Leonisha Barley brings you a rehearsed reading and feedback session of her debut play ‘Deported in a Windrush’.
‘Deported in a Windrush’ is a play based on the book: The Windrush Betrayal – exposing the hostile environment’ by Amelia Gentleman. A book which revealed how the government’s immigration policy created a hostile environment for thousands of law-abiding people, when they were wrongly classified as illegal immigrants.
The play ‘Deported in a Windrush’ follows the journey of Claudette Daley an unassuming 61 year old grandmother who love language is feeding people and how the comfortable life she’d built for herself and her little family was turned upside down when she started to receive letters claiming she had no right to be the UK and threatening to have her deported back to a country she hadn’t been back to since she left at the age of 6.
She has a special relationship with her feisty granddaughter Naomi, and we see how she stands up for Claudette and becomes her support system through the turmoil that’s been created in their lives by Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment.’ Claudette and Naomi retell their experience to Jessica, a Guardian journalist who points out the gross imbalances of power and shares the experiences of many more people from the commonwealth countries whose lives were destroyed due to the treatment they suffered when they too were misclassified as illegal immigrants.
Music is used to bring a lighter touch to these harrowing stories as well as caricatures of political figures such as Theresa May who is made to answer for her inhumane decision- making systems during rounds of political question time; throughout which UKIP leader Nigel Farage quite literally spits his dummy out.
As the 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation arriving in England is celebrated across England in it’s important that the stories of the thousands of victims still waiting in for the compensation in 2023, that they were promised back in 2018 are not overlooked but shared with the hopes of reigniting conversations leading to action which forces the current government to give the compensation they promised; which really is the least they can do for the victims of the Windrush scandal.
About the writer
Leonisha Barley is a lover of all things creative and a past participant on WoW’s highly acclaimed Write to Work project. She is an emerging actress and playwright from Liverpool. She endeavours to create work for stage and TV that celebrates culture and life experiences while addressing important societal issues. Leonisha enjoys using poetry as a powerful tool to express emotion and tell a story. She’s looking forward to diving deeper into the creative industry through writing and acting. Hopefully you’ll be seeing her work soon on a stage near you!