Taxi Tales is an exciting new performance project taking place in Bradford, in which playwrights will work with minicab drivers from the area to develop monologues for the drivers to perform at a one-off special performance in London as part of a national festival to celebrate theatre in the UK called ‘A Nations Theatre’.
Drivers will get to explore their experiences creatively with a professional writer and have a speech written especially for them. These will then be rehearsed with a professional theatre director and performed live as a ‘script in the hand’ performance at Rich Mix Cultural Centre in London on Friday 15 April 2016.
All the material created will also be audio recorded and made available for audiences online, as well as on CD as a souvenir and for future listeners.
The inspiration for Taxi Tales is a novel called Taxi by Egyptian writer Khaled Al-Khimissi. Each chapter is simply a conversation with a different Cairo cab driver. Although it is fiction, the book hit the headlines in 2008 when it was credited with having predicted the Arab Spring. This was the creative starting point for Taxi Tales co-creators, playwright Ishy Din and Tamasha’s Artistic Director Fin Kennedy: if taxi drivers can predict the future, what would ours say?
In 2015, a research and development period took place that saw a version of the format trialed alongside artists and project partners from Tamasha, ARC in Stockton, Freedom Studios in Bradford, Holy Mountain and Central Saint Martins College in London (CSM).
Three taxi-drivers from Stockton were recruited to work alongside local playwright and former taxi driver Ishy Din who developed personalized, 10-minute monologues for each driver following workshop sessions with the drivers as well as students on the MA Dramatic Writing course at CSM.
Performances of the monologues took place in July 2015, live on the road in taxis in Stockton and as script-in-hand performances in the Platform Theatre at CSM in London. Each monologue was also recorded and made available online through a unique collaboration with production company Holy Mountain. The work created by the students and Ishy Din is available to listen to on our website: http://www.tamasha.org.uk/taxi-tales.
This event is part A Nation’s Theatre Festival – a celebration of UK creativity. Theatre-makers from outside London will be presenting and developing shows across the capital April-May 2016. Find out more www.anationstheatre.org.uk