In Malaysia, refugees discover that ‘theatre can be their voice’

As the lights go out and darkness envelops the hall, three young girls walk onto the stage under three bright lights to talk to the audience and tell the stories of three refugee girls from countries far apart, yet similar.

This scene is a part of a play by the refugee-led theatre group Parastoo, which has been performing in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur for five years. The roof that collapsed is the latest of many plays written and directed by Parastoo’s founder, Afghan writer and director Saleh Sepas, who is also a refugee.

For two of the three girls, the play marks the first time they have performed on stage, but finding venues for the amateur group to rehearse was a challenge.

Sepas founded the refugee theatre group back in 2017, partly because he wanted to help himself as a writer, but also to help the refugees themselves.

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