The story of a family’s fight to hold itself together comes to Stratford

The House of In Between, left to right Ashraf Ejjbair, Akash Heer, Gary Wood, Shalini Peiris

The House of In Between, left to right Ashraf Ejjbair, Akash Heer, Gary Wood, Shalini Peiris - Credit: Theatre Royal/Robert Day

The House of In Between is the tale of a traditional clan trying to survive in modern India. Director Pooja Ghai tells Catherine Lund how their experiences can resonate with everyone

The commitment of the Theatre Royal Stratford East to promoting new writing and new talent continues with the world premiere of The House of In Between.

From an original script by Sevan K. Greene and directed by the Theatre Royal’s new associate director, Pooja Ghai, tells the tale of a millennia-old community, the hijras in India.

Little known outside their own community hijras, which are legally considered to be neither male or female, have traditionally danced and sang at weddings and festivals.

Director, Pooja, explained that today they are considered an underclass that are both feared and misunderstood.

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“This community of outcasts can’t be accepted so they have created their own society,” she says.

“I think it’s exciting to learn about a new community of people you know nothing about.

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“We are not all that different as human beings. We are all learning, we are all striving for something,”

The story follows Uma, the leader of a hijra clan, a tough but caring opportunist who is desperate to uphold traditions in the face of demands to modernise.

When a new boy, Dev, arrives Uma sees the chance to erase sins of the past and ensure the clan’s survival.

Without wanting to give too much away, Pooja says: “A cataclysm of events happen when they bring this boy into their home, little do they know what the action will do.”

She feels that the struggles of the clan reflect those that most families can identify with.

“It’s that thing with all families; they all have secrets but don’t want to talk about them.

“It’s about secrets and how we protect them and the consequences of that.”

But Pooja is keen to stress the play which features traditional and Bollywood dance and music has broad appeal.

“I read the script last year and fell in love with it,” she says. “I thought it was an exciting and evocative production that doesn’t let you go.

“Come and see a show like you have never seen before, come and join a family on a road as they fight to survive.”

The House of In Between runs from Friday April 8 to Saturday April 30. Click here to visit the Theatre Royal Stratford East website or call the box office call 020 8534 0310.

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