A Festival of Independence at the Shakespeare’s Globe
April – September 2017

Lions and Tigers - Festival of Independence

The magical settings of the Shakespeare’s Globe will host a series of literary, music and theatre events as part of their Festival of Independence, which aims to honour India’s struggle for freedom, and in doing so self-determination struggles the world over.  

The programme features a stellar cast of artists, musicians and writers – William Dalrymple, Nitin Sawhney and Susheela Raman among them – whose lives and careers have traversed and bridged India and the UK.

Speaking about the festival, curator Tanika Gupta has said: “I’m delighted to be curating the Festival of Independence this summer, the 70th anniversary of Indian independence. In our current climate it’s more important than ever to celebrate the struggles of those who have fought for an equal, fairer society. It is our job to protect that hard-won freedom, and to reiterate the need for diversity in all areas of our lives and work. I’m thrilled that the Festival of Independence will be bringing such incredible artists and important, vital stories to one of London’s greatest theatres this summer.

The events announced so far are here – we’ll let you know about others as we find out about them.
Festival Independence - How Many RoadsHow Many Roads? Billed as an ‘evening of itinerant words and music’, this evening will take place in the Globe’s candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. It will feature celebrated writer William Dalrymple and singer Susheela Raman presenting readings and music representing their experiences and perspectives as an Englishman who lives in and writes about India, and a Londoner born to South Indian parents, whose music incorporates both South Asian and international influences.

Wednesday 7 June 2017, 8pm. Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. £10 – £62. Book here.

Festival Independence - Nitin Sawhney

Nitin Sawhney. In the Globe Theatre! Promising to perform from his entire repertoire! We’ve followed Nitin to the Southbank Centre, the Roundhouse, the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and (over and over) to the Royal Albert Hall. And still the thought of that genius music, perhaps alongside Nicki Wells’ soaring vocals in possibly the most beautiful venue of them all is setting us all a-tingle.

Monday 21 August, 7pm. Globe Theatre. £20 – £50. Book here.

Festival Independence - Lions and Tigers

Lions and Tigers. Dinesh Gupta was a Bengali freedom fighter who fought against British rule. After a mounting a suicide mission (which he survived) in Dalhousie Square in Calcutta, he was arrested and hanged, in 1931, at the age of 19. Whilst in prison he wrote a series of letters which were subsequently compiled into a book. Playwright and curator of the Festival Tanika Gupta, and also Dinesh Gupta’s grand niece has used those letters as the basis of this play which charts his political journey, and explores the role of violence and ‘terror’ in what is often portrayed as a non-violent struggle.

Wednesday 23 August – Saturday 16 September 2017, 8pm. £10 – £62. Book here.

Festival Independence - Friends Story

A Friend’s Story. Playwright, journalist and film writer Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi play Mitrachi Goshta has only recently been translated into its English version A Friend’s Story. At the time of its writing and first performance, it was a controversially revolutionary story of a love triangle which included a same sex relationship – that too set in pre-independence India. Its showing also marks 50 years of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK.

Wednesday 20 & Thursday 21 August 2017, 8pm. Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. £10 – £35. Book here.


By Seema Khan.


Posted on 8 April 2017

Photos courtesy of Shakespeare’s Globe

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