Beth Godfrey, our Associate Director of Engagement, takes a look back at the Persian Tea Parties which took place during our Sister Radio tour.
Alongside our matinee performances of Sister Radio by Sara Shaarawi at the Tron Theatre and the Traverse Theatre, we hosted Persian Tea Parties for SQ Engagement participants. We partnered with a wonderful Iranian café in Edinburgh called Konj to serve Saffron tea and sweet Syrian cakes for people to connect over – a nod to the ritual of tea drinking in Sister Radio.
In Glasgow, members of our Muslim Women Writers group attended, along with folks from Glasgow Women’s Library and New Young Peers Scotland. In Edinburgh we hosted 35 people from The Welcoming and Shakti Women’s Aid. 14 people who came had never been to the theatre before.
These events were a chance to connect participants who had migrated to Scotland from elsewhere (like Fatemeh and Shirin, the sisters in our show) or had lived experience of migration in their family. We had participants from Eritrea, Ukraine, Iran, Hong Kong, Canada, Romania, Poland, Democratic Republic of Congo, China and others join us.
At both events we offered free childcare to support parents to be able to enjoy an afternoon at the theatre. We recognised that a lack of childcare can create a barrier to accessing the arts and a multitude of other opportunities, particularly for single or isolated parents.
The events were social and celebratory of Iranian culture. We heard how meaningful it was for many to attend the theatre, which is often financially out of reach.
A participant who attended the Traverse Theatre matinee said:
“My wife attended because of an invitation from The Welcoming association, and there was a great pre-performance reception, and excellent childcare for my son which made it possible for us to attend. As parents, visiting anything together by ourselves is difficult.
“For my wife it was the first time at a theatre performance and she understood almost everything despite English not being her first language (so the play was well chosen by the association, and had relatable subject matter).
“Thanks to the reception we now know an Iranian cafe near us, and thanks to the political message at the end of the play from the actors, we also attended a great fundraiser the next day in Marchmont for the “woman life freedom” movement, where we discovered some great Iranian dishes. Thanks for the joined up thinking, political awareness, and family friendly approach!”