Bristol Argonautica | Programme Notes

Credits: Created by Saikat Ahamed | Performed by Saikat Ahamed | Film by Toufique Ali

Thanks: "I would like to thank Toufique Ali for his skill, expertise and good humour throughout this initial process. I look forward to building on this work, moving forward. Also thanks to Ben Atterbury for his continued support and resilience in such challenging times and for both he and the rest of the interview panel giving me this opportunity. To all the staff at Bristol Old Vic, my heart is with you all. Wherever we all land as individuals at the end of all of this, we are still family. Finally, my ever-supportive wife and children for putting up with my interminable prattling on." Saikat Ahamed

About the show: Bristol Argonautica (working title) will be a new long-form verse inspired by epic poems such as The Iliad or Odyssey (or its namesake The Argonautica), dealing with feelings of isolation, connection and the idea of getting ‘home’ during the current Covid-19 Pandemic.

The scope will be both global as well as local, with Bristol as its central focal point. The poem will carry a narrative, telling the tapestry of what we’re all living through from multiple perspectives.

The task of writing the piece will take a number of months and then will be both filmed in ‘bite-size’ chapters as well as eventually being toured as a live poetry performance in its entirety. In terms of the filming, Saikat has been working with Bristol based film-maker Toufique Ali. At this initial stage, they are trying to figure out the style of the piece; eventually actors and/or animation alongside music may be used as part of the visual medium accompanying the poetry. There’s all to play for…

About Saikat Ahamed: Saikat Ahamed is a Bristol based British Bangladeshi writer and performer. Acting highlights include Tinkerbell in Peter Pan at Bristol Old Vic and then The National Theatre, Vince Arya in Monday Monday for ITV and Mr Chadley in Pennyworth for Epix and appearing in East is East. As a writer, his work includes three autobiographical solo shows, The Tiger and the Moustache, Strictly Balti and In Search of Goldoni, a Christmas family show for Travelling Light Theatre Company, Three Kings, and most recently a play called Book Club which deals with conversations around race. More details about his work here.

Ama's Tides| Programme Notes


Ruth Pitter / White Supremacy, Ancestor, Oppressor, Guard

Yoma Smith / Griot, Ancestor, Oppressor, Police Authority, Manager

Rachel de Garang / Broken Ama, Ancestor, Medical Authority

Christelle Pellecuer / Awakening Ama, Constrained Ama, Oppressor

Lorna James / Grieving Ama – via pre-recorded reading

Valerie Mower / Invisible Ama, Ancestor, Oppressor, Social Authority

Script Black Women Let Loose Theatre Company

Live Music & Sound Effects Clare Martin   

With further thanks to:         

Ben Atterbury - Production Support

Chinoyerem Odimba - Dramaturgy Support

Louis Martin - Video Production

Lisa Oliver - Video Production

Thresholds - Company Support

About the show: The world ignores the warnings whilst the ancestors decry our lack of 2020 vision.

One woman is chosen. Her daily existence is put under the spotlight exposing the pressures that engulf her life in these unrelenting times. From the pain she experiences to her final awakening. Her story encompasses the confrontations she cannot escape as a woman of colour.

Black Women Let Loose Theatre Company presents a work-in-progress that speaks to us all about the harsh impacts of the unfurling events of 2020; from the Covid-19 pandemic and environmental crisis to racism and the Black Lives Matter movement.

About Black Women Let Loose: Black Women Let Loose Theatre Company is a Bristol-based Community Interest Company created to highlight the experiences of women of African and Caribbean descent through devising and producing theatre. The company was created by Christelle Pellecuer, Lorna James, Rachel de Garang, Ruth Pitter, Valerie Mower and Yoma Smith. Their inaugural show - Shades Of Our Lives - comprised inventive pieces exploring topics such as identity, connection and belonging, examining issues familiar to all. It was a sell-out show performed for the first time on International Women’s Day 2019 at Bristol Old Vic. With this new work-in-progress they want to continue to share “a great mix of poignant, challenging, connection and uniqueness” within their work.

