Want to do something good for the less fortunate while watching a play about a gripping tale of a crushing political climate through the eyes of children? If you believe that these kids deserve a voice, stage, and audience to share their DREAMS! with you- they need YOUR help and OURS too!
Originally set to be showcased on the 6th and 7th of December 2017 at Damansara Performing Arts Center- the production is currently on hold due to limited funding, of which is currently being prioritized for the benefits to the rest of the Afghan refugees’ community.
Until new dates are released by the production team, let’s do our best to help them out!
A story of discrimination, hardships, and hope through Afghan youth
DREAMS! promises to be engaging as it tells its story with music – totaling over 10 songs and one original song to bring life to its tales. The play features a cast of 20 members, who are all refugee children. The story is partially inspired by the story of Hecuba (from Greek mythology) but adapted to be more relevant and contemporary with the perspective of refugees being the focus. Although the script is mainly written by Emily Chong, as it is a devised play, she uses the emotions and feelings from all the refugee children that she meets, giving this play a level of authenticity that is incomparable.
The true inspiration comes from the fact that these refugee children are resilient people. Despite the incessant oppression they go through, they are who continue to hope and to dream. Although most of them are Afghan, some these refugees come from different nationalities, but all of them should be given due attention for suffering that they’ve had to endure. The DREAM team circular states,
“Refugee children should not carry the experience and knowledge of violence and abuse on their own. The burden of confusion, shame and guilt can be lifted if they are given a secure environment to express their emotions and being treated with gentleness, understanding and great compassion”.
The play also showcases some environmental issues and commentary on conservation, with wildlife such as Malayan tigers and Asian elephants found in the themes of DREAMS!
The efforts of these children should be lauded, as they are all young amateur actors who will be performing on a big stage in front of an audience for the first time- this is all just to tell their stories, through the filtered but candid medium of a play. These children are not exposed to the English language at home as the children speak Dari (Afghan Persian) as their first language but are passionate about the English language enough to give this theatrical piece their best shot.
A good cause for hope
The DREAMS! team talks about the aim they have behind the DREAMS!. “Aside from giving the refugee children a taste of theatre, we want them to be able to speak confidently after the show. We also hope through theatre, the refugee children are able to discover their passion and talents-be it singing, dancing, acting, writing or even to be involved in humanitarian or conservation work to heal the wounded world.
From the preparation to the stage performance, we want the children to feel they are the warriors throughout the journey, they might be discriminated due to their refugee status but we want to rebuild their confidence. Since the young actors are made up of the refugee community members, the storyline allows them to experience their life in a non-judgmental way. We want to empower each actor, we want them to use this platform that we give them to discover themselves, as well as have a greater sense of self-worth.”
DREAMS! is also co-organised by the Nahel Afghan Community Centre. The profits from the play will be used as medical funds for the refugees who are registered under Nahel Afghan Community Centre to take care of their medical needs, especially those who are in critical health conditions but do not have the funds for surgeries and/ medical treatments. Every children deserve health facilities to get the best out of their long lives. Although the organization hopes RM18K through this project, any contribution from the public is welcomed with open arms as it is a step towards a better life for all of them.
In the end, the play is not just for the talented Afghan refugee children who make up the Afghan Actors Theatre Group behind the play DREAMS, but for all of us as audience members as well. In a world where we are often carried away by the weight of our daily responsibilities that we forget what our real dreams are. Dreams are not just about occupations or living in rich material wealth, it’s also about finding happiness and hope. So if you’re looking to help a great cause, while realigning your worldview on life, come support the DREAMS! of Afghan refugee children.
The types of support they need
1. Food & Beverage (in kind or cash) : RM2,500
2. Travel expenses (crew+cast) RM9,000
3. Set/props: RM4,000
4. Merchandise (Programme books+ T-shirts+ CD): RM3,000
5. Purchase tickets in advance (RM99 each)
6. Vocal trainers needed
To offer your support, message the Facebook page of Afghan Actors Theatre Group (click here), email them at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Emily Chong at +6012-6189896