Paven is cooking up a delight with her show Save Our School Dinners ... Jamie!
Playwright Paven Virk shares the inspiration behind her new play about dinner ladies to be served up at the Belgrade Theatre this March. Inspired by the story of underdog, she returns to the Midlands to create work representing unrepresented communities.
Since becoming a mum and relocating back home to Coventry to the place that started my career (the Belgrade Youth Theatre), I have increased my storytelling workshops and seen the impact it has on individuals and diverse communities. I believe if I can make celebratory, relevant, diverse theatre, I can be a role model for underrepresented communities making engagement and careers in the arts seem more possible.
I chose this piece because of its roots in community and because of audience feedback received for my short piece The Funeral Singer, which subsequently inspired my full length play Save Our School Dinners … Jamie! Having previously showcased my one-woman play, I received great responses from BAME audience from multiple communities. I knew I wanted to go back to those communities to write a full play representing fresh voices and array of strong females that have a universal connection through food.
Having recently becoming a mother, I knew I had to do something that helps the next generation of kids whilst acknowledging how class, cultural backgrounds and even your postcode influences the future of children. My play about an African Caribbean dinner lady, Save Our School Dinners … Jamie! is a way of exploring this, particularly looking at how these women become more than a dinner lady to a child.
Paven is from Coventry and founded Second Generation Theatre Company at 15 when her play was selected to be part of a new writing festival at The Belgrade Theatre, whilst still attending their Youth Theatre she wrote, co-produced and performed in two plays with The Belgrade Theatre GIRLIE TALK (A friendship between an Asian and African Caribbean life in to womanhood is challenged by their cultural life choices) & BOY MEETS GIRL (A broken Asian girl who speaks to her dead mother’s grave falls for a homeless ‘Beatles’ playing busker and life changes forever).
Paven was named Screen International ‘STARS OF TOMORROW’. Took part in WORKING TITLE FILM’S residency at the Hay Festival. Took part in a 10 week NATIONAL THEATRE STUDIO Writing attachment leading to a CONNECTIONS play. Took part in BBC TV DRAMA LAB.
She has been part of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, the NFTS Screenwriting for Film & TV Course, Theatre Royal Stratford East Musical Theatre Writing Residency. Had plays on at Hampstead Theatre, National Theatre, Connections, Belgrade Theatre, Paines Plough (COME TO WHERE I’M FROM), Old Rep, Pleasance (Edinburgh).
For film, she is under commission for MUSLIM GIRLS (Ecosse Films) currently attaching a director, Music film, FEELING PUNJABI (Producer Jeffrey Taylor) is shooting this year and iconic Pauline Black (The Selector- Two Tone) life story with Pauline Black herself working with Paven. For Television she has been part of the Writersroom for ‘SKINS’, Emma Frost’s BIRTHDAY GIRL (Tiger Aspect/CH4) and a new CH4 series The ABC by Ayub Khan Din (The Forge/CH4).
Since returning Paven has been selected as Guiding Lights 2016/2017 prestigious feature film mentoring scheme with Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire, The Full Monty) as her mentor who is supporting her writing career.