Peshkar Productions

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Peshkar Productions logo.

Peshkar Productions is an intercultural theatre and multimedia art company based in the Northwest of England. It engages in participatory projects and professional productions.

History[edit]

Peshkar was initiated in 1991, through a series of Asian Arts workshops by Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council’s (OMBC) Arts Development programme. The workshops were based on Asian music, dance and drama, involving members of the local Asian community with little experience in the performing arts. The success of the workshops and the enthusiasm of the participants led to the formation of Peshkar as a company with a role to promote the arts within the local Asian community by providing a forum for cultural expression.

Between 1991 and 1998 the company operated as a project within the OMBC Arts and Events Unit, gaining funding from North West Arts Board and other local funding sources to run a series of participatory workshop programmes and theatre productions employing a professional creative team to work with Peshkar’s growing company of participants from the local community.

In 2001 Peshkar secured support from the European Regional Development Fund, which allowed it to constitute the organisation as a Company Limited by Guarantee and a Registered Charity, and develop a business plan that would build on the company’s growing reputation as a regionally significant Asian Arts organisation. It secured Revenue Funding from North West Arts Board and the first full-time company director was appointed in November 2000. In 2006, Jim Johnson (theatre-maker/musician) took over as CEO and Artistic Director of Peshkar. [1]

Since then, the company have continued to make work on a multi-platform basis, expanding their remit to targeting young people from a diverse range of hard to reach backgrounds.

In 2008, Sophia Rashid's 'Dance Without Movement' was reprised at the Edinburgh Fringe. It was directed by Jim Johnson, produced by Bryan Savery and starring Yamina Peerzada from the Rafi Theatre Workshop of Pakistan as Zuhleikah, taking over from Poppy Jakhra from the production's original tour the previous year.

In 2010, following a research trip to Bangladesh, Peshkar embarked on a large-scale project entitled 'FutureDesh' which looked at issues around climate change, the impact in Bangladesh and how it related to young people in the UK. The 'FutureDesh' project yielded two touring theatre pieces both directed by Jim Johnson with digital design by Tristan Brady-Jacobs and set design by Christopher Keech, with music also composed by Jim Johnson under the guise of his musical pseudonym 'Jimmy's Big Tears.'

The first of these productions which was co-produced with Yorkshire theatre company Red Ladder, and written by Nick Ahad, caused some controversy when Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, wrote to the Education Minister Michael Gove complaining about the production which toured schools across the Pennine Lancs area, promoting the Climate Change agenda. Despite not actually having seen the play, and without the term 'climate change' ever being discussed or referred to in the play, BBC Radio in Yorkshire hosted a debate featuring both Davies and Red Ladder's Artistic Director Rod Dixon.

The follow up production in the 'FutureDesh' project was Sudha Bhuchar's 'Small Fish Big Cheese' and was staged at the Unicorn Theatre in January 2012.

Peshkar was awarded Arts Council National Portfolio status for the period 2012-2015.

Productions[edit]


External links[edit]

Peshkar's official website: [11]

Peshkar's Arts Council profile: [12]