Graduates at heart of futuristic play

19 Jun, 2023
Graduates at heart of futuristic play
Shiva – the play’s main character

Two talented AUT graduates and an AUT Lecturer are at the heart of an exciting new futuristic play, Basmati Bitch, being co-produced by Auckland Theatre Company and showing at Q Theatre in July.

The Playwright, Ankita Singh, who graduated from AUT with a Masters in Creative Writing in 2021 says in writing the play, “I was digging into my dark desires to see South Asian women kicking ass because for a long time I had felt powerless. I wanted to create an empowering fantasy for myself and others like me.

“It feels quite surreal to see this story come to life on such a grand scale. I feel very privileged to be given this platform and can only thank the many Asian creatives who came before me. Without their work and advocacy, I wouldn’t be here.

“The play is a dark comedy which touches on issues such as forced migration and climate change – much of the inspiration came from interests I cultivated while studying Communications at AUT, namely globalisation and intercultural communication. Studying screenwriting definitely gave me the skills to tackle this play as well, which has been a mammoth task. I hope audiences can enjoy the show and I hope it sparks their interest in some of the issues the play touches upon.”

AUT Lecturer, School of Language and Culture, Andrew Bancroft, is the play’s Script Advisor and was also Ankita’s Supervisor while studying at AUT. He says “AUT’s MCW for scriptwriters is Aotearoa's premier scriptwriting programme and graduates are making waves in film, television, theatre and web-series.

“When Ankita Singh was commissioned by the ATC to write a full-length play, she asked me to act as a script consultant. I’m happy to support the emergence of a significant new voice.”

Similarly, current AUT Teaching Assistant, Art and Design Management and Masters in Fashion Design graduate, Imuy Teav, is the play’s Costume Designer – a first for her designing for a live performance. Imuy says she has “loved every part of the process of designing for the show.

“From conceptualising to final execution, knowing how to respond to a brief and being able to plan for all the looks. These are all processes, techniques, and knowledge I learnt while studying at AUT, so thanks to my lecturers at the time,” she says.

When collaborating with Ankita and the play’s Director, Ahi Karunaharan, about the style of the costumes, she says they had an overall feel that they wanted for the play’s futuristic ‘world’.

“I do have the creative freedom in translating that feel into the costumes that I’m making. They were happy with what I landed on. The world is set in the future but very much relatable to what’s happening now so I draw some inspirations from fantasy art and mixing it with contemporary clothing. In all I created over 30 outfits.”

Imuy’s AUT Fashion Lecturer, Leica Johnson, says “As a designer, Imuy has an innate skill to mix historical and cultural references that result in creative and authentic products - this allows herfashion design skills to be easily transferred to other disciplines such a theatre costume design.”

Basmati Bitch runs from the 11 - 29 July at Q Theatre.

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