Today I finished blogging for “A Season of Bangla Drama”. I had responded to the Tower Hamlets call for bloggers from 3rd November to 25th November and as I was assumed to be a non-Bengali speaker I was given assignments accordingly. I knew another blogger came on board and I applauded her reviews on FaceBook.
It was all a valuable experience. No-one else wanted to share it with me though. I had complimentary tickets coming out of my ears. The Brady Arts Centre couldn’t be better; the staff are truly welcoming and it’s right near Whitechapel Station and the Royal London Hospital so its easy enough to find… after the first visit.
The events organiser had wanted the seminars to be academic. At one seminar we were told that the Bangladeshi youth were enthusiastic about writing plays and performing in English. The youth chose to absent themselves from SOBD performances. Fair enough; it’s hard to get anyone to a theatre. My disappointment grows.
The tickets were cheap and one might have expected support from the families in the surrounding social housing. The programme was designed to appeal to the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets. In my experience the words “community” and “theatre” place expectations on people who pencil outside entertainment low down on their must-do lists. I have worked with seniors who have never been to a theatre. I’ve never been to a rugby match because I have no reason to do so. At SOBD who was the audience? I don’t know. I was there.
So I went to enough performances and spent evenings in Whitechapel. I was never assigned to the Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. That didn’t bother me as I find Rich Mix so not my cup of tea. The reception staff are off-hand and I’ve yet to feel welcome there.
I felt honoured to promote the tenth “Season”.