Actors for Human Rights
Actors for Human Rights was founded in 2006 and is a network of more than 700 professional actors across the UK who are dedicated to drawing public attention to human rights concerns. We respond to requests for rehearsed readings of our documentary plays and can go anywhere at any time.
Actors for Human Rights was inspired by an Australian network called Actors for Refugees, formed by actors Kate Atkinson and Alice Garner 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. We operate all over the UK with the Scottish arm run by Stevie Ritchie in Glasgow. Independently of ice&fire, there is also a German network directed by Michael Ruf
Scroll down to see our current scripts or click here to book a reading.
‘These stories are harrowing, shocking and disturbing, showing the remarkable resilience and dignity of those thrown into a system which is arduous, deliberately complicated and often incredibly lengthy…This wasn’t a performance as we are used to, but a reading of three intertwined monologues, telling the very different stories of three individuals and their experiences leading to them coming to the UK to seek asylum. The performers were keen to point out that the stories remain the property of those who told them, and that they, as actors, have no desire to impersonate or “perform” the scripts. It was surprising how truthful and touching this approach was.’
‘Ice and Fire have provided a beautiful and powerful platform, working alongside refugees who have been so brave as to share their stories. Let that bravery not go unseen. Raise awareness, raise money, raise a voice – money and power should not outweigh human rights.’ STAGE DOOR LEARNING
‘The acting was delicate, minimal, allowing the words to speak for themselves. Although we know it must go on, it’s still shocking to hear the first-hand accounts of people devoured by the heartless machine of bureaucracy. This was brave, honest, close to the bone.’ – OXFORD THEATRE REVIEW
Book a performance
We can perform at any time across the UK and normally perform in non-traditional venues, such as town halls, community spaces, workplaces, conference rooms, schools and universities. We ask organisations booking a performance to ensure there is an audience of at least 50 people.
Get involved as an actor
We are always looking for performers to join our growing network, which now comprises well over 600 professional actors and musicians around the country. The performances are presented as rehearsed readings, so there is no need to learn lines and we rehearse on the day.
10 things you can do
Seen one of our shows recently and want to know what you can do?
Click below to download a copy of our ’10 Things You Can Do’ leaflet full of plenty of ways to make a difference.
A short documentary about our Actors for Human Rights project, 15 years after launching it. Made for the Amnesty UK Festival of Social Justice 2021. With Seb Aguirre, Waleed Akhtar, Christine Bacon, Joseph Funnell, Leann O’Kasi, PJ Samuels. Made by Nick Figgis and Craig Spenceley.
The scripts we currently have available on request are:
- Asylum Monologues – First-hand accounts of the UK’s asylum system in the words of people who have experienced it.
- Asylum Dialogues – Drawn from real life conversations with three pairs of friends – one an asylum seeker and the other a British citizen – this script explores the positive transformations created by their encounters with each other.
- Broke – Made up of testimonies of people living with poverty and homelessness in today’s Britain.
- The Illegals – This script is made up of personal accounts from undocumented migrants living and working in London.
- Even if We Lose Our Lives – Drawn from in-depth interviews with three Afghan women fighting for peace and protection for women’s rights in their conflict-affected country.
- Palestine Monologues – Explores the day-to-day experiences of life under Israeli occupation.
- This is Who I Am – Verbatim testimonies from LGBT+ refugees about their experiences in their own country and on arrival in the UK.
- Close to Home – As part of a multi-year grant we received from Trust for London, we conducted in-depth interviews with some of the people hardest hit by the UK government’s ‘austerity measures.’
- My Skype Family – In July 2012, the UK government radically changed the family migration rules, including a new minimum income requirement for British nationals wishing to sponsor children or spouses from outside Europe.
We also have a number of other individual testimonies and historical scripts covering the following areas…
- Afghanistan post-2001
- Multiple testimonies about poverty/homelessness/unemployment/benefit system/public sector cuts in the UK
- People engaged in sex work and survivors of sex trafficking.
- Male victims of sexual violence (these were recently performed at the FCOs Global Summit on Sexual Violence in Conflict).
- The end of the Sri Lankan civil war
- Extraordinary rendition
- Migrants who have travelled across the world to Calais, with a view to crossing the channel to the UK
- Former Burmese prisoners of conscience now living in the UK
- Victims of torture and arbitrary detention in Nepal
- Nepalese and Colombian human rights defenders
- Mexican activist for the disappeared
- Ageing and human rights
- Child refugees/child poverty/rights of the child
Click here to book a performance.
Interested in working with us?
We regularly receive new commissions to support campaigns or events.We can create bespoke testimony-based script gather new material to update plays.