'Divided' performance by Camden People's Theatre and Hopscotch Asian Women’s Centre
A solo performance inspired by real life case studies of domestic violence comes to Camden People's Theatre this Spring, presented by Subika Anwar-Khan.
Love Camden finds out all about it from Subika herself.
Tell us a bit about your show
Divided is a solo show that explores the question of western integration from three South Asian characters. Told through the protagonist's journey, Divided uses music and even some humour to challenge flat representations of feminism and culturally specific traditions by offering binary perspectives.
What was the inspiration behind the project?
It was originally a co-commission between Hopscotch Asian Women's Charity and Camden People's Theatre who wanted to use performance as a way of coming together, considering they are housed next door to one another, so what better way? I was influenced by a lot of the case studies I read at Hopscotch and began to think of my own understanding of integration, especially as a first generation British Asian, and found a strong sense of familiarity in the womens' struggle to adjust to a life of independence within the West. Many of these women have come from domestically abusive backgrounds but I didn't want to feature this as the main theme because the struggles aren't what defines us as human beings.
How have you worked with Hopscotch Asian Women's Centre?
We had several meetings together so I could understand the world of the women that Hopscotch work with. I felt an immediate connection to their stories as I began to recognise them in my own family. I presented a variety of characters I had written from what I had heard and we worked together with Camden People's Theatre to develop it from there.
Why do you think it is important to tell this story?
Representation of ethnicity within the media is merely beginning to reflect society in the UK. With such a magnified focus on the Asian community it is important to break stereotypes with stories that are relevant to our communities. Stories about being human. In order to move forward in our thinking we must understand the past and to do that we have to highlight the journey's we have taken to get here now.
Why did you decide to stage it at Camden People's Theatre?
I responded to Camden People's theatre call out to create a piece with Hopscotch Asian Women's charity. As an Asian woman a lot of my work is about stuff I know, so thought I'd be the perfect person for the job! And they seemed to think so too. It was with their support that I've continued developing this piece.
What other projects are on the horizon for you as an artist?
I'm currently working on a full length Dystopian play about immigration with the Writers Collective at The Curve Theatre in Leicester, which will result in a sharing in May.
I've also recently had a play of mine on at The Vault Festival in Waterloo called Princess Suffragette, which was about the true story of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh - the first Princess, of dual Asian heritage, to join the Suffragettes. Myself and London Grey and Green Theatre are continuing to develop it to take it further and give it another life because it's such a relevant story that has shaped our history.