Four exciting new writers share their work in a special showcase at Leeds Playhouse

Four inspiring new voices are to be heard in a special theatre sharing this Friday 11 March following a six-month joint development programme between Leeds Playhouse and Kali Theatre.

The Kali Discovery Showcase is a series of script-in-hand performances of four striking short plays by newly discovered female writers of South Asian heritage from Leeds and across the North. The exciting new works, which will be shared for the first time in the Bramall Rock Void at Leeds Playhouse, have been developed as part of the Discovery programme in collaboration with Kali Theatre, who produce thought-provoking, contemporary new writing by women of South Asian heritage which reflects and comments on our lives today.

The four talented writers are: Yesmien Bagh Ali, who runs a small business which involves teaching, cooking, writing, performing and community activism; Zahrah Iqbal, a passionate storyteller who works as a researcher on Channel 4’s HollyoaksHumira Imtiaz, a freelance theatremaker; and Shreya Patel, a queer, disabled writer, performer and director.

Sameena Hussain, Associate Director at Leeds Playhouse, said: â€œIt’s been a beautiful collaboration working with Kali Theatre and an absolute privilege to work with four amazing and brave writers, witnessing how their work has developed and their confidence has grown. Nurturing new writers – especially four as dynamic and inspiring as these – has been a very fruitful experience for us all.”

Kali Theatre Artistic Director Helena Bell said: “Kali is delighted to be working in partnership with Leeds Playhouse to present this Discovery Leeds Showcase. It will be the exciting result of six months of joint development work on four brand new short plays by four brand new playwrights from Leeds and beyond – all gifted writers of South Asian descent. We look forward to sharing these sparkling, script-in-hand performances and introducing audiences to the newly discovered talent of the future.”

Brown Girl Magic by Shreya Patel follows three best friends navigating the complexities of sex, relationships and queer identity to secure their dates for prom.

Take me to my roots by Yesmien Bagh Ali is an intergenerational story of a young British Pakistani boy facing an identity crisis and his grandfather who has his own personal dilemmas. She’s delighted to be able to share her work at the Playhouse: â€œIt’s thrilling to be able to create and develop a short play with a South Asian woman’s voice, using dialogue that represents our voice. To see my writing moving on to the next stage has given me the confidence to continue on my journey, and to appreciate the writing process. You don’t often hear about programmes that cater for women like myself, especially in the North, but, together, the Playhouse and Kali have created an opportunity for us to share voices that matter and represent our diverse communities.”

Artificial Counsel by Humira Imtiaz is set in the not-so-distant future, exploring artificial intelligence in mental health and considering the complicated process of healing from trauma. Humira is looking forward to using this experience to explore their writing further. They believe that reflecting the truth, no matter how ugly, helps people to take stock and begin the process of working on their colonial and intergenerational trauma.

The Chaperoned Date by Zahrah Iqbal introduces us to two opposing modern Muslims playfully challenging cultural expectations by dissecting the pollution of patriarchy and generational trauma to ultimately test whether they are destined to be together. She said: â€œI am determined to champion and empower South Asian voices, ultimately conveying compelling narratives through a refreshing exploration of social and cultural discussions. Being chosen for Discovery is a milestone in both my personal and professional journey. I’m thrilled to step aboard my next challenge – writing for theatre!”

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