Sampad South Asian Arts & Heritage presents the World Premiere of the brand-new play The Walls Between Us at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 17th & 18th November 2021. It has been specially commissioned for The BEDLAM Arts and Mental Health Festival 2021, which aims to raise awareness and get people thinking and talking about mental health through the arts.
The play focuses on the Jamil family and their own experiences during the pandemic. Rahil, a key worker, decides to self-isolate in his room to protect his elderly mother, Fazeela. She is struggling with the speed at which lockdown has been enforced and cut off from her family and friends. Rahil’s daughter, Malaika, is stuck at home, unable to go back to university. Will the Jamils pull together to help each other out through these difficult times? Or will they allow for the pandemic to push them apart?
The Walls Between Us, written by Farrah Chaudhry, brings to the stage researched personal experiences of Covid, looking at issues of grief, mental health and how different generations find ways to connect.
Farrah started writing in her teens, and since then, storytelling has been her passion. Reviewed by the Birmingham Post as a writer to watch, she has enjoyed several notable achievements and recognition for her work. A graduate of the Royal Court and Birmingham REP Foundry, Farrah has also turned her skills to TV, having worked in the story offices of leading soap Coronation Street and Tanglin, a daily drama in Singapore.
Farrah is an associate artist at 1623 theatre company, where she was commissioned to write one half of the double-bill Lear/Cordelia. Farrah’s short film, Look At Us, was an official selection for the UK Asian Film Festival 2021. It was premiered and subsequently selected for festivals globally, including Aesthetica in York ZEBRA in Berlin.
She said: ‘During the research process, I heard some inspirational and uplifting stories, but some upsetting stories too. The pandemic has affected people in so many different ways. It was really important for me to pull on the research to show how people have found new ways to connect and support one another and their communities and the significant impact on mental health. The Walls Between Us draws on this research, and each character, though fictional, has been inspired by real stories.’
The Walls Between Us, directed by Suzanne Gorman, features a dynamic cast including British South Asian actor Ravneet Sehra, Midlands based Vimal Korpal and Promila Bittu-Safaya. They performed in Sampad’s acclaimed production No Bond So Strong in 2019.
The Walls Between Us premieres at The REP on Wednesday 17th November at 8 pm (Relaxed performance/Socially distanced performance), and Thursday18th November at 8 pm (BSL Interpreted performance). Tickets are priced at £10 (all orders will be subject to a fee of £2.50) and can be booked online. Suitable for ages 14 and up. Sampad acknowledges the support of Arts Council England and Birmingham City Council.