Join us for Refuge, a special two-week programme taking place this month in collaboration with Edinburgh International Festival.

Refuge is a season of contemporary theatre, music, dance, visual art, film and conversation. Join us from 12-27 August as we explore themes of refugeehood, migration, identity and inclusion.

Seventy-five years after Rudolf Bing, himself a refugee, co-founded the Edinburgh International Festival, we are inviting 85 artists from 15 countries to reflect on the impact that migration has had on arts and culture in Scotland and around the world.

Artists and activists are often at the forefront of community life, development and social justice. But when their work gives voice to ideas and opinions that challenge authoritarian regimes, it can put them at risk of censorship, imprisonment and persecution.

This collaboration features artists and performers from refugee and other migrant backgrounds who are creating new homes and exploring what it means to belong.

Our Chief Executive Sabir Zazai said: “We’re honoured to collaborate with Edinburgh International Festival and mark this very special anniversary year. Had Rudolph Bing not sought and been granted refugee protection here 75 years ago, this world class festival may not exist. The cultural fabric of Scotland would be very different. We are in awe of his legacy, and of the exceptional artists performing as part of Refuge.”

Take a look at the Refuge programme and book your tickets here.

I Am An Immigrant

This podcast series is the perfect introduction to Refuge, with artists mandla rae, Leena Nammari and Akeim Toussaint Buck. Presented by ice&fire Theatre and hosted by Christine Bacon, each instalment features a different artist from across the Festival’s programme speaking about their experience of moving across borders and making a life for themselves in the UK.

Find out more and listen here

It Will Live

We commissioned Palestinian printmaker Leena Nammari to install her work It Will Live on the façade of The Studio at Festival theatre throughout the Refuge series. The floating installation features a house in Ramallah that has been known and loved by the artist for 35 years.

Leena said: “We all work beyond and within borders… As an artist, a Palestinian, a woman, and person of colour, these boundaries are there to work with and push against.”

Leena’s work will be on display throughout August. Find out more.

A Wee Journey

A Wee Journey combines music, dance and storytelling to explore the journeys of people who have experienced migration. Join Palestinian dancer and choreographer, Farah Saleh, Turkish composer, Oğuz Kaplangi, and an ensemble of performers as they reflect on themes of belonging, connection, community and home.

Farah explained: “We, as human beings, have been migrating and moving throughout history. It’s not new. With A Wee Journey, we are reclaiming spaces with our narratives and bodies and reappropriating how we want to be represented.”

Oğuz added: “A Wee Journey is a timeless project. It doesn’t exactly belong to now because migration has always been happening. Everyone can move at any time because of any reason… the most important thing for me about this project is to try to build a sense of empathy and connection.” 

Catch the preview of A Wee Journey at Tramway in Glasgow from 12-13 August

The show runs at The Edinburgh Festival from 16-20 August. Find out more and book your tickets here.


Join classically trained Iranian musician, Aref Ghorbani, and Kurdish journalist, Zozan Yasar, on Saturday 13 August for a performance of Persian music interspersed with conversation. Together they will explore themes of state censorship and the restriction of cultural expression that remain prominent in the world today.

Find out more and book your tickets for Vocal here


Last summer we commissioned multi-disciplinary artists, Paria Goodarzi and Francisco Llinas Casas, to mark the 70th anniversary of the UN Refugee Convention.

The pair embarked on a gruelling 23-mile walk from Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre to the Home Office in Glasgow. As they walked, carrying engraved mirrors on their backs, they reflected on their own experiences of migration.

On Sunday, 14 August, Amber is back, this time as an interactive performance. Amber responds to the different paths people take in their search for safety, and the dangers of basing an individual’s need for refugee protection on how they reached our shores.

The performance will be followed by a discussion with the artists.

Find out more and book your tickets for Amber here

AT HOME: Am I welcome?

As the barriers and dangers faced by people seeking safety and freedom of movement continue to grow, our panel explores what it means to welcome in an unwelcoming environment. Refuge brings together artists, practitioners, academics and community leaders from across the globe to offer their perspectives on themes of internationalism, migration, displacement, inclusion and climate justice. How do we create platforms for underrepresented and marginalised communities? And what can be done to strengthen hospitable spaces and voices?

Join dancer-choreographer Farah Saleh, activist theatre maker Pinar Asku and Julie Trébault, director of Artists at Risk Connection for this panel discussion chaired by Soizig Carey, Arts and Cultural Development Officer at Scottish Refuge Council.

AT HOME: Am I Welcome takes place on Friday, 26 August. Find out more and book your tickets here.

Refuge runs from 12-27 August at The Studio, 22 Potterrow, Edinburgh. See the full programme here.

Rachel Lamb
Author: Rachel Lamb