We are currently raising funds to co-create a new show that emerges from the stories and creative aspirations of the people of Brighton with heritage from Arabic-speaking countries who have engaged with our research.
In early 2023, we cross-referenced the data we have on our members with the most recent census data for Brighton and Hove. We discovered that Arabic is the second most commonly spoken language in the area and yet the stories and lived experiences held by its speakers are often unknown to the wider community.
We wanted to change that.
The Development Process
The first step in our process was to identify a theme we want to focus our conversations on. In May 2023 we brought together people from the local community with heritage from Arabic-speaking countries to chat about what’s important to them.
We had a brilliant and inspiring conversation and the decision was unanimous; the theme people were most drawn to and wanted to explore was Special Occasions. Think weddings, Eid, Easter, birthdays and funerals.
We then had conversations about Special Occasions with people with heritage from Arabic-speaking countries living across Brighton and Hove. These conversations will inspire the making of our new show.
We received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to deliver the ‘In a Conversation’ part of our show development process. Once the conversations are complete we will seek funding for the next stage of the development of the show: theatre workshops to explore stories and ideas that have arisen in conversations – stay tuned!
Naomi started work on Brighton People’s Theatre in 2015 and established it as a Community Interest Company in 2017. She did this because she was fed up with how out of touch theatre often is and wanted to do something to change this. She has a background in both community development and theatre. She has worked for organisations such as the Hangleton and Knoll Project, Locality, Battersea Arts Centre and The Old Vic. She is a 2019/2020 Clore Leadership Fellow for Theatre and a member of Battersea Arts Centre’s Co-creating Change Network.
Suhayla El-Bushra writes for stage and screen. She was writer in residence at the National Theatre Studio from April 2015 to August 2016, during which time her adaptation of Nikolai Erdman’s The Suicide was staged in the Lyttelton Theatre. Other stage work includes Pigeons (Royal Court 2013 and tour); Cuckoo (Unicorn Theatre, 2014); The Kilburn Passion (Tricycle, 2014); Arabian Nights (Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh, 2017); and an adaptation of Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (Chichester Festival Theatre, 2021). Suhayla has also had commissions from the National Theatre and the Bridge Theatre. Most recently, she wrote a book and lyrics for The Enormous Crocodile, based on Roald Dahl’s book, which will run at Leeds Playhouse and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in 2023 and 2024.
Tanushka was the founder and Artistic Director of Collisions which toured for ten years in theatres and outdoors across the UK and abroad. She was a winner of The Genesis Young Vic Young Director Awards in 2002. Her production of Medea toured international festivals in Cyprus and Albania. Tanushka now works as a freelance director and movement coach and has directed many plays including Dracula, Beauty and the Beast, Macbeth, and Animal Farm. In 2017 she worked with Brighton People’s Theatre as a guest director on Tighten Our Belts. Tanushka runs a youth theatre company Windmill Young Actors, whose production of Berkoff’s Agamemnon won The Outstanding Theatre Award at Brighton Fringe 2017. Find out more about Tanushka here.