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A Season of Bangla Drama 2022

 Freedom Anthologies


Curtains rise again in 2022 for A Season of Bangla Drama

We’re delighted to announce that the final selection has now been made for another high calibre and diverse line-up of plays to form the mainstay of A Season of Bangla Drama 2022.

A large number of playwrights and theatre companies submitted their expressions of interest for this year’s Theatre Festival, and 11 productions have been chosen. These most closely met the key criteria of innovation, adhering to the theme of self-determination.

History comes to the fore, with “How to Make Rice”, a play from Sufi Soup about a seemingly innocuous method to make rice, which takes the audience through the Bengal famine of 1943-44. We travel into the 1970s with both Ayna Arts whose production “Telegram” is an inspiring story of migration and self-determination from a woman's point of view and through Bangla Connection CIC who bring us “Piyar Alir Bhanga Mukh” (Shattered Faces of Piyar Ali), an empathetic journey of a Bangladeshi-British man, who seeks his selfhood in the context of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh.

This year, importantly, marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Language Movement which was catalysed by Martyrs Day in 1952. Two plays address this topic. “Twenty First February (Aat-i Falgun)” from Docklands Theatre Company focuses on the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints. Trioarts also make reference to 21st of February with “Banglish” (Bilingual) by using the human-interest story of a mother and her son to inform audiences about this key moment in history.

The propensity for bigotry and the fragility of the human psyche are addressed in three further plays.  “A Broken Dream” from Message Cultural Group reflects on how a family crisis, violence and divorce affect children’s mental health, and questions the main barriers to reaching success. Bangladesh Udichi Shilpi Goshti UK Shangsad explore how social injustice, communal hatred, stigma and stereotyping blinds people's judgment in their play “Oggatonama: Identity Unknown”, and “Circus” from Marble Sinew Ltd tells the tale of a playwright who puts on a controversial show to revitalise his theatre, letting the real audience decide how successful it will be.

On a lighter note, the power of dance, music, and poetry are all given their due prominence in “Seasonal Hues”, “The Love Songs” and “Death of an Orange” respectively. “Seasonal Hues” is an exuberant dance-theatre piece that celebrates Mother Nature and her healing power in times of calamities, and reveals how hope and optimism can keep humanity thriving. This is presented by Suchismita Ganguly Dance Company. Bishwo Shahitto Kendro’s "The Love Songs by Bulbul Hassan" shows how culture transcends differences and creates connections between generations through the heartfelt celebrations of (Bengali) folk music.  And last but not least, Mukul & Ghetto Tigers present “Death of an Orange” which tells the little-known story of the life and work of the most revered modern Bengali poet, a cult figure Jibanananda Das (1899-1956).

The festival will be back in November at a range of venues across the borough along with a fringe programme of exhibitions, talks more, so please keep an eye out for full programming details in due course.