Get Táhirih to Edinburgh Fringe!
**Please help us bring “Just let the wind untie my perfumed hair…” or WHO IS TÁHIRIH? to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.**
Who We Are:
I am Delia Olam. I am an Australian actor/director/singer/writer/composer who has created a solo-production about Táhirih and set her poetry to original music played on Appalacian Dulcimer and Cello.
And I am Joanne Hartstone. I am an Australian theatre producer, director and international theatre presenter. I am presenting WHO IS TÁHIRIH? in the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
Táhirih was a scholar and teacher, pioneer feminist, revolutionary, poetess, Bàbi (Bahá’i) and martyr; she was a Persian woman who lived in the mid-1800s. We are PASSIONATE about sharing her story through theatre and her exquisite poetry through song. A contribution to this campaign will help us introduce her story, her words and these works to a global audience, and give them LIFE!
“You can kill me as soon as you like. But you cannot stop the emancipation of women!” – Táhirih
Táhirih was a woman of exceptional intelligence and capacity, born into a time and place where it was desired that women would be neither seen nor heard; certainly not educated, revered, adored, talked about, hated, imprisoned, championed, killed… But things went a little differently for this one. A true story that reads like an epic poem, but one in which the heroine grows agency, climbs out of the pages and flips the script! Táhirih was the first woman-suffrage champion of the modern era (the defining moment of her life, in which she removed her veil and appeared before her male peers in a male domain, declaring that the “fetters of the past are burst asunder!” pre-dates the first meeting of the suffragettes in the West) and she was also its first martyr – strangled (for heresy, and for the ‘sin’ of speech) at the age of 36. Echoes of her legacy, and the Teachings that inspired her passion, are all around us today, and continue to have their influence, though her story is still largely unknown.
This play, WHO IS TÁHIRIH? is a bold and arresting, occasionally funny, charming, haunting and uplifting piece of theatre and music performance that explores not only this important chapter in our relatively modern history, but also our ongoing tempestuous relationship with “feminism” or the equality discourse; with the role of religion in both oppressing and inspiring revolution, with the nuances of Middle Eastern culture, with change and collective transformation, and with grieving…
“Father”, “Servant”, “Friend”, and “Executioner” (based on first-hand historic documentation) each share their perspective on who Táhirih was and what she did, performed with fourth-wall breaking intimacy – and Táhirih then ‘speaks for herself’ (in song) through her translated poetry; poetry dripping with lover-imagery in relation to her “Beloved”…
“Delia Olam is a gem, a raw talent waiting to be discovered for a bright and sparkling future” Fringe Review
WHO IS TAHIRIH? also features a beautiful, effective and affecting lighting design by renowned and award-winning Adelaide lighting designer Geoff Cobham (from Bluebottle Lighting). All the production’s music is performed live, and there will be excerpts from the concept album of Táhirih’s poetry which Delia has recorded. This features the mind-melting cello musicianship of Rachel Johnstone (Australian String Quartet), and the phat bass-playing skillz of Tim Bennett (The Rest, The Amazing Drumming Monkeys).
Speaking of which, a 13-track album has taken shape, featuring 10 of Táhirih’s poems as translated with truly breathtaking power by (now-deceased) Persian poet Amin Banani, and joined by a couple of “Hidden Words” and a prayer sung in Arabic, all set to music by Delia Olam, and accompnanied by either the cello or Appallachian dulcimer. These and another 4 tracks (you’ll have to wait for the next release for those, ha!) – were recorded over the course of 5 verrrry long (and deliciously focused) days, in a farmhouse which was converted into a studio in the beautiful Waitpinga area SA, by the very clever and multi-talented Andrew Clermont (The Supper Club, Dya Singh, Ragas2BlueRiches, Totally Gourdgeous). Just like the play they feature in, the album experience is by turns anthemic and rousing, sweet and lullaby-like, haunting and cinematic… It’s a beautiful album that will have it’s official launch later in the year, but which will be made exclusively available to audience members during this Edinburgh season.
