East Archive Launch

We had a really delightful launch for the East Archive at Rich Mix. Here are some photos from Farah Naz. And don’t forget to take a look at the archive itself: www.eastarchive.com!


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The East Archive has arrived!



It’s here. We had a lovely launch event at Rich Mix last night (photos to follow) and the East Archive, featuring videos of stories and songs from our East storytelling project, is now live. You can find it at www.eastarchive.com.

It’s all very new, so please let us know if you spot any teething problems.

It’s an ongoing project too, so if you have any stories that are linked to East London, and you’re interested in sharing them, drop us a line.

We’re pretty excited about it all! Big thanks to the Arts Council, Rich Mix, Tower Hamlets, Apples and Snakes, and our generous crowd-funders. And congratulations to all our contributors!



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East Stories: the photos

We had such a great time with our Easter holiday storytelling workshops, led by Sef Townsend, Shamim Azad and Paul Burgess: very keen and creative kids, supportive parents, and a lovely visit from the young cast of Rapture to support their younger colleagues. Big thanks to everyone involved!

Here are some pictures from Farah:

These workshops were part of the East storytelling project, a partnership between Daedalus Theatre Company and Bishwo Shahitto Kendro. They were funded by Arts Council England and crowdfunding, with support from Tower Hamlets Arts & Events and Rich Mix. For further information please email contact@daedalustheatre.co.uk

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East Stories: free Easter holiday storytelling workshops for children!


Two amazing international storytellers, Shamim Azad and Sef Townsend, and acclaimed theatre-maker/musician Paul Burgess, will be running workshops for children aged 6-9. Come along to hear some tales and sing some songs before creating a storytelling performance! A fun and fascinating session that will bring out your creativity.

Booking: Tickets for either of the two sessions can be booked at: www.ticketsource.co.uk/daedalus

Children should be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The rest of the family (and friends too) can come and watch at the end.

Date: April 2nd 2016

Time: take your pick: either 10:45am-1:15pm (with a showing at 12:45pm) or 2:00pm-4:30pm (with a showing at 4:00pm)

Venue: Brady Arts and Community Centre, 192-196 Hanbury Street, London, E1 5HU

The project is part of the East storytelling project, a partnership between Daedalus Theatre Company, an artists’ development collective, and Bishwo Shahitto Kendro, a community arts group, that brings together Tower Hamlets community members to share their stories and songs. Find us on Facebook by searching EastStorytelling or go to www.daedalustheatre.co.uk/wp/projects/east/. The East storytelling project was initially developed with support from Apples and Snakes, Rich Mix, Arts Council England and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

These workshops are funded by Arts Council England and crowdfunding, with support from Tower Hamlets Arts & Events and Rich Mix. For further information please email contact@daedalustheatre.co.uk


And make sure you sign up to our mailing list to be kept up-to-date about future events; it’s just over on the right-hand side of this page!

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East Stories…

On April 2nd we’re doing a couple of storytelling workshops for kids and we’ve been preparing them alongside our work on the East Archive. Big, big thanks to Rich Mix for giving us the space to work as part of their ongoing generous support for East. (As you probably know, East is our community storytelling project and it’s a partnership with Bishwo Shaitto Kendro, or BSK.)

As you’ll see, rehearsals have been very boring, sedate and serious affairs and we’ve not been having any fun at all!


We’re just putting the finishing touches to the publicity material (mainly checking we have the right logos), though if you’re feeling impatient the key info is that they take place at The Brady Centre, Whitechapel on 2nd April (chose between morning and afternoon), they’re aimed at 6-9 year-olds and they’re free. And fun! You can book here.

Oh and we filmed a load more stuff for the archive. The whole thing will go public later next month…

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East Archive: progress report

We’re now well into the process of recording our stories and songs from the East project for our online video archive. Today we had a look at all the videos we have so far. Bangla, Jewish and Somali songs, folk tales from Bangladesh and Korea, personal stories from the UK, Bangladesh and Sweden…With plenty more still to come. It’s extremely rewarding to see our work being documented and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the world.

One of the highlights of this process was a get-together a couple of weeks ago, where we shared food, stories and songs. Several pieces from that session will be in the archive. Here are some photos from the event taken by members of the group.

The East storytelling project is a co-production between Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (BSK) and Daedalus Theatre Company. It’s managed by Daedalus and funded by Arts Council England and crowdfunding, with in kind support from Rich Mix and Tower Hamlets Arts & Events.

