healing properties of the arts are well known on an anecdotal basis [and] artistic activity addresses psychosocial wellness [to] treat each individual not only as an individual but also as an integral participant in a larger cultural context.”

Good Chance's approach

This is precisely what Good Chance does. We welcome individuals into our theatres and encourage them to express themselves in whatever way they need. And we use the culmination of that expression to create art that speaks to audiences and engenders conversation about the challenges our world is facing.

We know from experience that art is the secret weapon in challenging situations. Workshops and performances, as well as discussion and debate, allow people to play out differences, find ways of getting to know each other and come to a deeper, lasting understanding.

"Good Chance create an atmosphere of love, hope and joy, where everyone is a member of the family, where everyone can express themselves and enjoy being themselves..... where everyone deserves a good chance".
Baraa Halabieh, writer and regular visitor to Good Chance Calais