Welcome to THEWHATWORKS

Life-affirming, awe-inspiring work that aims to uphold the basic human rights of equality and freedom of expression

THEWHATWORKS is an international theatre company working in India, Bangladesh and the UK. We make work with, about and for women and girls, and specialise in multi-lingual theatre. Our current focus is working with the women of the Bangladeshi community of London’s East End with the aim of showcasing an incredibly rich language and giving voice to a group that is otherwise often seen but not heard.

Directed by Imogen Butler-Cole, multi-linguist and graduate in Lecoq-based physical theatre, we have created shows in English, Bangla, Hindi, Urdu and Portuguese. We have toured India, Bangladesh and the UK with Shakespeare, folk tales and original self-made stories.

We are currently continuing development of A Story and A Song with Mulberry School for Girls, and are creating a testimonial theatre piece based on the films made for Dui Desher Golpo which document the immigration stories of 50 Bangladeshi women living in East London. Also in development is Cassandra, a project exploring sexual violence against women, scratched at Rich Mix this July.

Dui Desher Golpo - A Tale of Two Countries

Stories of Women from Bangladesh. Throughout 2013 and early 2014 we have made 100 short documentary films about Bangladeshi women living in London for Jagonari Women's Centre's European Integration Fund funded DVD project. We are now developing the script for a testimonial piece of theatre based on some of these women's stories.

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A Story and a Song

“A woman knew a story. She also knew a song. But she kept them to herself, never told anyone the story nor sang the song. Imprisoned within her, the story and the song wanted release, wanted to run away” As the story unfolds we learn the reason for the woman’s silence, and begin to hope that one day she may be able to tell her story, and to sing her song, again.

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Cassandra (Working Title)

“Warriorship is so tender, without skin, without tissue, naked and raw. It is soft and gentle. You have renounced putting on a new suit of armor. You have renounced growing a thick, hard skin. You are willing to expose naked flesh, bone, and marrow to the world.” - Chögyam Trungpa

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The Tempest

THEWHATWORKS joined Shakespeare’s Globe to bring Dhaka Theatre’s acclaimed production of The Tempest in Bangla to the Globe to Globe Festival in May 2012 to fantastic audience responses. Directed by veteran director Nasiruddin Yousuff, the production showcased Manipuri dance and other vibrant Bangladeshi performance forms.

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Dreamtime

A brand new puppetry play in Bangla and English for 3-6 year olds. Follow Slither the Snake as he and the animals of the jungle make friends and teach each other fun words. Dreamtime had an acclaimed run of 5 dates around Tower Hamlets and South East London in March-April 2012. Dreamtime is part of a larger project currently being pitched for TV production on Bangla TV channels in the UK and Bangladesh.

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Pinik - Dhaka 2010

PiNiK is a play in Bangla devised by Imogen Butler-Cole with a group of actors from Prachyanat (Dhaka’s foremost experimental theatre group) for Alo (an Organisation for Drug Awareness) in order to combat the problem with drugs – predominantly heroin and yabba – prevalent on the streets of Dhaka and throughout Bangladesh.

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Romeo and Juliet

THEWHATWORKS presents an original adaptation of 'Romeo & Juliet' by Thusitha Jayasundera. First produced and developed by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Cunard Ltd, it has recently completed a successful world tour onboard the Queen Mary 2.

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Capoeira Fora Das Correntes - London 2009

CAPOEIRA: Fora das Correntes (Since the Chains Were Broken) is a visceral piece of devised physical theatre, inspired by the Afro-Brazilian dance-fight-game. Our play uses the movements, music and ritual elements of capoeira to follow the tragic true story of a young man who gives his life to the form. Wheeling back in time we learn that despite its lethal potential, capoeira unites.

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Much Ado About Nothing - Mumbai 2006

Welcomed by the characters into the David Sassoon Library, a multipurpose outdoor venue which beautifully represents the world of the play, audience members moved with the action from scene to scene. The location encompassed distinct areas of the Governor’s country mansion, with new settings opening up as the play progressed.

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THEWHATWORKS Cabaret

THEWHATWORKS Cabaret took place over a year between 2008 - 2009 at Cosmobar in London's Clerkenwell. The cabaret was an experimental feast of performance including music, dance, film, comedy, spoken word, burlesque and clowning.

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Secret Soirees: Childmares

Secret Soirees' Childmares was a secret location performance evening at a converted shoe factory in Stoke Newington. Guests were asked by The Matron to send their own childhood nightmares which were then incorporated into the evening. They were met at the station by a top-hatted gentleman with a picture of a broken doll. They then had to follow the signs – more broken dolls – to the venue where they found a crying baby hanging from the door.

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