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ADI hosts packed screening of National Theatre's 'Dara'

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'Dara' production consultant Anwar Akhtar fields questions from audience

The University of East London’s (UEL) School of Arts and Digital Industries recently hosted a packed screening of Dara, the acclaimed play from Pakistan which took the London arts world by storm when it was performed at the National Theatre in 2015.

More than 90 people attended the screening at UEL’s University Square Stratford building. Anwar Akhtar, a filmmaker and Dara production consultant, fielded questions from the audience.

Mr Akhtar said, “Dara’s message of peace and tolerance between all communities, faiths and traditions is as important now as it was in 1659.”

He continued, “We hope this screening of Dara encourages some of the young people here to pursue their own education to the ability and level of those that have been involved as cast, writers, directors and producers in the making of Dara.”

Dara tells the story of Mughal India in 1659 and two princes who are battling for the right to rule the realm. It tackles questions about religious freedom and practices that still resonate today.

Dara was seen by over 30,000 people at the National Theatre, and generated a spirited public debate around culture, history and religious tolerance. The play was so popular that the National Theatre made a film available for cultural and educational purposes and arts festival screenings.

The ADI event was organised in collaboration with the National Theatre and Pakistan’s Ajoka Theatre Lahore.

Mr Akhtar said, “Tonight’s discussion underpinned the value of the arts, literature, history, creative skills and critical thinking as being crucial to a young person’s education and development in order to have the best career and other life opportunities.”