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British South Asian Theatre Memories

FIPA has been awarded a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a project that will explore the history of British South Asian Theatre since the 1970s. The one year oral history project uncovers a treasure of memories from key practitioners in the world of British South Asian Theatre, and will explore the local history of Asian communities in Britain. It celebrates how Asian culture has contributed to our wider society through popular forms of music, dance and drama as well as exploring more sensitive issues such as racism and diversity in the UK over the past 57 years.

This project will involve volunteers from Essex and London. They will be involved in recording and digitizing histories from early playwrights and directors, to be made accessible to the public in an online collection. The volunteers will be given training in oral history techniques and the opportunity to help organise exhibitions at Thameside Complex in Grays, Slack Space in Colchester, SOAS, University of London and Contact Theatre, Manchester.

Avaes Mohammad, writer, poet and performer of the younger generation, will lead learning workshops. Mary-Ann Connolly, Creative Producer and Founder of Essex based Pinpoint Create, will bring her teacher training skills in structuring workshop models for Continuous Professional Development sessions with teachers.

Jameer Ali, Director of FIPA, explained the importance of the award: “This project will mean volunteers will be able to delve deeper into the past and origins of British South Asian Theatre in Britain. They will be able to uncover key stories and significant events, for example that of the first established and still running South Asian theatre group Tara Arts, which was set up in direct response to the racist murder of a 17 year old Sikh boy from Southall, West London, in 1976. They will then be able to trace these stories right up to today’s exceptionally popular Bollywood inspired productions.”

If you live in Essex or London and are interested in participating and learning about this project please contact FIPA on 07846 614691 or email hi.ching@fipa.org.uk

Many thanks to Jatinder Verma, Artistic Director of Tara Arts, that inspired this project and for support from Thurrock Council, Slack Space, Hindu Cultural and Heritage Centre, SOAS, Contact Theatre and Avaes Mohammad.

British South Asian Theatre Memories is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Partners include Thurrock Council, Pinpoint Create, Hindu Cultural and Heritage Centre, Contact Theatre and SOAS.

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