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Learn more about The Wetsuitman, the people behind it, and the themes it explores.

We’re excited to announce our engagement programme in connection with our production of The Wetsuitman at the Arcola Theatre, giving you the chance to dive deeper into the world of the play and connect with fellow theatre enthusiasts of all walks of life.

All activities are free to attend and open to ticket holders for The Wetsuitman on the day of the event.

Here’s a quick overview of the activities we have in store:

Exploring Themes of Migration: Conversations with Local Organisations

Join us for a post-show talk with organisations working with refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Hackney. We’ll discuss the themes of the play, the challenges faced by refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, and the work that is being done to support them.

The talk will be chaired by theatre-maker Hester Welch and will include speakers from Hackney CVS and Xenia Hackney.

The post-show talk will take place immediately after the performance and will last 30 minutes.

Behind the Curtain: A Conversation with Playwright and Director

Join us for a post-show talk with the playwright and director of The Wetsuitman.
They’ll give insights into the making of the show, including the creative process, the challenges of staging the play, and the hopes and dreams they have for the show.

The talk will be chaired by Deema Al-Mohammad, our embedded critic and cultural dramaturg, and will feature playwright Freek Mariën and director Trine Garrett.

The post-show talk will take place immediately after the performance and will last 30 minutes.

Join us for a unique and free Theatre Club experience!

Picture it as a book club, but with a twist! Instead of discussing a book, we’ll discuss the performance we’ve all shared. It’s a welcoming space for you to express your thoughts, viewpoints and opinions about the show and its themes. No one from the Creative Team will be present, and the discussion will be facilitated by director Tian Brown-Sampson.

The Theatre Club is open to matinée audience members and will take place immediately after the performance (following a 10-minute comfort break) and will last 1 hour, finishing at 5:50pm.

Whether you're a theatre-maker, translator, language lover, or simply a fan of great theatre, we hope you'll join us for our engagement programme.

We can't wait to see you there!

For more details of the brilliant people involved in these activities, check out their biographies below – we’re super excited to have them involved!

Hester Welch

Hester Welch is an international Theatre Maker, Director, Performer, Facilitator, Trainer, Producer, Community Arts Facilitator and Clown. She has facilitated both professional and community groups in the UK, Malaysia, India, China, France, Italy and Indonesia over the last 13 years.

Hester is Co-Artistic Director of Wayang Kitchen and Spilt Ink Theatre, as well as co-founder of The Lost Cabaret Bristol and Paris. She is an Associate Artist with David Glass Ensemble and Omnibus Theatre. Regularly she facilitates theatre based classes with refugees and asylum seekers at Bristol Old Vic Theatre, Borderlands Charity and with LegalAliens Theatre. Trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier (France), Goldsmiths (University of London, UK), Trinity Laban Centre (UK), National Theatre (UK), SACPA (Indonesia) and with Clowns Without Borders (UK) in Trauma Informed Practice. Her projects have been supported by Arts Council England, British Council and Kakiseni.

Deema Al-Mohammad

Deema Al-Mohammad, a British-Syrian translator, language and culture consultant. Serving as PEN Translates’ Arabic literature assessor for five years, her recommendations have consistently made it to the International Booker Prize shortlist. As a mentee of Foreign Affairs Theatre Translator Mentorship, she translated the captivating Syrian play, Hide & Seek, showcased in 2020. In 2022 she consulted on and subtitled two films: One Like Him and the 11-time nominated Mediterranean Fever, which secured three awards, including a prestigious win at Cannes. Most recently, she has expanded her repertoire as a creative associate for The Wetsuitman with Foreign Affairs theatre company.

Tian Brown-Sampson

Tian Brown-Sampson is a British-Caribbean theatre director, producer, movement director, writer, dramaturg and facilitator. Her focus lies mainly within Black, East and South East Asian (ESEA) and South Asian theatre work, new writing and promoting diversity, representation and accessibility on and off stage and in positions of power and leadership.

Recent roles include: Assistant Producer (Theatre503); Producer (Stage Sight); and participant of Tamasha Director’s Programme 2020; and Artistic Directors of the Future: Board Shadowing.

black swans

by Christina Kettering
Translated by Pauline Wick

Would you trust a robot to take care of your elderly mother?

Two sisters face a difficult decision: how to best care for their elderly mother as her health declines. Rosie, a humanoid care robot, seems like the perfect solution. But soon they have to reckon with the unforeseen consequences of bringing an artificial intelligence into their lives.

23 April - 11 May at Omnibus Theatre

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