Arts & Culture


By Sarah Edwards

Mandala Theatre brings its new play Castaways to its home town of Oxford on 1 and 2 June at the Old Fire Station.

Artistic director Yasmin Sidhwa made a bold move three years ago when she left Pegasus Theatre where she was creative learning director for 17 years. The company that she set up, Mandala, to create exciting new theatre with diversity and social justice at its core, has successfully attracted Arts Council funding and other support, enabling to her commission new plays and tour to cities across the UK.

The company works with young professional actors from diverse backgrounds, and also has a Young Company arm which nurtures new talent and gives aspiring young actors the chance to perform at home and abroad in exciting new shows.
Castaways, written by award-winning young playwright Atiha Sen Gupta, is Mandala’s second commissioned play and explores the nature of friendship trauma and tribal loyalties in a volatile neighbourhood.

Three teenagers – born on the same day, in the same town but with very different backgrounds. Inseparable since they were knee-high to a grasshopper, they’re a close-knit trio, both at school and at home. Sam, Asha and Kieran watch out for each other, until one day a shocking event blows their teenage world apart – and their friendship with it.

The play has been conceived and created after discussions with young people – and each touring venue has also hosted a question and answer discussion after the show where young people can talk to the cast and community leaders. The post-show debate at OFS takes place on Friday 1 June.

The play will continue its UK tour in September, playing at ten venues, from Doncaster, to Bristol and London.
Mandala Young Company will also be bringing a new production, Antigone, written by Roy Williams, to Old Fire Station’s Offbeat Festival on June 26th

For more information about Mandala Theatre visit:
To book tickets or find out more about the Offbeat festival visit:

Picture credits: Stu Allsopp