Friday, December 04, 2015

Nine shows in nine months

This year has been rather hectic. It's been a long time since the last post but as Phil Crippen once said 'A blog is not just for Christmas' and now whoosh! the year has almost gone. So I'd better write something. The Bolton International Writing Project managed to put on nine shows and even more workshops, starting in March. There were two at the International Family Centre in Halliwell, two at Bolton Community College, two at the Octagon Theatre and three at the Friends' Meeting House. We have covered writing in twenty-eight languages with well over 300 participants, producing our first book with another one due just after Christmas. Some of the writing has been put to music and other pieces have been choreographed. 
  It has been a steep learning curve but the outcomes and impact have been very encouraging. 

   Next year, we will do less shows, maybe six, as we want to bring other activities to the Project, including cookery. 

   Last night was a humdinger of a show. We started with a Keynote presentation of photos and names of everyone who had been involved with much applause for those present, then heard reading from Ahmad (Arabic), Daniela and Teodora (Romanian), Mia (Czech), Aleksandra (Polish x 2) Ali (Farsi), Shpresa, Fllanze and Esmere (Albanian), Nazmi (Tamil), Islam (Arabic) with translations read by the authors or by Gaye, Katie and myself. We had a Russian song from Irina, poems in Yoruba from guest poet Abi, singing in Swahili from Assani, Gazele and friends (Nitawimbia Bwana) and finally Bollywood dancing led by Anna and Sasha. 

   Such was the atmosphere of the evening, that as soon as the dancers started, loads of people joined in and copied their moves. I am very grateful to all those who made food especially our Albanians and Irina, to Kevin for the sound and lighting, to Paul for the video and Simon who not only did the door but took some stills as well. Thanks to Phil at The Friends Meeting House for putting up with us.  The audience voted in the feedback especially for Ahmad's story about Mothers, Nazmi's Autobiography of a Plastic Bottle and the Swahili Singers who just brought the house down. A great show to finish the year. Videos of parts of all shows can be seen at

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Good start to the International Writing Project

This publicly funded project has really got going with a launch event on 17th March for the funders and partner organisations to meet up with the volunteers and then last week we had a workshop and showcase involving nearly seventy people at ACIS with seventeen languages, translating, music and Bollywood dancing. Meanwhile hundreds of students around the borough are busy writing in their languages in preparation for the other events of this year.

To see all the photos and events to come,  go to

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Charity night at the Veda Mandir

  Last night I was invited by Ila Kothari to a red nose charity event at the Veda Mandir in Bolton. It was my first time at a Hindu Red Nose Event and great fun.

I bought some books

and the catering was excellent!

There were terrific cakes on sale like these

but the highlight of the night for me was the Hindi Karaoke with amazing voices.

I got nowhere close with guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar, my 1850 being a whole 400 out of the actual total. I did win a prize in the tombola and bought some incense with which to relax. Two people volunteered to act in a Gujarati play I'm involved with in the writing project. A great evening with lovely people. Thank you, Ila, Kala and Jivy and friends.