Partition: a unique radio and theatre collaboration marking a defining moment for the Indian sub-continent


West Yorkshire Playhouse and BBC Radio Leeds have collaborated to present Partition, a unique radio broadcast and live performance marking the 70th anniversary of the division of India and creation of Pakistan.

This specially commissioned radio play, written by Leeds writer and established arts journalist Nick Ahad, explores the devastating legacy of a religious division which cost around a million lives.

Enacted from the perspective of a modern day couple, Partition explores how the history of the Indian sub-continent continues to tear families apart many years after the events of 1947. As Muslim Saima and Sikh Ranjit prepare for their wedding hate threatens to destroy their union. Will love or hate prevail?

West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said: “We are thrilled to be working with BBC Radio Leeds to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Partition. It’s fantastic for two leading West Yorkshire organisations to collaborate by staging this production marking such an important chapter in the political and social history of the lives of many of the region's citizens.

“This partnership offers us the unprecedented opportunity to combine both our knowledge and skills. To be able to share this story with the community, engaging those we may not otherwise reach, is certainly something to be celebrated.”

BBC Radio Leeds Editor Sanjiv Buttoo said: “Partition is very much an important landmark for our South Asian communities, and the memories of 70 years ago are still fresh for the current generation of British Indian and British Pakistani families.

“Historically this world event saw the largest ever movement of mankind, so we commissioned this play to give an insight of how it still affects our lives in a profound way.

“We are very proud and excited to be working closely with the team at West Yorkshire Playhouse to bring our listeners history in a modern, contemporary and relevant way”.

Directed by Stefan Escreet, Artistic Director of Ragged Edge Productions, the cast include Leeds based Balvinder Sopal (Call The Midwife, BBC) and Dominic Gately (Barnbow Canaries, Beryl, West Yorkshire Playhouse), Bradford based Mez Galaria (Peacocks, Theatre in the Mill) and Manchester based Darren Kuppan (The Tempest, Shakespeare’s Globe).

Partition will be broadcast on BBC Radio Leeds (and a number of other BBC local radio stations) at midnight on 14/15 August, marking the exact time when the British partitioned India 70 years ago. It will then be performed live in the Playhouse’s Courtyard Theatre from 8 September.