After the huge success of Emergency on Saturday, I’m back at Z Arts for the more intimate Divergency, featuring eight performances at various stages of development, presented by Word of Warning and STUN, Sustained Up North, ‘part of a National Movement dedicated to the growth and prosperity of BAME Creatives across the UK’.

The evening opens with three ‘Table Top’ performances for groups of twelve.

dsc_0517Afreena Islam’s Daughters of the Curry Revolution charts her family’s role in the late 1960’s curry revolution, and asks to what extent she is a product of her father’s life.  Set around a table strewn with food, personal memories and lights, she recounts a mix of fact and family folklore.  A very personal and intense account of the interaction between two very different generations.

dsc_0519Toni-Dee Paul’s My Father’s Kitchen mixes spoken word and food preparation to investigate her relationship as an eight year old to her estranged father.  Half way through development, this piece predominantly considers how her life has been shaped by her family’s Jamaican heritage.  Wonderfully poetic.

dsc_0518Maya Chowdhry’s Peas on Earth uses interactive ‘Zappar’ technology to question our attitude to food sustainability using snippets of poetry and spoken word.  We move between four tables, each representing air, water, heat and life, at each stage scanning a code to hear the content.  The effect varies depending on the order of tables (I did this at Emergency too), but it makes you think deeply about the world in which we live.

Throughout the evening, you can dip into three installations.  Jamil E-R Keating’s Asteroid RK1 takes verbatim accounts from Manchester’s homeless/rough sleepers and places them in a surreal, space like environment.  Chelsea Morgan’s Tented invites the audience into her tent for a 1 to 1 connection.  Yvonne Shelton’s Testimony is set in the main theatre and explores language and meaning through combining light, sound, dance and song into a powerful performance.

The evening finishes with a Double Bill from Cheryl Martin Who Wants to Live Forever and Chanje Kunda Superposition, which I didn’t manage to see, but both will be top of my list for shows to catch in the future.

What I love about both Emergency and Divergency is that they combine what are traditionally separate forms of theatre, spoken word and performance art and seek to create new forms of ‘theatre’.  Performances are both rewarding in their own right, and also offer a glimpse into where theatre might go in our more interactive and interconnected world.  Both events consider issues that are highly relevant to our world in thoughtful and intelligent ways.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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