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.
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.