Rifco Theatre Company has announced a series of free brunch-time Q&As with some of Britain’s most prolific South Asian Playwrights. Hosted by Rifco’s Associate Director, Ameet Chana, who will be giving an insight into their process, where their journeys started, how they got to where they are now, and what the future may hold for them.
The conversations hope to further the discussion surrounding the importance of diversity and equality in the theatre industry, particularly during this crucial stage of resurfacing after the national lockdown.
One of Rifco’s core values is to support current and emerging talent in the industry, which they do through their Associates Programme and most recently through their Desi Lockdown series which commissioned five British South Asian artists to create short films surrounding their isolation experiences.
Pravesh Kumar, Artistic Director of Rifco says, “I’m thrilled to be able to curate a season of some of the most prolific British writers. It’s important that we celebrate our diverse talent, who have changed the theatre landscape, often telling untold stories from a unique perspective. This is a great opportunity to shine a light and show pathways for future new talent through our Rifco Associates programme.”
Vinay Patel – Wednesday 29th July | 11am – 12pm
Vinay’s debut play, ‘True Brits’, opened at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014, before transferring to the Bush Theatre and Vault Festival. His latest play, An Adventure, ran at the Bush in late 2018. His first piece for television, Murdered By My Father, won the Royal Television Society award for Best Single Drama and was nominated for three BAFTAs. Vinay was named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit for his work.
He has since written for Paines Plough, ITV, Channel 4 and the BFI, as well as contributing to the bestselling collection of essays, The Good Immigrant. Most recently, Vinay wrote for the 11th and 12th series of ‘Doctor Who’ – receiving a Hugo nomination – and is developing further projects for TV, theatre and film.
Harvey Virdi – Wednesday 12th August | 11am – 12pm
Harvey Virdi is an actress and playwright, with an array of film, TV and theatre credits. On stage Harvey has not only performed in theatres across the country, but also has a number of writing credits, including popular Rifco shows ‘Meri Christmas’, ‘Happy Birthday Sunita’, and ‘Miss Meena and the Masala Queens’.
She currently stars as Dr. Misbah Maalik in the popular soap ‘Hollyoaks’. She has also starred in ‘Bend It Like Beckham’, ‘Citizen Khan’ and ‘Not Going Out’.
Tanika Gupta – Wednesday 26th August | 11am – 12pm
Over the past 25 years, Tanika has written over 25 stage plays that have been produced in major theatres across the UK and has written extensively for BBC Radio drama. Some of her theatre credits include: A Doll’s House (Lyric Hammersmith); Red Dust Road – adaptation of Jackie Kay’s memoir (NT Scotland); ‘Bones’ (Central School for Speech and Drama); ‘Hobson’s Choice’ (Manchester Royal Exchange); ‘Lions And Tigers’ (Globe Theatre) – Winner of the James Tait Black Prize for Drama 2018.
In 2008 Tanika was awarded an MBE for Services to Drama and in 2016 was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Tanika has an honorary doctorate in the Arts from Chichester University and is an Honorary Fellow at Rose Bruford College and Central School of Speech and Drama.
Gurpreet K Bhatti – Wednesday 16th September | 11am – 12pm
Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti writes for stage, screen and radio. Her first play ‘Besharam’ (Shameless) broke box office records at Soho Theatre and the Birmingham Rep. ‘Behzti’ (Dishonour) was sensationally closed after protests at the Birmingham Rep in December 2004. ‘Behzti’ won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the play was then translated into French and did sell-out tours in France and Belgium. Behud (Beyond Belief) was co-produced by Soho Theatre and Coventry Belgrade and shortlisted for the John Whiting Award. ‘Khandan’ had a sell out run at the Birmingham Rep before transferring to the Royal Court.
In 2018 Gurpreet wrote ‘Dishoom!’ for Rifco Theatre Company and her latest play ‘A Kind of People’ opened at the Royal Court Downstairs in December 2019. She is currently writing screenplays for Moonage Pictures, Cuba Pictures and Martha Stone Productions. She is also adapting Sathnam Sanghera’s ‘Marriage Material’ for the Birmingham Rep.
Anyone can sign up to the sessions for free by clicking here.