Anti-racist rallying cry by new Tara Arts head

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Tara Arts, the country’s first BAME theatre company, has announced Abdul Shayek as its new artistic director and joint-CEO who has pledged himself and the company to renewed combating of racism and racial inequality in the light of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“As we move into this next chapter, Tara Arts will honour what came before, whilst throwing ourselves into the future and opening our doors wide. We will listen to those who have been affected most by this current crisis to tell us how best we can serve them” Shayek said in a rallying cry for both the BAME and theatre communities.

“We understand our sector and society is in the midst of challenging times. We will rise to this challenge. We will seize this moment of opportunity to listen to the needs of our sector, our community, our audiences, our artists and we will support and nourish them. We will serve our local, national and global communities, develop new audiences through the work we make, challenge what theatre can be, who is making it and most importantly who has access to it. Now is the time for change.”

Shayak, founder and former artistic director of the Cardiff-based company Fio, succeeds Tara’s founder, Jatinder Verma.

He said his first act would be to meet the local Wandsworth community, listening to the needs of artists and establishing a space for debate and action to address issues. His first production, A Final Farewell, will explore how the people of Wandsworth have been able to say goodbye to loved ones lost during COVID 19 through t stories from the communities, culminating in a celebratory finale night.


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