Curry Kings of Parramatta – a play you must watch

Curry Kings of Parramatta by Sudha Bhuchar & Shaheen Khan from 18-20th April at Riverside Theatre Parramatta, NSW

A humorous play that confronts the issue of migrant population in Western Sydney

Curry Kings of Parramatta is a poignant play that deals with South-Asian migration to Australia and the subsequent establishment of a network of Indian-Pakistani restaurants, concentrated in Western Sydney. Set in contemporary time, this humorous play written by Sudha Bhuchar and Shaheen Khan raises awareness of the trials & tribulations of restaurant workers. The characters are true to life. Head chef Billa’s isolated existence can be excruciating at times. Yacoub and Khalida work long & hard in the kitchen to make ends meet and Nadim and Mariam dream together to reach their goal in life while owner Yasin and his sons have intergenerational clashes about how to run the restaurant.

All this while 35 dishes are being frantically prepared in the kitchen for the grand ”˜Curry-O-Ke’ night.

Sudha Bhuchar & Shaheen Khan are British South Asian playwrights who have been active in UK for more than three decades. They wrote the original version of this play ”˜Balti Kings’ which was set in one of London’s suburbs. Kristine Landon-Smith directed Balti Kings in UK some 20 years ago.

Neel Banerjee from Nautanki Theatre Company has been working on this project for the last 5 years. An extensive research was conducted to transpose the play to Australian context. Numerous visits to several restaurants in various suburbs in Sydney were carried out. In the last 12 months, Neel and Kristine helped the writers to rewrite portions of the original text of Balti Kings with the background of Western Sydney. The new play is called ”˜Curry Kings of Parramatta’. The play deals with how the migrant population can sometimes live in isolation, their pains and joys, successes and dreams, all entwined together.

Kristine Landon-Smith is from a mixed heritage, born to an Indian mother and an Australian father. Kristine began her career as an actor but moved into directing and teaching in the early years of her professional life. She co-founded Tamasha Theatre in England in 1989 as Co-Artistic Director. Kristine is currently freelancing as a director and educator & travels between Australia and the UK for projects. Kristine has won many awards and accolades throughout her theatre career, spanning over 30 years.

Nautanki Theatre Company is a Western Sydney based organisation working for cultural development, community engagement, education and training through live performance theatre. The organisation began its journey from the grassroots community level and has evolved as an Independent Theatre Company practicing cross-cultural story telling in partnership with Riverside Theatre, Parramatta since 2012. The objective of the company is to produce creative opportunities with a true representation of contemporary Australia on stage. In the last 6 years, Nautanki Theatre has successfully presented five live theatre performances and launched the annual South Asian Theatre Festival in 2016. Nautanki Company reaches out to more than 100,000 people based in Western Sydney every year through its various programs.

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