Sheffield students tell their stories for migration and refugee festival

Students from Sheffield College will tell their family stories as part of the city’s Migration Matters Festival, which is being held online.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The festival recognises the positive impact that migration and refugees have had on Sheffield and the UK, and is taking place all week. It also celebrates sanctuary and seeks to inspire hope for migrant, refugee and sanctuary seeking artists.

As part of the programme, 14 performing arts students have worked with Chol Theatre and Arts Company to connect with a group of young people living in Brooklyn, New York.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Through live discussions, recorded interviews and a live-streamed performance, they have created a play based on their families’ personal stories of migration.

Sheffield College students are taking part in the Migration Matters FestivalSheffield College students are taking part in the Migration Matters Festival
Sheffield College students are taking part in the Migration Matters Festival

At a live online event, on Thursday, June 18, from 4pm to 5pm, the young people, their tutor, and a member of the Chol Theatre team, will share their experience so far. A documentary of the process, made by local filmmaker, Sean Lovell, will also be screened including footage of the young people's first live performance to Brooklyn.

Student Devante Edwards, aged 17, said: "I found working with the students from Brooklyn one of the greatest opportunities the college has provided. It gave us a chance to share our story to people who we've not met before and who understand what it's like being a migrant."

He explained: "I have learnt that it is important to take the time to listen to everyone when they share their story. It takes confidence to do such a thing. I think the festival is a really good idea. I like how it is showing migration through art - it is very expressive.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Devante added: "My long term career ambition is to become a successful television actor. I would love to also do theatre as I find it very interesting and expressive. Every time I watch theatre, I feel so inspired to be the best actor I can be. I'd like to thank Chol Theatre's Vicky and Lauren for taking time to come into our lesson and help us throughout the milestones in our work, as well as our class teacher Jo Davies, who made sure we were comfortable and ready to perform. It is greatly appreciated."

The live online event will finish with a Q&A session. For details, and to register, please visit

Joanne Davies, Learning Development Coach, Creative and Design Faculty, The Sheffield College, said: “The students found this project very engaging. They learnt about why people migrate and explored the impact on families. They also shared stories about their own families' experiences of migration.”

She added: “Collaborating with the students in New York was an amazing experience that allowed all of the young people to share similarities and differences in the British and American cultures. It was exciting for the students to work with a professional theatre company and develop the skills to help them go further in their careers.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For information about the festival, visit:

Follow @MigMatFest on Twitter and Instagram. You can also find the festival on Facebook at

For more information about performing arts courses at The Sheffield College starting this September, please visit or call 0114 2602600.​​​​​​​

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to The Star website and enjoy unlimited access to local news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content.

Visit now to sign up.Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.