The British Council hosted a Pot Gan performance of ‘Jol-Duari’ on 28 April 2016 at the Dhaka University campus office. Pot Gans are a traditional folk medium, featuring melody, drama and dancing. The Pot Gan ‘Jol-Duari’ brought together the realities of exclusion and poverty. It described how important it is to make people more resilient to the effects of climate change.
The University of Manchester’s Global Development Institute collaborated with Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Dhaka to embark on an exciting initiative, using traditional forms of civic education and entertainment in Bangladesh known as Pot Gan. This Pot Gan performance was designed and supervised by Md. Ahasan Khan, and presented by students of the University of Dhaka’s Department of Performance and Theatre Studies. Md. Ahasan Khan said, “We used projections and digital print photographs instead of the traditional practice of hand-drawing the backdrop canvasses for the show. We are excited to present this experimental work.”
Dr.Joanne Jordan of the University of Manchester’s Global Development Institute spent several months talking to 627 people in their homes, workplaces, local tea shops and on street corners, and this performance was based on some of the stories they shared with her. Dr.Joanne Jordan said, “Communicating the research findings is important for building awareness and action on climate change. The live performance of the Pot Gan allows me to present my research in an entertaining way that encourages audiences to actively engage with the research material. Most importantly, it gives an insight into the lives of the urban poor who experience climate change by highlighting their personal experiences.”
This project aimed to create a new and modernised form of Pot Gan moving towards a documentary drama. Performances were used to build awareness of how climate change affects the lives of those living in Dhaka slums. It encouraged to think about what needs to be done to support the people of Bangladesh to respond to one of the biggest environmental and development challenges of the 21st century.