Since our re-opening in 2021, Tara Theatre have been paving the way for staging and developing new work and new writing within London’s theatre ecology. As we reflect on our second full year as Tara Theatre, we wanted to look back at all the gobsmacking work and exceedingly talented artists we’ve platformed over the past few years. Let’s dive in!
Tara Tales: The Monkey King and the Mangoes // The Loyal Mongoose
During the first lockdown Tara Theatre created Tara Tales, a series of digital performances bringing magical Indian fables from the Panchatantra to life by actors from our community.
2020 Collections 1-3
Zoom calls. Trump’s America. Online dating. Black Lives Matter. 2020 was the year none of us will forget.
Our 2020 Collections series highlighted urgent new work from a plethora of thrilling playwrights to intimately investigate love, politics, tragedy, family and even football. 2020 is performed in three collections across three weeks, each presenting four stories.
These stories included Love in the Time of Corona by Hassan Abdulrazzak, Never Been Away by Shahid Iqbal Khan, Backbencher by Amina Atiq, Change by Erinn Dhesi, A New America by Reginald Edmund, Lockdown & All That by Carlo Kureishi and Hanif Kureishi, The Monster Inside by Asif Khan, Tales of the Past by Yuqun Fan, Najma Nama by Abhishek Majumdar, Boxed by Sumerah Srivastav, Good Trouble by Sonali Bhattacharyya and Quiet by Shreya Sen-Handley.
Final Farewell was a moving theatrical experience capturing the voices of seven individuals and a little black pug in six poignant audio stories. Each of these stories was been carefully crafted by writer Sudha Bhuchar, who has spoken and listened in depth to real people’s memories and accounts of their loved ones who were lost during Covid-19.
As you wander through the arches of the Henry Prince Estate and sit at the steps of St Anne’s Church with friends and other members of the community, you’ll hear the imagined voices and stories of Shahin, Baby Han, Alam, Rahman, Ann, Jassie and Oberon in a truly immersive and unique experience. We will gather back at Tara Theatre together, where you will be able to take some time to reflect on your own memories of loved ones and commemorate their lives.
Driven by the sharing of food, poetry, live music and spoken word, Dawaat was a performance that flooded the senses and shifted perspectives.
In exploring contrasting narratives and working closely with Bangladeshi diaspora communities in London, Tara Theatre devised an unforgettable piece of intergenerational theatre that looked at what the 50th anniversary of the Bangladesh War of Independence ending means to the diaspora.
With female voices firmly at the heart of this production, Dawaat subverted expectations, challenged mindsets and delighted our audience’s ears, eyes and taste buds.
“A city is a home.
A place for adventures, venturing into the unknown to come out changed forever.
A city is a place designed by intent and a meeting of people in moments that can never be recreated.
We are here to make the streets of Wandsworth our streets.”
Through film and live performance, a group of 14-18-year-old women and non-binary people of Wandsworth took our audience on an adventure through the city, all while never leaving the theatre. Delving into a variety of themes, including recent events and discussions around women’s safety in London, Our Streets opened a conversation on what Wandsworth could and should look like if we all played a part in designing and imagining our local urban landscapes.
“It was a great tragedy. We were friends one day and enemies the next. I will take these things to my grave.”
The 1947 partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan saw millions uprooted and resulted in unspeakable violence. It would shape modern Britain forever. Witnesses to this brutal moment in history live among us, yet the stories of that time remain shrouded in silence.
75 years later, Silence was a new play focused on communal storytelling – presenting 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 and co-produced with Donmar Warehouse.
With special thanks to Charles Holloway, Season Supporter.
AMMA, meaning mother, was an original and groundbreaking virtual reality production from Tara Theatre. Through cutting-edge 360 VR storytelling, travel across time and space to step into one woman’s memories of both the War of Independence in Bangladesh, and rebuilding a life in 1970s and 1980s Britain. Magical and deeply affecting, AMMA took you on a journey through stunning locations in Bangladesh, and back, to a daughter confronting the truth of her mother’s life.
