Afshan D’souza-Lodhi, born in Dubai, is of Indian/Pakistani descent. Though she has spent the majority of her life in Manchester and only 4 years in London, she calls herself a Southerner.
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After seeing a lack of writers that were ‘other’ and ‘different’, Afshan and Adam Lowe set up Young Enigma.
It was founded with initial support from Commonword, with subsequent support from Arts Council England’s Grants for the Arts scheme, funded by the National Lottery.
Members of the group were also LGBT History Month Writers-in-Residence. The programme was supported by LGBT History Month, LGBT Youth North West, Schools OUT, Contact Theatre, Dog Horn Publishing and Talent Media.
Recently, Young Enigma performed at Edinburgh Free Fringe Festival. Their show ‘Patterflash’ is a queer literary variety show and LGBT outreach programme. The show was partially funded by members of the public through the group’s Indiegogo campaign earlier in the year. The performers drew upon the range of queer life – from ballroom culture to protest movements, from house music to cabaret, from drag to stand-up, from pride to the ‘gay language’ Polari – to vivify six intertwined stories of contemporary queer Britain. The show was opened by Cheryl Martin, an LGBT+ poet who has just released her first collection of poems, called Alaska (Crocus Books, 2014).
In January 2015 Afshan was chosen as one of 5 writers across the UK to be part of the Re:Play project produced by Nimble Fish. Re:Play is a collaboration between cultural producer Nimble Fish and writer/performer Nick Makoha and has evolved through their work together to produce Nick’s one-person show, My Father and Other Superheroes. The show is touring England in 2015. Both the tour and Re:Play are supported through a generous grant from Arts Council England.
Afshan, along with Ria Hartley, Gael Le Cornec, Lucy Sheen and Yomi Sode performed on the 25th of July at the Southbank as part of The Poetry International Festival. She worked under the mentorship of Ola Aminashawun, John Berkavitch, Inua Ellams, Stacy Makishi, Polarbear, and Lemn Sissay.
Below is a video of the performance.
Out of 300 applications Afshan was selected as one of the 16 writers on Eclipse Theatre’s “Revolution Mix” – an award winning three year Legacy project that, using the missing Black British stories, will develop and produce theatre, film and radio culminating in the largest ever simultaneous delivery of Black British productions in the UK.
Eclipse Theatre Company led by Artistic Director Dawn Walton will spearhead the largest ever national delivery of Black British stories in regional theatres from 2015 – 2018, with the aim of provoking major change, tackling inequality and creating a lasting legacy within the UK’s theatrical landscape both onstage and off.
The other Revolution Mix writers are:
Juliet Gilkes Romero
Paula B Stanic
Revolution Mix Partner Venues include:
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Bristol Old Vic
Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse
Royal Court Theatre
Royal Exchange, Manchester
West Yorkshire Playhouse
To find out more about the Revolution Mix programme visit eclipsetheatre.org.uk