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A desk lamp shines in the face of two frightened young people. Questions are fired into their face. How on earth have these young run-aways journeyed half the globe undetected. At Yarlswood Detention Centre desperate asylum seekers are ten a penny. Yet nobody has heard a case like this before. These religious nutters claim to be parents of God. Maryam and Youseff seek sanctuary. To do so- they must tell their story. Flashback to an arranged marriage rocked by the scandal of illigitimate pregnancy. A young couple flee not only the bombs of a war-torn country but their disgraced families too. In a refugee camp a baby is born in a tent on flattened boxes. News soon spreads around camp that guerilla soldiers are on the way killing every child in sight. Maryam and Youseff head for the coast and are bundled into a tiny boat. They risk their lives over a treacherous sea before capsizing. They awake washed up ashore on a foreign land, picked up by border control. We are back in Yarlswood Detention Centre awaiting a verdict from the Home Office. Will our young family be given leave to remain? The decision rests on the story.
We are re-imagining the birth of Jesus. Blending the narrative of Mary and Joseph's seeking sanctuary in Egypt, with similar experiences to those of Asylum seekers today. De-sanitising the saccharin Christmas card pictures of the nativity, we are aiming to re-discover some of the danger, uncertainty and courage of Mary and Joseph. Journeying is key to the original story, with dangerous trips to Bethlehem, and subsequently Egypt; similar to the journeys asylum seekers travel today. Jesus was born to asylum seekers escaping persecution from a dictaorship, mirroring circumstances of many people today escaping persecution from oppressive states. Being detained in Yarlswood Detention Centre is not only a device to hear the story but also a way to explore the theme of will you accept this extraordinary story? Essentially, will you accept the baby?
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