Black Theatre Live


Tara Arts Artistic Director Jatinder Verma awarded MBE in 2017 New Year Honours list

31 December 2016

We are really delighted Black Theatre Live partner Tara Arts' Artistic Director Jatinder Verma has been awarded an MBE in 2017 New Year Honours list

Jatinder Verma has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for Tara Arts and its services to diversity in the Arts, particularly drama. It comes at the close of the year that the company opened Tara Theatre, the capital’s first dedicated home for multicultural theatre, in Earlsfield, South West London. 

Tara Arts was founded in 1977 by young Wandsworth residents - current Artistic Director Jatinder Verma, along with Sunil Saggar, Ovais Kadri, Praveen Bahl & Vijay Shaunak. The company’s inaugural production was Sacrifice - Nobel Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore's anti-war play – which was staged on 25th August 1977 at Battersea Arts Centre. The company moved to its building-base in Earlsfield in 1983 and continued to stage a number of productions in London and around the UK, many directed by Jatinder Verma, gaining a particular reputation for multicultural stagings of classic texts. These include Tartuffe and The Little Clay Cart at the National Theatre and, more recently, Macbeth and Bollywood Jack

In September 2016 Tara Theatre opened, featuring a 100-seater auditorium, a unique ‘Earth Floor’ on the stage and beautiful doors sourced from around India. The new building was recently awarded Project Design of the Year at the London Construction Awards.

Speaking about the award, Jatinder Verma said “I am honoured and delighted to have received the MBE for Tara Arts and its services to diversity in the Arts, particularly drama. It is particularly pleasing that it comes as we mark 40 years of Tara Arts. Over four decades the company has consistently sought to make connections across cultures, a mission now enshrined in the new Tara Theatre - Britain's first dedicated multicultural theatre building - which completed its renovations in 2016. 

In accepting the honour, I am mindful of the great strides artists and audiences have together taken over the past four decades to ensure multiculturalism remains an inspiring and enduring vision of modern Britain.”  

Chairman of Tara’s Board, Naresh Aggarwal added: “Jatinder has been a consistent beacon for those from the BAME community keen to develop their talents in the theatre. He is passionate about the impact that theatre can have on our society and for many years has championed the importance of a diverse theatre ecosystem as a key platform for inclusion and tolerance in the UK.” 

Tara Arts will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2017, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence from Britain. A series of 70 events over the course of the year is planned at Tara Theatre to commemorate both occasions.