Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Meghan cheered on first joint royal trip

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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, third right, are welcomed by well-wishers after arriving by Royal Train at Runcorn Station, north west England on Thursday, June 14. (AP)
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Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) arrives with Britain's Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex by Royal Train at Runcorn Station to carry out engagements in Cheshire on June 14, 2018. ( AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Meghan cheered on first joint royal trip

RUNCORN, England: Crowds cheered Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, as they arrived in the English county of Cheshire on Thursday to begin their first official joint royal trip without Prince Harry.
Meghan, who married the monarch’s grandson in a glittering ceremony at her Windsor Castle home last month, traveled by the Royal Train to northwest England for a day of events.
The queen, 92 and Meghan, 36, will first officially open the Mersey Gateway Bridge, a new toll bridge over the River Mersey and one of the UK’s biggest infrastructure projects in recent years.
The pair were greeted by schoolchildren who waved Union flags and cheered.
Meghan, a former American actress and star of the TV drama “Suits,” wore a cream caped dress while the queen appeared in a lime green ensemble.
In Chester the pair will open the Storyhouse, a library, theater and cinema complex, and watch a dance performance and listen to songs performed by local schoolchildren before having lunch at the town hall.


West End theater turns migrant camp to get London audience talking

Updated 20 June 2018
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West End theater turns migrant camp to get London audience talking

  • The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End aims to immerse the audience in the squalid camp in the northern French port city of Calais that inspired “The Jungle.”
  • The immersive play offers a glimpse into life in the camp, telling the story of asylum-seekers, people smugglers and charity workers who used to populate it.

LONDON: London theatergoers used to spectating in comfort are in for a rude awakening after the authors of a play swapped the traditional plush velvet seating for wooden benches and covered the floor with soil to simulate the feel of a migrant camp.
The Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End aims to immerse the audience in the squalid camp in the northern French port city of Calais that inspired “The Jungle,” whose authors hope their play will stoke debate about migration.
“People often hold strong opinions about this subject because it doesn’t seem to have any immediate answer,” said Joe Murphy, 27, who co-wrote the play.
“Discussion is the only think that is going to get us forward ... and hopefully this play can provide some of that space for debate,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in an interview.
Co-author Joe Robertson said the pair had “tried to depict both the terrible conditions that existed in the Jungle camp, but also the hope that existed in that place.”
Up to 10,000 people seeking ways to reach Britain used to live in the giant slum before it was cleared by authorities in late 2016.
Immigration remains a major political issue across Europe, as well as in the United States, where the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the Mexican border has caused an international outcry.
Several European leaders including those of France, Germany, Italy and Austria are to hold talks on Sunday to explore how to stop people from moving around the European Union after claiming asylum in one of the Mediterranean states of arrival.
Murphy and Robertson, 28, based the script on their experience as volunteers in Calais, where they ran a temporary theater within the camp.
The immersive play offers a glimpse into life in the camp, telling the story of asylum-seekers, people smugglers and charity workers who used to populate it.
“There were 25 different nationalities of people all forced to live side by side often on top of each other and the phenomenal story about that place was people did make an effort to come together,” said Robertson.
Theatre-goers are invited to seat at the tables of the camp’s makeshift Afghan café, where the action unfolds.
“The closer you are to the audience the better the message is delivered,” said actor Ammar Hajj Ahmad, who plays one of the leading characters.
Ahmad, from Syria, is one of many actors from a refugee background featured in the play. Several asylum-seekers the authors met in Calais are also part of the cast.
“I am proud of this, I love telling stories ... about the many people who lived in Calais,” said cast-member Mohamed Sarrar, a musician from Sudan who arrived in Britain two years ago.
The play, which premiered at another London theater The Young Vic, last year, runs from July 5 to November.