Bay Area Theater

Interview: Justin Martin & Ammar Haj Ahmad, “The Jungle” at the Curran

Justin Martin
Ammar Haj Ahmad

Justin Martin, co-director, and Ammar Haj Ahmad, one of the principal actors of “The Jungle,” a play by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco through May 18, 2019, in conversation with Richard Wolinsky.

The Jungle tells the story of a refugee camp near Calais, France, where people fleeing violence in their own countries came while they awaited asylum in England. The camp lasted around nine months, and during that time, developed its own culture and community. Playwrights Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson opened a theatre there, and took notes on the people and events during the Jungle’s existence. Co-directors Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin joined with the playwrights, and actors representing the various countries in the camp, and created an environmental theatre piece, which received accolades in earlier productions at the Old Vic in London and St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York, before coming to San Francisco.

Justin Martin has worked as associate director with Stephen Daldry beginning with the national tour of the musical “Billy Elliot” and has served as second unit director for several episodes of Daldry’s Netflix series, “The Crown.”

Ammar Haj Ahmad began his acting career in Syria and came to Britain to work, and then found himself a refugee and unable to return. Now a British citizen, he was one of the original workshop members of the play “The Jungle.”

Curran theatre website

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