Artists chosen for Naseem Khan commissions

Published: 6 December 2018

Three theatres have announced they have selected artists for the Naseem Khan commissions—an initiative to support artists of colour.

The commissions are named after cultural activist and journalist Naseem Khan who died in 2017.

Leicester’s Curve has picked Trina Haldar, founder and artistic director of Mashi Theatre while Manchester’s The Lowry has chosen Tribe Arts and Bristol Old Vic has selected theatre maker, choreographer, writer and performer Madeline Shann.

Trina Haldar said, “I was moved to action, hearing Naseem Khan speak at the 40th anniversary of (her groundbreaking report) The Art That Britain Ignores, so what a pleasure it is to be granted this commission in her name.

“As a fellow woman of colour, with bold ideas and fire in my belly, I’m inspired by all that Naseem did and I’m thrilled to be starting the development of this particular story in her honour.”

Tribe Arts is spearheaded by two British Asian men, Tajpal Rathore and Samran Rathore who believe in rejuvenating theatre for the 21st century. They said, “Naseem Khan was a gentle but radical advocate for a representative change in Britain's art sector. Her recommendations are still to be fully realised 40 years on and her work can be advanced only by equally like-minded people currently leading the sector.

“It's because of this that Tribe is absolutely ecstatic to be selected as one of the three Naseem Khan commissions and we're certain we're in for an artistically gruelling but wholly fulfilling experience.”

Madeline Shann whose work includes Little Terrors and Sex in Real Life said, “I’m thrilled to be awarded the Naseem Khan commission to develop my show The Gravity which draws on influences from science fiction and visual pop-culture to explore how the pressures of modern life manifest as a crushing force on the individual, interrogating the current dialogue around mental health.

“In an industry full of barriers, it’s amazing to have the support of partners who care about enabling artists of colour to spread their wings and make bold, envelope-pushing work for wider audiences.”

The chosen artists will be given support, rehearsal space and programmed slots to present their work across the three theatres.

Steve Orme