Video clips and discussion with
Shahid Nadeem is a leading Pakistani playwright and theater director
who has worked for nearly three decades with the theatre company,
--translated as theatre for social change. He will talk about the
challenges and risks of running a theatre, which refuses to accept
censorship by the State or the militants and about his experiences
of taking his plays to India and Bangladesh. He will also refer to
his work for Pakistan television and Zee News.
Shahid and his theatre group have been in the
forefront of the movement to develop peoples to people links between
peoples of Pakistan and India. He has spoken publicly and defiantly
against Pakistani Establishment's lack of interest in promoting
peaceful settlement of disputes with India. His group is the only
theatre group, which has traveled to and performed in India, and
also invited Indian Theatre experts and activists to Pakistan.
Several of his plays directly or indirectly
deal with the complex and sensitive issues dividing Pakistan and
India. They include:
- (i) "Sixth River": A short
play on communalism in South Asia, performed in Bangkok at Peoples
Assembly in 1992. It was directed by an Indian Theatre director,
Anuradha Kapur and the cast included actors from India and Nepal.
- (ii) "Toba Tek Singh": Based
on the great Urdu fiction writer Manto's short-story of the same
name. It is about a mental asylum at the time of Partition and
attempts to move the insane from one asylum to another.
- (iii) "Aik
Thee Naani": A play based on the true story of two
sisters, Zohra Segal and Uzra Butt, who were leading actresses
at the time of Partition. They were separated and acted together,
after four decades, in this play. The play shows how the life
of one sister changed when she came to Pakistan and how she came
to reconcile with her past, with some help from her sister visiting
The play also attacks the double standards in Pakistani society
towards performing arts.
- (iv) "Dukhini": A play about
the trafficking of Bangladeshi women to Pakistan. A collaboration
between a Bangladeshi theatre group, BITA, and directed by Bangladeshi
director Sara Zakir. The play has been performed all over South
- (v) "Bulha": A play about
the life and times of Sufi poet Bulleh Shah in the 17th Century.
An indictment against religious intolerance and a call for love
and peace in the region. Bulleh Shah's music sung as qawalis and
- (vi) "Border-Border": A
play for children about the war and hate mongering by Pakistani
and Indian governments and media. Play performed in Chandigarh
in June 2001 by Indian and Pakistani children.
Nadeem is one of Pakistan's leading playwrights and is well known
for his commitment to human rights, social change and peace. He
has been a student and trade union activist and suffered imprisonment
and harassment under various authoritarian governments. During his
exile in 1980-87, he worked as Amnesty International official in
London, and later its communications officer in Hong Kong. He is
the founder of Pakistan's pioneering theatre group, Ajoka and writes
most of Ajoka plays. Shahid has worked as a director/producer for
Pakistan Television and for his Ajoka Productions. He has also worked
for BBC Urdu Service and Zee News.
Shahid was granted Feuchtwanger Fellowship in
2001 by Villa Aurora, in collaboration with the Getty Research Institute,
18th Street Arts Complex in Santa Monica and International Pen-West.
During his stay in LA, he lectured at various universities and other
cultural institutions. His group participated in LA International
Arts Festival in July 2001 where his play "Bari" (the
Acquittal) was performed. Staged reading of two more plays was done
at Highways Theatre, Villa Aurora and UCLA Hammer Museum. His short
play on 9/11 was read at Beyond Baroque in December 2001.
View recent article
on Shahid in "Written By", Writers Guild of America-West magazine.
Photos on this page by Kate Brooks/Corbis
Sunday, 3 PM
(Limited seating, arrive early)
Donations kindly requested.
All proceeds go to Ajoka Theatre.
of South Asia (FOSA)
Main Quad, Building
300, Room 300
(A Granny for All Seasons)
by Shahid Nadeem
Video of an Urdu/Hindi play followed by Q&A with the Director.
Friends of South Asia (FOSA)