Made in India

Tamasha and The Belgrade Theatre in association with Pilot Theatre present Made in India written by Satinder Chohan, directed by Katie Posner at York Theatre Royal on 7 + 8 April at 7.45pm.

Satinder Chohan explores the global and personal implications of India’s surrogacy industry in a thrilling new play about motherhood and blood ties between women and nations. The play brings together Tamasha and The Belgrade Theatre with York-based Pilot Theatre and is directed by Pilot’s associate director Katie Posner.

In a surrogacy clinic in Gujarat, three women meet. It’s Londoner Eva’s last chance for motherhood. For village girl Aditi, dairy worker and single mother, surrogacy is a lifeline out of poverty – a chance to giver her own daughters a better chance in life. For clinic owner and businesswoman Dr Gupta, it’s all just another transaction. But with the backdrop of profound global forces, can it possibly remain that simple?

India has been regarded as the world’s ‘surrogacy hub’, one of a handful of countries legally offering commercial surrogacy to parents internationally, although the industry was not fully regulated. The industry was estimated to be worth over £1.5million, with surrogates themselves stated as being able to earn up to £6000. During 2016, a change to the law was drafted so that surrogacy would become legal only to heterosexual Indian couples married for five years.

Satinder Chohan, playwright: ‘I felt compelled to write a play with surrogacy at its heart as it is such a controversial subject loaded with conflicting emotion, culture and politics. I felt connected to the subject as, with my Indian village roots, the Indian women acting as surrogates that I had read about in news stories could be any number of my female relatives or indeed myself if my parents had taken a different path in life. At the same time, I wanted to explore the wider global issue of which surrogacy is a part – the commodification of everything’ in a time when morals are easily sacrificed for financial markets and how we, as privileged Westerners and consumers rely on worker all over the world to provide the material stuff of our lives.’

Satinder Chohan’s first production Zameen (2008, Kali Theatre + UK tour including Soho Theatre) told the story of a suicidal farmer and his family in India. Crossing The Line (Heat and Light, Hampstead Theatre) touched upon twenty-something Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean and KabaddiKabaddiKabbadi (2012, Kali Theatre + Pursued By A Bear + Mercury Theatre, Colchester) engaged with the lives of illegal immigrants in the UK.

Tamasha’s relationship with Satinder began in 2007 when she took part in Tamasha Developing Artists (TDA) New Writing Course. Lotus Beauty, her subsequent commission for the company was showcased at the Gate Theatre in 2010. Tamasha nominated her successfully for the 2013 Adopt-a-Playwright award, through which she developed Made In India.

Fin Kennedy, Artistic Director, Tamasha: ‘Tamasha is very proud to have been involved with Made in India since its outset, supporting Satinder’s idea through the Adopt-a-Playwright scheme and working closely with her to develop the play as the situation she was writing about was continually changing. Her play is extremely moving as it is about human lives affected by different desperations, against a backdrop of profound global forces. As a company we are excited to be taking on tour a play for our times, which raises vital questions about the West’s ongoing relationship with the developing world.’