The Asian Co-Operative Theatre logo (c) Suresh Vedak

British Asian Theatre Project

Project Output

The project is producing a resource in two volumes, both published by the University of Exeter Press, the first of which is British South Asian Theatres: A Documented History, and the second Critical Essays on British South Asian Theatre. A Documented History concentrates on providing particular accounts of Asian-led companies from 1975 until the present day, and is edited by Graham Ley and Sarah Dadswell, with a contribution by Chandrika Patel. The book has a DVD of selected images, clips, and audio recordings attached to it, which will relate to the narrative accounts given of the companies.

*Both project books, British South Asian Theatres: A Documented History and Critical Essays on British South Asian Theatre are now published and available for order from the University of Exeter Press [link]

The volume of Critical Essays contains contributions from scholars in the UK and Europe on a variety of aspects of British South Asian theatre, and reflections by a number of British Asian practitioners. The contributors are Rukhsana Ahmad, Chris Banfield, Giovanna Buonanno, Suman Bhuchar, Colin Chambers, Claire Cochrane, Susan Croft, Jerri Daboo, Naseem Khan, Stephen Hodge, Chandrika Patel, Victoria Sams, Christiane Schlöte, and Rajni Shah. The book is edited by Graham Ley and Sarah Dadswell.

In addition, selected papers from the conference held at Exeter in April 2008 formed a special issue (no. 7.3) of the journal South Asian Popular Culture, published in the summer of 2009 and guest-edited by Sarah Dadswell and Graham Ley, with the title British South Asian Theatres and the Global South Asian Diaspora.

These publications together should substantially increase the resources available for the study of the contemporary British theatre. Full details of the contents of the books, and their availability, will be posted on this site once they are confirmed.

The books are complemented by diverse articles from members of the Exeter research team on different aspects of the field:

Graham Ley compiled an early review of the first twenty years of Tara Arts, which provided a basis for further research in the AHRC project:
"Theatre of Migration and the Search for a Multicultural Aesthetic: Twenty Years of Tara Arts", New Theatre Quarterly 52 (1997)

Jerri Daboo has written on the characteristics of a major commercial enterprise:
Jerri Daboo "One under the Sun: Globalization, Culture and Utopia in Bombay Dreams", Contemporary Theatre Review 15.3 (2005)

Sarah Dadswell has published a study of magicians and intercultural magic:
“Jugglers, Fakirs, and Jaduwallahs: Indian Magicians and the British Stage”, New Theatre Quarterly 89 (2007), 3-24.

Sarah Dadswell has also written a short summary of the project’s activity:
“What Is This Thing called British Asian Theatre?”, Contemporary Theatre Review 19:2 (2009)

Graham Ley gave a talk to arts administrators and theatre practitioners in Cologne in 2009, hosted by the Comedia Theatre and the University of Hildesheim, which was later translated and published in a collection from the conference edited by Wolfgang Schneider, Theater und Migration: Herausforderung fur Kulturpolitik und Theaterpraxis (transcript: Bielefeld, 2011)

Graham Ley has published a consideration of the role of touring in the development of British Asian theatre, “Diaspora Space, the Regions, and British Asian Theatre”, New Theatre Quarterly 107 (2011)


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