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Immigration Law Associates, PC

Staff Review of “The Jungle”

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Bringing Europe’s immigration crisis to the capital of the United States

On April 6, BOILA staff member Sarah Metzel attended a performance of “The Jungle” at The Shakespeare Theater Company’s Harman Hall in downtown Washington, DC. Managing Partner Beach-Oswald generously offered the performance tickets as a birthday gift to Metzel.

The show tells the story of a migrant camp that became known as “The Jungle” near the town of Calais in the northwest of France. The settlement existed from almost two years from January 2015 to October 2016, and became a temporary home for immigrants from all parts of the world attempting to pass safely into the U.K. The shanty town grew to include restaurants, religious centers, and small businesses.

The show, based on the stories of real immigrants and residents of The Jungle, tells the moving tale of a grit and determination of people to survive in the worst conditions. The joy of finding community through hardship and the shanty town’s self-governance that sprang up in the absence of a clear authority were inspiring aspects of the performance.

The show opens on a scene of fear and mass confusion that would be revisited at the end of the performance: In October 2016, residents of The Jungle were evicted and the shanty town was bulldozed by the French government. Many people relocated to other refugee camps across the north of France or traveled elsewhere to live with family members.

Staff member Metzel is glad that many former residents of the Jungle survived to tell the tale and bring the stories of survival to the residing place of many other immigrants in the Washington D.C. area.

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