Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, directors of Good Chance Theatre, have won the 2018 Genesis Prize. The duo were recognised for their work with refugees in Calais and London, and received a cheque for GBP25,000 (€28,000).
In September 2015 the two set up a community theatre in the so-called Jungle refugee camp in Calais. They offered workshops and helped the camp’s residents create a series of live performances across theatre, dance and music.
After the camp was partially was cleared in March 2016 the two were asked to create a play about their experience. The Jungle, which cast three former residents of the camp, was a critical success when it premiered in December 2017 at the Young Vic. There is now talk of a transfer to New York, as well as a second run in London.
John Studzinski, founder and chairman of the Genesis Foundation, said: “What Joe and Joe have achieved in Calais, then in London … is inspirational. Wherever they’ve been, they have created a beacon of hope in a zone of crisis and misery.”
Murphy and Robertson commented: “We are honoured to receive the 2018 Genesis Prize. It will help us to continue our work as playwrights, to develop further projects with refugees in theatres of hope and welcome in cities across the country. Such work will allow us to continue learning how theatre and art can create new dialogues between different refugee and local communities.”
Previous winners of the Genesis Prize include Hadrian Garrard (2016), Polly Staple (2014) and Hamish Dunbar (2012).
The Genesis Foundation works in partnership with the leading UK arts organisations to support emerging directors, playwrights, musicians and actors. Its biennial prize recognises those who mentor artistic talent.