Hiba Alwadi – a portrait
Essam Rabai – a portrait
The Trojans – on location
2018-present: Feature documentary commissioned by Trojan Women Project
Status: In post-production, for completion summer 2020
The film follows a group of Syrian refugees who have permanently relocated to Glasgow as they develop and perform a stage play that fuses their contemporary experiences of war and exile with the Euripides’ Greek tragedy, The Trojan Women. Charlotte Ginsborg filmed from the first day the group met, strangers who had never acted before, through to the play’s gala performance to a sold-out house at the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.
The film uses the ‘drama’ of the play’s development to frame the emotional journeys of the group as they deal with their experiences of becoming refugees, integrating into UK society, and beginning to process their traumatic experiences of war. The power of giving direct testimonies on stage enabled the cast to reclaim the word ‘refugee’ and tell their own stories in their own terms, combating the often negative stereotypes associated with refugees. The group met weekly working with the theatre director Vikki Beasly using improvisation techniques and drama exercises to develop the plays structure and script. The Syrians were from diverse social backgrounds and the workshops were full of political debate, an intense mix of creativity, discussion, tears, and laughter.
During the year Charlotte Ginsborg also filmed members of the group in their homes, workplaces and colleges as they negotiated their new lives. Many had had to make the difficult decision to leave family behind in Syria and witnessed the horrors of the war. The participants in the film bravely discuss these issues. Charlotte Ginsborg also filmed them performing sections of the play on location in and around Glasgow. These scenes, footage from the workshops, and the play itself create a rich portrait of a spirited community as they move forward in their lives.
Director: Charlotte Ginsborg
Producers: Charlotte Eagar & William Stirling
DOP: Charlotte Ginsborg
Additional Camera: Jamie Quantrill, Margaret Salmon, Rebecca Toop
Sound recordist: Peter Crowder