Our second commission is a meditation on the importance of art and culture in the life and economy of a city and the people who live there.

In the film below, performance poet Yusra Warsama incorporates lines from Shakespeare’s Pericles into her own poem about the arts and her creative life in Manchester.

Yusra Warsama - Do You See

Yusra Warsama's Do You See - © All rights reserved Yusra Warsama

Yusra’s introduction to the piece:

One of the major reasons why I wanted to work on this piece is that I am a firm believer in the arts for all no matter what brought you to the present and the fact that many things that ‘don’t conform’ actually help us understand the beauty of our world.

‘Pericles The Prince of a Tyre’ was my first play aged 14 as part of a Manchester schools project and for that I will never forget the beauty of theatre or those words.

Shakespeare’s Pericles is preoccupied with the power of past stories to shape the present. Like Yusra Warsama’s lyrical evocation of what we owe to ‘nomadic fathers’ and the ‘mothers’ struggle’, the play traces the bonds between the generations. Shipwrecked and wretched, Pericles finds his father’s armour and the strength to continue; his family, divided by exile, is finally reunited. Despite its title, ‘Pericles Prince of Tyre’, this is a play about migration, the perils of travel, and an eventual homecoming, not to a place of origin but to the comfort of family bonds. The play’s preoccupation with the past suddenly reveals itself as a longing for a new home: a direct translation of the Greek word nostalgia is homesickness.

About Yusra Warsama

Yusra Warsama is a performance poet, actor, writer and theatre practitioner. Her passions lie in creating work through play and exploration of life experiences in world we live in. Past, present and future work takes many forms, from her developing a one woman show which uses spoken word, storytelling, live art and physical expression, to ‘Grace’ (2005) and ‘Make – Believe’ (2009) with Quarantine, which looks at exploring theatre without focus on characters but the one to one relationship between performer and audience.

Yusra began her theater career at Contact Theatre, Manchester, whilst studying (BA HONS) Criminology & Sociology, from there she worked alongside national and international artists and companies such as Morganics, Sista Native, Lemn Sissay, Victoria- Belgium, Afro-Reggae – Brazil, and a host more through the many art projects.