Play about partition of India to cause new stir at Westside theatre

One of the most divisive events in world history is to form the backdrop of a powerful new play being staged ion Westside in April.

SILENCE originally premiered in 2022 to mark 75 years since the partition of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan in 1947.

A new version of Tara Theatre’s emotive production is now coming to the Birmingham Rep theatre from Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 April, directed by The Rep’s own associate director Iqbal Khan.

The controversial partition of India into two new independent states resulted in about 12 million people becoming refugees, and an estimated half a million to a million people being killed in religious violence.

Originally directed by the late Abdul Shayek, former artistic director of Tara Theatre, SILENCE focuses on communal storytelling – presenting a shared history adapted from Kavita Puri’s acclaimed book Partition Voices: Untold British Stories.

As a result of Abdul’s death in August 2023, his friend and colleague Iqbal Khan, from The Rep, has stepped in to direct.

Iqbal said, “I saw a version of this piece at the Donmar and was struck then with the power and ambition of Abdul’s initiative. He was a generous and radical artist, a leader keen to find new ways to embrace the unacknowledged or excluded.

“His being taken from us is a terrible rupture, both personally and to the new community of artists and audiences he was engaging. It is a great privilege to be asked by Tara Theatre to attempt to continue this work on SILENCE and make it all he hoped it could be as a production and urgent testimony.”

A post show talk will take place after the performance on Wednesday 24 Apr at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, Birmingham Rep’s striking world premiere of The Promise, made in association with Deafinitely Theatre and Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, will play in The Door from Saturday 6 to Saturday 13 April.

The Promise is a new play inspired by the extraordinary experiences of deaf people living with dementia. It highlights how dementia affects those in the deaf community and their families through Spoken English and British Sign Language (BSL).

Tickets for both SILENCE and The Promise can be booked by visiting www.birmingham-rep.co.uk or calling 0121 236 4455.

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