Living the Drama is proud to be associated with Prayas Kala Sangam (Natya Manch), a street theatre company set up more than 20 years ago in Delhi, India. Like us, their mission is to use drama to promote awareness of contemporary social issues. Their current focus is on the importance and value of girls and women in Indian society. To this end they are supporting the Indian Government's Awareness Programme on 'female foeticide', through street theatre programmes in Delhi and surrounding regions. The photos in our Gallery are from their recent performances of 'Beti Bachao - Beti Padao' ('Save our Daughters - Educate our Daughters'. More information can be found on their Facebook page ‘Prayas Kala Sangam’.
Uma Balasubramanian is the inspiration and guiding light behind my latest stage play, ‘Silent on the Matter’.
Uma was born in India and during much of her adult life she worked in Africa, East Asia, Eastern Europe and latterly in Oxford which is where we met. Uma is multi-talented: a professional mathematician, an actress and an artist. She brilliantly bridges the gap between the cultures of the West and the East.
When the seeds of the play started to germinate in my mind, Uma introduced me to Indian culture and especially the Hindu religion; small intimate details of every day life as a young Hindu woman, as well as the larger picture of an ancient and proud country. Small nuances of speech, social conventions and the dynamics of the caste system were opened up to me. We debated the extent to which Indian society today is evolving and changing, shifting uneasily from traditional values and choices towards a society driven more by secular principles, the pervasive use of technology and a global view of the business world.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to Uma. She is now back in India – her mothership as she calls it – but hopefully she’ll be able to return to Oxford in May and see the completed play for herself.
March 2015, Oxford