Divided a solo (one woman) show
My journey with Divided started with an amazing Asian womens’ charity called Hopscoth and they sit right next to Camden Peoples’ Theatre. They joined forces and did a call out asking for a writer/performer to create something for a conference and for theatre. I had just completed a 20 minute solo piece that I performed in three different hotels with Soul City Arts which had a very similar feel to the call out.
I was successful in my application – my first after about 180 writing applications – and began working closely with the charity and Camden People’s Theatre. I would be performing at the conference and in a new writing evening at Camden People’s Theatre. So I started working with both and started to understand the way the Charity interact with the people they help. But I also found them, as social workers, really interesting. They were up against some tough legislation that restricted them but they too also had lives which I wanted to portray, especially how much they are willing to go personally when helping their most vulnerable. I was encouraged, by the theatre to explore this further, but encouraged by the charity to show as much of the positive work they do, as possible. Quite the conflict!
I knew that I wanted the piece to be in real time (so no monologuing to the audience – simply playing characters in the present moment) as this was the best way to portray the main characters experience. I settled on three characters:
- The protagonist – Amina
- Her social worker – Zara
- And her mother-in-law – an inner voice from her past
After performing at the conference I was asked whether I would like to extend the play and put it on for three nights at The Camden people’s theatre. I approached a local Director (friend of mine) who I’d worked with a few times and he agreed to help develop the show as well as help me apply for Arts Council Funding. He would help me develop it through his company.
I applied for two rounds of development with the Arts Council. Firstly to create an hours performance for Camden’s People’s Theatre and secondly to develop it again and then take it on tour to three venues in Northampton. If I was unsuccessful I would just fund the first round.
But since it was successful in receiving funding I managed to perform it at Foodies Rocks, The University of Northampton studio space and Dostiyo – an Asian womens’ charity. The evening at Dostiyo was also a catered event which had a Q&A and in my opinion, the most successful as non theatre goers wanted to know how more funders could support
Take a look at the trailer here
Read a review by South Asian Sisters Speak here
And if you’re really committed you can watch the entire performance here!