Made In India: a performance lecture

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Made In India with Amrita Pande. Photo by Filippa Berglund
Made In India with Amrita Pande. Photo by Filippa Berglund

Made In India is a performance lecture exploring the issue of commercial surrogacy. Indian sociologist and actor, Amrita Pande, is the sole performer in this aesthetic interpretation of her research in the field, under the direction of Danish director, Ditte Maria Bjerg

Surrogacy is a rapidly growing industry in India. Poor women can gain up to a five year salary in nine months. They do it to improve their lives, to gain independence and to be able to send their children to school. At the same time, couples from all over the world have their dream of parenthood fulfilled. This raises many questions such as; ‘Is it a win-win situation?’, ‘Does it evidence global capitalism?’ and ‘Does it exploit poor women of the Third World?’

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Made In India with Amrita Pande. Photo by Filippa Berglund
Made In India with Amrita Pande. Photo by Filippa Berglund

Made In India invites the audience on a fascinating journey to Doctor Patel’s baby farm in the Indian town of Anand. Here the story focuses on two Indian surrogate mothers, one client and the owner of the clinic, Dr. Patel. The narrative follows them from the ‘ordering‘ of a child, to the fertilization, pregnancy and the birth via caesarean. As a part of the performance Amrita will answer questions from the audience.

Made in India started off as a co-production between Riksteatern (Sweden), Odense Teate (Denmark) and Global Stories, a Danish organisation that produces research-based performing arts that explores the socio-political realities of our new “flat world”.

In 2010, stage director Ditte Maria Bjerg met Amrita Pande who wrote a book, Wombs in Labour (published in 2014), about surrogacy in India based on a decade of field research. Pande and Bjerg decided to create a theatre performance about the invisible stories of the surrogate mothers. It became the documentary performance Made In India – Notes from a Baby Farm.

Made In India opened in Stockholm in 2012 and toured all over Sweden. In 2013 and 2014 the performance played at several venues in Denmark. In 2015, Made In India went through a last transformation to become a performance lecture. It premiered at the University of Copenhagen and has since been staged, amongst other places, at the 2016 United Nations Women Deliver Global Conference.

The performance’s set design is by Filippa Berglund.

Reviews for Made In India have been glowing:

“An internationally significant performance that will hopefully travel around the world” – Anne Middelboe Christensen, Dagbladet Information (Danish newspaper)

“..a sharp and entertaining analysis of global capitalism and extreme economic inequality” – Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish newspaper)

“Amrita Pande glows with life and commitment as the authentic centre of the performance” – Monna Dithmer, theatre critic at Politiken (Danish newspaper)

Made In India (A Performance Lecture) will run for one night only at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory, Cape Town on 18th November 2016 at 7pm, admission is R50.

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