London Mayor Sadiq Khan officially opened Tara Theatre, a new state-of-the-art venue in south London to showcase South Asian arts. The theatre will be the new home for the acclaimed Tara Arts, one of the oldest diverse multicultural theatre companies in Britain, Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
Tara Arts was founded in 1977 by theatre director Jatinder Verma, an artist who was born in Kenya to Indian parents and moved to Britain in 1968. “Tara Theatre has always held a special place in my heart. I have enjoyed many hours at the theatre and I’m delighted that the building has been given this new lease of life,” the Mayr said on Thursday.
Khan, who became London’s first Muslim mayor in May this year, has been a long-standing volunteer and a supporter of Tara Arts. He had recently come as an MP for Tooting to mark the project’s breaking ground before he won the mayoral election.
“I hope many more Londoners will come and experience the magic of theatre at Tara Arts. This new space embodies all that is great about London, with diversity and creativity built into the very fabric of the building,” he added. The new Tara Theatre features a 100-seat auditorium, a fully sound-proofed rehearsal studio and workshop space, rooftop offices, a bar and an outdoor patio garden.
The original architecture of an Edwardian terraced building has been given a new lease of life, with new designs showcasing beautiful handcrafted Indian wooden features. The building is also equipped with a series of sustainable technologies, including solar panels and green sedum roofs.
Tara Theatre has plans to stage 70 events to mark the 70th anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence in 2017. The development of the new Tara Theatre was mainly funded by Arts Council England, with additional funding from other trusts and foundations and over 1,400 individuals.
“This is the realization of a life-long dream to create a world class building right in the heart of the community we serve. We are passionate to continue and expand our work, now with the benefit of such a wonderful building,” said Jatinder Verma, artistic director of Tara Arts.
Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, said Arts Council England’s support of the new Tara Theatre signals its commitment to investing in the long term development of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic theatre artists and audiences.
“This landmark building embodies the Arts Council’s mission to create opportunities for excellence for all. We are delighted our support for Tara’s leadership in diversity has helped create a dedicated home for connecting worlds,” he said.