By Graham Ley, Sarah Dadswell

Critical Essays on British South Asian Theatre marks a tremendous contribution to the certainty of 1 of the main striking examples of diasporic inventive job in contemporary historical past. the second one quantity on British South Asian theater compiled through Graham Ley and Sarah Dadswell, this quantity presents specified serious analyses of theater perform and function from the final thirty years.

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38 critical essays on BRITISH SOUTH ASIAN theatre Accompanied by Menon, Unity took the play to London’s East End for a special showing to Indian seamen, and to Birmingham, Leeds and Cardiff as part of the India League’s campaign on the famine and the need for Indian independence. 47 In less ideological but no less practical vein, following in the tradition of South Asian charitable performance, Sakuntala was adapted as a ballet in 1946 to raise money to buy mobile health vans for India, with the celebrated Javanese dancer Retna Mohini in the lead.

Actors such as Zia Mohyeddin, Saeed Jaffrey and Alaknanda Samarth studied at RADA in the 1950s and 1960s but were isolated figures, as Rani and Devi had been before the war, despite the distinguished careers they went on to enjoy and the contributions they made to establishing a South Asian profile in British theatre. Collective activity was local and constrained by conservative attitudes within the diaspora and British racism without. The Indian government prohibited Partap Sharma’s A Touch of Brightness, in which a young Hindu is tricked into becoming a whore and has to choose between the brothel and life with the man she loves, from being performed at the first Commonwealth Arts Festival in London in 1965.

Fagan’s The Fourth of August, which dramatised German plans to induce the Maharaja of Mulpur to revolt against the British Raj at the outbreak of World War I; Sakuntala, as well as being broadcast on BBC Radio in 1929, was revived by the Norwich Players under Nugent Monck in 1931, accompanied by a series of tableaux drawn from the poetry of Omar Khayyam. In the political sphere, the Workers’ Theatre Movement of the early 1930s produced Meerut, an agitational piece about an Indian railway workers’ strike and imprisoned union leaders in which class was more important than nationality or race.

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