The Asian Co-Operative Theatre logo (c) Suresh Vedak
Programme Cover, Un-dekhi Zanjiren: A Musical Satire by R. Shamim performed by IPTA © Rifat Shamim

Programme Cover, Un-dekhi Zanjiren: A Musical Satire by R. Shamim performed by IPTA © Rifat Shamim

British Asian Theatre Project

Project Outline

The British Asian Theatre project began in October 2004, and continued its work until the end of March 2009. It was funded by a major award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, with Graham Ley as the project leader and Dr. Sarah Dadswell as the full-time Research Fellow. Chandrika Patel was awarded the project studentship, also funded by the AHRC. Specialist support was provided by Stephen Hodge and Jerri Daboo.

The project was conceived during 2002-2003 in response to the general absence of resources that offered an historical and critical analysis of South Asian/British Asian drama in the UK. Since that time, and during the lifetime of the project, publications in this neglected field have slowly increased, and the specific output of the project has been designed to complement that existing and growing provision. A major emphasis lies on the documentation of Asian-led companies in considerable detail, resulting in the publication of a Documented History; the companion volume of Critical Essays carries a different but complementary accent. For details of these publications, please see the project output.

In addition in its fourth year the project celebrated thirty years and more of British Asian theatre with a major international conference at Exeter, inviting many practitioners to rub shoulders with academics studying and writing on their work. Taking place over three days in April 2008, this was a remarkable occasion that testified to the growing sense of a history of achievement. Some of the papers presented at this conference were collected in a special issue of the journal South Asian Popular Culture: for details, see project output.

The general aim of the project has been to broaden the resources available, and so to encourage further study of British Asian theatre at all levels.