Two youth theatre groups have come together with the Mercury Theatre to stage a production which tackles the thorny issues of asylum seekers and immigration.

The Colchester and Wivenhoe youth theatre groups are holding Island in the Studio on Friday and Saturday, April 5 and 6. The production is directed by the Mercury Theatre’s Drama Practitioner David Norton, who explained that it is based on a graphic novel of the same name by Swiss author and graphic designer Armin Greder.

“The play is about an island where the inhabitants have never had a reason to leave,” David said. They are entirely self-sufficient, but their world is thrown upside down when an outsider arrives. At first they are worried about what kind of diseases he may have brought with him, but then they realise that they can exploit him to carry out labour for them.

“It’s got a very strong political message about how we think about immigration and asylum seekers in this country.”

David added that the Mercury Theatre’s Community and Education team has been working with children and young people for over 15 years. He said: “We believe that the skills young people learn in drama are skills that everyone needs for life.

“Through working with us in the youth theatres, young people gain confidence, teamwork and leadership skills. They learn to be clear communicators and are encouraged to be imaginative and creative thinkers.

“We also offer young people opportunities to perform on our main stage and in our studio, giving them the chance to use their skills in an authentic and exciting environment, working with professional directors, designers and technical staff. Our youth theatres also provide a fun and creative environment for young people to make friends, and meet and work with others who share their interests.”

Island starts on Friday, April 5 at 6pm. There are two shows on the Saturday, at 2.45pm and 6pm. Tickets cost £5; for more information call the Box Office on 01206 573948 or visit