Emma (my wife) is currently in a play called 'Enough is Enough'. I drove over the foggy hills to watch it in Newtown last night and I can't stop thinking about it and the people behind it.
The play is called 'Enough is Enough' and is created by a group of exiled Turkish artists; Meltem Arikan (Writer), Memet Ali Alabora (Director) and Pınar Öğün (Actor). Their story is incredible and scary. The three of them are in Wales as a result of a play they put on in Turkey which resulted in them having to flee the country after being accused of being a terrorist organisation that wanted to overthrow the government.
In Pinar's own words "We were just people in the entertainment business and our play Mi Minor was constantly being targeted, especially by politicians, claiming that we were responsible for the largest environmental protest in Turkish history in Istanbul Gezi Park. These accusations were followed by death threats from hundreds of people, even pro government journalists were involved. The hostility was so much that we had to flee the country overnight."
These people are bold. Without doubt I've never met anyone who mean it as much as they do. Their energy is inspiring and infectious and serve as a reminder that there is always another way of doing things. After being knocked back initially by Arts Council Wales they got in a car and drove around Wales "Knocking on the doors of the venues – actual theatre spaces but also pubs, rugby clubs, function rooms – introducing ourselves and our project to them. Asked for more contacts, possible connections, that’s how we put together a large tour programme" - Pinar. This resulted in an incredible and unprecedented 21 date tour of Wales! It was quite surreal for me to be sat in a social club in Newtown talking with Memet Ali Alabora (context: he has 2.79 million Twitter followers) about the things he has done and plans on doing. None of them are doing this to increase their fame or to be seen as cool, they are doing it because it matters.
The play itself is excellent and regularly breaks down the old fourth wall. Without doubt the stories it tells are hard to hear but they are handled wonderfully by the cast with songs, anger and wit. It is important and they are important.