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Tara Theatre announce their international summer season

Ainu Othello

Season preview

TARA Theatre have announced their international summer season (June – August 2019), featuring a breadth of work from across the globe. The season includes theatre, poetry, concerts and comedy with performances in English, French, Urdu and Japanese.

Jatinder Verma, Artistic Director said:

“Summer is tourist season in London – and at Tara we welcome the world through our Indian doors, helping make Earlsfield the Centre of the World (as south London novelist Louis de Bernière once described it)! From Australia to Scotland, Albania to South Africa, Eritrea to Japan and India to Poland, we welcome artists from North, South and East to present their work on our earth floor, helping us see the Global in the Local. The fabric of Tara Theatre lies in connecting worlds, and I welcome you to enjoy people, words and art from around the world this summer.”

The season opens with Kokoda (June 4 – 8), which follows Private Morris Powell as he battles to save Australia, alongside a motley militia of poorly trained young men, plucked off the streets of Melbourne. As the Japanese army rampages through the South Pacific in 1942, these soldiers must grapple with courage, endurance and sacrifice, as they rescue their country from invasion.

Set in 1940s London, Celtic Sisters (June 20 – 22) follows an Irish and Scottish girl as they escape their small towns, controlling mothers and Catholicism for something bigger. The production looks at abortion, equality and the strength of women.

Phosphoros Theatre, one of the leading refugee theatre groups in the UK, come to Tara Theatre with Pizza Shop Heroes (July 4 – 5). Four former child refugees from Eritrea, Afghanistan and Albania, working in a pizza shop, take audiences on a journey across time and continents.

Having told their ‘stories’ to social workers and courts as part of their asylum claims, reclaiming these words are what grounds Phosphoros Theatre’s innovative work. From prisons in Libya and Greece, to conversations with absent mothers, they shine a light on masculinity and forced migration.

Leading South African theatre-makers Ashwin Singh, Ralph Lawson and Rory Booth, present Reoca Light (July 30 to August 4). They powerfully combine drama, comedy and physical theatre to examine the idiosyncrasies of an Indian South African family on their evocative Durban odyssey. Exploring many significant periods in the country’s history, the play’s universal themes include racial and ethnic discrimination, intergenerational friendship, unexpected romance and the indomitability of the human spirit.


Nineteenth-century Swedish culture serves as a backdrop for The Weak Ones: Strindberg Triple Bill (July 9 – 13). These three one-act plays follow three families, their stories and their secrets in Motherly Love, The Stronger and Facing Death.

The season closes with The Shakespeare Company Japan’s adaptation of Othello, Ainu Othello (August 7 – 10). Performed in Japanese, the production provides a rare opportunity to see how Shakespeare remains a contemporary chronicler of human prejudices in another part of the globe.

It is 1860, in the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Othello is an Ainu, one of the indigenous people of northern Japan. He falls in love with a Japanese woman and is betrayed by a friend (Iago) of mixed Ainu and Japanese heritage.

Ainu Othello is adapted by Kazumi Shimodate, Artistic Director of The Shakespeare Company Japan. This spectacular production has been staged in Sendai, Tokyo, and Sapporo, opening powerful discussions about discrimination faced by the Ainu, and the prospects for new relationships in the modern era.

Other theatrical highlights of the season include:

La Mouette (June 15 – 17), Chekhov’s Seagull. Performed in French and set in 1890s Russia, this production follows a lonely young man as he writes plays, inspired by his muse and unavailable love, Nina.

Sortir De Sa Mère (July 6 – 7), from accomplished playwright Pierre Notte, is an absurd comedy about a very special family exploring death, lies and regrets.

Boxes (July 23), a tale of family, love, division and reconciliation, exploring issues of mixed race identity, gender fluidity and pansexual personalities in the black community in contemporary urban Britain.

That Daring Australian Girl (July 24 – 26), the remarkable true story of Muriel Matters – a South Australian actress and agitator who became one of the leading public figures of the UK’s Suffragette movement.

Dastangoi – Qissebaazi (July 28), performed in Urdu by Danish Husain, one of the most prominent modern Indian storytellers, specialising in the twelfth century Urdu form of Dastangoi. This is the first-ever presentation of Dastangoi in the UK.

That Daring Australian Girl. Photo credit: Jethro Compton.

Musical and poetry highlights include Tara Poetry: Instructions For Living A Life (June 23), highlighting poets who follow Mary Oliver’s poetic instructions “pay attention/be astonished/write about it”; Osyland Klezmer In Concert (June 28), award-winning group Osyland celebrate the multiculturalism of modern-day London by honoring the influence other cultures have had on the secular Ashkenazi musical tradition and The Puciarelli Group (July 19) featuring some of the top musicians within the London jazz scene.

This season also plays host to three Edinburgh Festival Fringe preview performances, giving audiences the chance to catch some of this year’s hot-tipped comedy ahead of the festival – National Trust Fan Club (July 15 – 16), which sees comedian Helen Wood embark on a one-woman quest to visit every National Trust site and become the National Trust’s biggest super-fan; Alice Marshall and Josh Berry (July 18) and Saskia Peston and Anil Desai (July 20).

Audiences will even have an opportunity to network at Power Up: Position Yourself in Business With Confidence (June 18), as Makeda Hewitt presents an empowering networking event, aimed at mature women in business.

Tara’s hugely popular comedy staple The Funny Side of Earlsfield returns on Sunday, June 29, with hilarious headliners Matthew Osborn and Michael Legge, and on Saturday, July 27, when Tara hosts the side-splitting improv group ‘Sprout’. The Bring Your Own Baby comedy show also returns (July 17).

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 8333 4457 or visit

Images: Ainu Othello (top); Kokoda (middle); That Daring Australian Girl, photo credit: Jethro Compton (bottom).