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What a Theater Means to a Refugee Camp

Lessons from the founders of the Good Chance Theatre, a temporary performing arts venue at the Calais “Jungle.”
Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson speak with The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein at the CityLab 2016 summit in Miami.
Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson speak with The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein at the CityLab 2016 summit in Miami.C2 Photography

MIAMI—For nearly half a year, Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson operated the best-known performing-arts venue in Calais, France. The theater drew A-list stars such as Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch to the notorious site known as “the Jungle.”

It might come as a surprise that a refugee camp had any sort of theater, much less one that garnered marquee performances. But the ad-hoc camp at Calais is a much more vital place than outsiders know, according to Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, who opened the Good Chance Theatre in Calais from October 2015 to March of this year.