Thursday, November 16, 2006

THEATRE AND DIVERSITY


The award winning Mercury Theatre in Colchester were very honest when I approached them to help with Diversity. "We want to work on it, but do not know how to begin," said Dee Evans, Chief Executive. I invited her to our Hindu Navratri festival and she had a very positive experience. We requested her to address the audience and tell them about Mercury Theatre. She explained that she had a wonderful time to experience the Navratri and join in the dancing (so did Roger, who is an actor) and wanted to invite everyone to the theatre to see a play. I presented her with a copyof a famous play 'The Post Office' by Rabindranath Tagore, the Nobel Laureate, and requested her to consider it as a Mercury Production. Thus began their journed into Diversity in October.

In November, they sent out invitations on their current production 'Our Country' s Good' to members of the community by way of a personal letter from Dee Evans. The community was very touched by this gesture. Thus began a chapter in attracting Diverse audiences and building bridges and breaking ghettos. Diverse Ethics gave detailed feedback on the play and the experience of breaking new ground. Theatre has a huge potential in building bridges, but it will take time and will require patience and perseverance.

One day, I got a call from a staff member asking me if I could find a Henna painter for one of their actresses as part of a photo shoot. I phoned around, and found someone who was able to go at short notice and provided splendid voluntary support, for which Mercury was very pleased. Sally King wrote: "The design was really very beautiful. Thank you for your prompt and accurate service for a rare request!" This is an example of how Diverse Ethics is making small differences in big ways.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

DearAtul Shah,
As you might remember, Colchester Festival has great plans for diversity and multicultural activities in the coming years. Although we were unable to provide a festival this year, we intend to start the consultation process soon for the 2007 event - funding permitting. I would very much like to be kept informed of anything that you are planning.

Dorian Kelly
dorian@theatrearts.biz

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