Q. If the story of your life was to be turned into a play what would the title be, and what would be the hook?
Q. Is theatre a dying art?
No – it is very much a living art-form. Despite the ever-presence of TV, film and the internet, live performance is more powerful than ever. Nothing can replace the intimacy and immediacy of actors on stage. It is an art form that has already survived thousands of years and it will survive for thousands more.
I am proud to be as Asian woman writer – a British born Bengali – but there is a terrible danger of being defined as a writer by your race or gender. It becomes a label, narrows how people perceive you and your work – and it prevents people seeing the universality of any good story that is well told. No-one calls Tom Stoppard a Czech-born male writer of a certain age.
The arts cuts are terrifying – so many theatres I know are struggling already and some will go under. It will not, however, mark the end of theatre, which can also thrive in new ways in adversity. I had high hopes that Great Expectations would go on a tour of India – but with financing as it is in the UK the money will not be found here to do that, which is a great shame!
Tanika Gupta’s work for theatre includes: Skeleton (Soho Theatre during residency 1997); Translation of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Setzuan (NT Education tour); The Waiting Room (NT, Winner of the John Whiting Award 2000); Sanctuary (NT, during residency,2002); Inside Out (Clean Break 2002); Fragile Land (Hampstead Theatre; nominated for Olivier and EMMA awards 2003); Hobson’s Choice (Young Vic nominated for Olivier Award 2003); Gladiator Games (Sheffield Crucible and Theatre Royal Stratford East 2005/2006); Sugar Mummies (Royal Court, 2006); Catch (Group Play for Royal Court, 2006); White Boy (National Youth Theatre, Soho Theatre, 2007 ); Meet the Mukherjees ( Bolton Octagon 2007)and Great Expectations (Watford Palace and English touring theatre 2011).
Tanika has also written extensively for Television series(Eastenders, The Bill, All About Me, Grange Hill) and for BBC radio drama. Her original screenplays for television include: Flight (BBC2 – 1997) Banglatown Banquet (BBC2 -2006).
The Sunday Talk presented by Tanika Gupta will take place on Sunday 7 August, 11.30am at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, £10