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Landscapes of Fact and Fiction: Asian Theatre Arts in Britain

  • Barnaby King
Abstract

In the first of two essays which use academic discourses of cultural exchange to examine the intra-cultural situation in contemporary British society, Barnaby King analyzes the relationship between Black arts and mainstream arts on both a professional and community level, focusing on particular examples of practice in the Leeds and Kirklees region in which he lives and works. This first essay looks specifically at the Asian situation, reviewing the history of Arts Council policy on ethnic minority arts, and analyzing how this has shaped – and is reflected in – current practice. In the context of professional theatre, he uses the examples of the Tara and Tamasha companies, then explores the work of CHOL Theatre in Huddersfield as exemplifying multi-cultural work in the community. He also looks at the provision made by Yorkshire and Humberside Arts for the cultural needs of their Asian populations. In the second essay, to appear in NTQ62, he will be taking a similar approach towards African-Caribbean theatre in Britain. Barnaby King is a theatre practitioner based in Leeds, who completed his postgraduate studies at the University of Leeds Workshop Theatre in 1998. He is now working with theatre companies and small-scale venues – currently the Blah Blah Blah company and the Studio Theatre at Leeds Metropolitan University – to develop community participation in theatre and drama-based activities.

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Notes and References

1. Friel, Brian, Translations (1981). This quotation is used on the inside cover of the Arts Council document, The Landscape of Fact (1997).

2. According to an independent exercise. See Baker, Walter, ‘The Arts of Ethnic Minorities: Status and Funding’ (1985).

3. For details see The Landscape of Fact, p. 19–26.

4. ‘Appendix 1: The Language Shift’, ibid., p. 32–5.

5. See Verma, 1996; and Verma, 1997.

6. Robinson, Sara and Singh, Harmage Kalari, Major Road: the Mehfil Project Report (1995). This report was the result of three months of research, including face-to-face interviews and meetings. The quotations given are comments made by Asian people in response to specific questions by the researchers, which are documented in the report.

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New Theatre Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0266-464X
  • EISSN: 1474-0613
  • URL: /core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly
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