Pink Sari Revolution coming to Northern Stage

Peter Lathan

Pink Sari Revolution, the real-life story of Sampat Pal, leader of the working class feminist movement ‘The Gulabi Gang’ in India, is coming to Northern Stage in November.

The play, based on the book by Amana Fontanella-Khan, adapted by Purva Naresh and produced by Curve Leicester, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, and West Yorkshire Playhouse in association with English Touring Theatre, tells the story of Pal and her infamous 400,000 strong group of women who confront injustice and abuse against the women of Uttar Pradesh.

The production is directed by Suba Das who grew up in Seaton Delaval and is now Associate Director at Curve Leicester. He made his Royal Opera House debut earlier this year directing the posthumous world premiere of Ravi Shankar’s opera Sukanya, in a semi-staged co-production between The Royal Opera, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Curve. His work was last seen in the region back in April and May when he directed Ayub Khan Din’s East Is East in a joint production between Northern Stage and Nottingham Playhouse.

“I’m thrilled to make my second trip home this year,” he said. “It was so amazing to make and share East is East in Newcastle to such a phenomenal response! Although this story of courageous women fighting for their rights in rural India seems a million miles away from the crazy Khan family in 70s Salford; it's another show that at its heart is about standing up for your rights and being proud of who you are. That's a theme across lots of my work and I hope we tackle it with as much heart in Pink Sari Revolution too. It's a darker, more political show but for those who loved East Is East's orange revolving set, expect some equally stunning and surprising staging...and lots of pink!”

One winter’s day, Sampat Pal learns of Sheelu Nishad, a young girl thrown into prison in the dead of night. As she investigates claims of corruption, theft and assault, a chain of events is set into motion that reveals the real cost of taking a stand.

The BTG’s Sally Jack, who reviewed the production in Leicester, said of it: “Shocking and disturbing, Pink Sari Revolution does the job of theatre—to confront, challenge, and provide material for thought, further discussion and action.”

The production, which premiered at Curve Leicester from 27 September to 7 October, runs at Northern Stage from 2 to 4 November as part of a tour which also includes the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (11 to 21 October) and the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds (7 to 11 November).