Behind the Mask – Part 1: Oladipo Agboluaje on the ideas behind The Croydon Avengers

“Needing help is different from being helpless.”

The idea behind The Croydon Avengers was to create a piece of work that put young refugees in a position of power and responsibility. The perception of refugees is that they are helpless and need things to be done for them. Needing help is different from being helpless. This was reinforced when the Maya team ran a ten-week workshop in Croydon with young refugees (hence the name, Croydon Avengers). The group we worked with were brash, bashful, opinionated and sarky – they acted their age. The only difference between them and any other youth was that fate had dealt them a harsh hand which meant them leaving their countries and their loved ones behind. Their stories fit the typical superhero origin story of adversity, of the kind specific to the X-Men and Superman (and to some extent Batman). The X-Men are humans with mutated genes that give them special powers. Superman lost a whole planet and has to hide his alien origin.
This concept of the superhero is what we are developing to the next stage to see how far we can take it. In the next instalment, I shall write about the writing process, about the ideas that were developed and thrown away until we arrived at the present working draft.