Original programme cover

Original programme cover

Women of the Dust (1992)

by Ruth Carter

On a dusty Delhi construction site, an itinerant, all-female workforce are gathered. They hail from Rajasthan, where yet again the rains have failed, there is nothing to harvest, and their stomachs are empty. The Jamadar (middle man) has brought them here to work for a fat cat building luxury flats for India’s super rich.

Asha waits to give birth to her first child - her time is near, but there is no money.  Lali, a child bride wedded at four, awaits life with a husband she cannot recollect. Nisha and Mohini, the privileged Bose sisters, run a rural development programme - they no longer see eye to eye and wonder which way to turn. 

Commissioned by Oxfam to mark their 50th anniversary, Women of the Dust, a bold portrayal of migrant Indian life, went on to perform in Delhi and Mumbai, marking Tamasha’s first international tour.


Winner of the CRE Race in the Media Award (BBC Radio 4 adaptation)

“Sue Mayes’ sun-baked setting creates a tremendous sense of place and Landon-Smith’s production is powerfully played. The play was commissioned by Oxfam to mark its 50th anniversary; both subject and treatment live up to the cause.” 
Evening Standard



Director  Kristine Landon-Smith 
Designer  Sue Mayes 
Lighting Designer  Lorraine Laybourne 
Composer & Musical Director  John O’Hara
Original Cast  Sudha Bhuchar, Shiv Grewal, Niki Jhutti, Shobu Kapoor, Jamila Massey, Rehan Sheikh, Dinesh Shukla, Nina Wadia

Shobu Kapoor,  Women of the Dust , 1994

Shobu Kapoor, Women of the Dust, 1994