- New and revived theatre works portray questions of identity across continents, spanning South London, Guyana and India
- Prize-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie in conversation with BBC journalist Razia Iqbal
- Extraordinary real-life story of one woman’s triumph against racist employers dramatised in We Are The Lions, Mr Manager!
- Poet John Agard presents his satirical verse reimagining of Columbus’ voyage
- Forest Tribe stage the Diwali story with puppetry, projections and dance
Tara Theatre have announced their Autumn season as an eclectic mix of talks, poetry, theatre, dance and family shows. Kickstarting the season, prize-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie visits Tara Theatre for a one-off date to discuss her latest book with BBC journalist Razia Iqbal (28th September). Kamila’s contemporary retelling of Sophocles’ Antigone, Home Fire, is a powerful, urgent tale of love, politics, family and enmity, confronting one of the defining issues of our age.
Artistic Director Jatinder Verma said “I am thrilled our Autumn Season kicks off with Kamila Shamsie’s exciting new novel, Home Fire, which emerged from a chat we had several years ago about Kamila writing a new version of the Greek classic Antigone. And what a version her latest novel promises to be! A fitting start to creating an intimacy with diversity – offering audiences a chance to get up close and personal with a range of established artists and emerging talent presenting stories old and new.”
Highlights of Tara Theatre’s upcoming theatre programme include the return of the latest production from Black Theatre Live, the Tara Theatre-led consortium of eight venues committed to promoting BAME touring theatre. Coming of age tale Big Foot (1st – 4th November) is Joseph Barnes-Phillips’ semi-autobiographical show traversing the highs and lows of teenage life in South London as Rayleigh attempts to balance the pressures of family, status and romance. Guyanese folk stories combine with grime in this humorous and passionate story about the knotty path towards responsibility and manhood.
Directed by Louise Townsend, Neil Gore’s We Are The Lions, Mr Manager! (21st – 24th November) tells the true story of one woman’s inspirational fight against workplace discrimination and reductive gender stereotypes. Jayaben Desai, who lead the strike at the Grunwick film processing factory between 1976 and 1978, was recently included in the Radio Four Women’s Hour Power list of those who have massively influenced female lives over the past 70 years. Leading a dispute that turned into a national movement, Desai stuck it to the factory boss with these words: “What you are running here is not a factory, it is a zoo. But in a zoo there are many types of animals. Some are monkeys who dance on your fingertips, others are lions who can bite your head off. We are the lions, Mr Manager!”
As part of their Autumn season, Tara will also welcome Bhuchar Boulevard’s new family-friendly production of Child of the Divide (7th – 11th November), which originally premiered at Polka in 2006 to critical acclaim. Marking the 70th anniversary of the partition of India, it’s the story of Pali, a Hindu boy who accidentally loses his father amid the upheaval that ensues along the newly-formed border. Taken in by a Muslim family, Pali is given a new life, faith and name. But when his father returns to claim him, Pali must decide who he really is and where he belongs.
Tara’s family-friendly offerings continue with their collaboration with Forest Tribe Dance to present Prince of Fire, a new take on the Diwali story. The production for children will include dance, puppetry and projections in which the forces of light and darkness – plus a monkey army – do battle.
Created and performed by Zimbabwean born Scott Sparrow, ‘Ivan’ is a one man physical comedy about the tragic life of the failed dancer Ivan Popczieski coming to Tara Theatre 5th – 6th October. Meanwhile one-off performances coming to Tara this Autumn include Afro-Guyanese poet John Agard’s move from page to stage with Roll Over Atlantic, a satirical retelling of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the ‘New World’ (18th October). Set against a backdrop of insect buzzes and ocean murmurs, Agard blends the voices of Columbus, a native shaman and politically-engaged mosquitos with calypso rhythms and cabaret irreverence.
Re-opened in September 2016 by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Tara Theatre has garnered a range of awards, including The Stage Sustainability Award, London Construction Best Project Design Award & the London Architecture Culture & Community Award. It has also been shortlisted for the World Architecture & the Peter Brook Empty Space Awards this year.
Tara Arts was founded in 1977 by Artistic Director Jatinder Verma, along with Sunil Saggar, Ovais Kadri, Praveen Bahl and Vijay Shaunak.
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Tara Theatre, London
356 Garratt Lane, London, SW18 4ES
www.tara-arts.com | 020 8333 4457