The UK theatre company, Graeae has been working with Dhaka Theatre, Bangladesh since 2013 to create a long-term training programme with young disabled adults in Bangladesh. This collaboration lead to a new production of 'A Different Romeo and Juliet' in 2016 to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, as part of Shakespeare Lives.
The project was initiated by the British Council and Dhaka Theatre. The aim was to tackle the marginalisation of disabled people, make theatre in Bangladesh more inclusive and to offer audiences a new experience. Nasiruddin Yousuff of Dhaka Theatre will direct the final production. Yousuff directed the acclaimed Bengali production of The Tempest which was seen at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2012. Jenny Sealey, Artistic Director of Graeae, worked in collaboration with Yousuff and shared her expertise in training and development. Sealey was Co-Artistic Director of the London 2012 Paralympics Opening Ceremony.
Casts were drawn from different groups of disabled people from Bangladeshi society, with participants from Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP-Bangladesh), BRAC, the BRIDGE Foundation and Gram Theatre. Some of the production management team roles were drawn from company members from the Dhaka Theatre Company.
'A Different Romeo and Juliet' was showcased at the Shilpakala Academy (National Academy of Fine and Performing Arts), Bangladesh’s principal national cultural centre, on 28 and 29 March 2016, as part of the British Council’s Shakespeare Lives programme. For more information, please contact us.