Tara History

Tara History


On 4th June 1976, Gurdip Singh Chaggar, a 17-year old Sikh boy living in Southall, West London, fell victim to a racist murder. Out of the inferno surrounding his death, an Asian public presence emerged in Britain, with a variety of Asian civil liberties movements springing up in all the major British cities... and Tara Arts. (See BBC magazine article on Suresh Grover - one of the protesters against this murder)

Tara Arts was founded by young Wandsworth residents - the company's first Artistic Director, Jatinder Verma, along with Sunil Saggar, Ovais Kadri, Praveen Bahl & Vijay Shaunak.

Tara's inaugural production was Sacrifice - Nobel Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore's anti-war play. This production was staged on 25th August 1977 at Battersea Arts Centre with a clear mission - to make imaginative connections across cultures through theatre.

Over four decades, Tara Arts has supported the emergence of generations of Asian performers, writers, directors, musicians and choreographers; and toured extensively around the UK and abroad, including Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, India, Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Italy, France, Netherlands and Canada.

It has also co-produced with a wide range of Theatres, including the National Theatre, Contact Manchester, Lyric Hammersmith and Polka. 

In September 1983, Tara took possession of 356 Garratt Lane in Earlsfield, which has been its producing home ever since. On 1st September 2016, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan opened the renovated 356 Garratt Lane as Britain's first multicultural theatre - the new Tara Theatre.

In 2017, Jatinder Verma was awarded an MBE for his services to Tara Arts and diversity in the Arts.

Support from our patrons...

'Over the years Tara Arts has proved itself a uniquely seductive British theatre company. Its blend of East and West continues to inspire an alluring vision of modern Britain.'  

Hanif Kureishi, CBE

'Tara Arts' work is a terrific synthesis of east and west.'  

Sir Richard Eyre

'Tara Arts has had an extraordinary journey. They have brought another sensibility onto the scene, stretched British cultural life and helped to make those of us with different origins visible to both ourselves and others.'  

Naseem Khan, OBE

All Tara Arts' past shows are can be found in our online archive




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