Reena Jaisiah ran the Belgrade’s theatre’s first ever Asian Youth theatre now names The Dark Youth! It was important for the Belgrade Theatre’s Community and Education to collaborate with stakeholders in the Asian community to celebrate the diverse voices of the Asian communities that Coventry gives host to…because were not all the same! In this mix we had young people from various backgrounds, such as Tamil, Mongolian, Afghani, Gujarati, Punjabi, Slovakian, Caribbean, African, Mixed races like French and Indian etc.
This project began in January and was led by myself and Leon Philips to young people across Coventry. Sessions were always fun packed and we explored theatre making techniques such as movement, voice and improvisation and then did what I do best at…stirring up a reaction and creating dialogue. I put forward stereotypical statements about the Asian community and the group discussed and explored these and devised a number sketches from them which became ‘Fresh Tales’-An exciting cocktail of sketches that presented and then challenged stereotypes and myths attached to Asian communities. The piece was also a chance to celebrate not only the young people’s identity but honour well known and illustrious Asian role models such as Dr Ambedkar, Zain Malik from 1D, Jackie Chan, Goddess Lakshmi etc.
The group whom consisted of young people from 5 schools were fantastic and they took away a valuable lesson in theatre making and knowledge and experience about their own identity and others around them. Well done guys we are so proud of you! See you for next phases devising for Positive Images Festival and Belgrade’s outdoor Theatre in July!!!!