Writer Carmen Aguirre revisits the 'Refugee Hotel' of her childhood

Writer Carmen Aguirre explains how she took inspiration from childhood, fleeing from Chile to Vancouver, and incorporated it into her new play, The Refugee Hotel.
Carmen Aguirre (Emily Cooper)

Carmen Aguirre can still remember vivid details about the place she lived in, in Vancouver, after fleeing Chile at the age of six during Augusto Pinochet's reign. The shagged carpets, the ashtrays scattered everywhere — these are things she has transferred from her memories to her new play, The Refugee Hotel

"I wrote it from a real place of love and respect for the people who inspired this," Aguirre tells Tom Power. "This play is all about trauma and the healing power of love." 

Aguirre hopes this play shines a light on the differences between an exiled person and an immigrant. Of exiled people, she adds this distinction: "They can be in a limbo sometimes for decades, always waiting for the moment to go back [...] It's a complex situation, when they flee, they don't want to leave their country." 

The Refugee Hotel premieres today in Vancouver at Studio 58, and runs until April 9. For more information, click here.

— Produced by Elaine Chau


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