We are proud to announce our new cohort of Rifco Associates for 2022/23. This year our bespoke programme will focus on developing scripts for short form digital content.
As our ambition for making original digital work grows, we look forward to nurturing the voices of new and unheard British South Asian talent online as well as on stage.
Rifco Associates was launched in 2015 to address the lack of opportunity for British Asian artists in the theatre sector. Through the programme a number of artists from a range of artistic practice including writers, lyricists, composers, designers, aerial artists and spoken word performers have been supported. The programme is led by Rifco Theatre Company’s Associate Director, Ameet Chana, who himself, came through the Associate programme.
Gurjot Dhaliwal is an actor and writer, who graduated in 2021 from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Gurjot made her theatre debut as Yasmin in Shamser Sinha’s Our White Skoda Octavia (2021) and is currently playing Priya in SHEWOLVES (2022) by Sarah Middleton.In her writing Gurjot often focuses on female-led narratives, which aim to further represent South-Asian women as multidimensional beings with emotionally varied and complex storylines.
Ben Grant is an interdisciplinary artist, currently in post as the Resident Director at the Oxford Playhouse and Magdalen College School. Specialising in performance, writing and directing, Ben trained at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and holds a BA (Hons) from Queen’s University, Belfast. In the past, he has been the Director in Residence at University College School, and the Outreach Coordinator for The Festival on the Close. He is also Co-Artistic Director of Electrick Village Theatre Company; creating work that focuses on the integration of new technologies and sensory elements in performance, to curate immersive narratives.As an actor, he has a range of credits spanning both the stage and screen. As a writer, he has had work performed at: The North Wall, Pegasus Theatre, the Oxford Playhouse, Burton Taylor Studio and the Old Fire Station, as well as at the Edinburgh Fringe, the Vault Festival and the Wandsworth Arts Fringe.
Jaisal Marmion is an early career writer, primarily interested in exploring issues around identity, multiculturalism and racism. Jaisal grew up in Goa before moving to the UK and a lot of my work is informed by his heritage and having family from India and Ireland. Jaisal started out writing poetry and then became more interested in writing drama, before studying scriptwriting at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His first play - West Country Oriental Gentleman - a comedy about an Indian nationalist in Bristol on a mission to assassinate Queen Victoria, won a place on BOLD Theatre’s Playwrights scheme, and also received a reading as part of a festival for the RAFTA playwriting award. Jaisal has also had some short pieces staged as part of Chewboy’s Chewfest, Beyond Face’s We Are Here To Write scratch night, and with Green Curtain Theatre at the London Irish Centre. Jaisal has also written a short film, Kids, that was produced at MetFilm School.
Kurban Kassam is completing his masters in writing screenwriting at the Royal Central Speech and Drama. The course has fuelled his ambition to work as a full-time writer for stage and screen, having already gained a screenwriting credit for co-writing The Hungry, a modern-day adaptation of Titus Andronicus set in Northern India. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival 2017. Earlier in his career, Kurban was also part of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme and Theatre 503. Kurban is keen to explore his Asian heritage in unusual and comedic ways, his stories range from a radio play about mobsters, a TV drama about spiritual tourism and a musical set in a dysfunctional family setting, all through the lens of an Asian diaspora. This exploration is giving him a greater understanding of his own identity and culture, and is the best motivation to keep writing.
Saher Shah is an actor, writer and poet from London. Since leaving behind a career as a Dietitian in the NHS, she has retrained and worked in theatre, voiceover and film. As a writer Saher has been part of the Rosemary Branch Theatre's writers in residency programme Shrill Voices, has been awarded a seed commission by Kahani Arts, and is currently on the MFest writers lab.Her debut play Vitamin D was awarded ACE funding for an R&D which was shared to a sold-out audience earlier this year. Her writing features strong female leads, South Asian and Muslim characters, unapologetically incorporating British South Asian culture and languages into stories.