The Invention of Shoes

The Kenneth More Theatre, Ilford

 uta Abishkar, originally a poem by Tagore was adapted into a children’s comedy play and performed by the young volunteers (Uttoradhikar) of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro in London. The play acclaimed popularity amongst cosmopolitan Londoners and mesmerised our children and adult audience. The play has had three shows so far and was part of the drama festival, Season of Bangla drama 2016, organised by the London borough of Tower Hamlets along with other renowned organisers. 

 Recently it made history for being the first ever children’s Bengali drama being staged in main stream British theatre, The Kenneth More Theatre in Redbridge who kindly agreed to host it. Along with many other well known professional personalities, the show was attended by the Ilford South Labour Party MP Mike Gapes and London Borough of Redbridge’s Honourable Mayor Cllr Linda Huggett. Both expressed great appreciation and praised the group for promoting cultural integration which they felt is very important for sustaining the positive attitude towards multiculturalism in London or Britain as a whole. 

The fact that all of the shows received huge positive feedback and support from the audiences, demonstrates what an excellent piece of art it is performed by young talented actors and musicians. 

 This Bengali folk fairytale about the invention of shoes was also narrated in English following a storytelling format for the benefit of the audience. The story is set in the medieval kingdom where its king Habuchandra is facing an enormous problem with dust. His dull-witted and unwise ministers and advisers are proving hopeless in getting any sensible solution. Just when everything seemed dispiriting, a leather-man comes up with the idea of covering feet to avoid problems with dust. Although the king was not clever, he nonetheless was very cunning. 

 Therefore it took him no time at all to take all the credit away from the cobbler and order his men to imprison the cobbler to hide away the truth. At the end the credit for invention of shoes went to none other than the king Habuchandra. Through this play we get a glimpse of social prejudices which have been in place for centuries and are still part of our daily lives, often overlooked and unsolved due to the powers held by the top few in our society. Although it is a light-hearted theatrical performed by children, by no means should the play be taken as inconsequential or trivial. Indeed it is a play which gives out strong eye-opening social messages to which we should give serious attention. 

 The Poem was adapted into a play by Bishwo Shahitto Kendra (BSK) volunteers, Shoayeeb Chamak, Syeda Saima Ahmed and Himu M Hussain. This play was directed by Syeda Saima Ahmed and staged by the children of BSK Uttoradhikar. The cast included, Anindita Tahsin, Adnin Tarannum, Amal Nawar Hossain, Adiba Anjum Hossain, Farah Rahman, Wafeeq Zaman, Sheehan Al Jamalee, Aroni Shaha, Eliza Ismat Islam, Adrita Shaha,  Shayan Hassan Khan, Yusuf Aayan Kabir, Rafan Hahseen, Aydan Ahmed, Rayan Pracchya, Iman Nameer Hossain, Radiyah Tasnim Hossain, Sarina Zayba and Ramira Hasan, . This version of the play incorporated live music, performed by the BSK singers and musicians which included, Arfuman Chowdhury, Taslima Parvin, Kawssar-e-Zannat, Sadeq Ahmed Chowdhury, Shah Wahiduzzaman, Himu M Hossain, Zahurul Islam Russell and Shuchona Chowdhury, Amin, Josh and Claude Teppa. Light and stage setup Sanjida Gafur, backstage was supported and managed by BSK members and volunteers Farhana Alam and Syeda Tasmia Tahia. 

 The programme was supported by European College of Law, ION TV and BSK Volunteers.