Tara Theatre Presents Bangladesh 50

16 November 2021

– Audiences are invited to pull up a chair for ‘Dawaat’ this December – a feast to celebrate 50 years of independence in Bangladesh

– Virtual reality production ‘AMMA’ presents the war of independence through the eyes of Bangladeshi women in Birmingham, Walsall, manchester and London, scripted by Kamal Kaan

– A major international collaboration pairing seven Bangladesh based artists with seven artists in the UK to co-create new work

50 years since the birth of Bangladesh in 1971, Abdul Shayek, Artistic Director of Tara Theatre has announced Bangladesh 50 – a season of work celebrating half a century of independence. The season combines oral history, virtual reality and immersive performance in two world premiere productions and 7 new pieces of work that explore unheard voices, share diaspora testimonies and celebrate the intertwined histories of British Bangladeshi communities.

The season opens with the World Premiere of DAWAAT, a pop-up birthday feast across London for the eyes, ears and the taste buds, that will ask what it means to be of Bangladeshi heritage in the UK today. Working closely with Bangladeshi diaspora communities in London, Artistic Director Abdul Shayek has created an extraordinary piece of devised intergenerational theatre that explores contrasting narratives and looks at what the 50th anniversary means to the diaspora and its political, human and emotional impact.

Dawaat’ is a special feast offered to celebrate a joyous occasion and the production itself will be driven by the sharing of food, poetry, live music, spoken word and movement. Audiences will have the option to sit at the communal dining table on stage or within the auditorium.

In Spring 2021 Tara Theatre will present AMMA, in which Bangladeshi women’s experiences will take centre stage. The extensively researched and thought-provoking production allows audiences to experience first-hand what it was like to experience the war and in turn, leave for the UK in the 1970s and 80s to build a new life in a new place. Developed from artist-led workshops with local Bangladeshi women in Birmingham, Walsall, Manchester and London,  Tara Theatre has rigorously collected testimonies that show what it was like to live through the War of Independence of Bangladesh. Kamal Kaan will script this oral history into a powerful virtual reality performance preserving the voices that led to independence for future generations.

The company has also launched a major new international collaboration – ARTISTS MAKE SPACE – pairing seven Bangladesh based artists with seven UK based artists to co-create new exploratory works to be showcased in Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and London. Working with Britto Arts Trust and commissioned by the British Council, Tara Theatre will present the final work from the collaboration in Bangladesh and the UK as well as online. An open call for ARTISTS MAKE SPACE will begin this November.

Abdul Shayek, Artistic Director of Tara Theatre has said his intention behind the season is to both to celebrate five decades of independence and to preserve these stories for the future before it is too late. He said:


“Until fairly recently I knew very little about the birth of Bangladesh, these projects are a culmination of my discoveries and education of the land of my birth. There is an urgency and need to tell and preserve these stories as we are losing the people who helped to create Bangladesh. At the very moment of celebrating its creation, Bangladesh is a nation under threat. In the next 30 years it is projected that Bangladesh will lose up to 11% of its land, displacing millions.
These projects are not only a celebration of 50 years, but also a stark reminder that our actions now will determine whether we are able preserve Bangladesh’s rich cultural history, and the very land on which it was created, a place which is strongly linked to Britain’s past, present and future.”

DAWAAT
Conceived and directed by Abdul Shayek
10 – 16 December
Press Night 15 December

Tara Theatre presents the World Premiere of DAWAAT, a pop-up birthday feast across London for the eyes, ears and the taste buds, that ultimately asks what it means to be of Bangladeshi heritage in the UK today. Working closely with Bangladeshi diaspora communities in London, Artistic Director Abdul Shayek has created an extraordinary piece of devised intergenerational theatre that explores contrasting narratives and looks at what the 50th anniversary means to the diaspora.

 

‘Dawaat’ is a special feast offered to celebrate a joyous occasion and the production itself will be driven by the sharing of food, poetry, live music and spoken word. Audiences will have the option to sit at the communal dining table on stage or within the auditorium.  The show will be presented for three nights at Tara Theatre in Wandsworth (14-16 December) as well for one night only in Devonshire Square, Liverpool Street (10 December) and Queen’s Market, Upton Park (13 December).

 

The cast will include: Leesa Gazi (Performer / Deviser); Halema Hussain (Performer/ Deviser) Sohini Alam (Vocalist) and Oliver Weeks (Performer / Musician).

Dawaat is directed by Abdul Shayek, designed by Rachana Jadhav, with lighting design by Rajiv Pattani, sound design by Nevison Kusokora, movement direction by Nadia Iftkhar

DAWAAT is a Tara Theatre production supported by the Royal Docks Team and by the Mayor of London as part of the Let’s Do London campaign.

 

AMMA

Conceived by Abdul Shayek written by Kamal Kaan
Dates to be announced

In Spring 2021 Tara Theatre will present AMMA, in which Bangladeshi women’s experience will take centre stage. The extensively researched and thought-provoking production allows audiences to experience first-hand what it was like to experience the war and in turn, leave for the UK in the 1970s and 80s to build a new life in a new place. Developed from artist-led story gathering workshops with local Bangladeshi women in Birmingham, Walsall, Manchester and London,  we have rigorously collected testimonies that show what it was like to live through the War of Independence of Bangladesh. Kamal Kaan has scripted this oral history into a powerful virtual reality performance preserving the voices that led to independence for future generations. Amma will run in spring 2022, dates to be announced.

 

ARTISTS MAKE SPACE
Deadline for artist submissions: 20 December 2021
Production dates to be announced

Tara Theatre also launches a major new international collaboration – ARTISTS MAKE SPACE – pairing seven Bangladeshi based artists with seven UK based artists to co-create new exploratory works to be showcased in Dhaka, Sylhet, Chittagong to Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, and London. Working with Britto Arts Trust and commissioned by the British Council, Tara Theatre will present the final works from the collaboration in Bangladesh and the UK, as well as online.

An open call for ARTISTS MAKE SPACE will begin this November. Participants will need to be available to take part in the programme from January to April 2022. UK artists will present the works in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London and Bangladeshi artists will present in Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong. Support, training and mentorship will be provided by industry experts, including Tara’s Artistic Director, Abdul Shayek and Artistic Associate Beth Kapila.