Free theatre workshop programme for migrants in Kent  

Olivia Miller
Actors dancing on stage

A 20-week community engagement programme for refugees, asylum seekers and first-generation migrants in Kent launches at the University of Kent’s School of Arts on Monday 22 January.  

In collaboration with theatre company PROJEKT EUROPA, PROJEKT ENCOUNTER is a free weekly workshop programme led by local, professional migrant artists. The programme is aimed at underserved migrant communities with no existing relationship to theatre, with free transport for participants from Napier Barracks and free interpreters at every workshop.  

This is PROJEKT ENCOUNTER’s third year, but the first to take place in partnership with Kent. The workshops will be led by two Kent drama alumni, theatre-makers Francisca Stangel and Tom Tegento (who is also of refugee background).  

At the end of the 20-week programme, participants will take part in a public performance at the University.  

PROJEKT ENCOUNTER is part of PROJEKT EUROPA’s ambitious year-long programme aimed at internationalising the UK theatre industry by championing and platforming the work of first-generation migrant communities and artists around the country. As well as Kent hosting the PROJEKT ENCOUNTER programme, there will also be placement opportunities for Kent students such as a Production Assistant, a Tech Assistant and a Design Assistant, and a public sharing of the work in Summer. 

The University of Kent’s Centre for Creative and Practice Research (based within the Division of Arts and Humanities) is also supporting the programme, alongside Canterbury City Council, Kent County Council, The National Lottery Community Fund, Kent Community Foundation and The Womad Foundation 

Dr Margherita Laera, Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre in the School of Arts, said: ‘We are delighted to be hosting PROJEKT ENCOUNTER at the University and to provide refugees, asylum seekers and migrants with a space to express themselves through drama and to feel that they belong here. It is particularly lovely that the weekly classes will be led by our alumni Francisca and Tom, who are also first-generation migrants and bring with them lived experience of movement and displacement’. 

Artistic Director of PROJEKT EUROPA, Maria Aberg, said: ‘I am thrilled to start this new collaboration with the School of Arts at the University of Kent, working together to amplify international voices from within Kent and collaborating with local communities to create diverse, bold and generous work both on our stages and beyond. PROJEKT ENCOUNTER will enable migrant community members to bring all of their experiences and identities into creative, playful work and forge creative relationships between participants, the University staff and students and the surrounding communities. 

‘We are proud to create and present theatre that is thrillingly international and unapologetically migrant – global theatre, locally made.’ 

PROJEKT ENCOUNTER will start on Monday 22 January (18.00-20.00). Attendees will meet outside Kent’s Jarman Building (School of Arts). For help with interpretation or travel, please email Anna on  

Visit the Projekt Encounter website for more information.