Doncaster theatre celebrates South Asian influences

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An exciting festival celebrating the links between Britain and South Asia is creating some Alchemy in Doncaster.

Alchemy is touring from its home at the Southbank Centre in London to three venues, bringing a fantastic mixture of performances and activities.

Kully Thiarai, the director of Cast theatre in Doncaster, said: “Alchemy will transform the whole of the building and the square outside with a vibrant festival feel.

“There are things people can take part in and get involved in for free and there is a series of shows that are different in scale and approach.

“All are connected to the South Asian diaspora or stories from there.

“It’s quite a unique event and one we’re delighted to be able to bring to Doncaster.”

Kully’s own heritage is South Asian. She said: “Although it’s a very small community, the South Asian community in Doncaster, it’s a very significant one.”

Members of the community have been collaborating with Scottish comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli on one show, Knives, Forks and Fingers.

It looks at mothers and how the food they cook binds families together and represents their home culture.

Kully has directed The United Colours of FrustrAsian, featuring Inder Goldfinger from the band Fun-Da-Mental.

She said: “It creates a kaleidoscopic portrait of our lives with a soundtrack of growing up with Punjabi music, bhangra, and the Kaiser Chiefs.

“Each of has different influences and stories that shape us to be who we are.”

Another play, Nirbhaya, has a darker theme. It looks at the gang rape of two young women on a night bus in Delhi that gained worldwide attention and ripped away a veil of silence over sexual violence.

Variety is the Spice showcases British Asian entertainment acts including the Michael Jackson dance tribute sensation Signature, who shot to fame on Britain’s Got Talent.

Occasionally We Skype explores life in a digitally connected world where we increasingly live in separate worlds. The show mingles traditional kathak dance with iPhones and a live VJ (video DJ).

Kully said she hoped that Alchemy could bring people together: “We’re celebrating difference and the variety of influences that shape all of us and make us the same.”

Alchemy Festival is at Cast next Saturday, June 6, and Nirbhaya is on stage from Thursday to Saturday. Details: go to castindoncaster.com