Namus, The Project
Through the generous support of individual donors, research and development in Armenia on the Namus project was able to go ahead. It seemed appropriate that in 2011, the 100 year anniversary of the play Namus by Alexander Shirvanzade, the journey to find a new life for this play in the 21st century was about to begin.
Seta White (producer/actor) and Veronica Wigg (director) spent 4½ weeks in Armenia working at Naregatsi Art Institute and at The Armenian Centre for Contemporary Experimental Art (NPAK). Working alongside the Armenian actors we were exploring the text of Namus and its themes, gaining a greater understanding into the context of the story and what today still resonates with Shirvanzade’s world, and also discovering the visual setting of the play. Through improvisations a devised piece of theatre based on extracts of Shirvanzade’s text and story emerged. The final presentation shown at both Naregatsi Art Institute and NPAK was entitled Namus: White, Red and Black – the colours reflected in the setting and costumes.
We also devoted time to explore the theme of violence against women, visiting and speaking to the heads of two NGO’s, Martuni Women’s Community Council and the Women’s Rights Centre. We were also allowed to visit the WRC women’s shelter – the only functioning women’s shelter in Armenia. Armenian Caritas brought a large group from their organisation to watch a performance – their feedback was vital and also very poignant in how we tackled the issue of violence against women in the play.
January 2010 Rehearsed reading by professional actors of a new translation of Namus at Armenian House. This translation by Veronica Wigg is the first English translation of the play and this presentation was the first time this play has been heard in English.
March 2011 Performed reading of Namus at the Kahn Lecture Theatre, Sadler’s Wells. Combining excerpts from the classic silent film Namus with a professional reading of the play, the evening’s performance was intended to help to raise funds for the project.
September 2011 Screening of the 1926 digitally restored silent film Namus, with live piano accompaniment by Artur Bobikyan.
October – November 2011 Research and development work undertaken in Armenia, culminating in two performances at both Naregatsi Art Institute on November 3 and The Armenian Centre for Contemporary Experimental Art (NPAK) on November 5. Good media coverage was generated from both performances and the performance at NPAK was also filmed by Armenia’s Shant TV.
For archived webpage on the Namus Project please click here.
Become Part Of The Project
Throughout the journey of this project so far we have had tremendous support for which we are deeply thankful: The Armenian Institute; our many donors in the UK who made it possible for us to undertake the research and development work in Armenia; Naregatsi Art Institute and The Armenian Centre for Experimental Art, our two collaborators in Armenia.
From the work undertaken in Armenia and the feedback generated from this it is clear that there is a demand for a 21st century production of Namus. This project has a great future in both the UK and abroad. The next stage is to work towards and to put on a full theatrical production of Namus in the UK.
We urge you to become part of this historic and exciting project. Your name will appear on future programmes and literature accompanying Namus productions. If you would like to talk further about the project please do not hesitate to contact the producer, Seta White, on 07956 977903 or firstname.lastname@example.org.