Once there was a boy. The war had taken his hands and arms. When he went home, his family didn’t recognise him. “You have no arms”, they said, “you are not our son”. They threw him into the river, where a giant fish swallowed him…

Three men sit in purgatory, playing and living in their dreams, with nothing but their memories to haunt them. When a boy arrives their world begins to change, launching them on a journey beyond the atrocities of the past.

Theatre Témoin present this visually stunning exploration of the trauma of combat and the hope that comes afterwards. Inspired by true stories told by child soldiers and ex-combatants from across the world; collected by the company during The Return Project, a year of creative work in Kashmir, Israel, Lebanon, and Rwanda.

Presented by Theatre Témoin at Riverside Studios with support from Arts Council England and The Foyle Foundation.


warchildlogo foylelogoamnestylogoacelogo


Cast and Crew

Cast and Crew

Chance – John Kamau
Joel – Yaron Shavit
Johnny – Nabil Stuart
Richie – Gethin Alderman

Playwright: Julia Pascal
Director: Ailin Conant
Designer: Claire Lyth
Lighting Design: Katherine Graham
Sound Design: Filipe Gomes
Movement Director: Robin Guiver
Fight Director: Andrei Zayats
Vocal Coach: Tim Charrington


Warchild, Amnesty International

Stage Manager: Ina Berggren
Set Builder: Roderick Orr-Ewing
Costume Design Assistant: Zahra Mansouri
Set Design Assistant: Dasha Dydko
Stage Management Intern: Crystal A. Burrell

Consultant – Warchild: Messeh Leone
Consultant – Military: Matthew Midgley

Executive Producer: Samuel Julyan
Creative Producer: Patrick Collier
Producing Intern: Tom Schrank

Photo Gallery


Photos: Idil Sukan and Richard Davenport


Press Quotes


“A compelling piece of total theatre that weaves testimony, storytelling, physical theatre and poetry into an opaque but thought-provoking exploration of redemption…A powerful ensemble…Fearless performances”
~ Honour Bayes, Time Out London ★★★★

“Moving drama…An ambitious script – where not a word is wasted…mesmerising physicality.”
~ Lauren Paxman, The Stage

“The play’s sharp exchanges are bolstered by Temoin’s trademark blend of dance and physical theatre, which is by turns comic and jolting…This is a powerful piece of theatre.”
~ Robert Cumber, The Fulham Chronicle ★★★★

“Beautiful…A passionate study of male relationships and guilt.”
~ Fozia Bashir, The Camden New Journal

“Enlightening and shocking…Powerful dialogue, high-quality acting, and a proximity to simple staging combine to provide an intense, thought-provoking experience. Well recommended.”
~ Emma Norris, The Psycologist