The British Council in partnership with Dhaka Tribune has produced “A Different Romeo and Juliet, with a Bangladeshi cast made up entirely of persons with disabilities. The production was the culmination of a three-year partnership between the British Council, GRAEAE Theatre UK, and Dhaka Theatre and marked the 400th death anniversary of William Shakespeare.
This ambitious project auditioned more than 170 people with disabilities to finalise the cast of 16 artists representing different social backgrounds in Bangladesh. The participants came from the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed (CRP-Bangladesh), Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), and Bangladesh Reform Initiatives for Development, Governance and Empowerment (BRIDGE) and Gram Theatre. The production was directed by Jenny Sealey who was the artistic director of the London Paralympic 2012 opening ceremony, and produced by prominent stage and film Director Nasiruddin Yousuff Bachchu of Dhaka Theatre.
As United Kingdom’s leading cultural organisation, the British Council has been actively using the arts as a bridge between different cultural contexts. “A Different Romeo and Juliet” is a unique theatre production that showcases how arts can be used as both an enabler and driver of sustainable development by engaging underprivileged communities like the disability sector effectively in shaping their own outcomes and supporting open, transparent and stable societies.
The British Council is going to take the filmed version of the “A Different Romeo and Juliet”to six divisional districts in Bangladesh to use it as an effective way to highlight the importance of empowering diverse groups to participate in cross-cultural dialogue, creative and collective problem-solving, and capacity building in the spirit of “Leave no one behind” and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals throughout the country.
The National Public Library has partnered with the British Council by offering their spaces to host these screenings.