Call Me By My Name: Leicester Curve commemorates 50th anniversary of Ugandan Asian exodus

By Fiora Flinton

Images provided by Dilan Raithatha

August 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the Ugandan Asian exodus and the Curve theatre commemorated this with two plays that ran from the end of July to the beginning of this month.

One of the plays, Call Me My By Name, was written by Dilan Raithatha, a writer and actor from Leicester. He stated that the play centered around identity; “a child confused about his ethnicity and nationality, it takes him on a journey through time to explain where he’s from.”

Curve Theatre were familiar with some of Dilan’s previous work and had reached out to him asking if he would be interested in creating something that would commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Ugandan Asian exodus.

He agreed to do so adding; “I knew a lot about it because my dad’s side of the family was a part of the exodus, that’s why I had a good amount of knowledge on it already and why I was so eager to write on it.”

The play was based off true experiences, with information collected through interviewees who were involved in the Ugandan Asian exodus, Dilan explains that it was initially difficult to encourage them to open up about their experiences.

“People were really reluctant at first, weren’t willing to be recorded and didn’t even want it to be shown on stage, we went above and beyond to make them feel comfortable and make it clear that our intention was to guarantee that they have a chance to say their story, and so that it’s not rewritten or forgotten in history.”

The turnout of the both plays were very well received; “the last four or five days were completely sold out and there had to be a waiting list.”

“The response (to the play) was overwhelming, there was a lot of tears and the people that came to watch that had helped by sharing their stories loved that they were depicted truthfully, it wasn’t a caricature, we showed all sides to their story.”

“I’m so happy about how well the community responded to it, that was the main thing I cared about, and ensuring that these people had their story truthfully told.”

As for now, Dilan states “I’ve got a couple of showcases coming up, one at the end of this month and then one next month, hopefully more openings come from this.”