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.


Invitation | UK-Pakistan Minority-Majority gathering

Min-Maj invitation pic

Please join us at our last Olympic Truce event – a wonderful gathering of people who are interested in the future of Pakistan and of this country and how we can work well together.

Tuesday 12th March, 3.45pm – 6.30pm, followed by a buffet of Pakistani cuisine.

Memon Centre, 13 Weir Road, Balham, SW12 0LT

Download the invitation and sign up here.

Please pass the invitation on to those with links to Pakistan.  Look forward to seeing you there.

Olympic Truce | Pakistan links | minority-majority project

mmproject picThe last of our Olympic Truce projects kicks off this week.

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office is supporting a series of events in Pakistan (in Islamabad and Lahore), followed by a gathering in London on 12th March.  London Boroughs Faiths Network has been part of the FCO’s Olympic Truce Stakeholders’ Group since 2011 and we are delighted that this project is coming to fruition.

The project explores the potential for making the most of the UK’s close historical and cultural ties with Pakistan and to see how local communities can work together in practical and positive ways to support civil society, human rights and prosperity in both countries.

It recognises the strong links with Pakistan maintained by the diaspora living in London and other parts of the UK,  who experience being part of a minority group in the UK and who also experience being in the majority when they travel to Pakistan.

How can we learn from each other?

What can government, civil society and religious organisations do together to enable greater awareness of minority-majority issues in the UK and in Pakistan?  This project builds on the extensive experience of London Boroughs Faiths Network members in working with the statutory sector at local level and of bringing majority and minority groups together for the benefit of the wider community.

A small group from the UK is travelling to Pakistan this week and a return visit will bring two or three visitors from Pakistan to attend the London gathering.  The events will be filmed so that many more people can benefit from the story-telling, discussions and the new ideas which emerge.  In Pakistan, we will be meeting the Minister for National Harmony, Dr Paul Bhatti, and minority-majority events have kindly been organised by the Bishop of Lahore, the Rt Rev Irfan Jamil Coadjutor, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Punjab, Dr Mujahid Kamran and the General Secretary of Wafaq-ul Madaris Al-Arabia, Moulana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhry.  We’re very pleased that the Revd Rana Khan, who has been working with the Archbishop of Canterbury on inter faith matters, will be with us for both the Pakistan and the London events.

The London Boroughs Faiths Network is working with Stockwell Green Community Services and Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network to implement this initiative.  The Department for International Development is following our progress.

If you would like to register your interest for the London event, please let us know.  Lord Bates has kindly agreed to become a patron of the London Peace Network.  We are hoping he will be with us, along with the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP, Minister for International Development.

If you would like to send your (or your network’s) greetings to Pakistan, use the comment box or email us, but let us know quickly!