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‘We’re opposites, even though we came from the same'

Tackling the urgent issue of FGM in Britain, Charlene James’ devastating new play reveals the price some girls pay to become a woman.
from Young Vic on Apr 24, 2016.

Sumbwanyambe takes politics from the family to the stage

First came African-American playwright Lorraine Hansbury's 1970 epic about independence in an unnamed African country at the National Theatre: now it is joined by British-Zambian writer May Sumbwanyambe's take on Zimbabwe at the Arcola.
from Daniel Nelson on Apr 30, 2016.

Recommended event


Covered by OneWorld




From the editor




* Iranian photojournalist Asghar Khamseh has won Sony's Photographer of the Year award for his ‘Fire of Hatred’ series of portraits of people who have had acid thrown at them. The Sony World Photography Awards show - selected from 230,103 entries - is running at Somerset House in the Strand until 8 May.


Other winners included Jetmir Idrizi, in the campaigns category, for his series on transgender people in Brazil; Kevin Frayer, environment, Eagle Hunters of Western China; and Angelos Tzortzinis in the current affairs category, for his pictures of refugees In Search of the European Dream


* The Arcola Theatre is on an incredible roll. IFollowing The Sugar-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie, a two-and-a-half drama that covers 66 years of Chinese history through the eyes of the villagers of Rotten Peach Village, and Scenes From 68* Years, made up of a series of vignettes of Palestinian life, comes After Independence, British-Zambian playwright May Sumbwanyambe's look at the struggle over white-owned land, and in July, Cargo partly inspired by playwright Tess Berry-Hart’s experiences as a founding member of Calais Action, a grassroots collective run by ordinary people to help tackle the current refugee crisis: "Cargo builds on these real life experiences and explores the conflicted loyalties that arise when people are forced to flee their homes, to trust in strangers and confront the possibility of betrayal by those closest to them."


* And still the white-black actors debate continues, as Simon Callow speaks out in defence of white actors portraying black roles in theatre. According to The Stage, quoting The Telegraph, he said it was not as offensive as people assume because acting is “an act of empathy”. He also criticised the idea that transgender roles should not be played by cisgender (non-trans) actors. Callow suggested it was “madness” to deny actors parts on this basis.

“The whole idea of acting has gone out of the window, if you follow the logic of that,” the actor added. “To say it is offensive to transgendered people for non-trans people to play them is nonsense.

“Because you have to have been a murderer to play Macbeth, you have to be Jewish to play Shylock. It’s nonsense.”


* Photo, right, Photo: Sheila Atim as The Woman in Les Blancs: "An African country teeters on the edge of civil war. A society prepares to drive out its colonial present and claim an independent future. Racial tensions boil over. Tshembe, returned home from England for his father’s funeral, finds himself in the eye of the storm." 

Sheila Atim, Les Blancs, National Theatre

Daniel Nelson


Tw: @EventsNelson










Thursday 5 May

* The Cultural Revolution, book launch with Frank Dikotter, 12.30-1.30pm, £8/£6/£5, Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, W1. Info: 7307 5454/

* All Eyes on Pakistan, Salima Hashmi, Kamila Shamsie, Virginia Whiles, Faiza Butt and Naiza Khan, 6.45pm, £10/£8/£6, Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, W1. Info: 7307 5454/

* Pakistan's Fight Agaainst Terror: Myths and Realities, Colonel Zulfiqar Ali Bhatty, 5-7pm, Kings College, Strand, WC2. Info: 7836 5454

* State Violence and Wartime Civilian Agency: Evidence From Peru, Livia I. Schubiger, 6pm, Kings College, Strand, WC2. Info: 7836 5454

* The Cultural Revolution: a people's history, 1962-1976, Frank Dikötter, 6.30pm, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, WC2. Info: 7955 6043

* The Civil Society Project: What went wrong?, Aseem Prakash, 6.15pm, UCL, Gower Street, WC1. Info: 3108 9289/

* Protect and Develop, Sir David Chipperfield,  6.30pm, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, WC2. Info: 7955 6043


Friday 6 May

* Burma: Narco State?, Richard Cockett, 12:30- 1.30pm, £8/£6/£5, Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, W1. Info: 7307 5454/


Saturday 7 May

* Where Are The Bangladeshis in British Society?,  Nazia Khanum, David Cheesman, Mahera Ruby, Nilufar Ahmed, Claire Alexander, Halima Khanom, Abdal Ullah, 1pm, (entertauinment 7pm), free, Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1. Info: 7613 7495/

* Communication and Conflict: Iraq and Syria, one-day conference, Philip Seib, Lilie Chouliaraki, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, WC2. Info: 7898 4330

* London Radical Bookfair, 12-6pm, free, Grand Hall, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, SE14. Info:


Sunday 8 May

* China's next strategic advantage, George Yip, 4pm, Imperial Ciollege, Sir Alexander Fleming Building, South Kensington Campus. Info:


Monday 9 May 

* Hong Kong State of Mind, Julia Lovell, Phillip Kim, and Xu Guoqi, 6.30-8pm, £6.44-£9.58, China Exchange, 32A Gerrard Street,W1. Info: 7307 5454/

* Communicating with people affected by disaster – lessons from Nepal, Neil Thurman, Pete Clifton, Michelle Stanistreet,  Suzanne Franks, 2pm, free, City University, Northampton Square, EC1. Info: 7040 5060

* Religion, Security and Strategy: an unholy trinity?, Gwen Griffith-Dickson, 6.30pm, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, WC2. Info: 7955 6043

* Congo’s Environmental Paradox: Potential and Predation in a Land of Plenty, Theodore Trefon, 5.15pm, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, WC2. Info:

* Wanderlust, Fariba Hachtroudi on her book, The Man Who Snapped His Fingers, exploring the effects of totalitarianism and the power of love, 6.45pm, £5, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1. Info: 7324 2570/


Tuesday 10 May
Middle East in crisis: how the world should respond, Kofi Annan, Lakhdar Brahimi, Hina Jilani, Sara Pantuliano, 6-7.30pm, free, Overseas Development Institute and streamed online, 203 Blackfriars Road, SE1. Info: 7922 0300/ events[at]
* Infrastructure and Mining Projects in Africa - What Are the Heritage Implications?, Noemie Arazi, 6.30-8pm, University College London, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, WC1. Info: Registration
*  Implications of Brexit for EU migrants, Jane Falkingham, Don Flynn, Derek McGhee, Traute Meyer, Athina Vlachantoni, 3-4.30pm, Abbey Centre, 34 Great Smith Street, Westminster. Info: Registration
Laid Out On Bed of Seaweed, Lucia Boldrini on real and fictional stories of travel across the Mediterranean, of perilous journeys and shipwrecks, of failure and being rescued, of war, desire, the law, civilisation, barbarism and being foreign, 5.30-7.30pm, Goldsmiths, New Cross, SE14. Info: W.Barnes[at]


Wednesday 11 May
Migrant Media Lab, 3-8pm, Collaboration House, 77-79 Charlotte Street, W1. Info: 7467 299 335/ anne[at]
Compliance with The Modern Slavery Act, conference focusing on The Modern Slavery Act and supply chain mapping, with Karen Bradley MP, Kevin Hyland, Keith Read, Colleen Theron, Gary Craig and Bharti Patel, RICS, 12 Great George Street, Parliament Square, SW1.
The Good Wife, Ramita Navai, Elif Shafak, Sharmila Chauhan discuss how relationship changes are impacting women's rights, 6.45pm, £10/8/£6, Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, W1. Info: 7307 5454/ enquiries[at]
Reporting on Corruption and Organised Crime: From Panama to London, Paul Radu, 7pm, £12.50/£10, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: 7479 8940/ anca.dimofte[at]
Making technological innovation work for sustainable development, 8.30am-6pm, UCL, Malet Place, WC1. Info:  3108 9421/ s.namer[at]


Thursday 12 May
Hospitality and Hostility in a Moving World, 9:3am-5.30pm, free, IAS Common Ground, Wilkins Building, UCL Gower Street, WC1. Info: Event
Bad News: Last Journalists in a Dictatorship, Anjan Sundaram, 7.15-8.45pm, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, WC1. Info: Tickets
The story of Europe’s refugee crisis, Patrick Kingsley and others, 7-8.30pm, Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, WC1. Info: 7405 1818
Development, Developers and the Water Environment, Carolyn Roberts, 6pm, free, Gresham College, Barnards Inn Hall, EC1. Info: 7831 0575/ enquiries[at]


Friday 13 May 
Times are Changing”: What does This Mean for the People of Cuba?, 7pm,  £12.50/£10, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, W2. Info: 7479 8940/ anca.dimofte[at] 








Kalpana's Warriors, Bangladeshi photographer and activist Shahidul Alam breaks the silence surrounding the abduction and disappearance of Kalpana Chakma at the hands of a military officer 20 years ago over her campaigns on behalf of the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, free, Autograph ABP,  Rivington Place, EC2, until 18 June. Info: 7749 1240/

+ Warriors on the wall


* Spiti, A Himalayan StoryJoan Pollock's photographs of life in a remote valley in the western Himalaya, free, Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7, until 6 May. Info: 7591 3000


Bazaar Avatars, a collection of original 20th century 'caldeendar art' from India, Tenderbooks, 6 Cecil Court, WC1, until 28 May. Info: 7379 9464 


* Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize, the four winners include Laura El-Tantawy's pictures of rising tensions in Cairo in 2005-14, Tobias Zielony on African refugee activists in Europe,  and Trevor Paglen on  surveillance and data, £3/£2.50, free before midday, Photographer's Gallery, Ramillies Street, W1, until 26 June. Info: 7087 9300  

+ Up for a prize: refugees, Egypt and surveillance

Crossroads 2002-2016, five films including two from Egypt - a Cairo junction and the Nile Delta, free, Pi Artworks, W1, until 21 May. Info: 637 8403


* Hola Malhalla: The Forgotten Festival, Sikh festival that takes place annually in India, with an estimated attendance of over a million people, Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, until 20 May. Info: 7613 7498/


Division of Labour, Satoru Aoyama's embroidered adaptations aim to reflect on the conditions of craftswomen in Afghanistan and elsewhere,  White Rainbow, 47 Mortimer Street, W1, until 7 May. Info:  7637 1050/


Black Georgians: The Shock of the Familiar, the everyday lives of Black people during the Georgian period, 1714-1830, offer historical evidence and archival materials, 1 Windrush Square, SW2, until 4 June. Info: 3757 8500

+ Making their mark: Britain's 18th century Black Georgians


An Unbreakable Rope, diverse sexual orientations within Islamic cultures and how to promote tolerance and cultural-co-existence in increasingly diverse European society, weekdays 9am-9pm, Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, EC1, until 8 June. Info: 7324 2570/


* Social Fabric: African Textiles Today, free, William Morris Gallery, E17, until 29 May. Info: 8496 4390


Wildlife Photographer of the Year, £13.50, child and concessions £6.75, family £36.90, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7, until 2 May. Info: Exhibition


* Brazil: A Powerhouse of Plants,  artists and works inspired by Brazilian flora,  £13.90/£11.90, children free, Kew Gardens, until 29 August. Info: 8332 5655


* Sea Change - Chapter 1, Character 1, In the Rough, Hajra Waheed's multimedia exploration of narratives of disappearance, migration and representation, Tuesdays to Saturdays, free, Mosaic Rooms, Tower House, 226 Cromwell Road, SW5, until 21 May . Info: 7370 9990


London, Sugar & Slavery , permanent gallery at the Museum of Docklands, No 1 Warehouse, West India Quay, E14. Info:


atmosphere: exploring climate science, free, Science Museum, South Kensington. Info: Museum


Atlantic Worlds, Transatlantic slave trade gallery, National Maritime Museum, Park Row, SE1. Info: 8858 4422/ 8312 656


* Peter Kennard: Unofficial War Artist, major retrospective of the political artist's work demonstrates how he has confronted issues in world politics and British government policy at home and abroad, free, Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, SE1 until 30 May. Info: 7416 5000/


* Rapid Response Collecting, small but fascinating display of recent acquisitions showing aspects of contemporary life, from a 3D printed gun to Indonesian-made eyelashes and tWestyern designers' realisation that the pink colour "nude" did not apply to all the world's population, free, V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, until 15 December

+ Printed guns, nude shoes and Indonesian eyelashes


 On Their Own: Britain's Child Migrants, photographs and memorabilia of the estimated 100,000 British children who were sent to Canada, Australia and other Commonwealth countries between 1869 and 1970, free, Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, E2, until 12 June. Info: 8983 5200 


Sony World Photography Awards, £9.50/£7.50/£6.50, Somerset House, Aldwych, WC2, until 8 May. Info: 7845 4600 



from Tuesday 17 May

* Beyond Borders, exhibition and auction of work by Diana Al-Hadid, Adeline de Monseignat, Y.Z. Kami, Marius Bercea, Athier Mousawi and Moshekwa Langaand in aid of Unicef’s Children of Syria Emergency Appeal, Blain|Southern, 4 Hanover Square, W1 until 21 May 

+ 18 May, Art and Conflict, discussion with Alia Al-Senussi and Tammam Azzam, £10, 6.30pm



* Photo: The Shore Breakpart of the Green Film Festival: "Two cousins from South Africa’s Wild Coast have opposing plans to develop their land. Nonhle wants to develop eco-tourism in order to protect her community’s homes, farms, graves and traditional lifestyle while Madiba is planning a titanium mine and national tolled highway. Meanwhile, their King and Queen, who oppose the mine and highway, are deposed by the South African Government."

The Shore Break







Around town




Dheepayan, interesting feature about three Tamils who pretend to be a family in order to get asylum and who try to make a new life in Europe but which slides into a violent Clint Eastwood-style lone avenger finale, Curzon Bloomsbury, Odeon Panton Streer, Picturehouse Central

+ Fake-family drama with a violent twist 

Dheepayan's Antonythasan Jesuthasan: from Tamiul Tiger to star of a Palme d'Or winner


* A Flickering Truth,how  Afghanistan's rich film history was saved by custodians who risked their lives to conceal films from the Taliban, Curzon Bloomsbury, until 12 May


* UK Green Film Festival, films include Racing Extinction, the world’s most dangerous black markets trading in endangered species;  The Shore Break, follows the lives of a rural community on South Africa’s Wild Coast, as they are suddenly faced with a controversial titanium mining project; The Great Invisible, the aftermath of the largest offshore oil spill in US history; The Messenger, chronicles the struggle of songbirds worldwide to survive; Population Boom; Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story; and Deep Time. Until 8 May. Info:


Thursday 5 May

* The Yes Man Fix the World, film of the satirical group's approach, working to expose corporations and government organisations through spoof websites and guerrilla public appearances, 7pm, £9.50/£7.50, Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1. Info:  7522 7888


Friday 6 May

* On The Road With SocratesDaniel Cohn-Bendit, ex-MEP and hero of the 1968 revolution in France goes to Brazil, following the path of football player and social activist Sócrates, to understand the impact of football on Brazilian society + Q&A with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Cine Lumiere, 17 Queensberry Place, SW7. Info: 7871 3515/


from Friday 6 May

* No Land’s Song, follows the struggle of  Sara Najafi, a young composer who defies the ban in Iran on women singing in public: part political thriller, part musical journey. Curzon Bloomsbury, until 12 May


Monday 9 May 

* The Pianist of Yarmouk + Q&A with filmmakers and with the subject of the documentary, Palestinian/Syrian musician Aeham Ahmad who became famous for singing songs of peace in the rubble of a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus before being forced to flee, 8pm, free, Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, E1. Info: 7613 7498/











* Calais exploration of the plight of migrants in Calais and how much they are prepared to risk to reach their goals, Baron's Court Theatre, the Curtain's Up, W14, until 8 May. Info: 8932 4747

* Les Blancs, 1970 play by Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun, that looks at an African country on the edge of civil war, £15-£35, National Theatre, Southbank, SE1, until 2 June. Info: 7452 3000/

+ Young, gifted and black - and writing about colonialism


* A Nation's Theatre Festival, more than 75 plays, until 28 May. Programme includes 18-21 May, Race Cards, 1,000 questions concerning issues of race and identity; 20 May-30 June, Cuttin It, tackling FGM in Britain. Info: Theatre Festival


* Losing Our Children to Islamic State,  verbatim documentary theatre by novelist Gillian Slovo using material from interviews is the result of many months researching Islamic State, meeting people affected by the organisation and involved in the fight against it, £25/£20/£15, National Theatre, South Bank, SE1, until 7 May. Info: 7452 3000

+ 5 May, post show discussion with Moazzam Beg, 9.30pm, £5/£4: 


*  Lawrence after Arabia, by Howard, Brenton, Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, NW3, until 4 June. Info:  7722 9301/


* After Independence  a clash over land ownership in ZimbabweArcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, E8 until 28 May. Info: 7503 1646/

+ Sumbwanyambe takes politis from the family to the stage


* The Diary of A Hounslow Girl, a British Muslim teenager faces a conflict of cultures, Ovalhouse, 52-54 Kennington Oval, SE11, until 6 May. Info: 7582 7680



Friday 6 May

* Hijra!, Shane Solanki, comedy, spoken word and film, themed around ideas of love, loss and gender, 7-8.30pm, £10/£8/£6, Asia House, 63 New Cavendish Street, W1. Info: 7307 5454/


Friday 6-Saturday 7 May

* Punjabi Girl, play about a single mother and her son, Rich Mix, E1. Info: 7613 74987


from Thursday 12 May

* The Invisible Hand, US banker Nick Bright knows that his freedom comes at a price. Confined to a cell within the depths of rural Pakistan, every second counts. Who will decide his fate? His captors, or the whims of the market?, Tricycle Theatre, 269 Kilburn High Road, NW6, until 2 July. Info: 7328 1000/ 7372 6611/


Sunday 15 May
Registered Alive, commemoration of Nakba Day, with Maxine Peake and Al Zaytouna Dance Theatre, 7-10pm, free, Courtyard Theatre, Pitfield Street. Info: info[at] 7700 6192










Tuesday 3 May

* Ben Fogle: The Great African Migration, wildlife, 7pm, C5

* Britain's Billionaire Immigrants, documentary on Chinese tourists, 10pm, C4

* Costing the Earth, 3.30pm, R4


Wednesday 4 May

* HandMade on the Silk Road, 7.30pm, BBC4

* The Silk Road, new series on the old trade route, 8pm, BBC$

* Ben Fogle: The Great African Migration, wildlife, midnight, C5

* Thinking Allowed: Migrant Women, 4pm, R4

* Costing the Earth; Four Menus to Save the Planet, 9pm, R4


Thursday 5 May

* Crossing Continents: China's Population Police, 11am, R4


Friday 6 May

* Ben Fogle: The Great African Migration, wildebeest, 9pm, C5

* The Reunioin: Pinochet, 9am, R4