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 is more than an ordinary theatre-going experience. Filmed with teams in the UK and Bangladesh, AMMA sheds light on the often unheard experience of women through the War of Independence in Bangladesh, vividly preserving these important voices for future generations.
Our Constellations Showcase allowed audiences to experience new work from exceptional theatre makers developed here at Tara Theatre.
Six talented theatre makers were chosen to take part in Tara Theatre’s pioneering Constellations Residency. After an intensive week of masterclasses and 3 weeks working with dedicated producers, our makers develop a project of their choosing. Works range across cabaret, physical theatre, digital, writing and verbatim theatre with themes covering memory, identity, trauma, mental health, grief, environment, politics and race, in a one-of-a-kind event that gave a rare glimpse into the creative process.
Our Constellations Residency has offered a paid, playful, experimental and nourishing environment to create new work for theatre makers with 3 – 5 years of experience. Our extensive Artist Development programme is a part of all the work we are doing to drive change within the UK theatre landscape, addressing the lack of diversity and representation and challenging our industry.
South Asian Play Reading Group
This ongoing play reading group features a reading a different play written by a writer of South Asian heritage in each session. These are a combination of new plays that are at different stages of development in addition to older legacy texts that haven’t been seen for a while and everything else in between.
It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and connect with other creatives in a friendly and welcoming artistic environment. Many previous participants have gone on to write their own work which has received successful R&Ds as well as commissions, citing how useful Tara Theatre’s play reading group has been as a part of their professional journeys.
The group is led by Tara Theatre’s Associate Director Natasha Kathi-Chandra.
“Wonderful play reading morning today Tara Theatre reading a few of the wonderful monologues featured in Ricky Beadle Blair’s Anthology “Lit”. Such good debate followed, chaired brilliantly by Natasha helping us think deeply about our craft. Highly recommended.”
“Highly recommend Tara Theatre South Asian play reading group, such a welcoming, open & relaxed environment to drop in, facilitated by Natasha creating any last minute changes into an opportunity for learning & good vibes plus there are snacks, free snacks people!”
“I am a manifestation of a family tree with
a rich history
from the Middle East to the South East of England
I carry the values of a generation
no matter the destination.”
DNA structures link us to our past. Webs of lies shape our present. Networks of stories weave us together and make up the fabric of our society.
DNA was a vibrant exploration of contemporary British identity as shaped by the ancestral cultural identities of our families, and the complex politics of borders, boundaries and movement that leave their mark. DNA invites you to leave your handprint on this story.
This production was a unique and evocative production written by Atiha Sen Gupta and inspired by the tales of the Young Company – a diverse group of artists between the ages of 18 and 25, whose lives have been shaped by the challenges of migration and displacement due to conflict.
Directed by Associate Director Natasha Kathi-Chandra, ‘DNA‘ is the culmination of a collaborative devising process. With influences from traditional dances to rave culture, this moving production challenged your assumptions and left you with a new appreciation for the stories that shape young people today.
NOVA: Table Reads
NOVA: Table Reads was a night of new writing from South Asian voices, exploring the key themes of Tara Theatre’s future seasons.
NOVA is Tara Theatre’s seed commission for writers of South Asian heritage and connections. This evening was a showcase for the fruits of this year’s seed commissions as we expand the canon of South Asian voices and uncover stories of how contemporary narratives around current themes affect our communities. These original works offered an exciting glimpse into the future of South Asian theatre.
The NOVA: Table Reads was a rare opportunity to experience the diversity and richness of stories, and to witness the growth of new and exciting voices in British theatre. The pieces were performed by professional actors and directed by Milli Bhatia.
The showcase included Turning Tides by Romo Sikdar-Rahman, I Dream of Theresa May by Vivek Nityananda, Worlds Collide by Bushra Laskar.