As part of A Season of Bangla Drama, Sunday 19th November 2023, 5:30PM we return to the iconic East London venue Rich Mix, where the East storytelling started in December 2013.
We have an exciting evening of stories and live music for you, and are thrilled to announce the incredible talent that will be taking the stage this Sunday. Farah Naz makes a return to EAST with the story of ‘The Queen of Sheba and Solomon’, we will hear the tale of ‘Rochael the Gossip’ from John Heyderman, Andy Bannister of The Black Smock Band singing ‘The Water is Wide’ and a reimagining of ‘The Sultana’s Dream’ from EAST newcomer Tasnim Siddiqa Amin. We’re also joined by musician and singer Hasan Ahmed and percussionist Michele Chowrimootoo.
Welcome to our November newsletter.
Ten Years East
With A Season of Bangla Drama nearing its halfway point, and our next show, Ten Years East, just over a week away, we’d like to tell you more about the exciting line-up we have brought together for you.
Farah Naz is a poet and Deputy Director of The British Bilingual Poetry Collective. She was part of the original East group, and some of her stories can be seen on our East Archive, as can John Heyderman’s remarkable story of his father’s escape from Nazi Germany: Two Gold Rings. John will be sharing a Jewish story, and Farah will tell a tale from the Muslim tradition.
Our two lead storytellers, both of whom have been at the heart of the East project since the start, will also be performing. Shamim Azad is a highly celebrated writer, poet and storyteller here in East London and in Bangladesh, while Sef Townsend, an internationally acclaimed storyteller, has told stories around the world, from refugee camps to festivals. They will be joined by Tasnim Siddiqa Amin, Daedalus’s assistant director and producer. Tasnim is a theatremaker, critic and artist, and has a script-reading of one of her own plays later today as part of the festival programme: Knotted.
We’ve been Instagram sharing reels from some of our artists, including East lead artists Sef Townsend, Shamim Azad and Paul Burgess, along with intros to artists such as Tasnim Siddiqa Amin, Hasan Ahmed and Farah Naz. Catch them on our Instagram feed, and maybe give us a follow!
Welcome to our October newsletter.
Ten Years East – tickets now on sale!
Join us for a relaxed evening of compelling stories and unforgettable songs from across the diverse cultures of East London.
Ten Years East is a celebration of love as a language that crosses borders and breaks boundaries, that remembers lost homelands and dreams of new frontiers. After a decade of performances, workshops and gatherings, the East storytelling project now presents an exciting lineup of musicians and storytellers in this family-friendly event.
With material spanning the globe to reflect the rich cultures of our East End, from English folklore to Bengali tales and Jewish songs, you are warmly welcomed to celebrate Ten Years East.
Part of this year’s A Season of Bangla Drama, Ten Years East celebrates a decade of our East storytelling project, with an evening of stories and songs. We have lots more to tell you about it over the next few weeks, but first we want to share a clip from the Season of Bangla Drama sharing day.
One of the great things about this festival is that all the companies involved get together for a day a month or so before the opening night to meet each other and learn about each other’s projects. It’s always a lovely event, and is part of what makes A Season of Bangla Drama such a fundamental part of our local arts community here in East London, and indeed the wider Bangla arts community in the UK. The photo above, by the ever-brilliant Rehan Jamil, is the official group photo.
This year, each company’s intro to the rest of the group was filmed by Seema Khalique and edited into a 30-second mini-film by Marble Sinew. Here’s ours:
If you’d like to come and see the show, it’s at 5:30pm on 19th November at Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. You can find out more and book your tickets here:
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In the meantime, here’s the September issue.
Welcome to our September newsletter.
Firstly, we’d like to share our next spotlight on a member of the fantastic Dysbiosis team. This month we’re featuring Daedalus’s Assistant Producer/Director Tasnim Siddiqa Amin, a queer Bangladeshi-British visual artist, theatremaker and writer from East London. In her spotlight, Tasnim talks about the project and its relationship to her creative journey.
