Hearts and Minds
23 Nov 2009
Based in Luton, Bedfordshire, Khayaal bring together Muslim andnon-Muslim artists in educational theatre programmes to imaginativelydemonstrate the reconciliation needed in today’s world.
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By exploring the rich troves of poetry, literature, philosophy and song from all over the Muslim world ñ from China to Sudan and Afghanistan to Morocco ñ Khayaal Theatre Company are working tirelessly to positively represent Islam.
Based in Luton, Bedfordshire, Khayaal bring together Muslim and non-Muslim artists in educational theatre programmes to imaginatively demonstrate the reconciliation needed in today’s world.
The company’s latest play, Hearts and Minds, follows the life of teenager Asif ñ Pakistani by memory, urban British by culture and Muslim by sentiment. The production explores all the conflicting narratives, loyalties and identities that occupy the hearts and minds of young Muslims, while proposing creative and practical avenues for resolving tensions.
However, can faith-inspired art address the complex issues that challenge communities and wider society? Can it do so in a manner that is poignant as well as popular? Khayaal are demonstrating this to be so, with Hearts and Minds being cited as a best practice’ case study.
The play is based on extensive consultations with young Muslims in Britain and inspired by actual events. Originally commissioned as a piece to help prevent extremism, it is also proving to be an important resource for local government, police and public sector organisations.
‘The multi-dimensional approach of the play is based on a holistic treatment of the issues concerned,’ said Luqman Ali, the company’s artistic director. ‘It transcends conceptions of the other’ in favour of promoting self-reflection and shared humanity.’
Meanwhile, Hearts and Minds has been well-received at several schools, such as a Luton Sixth Form College. ‘I loved the message it gave out,’ said one of the pupils. ‘It showed what life is really like. The characters didn’t seem patronising and the acting was mint.’ The production will tour nationally in spring 2010 and continue to draw out faith to enrich art and draw out art to enrich faith’.
Contact: Khayaal Theatre Company,
PO Box 2523, Luton, LU3 9BN
Hearts and Minds actors, Sarah Langton, John Afzal and Claire Suarez
Photo: © Khayaal Theatre Company
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