Now here’s a fine way to celebrate the warmth in the air and the longer days.
Renowned South Asian dance company Akademi will this week stage a reworking of one of the most beloved South Asian fables in history as part of a fundraiser for the company’s charitable arm.
A secret 9-acre garden location near London will be transformed on Friday 5 June into a Mughal court which will be the setting for an “interactive” narration of Umrao Jaan, the story of the eponymous 19th Century courtesan immortalized by Bollywood star Rekha in the 1981 movie.
Akademi’s interpretation of the timeless Urdu-language classic will feature an interactive promenade evoking the splendour of a Lucknow Mughal court, where guests will be served Mughal-inspired cuisine while dancers and actors weave around them dressed in creations by the London-based couture fashion house O’Nitaa.
The evening will be hosted by Surina Narula, the millionaire philanthropist behind the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
The story begins as Umrao Jaan makes her debut performance and several rich patrons gather to see her after hearing praises of her astounding beauty.
Her story unfolds, from the kidnapping of a young village girl, to a mesmerising young woman, who falls in love with a Nawab.
Mira Kaushik, Director of Akademi, said: “We are thrilled to be producing such an exquisite performance of the story of Umrao Jaan, in such sumptuous settings. We hope to see you there, and thank you for supporting our health and education programmes which bring the heart and soul of South Asian Dance to young people and those recuperating from illness.”
Proceeds from the evening will go towards Akademi’s education and community health projects with older adults and dementia patients.
For tickets and the secret location, visit www.akademi.co.uk