Handful of Henna

Handful of Henna performance

Sheffield Theatres treated Burngreave to free performances of a Handful of Henna in February, funded by New Deal. So many people came to the first event at the Vestry Hall, that a second performance was arranged. The project was part of a community tour which included performances at Pye Bank and Firs Hill schools.

The play has strong links with Burngreave, Kamalbir Singh, of Ellesmere Post office, wrote the songs and music for the play. He told the Messenger:

“I was asked to do the music by director Karen Simpson. It was a real challenge as I wanted the music to be very original. I was inspired by old artistic Bollywood films and Indian classical music. It took a month to write, compose and record the songs at home. It was a lot of work, but it was good to do something with a local link and a great experience.”

Handful of Henna performance


Rashida Hassanali

‘A Handful of Henna’ transported us to a rainy, distant airport where a mother and daughter argued and sulked, recently arrived back in the mother’s homeland. Many of the audience laughed at the familiarity of the memories and the dilemma of being caught between two worlds. No wonder, as the drama evolved from local women’s stories themselves, with an evocative soundtrack composed by Ellesmere post office proprietor, Kamalbir Singh. It was a pleasure to see such demand for theatre in the heart of our community and we look forward to Vestry Hall becoming a regular venue for plays and performances.

Umme Salama Hassanali (aged 11)

I really enjoyed watching the play with my mum because we both understand the language and the cultural ‘jokes’. The best bits were the dancing and singing, the costumes and the way the props changed into different things. I also really enjoyed how the actors changed into different characters. I liked Nasreen because she was about my age and I understood what she was feeling.

Suze Reynolds

Evocative and enchanting, a story of homecoming, reunion, adventure and identity. Nasreen (Ambur Khan) is a typical northern 12 year old ‘made’ to accompany her single mother, Saheeda (Goldy Notay) to a family wedding ‘back home’. Secrets are exposed and relationships explored in this poignant and sometimes irreverently funny tale. Originally this touching play was written for two main actors with cameos played by Sheffield children, now it is revitalised with two actors (Krupa Pattani, Preeti Saul) playing those parts between them. Intuitively lit, the set lent atmosphere to the fast paced fusion of near and far. With hot food by Caribbean Cuisine, it was a grand night in a grand place.

Songwriter and cast

The following quotes are from women who study Entry Level 2 English who watched the performance at Firs Hill school.

“I enjoyed the play because I have never seen a play before. I liked the acting and singing. I like this story because some people are funny”. Mandy

“I liked the singing. She played with dolls and her sisters”. Zahida

“I like two parts of the story – the first part where the old lady went for a wee in the bushes and the second one where they were driving in a car”. Shamim

“I liked this story because this story makes me happy. I like the music and singing because when I clean my house I listen to music”. Sadiya

“I liked the driving. I enjoyed this play very much”. Razia

“I liked Saheeda because she was very funny. I really enjoyed the play because I have never seen a play before”. Zeinab

“I liked Saheeda’s acting and singing. Her daughter made me feel upset and she was really sad. I liked Nasreen’s acting when she needed the toilet because she made me laugh. The music reminded me of when I was in Pakistan.” Waqarun Nisa

“I liked the part of the story when aunty was driving the car because it was funny. I liked the music because it makes me happy. I really enjoyed the story”. Amal

“I like Saheeda best when she played with dolls. She played with her sisters. I really enjoyed it. It was wonderful”. Fiaz

Sheffield Theatres will perform ‘Warrior Square’, at the Vestry Hall on 4th June. For more info contact Jon Cowley on 292 2908.

Website exclusive: Handful of Henna photo gallery

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The content on this page was added to the website by Ivor Wallace on 2008-04-05 19:38:42.
The content of the page was last modified by Jamie Marriott on 2008-04-07 11:35:39.

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