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Tara Arts and Polka Theatre to tour Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree

Rose-Marie Christian in Three Sat Under the Banya Tree. Photo by Craig Fuller.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TARA Arts and Polka Theatre have announced that their co-production of Shamser Sinha’s Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree will tour the UK tour from January 20 to March 2, 2019, visiting The Albany on February 10 and Tara Theatre from February 20 to February 23.

The production originally played at The Polka Theatre in September 2018.

Three Sat Under The Banyan Tree is the first ever stage adaptation of The Panchatantra (India’s Aesop’s Fables) in the UK. Directed by Tara Arts’ Artistic Director Jatinder Verma, this children’s piece for ages 7 – 12 incorporates masks, movement and music.

Near the foothills of the Himalayas, three refugees open a magical book under a Banyan tree. Stories of a headstrong crow, a brave mongoose, and a tortured tiger come vibrantly to life, with masks, movement and music, to offer lessons for the young refugees seeking to re-make their lives.

This three-hander includes Rose-Marie Christian in the role of Jayaben, Halema Hussain as Yasmin and Raj Swamy as Mahendra.

Rose-Marie Christian’s theatre credits include Tales from the Arabian Nights (London Bubble), Dick Whittington, Aladdin, Home Theatre (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Does My Bomb Look Big In This? (Bush Theatre), Little Revolution (Almeida Theatre), Two Boys (English National Opera), Acting Up (Rich Mix), The Crucible (Talawa), Absolute Return (Orange Tree Theatre) and Suffocation and Bussing It (Oval House). Her film credits include Still Life (Still Life Productions), Escape and Rinsers.

Halema Hussain is a bilingual actress and a member of Dangerous Space, created by Barbara Houseman and Nastazja Somers. Her theatre credits include Trixie in She Had Beautiful Handwriting For a Junkie (Theatre N16) and Aisha in Does My Bomb Look Big In This? (UK Tour). She also played Zainab/Hasina in Sudha Bhuchar’s Child of the Divide (UK/Toronto Tour), and Mary Warren in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible (ALRA).

Raj Swamy is making his professional debut with Tara Arts since graduating from East 15 Acting School, where he studied BA World Performance. Swamy has been involved in television productions such as Bad Education (BBC) and Birds of a Feather (BBC) and recently played the role of Kharak in feature film Red Joan (Trademark Films) alongside Judi Dench.

Artistic Director Jatinder Verma said: “Bringing stories such as Shamser Sinha’s brilliant new take on India’s classic fables, reminds us that diversity is for all, young and old; offering powerful ways for making connections with other cultures and worlds.”

Peter Glanville, Polka Artistic Director said: “Polka Theatre are delighted to have collaborated with Tara Arts on this production, bringing to life some of the classic Panchatantra tales for a new generation of children. The show was very well received during its run at Polka, and we are thrilled that it will now be shared with a wider audience of children and families on tour.”

The tour will visit Watermans, Brentford (January 20), Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch (January 25 – 26), The Lighthouse, Poole (February 2), Curve, Leicester (February 4 – 6), New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich (February 9), The Albany, Deptford (February 10), Curve, Slough (February 16), The Woodville, Gravesend (February 17), Tara Theatre (February 20 – 23) and Luton Library Theatre (February 26- 27).

Image: Rose-Marie Christian in Three Sat Under the Banya Tree. Photo by Craig Fuller.