Tamasha Playwrights Scratch: Brownballed

Thu 5 Dec 2019

You can spend an evening with some of the UK’s freshest theatrical voices with Tamasha Playwrights Scratch on Thu 19 Dec. Grab your chance to see bold new work in development on stage for the first time, followed by a Q&A with the writers and Tamasha Playwrights Artistic Director, Fin Kennedy.

Adam Kotwal is one of five writers who will be sharing their work at Curve this December. Exploring life as a teenage British Asian Footballer on the verge of greatness, Adam tells us what inspired his writing of Brownballed.

Brownballed’s origins came from a short Copa90 documentary by Adam McKola called ‘Why do British Asian’s Never Make It Pro?’. There were some startling facts that as a football fan I have never really thought about. Such as, there are over 3700 professional footballers in the UK and currently only 12 come from South Asian heritage and only 2 of them play in the Premier League; Neil Taylor of Aston Villa and Hamza Choudhary of Leicester City. Coupled with the fact that a player of South Asian heritage has never capped for the English National Team gave me a reason to research further to understand this phenomenon, or lack of. After speaking to Dr Stefan Lawrence of Newman University, he discussed the idea that the barriers one would assume that cause this failure in making it as a professional, such as culture are family, are not the barriers people perceive to be and are overstated. His research led to me to the work of Professor Scott Fleming and his seminal work Home and Away where research found sport participation in South Asian schoolchildren was influenced by personal racisms in daily experiences and Dr Dan Kilverton’s more recent work, British Asian’s, Exclusions and the Football Industry which looks at how race has been a factor of exclusion in football.

The writing process was multi phased, initial work looked to debunk the idea that the game is made up of seemingly meritocratic institutions, this is in large part a myth and a number of factors could be thought of as contributing factors as why players make it professional and more importantly, in this case, why they don’t. After a period of review, I thought about what if a player from South Asian heritage did make it, to the point of being on the cusp of superstardom? How would they deal with it and interestingly how the world around them deal with it? You only have to look at the tabloids to see how the media can treat our Black footballers, would our South Asian footballers be treated the same? In a post Brexit world, it could be argued that the country has become less tolerant of minorities, would this be reflected in the stands at football stadiums? The proliferation of social media, has meant that the fan and the athlete have no barriers, meaning that a small, but growing part of the internet community is now gamifying this as a way to direct criticism, is this likely to affect the mental health of the athlete? In a game where the athletes are prized commodities playing for clubs who are valued higher than the GDP of a small country, watched by billions around the world, is being a footballer actually worth it?

Don’t miss Brownballed and four other sharing’s of new work including; Unit, Sitas Ashes Sitas Isha, The European Hare and The Walk at Curve.

Tickets: £7