- Date: 2 June 2011
- Area: National, South East
A scene from 'Rifco: A Celebration' 2011. Credit: Photo courtesy of Rifco Arts
Modern British Asian theatre company Rifco Arts has moved to the East of England and marked the occasion with a celebration to remember.
Rifco: A Celebration was a two-night spectacular that took place at the end of May and showcased Rifco Arts' achievements over the past decade and gave a flavour of the calibre of production for which the company is renowned. The event was also a chance to celebrate the company's move from its former base in Slough to Watford Palace Theatre.
Cast members in the performance included Pooja Ghai (Eastenders, Where's My Desi Soulmate?, Great Expectations), Ameet Chana (Bend It Like Beckham, Bollywood 2000, Eastenders) and regular Rifco Arts actress Rina Fatania.
Rifco Arts produces high quality work that reflects the contemporary British Asian experience. It excels in reaching new and diverse audiences, and supports the development of young British Asian writers. Recent successes such as Britain's Got Bhangra, which was nominated for TMA Awards, reflect the ambition of the company and the appetite for their work.
The company has been a trailblazer in creating work that reflects diverse local communities, putting audiences and diverse voices at the heart of its work. Creating work that is so important to audiences has allowed it to go from strength to strength, building a loyal family audience and successfully touring its work. The company is one of the biggest touring companies in the East - performing at mid and large scale venues across the country and thus reaching vast numbers of people.
Watford Palace Theatre realised the benefits of working with Rifco Arts when Britain's Got Bhangra toured to the theatre in 2010 attracting significant audiences of which more than 70 per cent were first time attenders at the theatre.
Pravesh Kumar, Artistic Director, Rifco Arts, commented: 'Rifco Arts had already started valuable audience development work in Watford when Britain's got Bhangra was toured to Watford Palace Theatre; after this proved such a great success with the local audience it seemed a natural step to develop the relationship from Creative Associate to resident theatre company. Through this partnership we hope to develop and launch our future national and international tours.
'This is a real mutual partnership looking at enriching the work, developing new artists and researching new stories from deeper within the community which will bring a new audience locally and nationally. Rifco Arts A Celebration attracted a rich and diverse audience and has continued to build on the Company's success in Watford; a new tour of Britain's got Bhangra with Watford palace theatre as a new co-producer along with Warwick Arts Centre opens at the Palace in September and a new dance drama Break da Floorboards is already being developed.'
From April 2012, both Rifco Arts and Watford Palace Theatre will be part of the Arts Council's National portfolio. The decision to fund these organisations reflects how they meet our 10-year goals of Achieving great art for everyone - by ensuring talent and excellence are celebrated, enabling more people to experience and be inspired by the arts and by bolstering the arts sector's sustainability, resilience and innovation.
Claudia West, Relationship Manager for Theatre, Arts Council England, said: 'We are delighted that Rifco Arts will be based at the Watford Palace Theatre. Both companies have developed a creative conversation around their artistic programmes, and in this new, mutually-supportive partnership they will explore the potential to co-produce work, sharing knowledge and best-practice. In the coming years this partnership will support Watford Palace to build local diverse audiences and Rifco Arts to develop their work to inspire and entertain audiences in the East and beyond.'