In autumn 2006 Ocean New Deal for Communities (Ocean NDC) worked in partnership with FIPA and River Cultures Festival to engage people from the Ocean Estate in Tower Hamlets, to participate in an exciting new concept. Over six weeks children and young people, their families and friends from the Ocean area took part in developing a Bollywood themed panto. The production of Binderella staged at Central Foundation School in December to an audience of over 100 people from the community was a resounding success. The project engaged a whole range of people from across the community, from young and old there was a role for all those interested.
Working alongside professional artists, individuals had the opportunity to gain invaluable skills. Cast members were made up of students from the local primary and secondary schools, while costume design and set making allowed parents the opportunity to become involved. Those individual’s who would rather take a backstage view of the proceedings, were able to learn skills in stage management, lightening and music production.
Such was the success of the project that a further performance took place on 4th April 2007 at the Hackney Empire, offering up the opportunity for participants to showcase their talents to a wider audience. This ‘explosive’ (Ocean Eye) performance surpassed all expectations as the cast rose to the occasion of performing for the first time ever, in a well equipped professional theatre.
We were delighted by the enthusiasm the community exhibited throughout the whole process. As a new endeavour we had been cautiously optimistic. This needn’t have been the case as the community relished the opportunity to contribute to the development of the production.
Binderella was widely subscribed to, with interest from both sexes, offering up the opportunity to work with mixed sex groups in environments acceptable to culturally sensitive families. It also created a sense of fun and ownership, giving all members of the community the chance to be involved either in the actual production or as audience members offering their support.
The success of Binderella highlighted a need in the area to engage with people’s creativity, tap into the diversity of the community and establish a sense of pride in their heritage.
Cast 60 children and young people 8-18 years
Choreography Cid Shaha
Music Bollywood songs
Running Time 1 hour 40 mins
Dance of the Cobra
This was an exciting concept of marrying a range of musical and dance styles plus stiltwalking to create a fusion Bollywood outdoor musical.
Building upon the success of Binderella and to maintain the communities interest in the arts, with Ocean NDC and River Cultures Festival as collaborators, a summer arts programme, offering the community the opportunity to participate in a series of arts based workshops, contributed towards the staging of Dance of the Cobra.
This new production was written and choreographed by the team behind the successful Binderella with daily workshops in August and September culminating in a performance on 8th September 2007 at Shandy Park. Rehearsals took place at Arbour Youth Centre who offered in kind support. The project was funded by Ocean Estate NDC, River Cultures Festival, with additional funding from Arts Council England.
Participants 18 young people 7-18 years
Choreography Cid Shaha, Hi Ching and boys 15-18 years.
Music Composed by Art Fazil and Hi Ching
Vocals Graciella Rodriguez, Tanushree Guha, Art Fazil
Running Time 30 mins