Chotto Desh

World Premiere: 23 October 2015, DanceEast, Ipswich, UK
London Premiere: 30 October 2015, Sadler’s Wells, London
Last performance: 24 November 2018, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, Vancouver

Akram Khan’s DESH was an instant hit with audiences and critics alike when it was first presented in 2011. Now, Akram Khan Company, and Theatre-Rites director Sue Buckmaster have adapted Khan’s much-loved production for children aged 7+ and their families.
Chotto Desh, meaning ‘small homeland’, draws on Khan’s unique quality of cross-cultural storytelling, creating a compelling tale of a young man’s dreams and memories from Britain to Bangladesh. Using a magical mix of dance, text, visuals and sound, Chotto Desh celebrates the resilience of the human spirit in the modern world and promises to be a magical, thrilling and poignant dance theatre experience for families to enjoy together.



The [Hi]stories of Chotto Desh
by Karthika Naïr

DESH – and Chotto Desh, its younger version adapted for family audiences – began with a promise, one made by a son to his mother. Years ago, early in his career, Akram Khan had promised Mrs. Anwara Khan he would make a piece on the country of her birth, Bangladesh. Akram intended to keep his promise, but life kept happening, other projects kept coming in the way… Then one day, it all started coming together. Akram met visual artist Tim Yip, someone he had admired for long. Tim, agreeing to collaborate with Akram on his next work, suggested it should be an exploration of his parents’ roots: Bangladesh. It was time to keep a promise. To go on a journey.

And that is what we did. The entire creative team met for the first time in Bangladesh, travelling together for ten days through November 2010 to discover many of the voices, faces, places that compose the country.

Now, in this strange, unprecedented moment of physical isolation and danger, when memory and emotional nearness and beauty are our magic wands for sanity, we remember them.

Now, when Chotto Desh will be streamed in an attempt to share something that gave us so much joy and warmth, it seems fitting to share also our memories of those voices and faces and places, the ones that compose DESH and Chotto Desh in ways both visible and invisible.

Read the full text here.

“Chotto Desh will inspire children to think about their own stories and perhaps make their own autobiographical art full of truth and beauty."

Sue Buckmaster


Artistic Direction and Original Choreography Akram Khan
Direction and Adaptation Sue Buckmaster (Theatre-Rites)

Music Composition Jocelyn Pook
Lighting Design Guy Hoare
Stories imagined by Karthika Naïr and Akram Khan
The grandmother’s fable in Chotto Desh is taken from the book The Honey Hunter
Written by Karthika Naïr, Sue Buckmaster and Akram Khan
Assistant Choreographer Jose Agudo
Grandmother’s voice Leesa Gazi
Jui’s voice Sreya Andrisha Gazi

Dancers Dennis Alamanos or Nicolas Ricchini

Producer Claire Cunningham on behalf of AKCT

Original Visual Design Tim Yip
Original Visual Animation created by Yeast Culture
Original Costume Supervisor Kimie Nakano

Sound Designer and AV Engineer Alex Stein
Music Engineer Steve Parr
Costume Reconstruction Advisor Martina Trottmann
Technical Manager Ed Yetton
Rehearsal Director Amy Butler
Stage Manager Dean Sudron

Painted Head Sequence devised by Damien Jalet with Akram Khan
‘Bleeding Soles’ lyrics written by Leesa Gazi
Singers Melanie Pappenheim, Sohini Alam, Jocelyn Pook (voice/viola/piano), Tanja Tzarovska, Jeremy Schonfield
We gratefully acknowledge the artists who contributed to the original production of DESH by Akram Khan Company.

Co-commissioned by MOKO Dance, Akram Khan Company, Sadler’s Wells London, DanceEast, Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Mercat de les Flors Barcelona, Biennale de la danse de Lyon 2016 and Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Supported by Arts Council England

In the press

The Scotsman: "Dance Review: Chotto Desh" by Kelly Apter (15 Aug 2016)

An absolute triumph

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The Stage: "Akram Khan’s Chotto Desh review at EICC, Edinburgh – ‘energetic’" by Thom Dibdin (15 Aug 2016)

Akram Khan’s dance piece for youngsters has satisfying depths for an older audience

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London Dance: "Review: Akram Khan Company & MOKO Dance - Chotto Desh - Lylian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells" by Jeffrey Gordon Baker (4 Nov 2015)

Khan’s ecstatically danced biographical ruminations on forming an identity from the myths and stories of two worlds – whilst under the pressure of belonging to both and neither – are well served in this resplendent chotto-sized version.

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The Stage: "Akram Khan’s Chotto Desh review at Sadler’s Wells – ‘magical and heart-warming’" by Rachel Elderkin (2 Nov 2015)

Its heart-warming story of our connections to the past, to family and, most important, the need to find your own path, will captivate an audience of any age.

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A Younger Theater: "Review: Chotto Desh, Sadler's Wells" by Camilla Gurtler (31 Oct 2015)

In a cross-cultural world, it can be hard to define what or where is home. Is home where you are born? Where you live in this moment? Or is it where your roots are? And what does that even mean in 2015 when cultures are merging together?

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"Exquisite gem of dance theatre, which could truthfully be enjoyed by anyone of any age or background"

London Dance

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