Masum Reza is a versatile and popular playwright for stage and television in Bangladesh and within the Bangladeshi community here in the UK. He has also expanded his writing career with UNICEF and UNFPA, and is renowned for community awareness issue-based plays in both stage and digital formats. He has written scripts for four such dramas for ethnic channels of the UK and two issue-based documentary-dramas. He has won numerous awards in Dhaka for his stage and TV plays, as well as mastered in writing screenplays for films. He has made his mark by writing and directing Nityapurana, which is considered as a milestone of contemporary bengali theatre. Aroj Charitamrita, Birsa Kabya, Jol Balika – all his stage plays are unique by their own merits. Recently he has adopted an Ibsen play Brand in Bangla (Bhakto) that has received appreciation from the critics. Nityapurana has been translated by Professor Kabir Chowdhury to be included in the edited volume of “Plays of Bangladesh” edited by Ramendu Majumder. Masum is also well known as popular theatre organiser. He has led 4 years as chief executive of Desh Natok, a renowned theatre group in Dhaka. Before that he led Anushilon Nattyadal, a university based theatre group in Rajshahi University in Bangladesh, where he studied Applied Physics and Electronics. His debut novels were published in February 2010. He had been an active member of Desh Natok since 1989.
Kamruz Zaman, by profession Kamruz is a school teacher. He is a well known social worker within his community and secretary of Oxfordshire Bangladeshi Association (OBA). Tale of Two Friends is his first step into the world of theatre.
Selina Shelley, by profession a development practitioner since 1989, had been experienced in working for national and international NGOs. She is currently employed by OXFAM as a Global Campaigner. She studied Sociology in Bangladesh, Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development and Management in Chennai, India; and special diploma on Human Rights from ISS, Netherlands. She is an excellent team player. Her interests in theatre include performance, administration and fundraising activities. She has performed in almost 20 plays in Bangladesh, these were both issue-based open air performances, and full-length stage plays. Furthermore, she has been an active theatre practitioner since childhood, as well as had extensive experience in Mukta Natok, a theatre of the oppressed in Bangladesh. In the UK, she has performed in four televised plays for UK based Bangadeshi channels. She has had a range of publications in gender mainstreaming, development, theatre for development etc. She has also acquired extensive travel experience in Europe, USA and the global South which equipped her with hands-on knowledge of diversity and the colours of different cultures around the world. She had been an active member of Desh Natok, a renowed theatre group in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Samina Lutfa , Assistant Professor of Department of Sociology at the University of Dhaka is a founder member of BotTala. She did her MA in Sociology from Lehigh University, USA and MSS from the same discipline at the University of Dhaka. She has several research articles on agricultural issue,women’s rights, indigenous people’s rights published in the academic journals. As a theatre activist and script writer, she made her mark in theatre with two of her famous stage dramas- Tirthangkar and Khona. She is currently doing her PhD in Sociology from University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. She is a member of Oxford Theatre Guild, Oxford, UK and Women’s Playwright International. Khona has been translated by Professor Kabir Chowdhury to be included in the edited volume of “Plays of Bangladesh’’ edited by Ramendu Majumder.
Refat Reza lives in Kidlington and works in the service sector. She has earned her Bachelors and Masters degrees in Archaeology from the Jahangir Nagar University. She is a theatre enthusiast and the Treasurer of Theatre Folks.
Syed Manzurul Hussain is in the construction industry, involved in project developement from both a construction and design aspect. He has also got hands on experience in studio and theatre set design. His interests include music composing and arranging, influenced by World music as well as cooking, reading, watching movies and racket sports.
Andrea Canales is from Chile. She came to Oxford to do her PhD in Sociology at the University of Oxford. She has never performed in a play before though she always wanted to write for the stage.
Chupkatha Priovashini is studying in Spires Academy on 8th grade. She trnslated this play in English along with her sister Rup. She is interested in writing, crafts and music. She put her name down for props making. At the moment she is learning drums.
Kawsaruz Zaman is 21 years old, currently studying marketing in Buckinghamshire New University. His hobbies and interest includes sports, movies, martial arts, music, hanging out with mates etc. He has never participated in any theatrical efforts so far. He took his membership in Theatre Folks as a challenge.
Mohammad Ali Haider founder member of BotTala-a performance space, Bangladesh was the Head of Live Action Film for Sesame Street Bangladesh. He has long experience and expertise in making documentary films. He has produced numerous documentaries on children’s activities, life style, music videos for Sisimpur Production. He trained 42 rural adolescents to make Live Action Films by training them how to research, find out story, operate camera, record sound, edit the story etc.45 films made by these adolescent directors were broadcast in Sisimpur (Sesame Street Bangladesh) in the national television of Bangladesh. Before joining Nayantara, he was an executive producer of Ekushey television. He has also worked as media consultant, trainer for Save the Children Australia, UNICEF, Sesame Workshop USA, National Institute of Mass Communication, Bangladesh. He directed the documentary “Wishes from Bangladesh” which was screened at the Berlin International Film Festival. He has been working in Theatre in Bangladesh last 19 years as actor, designer and director. Recently he directed a stage drama in Bangladesh named Khona that received applause from the critics. He worked as assistant stage manager of drama “Henry IV’’ by William Shakespeare produced by Oxford Theatre Guild, Oxford, UK.
Nyomi Khan is 17 years old (although the youngest, she is the tallest of the bunch!), She is currently studying her A levels and is hoping to study Immunology in University. She loves singing, acting and dancing, and would also like to pursue singing in the future.
Rupkatha Priodarshini is studying in Spires Academy on 8th grade. She translated this play along with her sister Chup. Her interests are in drawing and reading. She also showed her interest for back stage work.
Rodoshi is studying in Mathew Arnold on 8th grade. Her interest is music. She was trained to sing and play Harmonium (a traditional Indian instrument). She is new in Oxford but an invaluable asset to Theatre Folks.
Saiduz Zaman is 19 years old, He is currently studying biomedical sciences at Oxford Brookes University. He enjoys studying, sports and reading books. He has previously participated in small community drama performances for the Bengali community which he has enjoyed. He is looking forward to working with such a professional team in Theatre Folks.
Sumel Chowdhury is a music director, singer and actor who started his career in Dhaka, Bangladesh and is now based in London. He participated in over 50 plays by directing music, acting and managing groups. Theatre Centre for Social development (TCSD) is an NGO in Bangladesh where he worked as a field Coordinator and successfully used his skill in developing, directing and performing plays in slums, small towns and villages, focusing on children’s rights and health care, community awareness and gender issues. Apart from music and theatre his interest goes for Fashion and fusion where he worked for 8 years with fashion industries. He performed in London Fashion Week and other fashion week opening ceremonies.
Ujal V Bhuva is a student at Matthew Arnold School studying A levels. This September, she will hopefully be going to University to pursue a career in Nursing. She is currently working on Saturdays at Greggs Bakers. Her area of interest in Theatre is Music as she has been playing the Keyboard/Piano since the age of 10 and she thoroughly enjoy taking part in different events. She also wouldn’t mind taking part in other areas of theatre as she likes to try different things and make new friends. Her other hobbies are occasional swimming and dancing.
Uma Pradhan is from Nepal and currently living in Oxford. She is pursuing her MA in Governance and Development at Institute of Development Studies, Sussex. Uma has been working in the development sector for the last 8 years, combining research, writing and programme management. Tale of two friends is her first attempt in acting.