London debut for migrant pandemic play

  • Date

    Thu 5 Jan 23

A silhouetted young woman is seen standing in front of a window with blinds in a hazy, red light

The first and only play to explore the COVID-19 experiences of first-generation migrants living in the UK gets its London debut next week at Clapham’s Omnibus Theatre.

Lightstreams which is written by Dr Mary Mazzilli, from the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, raises questions about sacrifices and the choices migrant healthcare workers had to make during the pandemic.

It’s on for one night only at the Omnibus Theatre on 12 January, starting at 7.30pm (tickets £6).

Lightstreams tells the story of two foreign women living in the UK: a mother who tries to stop her husband going back to his work as a carer and an elderly woman, a former international spy abandoned in a care home for the elderly.

Supported by Arts Council England, it offers a moving and heartfelt portrayal that brings into focus issues of migration and displacement in the aftermath of global crises.

The ‘scratch’ performance on 12 January provides a vital opportunity for audiences to give feedback that will inform the development of the play.

Dr Mazzilli, who previously challenged negative attitudes towards migrants in her play Priority Seating, said: “The pandemic has had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on wellbeing, especially amongst ethnic minorities, undocumented migrants and asylum seekers.

“Little attention has been given to migrant healthcare workers, despite them representing one third of all the workforce. Lightstreams aims to change that. It offers a platform to interrogate the complex health care crisis currently facing Britain in the hope that it can influence policy change.”

The performance is followed on 7 February by a discussion at Goldsmiths University of London, at which Dr Mazzilli and her colleague Dr Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki, from Essex’s Department of Sociology, will address the themes raised in the play.