© 2019 Act Real Productions Limited • Company Reg No. 09464975 • Registered in England and Wales • Registered  Office: 26 Violet Way • Oxford • United Kingdom • OX4 7WE


Current projects:  

German expellees project

In collaboration with the University of Reading actREAL will develop and run a schools-based project looking at research  on how German refugees from Nazism collaborated with British institutions. This project begins in March 2020.

Past projects:

Hostile Environments and Struggles for Justice 

actREAL ran some ice-breaker activities at this event, on 9 November, which was stakeholder conference to discuss common injustices faced by migrants and citizens in the UK. This was part of the research project 'ETHOS – Toward an empirically informed theory of justice and fairness'.

TORCH Workshop: Collaborating with theatres 

actREAL took part on a panel discussing our work on collaborating creatively with academic research on 13 November.

'Decolonialism' and anti-racist student activism 

This exploratory project, with the University of Liverpool and the University of Warwick, explored and developed new and relevant research questions, together with student activists, using participatory, arts-based and biographical research methods and archive material. actREAL will run creative workshops who are engaged in campus-based anti-racist and ‘decolonial’ campaigns to articulate practices, understandings and narratives of activism, citizenship and belonging. 

Communicating Migration 

This project was a collaboration between academics at Bristol University and the University of Oxford to explore how we communicate about migration. actREAL ran a workshop for school students in Bristol exploring how they perceive the conversation about migration in the country today and their own migration stories and, in collaboration with comedy duo "Nathan & Ida" wrote a creative learning video exploring the myth of 'George & The Dragon’. Watch the video! 

(Read the blog)

Media & Migration     

COMPAS, University of Oxford, and the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM; University of Reading) are developing new research that aims to understand and promote more effective ways of communicating about migration. actREAL contributed to a workshop that addressing how to reframe ‘effective’ communication about migration as including migrants’ own perceptions and usage of media, including conventional, social, and other digital media including apps and online forums.

Immigration Otherwise

This project was a collaboration between actREAL, the University of Oxford and the University of Warwick exploring government communication around migration. Based on research from ‘Mapping Immigration Controversy’. actREAL produced a script, workshop materials and activities and ran two parallel 10-week programmes in schools in Oxford and Coventry. In addition to public performances by each school group they also met and performed at an exchange day at Warwick University. The project was funded by the University of Warwick and ESRC (grant reference ES/M500434/1).

(Read the blog)

Hautlier School, Jersey

actREAL ran an intensive workshop day and assembly performance with a group of students at Hautlier School, Jersey exploring migration and the refugee crisis. 

Cross-module workshop, Liverpool University

In collaboration with researchers and teaching staff actREAL ran a one-day teaching workshop for university students exploring the points of intersection between the Liverpool University modules ‘Migration, borders and belonging’, ‘Madness, disability and society’,‘Critical perspectives in desistance from crime’, with a specific focus on asylum seeking, mental health, and detention/incarceration. (Read the article)

ESRC Festival of Social Science 

Working with Will Allen (COMPAS, University of Oxford) actREAL developed an interactive workshop and performance event for the ESRC Festival of Social Science, "Step inside the stories behind immigration data”, that took place at Arts at the Old Fire Station. This event took a creative approach to thinking about data visualisations and information differently. What’s behind the visualisations? Why are they important? How do we visualise? With a focus on immigration we connected visualisations with  real stories and experiences. (Read the blog

Millwall’s changing communities: memories of football and neighbourhood in south London

This project, a collaboration with Dr. Ole Jensen, Bede HouseBig Local, and actREAL, collected oral histories of Millwall fans and engage residents in the northern part of Southwark, south London, in an exploration of the relationship between football, youth culture and neighbourhood community. ActREAL produced scripts and workshop materials based on this work and ran two 10-week programmes, one with the Bede Youth Adventure Project and one with the Bede Learning Disability Project. These programmes explored the research and the participants' own experiences of football in the community. The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

German expellees

This project uses life histories of German refugees after the Second World War in Germany, exploring themes of belonging, home, identity, exile and memory, based on research conducted by Vanessa Hughes.

Becoming Adult

actREAL is combining comedy and outreach in this project, working with young people involved in the Becoming Adult project. This project, run by researchers from UCL, the University of Birmingham, and the University of Oxford, looked at the lived experiences of young men and women who migrated alone to the UK as children ad they make their transition to adulthood, and the many obstacles and issues of legality and well-being that brings. Together we developed a series of filmed comedy sketches sharing the young people’s takes on their experiences. We worked with Gemma Arrowsmith and Jahan Khan, running workshops for the young people as they explored ways of sharing their stories.


Keble College Regional Outreach

As part of the outreach programme by Keble College, University of Oxford we delivered a theatre-based workshop to visiting schools exploring university life and expectations. This was a pilot for future collaboration.


“Is Perceiving Believing”

actREAL developed and managed an interactive trail of activities exploring migration in the British print media and how we perceive and process such information at the Oxford arm of the pan-European event “Curiosity Carnival”, showcasing ESRC funded research. The activities were created in collaboration with Willam Allen (Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford), based on his research on how British print media have discussed migration and immigration over the last 35 years.


“Love to Learn – Storytelling and Identity”

This project, in collaboration with community organisation Love to Learn and funded by the Youth Opportunity Fund, involves running a drama club to explore the participating young people’s background, identities and relationships. With a bespoke script written specifically for and about young people they use theatre skills to creatively explore and express their individuality.


“Better off with us”

ActREAL assisted  in collecting stories of migrant domestic workers who are members of Waling Waling, a migrant domestic workers organisation, and Kalayaan. This was for the organisation’s 30th anniversary.


Community theatre workshop

We delivered an all-day workshop to a secondary school in Dagenham that focused on the opportunities, practicalities and variety of community theatre. The workshop was given as part of the school’s Year 12 Drama Curriculum.


Capital City Academy workshop

actREAL ran a full day forum theatre-based workshop with children who were recent arrivals to the school, exploring their experiences and feelings of welcome, belonging and place. This workshops was run as a part of Vanessa Hughes’ PhD work on immigration status and belonging among young migrants in London.


Messaging Migration: Exploring and creating new narratives about international migration

This project is a collaboration between actREAL, COMPAS (University of Oxford) and the Migration Observatory (University of Oxford) and is funded by the Toyota Foundation. Messaging migration looks at the communication around migration to establish how as a society we can better talk about it, to aid the building of a more just, peaceful and understanding relationship among all members of society. ActREAL will run workshops using theatre and participatory methods among communities in areas of the UK known to have high levels of concern around migration and its impacts, to understand how people make sense of the issue in their own words and through their local experiences.


The ethics and politics of the refugee crisis

This project explores the refugee crisis, examining the journeys, motivations and actors involved. Partnering with the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society at the University of Oxford, Open University, the Migration Museum, and IOM, actREAL is working with two central London schools. With material based on research conducted by COMPAS, actREAL is taking the students through the debates, relationships and personal stories involved in the current migration crisis. (Read the blog)


 Undocumented migrant children’s lives and stories

This project uses monologues based on research from a project by the same name to explore the everyday life experiences of undocumented migrant children and their families in the UK, with a particular focus on their access to education and health care.  ActREAL worked with secondary and primary schools in London, Birmingham and Thame.


Lord William’s Munga Day

ActREAL participates on an expert panel for this day, where the school’s Year 11 students explored and debated issues around local communities accepting unaccompanied migrant children, with a focus on Thame and the everyday realities and implications of doing so. ActREAL participates both in an expert and role playing capacity.


Let Us Learn

ActREAL ran workshops with the Let Us Learn campaign to explore new and different ways of telling their stories, using theatre-based skills and techniques.


MSc in Migration Studies Seminar

ActREAL ran a seminar for MSc students at the School of Anthropology, University of Oxford, on “Raising the curtain: Using theatre to create engagement and awareness”.