Wednesday 21st February 2024
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Tamils in theatre: International plays, musicals and Tamil stories

From Hamilton to Annie, and award winning Tamil stories. Here’s what’s happening in the wonderful world of theatre, and the Tamil talent working tirelessly onstage and behind the scenes.

1. The Father and the Assassin
Dates: 08 Sept – 14 Oct 2023

The Father and the Assassin, the smash hit play about the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi returns to the National Theatre in London, after it’s successful debut in Summer 2022. Director Indhu Rubasingham (British Tamil) reunites with Anupama Chandrasekhar (Indian Tamil), one of India’s most exciting playwrights, for this essential exploration of oppression and extremism, featuring Olivier Award-winner, Life of Pi famed Hiran Abeysekera (Sri Lankan Sinhalese) as Nathuram Godse.

2. Siva Kaneswaran in La Bamba!
Dates: now – 25th Nov 2023

Singer and musician Siva Kaneswaran (Irish Tamil), from the popular British boy-band “The Wanted”, makes his theatrical stage debut as ‘Mateo’ in the musical La Bamba, which is all set to tour the UK from now until November. A beautiful exploration of Latin culture and heritage, this is a fiery summer fiesta celebrating the power of music and how it can transform generations and bring people together.

3. Agathi: The Plight of Refugees
Date: 15th Sept 2023

Singapore based Apsaras Arts are performing in Australia, for a UNHCR fundraiser, with their dance-theatre production titled Agathi, exploring the plight of refugees all over the world. Through music, poetry and bharatanatyam, Agathi paints an intimate portrait of their lives and struggles, drawing inspiration from the company’s artistic director Aravinth Kumarasamy’s personal experiences as a refugee. The production features a music score based on the poetry of well-known Tamil poets aswell as translations by Niranjan Bharathi of poems from the UN Refugee Agency-published A Book of Poems: Expressions from our Youth.

4. Young Tamil star lands lead role in Annie
Dates: Now until 25th Nov 2023

11-year-old Sharangi Gnanavarathan, a budding young Tamil star from South London has landed the role in Annie. The hit West-end musical is currently touring the UK. Sharangi is alternating the role of Annie with two other young stars, and has performed over 15 shows since her stage debut in July. Catch her in Manchester this September (6 days), in October she is traveling for shows in Wolverhampton, Sheffield and Belfast. On the 9th, 10th and 11th November she is performing at the New Wimbledon Theatre in London.

5. Counting and Cracking returns to Sydney.
Dates: Jun 28-Jul 21 2024

Following a successful UK tour in August 2022, with back to back shows in Edinburgh & Birmingham, where it earned it’s 5 star review in the Times, “Counting and Cracking” is returning to Sydney where it all started. The epic Australia Sri Lankan saga by Tamil play writer and associate director S. Shakthidharan, won a staggering seven Helpmann Awards, as well as the $100,000 Victorian Prize for Literature (Australia’s richest literary prize).

6. Diluckshan Jeyaratnam in Hamilton Germany
Dates: now until 15th Oct 2023

Singer, musician and actor, Diluckshan Jeyaratnam (Tamil Dane), has announced the date of his last Hamilton show. Having established his name in Denmark with leading roles in “The Hunchback of Notre“ and “The Prince of Egypt”, Diluckshan moved in mid 2022 to Hamburg for the German production of Hamilton, where he is an alternate for two lead characters – Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. He will return to Denmark, where he will perform in further shows and concerts, including the highly anticipated Alaipaayuthey III.

7. Reimaging the Period Party aka Tamil Puberty Ceremony

Earlier this year, Gayathiri Kamalakanthan, a Tamil poet, playwright and sex education facilitator, showcased their first play. Period Parrrty, a 15 minute play presented by Kali Theatre, is an answer to the question – What would it look like to queer a period party? Where Tamil-ness and queerness is celebrated and held, not as a contradiction but as an inheritance. 

Gayathiri won the Faber & Andlyn Publisher’s Prize 2022, the Primadonna Fiction Prize 2021, and is currently working on their debut novel and a collection of poems under the mentorship of Griot’s Well. This Saturday, Gayathiri is performing poetry at the Newham Poetry Festival in London.