International Department Update from India

Stone throwing girls in Kashmir; men in love on the Delhi metro; cultural genocide in Orissa; caste based prostitution on a central Indian highway; a Bombay bakery destroyed by greed. These are just some of the worlds created by 12 outstanding young Indian writers working with us this fortnight in a village 90 minutes from Mumbai. Playwrights April De Angelis, Carl Miller and I made this exact journey less than six months ago and sitting together in our workshop room it seems as though we have never left. Only then we had promising proposals and now we have first drafts of urgent contemporary plays about India.

In this our “second phase” workshop we have been trying out the new texts with a group of talented and dedicated actors. After reading through each of the plays they improvised alternative endings, explored a wide range of characters, performed re-written scenes in different languages and styles.The final drafts will be produced and performed by our Indian partners, Rage Theatre, in their Writers Bloc Festival which will run in Mumbai and other Indian cities in January 2012. In a few months we will have 12 new plays for India and for the world. As I write this at the end of a full workshop day, I hear the sound of roaring laughter in the background as the writers stand up one by one to perform new stories. There are always new stories to be told here.

Vasind, India.

Elyse Dodgson, (Head of International, Royal Court Theatre)

16 April 2011