The award-winning theatre company Travelling Light will bring their captivating production of Strictly Balti, a beautiful coming-of-age story exploring the challenges of growing up different, to Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 26 to 28 November (press night Thursday 26 November, 7pm).
Written and performed by Birmingham actor and writer Saikat Ahamed, this enchanting and compelling autobiographical story is told in Travelling Light’s trademark style of magical and visual storytelling.
The story is set in the leafy suburbs of 1980’s Birmingham, but behind the doors of Saikat’s mock Tudor semi-detached home is a whole world of vibrant colours, exotic scents and eastern politics. Strictly Balti tells the tale of one boy’s mission to find his place in the world between two conflicting cultures.
Ballroom dancing is not the only humiliation heaped on Saikat by his ambitious parents. There’s catechism and Latin too. And no-one gets his name right, ever.
Join Saikat as he dances precariously through his dual-identity childhood, torn between the familiar sights of Birmingham and the mysteries of Bangladesh. Meet werewolves in the playground, nuns in the corridors and tangerines in the dancehall… The play takes a humorous look at what it means to be British from someone who had to learn the hard way.
This is a show for anyone who ever had to grow up, a show about being a second generation immigrant in the UK but feeling like an Englishman abroad.
Having recently toured the USA and South East Asia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Saikat Ahamed has also performed in Peter Pan and Treasure Island at Bristol Old Vic, as well as the title role in Ali Baba and the Forty Thievesat Tobacco Factory. His one-man show, The Tiger and The Moustache, concerned with the birth of Bangladesh, has toured nationally.
His film and television credits include This Must be the Place (Indigo Films), Trollied (Sky TV), The Choir (Sky Atlantic) and Being Human (BBC). He was also fortunate enough to be part of the movie of East is East, one of the most successful British comedies of all time.
In 2006 Saikat received the Norman Beaton Fellowship and has since worked extensively on radio. For a number of years he played the regular part of Vinnie on Silver Street for the BBC Asian Network.
Regarding Strictly Balti, Director Sally Cookson says:
“Strictly Balti may be an autobiographical piece, but it is also a universal story that encourages us all to ask the question – what makes us who we are? Minimal set and costume enable Saikat to connect and engage directly with his audience to explore the truth about who he thinks he is.
Strictly Balti runs at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 26 to 28 November.
Thursday 26 – Saturday 28 November
The DOOR, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham B1 2EP
Performance times: 7pm Thu, Fri and Sat. 1.30pm Thurs. 11am Fri.
Post-show discussion with the company: Thu 26 Nov, 7pm
Tickets: £13 with concessions and schools prices available
Box Office: 0121 236 4455 Online Booking: birmingham-rep.co.uk