Last Saturday’s workshop was a privilege. After a gruelling week with not such brilliant sleep (during the week) I thought I might be running on empty by Saturday afternoon. However I did sleep reasonably well the night before. On the day, it was cloudy with breaks of sunshine and a peculiar curving wind. I was calmly excited with anticipation for the workshop.
In terms of numbers it was modest and this did allow for more in-depth interaction and openness amongst the participants. The group was bold, generous and authentic, in fact even nurturing towards each other. My beloved Abhi participated too on this occasion, which was very useful in receiving a no holds barred critique afterwards. His comments were wholly positive.
Carl’s writing exercise is quite powerful. He takes you back to a significant turning point in your life making it vivid through his prompts – the use of senses, the time of year and day and so on. The group were scattered across the room busy writing: some on chairs, others laying on the floor or perched on the steps. Afterwards we sat in a circle and each shared an extract with the group. Here’s one from the session – an imagined letter to a father:
2007. December, Boxing Day.
You’re in India.
We’ve had dinner. Eastenders is on in the background. Half-heartedly we’re watching.
I had planned it this way, as you were away, so that I had mum to myself.
In theory, the plan was to tell her, and then you.
She thought I was joking…that it was an excuse not to get married.
“No, I’m gay!”
Apparently she was clueless. But what about mums knowing their sons and all that? What about the Gay Times incident at 16…?
Arena workshop participant – 22 June 2013.
Do you have a turning point to share?
I’m looking forward to tomorrow afternoon: getting down to Wolverhampton and running a workshop session with Carl Miller. I’m anticipating new people, voices and ideas to discover…
Workshop exploring British Asian lesbian, gay and bisexual lives: Sat 22 June, 2pm, Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton.
What a drama getting to this interview yesterday… I managed to park on the other side of town. I forgot my phone in the car. Upon realising this I was a few streets away already running tight. So I took a calculated risk and left my white iphone in the driver’s seat, rather than rescuing it and getting late for my interview. The thinking was: it’s such a dank and grey day that a potential car burglar would have to get close to the window to be able to see inside. I raced across town in the rain. Sheffield Live! was not where I thought it was going to be. Firstly Paternoster Row was not where I thought it should be. It wasn’t far – it was parallel to my idea of it. Then I couldn’t find the building itself. Of course at this point one turns to one’s phone: maps, email or even makes a call. After getting directions from someone I was sent the wrong way down the road, now getting warm and breaking into a sweat in my brown woolly jumper and thick coat. After returning from the direction of the bus station, nearly via BBC Sheffield (due to misdirection by the Big Issue seller), I managed to get ‘accurate’ directions from someone at the Showroom Cinema – today’s farishta. And it was just around the corner from there. I arrived in a breathless urgency and a little cross. My emotions plateaued in the exceedingly s_l_o_w lift. 90 seconds later we’re on air.
Sheffield Live! Interview 25 Feb 2013
In my defence I’m still getting my bearings around Sheffield…
Unsurprisingly the car window was still intact and phone sat waiting patiently for me.
I’ve a live radio interview at 12:10 (GMT) today with Kevin Resley on the Communities Live programme on Sheffield Live! online or 93.2FM.
Here’s the 1 min 11 edit on the Sunrise website.
And just to clarify, we’re using the real life interviews as ‘inspiration’ – a starting point. We’re not making verbatim theatre through the retelling of specific lives.
And what’s just sliced from the end of the interview is: whilst this project isn’t trying to change the world, it is about breathing life into this much hidden subject in Asian communities (to raise more awareness, discussion and understanding).
Ok, just been told there should be a longer edit – 1 minute – on the sister radio station Kismat
Sunrise Radio interview to air today every hour this morning just after the hour. This is their LGB/T coverage week. Listen live online or access in archives from tomorrow.
I’m looking forward to attending Brave New World tomorrow. It looks like an interesting line up. It will be great to hear about other LGBT projects currently taking place. It will also be useful to make some new links with the heritage sector. Whilst the theatre production is the initial priority, I’m also looking to maximise the learning, training and archive potential of the material gathered; and to appropriately celebrate and profile the lives of the respondents more directly.