East London writer James Kenworth brings his play When Chaplin Met Gandhi, an imagining of the real life 1931 encounter between the two of the greatest icons of the twentieth century to the North London Story Festival. The play tells the story of Gandhi’s remarkable visit to London, to press for the Independence of India. Instead of staying in a West End hotel he lived in an East London community centre. Charlie Chaplin was also in London at the same time for the British premiere of City Lights and wanted to meet Gandhi.
Directed by David Cottis, these exclusive performances of extracts of the play bring to life and uncover yet another one of London’s unique and underground narratives. As playwright James Kenworth explains: ‘It was the unlikeliest of encounters in the unlikeliest of places, but when Chaplin and Gandhi met in Canning Town, the men had more in common than they realised. They both knew cockney rhyming slang, they had similar nicknames (Little Tramp and Little Leader), and they both stuck up for the underdog: Chaplin in his movies, Gandhi in his life and politics.’
‘This play also passes on a surprising amount of information and in an educational context could provide a valuable starting point for explorations of the topics its touches on and discussion of the issues it raises.’ British Theatre Guide
James Kenworth is a Lecturer in Media Narrative at Middlesex University. He is a Playwright and Creative Writing/Drama Workshop Leader/Devisor. His writing include ‘verse-prose’ plays Johnny Song, Gob; black comedy Polar Bears; issue-led plays Everybody’s World (Elder Abuse), Dementia’s Journey (Dementia); plays for young people/schools, The Last Story in the World; and a Newham-based trilogy of site-specific plays, When Chaplin Met Gandhi, Revolution Farm and A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie in West Ham. His play, Dementia’s Journey, won the 2015 University of Stirling International Dementia Award in the category: Dementia & the Arts. When Chaplin Met Gandhi has recently been published by TSL Publications. James is a qualified teacher/lecturer and is a PhD by Public Works candidate with Middlesex based on his practice as a playwright.
David Cottis is Lecturer in Scriptwriting at Middlesex University. His five-actor adaptation of Oliver Twist was taken on national tour by the Love and Madness Theatre Company, and he has also written and directed verse adaptations of Lysistrata, The Birds and Don Quixote. He wrote book and lyrics for the musical A Man of Affairs and was recently dramaturg on Half ‘n’ Half, a new musical set in a Cardiff curry house. His short opera libretto She Stops at Costas was a finalist in the ENO New Voices competition, and his micro plays Cash and Semolina have been seen at the Royal Court. His chapter on Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse appears in the recent Oxford Handbook of the British Musical
There will be two performances of When Chaplin Met Gandhi at this year’s North London Story Festival in TV Studio B. If you would like to attend the 1:30 performance then please RSVP via this Eventbrite page as seating is very limited.If you would like to attend the 2.30pm performance then please RSVP via this Eventbrite page as seating is very limited.
The North London Story Festival is a free event and open to students, faculty and members of the public.