Broadcasts Of Interruption: 5 Pandemic Stories

In Autumn 2020, we commissioned five artists to write about their lockdown experience. Some of the artists have written before, but for others, this is a new journey. Please join us as we present to you these funny, moving and unwaveringly honest, untold tales in our brand new series of short films, Broadcasts of Interruption: 5 Pandemic Stories.

Broadcasts of Interruption: 5 Pandemic Stories – The Collection

Written & Performed by Dharmander Singh
Directed by Mingyu Lin
Editing & Post Production by Jan Adamic & Buzby Bywater

Dhar reflects on his experiences of becoming a father for the first time during lockdown – and not just to one child, but to twins!

Dharmander Singh 
Dharmander Singh was born in Birmingham in the mid 70’s as a first generation British Asian. Having started in theatre from a young age, he graduated to stand-up comedy and later ran the successful Birmingham comedy club, Custard Balti. Now based in Berlin, Dharmander has been entertaining crowds as compere and solo artist from Amman to Zurich for over 15 years, and has supported Ardal O’Hanlon, Judah Friedlander as well as Steve-O and performed with Jeff Ross.

A comedy festival regular, Dharmander performed for the first time at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Birmingham Comedy Festival in 2017 with his acclaimed one-man show Bollywood and Birmingham to Berlin and Brexit. This production went on to become part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 and 2019, Utrecht International Comedy Festival 2019 and Brighton Fringe 2019, and tours regularly to Austria, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia and Italy. He has appeared on BBC radio on several occasions and featured in the Scottish BAFTA winning film Crying with Laughter. Dharmander is the regular compere and co-promoter of the popular club, Cosmic Comedy Berlin, which produces sell-out shows and tours Edinburgh for the month of August every year.

Directed by Mingyu Lin
A director for stage and film, Ming trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and is an alumna of the Royal Court Writers’ Program. She is a Script Reader for Traverse Theatre and was a reader for the latest iteration of the Bruntwood Prize. A founding member of BESEA advocacy group BEATS, she has directed and written a number of short films, which have won finalist awards for Sundance Shorts, Sci-Fi London, Enter The Pitch and ITN’s Nativity Factor and have been screened in festivals worldwide. 

Her stage directing credits include: Babel (Arts Ed); Overheard (CAN, Nottingham Lakeside Arts/York Theatre Royal/Wun’s); Does My Bomb Look Big in This (Tamasha, Soho Theatre); Lòng Mẹ (Van Thanh, Vaults Fest 2020); No Bond So Strong (Sampad, mac Birmingham); Silently Hoping (Ellandar, Applecart/Vaults Fest 2019); Grotto (Next Up Talent, National Theatre Studios); Hear Me Now (Tamasha, Rich Mix); Rice Paper Tales (Trikhon, The Albany/ mac Birmingham) and A Dream from a Bombshell (Trikhon, The Albany).

Written by Ashok Patel
Performed by Souad Faress
Editing & Post Production by Jan Adamic & Buzby Bywater

In a house in a suburb of Birmingham, Kantaben talks to deity Shakti Maa on one of the endless days during the first lockdown.

Ashok Patel
Ashok Patel is Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences at the School of Health Sciences at BCU. Recently he has been involved in a study which has investigated the effect of ethnicity on the sense of belonging and motivation in first year biological sciences students at Coventry University.

Outside of science, Ashok has an interest in creative writing and is excited by the innovative STEAM research culture that is being developed at BCU. This initiative brings together interdisciplinary researchers and builds collaborations between artists and scientists. He has had an afternoon play produced on BBCR4 directed by Vanessa Whitburn called Jeevan Sathi; Life partner (2002). He has had 3 short films produced: Obsession was produced by Sampad (2003), Chahana was produced by Arts in Sandwell (2004) and Cathy and I was produced by Script and Lighthouse (2005).

He has recently written a play called Ninety Days, a fictional story based on the expulsion of Asians from Uganda in 1972 by president Idi Amin. The play was showcased by Futuretheatre company at the Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham in January 2018.

