Fri 18 Feb 2022

Leicester’s Curve will mark the 50th anniversary of the Ugandan Asian exodus with a Made at Curve community production this summer – and local community members are invited to get creative and take part!

In August 1972, Ugandan President Idi Amin ordered the country’s Indian and Pakistani communities to leave within 90 days. Many of the displaced were British citizens and, as a result, around 27,000 people emigrated to the UK, with thousands settling in Leicester.

Finding Home – Leicester’s Ugandan Asian Story at 50 will run from Friday 29 July to Saturday 6 August and will feature three new short plays by local writers whose families arrived in the UK from Uganda.

Commissioned by Curve following an open call-out, writers Chandni Mistry, Ashok Patel and Dilan Raithatha will explore the impact of the Ugandan Asians’ exodus, their journeys to Leicester and contributions to the city over the last five decades. Finding Home will include plays for all ages and will be directed by Leicester-based Mandeep Glover, who previously trained at Curve as Resident Assistant Director.

Curve is now calling on local community members and groups to share their stories and take part in the production. Anyone who is interested in performing, sharing their experiences or getting involved in the project in any way is welcome to join in and further details can be found here – or by emailing [email protected].

Chandni Mistry said:

“I’m so excited to have the chance to tell the stories of British Ugandan Asians who, like my family, have made a home in Leicester. These stories aren’t told in schools and so it wasn’t until I was older that I understood what my own grandparents had experienced. I’m really looking forward to creating a new piece of children’s theatre to help younger generations understand and connect with their own family history.” 

Ashok Patel said:

I am really excited to be one of the writers on this project marking the impact of Ugandan Asians on Leicester 50 years after they were expelled from Uganda. It is the perfect opportunity to reflect on past experiences – some happy and some not – and to learn from the past to help shape the future.

Dilan Raithatha said:

“I am thrilled to be a part of Curve’s community play based on the 50th anniversary of the Ugandan expulsion. Throughout my upbringing in the Belgrave area, I was fascinated by the extraordinary stories from my community who experienced the expulsion first hand. I am delighted Curve have chosen to give this community a platform and ensure these stories are never forgotten as well as highlighting the importance they’ve had in the uniqueness, diversity and making of Leicester.”

Director Mandeep Glover said:

“I’m so honoured and proud to be a part of such an amazing project with a theatre that is putting the heart of the Leicester community on stage. I personally believe that theatre spaces should share stories from under-represented groups that are not commonly heard from and this is what Curve is doing.

“This project is incredibly important to me, and I hope to honour the incredible journeys and sacrifices that an entire community had to make after the 90-day order to leave Uganda. We will be celebrating the past 50 years and the impact that the Ugandan Asian Community has had in Leicester whilst also remembering the hardships and losses that happened along the way.

Curve’s annual Community Productions have previously offered local people from Leicester and Leicestershire opportunities to take part in a range of shows including Richard III, Fiddler on the Roof and Bollywood Jane. With Finding Home – Leicester’s Ugandan Asian Story at 50, Curve reaffirms its commitment to sharing local stories, following on from the success of the 2018 Made at Curve drama Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual.

Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

“The story of the Ugandan South Asian exodus to Leicester is one that begins with trauma for so many. However, 50 years on it is a story of resilience and triumph over adversity,

“In this historic and hugely important year for our city, we are proud to work with our Ugandan South Asian communities and provide a platform to share their unique stories. Led by talented local director Mandeep Glover and local writers Chandni Mistry, Ashok Patel and Dilan Raithatha, these plays will be a beautiful exploration of stories from the past 50 years and ultimately a celebration of this extraordinary community.

Finding Home – Leicester’s Ugandan Asian Story at 50, is the first of a series of shows we will produce over the coming years curated and created by members of our community; Leicester has so many important and remarkable stories to share and we are excited to be able to offer a platform for these incredible stories on our stages.”

Tickets for Finding Home – Leicester’s Ugandan Asian Story at 50 will go on sale soon.