Testbeds so far: Reflections at the end of Phase One - Yasmin Sidhwa

Phase One of Testbeds with our focus on a collaborative laboratory has whizzed by so fast. Six months of focus, reflection and partnership. For me Testbeds has enabled me to connect, to test out ideas, to be guided and to reflect on my creative practice in relation to academic research and to develop my own research practice that is fundamental to the creation of the theatre that Mandala Theatre Company creates.

Photo credit © Rachel Cherry

Photo credit © Rachel Cherry

Demo week enabled me as an artist to work alongside academic Dr Maria Kukhareva, from the Centre for Learning Excellence, to explore ideas around teaching and learning in order to ‘stimulate student engagement and student voice through creativity.’ Phase One of Testbeds enabled Maria and I to be immersed in a knowledge exchange in relation to creativity and pedagogy.  I learnt to see the potential of what I can offer across subject areas in relation to creative teaching and learning. Demo week was a good testing ground to see how this could work and what needs to be developed.

Photo credit © Rachel Cherry

Photo credit © Rachel Cherry

Testbeds has also enabled me to develop my research and development for Mandala Theatre Company’s new project (Dis)Connected exploring the theme of Place, Identity and Belonging. Working with the support of the Access and Inclusion department at the University of Bedfordshire I have run creative workshops in schools, colleges and at the University using text and devising to inspire debate around connection and disconnection to the communities we grow up in, especially in Luton. These outreach workshops with young people, and others I have run nationally, as well as the Open Rehearsal and discussion I ran during Demo week have been a wonderful testing ground and will form the basis of a new script that is being developed with up and coming writer Atiha Sen Gupta, for a national and International tour in 2018.

Photo credit © Rachel Cherry

Photo credit © Rachel Cherry

Overall the first phase of Testbeds has helped me to focus and reflect on what I do, to look at how I can develop as an artist and to feel more confident in what I have to offer. Creating links with academics in the University who are researching similar themes to those that Mandala Theatre Company is exploring, is building momentum and hopefully in the second phase we will be able to work together in a more concrete way to develop a project together. It is also incredibly encouraging to have Testbeds support in terms of taking forward Mandala’s new project, in relation to advocacy and funding.

Mandala Actor’s Call out - Auditions on 22nd August 10am-5pm at The Hat Factory, Luton.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking to meet professional, young actors whose playing age can be 16 / 17 years old, with a passion for new writing. We will be auditioning actors in 3s, a timetable for which will be sent out nearer the time. You are welcome to apply as a solo actor, and there is no prep needed as we will give you a script to work from on the day. We are ideally looking for actors born and raised in and around the Luton area.


Character 1 - Playing age 16/17 years  -  Male  -    Black

Character 2 – Playing age 16/17 years – Female – Asian

Character 3 – Playing age 16/17 years -  Male -      White

We are looking to recruit actors to take part in one week’s rehearsal and a week of Rehearsed Readings of our new play (Dis)Connected by Atiha Sen Gupta, with the possibility of being in the national/ International Tour from March 2018.

Please send your up to date CV and a head shot to: yasmin@mandalatheatre.co.uk by Thursday 10th August, 12pm. We will notify successful candidates by Monday 14th August. You will be invited to audition on Tuesday 22nd August, in 3s.

Must be available for the following dates; 4th – 9th September 2017 (rehearsals), for rehearsed readings between 11th - 15th September (rehearsed readings), and 1st – 3rd November.


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