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Sell-out UK play on Partition to be streamed live

chandigarh Updated: Jan 07, 2014 19:29 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
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A play on the turmoil of British India's Partition in 1947 and the key role played by Cyril Radcliffe in drawing the boundaries of independent India and Pakistan is to be streamed live after it drew sell-out audiences in the Hampstead Theatre here.

The play, 'Drawing the Line', by noted English playwright and screenwriter Howard Brenton, will be streamed live on January 11 from 7.30pm GMT (January 12, 1am IST). The live streaming has been organised by the Hampstead Theatre with The Guardian.

The play, which attracted large audiences since its premiere on December 3, was inspired by Brenton's conversations he had during a visit to India in 2009. The last day of the show is on January 11, whose tickets have sold out.

Brenton said: "The play has big themes: the end of the British Empire, the birth of India and Pakistan and the terrible human consequences of the creation of the border between them. But it also celebrates the humanity and brilliance of the leaders of the communities and their visions for a better future."

He added: "Live streaming is a very exciting way of setting up our theatre anywhere on the subcontinent, or in the world, so anyone can see our play."

As the chairman of two boundary committees, Radcliffe was responsible for drawing the borders of the two new countries, keeping in view the complex demographic and other realities that preceded India's independence in 1947.

A note on the play says: "Radcliffe had only six weeks in which to complete the task. Radcliffe was unprepared for the dangerous whirlpool of political intrigue and passion into which he was plunged; one of religious and racial turmoil, blood feuds and even an illicit liaison between the leader of the Congress party and the Viceroy's wife."

As Radcliffe began to break under the pressure, he came to realise that he held in his hands the fate of millions of people, a predicament brought to life in Brenton's play.

Tom Beard plays Radcliffe and leads the cast of David Annen, Paul Bazely, Lucy Black, Silas Carson, Abigail Cruttenden, Neil D'Souza, Tanveer Ghani, Andrew Havill, Salma Hoque, Rez Kempton, John Mackay, Simon Nagra, Nikesh Patel, Brendan Patricks, Shalini Peiris and Peter Singh.

Hampstead Theatre's artistic director Edward Hall said: "We are delighted that the Hampstead Theatre can continue to break new ground, and live-stream for free this extraordinary play by Howard Brenton. We hope people all over the world will engage with this fascinating piece of history which has been rarely explored on the stage until now."