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  • Notre Dame Refugee Centre

Flute Theatre at NDRC

Last week, we had the chance to welcome the Flute Theatre for two performances at NDRC. Led by Artistic Director Kelly Hunter MBE, they create and deliver ground breaking productions of Shakespeare for all and came to performe the story of Pericles. The latter explores people fleeing for their lives, losing loved ones at sea and experiencing miraculous reunions - all themes which speak loudly to our audience.

The day began in the socialising café, where volunteers and clients had breakfast and coffee together. Then, actors invited our guests to come to the second floor, where they received a warm welcome from the live musicians. As the shows were interactive, our refugee clients took part and became actors themselves.

Kelly Hunter says: "the two performances of Pericles at NDRC last week were a highlight, a privilege and a transformational experience for me, Flute theatre and everyone involved.

We were able to transform the space into a beautiful cave of thought, light and music where our emotions could soar and all barriers between human beings were abandoned. This is why Flute make theatre".

Scroll down to see pictures of the performance and more information about the company. Questions were answered by Kelly Hunter.

What is the Flute Theatre and how did it start?

I founded and created Flute Theatre in 2014 when I finally realised I couldn't make the performances of Shakespeare that I wanted to make anywhere else! The performances I dreamt of, would bring Shakespeare's real sadnesses, joys and powers to people who never otherwise go to the theatre. Flute theatre's shows rely entirely on our audiences genuinely needing to hear and see a story so that they can unlock their own thoughts, feelings and life stories as they watch.

I have worked with autistic people for the last twenty years, creating sensory games that use Shakespeare to allow the autists to share their feelings, thoughts and lives. This has become known as The Hunter Heartbeat Method

These games form the basis of my productions for those who are autistic which I have been creating with Flute Theatre since 2014. To date we have three full scale productions for autistic audiences which we have performed across the UK and internationally, The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Pericles.

We love performing Shakespeare for and with people who dont speak English.

We love performing Shakespeare for and with people who dont speak at all.

We are committed to creating theatre for audiences where their need is greatest.

Could you tell us more about the Pericles performance and your involvement with refugees?

Shakespeare's Pericles is one of his least known and least popular plays. It tells the story of people fleeing from tyranny, risking their lives on small boats in perilous storms and losing their loved ones at sea. It tells of separation and the longing for reunion. It was written 400 years ago and yet could be the story of tens of thousands of people in the here and now of our world. For this reason I have wanted to offer performances of Pericles for refugees.

We performed with families who had survived the fire at Grenfell in 2017 and throughout my long career I have adapted Shakespeare for those who have no access to the Arts either in the prison system or through their autism, homelessness and/or poverty. This last year we have performed our Pericles for autistic individuals and their families alongside our mainstage production of the show that premiered in Romania in 2022. For many years I have wanted to make a version of this play for refugees, a third way of using Shakespeare that allows language to fly using live translation within the performance.

A BIG thank you to the entire group, and we hope to have you back very soon!

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