For the last few months, we've been sharing the Wood Green office with Bilimankwe Arts and Zero Culture. The idea is that the three companies collaborate in a Consortium, which is proving very fruitful as Kate from Bilimankwe takes on the producer's role for Dilemma. Last night we went to see Zero Culture's show Find Me Amongst the Black at the Purcell Room on the South Bank: and started to see some real points of contact there too.
Zero Culture is run by Hardial S. Rai, who I've known ever since we took Bravely Fought the Queen to Watermans in the very early days of the company. He was running the Asian programme there at the time, and was very helpful in my first ventures into Asian casting. One of his recommendations, Harmage Singh Kalarai, who played Jiten, is there for the show. So are Suman Bhuchar and Shobana Jeyasingh, plus Manoj from Collage Arts, who it turns out formed London's first Asian theatre company with Hardial and Harmage, way back in the 70s before even Tara. But the evening is no nostalgic reunion: it feels very contemporary. Hardial has brought together a text by Parv Bancil, based on the background to the 2005 Birmingham riots, with choreography by Darshan Singh Bhuller and some really fantastic video work by KMA. It's very edgy, very current, and manages to bring traditional forms into the present moment without being at all self-conscious about the fact. It feels right to be in a consortium with this company.