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Human tapestry of city life revealed in Sussex research-inspired play

Fair's (Not) Fair!

A project led by University of Sussex migration expert Dr Ben Rogaly is celebrated in a new play telling the diverse stories of the inhabitants of an English city.

The play, Fair’s (Not) Fair! is inspired by 100 real-life Peterborough residents’ stories. It is one of the outcomes of a two-year project called Places for All? A Multi-Media Investigation of Citizenship, Work and Belonging in a Fast-Changing Provincial City.

The project, a collaboration involving Citizen Power Peterborough and Dr Rogaly (funded in his work for the project with an Arts and Humanities Research Council research Fellowship) was undertaken to explore the diverse experiences of the long-settled, migrant and itinerant communities of Peterborough, their interactions with each other and with their city home.

Fair’s (Not ) Fair!, set in a fairground, premiered on 4 July at St Paul’s Church, Peterborough, and will also be staged in a variety of non-traditional theatrical settings, including the city’s football stadium, a park and a community centre, during the Peterborough Arts Festival (30 June – 8 July 2012). 

Dr Rogaly has lived and worked in Peterborough for the past year, where he has, along with Kaveri Qureshi, been getting to know the different communities and recording individual stories.

Playwright and University of Sussex anthropologist Raminder Kaur wrote the script and worked with performers and professional actors to shape the real-life interviews with people from English, Traveller, Pakistani, Polish and other backgrounds. The result is a tragi-comic story. 

In the play, two young people, Jay and Gina, seek out the thrills of the fairground but get caught up in a web of rivalry, turf war and events from the past that come back to haunt them. The play is directed by Mukul Ahmed.

A film about the lives of three of the city’s homeless population called Some Kind of Life is another creative result of the project. Made by Denis Doran and Teresa Cairns, the film will be shown during the festival.

The Places for All project relates to Dr Rogaly’s research into migrant and long-term resident communities and their relationship to each other and to place. Another oral history project in Norwich led to the publication of a book, co-authored with historian Becky Taylor, based on the personal stories of social housing estate residents in Norwich, called Moving Histories of Class and Community: Identity, Place and Belonging in Contemporary England.

Notes for Editors

University of Sussex Press office contacts: Maggie Clune and Jacqui Bealing. Tel: 01273 678 888. Email:

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Last updated: Friday, 6 July 2012