This summer, we’re doing something a little different at the Gate.
It’s free. It can meet you wherever you are.
Welcome to The Letters Project.
This is a recording of letters written between two strangers – Elizabeth Chan and Irfan Shamji – in Summer 2020 and Summer 2021.
It’s an offer. To be still for a moment. To reach out to a stranger.
And I don’t want to pray, but I can picture
the plants deepening right now into the soil,
wanting to live, so I lie down…
among red burying beetles and dirt
that’s been turned and turned like a problem
in the mind.
Elizabeth to Irfan, quoting Ada Limón
Your life is your life.
Know it while you have it.
You are marvellous.
Irfan to Elizabeth, quoting William Burroughs
The Letters Project is an audio recording that you can listen to anywhere. It’s free, and available here from 12 July- 31 August.
Rebekah is a Sound Artist, Composer and Writer, Their work focuses on improvisation, extended techniques, voice and electronic music. Rebekah also brings elements of graphic scores and words into their writing practice bringing a more experimental approach to their use of words and sound.
Rebekah is currently developing a project ”The Dandelion Project” which will be a platform to showcase and archive experimental works from both themselves and other black/poc artists.
Lavinia Serban is a MA graduate of the Collaborative Theatre Production and Design Programme at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has been working in the industry since she graduated in 2016.
She believes theatre has the power to bring people together in a sharing experience that can be life changing. She enjoys seeing inspiring shows that rise questions whether is a piece of new writing or a contemporary staging of the clasics. She also likes eclectic shows that give the audience an amazing experience by combining different types of art (dance, physical theatre, circus) using innovative lighting, sound and stage technology.
Erin is a London-based set and costume designer and interactive installation designer from China. She has a strong interest in interdisciplinary theatre and performance making and she works across installations, plays, musicals, dance, digital theatre, devised theatre. Erin’s digital artwork specialises in digital art Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality experiences. Her VR installations Chamber404 is exhibited in Ars Electronica 2020 x Interactive Architecture Lab, Bartlett School of Architecture. Her recent theatre projects include, The House Never Wins (Kill The Cat Theatre), Freedom Hi, Asian Pirate Musical (PaperGang Theatre), devising interactive performance Money Funny Sunny (Cheeky Chin TC), touring musical Tokyo Rose (Burnt Lemon Theatre). She has also worked as an assistant designer to on Faces In The Crowd (Gate Theatre) Does Her Bomb Look Big In This (Soho Theatre), Summer Roll (Park Theatre) and so on.
Moi Tran is an Artist/Performance maker/Researcher and Designer, her practice explores the intersections between Contemporary Art and Live Performance. Tran’s work includes as set & costume designer for Theatre, Film, Dance and Opera. She is founder of East Asian Ticket Club, an engagement platform for the BESEA community.
Recent Theatre include: Chiaroscuro(Bush);White Pearl(Royal Court);Dear Elizabeth(Gate); Summer Rolls (Park); Under the Umbrella (Belgrade/Tara Arts);Deluge (Hampstead).
Recent Art Performance include: The Bolero Effect – (VCCA Vietnam ,Hanoi);The Circuit- A Movement Scenario (Prague Quadrennial/OvalSpace/SPILL Festival);Three Women and a Duck (Vietnam, Laos, Thailand);The Other day you sat too far away from me( Henry Moore Courtyard);SLEEP( Live Art Development Agency, Royal Court).
Recent Awards/Commissions include: ArtHouse Artist in Residence;SPILL Festival; Curator Encounter Bow Chisenhale Dance; British Council Vietnam 2019;Arts and Culture Fellowship SEA 2019; OV12 Artist 2018.
Hannah Ringham is co-founder of the award-winning theatre collective SHUNT. She is an independent theatre maker, actor and artist. She has been part of the British Council showcase, commissioned by Oxford Playhouse and recently received an Arts in Mind Award from Kings College London. As actor/performer she has worked with writers Chris Thorpe, Caroline Horton and Tim Crouch as well as performing the clown at The Globe.
She has collaborated on several projects at The Gate including Dear Elizabeth in early 2019 and LETTERS in 2020.
Just before lockdown she received a development grant from the Arts Council for ‘New strategies for new projects for theatre and communities’ which she has been working on.
Nina Bowers is an Actor and Theatre Maker. Her theatre credits include THE HISTORIES (Shakespeare’s Globe) THE WOLVES (Theatre Royal Stratford East) directed by,Ellen McDougall; THE MAGIC FLUTE (Aix-en-Provence Festival) for Complicité,directed by Simon McBurney; CRAVE (The Pit, Barbican) directed by Julie Cunningham; TWILIGHT: LOS ANGELES 1992 (The Gate Theatre) directed by Ola Ince and TOMORROW I’LL BE TWENTY (regional tour) for Complicité,directed by Catherine Alexander. Nina also collaborated with Ellen and Hannah on the making of DEAR ELIZABETH at The Gate. She is a member of DIRTY RASCALS THEATRE COLLECTIVE and has written and performed two original shows: NINA TALKS ABOUT HER VALUES and AN EVENING WITH THE MANTIS FROM ATLANTIS both at Camden People’s Theatre.
