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Drama festival kicks off with sold out opening night

9A Season of Bangla Drama kicked off on Sunday, November 1 with a sold out performance of The Altab Ali Story.
Organised by Tower Hamlets Council the month long festival boasts more than 25 events taking place across the borough, bringing together the best in Bangladeshi culture.
Cllr Asma Begum, cabinet member for culture launched the energetic and diverse theatre festival. Now in its 13th year, A Season of Bangla Drama will spice up your November with music, colour, dance and drama at venues across Tower Hamlets.
Prior to the performance of The Altab Ali Story, young people from Tower Hamlets involved in Arts Without Borders performed a new piece of work entitled Say What? This brand new piece explored what it means to be Bangla.
Speaking at the event, Cllr Asma Begum said: “This festival is a hugely important cultural event, not just in Tower Hamlets but across London as well. It celebrates Bengali culture, but is accessible for all to come and enjoy. Seeing this venue filled to capacity with a hugely diverse audience is testament to how important this festival is!”
The Altab Ali Story told the heart-breaking story about the death of Altab Ali in East London in 1978. It focuses on the moment when his mother was given the devastating news.
This senseless murder was the catalyst for a huge anti-racist movement from the Bengali community – the first ever seen in Britain. It culminated in a demonstration of 10,000 people marching to Downing Street with his coffin.
The show received a standing ovation. Audience member described the production as: “an impassioned piece on a part of Bengali history that we all need to revisit”; and a “beautiful interwoven music and drama piece, touching on an important moment in Bengali diaspora history.”
The festival has a mix of hard hitting and light-hearted pieces but all have a deeper moral message to convey and touch on issues ranging from corruption and greed to love and loss.
Events taking place this year include:
•    a trilogy of works by Rabindranath Tagore. Three gripping and eerie paranormal stories, including truths told from beyond the grave by a skeleton to a medical student; a man who is the victim of his wife’s unhealthy obsession with jewellery; and a confrontation between rationalism and mysticism
•    Rin Shodh – another Tagore performance – which follows the life of King Bijoyaditto. This king was not a natural leader and disliked having the monarchy thrust on him. Uncomfortable with the crown he has to bear, he leaves the court and goes forth as an ordinary citizen, meeting a variety of people who help him understand the ways of the world
•    Nripati (The Emperor) is a satirical play that depicts the ultimate victory of the people over a dictator and honesty over greed. A winter of discontent under a corrupt and selfish king results in the latter getting his just deserts when his subjects rise up against him.

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