Indian independence celebrated at Live

Peter Lathan

Newcastle’s Live Theatre, in association with GemArts, is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of India’s independence with two events.

On Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 July, it will host No Dogs, No Indians, a new play by Siddhartha Bose, produced by Penned in the Margins and co-commissioned by Live Theatre, GemArts, Brighton Festival, Southbank Centre, Writers’ Centre Norwich and Norwich Arts Centre.

In Bengal in 1932, a young woman named Pritilata Waddedar is preparing to lead a team of revolutionaries to attack a whites only club in Chittagong, an act of defiance that will end in taking her own life. The sign above the club reads "No Dogs, No Indians".

Decades later, Shyamal Chatterjee is an aspiring intellectual born into post-independence Kolkata. He is in love with all things British, from Shakespeare to cricket and The Beatles. But, as he contemplates the past and imagines his children’s future, he begins to question his own identity.

In 2017, 70 years after independence, Ananda Chatterjee returns from London on the news of his father’s death. In the new India, he encounters steel magnates, supermodels and tech millionaires but, behind the gloss of success, he is haunted by ghosts from India’s past—and from his own.

“This summer it will be 70 years since the signing of the 1947 Indian Independence Act, the creation of Pakistan and the conclusion of 350 years of the British Empire in India,” said Live’s Literary Manager Gez Casey. “To mark this anniversary, we are delighted to be able to present Siddhartha’s new play No Dogs, No Indians which weaves together true and fictional tales of British colonialism and its legacy.”

No Dogs, No Indians is part of GemArts’ Masala Festival, which aims to bring the finest South Asian Arts and Culture to the North East, spanning traditional and contemporary arts, it explores partition, migration, globalisation, identity, heritage and modernity, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of Independence for both India and Pakistan.

The Festival culminates on Sunday 23 July (11AM to 3PM) in a free Mini Mela in Live Garden which features arts, crafts, interactive storytelling, performances and food.

“We’re all really excited at GemArts, as this year’s Masala Festival is even more ambitious, building on last year’s award winning success,” said Vikas Kumar, GemArts and Masala Festival Director. “We have continued to collaborate with venue partners, places and spaces, commissioning new work to present internationally significant South Asian artists and art forms from the UK and abroad.”´╗┐