The epic story of a kingdom, of exile and intrigue
and when darkness turns to light.
‘The Oil was sizzling awaiting the syrup with care,
In hopes that Jalebis soon would be there’
This Autumn, Nutkhut embarks on a unique and ambitious re-telling of the story of Diwali, making it accessible to a wider audience, yet retaining, at its heart a story of families and friends from this epic tale.
The Nutkhut team grew up with Diwali, we’ve read the epic front to back, back to front and upside down – as kids we’d boo and hiss at the baddies, at school we’d be singled out to share the story during whole school assemblies and as adults we are on a mission to make the story accessible to a wider audience.
On par with the epic Greek poem, Homer’s Illiad. We have taken little known moments of the Ramayana and applied theatrical techniques. We split between the present and the past and embark on the story at bedtime, with brothers and sisters excited and restless………………………
How are we doing it? With over 700 participants, 16 young South Asian artists, 25 elders, 8 oversized umbrellas, 2 thrones and a light sabre! An intergenerational, multi art form spectacle!
We are making lanterns, diyas and rangoli. Sourcing and creating costume, cutting and merging live and recorded music, making props and editing film and projections. Phew!
What have we been doing? Over the past few months, we’ve spent weekends and evenings supporting, mentoring and rehearsing with over 75 young people from North Kent and Bexley, both areas of low arts engagement and disadvantaged communities.
Our approach with this project has been to involve everyone – we don’t do things in halves – it’s the participants that have created the story – that have made choices and have engaged in the entirety of the key decisions. We are turning the making of theatre on its head, breaking down the hierarchies and involving and encouraging new artists, new ideas, families and young people, integrating dance, lanterns, music, projections and video mapping. We’ve brought together a small team of professionals to take the lead, who’ve been on similar Diwali journeys and very rarely get these types of opportunities, to support the process, mentor and train the participants and to ultimately develop a new generation of dedicated Diwali Makers from culturally diverse backgrounds.
When? Sat 3 Nov 4.30pm – 7pm
Where? Townley Grammar School, Kent
Cost? FREE – access, access, access is our mantra – where we can, our projects are free to public.
For more information or if you’d like to get involved please contact us via email, phone or drop in.
In the world of Nukthut, the monsoon rains hold a special place.
On a warm, wet, drizzly, grey, showery, 14th October, we presented our mix of community and professional dance ensembles at CultureFest at Eltham Palace. It’s fair to say the monsoon rains had decided to arrive in time for the festival.
We selected a medley of songs with the theme of rain and armed with our rain friendly chattris (umbrellas) we shared the choreography of falling droplets of rain to a wonderful inter-generational audience.
With the monsoon comes change, prosperity and often risk and as a result the monsoon season has inspired poets, musicians and artists for many thousands of years from the Indian Sub -continent. Many Nutkhut projects have included ‘rain’ as a moment of change – in our award winning ‘Bollywood Steps’ water and rain were at the heart of this show, with a grande finale where we dispensed 3000 litres of recycled rainwater into the show.
In the words of our wonderful neighbours, Greenwich Dance, “the whole of the Great Hall erupted into a scene of sequins and colour as the magical dancers from Nutkhut had everyone up and dancing.”
Photo Credit: Greenwich Dance and Nicole Guarino
This year, the Godiva Festival celebrated its 20th Anniversary – with our London Mela team, we hosted and programmed 7 hours of the best of British Asian live music – a road trip that took us from 16th century middle east with Qawwal from Abi Sampa and her ensemble in her unique style, the sufi mystic element of Islam, to the district of Mianwali with Attahulah Khan Isakehelvi and the heartlands of the Sairaiki region of Pakistan’s Punjab region on the edge of the Grand Trunk Road. Over the boarder to the plains of India’s Punjab for Desi Bhangra, swinging over two continents with a Southall twist with H Dhami. Then around the M25 to Essex with TOWIE’s Jasmin Walia and the sound London clubland, then back around the M25 and up the A1 to Grimsby with pop sensation Zack Knight. Then closer to home with Midlands finest, the mighty award winning Apache Indian and his music academy crew and to finish off with the punk, electro consious sounds of the Asian Dub Foundation – phew! Phenomenal, Physical and full on!
As the country largest free family outdoor festival it was a special privilege to be involved in this special event which launched Coventry’s UK City of Culture 2021.
Continuing Nutkhut’s interest in how migration and history have developed contemporary culture, through art, poetry and performance, co-Artistic Director Ajay Chhabra travelled to California in July 2018.
He met with artists, policy makers and programmers in Sacramento and attended the launch of the 40th San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival at City Hall, San Francisco.
Poet Laureate Kim Shuck read poems about dance with an eye to the way that traditional Cherokee Stomp Dance is used to re-balance the world. As a Tsalagi (Cherokee)/Euro-American poet, author, weaver, she has drawn from Southeastern Native American culture and tradition as well as contemporary urban Indian life.
Pictured Left to Right: Kate Patterson-Murphy; Director of Communications, San Francisco Arts Commission, Rachelle Axel; Director of Public & Private Partnerships, San Francisco Arts Commission and Ajay Chhabra; Co-founder & Creative Director, Nutkhut