The Marina Project is a collaboration between Professor Ewan Fernie, of the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, Dr Katharine Craik, of Oxford Brookes University, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. It will result in a play based on Shakespeare’s little-performed work: Pericles through the lens of today's global migrant crisis.

Political persecution

Pericles is about a Middle Eastern family scattered by environmental turmoil and political persecution. The new play follows Marina and her parents as they are separated in the war in Syria, each flee to Europe, and finally wind up on the same London street, where Marina has been trafficked into sexual slavery. What ensues is a story of self-discovery, physical and mental suffering, and a tumultuous family reunion, focusing on a new concept of ‘radical chastity’. 

Chastity remains an important issue in our culture to this day, and the most visible point of cultural difference between the West and other societies, particularly those in the Middle East. 

Radical chastity

Fernie and Craik define their experimental concept of ‘radical chastity’ as a rejection of ‘the given forms of life and love in the hope of something better’. 

Their new play responds to Shakespeare by exploring how ‘the very thing that so often secures an oppressive patriarchy might offer positive grounds for resistance’.