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.
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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.
Daedalus Theatre Company is on the lookout for new trustees. We need people who believe in the value of the performing arts to celebrate diversity, connect communities, foster understanding and explore big ideas. Might this be you?
The trustees’ role is to provide oversight and advice to the artistic director and ensure the company meets its legal requirements, such as reporting to the Charity Commission. The core part of the role is attending four meetings a year, currently via Zoom, and checking the annual report. There’s occasionally some additional paperwork, and some trustees also choose to provide advice on their areas of expertise outside of formal meetings. The role is voluntary.
We hope you’re all well and staying safe.
We’ve had to reschedule our activities, and we really only have one active project at the moment: Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit, which was to start touring in June, with a second leg in the autumn.
We’re working on the basis that we should still prepare for autumn activities, while being ready to move them to if we have to. To this end, we’ve come up with a plan based on two priorities: to protect the health and safety of everyone we work with, artists, venues stuff, the public and all, and to maximise opportunities to provide paid work for artists during this emergency by moving as much of our activity online as possible. (We’re only funded on a project-by-project basis so have no funds to pay artists outside of project work.)
You can read our statement here. It will be updated as the situation develops. We also welcome any advice, because we’re just finding our way through this strange new territory, just like everyone else! You can always get in touch with us by via email or social media.
In June we lost someone who was not just a friend of Daedalus but instrumental in its beginnings. Paul Burgess writes:
“Sam was involved back when we were a student company, most memorably starting what would become a regular series of trips to the Edinburgh Fringe. He not only had the idea that we should take our site-specific production of the mediaeval morality play Everyman from Brasenose College Chapel to a church in Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, he made it happen. He put in the hard work and produced it. I remember the exact moment he suggested it, in the living room of his rented second-year accommodation in Oxford. But it was typical of Sam not only to come up with brilliant and (as it seemed at the time) bonkers ideas but to give generously of his time and intelligence to make them happen.
“The whole thing was hard work, as Edinburgh Fringe on a budget always is, but also a success. The performances, in St Mark’s Unitarian Church, were moving and atmospheric, with music echoing from the organ loft above the audience. Apart from some teething problems during the first few shows, things went pretty smoothly. We managed to find some old photos from the trip to help us remember.
“More recently, in fact only this year, Sam had been talking to us with typical generosity about becoming a trustee. Having decided it was too impractical, since he now lived the other side of the world, we had started to think about what other role we could find or create so he could pick up again, after many years, his role in shaping the company. But we lost this amazing, kind person who touched so many lives before it could happen,
“What a terrible loss, felt by such a huge amount of people from all around the world.”