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Revoluton Arts and Bhuchar Boulevard Present TOUCHSTONE TALES

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This follows Touchstone Tales 1, four earlier monologues broadcast via Zoom in the summer of 2020.

Revoluton Arts and Bhuchar Boulevard Present TOUCHSTONE TALES

Last November, actress, playwright and artistic director of Bhuchar Boulevard, Sudha Bhuchar was commissioned by Revoluton Arts and Wellcome Collection to engage with the people of Bury Park, Luton in order to creatively explore their responses to the role of touch both within their communities and personal relationships. Over the ensuing months, members of these communities shared their experiences and personal stories as part of the project Touchstone Tales.

This October, Revoluton Arts presents the second instalment of Touchstone Tales, an exciting, live online event conceived and written by Sudha in response to her work over this period. This online performance comprises a collection of fictional monologues and stories inspired by the personal testimonies that were shared.

Touchstone Tales 2, which will be presented at a live Zoom event at 7.30pm on October 15, charts the stories of inter-connected characters in a fictional family. The duologue, In Search of The Fairy Queen, and the two monologues, And The World Kept Turning and Paradise Lies at the Feet of your Mother's, tell intensely personal family stories of life, love and loss in the context of touch, its presence and its absence in contemporary Britain.

This follows Touchstone Tales 1, four earlier monologues broadcast via Zoom in the summer of 2020 and now available to view on Revoluton Arts Facebook page.

Sudha's practice of verbatim theatre honours the poetry of people captured 'in their own words' yet provides artistic freedom and anonymity when required. This allows for untold stories from under-represented communities to be celebrated and to remain true to Revoluton's ethos of 'everyone has a story to tell'.

Since its launch, Touchstone Tales has taken on an extra resonance in light of the Covid-19 pandemic which has inevitably formed the larger canvas on which these stories from Luton are painted, making them deeply relevant and enduring as they chronicle the unprecedented times we are living through.

During her commission Sudha has engaged with groups including Pink Diamond Martial Arts Club, Dar Aminah Bookclub, a local high school, well-being groups at Bury Park Community Centre and many shopkeepers, local artists, parents and individuals. People have shared their stories of touch before and during lockdown and these face-to-face interviews, online and physical workshops, and many creative encounters, have inspired Sudha's writing. In turn, participants have expressed feeling 'listened to' and have valued reflecting on their lives through the sense of touch.

Touchstone Tales is part of Wellcome Collection's national arts partnerships programme and runs in conjunction with the BBC Radio 4 Touch Test in partnership with Wellcome Collection and Goldsmiths, University of London. The results of this study will be announced on Radio 4 at 9am on Tuesday 6 October, presented by Claudia Hammond. The announcement of the study will be accompanied by a week of special programming on Radio 4 including the series Anatomy of Touch at 1.45pm from 5-9 October.

As this commission draws to a close, all the stories will be audio recorded to be heard as podcasts, produced by senior radio producer Jonquil Panting of Jonx Productions. These will form a legacy of Touchstone Tales and there is a future communal listening event planned to share conversations about touch inspired by the work.

Alongside the monologues is a crowd-sourced film, Ramadan in Lockdown Luton, edited by Lydia Howe and co-created by participants who shared footage of their Ramadan journey through the lens of touch.

Ramadan in Lockdown Luton is Revoluton's first ever crowd-sourced film telling the stories of Lutonians observing Ramadan and celebrating Eid in lockdown conditions. Participants filmed footage on their phones and cameras to help tell the story of this holy month and highlight the poignancy of exploring touch at a time when there was absence of touch. What was lost and what was gained from not being able to be communal and tactile as normal? The paradoxes and unique circumstances were made apparent through the sadness of not seeing loved ones alongside the joys of finding new ways to connect.

Further details are available at https://www.revolutonarts.com


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