Ice & Fire

The Island Nation

Christine Bacon

Directed by: Ria Parry

Arcola Theatre is currently closed in order to avoid contributing to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Find out more »

‘The world does not care. The world doesn’t even know. There are European tourists sipping cocktails right now on the beaches in the south, who have no idea what’s happening in the north.’

Sri Lanka, 2009. A 26-year civil war between the government and the Tamil Tigers is coming to an end. The United Nations, the media and all independent witnesses are banned from entering the war zone.

Nila, a young Tamil woman, is trapped in rebel-held territory. Rebecca, a British aid worker, is desperate to get her out. Erik, a Norwegian politician, thinks he has a plan for peace. But nothing is certain – and nobody is safe.

Be transported to the heart of Sri Lanka to discover the shocking truths, and the extraordinary human sides, of the biggest unreported war story of our time. Based on real events, The Island Nation is a visceral, revelatory new play by Christine Bacon, artistic director of the pioneering human rights theatre company ice&fire.

Ria Parry (Jane Wenham: The Witch of Walkern, Albion) returns to Arcola to direct the world premiere production.


Part of our  WINTER SEASON 


31st October
The Director and Writer Relationship
This Q&A is an unique opportunity to hear from the key creatives behind the production about the artistic choices and challenges they faced, from the initial inspiration to the full staging. Find out what was the concept and drive behind The Island Nation and what is ice&fire’s unique approach to tackling human rights violation through theatre.

3rd November
Sri Lanka: Then and Now
Journalist Frances Harrison, author of Still Counting the Dead and Ann Hannah, International Advocate and Researcher at Freedom from Torture, will discuss the legacy of the events of 2009 and the ongoing human rights violations at the hands of the Sri Lankan military and security services. Freedom from Torture provides direct clinical services to survivors of torture who arrive in the UK, as well as striving to protect and promote their rights. For many successive years, Sri Lankans have comprised the largest proportion of their caseload. The discussion will be Chaired by Dr. Suthaharan Nadarajah, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).