Can theatre & creative arts transform conflict?

Can theatre & creative arts transform conflict?

A scene from Dara by Shahid Nadeem, adapted by Tanya Ronder and directed by Nadia Fall at the National Theatre. Photograph: Tristram Kenton

A scene from Dara by Shahid Nadeem, adapted by Tanya Ronder and directed by Nadia Fall at the National Theatre.  Photograph: Tristram Kenton

Wednesday 1 April at Rich Mix, 35–47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA, the latest in International Alert’s Peace Talks, The Art of Building Peace.

Conflict resolution around the world desperately needs imagination. The transformative power of performance and other arts is enormous. Art can capture imaginations and breathe life into the heart of peacebuilding. Technocrats and economists may well disagree but theatre, film, photography and painting has much to offer the world of peacebuilding and conflict.

Join our panel at the Rich Mix, a community arts hub in east London, to discuss how art can engage and motivate people in ways that the left brain alone cannot.

This event is inspired by Dara, a play by Pakistani director Shahid Nadeem originally performed by Ajoka Theatre, and currently showing at the National Theatre in London. Dara is a bewitching tale of Indian history that offers a dramatic perspective on how 17th century Moghul politics impacts on today’s conflicts.

Speakers include

  • Anwar Akhtar, Director of The Samosa, a culture and politics site with a focus on Britain and South Asia. Anwar is a production consultant on Dara and is a former director of the Rich Mix.
  • Ruth Daniel, Co-Director of In Place of War, University of Manchester, which supports artists living in sites of war to create social change through creativity.
  • Shahid Nadeem, Award-winning Pakistani writer, theatre and TV director, and human rights activist. He is the author of Dara and Director of Ajoka Theatre, Pakistan
  • Dan Smith (Chair), Secretary General, International Alert

Shahid Nadeem appears in our film “Pakistan: the Pride and the Promise” shot in Pakistan as part of the Olympic Truce, building links between religious and civil society organisations in Pakistan and diasporic groups in the UK.

Dara runs until 4 April at the National Theatre, Southbank, London SE1.


22 September | Imperial War Museum

Zahra and Catriona in the huge atrium of the Imperial War Museum.

Zahra Imame of the Christian Muslim Forum, Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi of Majlis-e-Ulama Europe and Catriona Robertson (LBFN) took part in the Imperial War Museum‘s events to mark the UN International Day of Peace on Saturday 22nd September.

The supporting film for the London Peace Network’s activities was shown and we took part in a discussion later in the day, Starting in Neutral: What does neutrality matter in 21st century humanitarian conflict response?   

This brought together speakers from Conciliation Resources, Médecins Sans Frontières,  the International Committee of the Red Cross and International Alert in a discussion covering the meaning, problems and perceptions around neutrality in conflict and post-conflict zones.

The Museum is interested in including alternative narratives and stories about its displays, particularly those relating to recent armed conflict, and we hope to be working with them on this in the future.