Photos: Lilly Bertram Webb & Binita Walia

February 2015   London

Talkback 2014/15

A week of public rehearsed readings of provocative, funny and courageous new playsby some of the freshest and most original voices in new theatre writing.

This was the culmination of our nine month Writer Development Programme, inspiring and teaching South Asian women to write new plays.

Mon 2 February 7.30pm
STATELESS  by Subika Anwar
Directed by Janet Steel
Denny has recently returned home after serving in Afghanistan and is now the gatehouse keeper of a Psychiatric Hospital in Nottinghamshire. He receives an unexpected visit from a stranger but its past visiting hours. They talk but this stranger wants answers.

PAPER FACTORY  by Farrah Yusuf
Directed by Janet Steel
Four women are driven to breaking point after their lives are intertwined in the world of a Pakistani jail. Social  structures, family ties, perceptions and prejudices come to the fore in a play that asks: Is a person as bad as their worst act?

Tue 3 February 7.30pm
SANGUINE NIGHT  
by Bushra Laskar
Directed by Poonam Brah
When does a home become a prison?
How does a victim turn the tables?
Why won’t your past let you sleep at night?
And who is that girl on your doorstep?
It’s seventeen years since the Incident and six women are awaiting the Final Verdict. As the new dawn threatens to bring with it an uncertain future so too does the arrival of the Stranger, a feral girl with a bone to pick. Over the course of the night the family must fight to keep it together before the darkness closes in on them from all sides.

Wed 4 February 7.30pm
BITCHED  
by Sharon Raizada
Directed by Janet Steel
Have it all? Do it all?
Or have what’s there for the taking?
Ali wants out of local salon work and back in as a Sassoon stylist, but struggles after taking two years out after her son’s birth. Husband Rob is pursuing his art, working all hours to support his family and his dreams. When they meet smooth amoral Suzanne and Nirjay, their luck appears to change as they take on Rob’s art.  But soon they seem to be using it for themselves.  As Suzanne goads Ali, the battle lines are drawn. A sharp, funny take on motherhood. And sex.

Thur 5 February 7.30pm
SHE'S NOT HERSELF  
by Veronica J. Dewan
Directed by Helena Bell
Jules meets Anoukh, the mixed-race daughter she gave up for adoption thirty years earlier. They spend a weekend together and are confronted with reality. They are strangers to each other, yet so much is familiar. As the fantasies that helped them survive the years apart threaten to destroy this brief and fragile reunion, can the truth of their pasts be renegotiated?

THE ADMINISTRATOR OF LOST SOULS
by Mahsuda Snaith
Directed by Helena Bell
When a shocking incident in a Tower Hamlets Housing Office turns Munisha Imran’s life upside down, she is left in a strange and unfamiliar place. Is this heaven, hell or somewhere in between? As Munisha replays the scene she begins to question the meaning of life, her beliefs and her sanity.

Fri 6 February 7.30pm
SOLIDARITY
by Lubna Sengul
Directed by Janet Steel
Growing up in Rawal Pindi in Pakistan, Natasha Khan has been left bitterly disappointed by the lack of justice available for women in her country. Unable to make peace with her own abuse she is encouraged by her mother to take up martial arts to help tame the anger and gain some inner discipline.

WE NO LONGER REQUIRE
YOUR SERVICES

by Ayesha Siddiqi

Directed by Poonam Brah
One evening, Yasmine Malik realizes that the picture she has so carefully painted of her life is on the verge of ruin. When her husband decides to fire a man based on his religious beliefs and her dearest friend mysteriously withdraws from their friendship, the three are forced to face their prejudices and presumptions while desperately trying to preserve their self-image. An exploration of the way in which we use the people around us to define ourselves.

Sat 7 February 7.30pm
RUKMINI'S GOLD  by Radha S. Menon
Directed by Trilby James
A little old lady clutching a battered suitcase hobbles onto a deserted platform, distraught at just missing her train. Ten stand-alone but interconnected scenes set in stations around the world track the passage of family and diaspora as the dawn of industry and locomotion determine the global movement of labour. Every second counts in this play about connections and moments of departure in the journeys of life.

Talkback 2014/15 took place at Tristan Bates Theatre 1A Tower St London WC2H 9NP

We are planning our Talkback 2015 season and are inviting South Asian women writers and aspiring writers to send us a play. Find our more here