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HACK Theatre presents UNMUTE

HACK Theatre presents UNMUTE

By HACK Theatre
UNMUTE - 20-25th July 2020

UNMUTE is a bold, new and accessible response to this strange new world, that kickstarts the conversation for the arts to become more inclusive than ever.

Also released as a fully captioned video series here:

Previous podcast series:

HACK Chats (May 2020)

HACK Chats was our early response to COVID-19, each episode giving a snapshot of the crucial issues affecting many migrants, refugees and other marginalised communities across the UK and internationally during this unprecedented time. Find out more here:
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UNMUTE Ep. 4: Koko Brown - writer, performer and spoken word artist
Meet Koko, a London born spoken word artist and theatre-maker, as she suggests ways of staying creative during lockdown. From recognising feelings of imposter syndrome, to making sure you’re taking care of your mental health and wellbeing, Koko shares how she has developed techniques and find ways to adapt in order to navigate these aspects of life as an artist living in a pandemic. How do we get through the week when there is nothing left to anchor us? Who should we be surrounding ourselves with during this time, especially when for some, it all feels too much? The interview is followed by 'On Joy', a powerful adaptation piece based on Audre Lorde's 'Your silence will not protect you' from 29:25 Also available in fully captioned video format from Supported by Arts Council England as part of the Emergency Response Fund.
July 23, 2020
UNMUTE Ep. 3: Sean Wai Keung - performance poet
“The world is a bit strange, and food is good”, so says Sean, a Glasgow based poet and performer - and we couldn’t agree more.  From care packages of instant noodles, to the nation's new found love of yeast, Sean shares some of his personal experiences of lockdown life, and how the role of food has become a new way of sharing, connecting and expressing care for each other.    With an increased sense of local community being an outcome of the lockdown, we also hear how Sean is using technology to find new spaces with Scotland’s arts community, and to even find ways of being internationally creative.    The interview is followed by 'Jade Emperor', Sean's adaptation of the Jade Emperor myth - 26:50 onwards   Also available as a fully captioned video from   Supported by Arts Council England as part of the Emergency Response Fund.
July 22, 2020
UNMUTE Ep. 2: Athena Stevens - writer, performer and social activist
HACK Theatre speaks to Athena Stevens, a writer, performer, director and social activist.    Having started lockdown long before many of us, Athena shares her experiences of spending this time with her Lithuanian friend, her pet cat and a ‘socially close’ two-year-old. With her plans of writing for hours and hours out the window, Athena tells how this time hasn’t been wasted. In fact, it has proven to be full of unexpected but meaningful milestones and a welcome escape from the trauma of normality.    With reflections on both the beauty of home life and the importance of the current global political movements, this interview suggests practical ways of identifying paths forwards, helping us to reach our goals, be these creative or not.   Also available as a fully captioned video:   Supported by Arts Council England as part of the Emergency Response Fund. [ This episode was recorded in late May 2020 ]
July 21, 2020
UNMUTE Ep. 1: Afshan D’souza Lodhi - writer, performer and poet
When HACK Theatre met Afshan D'souza-Lodhi, acclaimed writer, performer and poet.   Meet Afshan, a writer of plays, prose, performance pieces and passive aggressive tweets. Born in Dubai of Indian/Pakistani parentage and currently based in Manchester, Afshan reflects on her experiences of lockdown, as well sharing her concerns on how digital poverty risks excluding marginalised voices in this new hyper-connected world.   From running DIY performance nights, to daydreaming of being courted by handwritten love letters, Afshan shares some of her top tips for dealing with screen fatigue, and how to find new ways of being creative during lockdown.   This interview is followed by a blistering adaptation of Dean Atta's influential poem 'I Come From'.   Also available in fully captioned video format from   Supported by Arts Council England as part of the Emergency Response Fund.   [ This video was recorded in June 2020, prior to the launch of Afshan's poetry collection, re:desire. ]
July 20, 2020
How a simple 'Cuppa tea' is bringing migrants together - with Nazek Ramadan, Director of Migrant Voice
In this episode, we spoke with Nazek Ramadan, the Director of Migrant Voice, who spoke to us about: Migrant Voice’s regular online social initiative that has brought people together during this time, where a ‘Cuppa tea’ is essential: ‘ The crucial ‘I want my future back’ campaign launched by Migrant Voice, to support the international students found guilty until proven innocent of cheating on English language tests inc. the TOEIC and the TOEFL The experiences of undocumented migrants and other vulnerable groups during this time. A full transcript of this podcast can be accessed at
