IMAGINE if York flooded to the point where people had to leave the city and seek refuge elsewhere.

York playwright Rachel Price posits this possibility in The Castaways, presented by York company White Tree Theatre in the York Theatre Royal Studio tonight at 8pm as part of Studio Dissoveries, a week of new theatre curated by the theatre's community programming team, the Visionari, in a new initiative to give the local community a voice.

Performed by York actress Charlotte Wood under the direction of White Tree artistic director and Riding Lights  alumnus Rebecca Thomson, The Castaways is set in the not-too-distant future, where flooding and coastal erosion have ravaged many parts of Britain and scores of towns and cities have been destroyed.

"Despite the warning signs, the rallies and petitions, the problem has been largely ignored. Now the country is in a state of emergency," says Rachel.

"Turning the international refugee crisis on its head, this is the story of young mum Sam and her son Alfie, flooded out of their home in York. They are forced to join a growing population of desperate migrants embarking on a journey that will lead them from camp to camp. As the country lurches towards environmental devastation and the veneer of civilisation begins to slip, Sam must face a dangerous decision in order to survive."

Rachel wrote the 40-minute piece initially for the York branch of Script Yorkshire's night of new writing at The Basement, City Screen, last October after pitching her synopsis successfully to be one of three writers selected for that autumn showcase.

York Press:

Charlotte Wood: starring in The Castaways, a play that turns the international refugee crisis on its head

Charlotte Wood has performed the show from the start: at The Basement; at Hull Help For Refugees in Refugee Week in June; at Seven Arts, Chapel Allerton, Leeds; at 1331 in York as part of the Great Yorkshire Fringe's Free Fringe this summer and back in Hull last month, when invited to present The Castawaus at the Guildhall. A further performance will follow at Durham University on December 3.

"White Tree Theatre create well-crafted theatre to challenge and entertain, believing that theatre rooted in story and character - the fundamentals of storytelling – enables them to perform stories centred on universal themes and issues," says Rachel, who has written "bits and bobs", as she puts it, over the past ten years, including short films.

Now comes The Castaways, her "first proper one-act play". "Rebecca and I knew each other at Riding Lights and I was delighted when she put herself forward to direct this piece," says Rachel.

“The Castaways is an important play as it works to develop audience’s emotional understanding of some big topical issues, including the refugee crisis," says Rebecca. "We have toured the show to theatres and schools in Hull, Leeds and Sheffield this year, and it’s been resonating with audiences who know a lot or very little about the situation.

"People who have come to this country as refugees have talked to us after the show about their own personal experiences. It’s been overwhelming and a privilege to hear their stories of survival.”

Tonight, The Castaways will lead off the Visionari's week of cutting-edge, topical, thought-provoking theatre. "We're really looking forward to bringing the show home to York. This is where the idea began, with the terrible flooding of the River Foss on Boxing Day 2015. It’s a play about survival and community and having hope.."

Tickets are on sale on 01904 623568, at or on the door.