Representation for Black actors in British theatre is getting better – especially since Black Lives Matter. Black actresses, in particular, are finally receiving the recognition they deserve, with numerous lead roles being played by Black women. South Asian representation, however, is another matter. One hopes the unprecedented success of Life of Pi might cause a shift for ‘representAsian’ in British theatre.
However, there are countless South Asian creatives all around the country, with fresh, inventive ideas. Over the next few weeks, there is an influx of ambitious South Asian productions: two plays, a musical, an opera (yes, really), and “a gig theatre adventure”!
Kudos to The Lowry for hosting three of the five. The others two are taking place at HOME and Contact – two theatres that champion diversity and inclusivity.
“Vinay Patel’s sci fi adaptation of The Cherry Orchard sees an old starship travel through space, in search of a planet to call home. Like their ancestors before them, the crew were born on this ship, and this voyage is all they’ve ever known.
And then… a planet is spotted. In a place they could actually live.
The crew are restless. The desire to find a home is strong.
But Captain Ramesh is adamant that they can’t leave the ship.
Something has to change.
Will they leap into a new future, or stay stuck on this journey forever?
Patel’s playful reimagining of Chekhov’s classic play expertly blends humour, wit, and romance to explore themes of family, belonging, and home.
Vinay Patel is one of the country’s most promising young writers. Best known for the smash-hit, BAFTA nominated BBC drama Murdered by My Father, Patel has recently contributed to episodes of Doctor Who, as well as writing the critically acclaimed True Brits (Edinburgh Fringe 2014) and An Adventure (BUSH Theatre 2016). Last year it was announced that Patel would write on Netflix’s television adaptation of One Day.
A Yard Theatre, ETT, and HOME co-production, co-commissioned by The Yard Theatre and ETT”.
“Love and betrayal in the golden age of Bollywood cinema. Laila, a blooming starlet is romanced by the dashing hero Sikandar in the 1970s. They star in blockbuster musicals where heroes wear their hearts on their sleeves and rescue beautiful damsels from the clutches of villains who pave the mean streets of Bombay with gold.
Laila and Sikandar’s passion is ignited secretly between the pop and disco numbers. Soon the boundaries between what is real and what is imaginary start to blur. When the deceit is unmasked, the intensity of their emotions threatens to burn everything in the city of hope and dreams. Will there be a happily ever after for the star crossed lovers?”
“Based on the Sunday Times bestseller which inspired one of this century’s most treasured films, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel takes us on a journey to India with an eclectic group of British retirees as they embark on a new life. The luxury residence is far from the opulence they were promised, but as their lives begin to intertwine, they are charmed in unexpected and life-changing ways.
Starring the icon of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Academy, BAFTA, and Golden Globe-Award winner, Hayley Mills (Wild at Heart, Pollyanna, The Parent Trap), household favourite and screen and stage star Paul Nicholas (Jesus Christ Superstar, Just Good Friends, Eastenders) and Rula Lenska (Rock Follies, Coronation Street, Eastenders). Also featuring Andy de la Tour (Notting Hill, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Young Ones), Rekha John-Cheriyan (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Tomb Raider, Hollyoaks) and Marlene Sidaway (Coronation Street, Pride and Prejudice).
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a joyous comedy about taking risks, finding love, and embracing second chances, even in the most surprising of places. Get ready for the journey of a lifetime.”
The wedding of the year is here as Orpheus, a musician of mythical power, marries graceful Eurydice. When the newlyweds’ joy is shattered by the sudden death of Eurydice, our heartbroken hero sets off on a mission to the underworld to rescue his bride, certain that his love will overcome adversity. Can Orpheus conquer fate, or will his heart be broken for a second time?
This adventurous new production of the ancient tragedy is told through a meeting of the worlds of Indian and Western baroque classical music. The bowed strings of the violin and the tar shehnai, the hammered strings of the santoor, the plucked strings of the harpsichord and sitar, and the rhythms of the tabla, shape a unique and beautiful musical encounter between East and West.
Music Directors Jasdeep Singh Degun and Laurence Cummings weave together their respective traditions of Indian classical and Western early music, joined by an exciting cast including Ashnaa Sasikaran and Nicholas Watts.
“An exhilarating gig theatre adventure inspired by the daytime raves of 1990s British Asian culture.
It’s 1997 and London is about to have its last daytime rave. The end of an era is approaching. British South Asians flock for their last taste of rebellion. Among them are cousins Farhan and Sadiq. Both very different. Both escaping something. Both trying to decide what it means to be British and Pakistani, a Muslim and a man – and they’ve got until 6pm to figure it out.
Inspired by the daytime raves of 1990s British Asian culture, Daytime Deewane explores the beauty and struggle of living with a multi-cultural identity as a teenager. Featuring a DJ mix merging soundscapes, dance music and spoken word, this immersive new show is an exhilarating gig theatre adventure.
Daytime Deewane, by Azan Ahmed, is the latest production from Half Moon, the UK’s leading small-scale young people’s venue and touring company, winner of the 2019 and 2018 Offies Award (Off West End Theatre) for Best Production for Young People Age 13+ (Crowded and What Once Was Ours).”
So, there you have it – an incredible, diverse collection of South Asian productions coming to Manchester over the next few weeks. There’s something for everyone!