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ARC’s Artistic Associate Umar Butt has written and devised a new show called Alex & Eliza that is full of universal themes that will appeal to everyone and has its roots in those family stories that are sometimes only uncovered by accident.

Umar is a writer, actor, and director and has lived in Stockton for four years. He was born in Pakistan and moved to Glasgow when he was ten years old where he lived until he moved to Sunderland to study theatre. In Sunderland, he met his fiancée (from Stockton) and his link to Teesside was forged – he’s even learned to love a parmo!

Alex & Eliza is based on Umar’s accidental discovery of an incredible hidden talent of his grandma’s and the story behind it. It started him thinking about all the amazing stories that are out there that but might never be uncovered unless fate intervenes.

Umar has developed the show at ARC over the last year and during his research he reached out to Stockton’s Asian community and ARC’s Wednesday Staying Out group to gain valuable insights.

Alex & Eliza: 

As a girl she lived through the death and destruction of the 1947 partition between India and Pakistan, but now Zubair’s grandmother is like everyone else’s grandmother. Old and wrinkly, slow in speech and speed. The separation, isolation and loss from that time are a distant memory. Now she makes her own olive oil, mango pickle, and butter. She sits in the afternoon sun brushing her grandchildren’s hair; she knits sweaters for the winter, and makes cakes. She has lived in the same house on the same street for 40 years of her life until she gets on a plane to visit Zubair in another country.

Alex & Eliza is currently in final rehearsals with cast members Sev Dudzinska and Danny Charles, and designer Hannah Sibai, with musician Ross Clark.

Alex & Eliza is at ARC on Tuesday 19th June at 7pm and Wednesday 20th June at 2pm and 7pm.

All theatre performances at ARC are priced on a Pay What You Decide basis, which means you don’t have to pay until after you have seen a show!

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