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Bird Bites: Olivier Awards 2023; Seeta Patel Dance Sadler’s Wells; ‘Black and Gifted’ exhibition; Leeds Lit Fest 2023: Sudha Bhuchar…

Bird Bites: Olivier Awards 2023; Seeta Patel Dance Sadler’s Wells; ‘Black and Gifted’ exhibition; Leeds Lit Fest 2023: Sudha Bhuchar…

Some news in brief….

Asian talent recognised in Olivier Award nominations 2023

Anjana Vasan, Zubin Varla, Waleed Akhtar and Maimouna Memon

ANJANA VASAN, ZUBIN VARLA, MAIMUNA MEMON are all nominated personally for this year’s Olivier Awards 2023.Waleed Akhtar’s play, ‘The P’ Word‘ is also nominated as a production. Akhtar starred in and wrote it.
Vasan appears alongside BBC ‘Normal People’ pin-up and Oscar nominee Paul Mescal (for film, ‘Aftersun’) in the Tennessee Williams classic, ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. It is an Almeida production and has now transferred to the West End (The Phoenix) due to its huge popularity. Vasan appears in the Best Supporting Role nomination. The show itself is also up for Best Revival.
Varla is nominated in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical for his part in ‘Tammy Faye’.
Memon’s nomination is for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical; she appears in The National Theatre’s Sheffield romantic musical drama, ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge’.
Akhtar’s delicate and funny two-hander, with Esh Alladi in the other role, in the ‘The P Word’, appears in the Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre category. Akhtar’s story is about a love affair between a British born Muslim man and a Pakistani refugee fleeing homophobic violence in his home country. Tender, and insightful, it played at The Bush Theatre last year.

Baftas 2023 Baftassowhite (updated):

East and West: Bharatanatyam and Stravinsky – Seeta Patel

Seeta Patel: The Rite of Spring

ACCLAIMED Bharatanatyam dancer Seeta Patel presents an expanded version of her interpretation of one western classical ballet’s most enduring works, ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Igor Stravinsky.
This version is longer and slightly different to 2019 work Patel created – and this time sees a collaboration with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and its chief conductor Kirill Karabits.
Commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, the home of British dance effectively, there are two performances there next week (See listings below).
Patel essentially re-reads both forms to produce something original and stimulating, while not losing the essence of bharatanatyam or the classical power of Stravinsky’s work.
Bharatanatyam is traditionally performed by a male dancer taking centre stage in a solo work – but more contemporary shows often offer richer possibilities – this is an ensemble work.
Patel starts the evening with a solo performance accompanied by South Indian musicians and takes the audience on the journey of Mother Earth from birth to destruction, until Her deliverance through The Rite of Spring. She does not dance herself in the ensemble but is responsible for the choreography.
She said she was very excited to be working with Karabits and the BSO and with dancers from all over the world.
She added: “Sadler’s Wells audiences can expect vibrancy, rhythm and expression in a joyous celebration of music and dance.”
Karabits, who is of Ukrainian origin, enthused: “I can’t wait to bring it to life and hope this new production, which unites bharatanatyam dance with Stravinsky’s original score, will shine a new light on this endlessly fascinating work.”

Seeta Patel Dance ‘The Rite of Spring’ Monday, March 13 & 14 7.30pm, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN.

Early Black Theatre in pictures and archive

One of the photo exhibits from ‘Black and Gifted

GOING back in time and celebrating the work of early Black theatremakers in Britain is the subject of a new exhibition in West London.
Black and Gifted’ runs for a month at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.
Established as an arts centre 45 years ago, and celebrating its anniversary, both as a place of theatre work, and 40 years as a charity, the exhibition came out a conversation with poet, writer and musician Benjamin Zephaniah who said that Riverside was at one point in his youth, ‘a home from home’ and said: “For young black people at the time, there were few places to go. Full stop.”
Using material stored in the studios’ own archive, Creative Associate Reuben Esson-Parkes, has put the exhibition together. The studios, often used by the BBC for recording programmes (a pilot of ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ was made there), was home to both black theatre and dance.
Esson-Parkes found a treasure trove of photographic material showing the work of the Black Theatre Cooperative, Talawa, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Among the personalities featured are the late Norman Beaton, Yvonne Brewster, Mona Hammond and Lenny Henry.
Esson-Parkes said he found many familiar faces in the photo archive and wanted to celebrate work made by these artists, at the start of their careers.
“The exhibition will be striking, alive and nostalgic. In the photos, I see young black men and women with dreams and a desire to perform and be heard. Riverside Studios gave them a voice and a platform”
Black and Gifted’ runs from March 14-April 16
The Riverside Studios, 101 Queen Caroline Street, London W6 9BN.
Further details of the exhibition will be released shortly –

Leeds Lit Fest end – Lemn Sissay, Munroe Bergdorf and Sudha Bhuchar

Sundha Bhuchar ‘Evening Convesations

IT’S THE FINAL weekend of Leeds Lit Fest and tonight sees celebrated poet, playwright, memoirist, performer and broadcaster Lemn Sissay take to the stage.
He will be talking about his bestselling memoir, ‘My Name is Why’ at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds tonight (March 3) at 8pm. A few tickets remained this afternoon.
Among the highlights tomorrow (March 4, 2pm and online now) is Munroe Bergdorf who is talking about her memoir, ‘Transitional: In One Way Or Another’. In the book, the transgender activist and model argues that we all ‘transition’ in some way and the book looks at how we can build strong communities and how to go from “shame into pride”.
Among Sunday’s final day highlights are Sudha Bhuchar’s ‘Evening Conversations with Sudha Bhuchar’ as she dives headlong into both casual, funny and serious discussions with her mixed heritage sons (Pakistani & East African Indian Punjabi) about identity, belonging and a world beyond the leafy environs of Wimbledon and the family home. This is a Bhuchar Boulevard creation, her new production outfit.
Bhuchar co-founded Tamasha Theatre and has a long and established career an actor, theatremaker and writer, and her observations will have you both chuckling and reflecting. This show is now also available on Audible.

Leeds Lit Fest – ‘Evening Conversations with Sudha Bhuchar’ Sunday, March 5 8pm, Carriageworks Theatre, Electric Press, Millennium Square Leeds LS2 3AD.

*March 4 – Some text and links have been amended since original publication

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture