The article elaborates on how young UK-born self-identifying Somalis use performance to create ‘liminal’ spaces that allow them to explore and express the often contradictory registers of self and belonging through play and the carnivalesque. The plays they write, practise and perform transform community places into ‘safe spaces’ that open and invite dialogue on the intergenerational conflicts they experience around identity and expected behaviour. Far from being fictions, in making visible the liminality in the daily lives, these young people communicate ‘the reality behind the role playing mask’ [Turner, Victor. 1982. From Ritual to Theatre – The Human Seriousness of Play. New York: PAJ, 155]. This research is based on 6 months ethnographic research with the Mustaqbal youth group based in London. It contributes to rethinking ‘safe space’ by illuminating how young people use the ‘stage’ to express elements of their lives they are otherwise unable to voice.
- second generation