VOLUNTEERS from Hampshire performed a self-penned play in the Houses of Parliament, themed on immigration.

Theatre is a new experience for the female cast who wrote Behind the Smile, and represented Southampton at Westminster. They performed at the Sanctuary in Parliament event, which was attended by MPs.

Cast member Hajarah Namanya said: “The idea came about when there was a lot of information about immigration.

“We are all from different countries and have different personalities and stories. You have to look beyond the label – some people are shy and asking for help does not come naturally. ‘Asylum seekers’ is just a label.”

Behind the Smile brings together stories from people of different backgrounds.

It is set in a drop-in centre for asylum seekers, and examines key issues facing refugees today.

The aim is to look objectively at the welcome provided to those seeking asylum, and those who receive limited leave to remain.

Director Wendy Arrowsmith said: “It’s a great effort considering the time available to everybody, and it’s all done voluntarily.

“We submitted our idea and I think it fitted very well with the things that they are doing.

“There were 18 people who have contributed to the script but it’s down to these six to perform it.”