Welcome to my new blog. Now that Tamasha is turning 21 (more of that later) it seemed like a good time to start a sort-of-diary and get some of the issues buzzing around inside my head, outside.
A flavour of some of the topics you’ll be finding here in coming months include: the place of Asian-led theatre in super-diverse Britain; collaborations across artforms; learning and teaching intracultural theatre practice internationally; and battling ‘mainstream’ theatre on the D (iversity) word. There will also be plenty of ad hoc reviews, juicy snippets from theatreland, rehearsal notes and anything else I’d like to share, laugh at, vent about, etc!
So to explain about Tamasha’s 21st – it was almost 21 years ago now that Sudha (Bhuchar) and I co-founded Tamasha and we’re very glad we’re still here producing new work, touring, and working with young writers, designer and directors. So in the coming year, alongside our usual kind of performance and practice we’ll also be running a series of events, interventions and what-have-you to mark this birthday. And it’s a chance to take stock.
Seems we’re not the only ones – I see that INIVA (institute of international visual art) is 15 years old and asking some big questions in their new exhibition Progress Reports. It came up in a team meeting last week about our anniversary. Britain and particularly London is a very different landscape now, then when Tamasha and Iniva were born. When they started people still thought predominantly in terms of Black and Asian artists and audience when they spoke about diversity. Now with the turbo-boost of the globalisation, super-diversity is the new reality and this exhibition is asking how it can reflect that, stay relevant and keep pace – does ‘new internationalism’ cut it?
Our play Lyrical MC reflects this change most clearly of our recent work. Six languages are spoken by the London schoolchildren of myriad nationalities on stage. We constantly have to operate and think about, through and beyond identity. As Guardian journalist Gary Younge said so well recently at a talk about Obama and US politics, ‘Identity is a great place to start, a bad place to finish.’ We all agreed that sums up where we’re at now pretty well.