Published on 09 November 2017
As a young mother of 16, fleeing war-torn Angola with her baby in 2003, refugee Joana Geronimo was on a search for belonging.
Now 14 years on, the University of Sunderland drama graduate’s story has inspired a new play ‘From the Sky to Your Hands, which was presented at Live Theatre as part of Freedom City Festival. The play touches on the festival’s themes of racism, poverty and freedom; it’s performed by Joana, actors from Live's Youth Theatre and her son Osvaldo who plays himself.
In the play Joana, now working with Live Theatre as a drama facilitator, talks about the sense of achievement she felt gaining the degree from Sunderland. The University of Sunderland’s drama and performing arts students have a close relationship with Live Theatre through artistic director Max Roberts, who is a teacher on the course.
A group of the University’s Performing Arts students attended the opening night performance, accompanied by Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts, Adelle Hulsmeier, and were fascinated to talk to Joana about her experiences.
Adelle said: “It was a truly wonderful and moving piece and I was so proud to see one of our graduates doing so well. It really inspired our students and the talk afterwards was extremely helpful to their studies.”