The play The Jungle, about the struggles of refugees in a migrant camp, is transferring to the West End from July.
The National Theatre and Young Vic co-production, by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, with Good Chance Theatre, is set in Europe’s largest unofficial refugee camp, the Calais Jungle, which became a temporary home for more than 10,000 people in 2015.
Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Tom Kirdahy and Hunger Arnold, it opens on July 5 at the Playhouse Theatre with tickets on general sale from March 15.
The traditional proscenium theatre will be transformed to house the set as seen at the Young Vic, where the auditorium stalls will be reconfigured so that audiences will sit at the benches and tables of the Afghan café in the Calais camp.
The Dress Circle will be renamed “Cliffs of Dover” and will allow unique views over the performance space, which extends out beyond the proscenium arch and over the stalls.
This in-the-round transformation will reduce the capacity of the theatre to 450 seats, to more closely recreate the intimate experience audiences had at the Young Vic.
Top price tickets will enable 40% of the house to be priced at £25 and under, and a proportion of tickets will be held off sale to be offered to refugees and targeted groups.
The majority of the original cast will transfer with the production, including actors from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through the Jungle. The full cast includes: Ammar Haj Ahmad, Mohammad Amiri, Girum Bekele, Elham Ehsas, Trevor Fox, Moein Ghobsheh, Ansu Kabia, Alex Lawther, John Pfumojena, Rachel Redford, Rachid Sabitri, Mohamed Sarrar, Ben Turner and Nahel Tzegai.
Direction is by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin.
Official charity partner, Help Refugees, will be supported by the production, with fundraising efforts taking place at the venue throughout the entire run.
Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy said: “The Jungle was a reluctant home for thousands of people from all over the world. It was a place where people built temporary lives and communities formed out of necessity. People who visited asked why we built a theatre in a refugee camp, but it’s always seemed clear to us that theatre should be at the centre of the conversation. That’s why we’re thrilled to bring this play to new audiences and to the West End, in a totally transformed Playhouse Theatre, a stone’s throw from Parliament.
“The metamorphosis of the Playhouse is a bold statement: that we need new spaces for this conversation to happen, and that the stories of the people in this play belong on our most significant stages.”
Josie Naughton, CEO, Help Refugees said: “Help Refugees is honoured to be the charity partner for the West End run of The Jungle. We have worked with Good Chance since we first met in Calais in 2015, where their theatre provided camp residents with a vital outlet for self-expression. We are excited that in addition to having local social impact, funds will be raised to actively support displaced people in the UK and in Calais. In northern France, there are currently more than 1,000 people sleeping in the forests with no shelter from the rain and snow, with limited access to drinking water, showers and toilets, with no access to safe and legal routes to sanctuary and no opportunity to learn, work and start a new life. Our teams and our partners are still working tirelessly to provide for people’s basic needs, including food, shelter, information and protection.”
Rufus Norris, Director of National Theatre said: “Having visited the Calais Jungle at the end of 2015 it felt incredibly important to tell this story. Joe and Joe’s script together with Stephen and Justin’s production perfectly captures the lives of so many individuals caught up in an impossible situation. The Jungle is an unforgettable experience which is both powerful and moving, and it is wonderful that it has now found a home in the West End.”