East End to stage Bengali drama festival

Bengali drama is to be celebrated in Tower Hamlets this November with the 10th annual Season of Bangla.

The festival, which will see plays staged throughout the month, will focus on works chronicling the Bengali community across the world.

The 10 pieces chosen for the season will focus on issues including social inequality and women’s rights. To mark its anniversary there will also be an exhibition providing an overview of the first 10 years of the festival, along with seminars charting the history of Bengali drama.

Among the plays being featured during the festival will be Londonee, a moving tale of a brother with dreams of musical stardom and sporty sister who hopes to play kabaddi professionally, having to fend for themselves in the East End.

Director Mukul Ahmed admits the prospect of presenting his work in the heart of the East End, with its rich Bengali history, is an exciting one.

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“As a Tower Hamlets resident, I am thrilled to be involved in the festival”, he said.

“The play poetically addresses the sensitive and emotional issues of an ethnic community and although it is not set out with a specific theme it forces audiences to think, allowing them to draw their own conclusions.”

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Also showing at during the month will be Jibon Jokhon Furaye Jay (When Life Ends), which deals with the challenging subject of mental health through the controversial method of satire.

Director Sayeem Choudhury said: “The play will try to work through the reasons why some people suffer from mental illnesses – the effects of loneliness and the victims of forced marriages.

“The ultimate aim is to raise the awareness of mental health issues, especially within Bangladeshi communities.”

Performances and events will be staged at the Brady Arts Centre in Hanbury Street, Whitechapel, and Rich Mix in Bethnal Green Road from November 3 to November 25.

For more information and tickets, visit www.towerhamletsarts.gov.uk.

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