University of Calgary
UofC Navigation

Drama season to open with powerful, topical play

The Container magnifies the reality of the refugee crisis


A scene from The Container, which runs Oct. 20-25 and Oct. 28-31 at the University Theatre.

By Aurelie Maerten

The Container, by Clare Bayley is a play about human trafficking. It tells the story of five people in the back of a truck, with one common goal: to reach England and start a new life. How far will each of them go to get what they want?

The play premiered at the 2007 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it won a Fringe First Award for outstanding new writing. It also won the 2007 Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award.

“The Container is not an ordinary play,” explains director and graduate student Muhammad Azri Ali. “Though the reality of these situations is often far worse than what we can imagine, the play sheds light on one journey as experienced by the participants.”

The production will take place in a plexiglass container on the center of the stage, with audience members sitting just a few feet away; close enough to feel what the characters are going through.

“I’m trying to create an environment that will create a unique experience for the actors and the audience,” says graduate student Michael Sinnott, who designed the show. “The audience can see inside the container, but at the same time their reflection allows them to become part of the design. I hope that the design will help tell how desperate these people are. To show the conditions they go through to escape the war and turmoil they left back in their homelands.”

The Container runs Oct. 20 to 24 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 25 at 2 p.m., and Oct. 28-31 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theatre.

Faculty and staff of the Faculty of Arts receive free admission at the box office, and can bring one guest. Students of the University of Calgary can attend this event for free thanks to the Claim Your Seat program. Please note that The Container has limited first come first served seating.