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Titanic Express vigil, 3pm on Monday

The Titanic Express massacre 15 years ago was one of many atrocities against civilians in Burundi that have taken place over the last few decades. Overshadowed from an international viewpoint by the Rwandan genocide, the ongoing conflict in Burundi has taken many lives and is still very much unresolved. Recent flare-ups, not least the violent repression of anti-government protests, are a chilling sign that the situation is again deteriorating.

Our production of A Place at the Table was initially a response to The Titanic Express massacre, although it developed into a broader piece about the Burundian conflict and the how difficult it is for outsiders to engage fully with it. Making it was a profoundly affecting experience and has left us marked for ever with stories of those suffering the effects of violence in Burundi. IMG_3542

And it’s true that it’s a difficult conflict to understand. It’s complicated, and can be traced back to colonialism and beyond. It is part of a wider set of regional conflicts. It’s a tangle of race, class and geography. But the need for peace and justice is simple, even if achieving them is not.

The Alliance for Justice, a campaign to end impunity for those who have committed atrocities in Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo and worldwide, has organised a vigil to mark the 15th anniversary of the Titanic Express massacre.

The time is right to increase the pressure on the international community as well as to commemorate a terrible loss. Please come along if you can. The details are here.

(Pictured above: Grace Nyandoro, Jennifer Muteteli, Adelaide Obeng and Naomi Grossett in Daedalus Theatre Company’s A Place at the Table.)

Titanic Express vigil, 3pm December 28th, Trafalgar Square, London – final details for those attending

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Going Beyond East

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Left to right: Farah Naz, Shamim Azad, Paul Burgess and Sef Townend. Photo credit: Indigo

East‘s behind-the-scenes organisational team met at Rich Mix to plan the next stages of the project. What started as a simple, short-term community storytelling project (led by Daedalus and Bishwo Shahitto Kendro, and supported by Rich Mix, the Arts Council and Apples and Snakes) has grown. With further support from the Arts Council plus some crowd-funding, we’re now making an online archive of our stories (and some songs) and working out how to support our storytelling group’s desire to do something longer-term, while also dealing with several offshoots of the project, including our work on radical history (which will probably now be treated as a separate project) and possible work with local schools and community centres. Oh and the events we’re planning as an offshoot of A Season of Bangla Drama. They’ll be in April. Watch this space…

All of which explains why the meeting was about three and a half hours long. We got through a lot of tea, but were very restrained and shared just one piece of cake between us.

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Radical History: project definitely underway

Thanks to Ovalhouse, the Arts Council and private funders, we had our first proper development period on our collaboration with The Black Smock Band: an undertaking which emerged from our East storytelling project but which seems to be taking on a life of its own. Temporarily known as The Radical History Project, it looks at the texts, oral and musical,  left behind by our radical forbears and the mythology of English radicalism they created, while also searching out contemporary and local stories of struggle. We had a very productive week – well, it’d be shameful not, given the incredible wealth of material we have to work with. Our research so far has focused on the Diggers movement, but since we were working just yards away from where the Chartists gathered, we looked at them and at the challenges facing the area today. In fact, a modern-day version of the enclosures is taking place, with social housing being replaced by private developments.

The end-of-week sharing at Ovalhouse cafe seemed to go down well. There was even some dancing. And lots of helpful feedback – thanks everyone!

The team was Alex Swift, Andy Bannister, Dan Cox, John Bryden, Rhiannon Kelly and Paul Burgess.


We’re still sorting out the documentation but, in the meantime, here’s a photo (credit: Kanatip Soonthornrak). And the project will be back for further research and development soon…

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Radical History at Ovalhouse


Protest and rebellion are as English as rainy bank holidays, cream teas and plundering foreign countries. But plenty of people would have us ignore the great radical moments of our history.

As part of our commitment to exploring the potent mix of local stories and history, we have joined forces with The Black Smock Band – London’s premier gay socialist folk band (as far as they know) –  to take a look at how out forebears fought the power, and what their stories mean today. By rediscovering the songs and ideas that helped change our country, we hope to find where all this turbulence and disorder could lead us today. We’ll be at Ovalhouse so you’ll also hear local stories of resistance, past and current.

This work-in-progress performance will start as a gig. If all goes well, it will end with the revolution we’ve all been waiting for.

November 6th, 9pm, Ovalhouse cafe, free

Facebook event

Ovalhouse website event

See you there!


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