His short story, Ninety days, also based on the theme of the Ugandan Asian expulsion was shortlisted by The Asian Writer short story Prize 2016 on the theme of Borders, Boundaries and Belonging. The shortlist has been published as anthology of short stories by Dahlia Publishing in 2017.

Souad Faress
Souad Faress is a Ghanaian stage, radio, television and film actress, based in the UK. She is best known for her portrayal of the solicitor Usha Gupta in the long-running BBC Radio 4 serial, The Archers, and for her role as the High Priestess of the Dosh Khaleen in the sixth season of the HBO series, Game of Thrones.

Her film roles include My Beautiful Laundrette and Sixth Happiness. Her TV credits include I, Claudius; Blake’s 7; Coronation Street; Casualty; The Madwoman In The Attic; No Angels; Inspector Morse and Game of Thrones.

Her extensive stage credits include Hurried Steps, Sharon Wood’s translation of Passi Affrettati by Dacia Maraini. The play’s narratives were mainly sourced from Amnesty International, the subject matter including rape, honour killings, sex trafficking and other issues of violence against women.

Written & Performed by Promila Bittu-Safaya
Directed by Mingyu Lin
Editing & Post Production by Jan Adamic & Buzby Bywater

As lockdown is announced in India, join Anita as she desperately tries to get herself and her father home to England.

Promila Bittu-Safaya
Promila Bittu-Safaya is a former Anaesthetist turned Actor, Dancer and Screenwriter. She has worked as an artist on Nadeem’s Story, a short film that was a collaboration between Walsall Manor Hospital and Birmingham City University. She has also acted in plays with the South Asian Performing Arts group at The Drum and MAC, and regularly performs with Bollywood Dance Dreams Academy. As a singer, she has performed with groups at South & City College Birmingham, Town Hall and at Birmingham’s Bengali Association. Her Screenwriting work is ongoing and, in the future, she anticipates to engage more with the UK Film industry and Bollywood.

Written & Performed by Kiren Jogi
Directed by Mingyu Lin
Editing & Post Production by Jan Adamic & Buzby Bywater

A glimpse into a moment in a filmed journal for a young mother, who is counting the lockdown hours whilst adjusting to life with the in-laws.

Kiren Jogi
Kiren Jogi is a graduate in Drama and Film from the University of Aberystwyth. She was part of the Kaali Shorts Asian Women Writers Programme in 2007. Aside from her writing career, she has travelled the world sa a successful actress. She spent time in Mumbai writing for a column titled BBCD in the local newspaper Aftershock. She was further commissioned to write a short story for Grey Oak publishers which was featured in Urban Shots. She has written copy for several adverts at Indian London Film Company, as well as a TV series called Production House, for which the Pilot was shot last year. Previously she devised the play Street, Subway & Slums with Sampad, and this latest piece, 936 Hours, has been inspired by experiences of lockdown during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Written by Shazelle Punjabi
Performed by Ravneet Sehra

Directed by Mingyu Lin
Editing & Post Production by Jan Adamic & Buzby Bywater

Young, recently graduated and trying to get a job in a pandemic. What’s it like to battle through online interviews, whilst trying to imagine a world beyond lockdown?

Shazelle Punjabi
Shazelle Punjabi joined Sampad as a University of Birmingham Cultural Intern in 2019. She was Trainee Producer on our Stories of Migration Walking Tours. An English graduate, she is passionate about writing and has written creatively for The Hearth Centre’s Tales of Lockdown in 2020. This is her first written commission for Sampad, and is based her and her friends’ experiences of job hunting.

Ravneet Sehra
Ravneet is a British South Asian Actor. She trained at Birmingham Ormiston Academy, which was co-founded by Maverick Television and The Brit School. She has acted in classics by Shakespeare, such as Punjabi Jaques in As You Like It and Queen of the Fairies, Titania, in a site-specific adaption called Merely Players. Her roles in contemporary theatre include playing Baby in Meera Sayal’s world premiere of Anita and Me (Birmingham Repertory Theatre), Betty in Down to Earth and Girl on a recent UK tour of award-winning play The Vultures Song. She was nominated for Best Actress in the Midlands Movie Awards for a short film Scars, and featured as Bal in I Choose (BBC).