REFUGEES in Dorset are staging a seasonal drama ‘written in response to the current refugee crisis’.

Olena Rohovska from Ukraine and Mostafa Goli from Iran will lead a cast of actors from Afghanistan, Russia, Sudan and Syria in Refugee Nativity.

The play, which combines the struggles of displaced people with the nativity story, is staged by Celeste theatre group - run by Bournemouth charity Vita Nova.

Mostafa, playing Joseph, said: “For me acting is like breathing – coming to the UK and not being able to work was like my heart stopping.

“Then I found and joined Vita Nova, and was able to act again, it was like being given a new heart.

“Creating this play has given us new hope and purpose – we hope we can share that with audiences.”

Written and directed by Dr Sharon Coyne, the play follows Mary and Joseph who are displaced, having a baby far from home and have to flee to Egypt.

Sharon Coyne said: “Written in response to the current refugee crisis, Refugee Nativity brings home the personal tragedy of people displaced from their homeland.

“Refugee Nativity has a powerful message of hope, delivered by actors who refuse to despair.

“We want to remind people of the true meaning of Christmas, a time of hope, rebirth and love. Some of the people taking part in our play will have, at times, lost hope.”

Vita Nova is a Bournemouth-based arts charity with a national reputation for using performance to give new hope and direction to those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

The cast for Refugee Nativity involves these individuals, but also refugees and adults with English as a second language.

Vita Nova has been working with Jon Nicholas - an actor, director and playwright who has experience in staging plays in places of conflict.

Jon said: “Theatre can be a powerful tool for conflict management and resolution. This play brings together participants from over 10 nationalities, everyone is learning and challenging themselves, and every day proving that cooperation is possible.”

The play will be performed on December 15 and 16 at Rosebury Park Baptist Church in Bournemouth.