Deborah Pearson: History History History

A personal story about revolution and refuge for Nottingham Refugee Week


25th June 2017

What time

6:00pm - 7:30pm



14-18 Broad Street,




£12 / £10

We are excited to present History History History, a performance of a live documentary by artist and playwright Deborah Pearson, as part of Nottingham Refugee Week.

History History History

In 1956, there was a popular uprising against the USSR in Hungary. The battle was fought primarily from the Corvin Cinema, the revolutionary headquarters in Budapest, and the uprising lead to one of the largest refugee crises of the twentieth century. In a live commentary screening of a 1956 comedy film, scheduled to premiere at the Corvin Cinema the week of the uprising, Deborah Pearson unlocks a surprisingly personal story.

Deborah Pearson grew up watching this film repeatedly on VHS, with her mother at her side translating a language she never learned. The film (a football comedy about mistaken identity and legendary footballer Ferenc Puskás) became Pearson’s primary source of contact with her grandfather, an actor who stars in it. Her mother, who escaped with her family as a refugee when she was 7 years old, would pepper the translation with her own memories of living in Communist Hungary, with which Deborah developed an obsession.

A documentary, performed live, the performance runs the length of and is timed alongside the film, using interviews with the exiled screenwriter and people involved with the film to playfully reflect on immigration, censorship, and our personal links with history. This is a show for lovers of cinema, and for anyone who has stared at pictures of their ancestors a little too long.

Devised by Deborah Pearson. With dramaturgy by Daniel Kitson, and outside eye work by Tania El Khoury and Laura Dannequin.

“An absolute joy” — The Scotsman

“Intricate, endlessly inventive” — Culture Vulture

★★★★★ — The Fix Magazine

Image copyright: Paul Blakemore

Image copyright: Paul Blakemore

About the Artist

Deborah Pearson is a live artist and playwright. Her work has toured to four continents and fifteen countries, and has been translated into five languages. She recently published The Future Show with Oberon books. She is the founding co-director of UK artist collective Forest Fringe. Deborah has won awards for both her solo practice and her work with Forest Fringe, including three herald angels, a Scotsman Fringe First, a Peter Brooke Empty Space Award and the Total Theatre Award for Significant Contribution.

She has a PhD in narrative in contemporary performance from Royal Holloway, where she was a Reid Scholar. She is an associate artist with Volcano in Canada and is a resident artist at Somerset House Studios.

"One of the most interesting performance makers in London right now." — Tim Etchells, Artist & Writer, Forced Entertainment

Find out more about Deborah's work at and follow her on Twitter @shysecretagent.

Nottingham Refugee Week

Nottingham Refugee Week is organised by volunteer-led group Nottingham Beyond Borders. Its members work or volunteer in local organisations that support refugees and asylum seekers, and actively include them in creating the festival programme.

Nottingham Refugee Week is a week-long festival highlighting the contributions of refugees and asylum seekers to the local community. Events are taking place in venues across Nottingham from 16 - 26 June 2017.

More information about events can be found at

In the UK, Refugee Week is a nationwide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities.

See for details.