If we, as artists and non-EU immigrants, felt so strongly about how the Brexit vote went, how were other immigrants feeling, particularly the refugees we work with? This led us to conduct interviews with other immigrants to the UK, many of whom felt betrayed by the Brexit vote and were also concerned about anti-immigration sentiment spreading around the world. That, in turn, seemed to make a lot of people feel like immigrant was something they didn’t want to identify as; like it had become a dirty word. The Dirty Word is our attempt to question, examine and confront society’s phobia of immigrants.
The Dirty Word has transformed into a theatre piece focused more widely on the global debate on immigration, utilising a curious combination of verbatim and devised theatre, spoken word and movement. Combining our personal experiences as immigrants, interviews with refugees and immigrants after the Brexit vote, and immigrant stories shared from Guam, the Philippines and the United States, this piece shows an even clearer picture of just how polarising the word immigrant can be, and why we might just be afraid to say it out loud.