Irfan was born in Zambia. He attended RADA and graduated in 2017.
Most recently, Irfan starred in Bijan Sheibani’s THE ARRIVAL at the Bush Theatre. Critics hailed his performance as ‘exceptional’ and ‘terrific’. Prior to that, he starred alongside Haydn Gwynne in HEDDA TESMAN at Chichester Festival Theatre. His other stage credits include: Guy Jones’ MAYFLY at The Orange Tree Theatre; ONE FOR SORROW at the Royal Court, directed by James Macdonald; DANCE NATION for the Almeida; and HAMLET, for which he was selected by Kenneth Branagh to play ‘Laertes’ to Tom Hiddleston’s HAMLET while he was still in his final year at RADA.
Last year Irfan was the recipient of the Clarence Darwent Award for his performances in MAYFLY, ONE FOR SORROW and DANCE NATION.
Irfan’s film credits include Trevor Nunn’s RED JOAN, which also stars Judi Dench; and Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.
Irfan’s television credits include Sky Arts’ URBAN MYTHS, in an episode directed by Sean Foley and INFORMER for the BBC directed by Jonny Campbell. Most recently, Irfan completed voicing characters for Netflix’s DARK CRYSTAL: AGE OF RESISTANCE, produced with the Jim Henson Company.
Ellen McDougall is Artistic Director at the Gate Theatre. Previous credits at the Gate include – Faces in The Crowd (2020), Dear Elizabeth (2019), Effigies of Wickedness (2018), The Unknown Island (2017) and Idomeneus (2014). Other credits include Our Town (Regents Open Air) and The Wolves (Stratford East); Othello (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at the Globe); the Lyric’s annual pantomime – Aladdin (2016) and Cinderella (2015); The Rolling Stone (Orange Tree Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange); The Remains of Maisie Duggan (Abbey Theatre, Dublin); The Glass Menagerie (Headlong); Anna Karenina (Manchester Royal Exchange); Henry the Fifth (Unicorn Theatre); Glitterland (Secret Theatre/Lyric Hammersmith) and Ivan and the Dogs (Actors Touring Company/Soho Theatre) – nominated for an Olivier Award.
Yasmin Hafesji is a Director and Dramaturg. She was a member of the Young Vic Introduction to Directing Programme 2017, led by Natalie Abrahami.
As Director, theatre includes: Rhino(s) (Lyric Evolution Festival, Lyric Hammersmith); Rashida (Fresh Direction: Replay project, as part of the Young Vic Directors Program, Young Vic, Maria); Two Heads and a Hand & The Jokers (Shubbak Festival Staged Reading, Gate Theatre); A Little Iraqi (The Upsetters Takeover Festival, Bunker Theatre); Watch Me Dance! (White City Youth Theatre Summer Project, Bush Theatre); Young Writers Group Showcase (Bush Theatre, Studio).
As Dramaturg, theatre includes: Omeros (Staged Reading, Gate Theatre)
As Assistant Director, theatre includes: Women Beware Women (Globe Theatre); Fairview (Young Vic Theatre); Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre); The Mob Reformers (Lyric Hammersmith).
Devika is a Stage Manager in London and holds a BA in Theatre Practice: Stage Management from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Credits as SM on Book include: Blue Door (Ustinov at TRB), Kettle of Fish (The Yard), Ali and Dahlia (The Pleasance). As DSM: Can’t Wait for Christmas! (Orange Tree), Aladdin (Oxford Playhouse). As ASM: Wake (Birmingham Opera), Pity (Royal Court), Another World (NT), Les Miserables (Pimlico Opera), The Mother (Tricycle).
Theatre includes: Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre); Shakespeare Walks and Shakespeare in the Abbey (Shakespeare’s Globe); Macbeth, Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (National Theatre); Celebration Florida (Soho Theatre); Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse); Chimerica (Almeida/West End); The Wheel (National Theatre of Scotland); Into the Numbers (Finborough); B!irth (Royal Exchange); The Suger-Coated Bullets of the Bourgeoisie (HighTide); Caught, Hamlet is Dead (Arcola); Don’t Shoot the Clowns (Fuel); An Argument About Sex (Traverse/Tramway); Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith). TV includes Vera, Chimerica, No Offence, Motherland, The Last Dragonslayer, Last Tango in Halifax, Cucumber, Holby City, Black Mirror and Silent Witness.
Commissioned by Kensington and Chelsea Festival
Supported by the Jerwood Foundation