BBC Radio Leeds and West Yorkshire Playhouse are coming together to present Nick Ahad’s new play ‘Partition’ – a radio broadcast and live performance of a specially commissioned radio play which will mark the 70th anniversary of the division of India and creation of Pakistan. Written by Leeds writer and established arts journalist Nick Ahad and directed by Stefan Escreet, Partition explores the devastating legacy of the religious division which cost around a million lives, through the eyes of a modern day couple.
The play will be broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds (and a number of other BBC local radio stations) at midnight on 14/15 August 2017, which marks the exact time when the British partitioned India 70 years ago. It will then be performed in front of a live audience at the Courtyard Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, on 8th and 9th September, and tickets are free.
BBC Radio Leeds Editor, Sanjiv Buttoo, said: “Partition is very much an important landmark for our South Asian communities, and the memories of 70 years ago are still fresh for the current generation of British Indian and British Pakistani families.
“Historically this world event saw the largest ever movement of mankind, so we commissioned this play to give an insight of how it still affects our lives in a profound way.
“We are very proud and excited to be working closely with the team at West Yorkshire Playhouse to bring our listeners history in a modern, contemporary and relevant way”.
Partition will open West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Autumn/Winter 17 Season, a collection of diverse stories from across the world, retold by theatre makers.
Written from the viewpoint of modern day couple Saima and Ranjit, it tells the tale of how, 70 years after it was abruptly divided, the history of the Indian sub-continent continues to tear families apart. Saima and Ranjit’s wedding should be the happiest day of their lives but Saima’s Muslim and Ranjit’s Sikh parents are not by their side, and hate, not love hangs over this couple’s union. Will love or hate prevail?
Writer of Partition, Nick Ahad, said: “It is a huge privilege to be the writer for the first project that brings together the two cultural institutions of BBC Radio Leeds and West Yorkshire Playhouse.
“The story of Partition is one that continues to deeply affect British families whose roots lie in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. It is incredibly exciting to be able to explore this story with the powerful mediums of both radio and theatre.
“Alone, they are enormously effective ways of delivering a story. Bringing them together in this unique project will, I hope, have a hugely resonant power.”
About West Yorkshire Playhouse
West Yorkshire Playhouse has a reputation both nationally and internationally as a leading UK producing theatre. The theatre is a cultural hub, a place where people gather to tell and share stories and to engage in world class theatre. From large scale spectacle to intimate performance the Playhouse develops and makes work for the stage, found spaces, touring, schools and community venues. Alongside work for the stage the Playhouse is dedicated to providing creative engagement opportunities, building and running sustainable projects that reach out to a diverse range of communities. Supporting new and emerging artists is key and the theatre provides creative space for new writers, directors and individual theatre makers to refine their practice.
Tickets for the performances of Partition at West Yorkshire Playhouse must be reserved at www.wyp.org.uk
About Nick Ahad
Nick Ahad is a writer, broadcaster and journalist. Nick’s plays include The Chef Show (Ragged Edge Productions), Coming Home Together (BBC Radio Leeds), Muslamic Love Story (DepArts), My Mum The Racist, Inner Voices (JB Shorts), Nor Any Drop (Red Ladder/Peshkar). He has worked as a scriptwriter and story-liner for Emmerdale and is currently developing an original TV series with Avatar productions. As a broadcaster Nick regularly appears on BBC Breakfast and is a presenter for BBC Radio Leeds, where he has presented hundreds of hours of live broadcast. Arts Editor of the Yorkshire Post between 2004 and 2014, he continues to write as the newspaper’s Theatre Correspondent. His work has appeared in the Guardian, the Independent and Plays International.