Musical theatre students from the University of Portsmouth have produced a creative response to the outdoor exhibition Look Up, which presented artworks by Nikos Papadopoulos from his Plasticobilism series. Directed by Evi Stamatiou, a lecturer in the School of Media and Performing Arts, #RefugeesWelcome is a performative response.
As part of their studies, the students participated in a Coffee Shop Conversation '#RefugeesWelcome: Citizens of Europe.' The event included a discussion about movement in Europe, identity and citizenship with commissioned artist Nikos Papadopoulos (live with the group on Skype), Dr. Nora Siklodi lecturer in Politics & European Studies, Evi Stamatiou and members of the public.
During the conversation the students asked Nikos Papadopoulos about the inspiration for his Plasticobilism series and discussed their own engagement with the refugee crisis. During the next stage of the project, they engaged with Nikos’ artwork displayed in the public spaces across the city and started developing site-specific movement. The site-specific movement was later transferred into the studio, where they experimented with multimedia on stage, shadow theatre and storytelling practices.
The final performance of their work was filmed and edited by Evi Stamatiou aiming to instill an emotional reaction from audiences about the experiences of refugees. Evi explained “The students worked very hard on the project and I think that they make us proud. Both ArtReach, Journeys Festival International and artist Nikos Papadopoulos were really impressed with the students’ work”.
Nikos said “The video is fascinating. I am moved every time I watch it. The students’ ‘response’ left me speechless. Thank you and all the students who participated in this project. Please forward my congratulations to them and tell them that I am greatly moved and honoured for what they made and especially for the message they send to all directions and especially to each one of us individually. My warmest thanks for this unique honour and experience that you gave me. All best wishes”
The Musical Theatre students taking part in the #Refugeeswelcome project are Pascalina Ofori, Toby Beauchamp, Ellen Knowles, Thomas Rogers, Isabelle Hooke, Antonis Katoikos, Bradley Curran, Savannah Robinson, Emma Mills, Ryan Walker, Brittany Hildreth, Rosie Walton, Charlotte Moulster, Emma Gooch, Bethan Roscoe and Alexia Yelland.
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