Posted: 31 October 2022

“Good vibes. Good people. Good writing.” Samia Djilli on why COME THROUGH might be for you

We’re super proud of our latest offering, COME THROUGH – the festival by artists for artists and audiences. Coming up in November, it’ll showcase brand new play extracts from some incredible humans, as well as workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities.

To spill all the tea, we sat down with Tamasha producer and creator of COME THROUGH, Samia Djilli.

COME THROUGH is Tamasha’s first festival of its kind. How did it all come about?  

Tamasha’s Development Artist Programme has been alive and thriving for more than a decade, and over the years has evolved to have multiple strands of artist development, including Tamasha Playwrights, Tamasha Directors, open call Scratch events and most recently our Associate Companies and Tamasha Mentorship Programme. When taking all of this into account, and all the brilliant artists we are working with, it made sense to build on our Scratch events and integrate the different groups to have one solid festival of new work by Global Majority artists. One thing Tamasha is keen to include in all our work is CELEBRATION, and this festival feels like the start of many years of celebrating new work by artists, with so many varied and layered stories to tell.  

Also, I have to say, the pandemic was a big part of building this project, as we had to move so many of our regular sessions with each group online, meaning the networking and community building aspect of the programmes took a hit. So COME THROUGH is really our way of moving past this and bringing artists together.  

How did the process of matching writer with director happen? 

I feel very lucky to work at Tamasha, where I get to interact with all the Playwrights and Directors throughout the year. Storytelling comes to each of them so naturally – it’s a joy to hear about their practices and what they’re up to next. Bit-by-bit, I got a real sense of each person’s creative interests and paired them up based on this. Something that I feel is important for our communities is collaboration, and ever since Pooja became Artistic Director, she’s inspired me even more to really bring collaboration into our development programmes. So, in pairing the artists up, not only was it a matter of shared interests, but I also thought about the long-term relationships that may form as part of it, and who knows – you might see all these plays happening up and down the around country in the coming years with the same artist pairing still working together.  

Who is COME THROUGH for?  

Ultimately everything we do is for all audiences everywhere, and that stands for this festival as well. We want to celebrate the artists that work with us and bring Global Majority stories to audiences across the UK. With COME THROUGH, we wanted to create an event in which artists and audiences come together and literally come through and join us for a weekend of creativity and new work. So, long story short, if you’re about it, come through and see it. If you’re not, still come through and see it. 

Give us some of the highlights – what can we expect? 

Ten fabulous writers who have tapped into themes from horror, manifestation, revenge, sisterhood, migration and so much more. This is some of the best new writing I’ve had the pleasure of reading and seeing evolve from draft to draft, so shout-out to our Tamasha Playwrights for their hard work throughout this year. We also have ten directors who are some of the most intelligent, empathetic and brilliant artists I’ve had the privilege to get to know over the last year – and I’m not just saying that for the sake of promoting this festival – it really has been a wonderful year with these artists.  

What would be your top three reasons why people should Come Through? 

Good vibes. Good people. Good writing.  

Why is something like this festival important and needed in the sector right now? 

I won’t speak for everyone, but Tamasha as a Global Majority company doesn’t just create work for the sake of it, we believe in the power of storytelling and championing those whose stories are so often forgotten or ignored completely. This festival is a pilot for us and something I hope will become an integral part of our development programmes, as it’s a celebration of new work by artists who often must work ten times harder to get their stories heard. It’s also a relaxed environment with performances being script-in-hand, so we can focus on the artist’s work rather than the result. This festival is all about works-in-progress. I could say now more than ever, a festival is important, but I don’t think that’s right, I think these stories have always been important and will always be important simply because they are human and explore the world around us.  

The new playwrights and directors’ programmes will be coming around soon. What advice would you give to someone looking to apply for the new year? 

Do your research on Tamasha and engage with our work. We are keen to developing lasting relationships with artists and the more you know about our work, the better. 

COME THROUGH takes place on 5-6 November (Birmingham) and 12-13 November (London). Book your tickets

Produced by Tamasha in partnership with Birmingham Hippodrome  and Theatro Technis @ 26 Crowndale