“I found it interesting how all of us with our different backgrounds came back to mythology, folklore or fantasy to creatively express that huge word “nature”. In an age of science where spirituality has largely been confined to organised religions it is interesting to me that when we think of nature we oppose it with science still which is a binary way of thinking, and so associate the unexplained and intangible with nature.”
Tell us about yourself and your creative practice.
I’m Tasnim, a queer Bangladeshi-British woman from East London and I am a visual artist, theatremaker and writer. I am Assistant Producer/Director for Daedalus Theatre Company.
What does queer ecology mean to you?
I don’t do very well with long words haha but after spending a week unpacking and consistent Googling I would say queer ecology describes a critical, intersectional and decentralised approach in the way we look at how people, plants, animals and smaller organisms interact with their environment, both locally and globally.
What did you discover about yourself and the way you work during the Dysbiosis R&D week?
I discovered that I really thrive in pressured creative environments bouncing ideas of creatives from different disciplines. It dawned on me that to pursue a project you don’t need to have it all figured out, having an idea is good enough. I never knew I could work with venues this way, the way Paul was doing, to say hey I have an idea and I want to bring along a bunch of people that I’ve never met from different creative disciplines in a rehearsal room at your theatre and see what happens.
Welcome to this quick roundup of news from Daedalus Theatre Company.
If you’ve been stuck in London these past few weeks, there’s not been much of a summer. But with September around the corner, we’ve been busy brewing some exciting projects and plans.
We’re really thrilled to announce that East Storytelling Project has been selected for this year’s A Season of Bangla Drama, with an evening of stories and songs from across the diverse cultures of East London. In line with the festival’s theme for 2023, we’ll be exploring love in its many forms. It’s also ten years since we started East, so we have a line-up of tellers and singers from across the decade. We’ll also be performing at the venue where it all began: Rich Mix in Bethnal Green.
Here’s a summary of the festival programme and for now, please save the date! Our show, Ten Years East, is on the evening of 19th November.
We’ve created street theatre with local teenagers. We’ve taken our queered, musical version of English radical history to venues ranging from Latitude Festival to Tower Hamlets. We’ve created a performance with primary school kids to share their ideas for a better world. We’ve been part of Eid celebrations, the Tower Hamlets Boishaki Mela and A Season of Bangla Drama. We’ve worked with students at our local uni, Queen Mary. Our storytelling project East has brought together people from across the amazing diversity of East End heritages, including Bengali, Jewish, Somali and Vietnamese, to learn stories and songs from each other. We’ve created opportunities for deaf and hearing storytellers to collaborate and share skills. We’ve given refugees a voice, and we’ve made safe creative spaces for queer artists. We’ve given hundreds of people from all walks of life a chance to develop their creativity, and thousands of people a chance to watch, listen and participate in arts projects.
While we prepare for the next stage of Dysbiosis, our journey through queer ecology and environmental justice at Queens Theatre Hornchurch, we’re introducing some of the amazing artists we’re privileged to work with on the project. First up is Kathryn Webb.
Tell us about yourself and your creative practice.
Hi! My name is Kathryn and I’m a queer, neurodivergent, working-class creative from Cranham. Ever since I can remember, I’ve always been into ‘making things’. In primary school, me and my bestie used to shoot our own version of Doctor Who, complete with ketchup blood, on a camcorder in his back garden. Nowadays my creative output spans theatre, film, poetry and anything in between. I’ve been mentored by Sky Arts, Creative England, Rianne Pictures, and made a short film for the BBC100 Project. My work stems from an interest in marginalised voices, folklore, and queerness. Previous theatre work has been staged at Theatre503, Arcola, Golden Goose, Pleasance, and Omnibus.
What does queer ecology mean to you?
To me, queer ecology is about questioning what we take for granted when we think of nature, science and reproduction. Unpacking the colonialism and white supremacy of the ‘truths’ we’ve been given and expanding our horizons to see beyond binaries. Nature is brimming with examples of queerness – it’s no joke that we’ve always been here and always will. Through this process, I’ve been empowered to challenge the notion that we exist to procreate.