Talkback 2016

Love | Loss | Hope | Corruption

woman standing over girl reading newspaper

January 2016


A week of staged readings of seven provocative, funny and courageous new plays. Come and experience some of the freshest and most original voices in new theatre writing. This is the culmination of our nine-month Writer Development Programme, inspiring and supporting South Asian women to write new plays.

Porcelain Dolls

Monday 11 January 7.30pm

Writer: Yasmin Whittaker-Khan

About the writer

Directed by Suzanne Gorman

Javed, a victim of Bacha Bazi (Afghan slang for homosexual pederasty) is temporarily left in the care of a Khawaja Sara household by his ‘owner’, an Afghan Warlord, where he finds friendship and stability.  The Khawaja Sara community – the ‘third’ gender or ‘shemale’ – is both revered and avoided in Pakistan.   Javed’s future is put to the test when his owner comes to reclaim him…


Tuesday 12 January 7.30pm

Writer: Sharanpreet Kaur Atwal

Directed by Shona Morris

Every day is different and new for Preet. And every day is a constant worry for her daughter Simran. Living with the pain of loss in a troubled past is hard enough. Living with the loss of the present and the effects of dementia makes it even harder.

The Deported

Tuesday 12 January 7.30pm

Writer: Sadia Saeed

Directed by Janet Steel 

Personal passions become intertwined with international diplomacy when an exiled Pakistani politician arrested for money laundering is brought to a London police station. Hilarious complications arise with the arrival of a reporter, her mother, the wife of the politician and the Attorney General who happens to be the father of the sergeant.

Pebbles and Stones

Wednesday 13 January 7.30pm

Writer: Jaswinder Blackwell-Pal

Directed by Poonam Brah

Jamil and Areeb are enraged by local racist attacks and join in counter protests. Jamil’s father is vehemently against their actions, pleading for him to stay out of trouble as he prepares for university but when Jamil meets a veteran local activist, the real reasons his father has rejected protest are revealed.

Familiar Strangers

Thursday 14 January 7.30pm

Writer: Nina Joshi Ramsey

Directed by Janet Steel 

An Asian mother waits to meet her estranged son on the wedding day of his daughter who she has never met. As the play moves back in time it explores how the close bonds they once shared were severed two decades earlier when the son’s choice to marry a black woman was rejected. Can they overcome the pain and secrets of the past?

Sweets & Chocolates

Friday 15 January 7.30pm

Writer: Shazia Ashraf

Directed by Shona Morris
Nadia is a cricket-obsessed eleven-year-old in rural Pakistan. M’Bilia Bel is a single devout Christian in the Congo. Catherine is a headmistress of a private school in England. Three monologues intertwine to explore the subject of paedophilia from the point of view of the victim, witness and perpetrator.


Friday 15 January 7.30pm

Writer: Abhi Arumbakkam

Directed by Shona Morris

What happens when someone reappears and pokes around the cold embers of your bitter separation? Does it rekindle fury long buried but never fully extinguished?  Can Durga and Vishnu ever fully put their long-dead marriage to rest or each time they look ahead, will they catch a glimpse of their past?

Jack In A Box

Friday 22 January 3.30pm

Writer: Naylah Ahmed

About the writer

Directed by Janet Steel

Bombings, shootings, beheadings, planes going down; newspaper articles, blogs, tweets, 24-hour news… All she wants is silence. Then Yusuf turns up at her door uninvited. Pat hasn’t been out since the news, and now, of course, she can’t go out – can she? She’s done something that can’t be undone. They’re in this together…

She Is Not Herself

19 - 23 January 7.30pm

Writer: Veronica J. Dewan

Directed by Helena Bell
Design by Sophie Lovel Smith
Lighting by Jai Morjaria

Anoukh is a tourist guide who loves maps. She can find her way to anywhere but cannot find herself. She thinks Jules might have the answers. Jules wants to reclaim the mixed-race daughter she was compelled to give up by the Catholic church. They are strangers to each other yet so much is familiar. As they try to confront the injustices of the past and negotiate a minefield of emotions, they hear news which threatens to tear this fragile relationship apart.


19 - 23 January 7.30pm

Writer: Subika Anwar

Directed by Trilby James
Design by Sophie Lovel Smith
Lighting by Jai Morjaria

Denny has recently returned home from serving in Afghanistan. He is now the gatehouse keeper of a psychiatric hospital. Late one night, he receives an unexpected visit from an intriguing stranger.  She is easy to talk to but is she the person she seems to be?  At a time of global uncertainty, Stateless merges contemporary political issues with a personal story.

Venue Info

11 – 23 January 7.30pm

Tristan Bates Theatre
1A Tower St  London WC2H 9NP

Intrepid plays
by fearless women
since 1991


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