Twelve: 12 writers, 12 lives, 12 stories

Tuesday 07th April 2015 10:02 EDT

Twelve is a creative response to a shocking statistic from the Metropolitan Police: In the UK on average each year twelve women are murdered by family members in so called ‘honour’ killings.

Watermans presenst for the first time this April, twelve deeply touching and moving stories of friendship, love, defiance, death and survival.

Kali Theatre brought together twelve writers and a choreographer to research real life stories of women like Samaira Nazir, murdered for falling in love with an unsuitable boyfriend and Shafilea Ahmed, a schoolgirl killed by her parents after rejecting an arranged marriage proposal. The mother of one of the writers of Twelve was killed by her husband for requesting a divorce.

Each writer then wrote a piece inspired by the real life protagonists drawing on the statements of survivors, witnesses and support workers. These stories were interwoven with traditional and contemporary dance to produce an anthology of plays creating a powerful theatre experience that gives expression to these lost lives.

The cast of Twelve features Harvey Virdi (writer Happy Birthday Sunita), Amina Zia, Aryana Ramkhalawon, Maggie O'Brien, Patience James & Sheema Kermani.

Director, Janet Steel has directed over 30 readings of new work and 11 productions for Kali. Her directing credits include Behzti (The Rep), April in Paris, Bretevski Street, A Hard Rain, Top Girls (Northampton Royal), Millennium Mysteries, Big School (Belgrade Coventry).

Choreography is by Sheema Kermani, who will also perform.  She is an internationally known dancer and campaigner, and the founder of Tehrik-e-Niswan, a cultural arm of the Women’s Rights Movement in Pakistan. For over three decades, this fearless and renowned classical dancer has led a battle against cultural oppression in Pakistan by staging shows on subjects that are not easily talked about in that part of the world.

Twelve is written by Sonali Bhattacharyya, Sharmila Chauhan, Satinder Chohan, Azma Dar, Tanika Gupta, Bettina Gracias, Sayan Kent, Yasmeen Khan, Anu Kumar, Amber Lone, Nessah Muthy and Yasmin Whittaker-Khan. All these authors have had their plays presented at the RSC, National Theatre, Royal Court, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Watermans, Birmingham Rep, Soho Theatre, Oval House, Hampstead Theatre, Leicester Curve, Watford Palace, Coventry Belgrade and have written extensively for TV and radio.

Kali presents ground breaking new plays by women from a South Asian background. They seek out and nurture strong individual writers who challenge our perceptions through original and thought-provoking theatre that reflects and comments on our lives today.

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