Blogs are written by THEWHATWORKS' Artistic Director, Imogen Butler-Cole. Most concern productions, some concern experiences that she deems relevant to productions or to her development as an artist.
THEWHATWORKS are creating a dynamic, motivated team of visionaries to help propel the company forward in its life as a multi-cultural theatre company based in London’s East End.
I’d met Kushan a few times socially and didn’t realise until he called me up asking me to record a few tracks for his album that he was a rapper. I was about to go on holiday for a week and he needed the tracks recoded before he left for Canada a few weeks after that. We would record two days after I got back from my trip. I had a deadline, and deadlines are good for me. What I also had were titles to the tracks, which was also a great help as I tend to be lazy about finding material. It’s not that I don’t care about things enough to write about them, it’s just that I’m usually a bit lazy to root through material or to find a unique angle on what it is I want to write about.
The first time I met Humayoun Shadhu I was struck by the beauty of the man, inner and outer. It was at a festival and he was constantly surrounded by people so I had no conversation with him but I sat near him for almost a whole day. People came to pay their respects to him, gave him fruit, incense and the like, touched his feet, spent some time listening to the songs being sung, and went on their way.
In early April this year a group of Islamic hardliners turned up at Mohammad Fakir’s Shadhu Shongo in Pangsha, a village in rural Bangladesh. A Shadhu Shongo is a yearly meet of shadhus, the mystic bauls of Bengal. The bauls sing devotional songs which outline their philosophy of religious freedom. Allah, Krishna, God and Buddha are all one they say, and there should be no bitterness or rivalries between members of the religions surrounding them.
On V-Day 2010 one of my best friends was visiting me in Dhaka. She is also an actress so I was on the lookout for shows to see while she was in town. So when I heard that the Vagina Monologues was being presented in Dhaka for the first time I booked immediately. I’d seen the show some years previously in Delhi and was interested to see it again in Bangladesh.
The first time I was asked to act in a TV commercial in Bangladesh I was entertained by the idea of getting on a set and seeing how it’s really done. I’d recently finished working for 9 months at the BBC World Service Trust in Dhaka and knew from my experience of visiting local sets that things here were done very differently indeed.