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Natasha Kathi-Chandra takes top job with Tara Theatre

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Natasha Kathi-Chandra takes top job with Tara Theatre

Tara Theatre has announced the appointment of Natasha Kathi-Chandra as the new Artistic Director of the South Asian theatre company.

Kathi-Chandra takes on the role from Abdul Shayek, who was the Artistic Director of Tara Theatre, until his death in August 2023.

Natasha Kathi-Chandra, Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Tara Theatre:

“It is with immense honour and determination that I take on the role of Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Tara Theatre. Tara Theatre became my artistic home under Abdul Shayek and Helen Jeffreys’ leadership over the past 3 years, where my experience and knowledge in different capacities as a freelancer was valued, held, developed and executed. This for me reinforces the significance and importance this organisation has in the ecology of our sector for many artists who identify like myself.​

“Tara Theatre unapologetically examines the world through a South Asian lens and ignites reflection and change; as the company has been doing for almost 50 years. For me, it is not just about the work we program but it is also about how we are pioneering the development and expansion of South Asian and Global Majority talent both on and off stage in a local, national and international capacity. I want to thank Sunita and the board for giving me this opportunity. As a colleague and friend of Abdul’s, this is indeed a bittersweet moment for me but I look forward to taking the company forward to many more achievements alongside Helen and the rest of the team to continue to expand the canon of voices that need to be heard.”

For over four decades, Tara Theatre and its award winning theatre in Wandsworth has supported the emergence of generations of South Asian performers, writers, directors, musicians and choreographers, and toured extensively both nationally and internationally. Under Kathi-Chandra’s leadership, the theatre will continue to be a creative voice for these communities, staging their stories and their histories for audiences in London and across the UK.

Natasha Kathi-Chandra is currently Associate Director at Tara Theatre, where she has been since 2022. As the leader of Tara Theatre’s artist development, she steered the execution of the NOVA Playwright commission and Constellations residency. Natasha also conceptualised and facilitated the launch of Tara Theatre’s Young Company having previously facilitated and developed the Creative Learning Programme at Park Theatre.

Kathi-Chandra led the Artists Make Space programme, nominated for the International Award at The Stage Awards 2023. She was also instrumental in Tara Theatre being awarded Theatre of Sanctuary in 2023.

In 2008, she founded the youth theatre company, Ingenium Dramatics in Hyderabad, India acting as its Artistic Director for five years until 2013. In London, she founded the arts company Namashkar to challenge and change narratives and roles for South Asian women both represented on stage and behind the scenes. As well as being a writer and director, Kathi-Chandra has worked across the spectrum of theatrical process; as a curator, facilitator, casting director and dramaturg.

Tara Theatre’s work to amplify South Asian voices on British stages continues, with the UK tour of SILENCE, which is adapted from the testimonies of people who lived through partition.​

It is based on Kavita Puri’s acclaimed book Partition Voices: Untold British Stories and written by Sonali Bhattacharyya, Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Ishy Din and Alexandra Wood. SILENCE opens at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch on 6 April 2024, with a Press Night on 10 April 2024. It then runs at Curve Theatre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Manchester’s HOME. Kathi-Chandra’s programme will be announced in due course.

Chair of Tara Theatre, Sunita Pandya Malik:

“Natasha is an absolute force, and I am so thrilled to announce her as the new Artistic Director of Tara Theatre. She has worked tirelessly during her vibrant career to support artists to create new, experimental work that challenges ideas of nationhood, gender and theatrical form. At Tara Theatre, she will continue to amplify the voices of South Asian artists on stage in the UK, by driving Tara’s mission to create politically charged theatre which creates ripples from the hyper-local to the global. I cannot wait to get started working with Natasha.”

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