Culture / People

Celebrating Croydon’s Anglo-Indian Community

18 April 2024

Earlier this week I met up with the artistic director of Maya Productions, Suzanne Gorman, at the Museum of Croydon to see their current exhibition Routes to Roots, as well as to hear more about the wider project.

Maya Productions was set up over 25 years ago, with a mission to make diverse theatre that creates change, and brings together organisations and individuals who want their work to enable social change and racial justice in the arts. This mission is still very much core to the organisation’s work.

Their Routes to Roots project has been running across the three urban areas of Croydon, Sheffield and Bradford for several years, where they have been working with Anglo-Indian and South Asian communities to celebrate and document their stories of migration to the UK after the Second World War.

The Routes to Roots exhibition in Croydon, which opened last month and finishes next Friday (26 April), has a particular focus on the migration stories of Croydon’s Anglo-Indian community. The well-thought-out exhibition, which begins in the Clocktower foyer and continues in the Museum archive room, contains a fascinating 15-minute documentary interviewing some of the community to hear their experiences of life in Croydon in the 1960s after they migrated from India and elsewhere around the world.

Suzanne says of the project:
“We are incredibly proud to have tapped into the diversity within the South Asian diaspora. The experiences of the Anglo-Indian community are rarely seen on stage, screen or in museums. We have collaborated with groups across Croydon, Bradford and Sheffield – the personal stories gathered in this exhibition originate and crossover with countries such as India, Guyana, Malawi, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Kenya. Bringing these voices together in a full-scale exhibition is a first for Maya Productions. I look forward to more people engaging with these stories, lives and the creativity of the individuals and communities we have been working with.”

If you don’t get a chance to pop in to the exhibition before it closes, you can watch the documentary here. The Maya Productions website also has a wealth of media from the project, including podcasts and films of performances connected to the project. See more here.

This isn’t where the Routes to Roots project ends however, as creative workshops are now running every Wednesday morning at Stanley Arts until 26 June. The culmination of these workshops will be two performances – one at Sheffield’s acclaimed Migration Matters Festival in mid June and one at Stanley Arts on Sunday 30 June. Maya Productions are still welcoming new members to these workshops – so if you are an Anglo-Indian or South Asian resident of Croydon and are interested in sharing your stories of the 1960s, India, and migration, you can find out how to get involved here. No prior creative training is required.

Routes to Roots is on at the Museum of Croydon until 26 April 2024 – open Wednesdays and Fridays, 11:00am – 4:00pm.

Find out more about Maya Productions on their website and follow them on Instagram, X (Twitter) and Facebook.

Photos courtesy of Maya Productions: exhibition images by Christoper Bovell; workshop images by Gemma Thorpe.

Posted by Julia

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *