Project details

Following the successful R&D of our show Castaways written by award winning writer Atiha Sen Gupta last year, Mandala Theatre Company are delighted that we have received funding and support from ACE and HOUSE for a full national tour to start in May 2018. We will be touring the show over two seasons opening at The Place Theatre, Bedford in Spring/ Summer 2018 and continuing the second leg of the tour in autumn 2018. We are touring across the country to 15 cities including to the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Gulbenkian Theatre, Kent, the ARC, Stockton-on-Tees, CAST, Doncaster as well as in the SE to the Library Theatre, Luton, Arts at the Old Fire Station, Oxford, and will be in London at the Tramshed Theatre, with GLYPT and are finalising an another London venue for the autumn.

We have three wonderful young actors in the cast, including Andy Greaves, who performed as Kieran, in the R&D, who is joined by Yasmin Ahsanullah as Asha and Jonathan Clarke-Hesson as Sam. The artistic team comprises talented designer Nomi Everall and producer Ellen Waghorn.

Andy Greaves  Jonathan Clarke-Hesson  Yasmin Ahsanullah

Alongside the performance, artistic director, Yasmin Sidhwa and our new Audience and Outreach Co-ordinator, Shona Edwards, will be running Education workshops in schools around the country, exploring the theme of ‘Place, Identity and Belonging’ and supporting schools in areas where the young people do not access the arts, with free tickets to see the show at their local theatre, supported by the Ragdoll Foundation. In each city a Mandala debate, after the show, will encourage dialogue between a local panel of community leaders, young people, local councillors, politicians and academics with the audience.

Tour Schedule 2018


Tues 01 May
Bedford: The Place2018 Theatre. Visit website

Wed 02 May
Bath: The Egg. Visit website

Thurs 03 May
Luton: The Library Theatre.  Visit website

Thurs 10 May
Stockton-on-Tees: ARC theatre.  Visit website

Fri 11 May
Rossendale, Lancs: The Boo Theatre.  Visit website

Thurs 17 May/Fri 18 May
Coventry: Belgrade Theatre.  Visit website

Fri 25 May
London: GLYPT, Woolwich.  Visit website

Fri 01 June/Sat 02/June
Oxford: Arts at the Old Fire Station.  Visit website


Fri 07 September
Witney, Oxon: Asthall Manor.

Tues 11 September
Derby: Wirksworth Festival

Thurs 18 October
St.Albans: Trestle Theatre Base

Thurs 25 October
Uiversity of Essex: Lakeside Theatre

Thurs 01 November
Canterbury: Gulbenkian Theatre

Mandala is BAME led, Yasmin Sidhwa, toured nationally and internationally as an actor and director, and was Creative Learning Director at Pegasus for 17 years, before founding Mandala.

‘Dis-Connected’ R&D is the 2nd part of our trilogy ‘Place, Identity and Belonging’ building on a successful ACE funded ‘Night Light’ Tour, which resulted in a national 9 cities and 2 international cities tour of the play.
The project will research through in-depth creative workshops and discussions with young people, from communities where radicalisation and urban separation and division are particularly potent, their experiences of ‘connection or dis-connection’ to the communities they have grown up in.

Working with upcoming writer Atiha Sen Gupta, (Writer-in-Residence at Stratford East and winner of the IAR Award for Best Playwright), researchers from the Institute for Research in Education (University of Bedfordshire) to explore the stories of young people and ensuring their voices are central to the new play.

The project will work with the venues to involve BAME young people and actors, who have grown up or live in Luton or Bedford, for the rehearsed reading and subsequent tour.

As one of four Catalyst Co-lab artists for TestBeds, part of ACE’s Luton Investment Programme, Yasmin is currently working with University of Bedfordshire’s academics using research methodology as a strategy to engage with new audiences, identifying organisations and venues with a willingness to develop strong community links and to engage new audiences and a desire to use Mandala’s work as a catalyst for longer term creative projects.

The ‘Dis-Connected’ R&D is part of our Audience Engagement strategy to build and grow a network of venues and community supporters to enable a strategic national tour in 2018, with the aim of using performances as a catalyst for dialogue, debate and creative participatory activities.

In Luton and Bedford, we are building partnerships through University of Bedfordshire Access and Outreach Team, through Luton Culture including Luton in Harmony and local Community Centres, Luton Sixth Form and Bedford Sixth Form Colleges, local schools – Cardinal Newman and Stopsley Schools and the performing arts department at University of Bedfordshire.

We will run several creative workshops in many of the community organisations and groups, to explore the theme and to gauge the potential level and appetite for future engagement whilst working with the venues to facilitate the journey of new audiences as well as developing work beyond our visits.

The University of Bedfordshire’s Theatre, though set in the heart of a Campus is keen to involve the local community in accessing their programme. Their vision is for all to benefit from transformational experiences, especially the arts, and they actively want to encourage a range of local cultural communities to participate and be part of a regular audience. Luton Culture, who run The Hat Factory, encourage groups in the community to actively participate in the arts and to use their art to make a difference, especially wanting to programme work that is locally relevant as well as being nationally important.

Mandala will be working with Executive Dean of Academic Partnerships, who works closely with the Performing Arts Department and with the Arts and Culture Project Manager, University of Bedfordshire Theatre. Through the Access and Inclusion Department, we will be developing partnerships with local schools, colleges and Youth groups in Bedford and Luton, working with local students both at the University and at the Sixth Form colleges, using the theatre space to work creatively in and bringing groups to the theatre.
Luton Culture’s, The Hat Factory, will ensure we work with local artists, assisting with recruitment and providing space for auditions and

June to mid-July
1) Meetings with Venues and Community organisations about audience engagement (Bedford, Luton, London, Stockton, Coventry, Oxford);
2) Meetings and Creative workshops with Researchers and young people in various cities;

Mid-July to end August
1) Regular Script development sessions with Writer; Director; Venue Programmers;
2) Recruit actors for Rehearsed Readings;

1) Rehearsals at UOB Theatre and The Hat Factory;
3) Invited audiences from listed cities for Rehearsed Readings and Talkback sessions including young people; Venue programmers; Testbeds artists & staff; UOB Researchers;
4) Evaluation with Venue programmers; UOB Researchers;
5) Submission of ACE Strategic Touring application.

Updates on this project