Theatre Royal Stratford East presents The House of In Between, the untold story of the Hijra. The House of In Between follows the lives of a Hijra clan, a family trying to make their way through modern India, while maintaining their culture, traditions, beliefs and values. Written by Sevan K. Greene and directed by Pooja Ghai, TRSE’s Associate Director, the show unveils the secret lives of this community through humour, wit and passion. The choreography will be led by acclaimed dancer Seeta Patel with music by celebrated composer Arun Ghosh.
Although some are intersexed, Hijras are generally born with male physiology. Some choose to undergo a rite called nirvaan which involves removal of the male genitalia.
The story follows Uma – the leader of a Hijra clan – a tough, caring but charming opportunist who is desperate to uphold the traditions of the Hijras challenged by contemporary society’s increasing demands to modernise and join the global economy. But when the mysterious Dev arrives, Uma sees a chance to erase the sins of the past and ensure the clan's survival. Will Uma's act of charity destroy the clan and will Dev fulfil a destiny no one expected?
Kerry Michael, Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said: “With the growing realisation that within our communities there are those who wish to neither define themselves as male or female; and with horrors regularly being reported from around the world where girls and women are victims of sexual violence - this is a timely play from Sevan. He is telling an untold story that is tender, funny and full of drama.
Writer Sevan K. Greene said: “I was inspired to write a piece that gave voice to this marginalised group whose stories have been hidden yet resonate so loudly with me with their need to hold on to the past while being slowly razed by the present. Third genderism is a tricky concept so instead of trying to be scientific, I want an audience to understand the Hijra tradition through a very specific clan. All families argue, fight, love, defend, laugh and survive and through this connection I can make the unfamiliar familiar. My goal was to create a visceral play that tickles you one moment and rips your heart out the next.”
Pooja Ghai, Associate Director of TRSE said: “Hijras have been around for over 4,000 years and have played an important part in the cultural and societal make-up of India. At the time of the Moghul Empire they were revered, now in 2016 they are a part of the underclass and are both feared and deeply misunderstood. I was fascinated by the demise and impending eradication of this group of people, who have always believed they were bestowed with divine qualities, living a life as neither male or female, but as a third gender. Sevan’s beautifully written play is a story about family, hope, despair, unity and love - that takes us on a rollercoaster of a ride leaving us spellbound.”
Gary Wood returns to TRSE playing the role of Shakti, having previously appeared in The Infidel The Musical. Recent theatre credits include Our Country’s Good (National Theatre), Dara (National Theatre), A Chorus Line (Palladium), Rent (Greenwich), The King and I (Leicester Curve) and Wicked (Apollo Victoria).
The cast for The House of In Between also includes: Esh Alladi, Vikash Bhai, Ashraf Ejjbair, Akash Heer, Shalini Peiris and Lucie Shorthouse.
Sevan K. Greene is a London and NYC-based playwright-actor. Member of the Bush Theatre inaugural 2015 Emerging Writers Group; The Public Theater 2011 Emerging Writers Group; Rising Circle Theatre Collective 2010 InkTANK Writer's Lab. NYTW 2011/2012 Teaching Artist. William Saroyan 2010 & 2012 Playwriting Prize Finalist. PlayPenn 2012 & 2013 Conference Finalist. 2011 ATC New Voices Festival Winner. 2014 Papatango Short List. 2014/2015 Princess Grace Award Semi-Finalist. 2014 Saroyan Human Rights Social Justice Playwriting Prize Finalist. 2014 Saroyan Armenian Commendation Prize Finalist. Sevan’s work has been seen in London and New York at The Bush Theatre, Theatre503, Rich Mix, The Old Red Lion, The Public Theatre, The Flea Theatre, 2014 Camden Fringe, The Space, NOOR Theatre, Access Theatre, Birmingham Theatre Exchange. www.sevangreene.com
Pooja Ghai is the new Associate Director at TRSE and is making her directorial debut on the main stage. Other credits include Selfie Rules, Rugged Rock (Angelic Tales), Home Theatre, Guess Who’s Coming and assistant director of The Infidel The Musical. Other directing credits include Tamasha 25, Shakti & Seva and Mother India (Rich Mix), As You Like It (Ellen Terry Theatre), The Accordion Shop (Leicester Curve), The Tune is Always Better on the Outside, Oysters, Mirad a Boy from Bosnia (The Bedford) and The Difference (Soho & Rich Mix).
As an actor Pooja’s many TV, radio, film and theatre credits include the role of Bushra Abbasi in EastEnders, Jasbir Dhillon in Grease Monkeys and numerous productions at Theatre Royal Stratford East, The National, Unicorn Theatre, Soho Theatre and The Finborough to name a few.
