top of page



© Chelsey Cliff

First phase of a participatory theatre project working with migrant women, addressing language barriers and exploring identity and what it means to be a woman in different cultures. In partnership with Borderlands and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

  • Free Theatre Workshops for Migrant Women (Borderlands)

Between September and December 2023, we ran 14 weekly theatre workshops for migrant women at Borderlands. Facilitated by theatre and performance artist Carlota Matos, these sessions offered an opportunity for participants to have fun and try new things in a supportive environment. The activities included theatre games, improv, movement, ensemble building, drawing and visual arts, a “watch party“, and more. The workshops were accessible to people with all levels of English. Language barriers were embraced and supported through the use of translation tools, non-verbal activities and the incorporation of different languages.


We also worked with Ania Varez, a Venezuelan dance and movement artist based in Bristol.


Through the weeks, participants not only developed skills but were also able to share their knowledge and culture through ‘skill sharing‘. Women were invited to bring recipes, songs, dances, crafts, etc. to share with others.


Providing the workshops within school hours, for free and along with travel expenses and refreshments, helped remove some of the barriers to accessing cultural activities.

Valuing people’s skills and creating opportunities to express their creativity led to a range of social benefits. Participants’ confidence, wellbeing, sense of belonging and connection increased, helping to achieve the project’s aim to reduce social isolation.


Although learning English was not the focus, as a result of the project participants reported having acquired new vocabulary and feeling more confident in their language and communication skills.

Feedback from participants:

I enjoyed having a nice space to be surrounded with a diverse bunch of women. All with different backgrounds and stories. Having some tea, coffee or snack while doing fun activities and getting to know new people [...] when we finish we always feel better than when started

I loved the women's theatre group because it felt safe to explore theatrical dynamics and creative ways to interact with ourselves and others.

I enjoyed every moment spent with you and I appreciate being with you.

  • Theatre of Migration with Carlota Matos and Hiba Elhindi (Trinity Centre)


On 12th October 2023, we had our first sharing at Trinity Centre, as part of 'Theatre of Migration'. Co-commissioned by Counterpoints Arts for Platforma Festival 2023, the event included a panel conversation between Carlota Matos and Hiba Elhindi about the ethics of working with migrants in theatre, chaired by Vandna Mehta. Participants from the theatre workshops ran an ice-breaker for the audience and showcased their art, writing, crafts and food recipes. Hiba Elhindi presented a short film about project SuFIA (Sudanese Folklore-Inspired Arts). The discussion actively engaged the audience in topics such as the ethics of participation, making theatre from lived experience and working with migrants. Access was a key element of the event, which was relaxed and had BSL interpretation throughout. There was a breakout space available and children’s toys and activities were provided. The event was filmed and later broadcast on Counterpoints’ YouTube channel for those who couldn’t make it in person, and a blog written by Carlota was published alongside it.

Audience feedback:

There were many take-aways from the event, it was clearly thorough in its planning and was remarkably creative, welcoming and educational.

Something that stuck with me and that I will try to advocate for in my own work place is for theatre workshops designed for migrants to be immigrant led.

  • Theatre Sharing & Meal (Borderlands)

Our final sharing took place on 7th December 2023 at Borderlands and was a celebration of the work of our women’s theatre group. The event included:

  • Exhibition of photos from the workshops and recipes written by the participants

  • Theatre and dance activities

  • A short video with footage from our workshops

  • Instruction-based teamwork activities

  • Conversation prompts

  • A delicious meal cooked by a team of 4 Borderlands members


The event brought together migrants and the wider local community, with the audience actively joining in.


To make the event as accessible as possible, there was a crèche available and BSL interpretation. Collaborator Jonny Cotsen attended as Access Consultant to help us plan future developments of the project with access as a key feature and integrated from the outset.

Audience feedback:

I loved meeting people with different stories and backgrounds. The workshop games that found powerful ways to get strangers to connect were a highlight! Thank you.

Being involved in the activities themselves was brilliant for understanding the work. Mixing with participants and stakeholders was great. The generosity was astounding, thank you.

© Gabrielė Žukauskaitė

bottom of page