Actress gives a voice to the forgotten of Yarl's Wood
Shocked by what she saw at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre, award-winning actress Juliet Stevenson wanted to give a voice to the women and children held there.
Working with the group Women for Refugee Women, Juliet created Motherland, a verbatim play which tells the stories of the people she met during her visit to the centre near Clapham in 2007.
She said: "We spent the afternoon with two women whose daughters were both 13, the same age as my daughter.
"They had both experienced difficult and unbearable situations through no fault of their own.
"The more I heard from people at the centre the more shocked I was."
Juliet has been particularly interested in asylum and immigration issues since she performed Death and The Maiden which told the story of a woman who had been tortured in Chile.
As a result of the play Juliet met many refugees and was moved by their stories.
She said: "I have always been very proud of living in a country which offers refuge and sanctuary to people if they have experienced terrible hardships."
Well known for her roles in Truly Madly Deeply, Bend It Like Beckham and Duet for One, Juliet describes the trip to Yarl's Wood as a 'catalyst' and a 'shot in the arm'.
"The women I met were amazing. They were very courageous but depressed. They were in very bad shape and one of them got ill while I was talking to her."
Like many others who visit the centre Juliet said it was like going to a 'prison'.
She added: "That is no reflection on the people who work there but the situation is intolerable.
"I came away thinking 'I cannot believe that if people really knew what was going on they would not be happy to participate in it'.
"You hear of people being hit and hurt and forced on to planes during deportation. The reality is very different to what people think is happening."
Motherland was first performed last year at the Young Vic Theatre in London with Juliet reading the part of Cennet Avcil, a Kurdish refugee.
"People were blown away by it and said they didn't know things like that were happening, which was the effect I wanted."
The power of the theatre was highlighted by Motherland and Juliet talks about it starting a 'movement'.
Many people and groups influenced by the performance began calling for an end to detention.
Juliet said: "Lots of people picked up the baton and ran with it.
"The show took up a lot of time and we had to be heavily motivated to do it but it's a good feeling to know that you can get up and make something happen."
She believes it is important to show Motherland in Bedford so that the community around Yarl's Wood is aware of what is happening.
After watching the play in Westminster earlier this year, Claudia Hall, the wife of MP for Bedford and Kempston Patrick Hall, suggested that he ask Juliet to bring it nearer to the Centre.
Joining her on stage for the one-off performance in Bedford are actresses Harriet Walter and Barbara Flynn.
Unfortunately Juliet's daughter Rosalind Brody who joined her for the performance in London is unable to do so in January as she has GCSE exams.
There will be an audience discussion after the show with MP Patrick Hall and the MP for North East Bedfordshire Alistair Burt.
As well as her work on Motherland and Duet for One which has been showing in the West End, Juliet has been filming Desert Flower which tackles the subject of female circumcision and will be out next year.
Asked about the important issues she takes on as an actress Juliet said: "I am interested in things that are worth exploring and that have some meaning.
"That doesn't always mean it has to be in a serious way - look at Bend It Like Beckham for example - that had something to say."
■ Tickets for Motherland are £10 and £5 for concessions. It's free for asylum seekers.
To buy tickets for the January 14 performance contact the Central Box Office on 01234 269519 or visit .
■ SPECIAL READER OFFER: Motherland tickets half price. Quote 'Bedfordshire on Sunday' when booking with the Central Bedford Box Office and get £10 tickets for £5.
Sniping games have been hit and miss in recent years, with 2012’s solid Sniper Elite V2 setting the benchmark.
Official UK Top 40 2012 on MUZU.TV
- Football: Luton Town boss left his Mark on striker signed from Hull City
- Football: Luton Town striker Walker the latest to face John Still's axe
- Cricket: Hewitt is new captain and coach at Bedfordshire
- Rugby Union: Bedford Blues still have a chance says Mike Rayer
- Rugby Union: Bedford Blues v Newcastle Falcons in pictures
- VIDEO: Gregor Gillanders' Bedford Blues v Newcastle Falcons post match comments