The British Council, in collaboration with Dhaka Theatre, recently staged the technical show of its physical storytelling theatre piece titled “Noishobde ’71” (’71 in Silence) at Neelima Ibrahim Auditorium, Bangladesh Mohila Samity located in New Baily Road, Dhaka. It has been produced as a part of celebrating The British Council’s 70th anniversary in Bangladesh and also Bangladesh’s 50th year of independence.  

The theatre piece is directed by Ramesh Meyyappan, a Glasgow-based Singaporean theatre-maker who develops performances using an eclectic mix of visual and physical theatre styles. The 30-minute performance includes 15 artists with disabilities from eight divisional cities of Bangladesh and focuses on the country’s Liberation War through different acting methods. 

This activity was a part of the DARE (Disability Arts Redefining Empowerment) project led by the British Council in partnership with Dhaka Theatre. DARE is a project aimed at building an understanding and confidence amongst the disability and the arts sector in Bangladesh. It is meant to dispel the social stigmas associated with disability, and build an accessible bridge between arts, disability and society. DARE was launched in 2019 in partnership with Dhaka Theatre. Since then, it has been working in eight divisional cities in Bangladesh where both artists with disabilities and artists from local theatre organisations are participating together in order to get a better idea about how to work on disability theatre to create a sustainable platform on disability arts.

“When I was explained the significance of the sign name of Bangladesh, I realised the true passion behind the nation’s history. The eagerness this bold ensemble has shown in portraying this history through eloquent expression of pain and suffering is truly unmatched. I want to thank The British Council and Dhaka Theatre for giving this group of people an opportunity to use their voices – taking us a step closer to ensuring that all voices are heard and seen”, said Ramesh Meyyappan. 

‘Noishobde Ekattor’ portrays the story of the birth of Bangladesh – how it was before, how the war started and the consequences of the war; a journey which is narrated using physical storytelling techniques on stage. 

The British Council is preparing to stage the theatre piece for public viewing later in the year.