“The old days are gone” – in today’s world of political and social upheaval this line can be applied almost anywhere in the world currently, but in war torn Syria the words of filmmaker Reem Karssli’s grandfather sound even more pertinent.
Divisions within our society have become extremely apparent post the EU Referendum, unearthing tensions that have seemed to have simmered for decades. In a time whereby the rise of technology has helped bring people together, rhetoric from powerful figures sadly work against this, their encouragement of building borders and placing blame elsewhere a worrying trend. Exploring the idea of ‘borders’ both physically and mentally, playwright Afsaneh Gray presents ‘The Border’; a collaborative piece created alongside young people in Croydon and Bedworth and dramaturg Sarah Dickerson. Mid tour, having already visited Redbridge Drama Centre, Wanstead Festival, The Northwall Arts Centre and Theatre Peckham, Afsaneh tells us more about the show!
In 2013, the Birmingham local council would receive a damaging letter claiming a plot was underway to run local schools under strict Islamic doctrine. This letter outlined a plan known to many as ‘Operation Trojan Horse’, its ultimate aim of whomever sent it, to implicate various figures. This very letter would then be passed onto the Home Office and Department of Education and would subsequently be leaked to mainstream press. This very letter would start off a chain reaction of detrimental events – insensitive headline articles, emergency OFSTED inspections of 21 schools in Birmingham and Michael Gove openly criticising the Home Office on tackling ‘non violent extremism’. Tahir Alam, the former chairman of the Park View Educational Trust who ran three schools in Birmingham and fourteen other teachers would receive lifetime bans that would later be dismissed. This scandal was damaging to the local community of Birmingham, and sadly six years on, we’re living in a world whereby Islamaphobia is on the rise, scandals such as this fuelling a dangerous climate of hate. Tapping into the voices affected by the repercusions of this national scandal, writers of LUNG Theatre Company Helen Monks and Matt Woodhead talk about their latest show ‘Trojan Horse’ – a show placing verbatim at its core.
A marriage doomed from the onset, Orpheus and Eurydice’s union is perhaps one of the most well -known stories within the Greek pantheon of myths and legends. Prophesised to not last, both enjoy a short lived romance, inevitably put to a bitter end by the cruel passing of Eurydice.
Introduced in 1861 under colonial rule, Section 377 would include the criminalisation of same sex relationships, an unjust action that would impact on the lives of many. However, on the 6th September, 2018, the Supreme Court of India would rule this inclusion as ‘unconstitutional’ and would therefore witness its decriminalisation. We’re at the forefront of a new decade, and with this, we are witnessing global shifts against certain conservative attitudes, and this is significant. LGBTQ+ stories are starting to be discussed openly, laws slowly being overturned and human rights being exercised. Choreographer and Theatre Maker Jaivant Patel explores this era of change we’re living in in his debut piece ‘YAATRA’ – a fusion of Kathak and Contemporary dance exploring LGBTQ+ narratives, faith and spirituality. Ahead of its showing at TARA Arts Theatre on Thursday 17th October, Jaivant tells us more his choreographic and musical process, exploring personal aspects of his identity and what audiences can expect from the show!
We have a long way to go, however seeing discussions focused on women’s rights is a step forward in the right direction. In 2018, according to the Crime Survey of England and Wales, 7.9% of women experienced domestic violence, that’s roughly 1.3 million of the population and 28.9% aged between 16 to 59 have suffered some form of domestic abuse from aged 16 – 4.8 million. The Police Service of Northern Ireland have reported a worrying increase in domestic violence incidences, reporting a 5.4% rise from October 2017 to September 2018 and the highest since records began in 2004/2005. However as this topic is complex, and is often hidden, it’s difficult to quantify just how much this occurs. We’ve also witnessed conversations on the personal topic of abortion take place, Northern Ireland currently in the process of decriminalising it, ensuring regulations regarding abortion services are put in place by April (BBC News). Playwright and screen writer taps into these pertinent issues in her current play ‘Gutted’, set four decades prior to now. Ahead of the show’s run starting from Friday 4th October & Saturday 5th October at the Marlowe Theatre, Sharon tells us more about what to expect.
Packed with gripping tension and cultural divides aplenty, Arthur Miller‘s hard hitting play about identity and masculinity pushes our protagonists deep into disgruntlement, and soon to be violence. If you wonder what it is like to allow jealousy to build up inside your physique, and the consequences of letting it spread, then this performance is truly for you.
It felt rather monumental being in the room at the Royal Court last night. Caryl Churchill is without doubt one of our greatest living playwrights, and after amassing such a huge amount of hits under her belt, her latest offering is just as superb. Throughout the evening, four very different plays are presented. They discuss lots of interesting things: Gods, murder, clocks, magical creatures, addiction, accountability, perception – the list goes on.
Irene Danner-Storm hailed from a family of circus performers. One of few Jewish families to own a circus business, the Lorch family would suffer greatly from the horrifying rise of antisemitism and the Nazis’ rise to power; the devastating climate leading to the beginnings of WWII. A decline in business and facing the possibility of being sent to a ghetto or concentration camp, Irene would be the first within her family to flee to the Althoff Circus as a means of survival. Inspired by Irene’s incredible story, performer and theatre maker Stav Meishar presents her solo show The Escape Act – A Holocaust Memoir, a production close to Stav’s heart, having trained in circus arts and being the descendant of Holocaust survivors, we learn more about how Irene’s story has impacted her both personally and professionally.