As part of the UK-India Year of Culture in 2017, the Indian High Commission, the Ministry of Culture, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and leading Indian festival producer Teamwork Arts are bringing a selection of some of the best in Indian theatre, dance and music to Edinburgh’s Festivals this August.
The UK-India Year of Culture follows the joint announcement in 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then-Prime Minister David Cameron of a bilateral initiative to mark the deep cultural ties and the 70th anniversary of India’s Independence; a commitment that was reiterated during Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to India in November 2016. India and the UK, bound together through history and shared values of democracy, rule of law and pluralism, share a strong and multi-faceted partnership with deep cooperation across various fields including economics, business, science, and culture.
One of the major strands included in the festival is India @ Edinburgh, which will showcase the fascinating and timeless appeal of Indian theatre, dance and music at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and in some of the most popular venues on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
India @ Edinburgh
This strand will showcase some of the best music, dance and theatre that India has to a variety of audiences.
At The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Teamwork Arts have worked together with the Tattoo Production team and the Indian Government to showcase the best military band in India today, The Naval Band, whose performances have enthralled audiences in faraway places such as Rabat, Tokyo, Sydney, Odessa, Istanbul and London. Teamed up with a troupe of dancers portraying the festival culture of India’s Western seaports the scale of the Indian presence is set to be one of the biggest seen at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.
Director and performer Yuki Ellias weaves a web of intrigue and a tale of epic adventure in Elephant in the Room paying homage to Lord Ganapati. This wonderful play for children and families was among the most acclaimed in India last year. At the Assembly Rooms, this summer Edinburgh audiences have the opportunity to experience it in the UK for the first time.
Yuki Ellias said “It is a story about a boy who has an elephant head and is in search of his missing one. This journey of his brings in its wake the story of identity, patriarchy and the idea of the balance between God, man and nature.”
Aditya Roy is bringing his storytelling born out of martial arts training in the tale of The Offering, showing this August at C Royale. At its core, The Offering is the story of the relationship between the Guru and the Shishya, or Master and Student. Aditya Roy is a writer, director, musician and martial artist. He was introduced to theatre at the age of four. His main focus has been on martial arts. But Aditya spent three years as assistant director of the musical production Zangoora – The Gypsy Prince at the Kingdom of Dreams during which time he started looking for ways to integrate martial arts with theatre through movement workshops.
Aditya Roy said “The Offering was written by me and my mother, who inspired me to go into Martial arts by telling me stories of warriors from the past. Warriors who stood for more than their ability to just take lives.”
Telling the tale of Majuli, the world’s largest and stunning river island in Assam’s mighty Brahmaputra river, through an evocative narrative of movement, dance, music, and theatre Shilpika Bordoloi celebrates the spirit of Majuli and the intricate bond between people and their land at Edinburgh’s Dance Base.
Born in a quiet corner of Assam (Dhemaji) and brought up in Jorhat, Assam, Shilpika Bordoloi has always been headed for a life of dance. From the age of three, she trained at the Indian classical dance form of Manipuri under Guru Rathindra Sinha and later on with Padmashree Darshana Jhaveri. She went on to study the Indian classical dance Bharatanatyam under Padmashree Leela Samson and later worked in her company, Spandan. Shilpika has deliberately not trained in any of the Western dance forms allowing her to generate her own language.
Shilpika Bordoloi said “This production is an earnest effort to share the story of Majuli through a personal vocabulary of movement, dance and theatre. The island has fascinated me from my early childhood days through frequent boat rides that I shared with my father.”
Elephant in the Room by Yuki Ellias
Dates: August 3rd – 26th, 2017
Duration: 60 minutes
Venue: Front Rooms, Assembly Rooms
Inspired by mythology, Elephant in the Room pays homage to Lord Ganapati, in this quirky and poignant reinterpretation of his story. The protagonist is a young boy interestingly named Master Tusk, who has been given a new head – an elephant’s! Confused and bewildered, he finds himself lost in the forest. Danger lurks at every turn. He encounters a motley couple – Makadi (spider) and Moork (poacher), a clumsy duo in search of a big-ticket ransom. They kidnap Master Tusk, but their scheme goes awry when a prophecy is revealed and changes everything. Amidst a cursed love affair, an encounter with an eccentric old elephant and a hunt for a missing head, Master Tusk sets off on an adventure that changes his life. But will he be able to carry his head on his shoulders?
The Offering (Guru Dakshina) by Aditya Roy
Dates: August 2nd – 28th
Duration: 40 Minutes
Venue: C Royale Studio 2, C Venues
Guru Dakshina- The Offering is the story of a boy full of wonder and curiosity who dreams of the great warriors of the past and of being one of them. It also features the tale about an old man, wandering alone through the world constantly running from a past he cannot face. Fate and chance bring both characters together to change each other’s lives. At its core, Guru Dakshina is the story of the relationship between the Guru and the Shishya, or Master and Student. Aditya Roy has spent almost two decades exploring different forms of martial arts in search of the ultimate form of self-defense. At each stage, he has been blessed with amazing teachers who have taught him skills that have helped him evolve to the next level. Along the way he has also worked extensively in the fields of theatre and music. In the process he has confronted many fears and anxieties, and the process of releasing them continues.
Maujli by Shilpika Bordoloi
Dates: August 11th – 20th, 2017
Duration: 50 Minutes
Venue: Dance Base Studio 3
Majuli, a stunning and picturesque island in Assam’s mighty Brahmaputra river, is also the world’s biggest river island. This performance attempts to tell the tale of Majuli through an intense and evocative narrative of movement, dance and theatre. Inspired by the mystique of the Brahmaputra, the landscape of Majuli and the social, cultural and spiritual life of its people, it weaves together a story of the intricate bond between people and their land. Set to music created by instruments played by the Assamese, the Deori and the Mising communities of Majuli, the performer meanders in the rhythm of a river. This mesmeric solo is a celebration of the spirit of Majuli which stands peaceful and resilient in a land still torn by strife and conflict.
About Teamwork Arts
For over 25 years, Teamwork Arts has taken India to the world and brought the world to India. In countries such as Australia, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Israel, Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UK and USA, Teamwork produces over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities.
Teamwork Arts produces one of the world’s largest free literary gatherings, the annual ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, the Ishara International Puppet Festival in New Delhi, the annual Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) and Festival, international festivals Shared History in South Africa, Eye on India in the United States of America, India by the Bay in Hong Kong, Confluence- Festival of India in Australia, and many more.
For further information, visit www.teamworkarts.com