The Indra Congress:  Partners and collaborators

In the UK

Burnley Youth Theatre. (BYB)

Burnley Youth Theatre is a community arts organisation based at their purpose built venue, Burnley Arts Centre. Burnley Youth Theatre offers drama and arts activities and opportunities for children and young people ages 0 – 25 and their families. BYB was the first UK centre for the original ARROW/Indra programme in 2004 and has maintained engagement ever since. An Indra group meets regularly. BYT Indra is also linked with Marsden Heights Community College, Nelson.


Director: Karen Metcalfe:

Indra leader:  Ollie Daley:

Phone: 01282 427767

Marsden Heights: Mushaq Hussain OBE:


Gorse Hill Studios, Stretford, Greater Manchester

Gorse Hill Studios is a youth and community arts organisation based in south Manchester, established over 15 years ago and part of Trafford Youth service. Offering a range of arts led youth and community projects, activities and services all designed to builds on existing strengths and successes. Gorse Hill Studios aims to be a vibrant, creative, cultural youth and community arts hub serving the needs and aspirations of the whole community.  Our building provides a safe place for young people to socialise, learn, share and develop new skills


Caroline Gleaves: 0161 912 5251:


For Indra:  Ryanna Lynch:


Touchstones Art Centre and Museum Rochdale

Rochdale, Touchstones is a gallery and museum leading on socially engaged practice through their Arts Council funded Contemporary Forward programme. Touchstones works at the heart of their communities through partnerships with the youth service, Rochdale Council and Rochdale Boroughwide Housing. Rochdale is a gateway community with one of the most diverse populations in greater Manchester.  Touchstones also has links with the town’s Youth Parliament.

Contact:  Lisa O’Neill-Rogan

Tel:  01706 984753

Indra facilitator:  Amber Tither:


Derry/Londonderry  First Act Youth Theatre

First Act Youth Theatre’s vision is to engage young people through theatre across religious divides to improve community relations and encourage a “Culture of Tolerance”.  First Act Theatre have a strong emphasis on language and communication. We believe that it is through dialogue that differences might be resolved. We are keen to facilitate an environment where young people can openly discuss the impact of the past on their lives and their hopes for the future in a “safe space” through theatre.

Contact: Mary Duddy

Phone: 07821 070042


University of Ulster:  Dr Matt Jennings

Dr Matt Jennings teaches theatre in in the school of arts and humanities, with a special interest in theatre and conflict transformation.  He is a member of the research team for the Arts for Reconciliation research programme and has been involved with Indra since 2008.

Contact:  Matt Jennings: E-mail:


The Plymouth group have played a pivotal role in the development of the programme since they hosted the first ARROW /Indra congress event in Plymouth in 2010. The group is currently negotiating a new base in the city and are looking forward to a new, exciting stage in their work in Plymouth and continuing their connections to the wider, global Indra network.

Contact: Alix Harris

Phone: 07450011087


Falmouth University, Cornwall

Mark Laville was Artistic Director of the Barbican Theatre in Plymouth for 27 years.  Mark left the Barbican to co-ordinate the new BA (Hons) Theatre & Performance course at Falmouth University as a Senior Lecturer. In his role at the Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA) Mark delivers core curriculum content in contextual theatre studies, practical actor training workshops and student productions.  Mark aspires to create exciting collaborations between the university and Indra.

Contact:  Mark Laville:

Global Indra:

South Africa

ARROWSA is an independent NGO which has arisen from the international ARROW programme and was initiated by Mary Lange. ARROWSA has an expansive array of ARROW/Indra projects. Twice weekly arts meetings are held at Bechet High Sydenham. Research projects have arisen in association with the CCMS, UKZN -Educational programmes and Applied Storytelling in association with the Durban Local History Museums, and other museums. ARROWSA runs educational programmes in association with The Palmiet Nature Reserve, Westville. Durban. In addition there are national intercultural exchange trips in association with members of the Kalahari community and the Western Cape theatre for development group, South Roots. They have also initiated International intercultural exchange trips in affiliation with the Indra Congress.  In 2018 ARROWSA hosted the 2018 Global Indra Congress in Durban.

Contacts: Mary Lange:

Bheki Dlamini:

Also at the University of Kwa Zulu-Natal: Miranda Young


South Roots

South Roots International is a non-profit company with NPO and PBO status.   South Roots International was established in 1997 and was based in Roodewal in the Western Cape. Over the years, performing arts was the tool to uplift this impoverished community out of the slavery of colonialism, apartheid, gang warfare, and addictions.  Beneficiaries over the years now lead various projects in the Roodewal community and other communities nationally and internationally.

