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Tara Arts presents Tara Tales celebrating stories from The Panchatantra

Tara Arts presents Tara Tales celebrating stories from The PanchatantraTara Arts, the award-winning multicultural theatre arts organisation, today announces Tara Tales, a new series of online storytime, bringing to life famous Indian fables from The Panchatantra performed by Nitin Ganatra (EastEnders), Medhavi Patel (Kidulthood), and Sita Thomas (Channel 5’s Milkshake!).

Tara Arts is proud to bring these online stories to audiences young and old to celebrate diversity in children’s storytelling whilst the country’s theatres remain closed. The company, formed over forty years ago, is a theatre with the rich diversity of voices with South Asian cultural heritage at its core. The project has been created in light of a study by The Centre for Literacy and Primary Education suggesting that only 4% of the 9,115 Children’s books published in the UK in 2017 had a BAME character.

The Panchatantra is an ancient collection of Indian animal fables, believed to have originated more than 2500 years ago, written in Sanskrit by Vishnu Sharma to educate and entertain the children of the Indian Royal family. Tara Tales presents stories from the collection which have been newly adapted by emerging young and award-winning writer Carmen Gaur. The readings have been performed and filmed during lockdown for audiences in the UK and are also accessible worldwide. These are: The Monkey King and the Mangoes performed by Medhavi Patel, The Donkey and the Rooster performed by Nitin Ganatra and The Loyal Mongoose performed by Sita Thomas. Each of the stories uses animal characters to explore moral themes, including of friendship and courage, love and loyalty, kindness and wisdom.

Tara Tales is suitable for everyone aged 6 years and over and can be seen at www.tara-arts.com . The Monkey King and the Mangoes and The Donkey and the Rooster are now available and The Loyal Mongoose will be released in addition on 12 June. Further tales will be announced in due course.

The Donkey and the Rooster
A happy family of farm animals live together on the edge of a beautiful jungle. Join Donkey and Rooster as they set out on a dangerous mission – and learn a valuable lesson.
A tale of friendship and courage. Performed, filmed and brought to life by Nitin Ganatra.

The Monkey King and the Mangoes
On the banks of the River Ganges, two mischievous monkeys swing in the branches of the majestic mango tree. Join Billa and Chitham on their adventure as they learn what it means to share their forest.
A tale of kindness and wisdom. Performed, filmed and brought to life by Medhavi Patel.

The Loyal Mongoose
A farmer brings home an orphaned mongoose to live with his wife and newborn daughter. But can it be trusted?
A tale of love and loyalty. Performed, filmed and brought to life by Sita Thomas.

Carmen Gaur (writer and adapter) is currently studying for a BA English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick. She has received the ‘Outstanding Talent Award for an Original Piece of Writing selected for publication’ by Young Writers and The Prize for Excellence (English Literature) from London Schools Gold Club, 2015-16. Her work includes Blinding Light (The Poetry Trials – A poem is just the beginning), The Boy Who Broke The Rules (Phizz-Whizzing Stories), The Lady of Shalott (Express Yourself Through Poetry), Friendship (The Poetry Games) all with Young Writers. Carmen has also been published in It always seems so simple (an anthology by the first story group). Her work was chosen to be read at the first story open house event. Carmen is a member of YouthCan (Youth Civil Activism Network), an organisation committed to challenging extremism and hate speech. Additionally she was chosen to be a part of the Hounslow promise mentoring scheme.

Nitin Ganatra recently starred as series regular Masood Ahmed in EastEnders. His other TV credits include Worst Witch, Midsomer Murders, Silent Witness, The State, Twenty Twelve, Hounded, Mumbai Calling, The Catherine Tate Show Christmas Special, The Bill and Holby City. His film credits include Shooters, Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, Eaten by Lions, Mad, Sad and Bad, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chess, Inferno and Truly, Madly Deeply. Nitin has also starred in numerous stage productions including God’s Dice (Soho Theatre), The End of the Pier (Park Theatre), Animal Farm (Belgrade), As I Lay Dying (Young Vic), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (National Theatre), I am not India/Kiwi (Southwark Playhouse), Les Enfants Du Paradis (RSC), Lucifer You and Testimonial (National Tour), Oh Sweet Sita (Tara Arts), The Bacchae (Edinburgh Fringe) and To The Green Fields Beyond (Donmar Warehouse).

Medhavi Patel is an actress, storyteller, dramaturg and writer. She trained at The Brit School of Performing Arts and has developed and dramaturge projects with Tara Theatre along with Associate Anjali Chadha and most recently as Associate Director for Santi and Naz at the Vaults festival with The Thelmas Theatre Company. Recently Medhavi performed in the UK national tour of Mushy Lyrically Speaking with Rifco Theatre Company and Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree – Tara Arts and Polka Theatre’s first collaboration, nominated as Best Theatre Production of 2019 by the Eastern Eye’s Arts Culture & Theatre Awards. She also performed in the much-acclaimed UK wide tour of We Are The Lions Mr Manager with Townsend Production for which she was also nominated for Eastern Eye’s Best Actress in Theatre Award for 2018. Other theatre credits include Women of the Mahabharata (Tara Arts), Food for Thought (Tara Arts), Tales of Birbal (Mashi Theatre/UK Tour), Trident Moon (Finborough Theatre) and Fragile Land (Hampstead Theatre). Her television credits includes: Doctors, Holby City, Dogma 3: Only Girls and Dogma 3: Snowman (Channel 4). Film includes: Kidulthood. Radio includes: Together, Bombay Talky and Romeo and Juliet In Southwark (all for BBC Radio).

Sita Thomas is a Creative Associate at Watford Palace Theatre, has worked as Associate Director for Out of Joint, Kali and National Youth Theatre and was trainee Artistic Director at the Bush Theatre. She holds a PhD examining culturally diverse Shakespearean performance (University of Warwick) and a Masters in Movement Direction (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama). Sita runs Tamasha’s Directors Programme and recently directed We Are Shadows: Brick Lane by Fin Kennedy and Rabiah Hussain for Tamasha. Her latest production in development is Queer Tales, a verbatim inspired LGBT+ play with music. In lockdown, Sita directed BA Acting students at Mountview for five weeks, testing and developing online possibilities resulting in ten 15-minute films. Sita was staff director at the National Theatre and has assisted at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Royal Court and Southbank Centre. She also works as a movement director, filmmaker and presenter of Channel 5’s milkshake! www.sitathomas.com | Twitter @sitathomas5.

Tara Arts is an award-winning theatre in London, home to a world of stories, producing, touring and presenting world-class small-scale theatre and inspiring learning and engagement programmes. Tara Arts is an incubator of creative talent, enabling and empowering South Asian theatre makers.

Listings

Tara Tales
Presented by Tara Arts
From The Panchatantra
Adapted by Carmen Gaur

The Monkey King and the Mangoes
Performed and filmed by Medhavi Patel
Now available online

The Donkey and the Rooster
Performed and filmed by Nitin Ganatra
Now available online

The Loyal Mongoose
Performed and filmed by Sita Thomas
Available online from 12 June

Further Tara Tales to be announced in due course

Website: www.tara-arts.com
Twitter: @Tara_Arts
Facebook: /TaraArts
Instagram: /TaraArts

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