“[Delia’s] mellifluous voice is haunting, then uplifting, and simply beautiful” Dirt & Candy
Now. “Why Edinburgh Fringe?” you might say? Well, Edinburgh Fringe is the biggest Arts Festival in the world and it is an incredible professional development opportunity, especially for emerging artists and new works like these, ready for the next step, because Edinburgh Fringe is where all the International Festival organisers, venue bookers, tour operators, company directors and of course, other artists, go on a yearly basis – to see each others’ work, be inspired, learn, hone their craft, and mayyybeee, **to be picked up for touring and performance opportunities in lots of lovely places in this beautiful big world.** After developing this work over a number of years, and growing as a performing work through two Adelaide fringe seasons (the *second* biggest fringe festival in the world #madeinadelaide #adelaidepride), this will be the international debut of this theatre work, and of this album. We think these are works the content of which are topical and poignant to the social/political moment that we find ourselves in, and would love to offer them into that global conversation! We also think that they’re good theatre, good music, and ready. And that this is just the next (very exciting) (yet very risky) step…
“Timeless… leaves you feeling emancipated” Rip It Up
The play will be performed at Assembly (one of the most prestigious and popular theatre venues at the Edinburgh fringe, hoo hoo! fancy!), George Square Studio Two, at 12.35pm daily from 4-29 August, 2016. (except Tuesday 16) For tickets, visit: https://tickets.edfringe.com
“Just let the wind untie my perfumed hair…” or WHO IS TÁHIRIH? has been supported by Arts South Australia through the Made In Adelaide scheme and, we hope, will also be assisted by the generous support of our supporters, locally, nationally and world wide -Thank you in advance!
How The Funds Will Be Used
We are very lucky to have received some support from Arts South Australia through their Made In Adelaide scheme. However, producing high quality professional theatre and a high quality album simultaneously is a costly (and time-consuming) business, even more so when taking such things overseas and to Edinburgh in particular, where we will be “competing” with 1000s of other top quality artists (can’t wait to go see and support all their work too!) So we do need a bit more in the bank to ensure the success of the production, and of the whole (ad)venture.
Your pledge will have a positive effect across the entire project, and will go towards venue fees and expenses, flights, freight and insurance, publicity and printing costs, and CD production and merchandise. Your support will help us to produce the best possible production at the highest possible standards in some of the most creatively stressful circumstances – and so feel collectively positive about having put our best, loveliest, prettiest foot forward when this plumb opportunity arose!
Plus there are some totally RAD rewards on offer! Check ’em out. It’s our way of saying THANK YOU FOR THE SUPPORT!
– $1500 to top up budget for venue fees and production expenses
– $3,800 for flights
– $700 for freight and insurance
– $1600 for publicity and print costs
– $1000 helps pay for album mixing and mastering
– $2000 for CD manufacturing and merchandise
Any more that we might raise over the amounts listed above (as well as helping in many no doubt unforeseeable challenges during our go-hard month of August) will also assist in the payment of engineers, musicians, album artists, website development people, and the work involved in publicity connected with the upcoming official launch of the album. It will also go towards investing in a projector, “fresnels” and “birdies” that would allow us set up – in any space – the simple yet striking lighting design that Goeff Cobham has created.
So if you’re just on fire with enthusiasm for what’s goin’ on here and like the feel of being an arts patron, then please don’t hesitate to keep throwing those bones our way. And to keep receiving those lovely rewards! Maybe we can even come up with something truly Bucket List-y to do together! OOoh! What might it be??!?
PLEASE NOTE (whoa, there’s a lot of capitals coming up; this is serious y’all): With a pozible campaign, there’s a slightly stressful (but potentially motivating?!) element to the fundraising; that UNLESS we acheive our FULL amount before the end of our campaign, then we DON’T receive ANY of it. …Which is some kind of assurance, perhaps, especially to those making a sizeable pledge? – you know that if the thing goes through that we’re totally supported and off and away!! To help us reach our goal, we would be SO APPRECIATIVE (like, heaps, you guys) if you would help spread the word by SHARING this campaign through your EMAIL LISTS and on your FACEBOOK FEEDS and TWITTER ACCOUNTS and saying lovely things about us EVERYWHERE YOU GO… or, at least, whenever the conversation naturally turns to ArtAbout19thC.PersianPoetsWhoAreAlsoFeministPioneersAndRevolutionariesAndEspeciallyTakingThatArtToEdinburgh, maybe? THANK YOU. XXX
We acknowledge that taking a show overseas is a very expensive and risky venture. The money we are trying to raise here is only a portion of the total expenses of bringing this story and music to a vastly broader audience. We are competing in a huge marketplace and understand that ticket sales will not cover our expenses without assistance.
However, we are confident in Táhirih. We are confident in our work and our expertise (Jo has worked as a General Manager in the Edinburgh Festival for 5 seasons). We are confident that this story needs to be told.
Europe is in a state of unrest. The UK is in political turmoil. What better time to remind people of peace, equality, religious and cultural freedom, beauty, intelligence and harmony…? We might find solutions from the past if we listen hard enough.