Akram Khan Company and the MAC present the return of Chotto Desh

Returning to the stage this year is Akram Khan Company’s (AKC) family-friendly production Chotto Desh, co-produced by the MAC.

Adapted in 2015 from Akram Khan’s Olivier Award-winning solo DESH, by Theatre-Rites’ director Sue Buckmaster, this heart-warming story comes to the MAC on 16 & 17 September 2023. The production is being remounted in the studios of the MAC before receiving its premiere in our 350-seat theatre, Downstairs.

Following the success of Akram Khan Company's third Summer Intensive in August 2022, created in partnership with the MAC and Theatre and Dance NI, the remount and premiere of this production marks AKC’s first performance in Northern Ireland.

Chotto Desh first premiered in 2015, touring until 2018 with just under 330 performances across Europe. In Belfast, Khan will be joined by Sue Buckmaster and his team of collaborators to bring this production back to life before enjoying another European tour.

Chotto Desh, meaning ‘small homeland’, draws on Khan’s unique quality of cross-cultural storytelling, creating a compelling tale of a boy’s dreams and memories from Britain to Bangladesh that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the modern world. Blending Kathak and contemporary dance with a mix of spoken text, dreamlike animation, visuals, and specially composed music, Chotto Desh is an enchanting and poignant dance-theatre experience for children aged 7+ and their families to enjoy together.

Further tour dates are to be announced throughout the year.

Akram Khan, Choreographer and Artistic Director, said: “I am delighted to announce the return of Chotto Desh, and to be collaborating with the MAC again after an incredibly inspiring week in Belfast for our third Summer Intensive. Sue Buckmaster’s child-friendly reimaginings of DESH and XENOS have wholeheartedly brought an exciting vision to the Company. In Chotto Desh, the performers had reimagined a story that is very personal to me. The dramaturgy had shifted to the universal story of a young man with mixed heritage growing up in Britain. And still, all these years later, the themes within the piece remain just as pertinent today. I hope the performances provide inspiration, creativity and a more varied view of the world to young people around the world.”

Simon Magill, Creative Director of the MAC, said: “It’s fantastic to be collaborating with the Akram Khan Company again following their Summer Dance Intensive here at the MAC last August. Chotto Desh is a beautiful piece of dance-theatre that combines live action and animation to tell a wonderfully evocative story. We’re very excited to be presenting this performance for families and dance lovers at the MAC in September."

Sue Buckmaster, Chotto Desh Direction and Adaptation, said: “When we first made Chotto Desh it felt very timely and important to share the wonderful work of Akram with a younger audience. We made it with a three-month tour in mind and it ended up touring for three years and is now coming back out. Why is this? The messages within the piece are sadly ever-more resonant. Cultural diversity remains a delicate issue. Inspiring inclusivity is more important than ever. Inspiring young people to contemplate the arts as a career or method of self-reflection is essential as it is increasingly becoming less of a supported option. This work is not just relevant, it is essential, if we see that inspiring and caring for the future of our children and the choices they will be making is a vital part of our responsibility as adults.”

Alongside choreography from Khan, direction from Sue Buckmaster, and stories imagined by Karthika Naïr and Khan, comes music composed by Jocelyn Pook and lighting designed by Guy Hoare.

Tickets are on sale now and are available here: Chotto Desh.

Community Group Tickets can be booked here: Book Group Ticket.