June 15, 2020
Immigration lawyers' view on migrants' experiences during COVID-19, with Sandra Akinbolu
Join us for this fascinating episode of HACKChats with immigration, asylum and human rights lawyer Sandra Akinbolu, who gave us an engaging legal insight into: - How the UK immigration system and key rules have changed for migrant workers, students, and doctors during COVID-19; - The perception of a ‘computer says no’ approach to handling immigration cases in the UK; - How Cuba has set a surprising example for sending migrant doctors abroad to support other countries during the pandemic A full transcript of this podcast is accessible at  [ This episode was recorded in mid-May 2020 ]
June 8, 2020
EU citizens during COVID-19, with Alexandra Bulat of the3million
In this episode, we spoke with Alexandra Bulat of the3million and Settled, who has recently completed a PhD on attitudes towards migrants in the UK. Alexandra spoke to us about: - Her work with the3million and Settled, and the concerns of EU citizens at this present time; - The impact of COVID-19 on EU citizens applying for pre-settled or settled status; - The positive shift in attitudes towards migration in the UK, and how this needs to be matched by a shift in policy; - The NHS health surcharge and its impact on migrants in the UK About the3million the3million is the largest campaign organisation for EU citizens in the UK, formed after the 2016 EU referendum to protect the rights of people who have made the UK their home. the3million is an organisation for and of immigrants. If you are an EU citizen who needs assistance during this time, or if you are anyone who wants to learn more about how to get involved, visit A full transcript of this podcast is accessible at
May 26, 2020
Experiences of migrants' families and spouses during COVID-19 - with Paige Ballmi of Reunite Families UK
In this episode, we spoke with migrants’ rights campaigner Paige Ballmi, of Reunite Families UK who has campaigned around the Minimum Income Requirement and for those on spouse visas and family visas for a number of years. Paige spoke to us about: - How travel restrictions have delayed newly granted visa holders from entering the UK to be with their families - How families are being separated during this time - The impact of COVID-19 on migrants in abusive relationships - The spirit of collaboration happening across the migrant support sector, particularly with organisations inc. JCWI About Reunite Families UK: Reunite Families UK is a family-led campaigning organisation fighting for a fairer immigration system. If you are either on a spousal or family visa and affected by immigration policies during COVID-19 period and beyond, you can seek support from Reunite Families: A full transcript of this podcast is accessible at
May 12, 2020
Front line health and asylum seekers' experiences during COVID-19 - with Sarah Entwistle, an inclusion health worker
In this episode, we spoke with Sarah Entwistle, an Inclusion Health nurse practitioner working for an NHS Trust to support asylum seekers and other vulnerable groups. In this episode, Sarah highlights some crucial issues, including: · Asylum seekers’ experiences of overcrowded temporary accommodation and their challenges of self-isolating during COVID-19 · The impact of issues around accessing healthcare on the mental health of destitute asylum seekers; · The scramble for adequate PPE provision for the UK’s healthcare workers; · How everyone can play a part in advocating for the most marginalised communities during this time and beyond. Sarah has helpfully produced an FAQs document for people who want to find out more about the impact of COVID-19 on marginalised communities, which can be accessed along with a full transcription of this podcast, on
May 7, 2020
Migrants' experiences during COVID-19 - with Zoe Gardner, of Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
In this first episode of HACKChats, Artistic Director Michelle Sewell speaks to Zoe Gardner, Policy Advisor at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) about:  The government's challenge in the Court of Appeal on their controversial Right to Rent checks scheme;   The adverse experience of migrants during COVID-19 and the danger of disinformation around   COVID-19;  The range of support that JCWI has been offering to migrants throughout this period. Also tune in  to hear about how you can support those affected by migration issues in your local community. A full transcript of this podcast can be accessed here at Accessing support: The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) helpline is currently open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am-1pm. To access this support or to find out how you can get involved and support your local migrant community, please visit
May 5, 2020