Thanks to the Lille ruling, we will not be touched by the clearance teams. As a ‘lieu de vie’ – a place of life – we are immune, but a community space cannot operate without its community. The small dome was dismantled this morning, and the large dome will be dismantled tomorrow. The area around the theatre has been emptied.
This is not an ending for the theatre, but it is for the homes and communities of many people living in the Jungle. We can rebuild again and, indeed, must and will. The same can’t be said for the thousands who now look towards even more uncertain futures. That includes the 291 children living in the southern area who are completely alone in a strange country, and for whom still no provision has been made. Nights in the rain and cold. Newly formed families, spanning national and cultural borders, now dissipate around northern France. The meaning and hope of many months evaporates.
‘Jungle finished’. It is surely a good thing. This place offers a horrible existence. But it has also offered a temporary sanctuary for people with nothing and nowhere to go.
We are proud to have stood here. For six months, The Good Chance Theatre has fostered a space of welcome, hope and creativity. Together we have staged kung fu, exercise, disco, photography, film editing, painting, shadow puppets, dance, mirror movements, speeches, fashion shows, clay models, set design, plays and playlets, scenes, improvisations, silent movies, film nights, movement pieces, choreography, children’s theatre groups, writing classes, vocal sessions, harmonies, instrument making, open mic nights, national anthems, serenades, and Hope Shows.
We’ve held classes and workshops led by refugees, refugees who taught in their home countries, and refugees who learnt to teach in the theatre. By our resident artist, the unstoppable Gladys Chav Harvey. The Royal Court Theatre, Young Vic Theatre, Zoukak Theatre Company, National Theatre London, Complicite, Shared Experience, The Globe Theatre, Kneehigh Theatre, The Nuffield Theatre, Theatr Clwyd, Letters Live, Rogue Theatre, Surround Vision, and hundreds of our best and bravest artists who have come to work, play and make alongside the people here. And the many thousands of people who have joined us in conversation online.
All of us have stood together in the belief that everyone deserves to live with dignity, whatever their situation, that theatre and art can provide that dignity, and that everyone deserves a good chance.