Kim Cattrall, Lena Headey and Noma Dumezweni star in new short film released by International Rescue Committee and Shakespeare’s Globe

The International Rescue Committee and Shakespeare’s Globe have released a new short film to mark World Refugee Day. A unique performance of Shakespeare’s speech ‘The Strangers’ Case’ from The Book of Sir Thomas More, the film features refugees from Syria, Sierra Leone and South Sudan alongside renowned actors including Kim CattrallLena HeadeyNoma Dumezweni and Jamael Westman in an expression of unity with all those who have fled conflict overseas.

Filmed in the Globe’s iconic outdoor and indoor theatres, Sawsan Abou Zeinedin, Sana Kikhia, Rayan Azhari and Mohanad Hasb Alrsol Badr are joined by actors from stage and screen as they stand in solidarity with Shakespeare’s rallying cry for humanity, which is as relevant today as it was 400 years ago. The film will launch the Globe’s programming for Refugee Week (18th – 24th June) and will be screened across the site throughout the week.

The Book of Sir Thomas More was written and edited by a team of playwrights including Anthony Munday, Henry Chettle, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Dekker and William Shakespeare. Depicting More’s rise and fall, it includes a dramatization of the May Day riots of 1517, when citizens turned on their immigrant neighbours. Thomas More memorably confronts the rioters, condemning their ‘mountainish inhumanity’ and urging them to consider the ‘the strangers’ case’: the plight of London’s refugees.

David MilibandCEO of the International Rescue Committee, said: “Shakespeare knew that refugees needed help and so should we. In his time it was the Lombards fleeing their homes and communities. Today people are fleeing their homes and communities in Syria, Yemen and Myanmar. The people are different but the reasons are the same: To protect themselves and their loved ones from war, violence and persecution. And Shakespeare’s rallying cry for humanity is as relevant as ever. Now is the time to answer his cry and stand with refugees.”

Michelle TerryArtistic Director at the Globe, said: “If Shakespeare is our greatest humanist writer, then it is our humanitarian duty to respond to his own clarion call. ‘The Strangers’ Case’ is Thomas More’s sadly still relevant plea to the rioting masses as they attack and reject the “wretched strangers, Their babies at their backs and their poor luggage, Plodding to the ports and coasts for transportation.”

Where better than the embrace of our wooden O, or the warmth of our Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, in an organisation that was conceived of and created by Sam Wanamaker who himself sought refuge in this country after being blacklisted by his own, to tell these kind of stories. But ‘The Strangers’ Case’ isn’t a story; it’s a hostility which is real, ongoing, and which must be fought. I’m so pleased we’ve been able to partner with the IRC to bring to life Shakespeare’s appeal to our “mountainish inhumanity”, in a rallying cry for compassion and empathy which echoes from his century to ours.”

Sana, a refugee from Syria who appears in the film said: “I am presenting myself as a refugee to help remove the stigma. I want to let the world know that being a refugee is not a burden. Refugees are survivors and have overcome so many difficulties and war. We need to rethink the way we look at refugees. I am happy to be called a refugee and help the case.”