A 20 minute film about how our first project, Asylum Monologues, was developed. Shot and edited by Ben Kelly. Directed by Christine Bacon. Music by Michael Edwards.
Actors for Human Rights was formerly known as Actors for Refugees. The original network was formed by Kate Atkinson and Alice Garner in Melbourne, Australia, in 2001, in the wake of a series of particularly aggressive and controversial actions by the Australian government towards asylum seekers arriving by boat. The UK network was launched in June 2006 at Amnesty International, London, and now consists of well over 600 professional actors and musicians around the UK. There is also a German network directed by Michael Ruf
What we do
We respond to requests for rehearsed readings of our documentary scripts and can go anywhere at any time. The defining feature of the scripts is that they are comprised of verbatim accounts from individuals who have suffered human rights abuses. Because of the simplicity and documentary nature of the scripts, the performances do not need lengthy rehearsal or direction and are simply read out by a constantly changing cast of professional actors.We work in conjunction with local and national groups and grassroots organisations wherever we go, to ensure audiences are encouraged and assisted to take action after seeing the performance.
We want our work to be accessible to everybody, so we have a range of rates depending on the size and resources of your organisation. Asking from a small contribution from funded organisations allows us to work with unfunded organisations for free. We do not generally provide the performance for fundraising purposes, as our objective is to raise awareness, not money. To find out more about how to book a performance in your area, go to our bookings page.
First and foremost, as UK citizens we all have a right to have our say about systems operating “in our name”.
As actors, we can give faces and voices to the to the marginalised, demonised and hidden. We can tell stories that will reignite compassion and understanding in others. We can redress discriminatory representations of marginalised people with more accurate information, but also with personal stories that appeal to the best in British people, rather than inflame easily stirred fears.
As public figures, we have a potentially larger and more diverse audience than other lobby groups. We have also found that often the curious and undecided will approach a performance such as ours more readily than a lecture or newspaper article. Feedback from host organisations has suggested that our work has motivated hundreds of people into many forms of activism.
‘I saw Asylum Dialogues over a year ago now. It completely stirred me. As a result, I got involved with the Conversation Club, and even wound up welcoming a sweet woman from Uganda into our home, who has now become one of our dearest friends. If one piece of theatre can challenge someone to take action that results in a life changing experience, I think it’s one powerful (and excellent) piece of theatre! For me, the piece was not about politics at all, but about the individual human lives of those involved in the process.’ – Audience member emailing in 2010 about seeing Asylum Dialogues in 2009.