The Strangers’ Case: Refugee Week
We collaborate with The International Rescue Committee on The Strangers’ Case, Shakespeare’s rallying cry for humanity from Sir Thomas More
Refugee Week takes place every year, during the week around World Refugee Day on the 20 June. In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.
We’re delighted to collaborate with The International Rescue Commitee to release a new short film to mark World Refugee Day 2018. A unique performance of Shakespeare’s speech ‘The Strangers’ Case’ from Sir Thomas More, the film features refugees from Syria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan alongside renowned actors including Kim Cattrall, Lena Headey, Noma Dumezweni and Jamael Westman in an expression of unity with all those who have fled conflict overseas.
Filmed in our iconic outdoor and indoor theatres, the Globe Theatre and Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Sawan Abou Zeinedin, Sana Kikhia, Rayan Azhari and Mohand Hasb Alrosol Badr are joined by actors from stage and screen as they stand in solidarity with Shakespeare’s rallying cry for humanity, which is as relevant today as it was 400 years ago.
Imagine that you see the wretched strangers,
Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage,
Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation,
And that you sit as kings in your desires,
Authority quite silent by your brawl,
And you in ruff of your opinions clothed;
What had you got? I’ll tell you: you had taught
How insolence and strong hand should prevail,
How order should be quelled; and by this pattern
Not one of you should live an aged man,
For other ruffians, as their fancies wrought,
With self same hand, self reasons, and self right,
Would shark on you, and men like ravenous fishes
Would feed on one another
Say now the king
Should so much come too short of your great trespass
As but to banish you, whither would you go?
What country, by the nature of your error,
Should give you harbour? Go you to France or Flanders,
To any German province, to Spain or Portugal,
Nay, anywhere that not adheres to England,
Why, you must needs be strangers: would you be pleased
To find a nation of such barbarous temper,
That, breaking out in hideous violence,
Would not afford you an abode on earth,
Whet their detested knives against your throats,
Spurn you like dogs, and like as if that God
Owed not nor made not you, nor that the elements
Were not all appropriate to your comforts,
But chartered unto them, what would you think
To be thus used? This is the strangers’ case;
And this your mountainish inhumanity.
— The Book of Sir Thomas More, Act II scene 4.