The House of In Between runs from Friday 8 April–Saturday 30 April 2016. To book tickets call the Box Office on 020 8534 0310, visit www.stratfordeast.com
NOTES TO EDITORS
Please contact Mary Rahman at MRPR maryrahmanMRPR@gmail.com
or firstname.lastname@example.org/ 020 8279 1110
Press Night: Thursday 14 April 2016 at 7:30pm.
Running time: approximately 2 hours 20 minutes (includes a 20 minute interval)
Twitter handle @stratfordeast
The House of In Between will run from Friday 8 April–Saturday 30 April 2016. Tickets start from just £7 to £23.50, with concessions available on all performances. To book tickets call the Box Office on 020 8534 0310, visit www.stratfordeast.com or book in person at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN.
CAST AND CREATIVE
Writer Sevan K. Greene
Director Pooja Ghai
Set & Costume Design Diego Pitarch
Lighting Design James Whiteside
Projection Design Tapio Spellman
Composer & Sound Design Arun Ghosh
Choreography Seeta Patel
Casting Pooja Ghai
Wardrobe Supervisor Katie Price
Theatre credits include: Wit (Royal Exchange), The Beaux Stratagem, Dara, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, War Horse Prom, From Morning to Midnight, Romeo & Juliet (National Theatre),The Wind in the Willows (Birmingham Rep)
Television credits include: Houdini and Doyle (ITV/Fox), Frankie (BBC).
Theatre credits include Nadha, Tunnel, Cost of Eggs (Sandpit Arts), Point of No Return, Like Enemies of the Stage and Bring The Bucket (BeFrank Theatre Productions. Screen credits include Roots and Material Girls.
Theatre credits include Handle With Care (Dante or Die, UK Tour), Mind the Gap (National Theatre), To Like Or Not To Like (Park Theatre), Trafalgar Dreams (Theatre 503) and The Duchess of Malfi (Southwark Playhouse and tour).
Originally from Sri Lanka, Shalini Peiris trained at Arts Ed London. Theatre credits include Macbeth (Tara Arts), Little Stitches (BARETruth Theatre/The Arcola), Drawing the Line (Hampstead Theatre), Kabaddi Kabaddi Kabaddi (Pursued by a Bear/The Arcola), The Snow Queen (Trestle Theatre- India tour), The Usual Auntijies (Belgrade Theatre), The House of Bilquis Bibi (Tamasha/Hampstead Theatre), Lotus Beauty (Tamasha/The Gate Theatre), Zindabad (Tamasha/The Gate Theatre). Screen credits include: Twelfth Night (Interactive Shakespeare Company) and The Huntsman (Universal Pictures).
Theatre credits include The Comedy of Errors (Sam Wanamaker Festival/Shakespeare’s Globe) and Jumpers for Goalposts (Chris White). Screen credits include The Sound of Music Live and Doctors.
Akash’s stage credits include (Renaissance Body RST (RSC). Screen credits include Sinbad (Sky 1) and Kids In Love (Ealing Studios), which will be released later this year.
Previous Theatre Royal Stratford East credits include Rashid in The Infidel The Musical. Other work in theatre includes playing Paul in the West End revival of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium, Angel in Rent (Greenwich Theatre), Prince Chululongkorn in The King and I (National Tour), Wicked (Apollo Victoria) and more recently Our Country's Good and Dara, both at the National Theatre.
ABOUT THEATRE ROYAL STRATFORD EAST
A People’s Theatre
This famous producing theatre, located in the heart of London’s East End on the edge of the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, prides itself on creating world class work that reflects the concerns, hopes and dreams of its community. A prolific developer of new work, this award-winning theatre attracts artists and audiences often not represented in other venues. Through a continuous loop it inspires and is inspired by its vibrant, young and diverse audience.
An important aspect of its work is the development of new musical theatre. The Theatre’s vision is to break new ground with musicals that bring contemporary and urban music into the mainstream of British theatre. This has led to the production of a broad spectrum of acclaimed sell-out musicals with its work transferring nationally and internationally. Recent productions include: The Infidel The Musical, Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be (first performed in 1959), the Olivier-nominated Oh What a Lovely War (restaged in 2014 for its 50th anniversary year, with a national tour to follow in 2015), the UK Theatre Award-nominated Glasgow Girls (with National Theatre of Scotland and Citizens Theatre in association with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd, Pachamama Productions and Merrigong Theatre Company (Australia)), Wah! Wah! Girls (with Sadler’s Wells and Kneehigh), the Olivier Award winning Pied Piper (with Boy Blue Ents), Britain’s Got Bhangra (with Rifco Arts & Warwick Arts Centre), Reasons to be Cheerful (with Graeae Theatre Company and New Wolsey Theatre), Clockwork Orange, Takeaway, Come Dancing (Best Off West End Production – What’s On Stage Awards), The Blacks, The Harder They Come (including West End and North American tour), the Olivier nominated The Big Life, Da Boyz and Baiju Bawra.