From our co-production with Donmar Warehouse Silence through the Stage Award-nominated international commission with British Council and Britto Arts Trust Artists Make Space to venturing into new immersive territories with our Virtual Reality production AMMA, 2022 was our biggest year yet!
Despite the continuing challenges in the sector, we have produced in-house productions, developed emerging artists, and formed exciting new partnerships. Scroll down to look back on the past year with us!
In April we presented a performance that showcased Wandsworth and London through the eyes of a group of 14-18-year-old women and non-binary people from the borough. Our Streets, which was led by Artistic Associate Beth Kapila, touched on the pertinent discussions around women’s safety in London and collectively reimagined our local urban landscape to reveal what our streets could and should look like.
Over spring and summer of 2022 we toured our critically-acclaimed production Final Farewell to festivals in both theatre and community spaces across England, including Brighton Festival, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, and more. Final Farewell was a truly immersive, moving theatrical experience inspired by real people’s memories and accounts of their loved ones who were lost during Covid-19.
After its successful launch in 2021, this year we brought Spoken Space back for two outstanding events. Spoken Space is our a night of spoken word, live music, monologues, and poetry, featuring curated performances and an open mic.
The May edition was curated by acclaimed writer and spoken word artist Zia Ahmed alongside musician and saxophonist for Rudimental, Taurean Antoine-Chagar. The evening was hosted by the award-winning journalist, radio presenter for BBC Asian Network and performer Jeevan Ravindran.
October’s Spoken Space featured a special edition of the program centered around Partition, following the run of Silence. The evening featured performances and creative responses on the theme from the lineup of artists, which included the Grewal Twins, Amrit Kaur, S S Haque and more.
In September, our co-production with the Donmar Warehouse Silence premiered at the West End venue. Depicting events from the 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan, Silence presented a shared history inspired by the remarkable personal testimonies of people who lived through the last days of the British Raj. Commissioned to mark this major anniversary, Silence was adapted from Kavita Puri’s acclaimed book Partition Voices: Untold British Stories.
After a successful run at the Donmar Warehouse, Silence transferred to Tara Theatre and completely selling out. Deemed as ‘essential viewing’ (Evening Standard) and ‘a moving and immensely powerful piece of theatre’ (Financial Times), the critical and audience reception for this play has been outstanding, shedding light on a brutal moment in history, whose witnesses still live among us.
In 2022, we delivered 7 editions of our resident comedy night The Funny Side of Earlsfield, including line-ups of some of the very best UK and international stand-up comedians on the circuit such as Ania Magliano, Dee Allum, John Robertson, Robert White, Shazie Mirza and so many more. The Funny Side began in 2006 and has established an excellent reputation as a hilarious boutique comedy night – don’t miss these great acts as they return to our intimate venue in 2023.
Artists Make Space was our international co-creation artist development programme, exploring what happens when artistic worlds collide, grow and blossom together. Together with British Council and Britto Arts Trust we commissioned 14 artists, seven based in the UK and seven based in Bangladesh, to collaborate and develop new and exciting works in a wide range of mediums.
The project was led by our Artistic Associate Natasha Kathi-Chandra and involved several months of online development, with artists collaborating and building relationships across two continents. The artists explored a range of topics, including gender, identity, the environment, culture, history and folklore. The final works were then presented at Tara Theatre, Contact Manchester and Birmingham Rep, before embarking on a tour of Chittagong, Shylet and Dhaka in Bangladesh. For our work on this project, Tara Theatre has also been shortlisted for The Stage Awards in the International Award category.
Using the power of 360 VR film technology we’ve produced a cutting-edge piece of digital theatre, developed from first-hand testimonies from Bangladeshi women in Birmingham, Walsall, Manchester and London, and brought to life by writer Kamal Kaan and director Abdul Shayek.
AMMA, meaning mother, was more than an ordinary theatre-going experience. Filmed with teams in the UK and Bangladesh, the story sheds light on the often-unheard experience of women through the War of Independence in Bangladesh, framed within a contemporary British Bangladeshi mother daughter relationship.
Continuing and expanding our work with communities, we have established initiatives that engage both our local community and a wider network of theatre creatives and freelancers. In association with CARAS, our Coffee Mornings have brought together sanctuary seekers in the borough of Wandsworth to feel more welcome and connected to the community.
We continue our commitment to supporting the next generation of creatives with initiatives like NOVA and our inaugural Young Company, which you can expect to see more of in 2023. Led by Artistic Associate Natasha Kathi-Chandra, these schemes further our community engagement and support for Global Majority artists at this crucial time for the sector.
"A whirlwind year of work, from the west end to festivals nationwide, living rooms in the UK to floating down river in Bangladesh. Tara Theatre has once again experimented and redefined where, who and how we experience these stories. In 2023 we will continue in a similar vein with some brilliant projects which we are excited to tell the world about."