Introduction

from Pam Schweitzer

‘Routes’ was a musical play performed by professional actors, based on the experience of ethnic elders of leaving India and coming to Britain. It was performed in English and Punjabi, but its meaning was crystal clear to audiences who spoke neither language.

The show grew out of a series of meetings between Age Exchange and older people from the Punjab living in South East London. In these meetings the elders shared their reminiscences of their childhood homes, of growing up in an Indian village, of financial difficulties and the decision to come to England and the effect of this decision on their lives.

We wanted the play to overcome language barriers, so we explored physical and visual means of conveying the stories, rather than relying on the English or Punjabi text.

‘Routes’ toured the UK and Europe from 1992 to 1997.

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