Get in | | @BlackWomenLetLoose

Maimuna & Timingjor| Programme Notes

Credits: created by Sura Susso & Pete Yelding

Creative Team

Sura Susso Director, Concept, Kora and Voice

Pete Yelding Co-collaborator, Producer, Cello, Sitar and Voice

Alicia White Stage Manager and Dramaturg

Ya Mallen Jagne Writer and Narrator

Micici Kuyateh Griot storyteller



Babucar Manka Cameraman

Abdoulie Wilson Filming Micici

Njayo Kuyateh Facilitating Mallen’s meeting with Micici

Adama Kuyateh Suggested the telling of Timingjor

JJ Taking Mallen on the long journey to Micici’s house

Assan Manneh Helped with the logistics

Fatima Sissoko For her love and support

Melissa and Cheikh Cissokho For lodging Sura during rehearsals

Amie Faye For helping Mallen during the video shoot

Sana Sarr Proof reading and adding suggestions for stories

Ousman Touray Mallen’s driver

Amie Dibba For the love and support

Lamin Sanyang Filming the live show

Fallu Touray Tailor

Lalla Kebbeh For her love, excitement and endless support

Tanuja Amarasuriya Guidance and support

MaNyenya Dambell Support

Mamudou Susso Love, support and prayers

Ustad Irfan Muhammad Khan Pete’s Ustad 

About the show: In a Gambian household, after dinner, children gather together with their Aunts and Grandmothers to hear stories and proverbs. In a Griot household, these stories are accompanied by the music of Brothers, Fathers and Uncles. This is how the knowledge is passed down to the next generation. During lockdown Sura wanted to explore new ways of keeping alive and sharing this 72 generation heritage with his young daughter, but also with children and their families here in the UK. This project is the result of this exploration. It features one new story about a young girl called Maimuna, and one traditional story about another young girl called Timingjor.

About Sura Susso & Pete Yelding: Sura is a UK-based virtuoso kora player, percussionist and vocalist from Gambia. He comes from a Griot family. Griots are performing historians, peace makers, musicians, diplomats, and story tellers that carry the knowledge of the people. Pete is a UK-based cellist, sitarist, and vocalist from a family of travelling performers. They met over a decade ago, playing around a fire late at night at a small festival in Suffolk. This project marks their first collaboration, which began with a conversation during lockdown about a need for lullabies to create light in these strange times. After developing their ideas, playing together, socially distant, in Castle Park, they approached Gambia-based writer, Mallen Jagne, and Sura’s Great Aunt, Micici Kuyateh, to provide the two stories at the heart of this performance.

Tealeaf| Programme Notes

Credits: created by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Ivy Corbin & Dee Hassan

Written & Performed by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Dee Hassan & Ivy Corbin

Video by Dee Hassan & Holly Beasley-Garrigan

Theft stories by Owen, Freya, Tyler, Matt & Max

Special thanks to Tom Newell for projection mentorship, Caroline Williams for dramaturgy chats and all the people we’ve nicked shit from.

About the show: Tealeaf. Noun: 1. leaves of tea. foretelling future. / 2. (rhyming slang) thief / 3. a reclaimed post-90’s British history told through the looting of highbrow works we couldn’t be fucked to read cos the internet exists and we’re busy being disenfranchised, over-educated, under-employed, middle-passing, class-shamed and austerity-drained so why the hell would we read your posh old fucking play. You taught us to fake it. You stole our past and our future so we’re stealing everything you own.

A sited/video/installation/performance about stealing by artists and participants who’ve experienced the sharp end of Britain’s class-system. Combining interviews, storytellings and bastardisations of classic works. Probably.

About Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Ivy Corbin & Dee Hassan: "Alright. We’re Holly, Dee & Ivy. We like making weird stuff in weird places. Dee & Holly normally make sited film/projection artworks together using documentary-style interviews as a start point. Holly & Ivy normally make site-specific, immersive theatre together. We all like making work that’s anarchic, fun and socially engaged at its heart, and we care about seriously questioning the traditional ways we’re permitted to create and consume art. We’ve decided to smash all that together and see what happens. Might work. Might be shit. But who gets to decide that anyway?"

Bash!| Programme Notes

Cast/Creative Team:Pravanya Pillay & Nia Evans

Credits/Acknowledgements: Sarah Alli, Rasheed Bello, Ryan Francis, Ted Milligan, James Trickey, Imogen Trusselle

Special Thanks to Tom Morris

About the show:

‘Bash!’ is everything.

It’s the absurd and slightly grotesque love child of the past and right now. Filled to the brim with nostalgia for yesteryear and chronicling the outrageous comeback of everyone’s favourite fallen star: Hollywood’s tiny baby - Pravanya Pillay.

It’s classy, it’s trash.
It’s fun, it’s devastating.
It’s feminist and political, but not too much!

This work-in-progress features guests, music, extended dance routines, redemption, costume and of course outrageous scandal.

About Pravanya Pillay: 2008 Sir Henry Floyd Form Representative Pravanya Pillay is a comedian and youth empowerment leader. In 2017 she founded Stomping Ground, an organisation which empowers young people of colour by transforming Bristol’s arts and cultural landscape so that it is fully accessible and representative. A director, writer and performer, her comedic style is like marmite (yeasty) and leaves you wondering: ‘did I hate that?’ Pravanya Pillay’s surreal, absurdist humour is always silly, always fun and always a bit pointless. Critics say; ‘well, she’s having a good time’ and ‘wow, that’s a lot of energy’.

Thank You

Ferment is supported by grants from trusts and foundations who have invested directly in artists and the development of their work, through bespoke programmes of research and development, mentoring, dramaturgical support and a variety of public-facing performances, including work-in-progress scratch events, such as Ferment Fortnight.

The Garrick Charitable Trust
The Fidelio Charitable Trust
Unity Theatre Trust