Photo by Charlie Carter

Golden Hearts

by Sudha Bhuchar

Past showcase performances:
19, 20 June 2013 in collaboration with Arts St George's at St George’s Hospital, Tooting, London for their 10th Annual Arts Event.
27 March 2014, Rich Mix in collaboration with the British Heart Foundation.

Raj Rani’s heart is failing.
Lila sings at the bedside to soothe Edna’s troubles.
A girl is looking for her father’s hug.
Shiv has been given a second chance and an “upgrade”.

Drawn from the personal experiences of close family and friends and inspired by stories from the Cardiology department at St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust, Sudha Bhuchar’s piece is a moving and thought provoking look at the personal cost of heart disease in families and how it affects the Asian community in particular.

A combination of fractured, fictional scenes and verbatim material played out by actors Golden Hearts is still in early development. 

Watch the highlights video of the scratch at St George's  here >

“When Sarah Weatherall, Arts Co-ordinator, from St George’s Hospital, approached me to contribute to their Annual Arts Event, it seemed natural to me to look at the subject of ‘Asian men and their hearts’ and my family’s connection to the hospital. Since my beloved younger brother Ajay had died suddenly four years ago at the age of 43, and having lost my father 35 years ago in a similar way, I wanted to highlight the higher incidence of heart problems in our community, particularly among the men. I interviewed patients from the Cardiology department at St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust, and was also inspired by the late Consultant Cardiologist Dr Charles Pumphrey, who had treated my husband and his two brothers as well as my mother. During the weeks that I was developing the piece, this issue was further crystallized in my personal life as my mum (who suffered her first heart attack in her fifties) was admitted to St George’s A&E on 1st Apri 2013l. As I gathered stories from strangers, her heart too was failing. The piece I ended up writing was informed by this; my mum’s last weeks and a dear friend, Shiv Grewal’s recovery from cardiac arrest and weeks of uncertainty. 

I want to thank everyone for sharing their stories. I was also very moved by Lila Clements’ singing at the bedside, a St George’s innovation, and watching those fantastic encounters. I know it is sad and poignant but hopefully there is humour and love, a great cast and some wonderful songs. I am looking forward to the future of this piece which is still in early development.” 

Sudha Bhuchar, writer and Artistic Director of Tamasha

“Brilliantly observed” a community GP

“Brilliant, powerful” Occupational Therapist, Senior Health

“Powerful with punch” Consultant Cardiologist

“What the play recognised was the potential for positive cross-cultural meetings that take place in hospital wards -- with people from very different backgrounds finding themselves in quite intimate proximity. Discussing music or radio or food. Meeting each other's family.”  Samira Ahmed, journalist, writer & broadcaster

"You have something here I know a lot of Asians will connect to and others will be surprised by... The musicality of the words, the different scenarios, contrast between characters, their stories, resonant themes, so much in there that I could connect to, enjoy, be moved by." Satinder Chohan, writer

"Golden Hearts" touches us in many ways, we witness great love and great loss, endings and new beginnings.”
 Karen Spicer, actor

Audience feedback:

“The subject matter is not only poignant but very relevant to so many people, making it a great theme to tackle.”
“Very honest, open, sad and funny…”
“Profound and thought provoking.”
“I have never been so conscious of the background for people with heart trouble.”
“Amazing setting – in the hospital itself – made it real.”
“I think it speaks to many communities, everyone. Definitely raises conscientiousness about illness”
“Using real people as source material added humour to the piece which was great.”

From the creative partnership behind My Name is...:
Sudha Bhuchar - Writer

Sudha is Artistic Director of Tamasha, and is both an actor and playwright. She founded the company in 1989 with Kristine Landon-Smith (director / writer) and were joint Artistic Directors until April 2013 when Kristine stepped down.
Her acting credits with Tamasha include: Sweet Cider by Emteaz Hussain (Arcola Theatre, 2008), A Fine Balance  (based on the novel by Rohinton Mistry, Hampstead Theatre, 2006). Other acting credits include: Murder by Abi Morgan (BBC), EastEnders (BBC)
Doctors (BBC), Holby City (BBC), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Royal National Theatre), Silver Street (BBC Asian Network), Stella (Sky, 3 series) and Khandan (Birmingham Rep / Royal Court, 2014).
Her writing credits for Tamasha include Balti KingsFourteen Songs, Two Weddings and A FuneralStrictly DandiaA Fine Balance in which she also performed, her first children’s play in 2006: Child of the Divide (Polka Theatre, Best Kids' Show of 2006 - Time Out London) and in 2010 her adaptation of Lorca's The House of Bernarda AlbaThe House of Bilquis Bibi. Sudha also co-wrote a short film Midnight Feast, which was screened at the 11th Raindance Film Festival. With Shaheen Khan, their credits included three series of Girlies for BBC Radio 4 and Balti Kings (the stage play, as well as a six part series for Radio 4). Their screenplay, The House Across the Street, was shown on BBC4 as part of a new writers initiative, and they co-wrote an episode of Doctors for the BBC. In 2012, her play for young people Small Fish, Big Cheese  (Peshkar) was performed as part of Unicorn Theatre's Class Acts festival.
Sudha jointly won, with Kristine Landon-Smith, the 2005 Asian Women of Achievement Award for Arts and Culture and the 2010 First Women Award in the Tourism and Leisure category.

Philip Osment - Director
Philip is an award-winning playwright, director, dramaturg, teacher and facilitator. His recent play Whole won the Writers’ Guild Award for Theatre Play for Young People. Philip directed landmark productions for Gay Sweatshop in the 1980s, including Poppies, Compromised Immunity and This Island’s Mine, and for Theatre Centre and Red Ladder in the 1990s. More recently, he created and directed Mad Blud (a verbatim play about knife crime) for Theatre Royal Stratford East and wrote and co-directed Inside (about young fathers in prison) for his company Playing ON at the Roundhouse. He has also directed for the National Theatre Studio, Bristol Old Vic and three productions for Graeae including his own translation of George Dandin. He recently created a new adaptation of Kes for CAST in Doncaster and is researching Playing ON’s next production about mental health at the Mandsley Hospital.

St George’s 2013 cast:
Sudha Bhuchar  Herself                
Shaheen Khan  Raj Rani and ensemble
Lila Clements  Herself and Ali            
Nyla Levy  Girl
Nabil Elouahabi  Shiv and ensemble        
Karen Spicer Edna
Kulvinder Ghir Vinod Bhuchar and ensemble