Good Chance theatre is a beacon of hope in Calais’ refugee camp

Creativity brings people together in this struggling refugee camp.

Jungle, a refugee camp in Calais, France is home to around 6000 people who made hazardous trans-continental journeys from their home countries in search of a safe haven. Hailing from countries all across the Middle East and Africa, the refugees have found themselves in a state of limbo where shortcomings in shelter, food and water safety, personal hygiene, sanitation and security are a daily reality. In the middle of this strife, a small theatre named Good Chance functions as a space within the camp where people can share their harrowing stories with drama, music, art, and dance.

Founded by Joe & Joe, two British playwrights, Good Chance provides a space which is always filled with daily activities to give people a break from the monotony and uncertainty of camp life.

The daytime schedule can include writing workshops, music lessons, dance, acting and performance. In the evening, the space plays host to big communal events, which bring all of the camp’s many nationalities together. The theatre has had poetry slams, stand up comedy, acoustic sets, theatre performances, rap battles, film nights and mass gatherings.

“We believe that expression is a need for everyone. In a situation as difficult as the one that these people find themselves in, this need is even more urgent,” wrote the playwrights. “The theatre is a safe, warm and open place for people to express, find relief or simply enjoy themselves. It is a valued and needed space in the camp.”

The medley of people who call the camp home participated in the construction of the theatre, which is housed in a geodesic dome structure covered with textile. It was set up at the end of October and the playwrights hope to keep the programme running for as long as it’s needed. To do this, they’ve set up a crowdfunding campaign on JustGiving.