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A R&D presentation commemorating the 40th year of the storming of the Golden Temple (aka Harmandir Sahib) in Panjab, India in 1984.

The script focuses on stories of women on both sides of the fence – on the one hand, prime ministers, Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher, and on the other, lesser-known women - a young mother, Bibi Pritam Kaur, and a library assistant, Paramjit Kaur - who tried to defend their community and honour, while seeking justice for atrocities.

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A play by Grant Foxon, the comedy of now…a biting political satire about a crazed Russian dictator leading his nation down a confrontation with NATO. Meanwhile, UK's Conservative government gets more oppressive and ludicrous leaders until they reach the zenith of out-of-touch insane Etonians who declare martial law.

 

So why not relax and laugh along to the end of the world?

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See the full production of the multi-award-winning play by Angela J. Davis about a formidable yet overlooked woman.

In the spring of 1994, a plane crash takes the life of an African president and ignites a killing spree that the world will later recognise as the Rwandan genocide against Tutsi people.

The person who is next in line and who will become the country’s head of state for less than a day, is Agathe Uwilingiyimana, a university professor and an advocate for women and girls’ education.

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We have had 131 scripts submitted for RAFTA 2023 and have been hugely impressed by the range of talent, styles and topics that highlight and tackle racism, xenophobia and fanaticism in its many forms. Thank you to all the writers who sent their scripts in for RAFTA.

See the outcomes here and tune in later in the year for more. Congratulations to everyone.

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Chase meets Ann for pizza and politics while Sahar and Jake fight out their difference in a crazily edgy multiracial city.

Set in New York, this fast-paced play provides a funny yet razor-sharp look at racism in America. It covers xenophobia and White nationalism during Trump’s era while seeking to create fundamental shifts in blinkered worldviews.

Mabruka’s Lament tells the story of a young Ezidi woman trying to follow her dreams while all around her family and community expectations hem her in. One day she meets a mysterious man. While they fall for each other, she also learns some disturbing truths.

Touching upon Ezidi and Sunni tensions in the deserts of Iraq at a time before Da’esh (ISIL) terrorised the community, MABRUKA’S LAMENT is both a seductive romance and a Shakespearean tragedy.

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Based on the success of our previous call in 2021, RAFTA  returns with another competition for creative and unique scripts against extremism, intolerance and xenophobia.

The winning script will receive £500 with the commitment to produce it for the stage. 5 runners-up will be selected for rehearsed script readings. The deadline for submissions is January 20, 2024.

We launch RAFTA 2023 as part of Black History Month with the production of two more RAFTA scripts for the stage, MABRUKA’S LAMENT and END OF THE LINE

In July 2023, we arranged drama workshops to research and devise a script on remembering the storming of the Golden Temple (aka Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar, Panjab, in 1984, and its aftermath.  

The writer, Raminder Kaur, worked with director and dramaturge, Christine Bacon, from iceaandfire with artists and actors, Anisa Butt, Rez Kabir, Joey Parsad, and Ajayta Rai, to develop an array of ideas based on eye-witness accounts and testimonies. 

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Based on real-life stories, Exodus tells the story of migrations of Indians to East Africa, and their expulsion from the paradisiacal lands of Uganda to a freezing cold Britain in 1972. From dhows to airplanes, saris to bellbottoms,  K.L Saigal to the Clash,  the fictional play explores the suffering and joy of migrants in the tempestuous climate of 1970s Britain.

 

The script for Exodus was a finalist in the esteemed BOLD Playwright competition in 2023. The script was inspired by oral histories collected by Lata Desai and Rolf Killius.

A multi-media, magic realist drama based on true experiences of the pandemic, prejudice, and the care of older people.

Join Ibn Khaldun, medieval mystic, polymath and jurist, on a journey from the Great Plague to the COVID-19 pandemic through the lives of older people and the racial minorities that care for them. From football to racism to pet tortoises, breaDth takes us through the challenges, loves and humour behind their stories. 

The interviews that inform the script were collected by researchers for the Consortium on Practices of Wellbeing and Resilience among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Families and Communities (ESRC).

