Friday 22 April 2016

The British Council are delighted to confirm the Southbank Centre and British Council co-programmed projects at the Alchemy Festival, 18-30 May, 2016.

The British Council are a proud partner of the Alchemy festival, working together with the curatorial team to identify and support new work from South Asia that deserves to be seen by UK audiences and, through this, helping to ensure a broader understanding of this dynamic region. Alchemy festival brings together Nepali, Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi actors, poets and writers in celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, plus explorations of story-telling in the Digital Lab and memoir writing in Afghanistan.


Women Spread the Word

18 – 30 May

Twenty-five women from across Afghanistan were brought together for training with the British Council in an attempt to enable and empower them to capture women’s stories in their country.

Women Spread the Word is a short documentary focusing on these women, from Kabul, Herat, Balkh, Jalalabad, Helmand, Kandahar, and Bamiyan, who learned the skills needed to help them record their oral histories, including memoir writing, interviewing techniques, documentary film, and creative writing. The interviews, stories and documentaries to come out of the project will stand as a record of women’s experiences at this time, becoming invaluable to future generations of Afghan women, as well as being used by historians and researchers.


A Different Shakespeare, A UK-Bangladesh Film Collaboration

18 May – 30 May

The UK theatre company Graeae has been working with Dhaka Theatre, Bangladesh since 2012 to create a performance training programme with young disabled adults in Bangladesh. This led to the new production A Different Romeo and Juliet. It came about as a result of Unlimited Festival 2012, the largest ever celebration of disability arts in London which the British Council partnered. Charlotte worked with local young filmmakers to create a 30 minute documentary about the inspirational journey of the participants, training them in the practice of documentary making. 

A Winter’s Tale (in Urdu)

Sunday 29 May, 12pm

Starting out in the Mughal era in 1614 and dramatically skipping forwards four centuries to contemporary Karachi, A Winter’s Tale in Urdu  has deep resonances in a patriarchal culture, where the notion of honour can lead to terrible acts. Originally performed in Karachi in August 2014 in a production designed by Louie Whitemore, the British Council supported the first production as part of a partnership with NAPA, encouraging UK and Pakistani artistic collaboration. This is a rare opportunity to see one of Shakespeare's best-loved plays performed in Urdu by this acclaimed Pakistani company. 

Hamlet (in Nepali)

Friday 27 & Saturday 28 May, 8pm

Hamlet in Nepal connects the famous play with the Nepalese royal massacre fifteen years ago. UK theatre director Gregory Thompson spent just three weeks in Nepal creating the work, working with a local translator, local artists and assistant director Bimal Subedi from Theatre Village, Kathmandu. The British Council initiated this project and Theatre Village (Nepal) produced it. The play was originally performed as part of the yearlong celebration of 200 years of bilateral relations between Britain. 


The Sonnet Exchange

Sunday 29 May, 4pm

Poets from India, Bangladesh and the UK come together for the Sonnet Exchange, a playful and entertaining reimagining of his sonnets.

Imtiaz Dharker (Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature), Daljit Nagra (a Next Generation poet), Sampurna Chatterjee, poet, novelist and translator based in Mumbai/Thane and Kaiser Haq a Bangladeshi poet who works at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh will each read a sonnet by Shakespeare and then their own commissioned response.

The readings and panel discussion will be chaired by Dr Preti Taneja, academic and novelist, whose novel based on the story of King Lear set in contemporary India is forthcoming with Galley Beggar Press. 


Digital Lab

Friday 20 – Saturday 21 May, 11am

How do we tell tales in 2016?

Alchemy invites technologists, game designers and writers from the UK and the subcontinent for two days of lively debate to rewrite our idea of the story.

About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We create international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide. We work in more than 100 countries and our 8,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts and delivering education and society programmes. We are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter. A core publicly-funded grant provides 16 per cent of our turnover which last year was £973 million. The rest of our revenues are earned from services which customers around the world pay for, such as English classes and taking UK examinations, and also through education and development contracts and from partnerships with public and private organisations. All our work is in pursuit of our charitable purpose and supports prosperity and security for the UK and globally.

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