The Boy Who Fell From The Sky - young people's role in Refugee Week

Posted on 22 June 2018

With just over two weeks to go until we team up with Mercurial Dance for our Read All About It! takeover of the Coventry Evening Telegraph Building, our youth and community groups are moving towards their final rehearsals for City Final.

Among the real-life Coventry stories to have inspired the show is that of “The Boy Who Fell From The Sky”, which serves as the starting point for Canley Youth Theatre’s performance. Published in the Coventry Evening Telegraph in 2012, this fascinating news article told of a 13-year-old refugee boy who mysteriously appeared in the city with almost no information about his background or history – making it a great talking point for Refugee Week 2018.

Group leader Naomi Woods explained: “The Boy Who Fell from the Sky is about a boy who arrived at Pool Meadow on a bus from London alone, and no one came to pick him up. Eventually he approached someone who spoke his language and told them that he’d come from London, and that he needed help and didn’t know what to do. We know that he was taken to a safe place, but there was no follow-up article at all ever, which felt like a great stimulus, because you can take the story anywhere.

“When I started the research for this performance, I was looking for more contemporary stories because I wanted to find a theme that would resonate with the young people in the group.

“Initially we had a few ideas to choose between, but everyone wanted to do this one because they were so intrigued by the boy in the story, and we had some great conversations about where he might have come from and what he might have been through. Perhaps the most interesting thing about it for the young people was that this boy was their age.”

In their performance, the Canley group not only discuss the story itself, but also have the opportunity to explore the role of young people in creating a safe and welcoming environment for refugees and asylum seekers.

After watching the story on the news, a group of school friends think about the places they might take a newcomer to the city – whether that’s places where he can find specific tailored support, or simply places where he can enjoy himself and make new friends. This allowed them to relate the story back to their own lives and experiences of Coventry, and all the things that they enjoy doing.

“It felt like a really important story because Coventry has got more refugees than any other city,” said one of the participants, Benjamin. “They’re part of our society – we have a mix of cultures here, and it’s about trying to bring them together.

“We already knew that we wanted to do something about refugees, but this story gave us a good amount of information to build from, while giving us room to turn it into what we wanted it to be,” he added.

Another participant, Olivia, added, “I think it’s really important for us to try to give refugees a voice. The idea behind our performance is that we show young people helping a refugee, so it’s about getting young people to understand that they are part of this country and this society, and that we as young people need to play a part in inviting them in.”

Refugee Week 2018 runs 18-24 June. To find out more, click here to visit the website.

City Final runs as part of Read All About It! at the Coventry Evening Telegraph Building 10-14 July. Tickets are available to book now.