Europe Now

Europe Now is a collaboration between Riksteatern (Sweden), Talimhane Tiyatrosu (Istanbul), Theater RAST (Amsterdam), Arcola Theatre (London) and Ballhaus Naunynstrasse (Berlin). All the partners have a clear intercultural focus, knowledge and audience. They share the same vision on an intercultural reality and future and want to develop their ideas, working models and market to benefit the mobility of artists, cultural products and maybe even more important – the discussion on our common European intercultural future.

On 29th September 2011 six Founding Members of The London Hub shared their artistic practice with the above theatre companies.  They were: Collective Artistes, Kali Theatre Company, Spare Tyre, Talawa Theatre Company, Tamasha and Yellow Earth.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what they shared with the companies:

Arti Prashar, Artistic Director, Spare Tyre:

Spare Tyre is a leading participatory arts organisation with a respected track record of working with a range of communities: young gay people, homeless people, people with learning disabilities and older people and women who have suffered sexual violence.

We enable the voices of individuals and communities, celebrating their unheard stories.

Kumiko Mendl, Artistic Director, Yellow Earth:

Yellow Earth has been the UK’s pioneering British East Asian theatre company, working with actors, writers and directors artists and performers for the past 16 years making the invisible visible, the unheard, heard. There continues to be a need to champion the British East Asian voice and our visibility still remains low on stage in television and on film.

The company is at a new point in its history with a new Artistic Director recently appointed.

Yellow Earth looks to provide support and develop opportunities for emerging as well as more established BEA’s, and alongside our young actors group, Yellow Academy, a new Lab for creative research, masterclasses, workshops and readings will begin.
Work will be developed to be tried out at Dim Sum Nights with audiences treated to new work over dim sum and tea. The first of these will start in November.

Productions will focus on the hidden stories of our communities, creating theatre in new spaces with a participatory element at the heart of all that we do.

Janet Steel, Artistic Director, Kali Theatre Company:

Kali is committed to it writers’ development programme taking writers from grass roots level through to production.

The numbers of South Asian Women writers has grown over the past 20 years and many of our writers have gone on to write for other companies.  Kali is also tours and is actively engaged in co-producing.

 Tamasha is twenty one years old, with a fantastic track record of producing work that has been at the forefront of shaping and defining British Asian perspectives and identities. Tamasha has evolved an intracultural practice that builds on this experience and offers a wider cultural lens that can respond to a changing society that is more globally connected. We invest in new writing and artists, enabling them to develop their uniquely subjective voices.

The artistic partnership of founder members and Artistic directors, Kristine Landon Smith and Sudha Bhuchar is constantly evolving through collaboration and interfacing with peers and increasingly, Tamasha Developing Artists.  Our bespoke training and tangible opportunities into the business means that TDA is set to become the heart of the company over the next three years. Tamasha is increasingly looking to define their canon of work in a wider cultural context beyond national borders.

The practice looks at the political through the personal and our work is based on thorough research into the areas of enquiry. We have looked at issues and themes that directly reflect the experience of multiple identity groups not normally represented in the mainstream. Complex subjects around identity and race, big events like the Partition of India and the Emergency, and crossover plays which have shifted British culture like E is east, are our signature.

The artistic practice is centred around the individual actor and his/her cultural context. This has led to comments from participants like ‘a Tamasha rehearsal room is like being a passenger on a London bus’ where cultures are engaged with and not left outside the rehearsal door.

Victoria Shaskin, Administrator Collective Artistes:

Talking about their new play Zhe.  This poignant and honest piece of theatre explores the true lives of the two performers – both British Africans living at the crossroads of culture, nationality, gender and sexuality.  Journeying from childhood to adulthood and across continents, the play examines the joys and pains of coming to terms with the complexity of our many identities.  A humorous, tragic, thought provoking and haunting drama, this story is told by the characters whose lives are healed and celebrated through the experience.

Patricia Cumper, Artistic Director, Talawa Theatre Company:

This year Talawa Theatre Company celebrates its twenty fifth birthday.  We’re rehearsing George C. Wolfe’s controversial and hilarious The Colored Museum and it will be the first major production to be presented in the glorious Lydia and Manfred  Gorvey lecture theatre at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  We’ve presented a season of readings of new writing showcasing young directors at the Young Vic and toured KRUNCH, a show created by the participants of our annual summer school fresh from their triumphant visit to the Grahamstown Festival in South Africa.   We will finish our 25th year with a production and tour of the Irish classic, Waiting For Godot.

With this programming, we’ve tried to pay tribute to everything that has enabled Talawa to survive and thrive for twenty five years: we adapt the classics and work with a wide range of venues and partners, we nurture talent, we celebrate the voices of our young people, and we tell Black British stories to audiences across the UK.  Our participation work takes theatre beyond the stage where we work with everything from ceramicists to digital artists to explore the UK’s hidden histories, and we dedicate time and resources to developing individuals, companies and productions that contribute to the vibrant diversity of British theatre. As a company, we revel in change, we know how to evolve.  This is Talawa.  The word means small but strong.  We like to think it fits.

For more information about Europe Now visit Arcola’s website.