TV star’s moving tale of division

Former Corrie star, Sudha Bhuchar, is bringing Child of the Divide to town.
Former Corrie star, Sudha Bhuchar, is bringing Child of the Divide to town.
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Hearts will be broken and woven back together when a former Corrie star brings her tale of division to town.

Sudha Bhuchar has left behind the cobbles of Coronation Street and is returning to a segregated country to retell her moving story of a lost boy.

Child of the Divide tracks the life of Pali, a Hindu boy parted from his family while fleeing the political turmoil arising from the 1947 partition of India.

“I’ve been absolutely amazed by how the story has resonated with people,” Sudha said. “The wound and legacy of the partition are still being felt in this country and all the actors in the show are engaging with it in a personal way as they’re going back into their heritage.

“The tale also speaks to today’s wider context of displacement, with refugees fleeing their homes because of war.”

Lost and alone, Pali is taken in by a Muslim family and given a new home, faith and identity. But when his birth father returns for him several years later, Pali must choose between his two lives.

It’s this sense of innocence, of children being trapped by adult conflict, which inspired Sudha’s tale.

“Children are deeply affected by such difficult events even though they aren’t the cause of them,” she said. “They experience them in a personal way and so the play looks at how children navigate universal issues like adoption and broken families.”

This intelligent tale threads together several layers and speaks as equally to adults as it does to children. Pali, for example, challenges the views of his adoptive parents.

But it also resonates more generally with people from a wide variety of backgrounds.

“Generally, the work I do is to show the complexity of who we all are.

“It’s a very personal and emotional story and people have been connecting to it on many levels. They’ve been asking questions about things like Brexit and interfaith relationships,” Sudha added.

“Unfortunately, the partition isn’t being taught in schools but the play has sparked off discussion and people have been interested in it in political, historical and personal ways.”

The tale, the playwright said, blends comedy, honesty and poignancy - and this moving formula has earned a nomination in the Offies Awards for Best Play For Young People.

It’s not surprising - thanks to the story’s stunning way of knitting differing characters together, audiences have taken to it as they would a comforting patchwork blanket.

For as Sudha said: “What’s been really amazing is that a woman in her 80s who watched the play had witnessed the partition as a child. It seems the curiosity of the young is enabling older people to revisit old wounds.”

The tale will unfold tomorrow at 6pm at Burnley Youth Theatre, Queen’s Park Road.

For tickets call 01282 458655 or visit Ticket Source.