The Rokeya Project
Rose Bruford College is breaking new ground again. It is supporting a visit to three universities and a school in Kolkata by a graduate company, taking workshops based on a production they wrote and developed.
“Rokeya’s Dream” was developed in association with Tara Arts, and describes three young women discovering a visionary text by the Muslim feminist campaigner and educator, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain, written in 1905. Rokeya was a tireless campaigner against women in purdah, and she envisages a time when women are empowered to take control by using the earth’s resources wisely. At a time when young women are choosing to wear the veil, her writing still holds a relevant message for today; indeed, her championing of women’s education feels very contemporary. The play performed in March 2009 at Tara, at Brady Centre in East London, and at Rose Bruford College
The Rokeya Project continues the story. The company comprises graduates Rae Leaver and Claudia Jazz Haley, who scripted and designed the original show; Showmi Das who choreographed it, and includes Alia Wilson who has been acting as promoter; Shaheen Westcombe MBE, who was the original promoter of the project on behalf of Mahila Sangha women’s group, will be delivering supporting lectures.
The company will be visiting three Universities: the Rabindra Bharati and Viswa Bharati Universities both have strong links with the great poet and dramatist Rabindranath Tagore, while an invitation has also been received from the Women’s studies programme at Burdwan University. They will also visit the school for young women founded by Rokeya, which is celebrating its centenary. While there they will be delivering workshops on the original production, while collecting reactions from their counterparts to the material to shape a truly intercultural reaction to the material.
On their return the company intend to shape the material into another production, based on their experience of the new India that is emerging.