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15 February 2010 | PR 10/18

Loughborough lecturer to perform one-man show at London’s Barbican

Dr Sudipto Chatterjee

A solo performance devised and performed by Loughborough University lecturer Dr Sudipto Chatterjee will debut in London at the world-famous Barbican next month (Sunday 7 March).

Man of the Heart is a multi-media performance based on the life of 19th Century Bengali saint and song-maker Lalon Shah Phokir, known as the ‘King of Bauls’, whose fame stretches across the political and religious borders dividing Bangladesh and West Bengal in India.

The Bauls are a non-institutional sect who profess a body-based philosophy and practice that mixes Islamic Sufi doctrine with a loose reading of Tantric Vaishnavism. Lalon was a figure who transcended religious, cultural and geographical divides and his message was one of peace and harmony.

The performance uses video, traditional live music, dance and spoken word to explore this philosophy through Lalon’s songs and has been adapted from Chatterjee’s original production which has been performed 25 times across America and India.

Two Bengali folk musicians are being flown over from West Bengal and Bangladesh for the UK performances to provide accompaniment on the strings and traditional drums. 

People across Loughborough and the wider East Midlands will get the chance to preview the show in back to back performances at the University’s Leonard Dixon Drama Studio from Thursday 4 to Friday 5 March.

Chatterjee, a senior lecturer of drama in the University’s English and Drama department, started to formally research Lalon’s work during a field trip to Bangladesh in 1997. He has since made several trips, with influential Indian film and theatre director Suman Mukherjee, who is currently undertaking British Academy fellowship at Loughborough, to develop the performance and its audio visual content.

“I’ve been exposed to Lalon’s music since I was a child and as I grew my emotional interest turned into an intellectual one,” explained Chatterjee. “Lalon and his songs are a very important part of the Bengali culture. He stood for harmony and peace and his message is an important one that reaches across religions and culture and is just as relevant today as it ever has been.

“This performance is a total experience and a genuine insight into Bengali culture. Songs are in Bengali and the spoken word in English and we’ve used music, video, recorded audio and staging to make it both aurally and visually stimulating.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be able to perform at the Barbican in London, where many of the all-time greats have trodden the boards and where the Royal Shakespeare Company was formerly based. Walking into that space is like walking into a temple and as an actor and performer my adrenaline is pumped at the thought. Thanks to my supporters who’ve made this performance possible.”

The Loughborough performances of Man of the Heart take place on Thursday 4 March at 7.30pm and Friday 5 March at 5.30pm in the University’s Leonard Dixon Drama Studio.

Tickets cost £8 (£6 concessions) and are available to reserve in advance by email at H.L.Relf@lboro.ac.uk or via the University’s events pages at www.lboro.ac.uk/service/publicity/whatson/

Tickets for the Barbican show are available online at www.barbican.org.uk

Man of The Heart is made possible through support from Loughborough University (Arts Centre and DARO), Barbican Centre (London), British Academy and the British Council (Kolkata).

−ENDS−

For all media enquiries contact:

Amanda Overend
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228686
E: A.J.Overend@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2009 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top five universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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