‘Turfed’ at the LIFT Festival – a guest entry by 19 year old blogger Kimberley Nyamhondera

Last Wednesday night, I attended the world premiere of ‘Turfed’, – part of London’s International LIFT Festival – which is a very powerful piece of theatre, spoken word, music and movement, about global homelessness. Using real stories from an amazing group of young people – some of whom have spent time living on the streets themselves – Turfed, really made the audience work, and to stop and think hard about what it means to live without a home. Turfed is on as part of the LIFT Festival until June 21st. 
I went along with some friends including some of the young people I work with, here’s 19 year old Kimberley’s take on the evening: 

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The ‘Turfed’ Experience

Entering the Hackney Downs Studios to seeTurfedon Wednesday 11th June 2014 was a lot more than I’d imagined. ‘Turfed’ was somewhat more than a performance, it was a journey.

In a bid to break my habitual cycle and do something other than sleep, work, sleep, eat, repeat, I decided to see the show with an open mind, with only the dual interpretations of the show’s title; being turfed out onto the streets and football pitch turfs guiding my thoughts about what the evening would be about.

In a sense, I think entering the studios almost completely unaware worked better for me. I quickly learned that ‘Turfed’ would be more participation/physical theatre rather than the conventional sit down stage theatre. I’d just about managed an ‘uh what?’ before being shown into a darkened room. There was an almost mystical glow from the lighting that felt like entering a different realm where time and real life were temporarily suspended, as we were taken away from the beliefs and thoughts of problems that plague our daily lives and confronted by an issue that has a serious and devastating effect on a vast population of people without a home.

With this in mind, a line said within the first five minutes really resonated with me during the performance and for a long time after, in that it sort of brought a tear to my eye. I’m paraphrasing but throwing someone out of their home only teaches them not to need home anymore. You’re not teaching them the lesson you think they’ll learn. This introduced the most pertinent theme, for me, about something of a sacrifice of; relationships, familiar surroundings and even, self. 

The rest of the performance felt like a blur of music, dance, passion, beginnings and endings. Of being unified by the all-encompassing feeling of spirit, change and difference, in a way that left me stunned and most importantly, excited.


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We started, uneasy strangers in a dark and dim room, sharply focusing and unfocusing on the set spread out around and between us and ended with a reverent sense of togetherness, looking at the ‘stars’, after being choreographed into this story and unable and unwilling to disregard the importance of ‘Turfed’.  

By Kimberley Nyamhondera

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