Working with Kali Theatre

Holly Cowley
Holly Cowley

July 6th, 2021

Kali Theatre - Bringing South Asian Women to centre stage

This past Tuesday we had the pleasure of working with the incredibly talented change-makers Kali Theatre on their ‘On the Shoulders of Kali’ event. As they stated on Kali’s website, from 2011 to 2016, 1,093 new plays debuted in the UK. 32 of which were authored by South Asian women and 64% of these were presented by Kali. Kali Theatre’s work has been instrumental in changing the scenery of modern British theatre. A change that should be celebrated. And celebrated they did, with an event marking the 30th anniversary of Kali’s fantastic work to bring women of south-asian descent centre stage. The celebration took the form of a symposium featuring a sequence of pannelists. Each pannelist offered a unique insight into current events in the company, diversity in drama schools, disablity in theatre and so much more.

We worked closely with Chris, the executive director at Kali to support the production of the event. What was special about working with Kali was that we were able to offer a range of our services. This holistic approach meant we were able to support the entire evolution of the event.

Technical Production - A key part of our work with Kali Theatre was producing their fully remote event. This meant facilitating multiple remote speakers and broadcasting to the symposium attendees. Most important was ensuring the audience had a smooth viewing experience, as well as for the speakers.

Content Creation - We also worked with Kali in the run up to the event to create a promotional video. This was a sequence of production photos from their past 30 years. A tribute to the remakreable work they have achieved. This video is theirs to showcase and distribute on social media platforms or their website to show patrons what they’ve got!

Editing - As we broadcasted the event we made sure to capture all of the footage in real-time. After the broadcast aired we then began editing this footage as a promotional video. This means Kali will now have a fully-edited, studio-quality recording of their successful event.

Accessibility - As with all of our work, we wanted to ensure accessibility played a key role in this event. A sentiment shared by Kali Theatre who strive for diversity and equal opportunity. The company’s Theatre Manager, Chris Corner, said that including BSL interpreters was a standard part of their in-person practice, so, of course, we were going to accommodate. During the live event we provided closed captions and mixed BSL interpreters alongside the speeches. The promotional video will also be fully transcribed and captioned.

Chris explained that the process of putting on their first event was a nerve wracking one as he felt there was the potential for many things to go wrong. However, he praised Tell for taking steps to eliminate their nerves. For example, Kat was the lead operator on the project and as a theatre graduate she was extremely well-placed. Chris praised Kat’s ability to conduct the runs before the event with a ‘diplomatic rehearsal approach’. He said many of the speakers were made more comfortable by this and responded well to the familiarity of the atmosphere. Chris also appreciated the need for a detailed running order to accommodate for the uncertainty of live events. We helped to make sure that all of the crew and the speakers were well-prepared and knew what to expect.

Kat is fantastic at connecting with our clients and relishes the opportunity to meet a wide range of new people in a professional capacity. Kat found herself feeling “so grateful to interact with theatre professionals who were passionate about the same things” as her. Having written her dissertation on the importance of diversification on stage, to see and work with a theatre company implementing the same practices was fantastic. Kat had some great insights during her time working on this project,

“Usually I cover broadcasts that focus on supply management or pharmaceuticals and while those topics are interesting as I get to expand my knowledge, as a theatre graduate I do admit I found myself fangirling at the symposium. I found myself disheartened that I couldn't partake as an audience member as I wanted to join some of the discussions like the importance of POC Dramaturgs for POC writers. I think it's extremely important as a young woman to see that companies like Kali are still fighting for equity across all minority voices in the arts, be that writers of colour, disability or the lgbtq+ community. Especially when they recognize and create a safe space for those that wish to remain anonymous due to their families expectations.”

Most important to us is ensuring the customer has a fully-satisfactory experience. Gathering feedback on the process and product is an important part of our practice in order to keep our services at their very best. After the debut of Kali’s symposium, I reached out to Kali’s Theatre Manager, Chris Corner, to hear the client's perspective. For Kali, symposiums and webinars are standard practice, however this was their first virtual symposium. As a result, Chris described his time working with us as a “learning curve”. Spreading awareness and information about virtual events is a huge part of our work, so it was fantastic to hear that Chris felt ‘well-guided’ and that he was provided with wealth of advice in a non-patronising, supportive way. Whether this is your first time hosting a virtual event, or your hundredth time, we strive to make sure you feel comfortable and well-equipped to put on the best show possible!