By Jacek Szymanski
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Illegalised—brutal play about immigration detention

This article is over 2 years, 8 months old
Issue 2655
Blood on the Tories’ hands
Blood on the Tories’ hands

Illegalised will disturb you deeply, and that is a good thing.

The play confronts spectators with the realities of the British immigration regime.

It starts with violence at the borders and moves to police roundups in restaurants and on the streets, to destitution in immigrant detention centres and brutal deportations.

At every stage of the punitive immigration system, people get hurt and killed.

The Bezna collective shows on stage that the driving force behind all that violence is institutional racism, rooted in the British colonial past.


Illegalised is the first multilingual play created by Bezna. A character played by Oana Puscatu, a Romanian member of the collective, shows a connection between the plight of refugees and the harsh exploitation experienced by many eastern European immigrants in Britain.

Both groups are shaped by racist policies pursued by successive British governments.

Bezna remains true to its mission of being a interventionist political theatre. At one point the action of Illegalised moves on to the audience, forcing spectators to engage in the performance and act.

Immigrants who become Bezna’s actors repeatedly plead to the audience for help during the performance.

This is deeply symbolic—the immigration regime is run on our streets and other public spaces and we all are witnesses to it.

Yet the message the play is sending out is loud and clear—you can do something about it.

Illegalised can be a spur to action for acts of resistance to the oppression of immigrants and refugees.

Produced by Bezna Theatre

At Northern Stage, Newcastle, from 23 May

Legacy! Legacy!

The latest album from Jamila Woods is, as the title suggests, filled with references to those that came before her.

Each track is named after one of her inspirations, from Frida Kahlo, Muddy Waters, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Miles Davis.

LEGACY! LEGACY! is a cry of anger against the deep racism that imbues every aspect of US society.

Far from being simply referential, the album uses struggles and examples from the past to illustrate Woods’s points about today.

By Jamila Woods

Released on Jagjaguwar

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace features incredible performances by Aretha Franklin over two concerts as she revisits the gospel music she grew up performing.

Directed by Sydney Pollack and Alan Elliott

In cinemas now


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