As Tara Arts celebrates its 40th anniversary throughout 2017, the company continues to put the experiences of the UK’s diverse communities centre stage.…reports Asian Lite News
Leading the summer season at Tara Theatre and presented as a co-production with AIK Productions is Combustion(17th – 27th May), the debut play from writer/performer Asif Khan. Set in a Bradford car mechanic shop during the month of Ramadan, this combustible new comic drama is written by Asif Khan, widely tipped as one-to-watch following his inclusion on the 2017 BBC New Talent Hotlist, chosen by Idris Elba and Tony Hall. Following the Tara Theatre run, Combustion will transfer to the Arcola Theatre Tues 30 May – Sat 24 June before a UK tour.
Award-winning Edinburgh Fringe hit Labels (27th – 29th April)which tackles mixed heritage and immigration, and new comedy about Britishness Octopus(12th – 15th July)are among several visiting shows that explore the experiences of millennials in multicultural Britain. Ahead of a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the theatre will present An Arrangement of Shoes, (20-22 July) a solo show by young actress Radhika Aggarwal set in an Indian railway colony during the Gulf War. Written by Award-winning Indian playwright Abhishek Majumdar – whose play The Djinns of Eidgah was seen at the Royal Court in 2016 – the production considers globalisation and identity in the Age of Faith.
The music programme boasts performances spanning genres from Indian classical toQawwali, performed by a host of internationally recognised musicians, plus a rare chance to hear the Dhrupad style of Indian vocal music performed at Women in Music(3rd June). Through the art of live storytelling, UK music producer PKC, the First and international performer Peter Chand allow audiences to experience two distinctive artists bringing a fresh UK twist on traditional tales collected from South Asian elders with Tongue Tied & Twisted (1st – 2nd June).
Events aimed at families include The Tales of Birbal (2nd – 3rd June) which draws on tales treasured for generations on the Indian subcontinent, interactive workshops with Binglish Garden Boxes (27th May)and art project A New Union Flag (19th – 20th May), where participants create a new flag to celebrate diversity. Tara Theatre will also play host to several performances in the Wandsworth Arts Fringe, including Lobster Quadrille’s anarchic clowning show Carabet (6th May).
#Tara7070 events will continue to celebrate the 70th anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence from the British Empire. Covering music, theatre, dance and spoken work, 70 events over the course of the year will look at how the Indian sub-continent has shaped Britain’s destiny, as much as Britain shaped modern India and Pakistan’s and illuminate the connections between the three countries. These events are marked in listings using the #Tara7070
Speaking about the season, Artistic Director Jatinder Verma said “The 70th anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence provides a fitting opportunity to enjoy and explore the rich diversity of contemporary Britain. Britain’s relationship with the Indian sub-continent spanned centuries and its enduring value is in the extraordinary range of artistic talent that finds its fitting home in our unique Tara Theatre.”
Tara Arts are established as one of the UK’s foremost creators of cross-cultural theatre. Their work, which consists of both new writing and reimagined classics, seeks to make imaginative connections across communities, to help foster a global sensibility from their own locality. The company was founded in 1977 by Artistic Director Jatinder Verma, along with Sunil Saggar, Ovais Kadri, Praveen Bahl & Vijay Shaunak. Tara Theatre, opened in September 2016 by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, has been awarded Project Design of the Year at the London Construction Awards 2016 and the Stage Sustainability Award for 2017.