Evening Conversations - coming to Tara Arts in May
Welcome to Bhuchar Boulevard; founded by award-winning and acclaimed theatre maker and actor Sudha Bhuchar.
• Bhuchar Boulevard - connecting across difference to touch the heart
We create heartfelt, unforgettable theatre for multiple and diverse audiences by holding up a mirror to our common humanity.
Bhuchar Boulevard projects will be inspired by and inform Sudha Bhuchar’s evolving practice and build on her canon of ground-breaking landmark work. These will be made and curated through creative dialogue and collaboration with Artist associates; arts and not- arts partners, communities, and audiences- displaying an empathetic approach and an ability to be at home with culturally and politically sensitive stories in all their complexity.
With a great emphasis on research and excavating personal and intimate stories of lives that take unexpected and diverse directions; Bhuchar Boulevard will paint a broader canvas of today’s changing world through capturing the cultural hybridity inherent in our everyday lives.
The hall mark of Bhuchar Boulevard is a lightness of touch that is emotional yet intelligent; truthful and quietly innovative; heartfelt and humorous.
Projects undertaken will include new pieces that speak to important concerns (Golden hearts); Candid and timely public conversations; and revisiting plays (Child of the Divide) to affirm the canon of Artists of colour and reach new audiences and platforms.
In 2012, I attended a family wedding in Houston where I came across the street sign ‘Bhuchar Boulevard’ displayed outside the marquee where the wedding was taking place. My cousin Vinod, whose daughter was getting married, is a successful oncologist and he had his brothers had ‘named’ a street in Houston for a year in recognition of their charity work. This ‘sign’ was now shared and displayed at family occasions; giving the extended family guests a sense of pride and belonging. Our shared grandparents originally hail from the small town of Nawanshahr in Punjab and now the inter-generational Bhuchar family are spread globally via various cross-continental journeys. Seeing the ‘Bhuchar Boulevard’ sign made me realise that despite our individual stories of carving out new lives; our family now occupies a collective space that we can ‘name’ as our own. This space does not recognise borders and boundaries but as our growing cosmopolitan clan has shown; it is always forging new frontiers and breaking down barriers.
I have now appropriated that sign as the name for my new company; with the blessing of my global family. It signifies my journey of over thirty years as a British Asian practitioner- a scenic route that has led me to occupy a self-defined place in the cultural landscape; a space that invites creation, collaboration and partners in unexpected ways and places.
I am the unlikeliest theatre maker anyone could meet. I was born in Tanga, Tanzania and came to London at the age of 11 after an early childhood that had my family toing and froing from Africa to India and finally settling in London via King’s Lynn Norfolk. I was a chronically shy teenager who studied three out of what my children call the ‘Asian four’ (Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Maths). I went on to graduate with a BA in Maths and Sociology from Roehampton Institute. It was a chance encounter with Jatinder Verma and Tara Arts at a Diwali function that set me on an extraordinary journey into theatre. From the beginning ‘who I am’ was significant. Meeting other Asians who shared a common purpose of navigating our ‘difference’, while seeing ourselves as resolutely British, has been the catalyst for making theatre and telling our stories. Theatre gave us a sense of belonging and saved us all from existential identity crises. We learnt about our history and how we found ourselves here as a direct result of colonialism; we devoured South Asian literature, and combatted racism by seeing our multifarious identities as a huge resource to draw on and a positive prism through which to view the world.
This impetus has sustained me through the trials and tribulations of forging a career in the arts as a British Asian practitioner. I have found myself being an inadvertent pioneer, audience developer and forging new frontiers for myself and a whole cohort of other artists.
I am now at another crossroads in my life. My migrant, multi lingual childhood and second generation British upbringing, as well as being a middle- aged mother of Millennial and Centennial sons offers a unique vantage point for my artistic curiosity and next chapter.
Bhuchar Boulevard is a place for renewal and new beginnings; to reflect and look within, delve into the past and forge the future.