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Arts Council funds Leicester Curve Indian theatre partnership to tune of £100k

Leicester Curve associate director Suba Das. Photo: Curve Theatre

A new play about female activists in India who fight the oppression of women has received a £100,000 boost from Arts Council England.

The Leicester Curve project is one of several collaborations with Indian theatre companies being supported by the funding body’s £1.3 million Re:Imagine India project – with other recipients including the Royal Court, Graeae Theatre Company and Soho Theatre.

Curve’s play, Pink Sari Revolution, is being devised by the theatre’s associate director Suba Das alongside choreographer Aakash Odedra and Mumbai-based playwright Purva Naresh, whose work has previously been staged at the Royal Court.

It tells the real-life story of India’s Pink Sari Gang, an activist group of more than 20,000 pink-sari-wearing women across Northern India.

Adapted by Amana Fontanella-Khan’s documentary novel of the same name, the show will premiere at the theatre in 2017, before a tour of India and the UK.

Curve chief executive Chris Stafford and artistic director Nikolai Foster said they were “truly honoured” they were able to stage the play after an “extensive” period of research and development in the UK and India – funded by a smaller ACE grant [1] in July last year.

“As always, we are indebted to Arts Council England for supporting this important piece of work,” they added.

ACE area director Peter Knott said the Re:Imagine India funding was about helping cultural organisations “strengthen their international connections”.

He continued: “With our support for this new production and tour, we hope Curve continues to attract, entertain and inspire more people at home and internationally.”

London’s Royal Court will use £100,000 of funding towards a co-production with Indian Ensemble Theatre, for which the two companies will tour a new play set in Tibet.

Elsewhere, £60,000 was granted to Graeae to support its training of deaf and disabled artists in India, while Soho Theatre received £75,700 for an as-yet-undisclosed project.

Welsh circus NoFit State also received £300,000 as part of a separate fund designed to showcase UK work internationally. The money will help fund the company as it tours to three major festivals in France and Sweden.

Simon Mellor, executive director for arts and culture at ACE, claimed it was now “more important than ever” that the Arts Council supports UK arts organisations to work internationally.

“The awards we are announcing today will enable even more artists and organisations to grow overseas markets for their work as well as developing new collaborations with international artists and producers,” he said.