Rita Wolf

Rita Wolf

 

Viva Kali! - Kali's beginnings

"In 1990 I read in a local newspaper of the horrific death of Balwant Kaur, a Sikh woman murdered by her husband, in front of their children, for running away to a women’s refuge. The tale triggered all my “hot spots”. I felt outraged that Balwant’s story did not receive the widespread news coverage I felt it warranted.

I heard on the grapevine about a writer who had been moved to turn Balwant’s story into a drama and sought her out. “We have to do this play!” I remember saying to her. The writer was, of course, Rukhsana Ahmad, and the play became Song for a Sanctuary, Kali Theatre Company’s inaugural production.

Kali was formed after repeated approaches to established venues and companies for help with production, failed. We decided to do it ourselves. I was the director and we toured with an Arts Council grant (I remember the hours we spent battling through their red tape and paperwork…) closing with a successful run at the Lyric Theatre Studio in London. The production was very raw and real. Our audiences were consistently moved. We were on our way.

Many years on, Kali’s contribution to developing the work of Asian women writers remains just as vital. VIVA KALI!

As a footnote, one of the many rehearsed readings of our first play featured a wonderfully game young actress who wanted to do something – anything - to help. She ended up pressing a buzzer offstage to indicate a doorbell, and reading a small part. Her name was Nina Wadia…"

Rita Wolf