Contact:   Shanette Martin:


Al Harah is a highly respected theatre company based in Beit Jala, the West Bank. Their work is grounded in the belief that theatre has the potential to change the lives of those who make it and those who watch it. Al Harah produces and promotes dramatic work of a high standard, and through their performances and educational work brings compelling stories to audiences throughout Palestine, the Arab world and beyond. The company is strongly convinced that theatre is a powerful resource to help build a civil society that emphasizes human rights, democracy and pluralism.

The company aspires to develop the local, Palestinian and Arab theatre movement through touring theatre to communities in the region and beyond; an extensive youth theatre programme; ‘training the trainers’ and playwriting courses; encouraging and facilitating the incorporation of theatre education into Palestinian curricula and building a network with other theatre groups in Palestine, the Middle East and internationally.

Al Harah’s theatre addresses issues relating to overt political injustice.  Al Harah hosted 2 Global Indra Congress events in Bethlehem in July/Nov 2016 supported by the EU and British Council.


Marina Barham:

Phone: +970-22767758 / +970-22767758:  Mob +970-592767758


Tunisia   Fanni Raghman Anni

Fanni Raghman Anni is an independent cultural association that seeks to reclaim the Tunisian street as an open, free space for political, artistic and cultural expression and through the training and development of the artistic capacities of young people, especially in marginalised neighbourhoods.

In their own words, ‘We support and develop the local talents of young men and women, give them the opportunity to create a cultural space in their communities, making it possible for them to pursue the fight for their rights and for the eradication of all forms of exclusion.

Contact: Executive Director Asma Kakaou :

Artistic Director:  Siefeddine Jlassihas:



Jerry Adesewo, Director of the The Royal Arojah Theatre in Abuja, NIgeria, attended the 2015 Indra Congress in Plymouth: sadly his group of young participants were unable to obtain visas. However, the theatre has now developed a keen enthusiasm to be an active member of the Indra network.

The theatre has an ambitious programme and aspires to become a leading theatre presence in Nigeria. The theatre seeks to develop the arts as a ‘social force’ and to nurture partnerships and alliances with arts organisations in Nigeria and beyond that share their vision and ideals.






Marina Coutinho works at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro on their teacher training programme. There are three strands to her work; teaching, research and what are called extension programmes. Extension programmes seek to link the University to the outside world and Marina’s work is an excellent example of this principle in practice.

Marina’s department has strong links with the complex of Maré, a grouping of 16 favelas with a population of approximately 130,000. Despite its violent reputation to the outside world, Maré contains a large Arts Centre, which is home to a dance company and school of dance, receives professional theatre groups and several creative initiatives from the local community in diverse art forms.

As Marina says, ’The choice of a favela for the location of an Arts Centre connects to new ways to give visibility to disadvantaged communities in Rio de Janeiro historically seen as places of need and violence. Throughout the 20th century and into the 21st, in many cases, the favela was defined by what it lacked not by what it had: the identification of these areas as places of need and violence. It is because of this that the ‘alternative discourse’ engendered in these places has become so important.’


Marina Coutinho



Sierra Leone

For some time now there has not been a formal Indra group in Sierra Leone. However, Ndeamoh Mansaray, who attended the 2010 ARROW Congress in Plymouth, is now a practicing journalist and has been making real efforts to kick start an ongoing presence in the country. Ndeamoh has been supported from the UK through the energies of Isatta Kallon, a refugee from the civil war in the country, now living in Plymouth and working for the Red Cross. Ndeamoh has now started her project which is called ‘Daughters of Sierra Leone.’  She is working with Christiana Mary-Magdalene Bangura, a social worker who is now leading the project.  Study Hall India offering supportive network of staff and students.


Ndeamoh Mansaray

Christiana Mary-Magdalene Bangura.

In the UK:  Isatta Kallon



Indra in India is based at the Study Hall Foundation, Lucknow. By day Study Hall is a fee paying school for around 1500 middle class children. Later in the day the same building and resources become the base for Prerna School, which provides a high quality, virtually free education for disadvantaged girls who are vulnerable to poverty and abuse and suffer prejudices from gender to caste: ‘The girls come from the neighbouring slums and communities and, being compelled by their circumstances, most of them work in houses as domestic helpers’.

Study Hall is committed to providing educational and life opportunities for underprivileged young women. Other branches of Study Hall activity include: Digital Study Hall, which seeks to improve education for poor children in slums and rural schools throughout India

Contact: Urvashi Sahni, Founder and Director of Study Hall



Betty Giannouli leads Indra activities in Greece from her base at the University of Athens.  Through Betty Indra is also connected to the HELLENIC THEATRE/DRAMA & EDUCATION NETWORK (TENet-Gr). This is an association of teachers and artists who work for the for the promotion of research on and practice of theatre, educational drama and other performing arts within formal and non formal education.

Its dual aim is to provide assistance for the performing arts in order that they can gain a central role in schools, and to contribute to the development of approaches and techniques, viewing theatre as an art form, as learning tool and as a tool for social intervention.


Betty giannouli


Iro Potamousi


The University of Alberta

Diane Conrad and her colleagues Jan Selman and Jane Heather at the University of Alberta devised and submitted successfully to the university a proposal for a university, study abroad course based on the theme of drama and social justice.  Their proposal was to use the Indra Congress, together with a sister organisation in Kenya, as a reference point for the course.  This would mean initially a group of a dozen or so students being involved at the Congress events in Derry in 2013 and SA 2018 as both participants and support workers

The process was successful and set a precedent for how higher education institutions could become actively integrated into the wider Indra programme. Unfortunately funding for this specific project has run out but we hope to maintain the close link with Diane Conrad and her colleagues

Contact: Diane Conrad

Chris Vine and Helen White at City University New York (CUNY).

Chris and Helen moved to New York together in 1993, where Chris was appointed as Artistic and Education Director of CAT (Creative Arts Team) at CUNY.  They were both founding members of the CAT Youth Theatre, one of several programmes within CAT.

Chris launched the Professional studies MA in Applied Theatre in 2008 and Helen continued as Artistic Director of the CAT Youth Theatre, which is now an extensive youth theatre programme that works with middle school, high school and early college-aged young people from across New York.  CAT has an ambitious programme of workshops, training and performances which are usually devised from the direct and diverse experiences of the young participants.  Membership is free subject to the commitment to be an active participant.


Chris Vine:

Helen White:




Other links and friends

The University of Plymouth

The Indra Congress and the University of Plymouth look for areas of overlapping interest and potential funding opportunities for shared activities and research projects.  For the Indra Global Congress (2015) the university provided use of the new theatre building, The House, for the week of the event free of charge.

Contact: Education

The University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN)

The University of KwaZulu-Natal has been pro-actively involved with ARROW/Indra since the inception of the programme in 2004.  Mary Lange kick-started ARROW in South Africa as a grassroots, community and outreach project.  It was always Mary’s intention that it would also facilitate related research projects. Consequently, ARROW South Africa/Indra projects have provided opportunities for teaching, learning, and research activities by secondary school learners and staff, international students from the UK, and postgraduate students from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal.  The latter has helped to consolidate the central relationship between the programme and the university.

The Indra Congress 2018 was hosted by ARROWSA and  UKZN in Durban.

Miranda Young-Jahangeer

The University of Bethlehem

The University of Bethlehem works collaboratively with Al Harah, Indra’s core group in Beit Jala, the West Bank.  Working with Al Harah The University hosted the 2016 Indra Global Congress with accompanying academic symposium and practitioner training.

Hala Yamani

Ulster University

During the 2013 Derry Congress the University of Ulster hosted a day long symposium at the invitation of Dr Tom Maguire.  Indra’s principal connection with the university is through Dr Matt Jennings, who was instrumental in introducing ARROW/Indra into Northern Ireland.  Matt Jennings has been active in the network and attended its symposia and global congresses since 2007  .Matt works closely with Mary Duddy of First Act theatre, Indra’s core group in Derry.  Matt is currently involved in the digital project with Aroja Royal Theatre in Abuja, Nigeria.

Dr Matt Jennings

Liverpool Institute for Performance – LIPA

Brendon Burns, who lectures at LIPA, has been involved with ARROW/Indra symposia and related events over several years.  LIPA was recently involved in a theatre project based in Athens, working closely with colleagues in the Greek Indra network.

Brendon Burns



Bechet secondary school, Durban

The initial ARROW programme in South Africa was based at Bechet School and ARROW SA still continues its regular activities based at the school.

Bhekithemba Dlamini

Stoke Damerel Community College, Plymouth

Catrina Garrett is the head of drama at Stoke Damerel and the school has been closely involved with the programme for many years.  The school provides an ongoing flow of young participants for the Plymouth Indra group, based at the city’s Barbican Theatre.

Caterina Garrett

Study Hall Foundation SHEF), Lucknow, India

SHEF contributes towards the core work of Indra but is involved more widely through its extensive work in education and community.  (See collaborators above.)



Other organisations, agencies and friends

The Anna Lindh Foundation

Indra is a UK member of the Anna Lindh UK network and has attended  and contributed towards a number of conferences and training events.  The Foundation funded the pioneering bi-lateral project involving young people in Derry and young people in Bethlehem collaborating together over a year long project.


The Tavistock Quakers

The Quakers in Tavistock have been active supporters of the ARROW/Indra programme over many years, especially regarding our colleagues in Palestine.  Quakers Maggi and Pete Squire have visited Marina Barham and the Al Harah theatre in Beit Jala and seen for themselves the realities of occupation in the West Bank

Email: Maggi Squire