Theatre in Wales

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Riot on stage at the Sherman     

An explosive new play that explores the Oldham riots is about to hit Cardiff. Devised and performed by five young Asians who were actually there, Just Before The Rain examines the tensions that fuelled the disturbances and marks the first-national tour for Peshkar Productions- the North West's leading South Asian theatre company. Just Before the Rain will be at the Sherman Theatre on Tuesday 8 and Wednesday 9 April at 8pm.

The young Oldham-based actors who devised this new play (under the supervision of Director Iain Bloomfield) were discovered through Peshkar Productions' community arts activities. The piece was originally created as part of the Commonwealth Games 'Cultureshock' arts festival. A one-off performance was staged at Manchester's Contact Theatre a year after riots had occurred in Oldham and Bradford, at a time when the courts were beginning to sentence the (almost exclusively South Asian) men who had been arrested during the disturbances.

The response from the audience was so universally enthusiastic that this early version of the play was developed into a fully-fledged professional production. Mixing direct reportage from those involved in the riots with powerful visual staging, it explores what constitutes 'British' identity, with a particular emphasis on contemporary British South Asian culture.

"Just Before The Rain is a moving and funny testimony to the spirit of the young Asian community in Oldham. The piece explores in a non-sensationalist way how miscommunication is managed by those who would seek to keep different cultures apart in 21st century Britain. Peshkar's young actors strike back in a vibrant and fast-moving performance"
Asian News

Five young people, five chairs, a petrol bomb and a pile of rubble combine to create a show that takes a roller-coaster ride through the Oldham disturbances and their aftermath. It is a play rich in humour and poetry that uses movement and language to reflect the style and attitude of the modern British Asian youth.

"The riots touched everyone," says Peshkar's Company Director, Sazzadur Rahman. "Two years on, many of the wounds have still not been healed. This won't happen until communities come together and start talking and listening to each other. In this sense- and bearing in mind the current political climate- the piece is arguably even more important now than it would have been then."

Just Before the Rain will be at the Sherman on Tuesday 8 & Wednesday 9 April at 8pm. Tickets for this production are priced at £10, reductions £8 and maxcard £7.50. To book tickets, or for any enquiries, call The Sherman Theatre Box Office on 029 2064 6900. For more information also look at the Sherman website: and the Peshkar Productions website:


Peshkar Productions have been acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, and in recent months, the company's profile has been boosted tremendously. They have received a nomination in the Best New Writer category by Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards for their previous play, The Beautiful Violin and had sell-out audiences for their Masala Girls comedy sketch show, written and directed by Coronation Street's Shobna Gulati- a founder member of Peshkar.

For Just Before The Rain, funding has been secured from the Arts Council of England's National Touring Programme- which is extremely rare for a theatre company at Peshkar's current stage of development and a reflection of how well they are perceived by arts organisations. The play will visit twelve venues in cities as far afield as Manchester, Cardiff, Bradford and Newcastle.

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Sherman Theatre Marketing Department
Wednesday, April 02, 2003back



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