Illustration by Erin Aniker

 

A Form of Colonisation 

Written by Amy Ng

Alex Chang: Pu Yi/Chinese Soldier/Chinese Heckler/Hare Krishna/Academic A 

Emily Stride: Clare Brown

Jennifer Leong: Ai Ling Lo/Professor Hansen/Eunuch/Academic C 

Tiran Aakel: Sir Johnson/Martin Evans/White Heckler/Academic B 

Waj Ali: Peter 

 

Scar Tissue 

Written by Satinder Chohan

Balvinder Sopal: Biji 

Harmage Singh Kalirai: Baba 

Krupa Pattani: Neeti/Reena

Peter Singh: Abu 

Sofia Asir: Priya/Yosha 

Waj Ali: Pavit Singh 

 

The Museum

Written by Danusia Samal

Tiran Aakel: Daniel/Airport Guard

Krupa Pattani: Rima/Young Rima 

Sofia Asir: Zarda/Salma/Air Hostess 

Waj Ali: Sayed/Security Guard 

 

The Bigger Picture 

Written by Guleraana Mir

Balvinder Sopal: Chand Bibi/One of the students 

Krupa Pattani: Saima/One of the students 

Peter Singh: Advisor/Lecturer/One of the students 

Sofia Asir: Farah/One of the students/Agnodice/Yaa Asantewaa 

 

The Questions You Ask

Written by Bushra Laskar

Balvinder Sopal: Sabira 

Emily Stride: Sales Assistant/Kid 1 

Ikky Elyas: Sunny 

Krupa Pattani: Aisha/Ma 

Waj Ali: Nurse/Papa/Kid 2 

 

Creative Team

Director Anthony Simpson-Pike

Audio Engineer Farokh Soltani

Audio Assistant Bridgette Adela

Audio Assistant Azeem Rajulawalla

 

Decolonising History

A Tamasha Digital Project for SOAS, supported by Arts Council England

“The discipline of History as we know it today is a product of the age of European empire. This has had profound consequences for our understanding of where ‘history’ happens and who shapes it.” 

– Dr Eleanor Newbigin, SOAS University of London

For years, students and staff at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have been active voices in debates about ‘Decolonising History’ - what it means in practice, and if it is even possible.

Inspired in part by SOAS’s own uncomfortable past as a training college for officers of the British Empire, SOAS History department hosted five Tamasha playwrights on an access-all-areas basis.

These five thrilling audio dramas reflect what they found.

Exploring issues from politicised teaching, to the legacy of trauma, to the joys of discovering uncelebrated historical figures, these five plays showcase the power of drama to unpack big ideas in a human and relatable way.

The dramas will be played to a live audience at five ‘gathered listening’ events in theatres and cultural spaces across the UK, starting with a world premiere at SOAS (London) on 8 October.

Accompanying the playback will be panel debates involving SOAS staff, students and playwrights – your opportunity to ask questions about the journey they have been on together, and about this fascinating subject.

Unmissable event. Opens up a much required discussion on the way history is taught here, how it has always been told from one victorious (and very white) perspective and why those who don't know history are deemed to repeat history's mistakes. - audience member

 

The audio dramas

 

A Form of Colonisation by Amy Ng

When SOAS History student Ai Ling Lo fails her latest essay on the last Chinese emperor Pu Yi, she goes to challenge her lecturer about her consistently harsh marking. Little does she realise this will set in motion a chain of events for them both, echoing the relationship between Pu Yi and his Scottish colonial tutor, Reginald Johnstone. A smart and timely examination of the power politics of teacher-student relationships across the centuries.

Scar Tissue by Satinder Chohan

When sisters Neeti and Priya travel back to India to scatter their grandmother’s ashes, Neeti takes with her the final recordings their beloved Bibi made on her death bed. Haunted by her past and gripped by strange visitations, Bibi’s voice follows them on their journey, before revealing a devastating secret. 

Blog post: "Both fascinated and alarmed by Britain's collective historical amnesia, I had to be involved in a project that sought to 'decolonise history'." - Satinder Chohan

The Museum by Danusia Samal

Once upon a time, a desperate man accepted an offer he couldn’t refuse for a collection of highly personal community artefacts at risk from war. Years later his daughter, on a scholarship to a London university, seeks out the academic she holds responsible. What lengths is she prepared to go to, to reclaim this lost museum?

The Bigger Picture by Guleraana Mir

On a cold autumn day, a lone hawk is spotted on SOAS campus, killing and mutilating pigeons. Meanwhile, Saima is struggling to get her lecturer to accept the subject for her dissertation – sixteenth century Indian warrior queen Chand Bibi. How can women take up their rightful place in history when the records of their achievements are so sparse? The answer comes from an unlikely source. Is any of it real, or a product of Saima’s grief-stricken mind?

The Questions You Ask by Bushra Laskar

As Aisha Saikia waits in hospital for news of her mother, undergoing brain surgery after a debilitating stroke, an old classmate, Sunny, shows up to pay his respects to his old History teacher. But when it turns out that ‘Psycho Saikia’ told the two of them very different stories about a traumatic experience from her past, Aisha is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her mum, and herself. 

Key Dates

 

Tuesday 8 October 2019 (World Premiere)
SOAS University of London
London WC1H
Book now >

Wednesday 30 October 2019
Rich Mix
London E1
Book now >

Featured plays: Scar Tissue & The Museum

Wednesday 6 November 2019
Impact Hub
Birmingham B5
Book now >

Featured plays: A Form of Colonisation & The Questions You Ask

Wednesday 13 November 2019
Royal Exchange Theatre
Manchester M2
Book now >

Featured plays: The Bigger Picture & The Questions You Ask