Saima Duhare is the founder of Palladini Productions – a London based Production Company that specialises in Film, TV and Theatre. Their current project is the devised piece I am a London, which combines 11 difference characters and stories that all have the city of London in common. Saima took some time to tell Karla Williams a bit more about it.
What can we expect from I am a Londoner?
You can expect entertainment from the least likely of characters, ranging from a London Lite distributor, a drunken busker and a street burger seller to name just a few. The story is based on the life of a London park and all the action takes place in a lunch hour. During the process it becomes very interesting to find these stories are unique to the characters and original and very amusing. The audience will be able to identify and empathize. Some are melancholic and some are really funny; it’s a mix bag of emotions.
And how did the idea for the show come about?
The idea came about whilst I was off sick actually. Through one of my reflective moments – since what was on day time TV didn’t impress me at all – I started thinking and realized that Londoners don’t usually celebrate those unique individuals we come across on daily basis. I remember being in the park and becoming astounded with the variant of interesting characters and ethnicities that loiter around and I thought that these characters deserve their stories to be told. I played the whole thing in my mind, and thought, “that’s it – I’ll bring the park on stage!” Not only would it be entertaining to have all the characters/people I mentioned together, but it definitely will make the audience think differently of these characters that they pass on daily basis.
After working on the production are there any new conclusions you made about this great city?
We need to celebrate the least likely of characters, cultures and ethnicities on TV, theatre and film more.
After your dates in London, do you plan to perform the show anywhere else?
We are looking into performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as proposing the idea to morelondon for The Scoop Theatre.
You are the founder for Palladini Production Company that specialises in Film, Theatre and TV. Why did you set up the company?
I set up Palladini productions so that I could create roles that interested me. The work I was getting was few and far between and as it turns out I’m enjoying being a producer and am quite happy to put my acting career on hold. I believe that, as a creative individual, why stop at one genre? I decided I wanted to create something from the ground up and start off where entertainment began in theatre, TV and then film. I enjoy entertaining and telling great stories, be it comedy or drama. Using all mediums I hope to transcend barriers with all three and promoting all cultures, backgrounds and ethnic origins. This is an area I feel needs attention in the Media & Art. London is made up of a variety of ethnicities Spanish, Polish, Italians, yet what we see on TV or in theatre is not reflective of this make-up. Or when these people are given some airtime it’s is very often in stereotypical and categorised roles. I hope to break this cycle; my company motto is “We evolve from art not a box”.
What are you working on next?
I’m very excited about the next couple of projects for this year. I’m collaborating with Shakella Dedi and Sam Bevitt, both of whom have worked with me on I’m A Londoner. They are both very creative people and we make a very strong team. Sam has been appointed in writing this story and the research process is extensive. It a story inspired by the late Madam CJ Walker who is considered the first self-made Africa American female millionaire. We are staging the performance for Black History Month during October. We are also working on a sitcom for completion later this year.
Finally why should people come and see the show?
There is something for everyone in I’m A Londoner. It tells the stories that you never even notice; the side of London not seen in tourist guidebooks. All these interesting characters have interesting lives and we are bringing them to everyone’s attention. It is these characters that deserve an audience, voice and a platform.
I am a Londoner plays at part of the Story of London Festival at the Tristan Bates Theatre on 25th June 2009 (tickets £5 on the door) and at The Southgate Theatre on 1st July 2009 (entrance free).
Words by Karla Williams