Kali Theatre talk about their book ‘THIRTY’, published to celebrate their 30th anniversary championing South Asian Creatives

Having celebrated three decades of creating work championing the voices of South Asian creatives, Kali Theatre have marked the occasion with the publication of their latest project – 30 Monologues and Duologues for South Asian Actors. An innovative resource vital in ensuring representation within the arts, Kali have created a necessary body of work reflective of the South Asian diaspora’s experiences. Having recently  launched the book, Kali’s current Artistic Director Helena Bell tells us more about the compiling of the book and what to expect

Hi Helena, Kali Theatre have just launched 30 Monologues and Duologues for South Asian Actors. How are you feeling?

We’re completely thrilled to have had THIRTY published in our Thirtieth Birthday year and to be able to showcase the brilliant work of twenty two of our writers.

Published by Methuen, the book celebrates 30 years of Kali Theatre’s South Asian women playwrights. How did you approach compiling the book?

I gathered together a panel of Kaliartists to decide upon key extracts from Kali’s landmark productions over these years.  The panel are all women who have been instrumental in either commissioning/ developing and/or directing the featured plays. The panel comprised of Rukhsana Ahmad(Writer and Co-founder of Kali); JanetSteel( Kali Artistic Director 2002 – 2016); Penny Gold(Literary Manager/Dramaturg);  Naomi Joseph(Writer/Actor); Trilby James(RADA Associate Director and herself a published author of audition books for acting students).

Intended for drama school and college students, the book is a great resource for championing representation. What does it mean to be able to create this vital resource?

It feels like a pivotal moment for Kali where we are able to look back and celebrate all the women writers and artists that we have championed over the last thirty years but also to look forwards to the future and hopefully even wider representation. To our knowledge there is no other book like this in the world (solely devoted to publishing monologues and duologues from U.K. plays by South Asian women writers) so it’s a massive milestone and because THIRTY is published by Methuen we know it can be accessed globally from New Delhi to New York! This gives South Asian actors from across the world the opportunity to find audition roles to suit their needs. It’s a unique and hugely necessary resource.

What have you learned/taken away from creating the book?

It took longer than expected to compile and edit but was a perfect pandemic project as there was a bit more time and space than is usual to devote to it. I think it re-confirmed that theatre is a team game. The writers originated the pieces but they have all been so beautifully refined through workshops and performance by actors, directors and dramaturges.

What can creatives expect from the book?

This is an audition book of 15 monologues and 15 duologues from full productions Kali has mounted throughout our thirty years. THIRTY is for actors of South Asian descent. The roles are incredibly varied in playing age and type. Many are for women but there are strong roles for men too especially in the duologue section. The play’s themes range from the contemporary to period drama and the locations are manifold – from the UK to India, Pakistan and Afghanistan through to Europe and beyond.  The full play scripts can be found via our new script shop on the Kali website.
Questions by Lucy Basaba.

To find out more about the Kali Theatre Company and to purchase a copy of the book, visit here…
Written by Theatrefullstop