Tanja, Cast Doncaster

Former Zimbabwean asylum seeker Emily Ntshangase-Wood stars in Tanja, a drama based on people who end up in the Yarl's Wood detention centre
Former Zimbabwean asylum seeker Emily Ntshangase-Wood stars in Tanja, a drama based on people who end up in the Yarl's Wood detention centre
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Real life meets drama in story of asylum seeker’s ordeal.

A former Yarl’s Wood detainee stars in a new drama about the traumatic experiences of people caught up in the immigration and asylum system.

With immigration issues at the centre of debate, this is a story of one woman’s bravery in the midst of prejudice and abuse from a life locked up and sold for sex to fleeing in the black of night to safety on the shores of England.

The show is inspired by Zimbabwean-born actress Emily Ntshangase-Wood’s own story and other accounts of those who have been detained at Yarl’s Wood Immigration Removal Centre.

It houses up to 400 female asylum seekers, some of whom have been held there for more than four years.

Strawberry Blonde Curls Theatre recently became the first-ever Theatre Company of Sanctuary. Producer John Tomlinson, who has worked at Sheffield Theatres, said: “We’re thrilled with this award and it is an indication of our commitment to continually create a culture of welcome in and by the work we make, and support the City of Sanctuary values by engaging refugees and asylum seekers in creative ways.”

He said that the show unashamedly campaigns for change and hopes to change people’s minds about the lives of asylum seekers and the reception they receive in this country.

Tanja is at Cast in Doncaster on Wednesday. Box office: 01302 303 959 or online at castindoncaster.com.

The tour also calls in at the Crucible Studio in Sheffield on September 29. Box office: 0114 249 6000 or online at Sheffield Theatres