Innovative play breathes new life into classic Indian folk tale

Innovative play breathes new life into classic Indian folk tale

charandas-chorIndian culture, folk music and dance will take centre stage in Lincolnshire this week as part of an imaginative retelling of one of India’s most celebrated plays.

Charandas Chor: The Honest Thief is a light-hearted comedy inspired by a classic Indian folk story about a principled man caught on the wrong side of the law. In return for protection from the police he makes a bizarre set of promises to a holy man, vowing never to eat from a golden plate, sit on a throne, marry a queen, mount an elephant or tell a lie. As the tale unfolds, his promises are put to the test.

The production has been directed by Dr Sreenath Nair from the University of Lincoln’s School of Fine & Performing Arts and sees Indian costume and theatrical style fused with traditional folk music and dance from Lincolnshire.

While based on the acclaimed 1975 original by Hindi playwright Habib Tanvir, this new version also draws on expert knowledge from the Lincoln Folk Dance Society, renowned folk musician Frances Kelly and local Indian Dandia folk dancers.

Dr Arya Madhavan, who took part in the project and is a practitioner of one of the world’s oldest forms of theatre, Kutiyattam, said: “Combining a celebrated Indian play with Lincolnshire folk music and dance has been an exciting challenge and a revealing experience for the cast of actors, providing a gateway to examine the diversity of arts in rural counties.”

Dr Nair added: “Whilst very distinct, the cultural elements come together in harmony, enhancing a larger understanding of human conditions that cut across the boundaries of culture and ethnicity.”

Charandas Chor: The Honest Thief will be performed at Stamford Arts Centre this Thursday (29) and at Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough on Friday (30). Both shows begin at 7.30pm.


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