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Chol Theatre Residency at Burleigh College

Kala Kahani invited the Chol Theatre Company to take up a two day residency at Burleigh Community College in Loughborough on 30th & 31st November 2003. Their two days of performances of 'The Ghost Lesson' formed part of the new collaborative PSHE programme for year 10 students developed in partnership between Charnwood Arts and Burleigh College. The production raised many issues pertinent to the purpose of that phase of the programme, namely culture and identity, racism and intolerance.

Here is an excerpt from the Director's notes which describes the play and its origins.

' The Ghost Lesson is set in a classroom with the audience as the contemporary class of 2003 who follow the journeys of the ghost children from the past and present:

Sameeha, growing up in the 1970's from a family who made the journey from Pakistan to Yorkshire

Sam, growing up in the1960's having made the journey from rural to urban England

Franziska, who represents the Roma people of Poland who suffered in the 1940's Holocaust and from persecution over the centuries

The play ends with Mishou, a present-day refugee Roma child in this country.

We can all identify with the schoolroom setting and the issues of growing up. My own experience paralle;ls most closely with that of Sameeha, and I am very aware that 1947 saw a Holocaust in the Indian sub-continent resulting in 13 million refugees. Partition, like the nazi persecution, is still in the memory of the older generation.

The play is relevant to us all. As Salman Rushdie has written, the past is a country we all emigrate from. We all need to know and retain our own past identities. The Ghost Lesson deals with serious issues - cultural identitiy, the position of refugees in Britain today, racism and ignorance.'