Celebrating seventy years of India-UK relations during the UK-India Year of Culture, the Indian High Commission, the Ministry of Culture, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and festival producer, Teamwork Arts, in association with London theatre venues including Shakespeare’s Globe, the Barbican Centre and Sadler’s Wells, have planned a series of events in the UK and India, developed through various important artistic collaborations.
The Year of Culture is a year-long celebration of this partnership between India and the UK, and will see a vast programme of cultural exchange and activity taking place in cities across both countries.
From 20-21 September in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the candle-lit indoor venue at Shakespeare’s Globe, A Friend’s Story, penned by Vijay Tendulkar, will play, directed by Akash Khurana.
Set in and around a college campus in Poona (now Pune) in the 1940s, A Friend’s Story is about three students – the diffident Bapu, the carefree Mitra, and the deceptive Nama. Essentially a love triangle, A Friend’s Story is Vijay Tendulkar’s understated ‘Greek tragedy’ about obsession, jealousy, betrayal, and a search for redemption.
Based on events that took place around the middle of the last century, about a theme that many still consider taboo, the play that once expanded the horizons of Indian drama, stands out even today, as an avant-garde tour-de-force.
On 11 November, Sadler’s Wells will host part of the Darbar Festival, featuring Aditi Mangaldas, a dance revolutionary.
A renowned Kathak dancer and choreographer, she is now forging a dynamic path remoulding Kathak’s traditional vocabulary with 21st century sound, rhythm and light. Inter_rupted is a high octane work based on the ideas of disintegration, fragility, vulnerability, age and transience. Mangaldas herself dances in a company of seven with music by Sajid Akbar performed live on stage. Aditi will also perform a solo Kathak piece at the Darbar Festival.
Finally, on 28 November, a closing concert will take place at the Barbican Centre, which will see Dr L Subramaniam’s Freedom Symphony performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, and Dr Subramaniam’s performance of an Indian classical music programme.
Dr. Lakshminarayana Subramaniam is an acclaimed Indian violinist, composer and conductor, trained in the classical Carnatic music tradition and Western classical music, and renowned for his virtuoso playing techniques and compositions. Yehudi Menuhin once said “I find nothing more inspiring than the music-making of my very great colleague Subramaniam.”
The wider celebrations across the country will include programmes celebrating India’s heritage and contemporary culture as part of the dynamic India@UK2017 festival. The India@UK2017 programme, organised by the Indian High Commission and the Ministry of Culture, with a number of partner organisations and institutions, will blend artistic traditions from the UK with a wide spectrum of Indian cultural and literary traditions across multiple venues in the UK.
Simultaneously, UK/India2017 organised by the British Council, with a number of partners and institutions, is developing a programme of cultural activity which will connect and inspire people in both countries, and strengthen and celebrate the UK and India’s cultural ties.
Sanjoy K Roy, Director of Teamwork Arts, said, “There has long been an affinity and a rich cultural dialogue between India and the UK. Over a number of years we have seen interest and appetite for Indian theatre, dance, literature, and music blossom in the UK.
“In this important year of commemoration we are honoured to be presenting a wonderful, rich and colourful programme of performances up and down the country to share with many people across the UK our passion and culture, as well as the wonderful work that has been developed by artistes from both our countries working together.”
For more information on the performances, visit the venues’ websites.