                                    

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Break their Lineage, Break their Roots… tells the real-life stories of Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslims who have been accused of ‘three evils’ - namely,  ‘separatism, extremism and terrorism’ - by the Chinese state. The first of its kind, the play adds new insights to their lives before and after periods of incarceration and torture in detention that the state describes as rehabilitation centres.

Based on interviews with Uyghur, Kazakh and other Turkic Muslims including Tursunay Ziyawudun, Abduweli Ayup, Qelbinur Sidik, Abduréhim Paraç and Uyghur Tribunal statements.

In the spring of 1994, a plane crash takes the life of an African president and ignites a killing spree that the world will later recognize as the Rwandan genocide.

The person who was next in line for the country’s presidency — and who was, in fact, the country’s head of state for less than a day — was Agathe Uwilingiyimana, a university professor and an advocate for women and girls’ education. A beacon for our times, her silenced story and brave spirit is captured in this riveting play.

AGATHE was a top-four finalist for the prestigious Jane Chambers Award and received several other honors including the Henley Rose Award, Landing Theatre New American Voices Award, and the SETC Getchell Award.

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A letter, a song and a yearning heart.
John Lennon is not dead. He lives in another plane where he makes a pact with the Maharishi to get in touch with his wife, Yoko Ono.

 

Meanwhile, his friend from Rishikesh, Jolly Singh, discovers John’s package from 1968 that was never posted. It contains a tape. What’s on it? Should he take it to the rightful recipient?
 

Can his daughter, Dilwaar, help while following her dreams to migrate to England?

Set on a multiracial street somewhere in the UK, breaDth explores the grip of two interconnected viruses killing in the UK; COVID-19 and racial discrimination; and the importance of oxygen for our lungs and for life.  Combining real with surreal situations during the COVID-19 pandemic., the play casts a kaleidoscopic lens on survival through prejudice, violence, racial inequality and the struggle for breath among Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and families, exacerbated by the pandemic.

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Nabeel Ahmed always dreamed of Michelin stars and Celebrity-chef status but was never able to get anywhere beyond his lowly curry house in Bradford. His daughter Saira’s conversion to militant veganism spurs an idea for the world’s first fully sustainable, farm-to-table Indian restaurant in the Yorkshire countryside. But with Halal meat considered barbaric in her eyes, will the “Tandoor on the Moor” be enough to salvage their relationship?
 

Allah's Own Country was presented as a R&D performance within post-show Q&A with Kaamil Shah and members of Sohaya Visions and Mukul & Ghetto Tigers at Rich Mix in London on the 1st April 2022.

Inspired by their theatre production, TERROR, Sohaya Visions and Mukul & Ghetto Tigers launched a scriptwriting competition, RAFTA (Rise Against Fanaticism Through the Arts). The competition aims to tackle fanaticism in its various forms through the creative arts. 

 

The RAFTA 2022 festival stages the winning play, ALLAH's OWN COUNTRY, by Kaamil Shah and includes online readings of 5 runner-ups and 10 scripts with commendations along with RAFTA Conversations with leading theatre experts, and the launch of darkmatter journal issue, GLOBAL BLACK LIVES MATTER.

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When one in two people are likely to get cancer over their lifetime, knowing what to do and how to deal with it becomes all the more important.

BODIES is an experimental, multi-media psychodrama that combines tragedy with comedy, weaving ancient and contemporary stories about dilemmas of the body, mind and people's experiences with cancer.

We are part of the GRID heritage network, a UK-India network that explores Indian and diasporic heritage using a framework informed by gender and intersectionality (GRID). The vision is to ensure that those discriminated along lines of gender, caste, class and/or ethnicity along with their heritage are fully appreciated, engaged and supported at the national and transnational level. The project team organised workshops for academics, researchers and practitioners along with linked exhibitions and musical performances in New Delhi and London. The work features an online exhibition of case studies and digitised archive. 

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Let’s celebrates the poetry, songs and message of a great Bengali Baul from the nineteenth century, Lalon Shah. He stood for harmonious living against social orthodoxy and religious extremism - as relevant now as it was then. 

This new drama cuts between pre-partition Bengal to contemporary Bangladesh where a woman, Luna, from Whitechapel, is visiting the Lalon Mela, a festival commemorating the legendary philosopher that is organized on the bank of river Kaliganga in Kushtia. 

What follows blows her mind…and her heart.

An Indian devadasi – an expert in the 64 arts of the Kama Sutra – inadvertently becomes a time-traveller.

On her journeys, she meets the most unlikely people from England. There begins this comic caper with a nasty sting in the tale.
 

Kama Sci-Fi takes you on a ride with young lovers in ancient, present and future eras to develop a more holistic understanding of union.

 

Get set to imagine and encounter human relations in ways you had never thought before.

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What would you do if militants stormed a café while you were enjoying time out with friends and family? Young Faraaz Hossain faced this terrifying scenario at the Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, Bangladesh on July 1st in 2016. 

Faraaz's strength in the face of extremism has now been memorialised in the play ,'Terror'. Written by Raminder Kaur. Directed by Mukul Ahmed and designed by Erica Greenshields, Terror aims to honour Faraaz’s memory, while using the voices of customers and staff to retell the horrific incident which stunned those in Bangladesh and beyond. 

Superheroes bring to mind caped crusaders such as Superman, Batman, or  Captain America. The more gender attuned foreground Wonder Woman among other avatars. Those looking eastwards might highlight Japanese characters from Manga. But what about other  intergalactic superhero/ines? How do other young people engage with illustrations, storytelling and imaginaries of superheroism?
With a focus on Doga, Skaktimaan, Nagraj, Super Commando Dhruva, Chandika and Shakti, this film by Raminder Kaur and Tarun Jasani explores superheroism from the viewpoints of young people in India.

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Based on people's life stories and experiences, Bodies explores the many facets of cancer through word, song and psychodrama. When one in two people are likely to be diagnosed over their lifetime, cancer has become a silent epidemic of our era. Knowing how to deal with it,  minimise recurrence, and share knowledge and experiences is all the more important. Bodies does this through both realism and surrealism, tragedy and comedy.

An unheard/unseen interviewer asks two female prisoners details of their life's journeys. Both describe the world they left behind, the future they face, and finally, the legacy they will leave for humanity…

 

A research and development theatre presentation that explores how a common seed planted in soils of sorrow and adversity can grow into a weed as well as bloom into a flower.

'That which holds you captivate can also set you free.'

Artwork by Arpana Caur, Sohni Mahiwal, 48 X 60 inches, oil on canvas, 2008

Silent Sisters-Brothers Unhinged was developed out of memories and experiences of the partition of Bengal in 1947 and linked to Silent Sisters on the partition of Punjab, brought back due to popular demand to commemorate the 70th year. Now in their 70s, 80s and 90s, those who had lived through partition related what they went through in interviews and workshops in London, Brighton and Crawley.

 

Younger generations talked about what their parents and relatives had told them. Discussions extended to refugees in general, violence against women, and migration. And others related to the subject through their own experiences of forcible displacement. From these fraught threads, these powerful dramas were born. 

Who doesn’t harbour secrets? Mishti Gals (sweet swearing in Bengali) tells the funny, poignant and scorching story of the lives of three British Bengali women. Frenemies in their 40s, they have all made life choices that defy expectation. A repressed lecturer called Shubarna, a shopaholic city worker, Lata, and a brazen media socialite, Mou, live in the fast changing landscape of E1. None of them are married with the obligatory 2.2 children. Instead, against all the odds, they make merry and blaze other paths - some hilarious, and some back-stabbingly serious.

Welcome to the real east end!

Silent Sisters is based on real-life stories and memories of partition and migration among British Asians who were affected by the drawing of a line between India and Pakistan in 1947. The youngest interviewed was 21, the oldest 91. With poetry, song, music and movement, Silent Sisters is a fictional story in tribute to those who were affected by partition, and to those who struggle with violence and displacement across the world today which according to the UNHCR, amount to over 65 million people.

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