REFUGEE a new play coming to the Shea Theater


“Two sisters gaze across an endless stretch of barren desert at the El Shatt

refugee camp, while a war rages across Europe. In the hollows of southernAppalachia, an idealistic

guitar-strumming activist fights to preserve a way of life.

On the streets of embattled Belgrade, a hustler struggles to survive in the

underground markets of a desperate people. What binds them together? Where

is home? When we cross borders, what do we become? This new play with

music jumps across time and place, with a multigenerational story of

displacement, capricious destiny, and the search for identity.”


The Shea Theater, Turners Falls, Massachusetts. A group of current and former University of Massachusetts Theater students are producing a new play called REFUGEE, written and directed by Milan Dragicevich, a professor and playwright at the University of Massachusetts. The play features music written and performed by Grammy-nominated Tim Eriksen. After a sold-out run during its premiere at the UMass Fine Arts Center (December 2016), REFUGEE will be remounted at the historic and newly renovated Shea Theater in Turners Falls, MA.  Performances are October 19th-22nd, 2017.


REFUGEE is a story about two Serbian sisters displaced by invading forces during World War II to the El Shatt refugee camp on the Sinai desert in Egypt, leaving behind their mother and younger brother. The play is loosely based on the historical sojourn of Dragina Kalanj, the playwright’s mother, who arrived at El Shatt as a teenage girl and spent 7 years before coming to America. The traumatic effects of being displaced from one’s homeland are explored through the stories of the generations that follow: five decades later, grandchildren dispersed across two continents battle their own causes from 1999 Belgrade to rural Appalachia, searching for a place to belong and accepting their desitiny.


Through music and evocotive language, Dragicevich tells the story of a family that is navigating displacement, searching for identity, and trying to find home.  It is a compelling piece paralleling current events happening with refugees all over the world. This story is an important one as we seek to welcome and understand the plight of those who are seeking refuge.


Testimonials from the December 2016 premiere of REFUGEE

“It was a moving evocation, and I loved the way the stories

threaded through one another in counterpoint across space and time. It was

fantastically well staged, and the actors were most impressive. Not least, the

music was wonderful—Tim Eriksen of course, but also the singing and music

within the performance. Overall, a tremendous achievement.” – Stephen Clingman


“We’ve been thinking a long while

afterward about sense of place and of our grandparents who were immigrants and how

we thought their journeys were difficult.  But this really brought home the refugee

experience and how difficult that was and continues to be, as we see daily in the news. I

hope it opens people’s hearts to compassionate response.” – Karen


Tickets are available online at Brown Paper Tickets

18.00 General Admission

12.00 Seniors/Students

Tickets also can be purchased at the door.


Performances at the Shea Theater

71 Avenue A

Turners Falls, MA 01376



Thursday, October 19 at 7:30 pm

Friday, October 20 at 7:30 pm

Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm

Sunday Matinee, October 22 at 2:00 pm


For More Information