Handlooms at Alankar House of Sarees

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Theatre: RASA and Contact: Handlooms
Benji Reid

12 — 24 March 2018 Tickets from £11.00 - 15.00 — Book now

Written by Rani Moorthy and directed by Alan Lane (Slung Low), Handlooms is a unique site-specific theatrical experience which will be performed in the working business premises of the Alankar House of Sarees on Manchester’s Curry Mile. Each immersive performance will accommodate just twenty audience members and will be delivered through a dynamic combination of live performance and audio storytelling via headphones.

Rajesh and his mother are facing a crisis in their sari business – Rajesh wants to remain committed to creating unique, handcrafted sari’s whereas his mother wants to lead with mass production. With both seeking alternative solutions to save their family business, will they find a way to preserve the rich tradition of the sari?

The show gives an interesting perspective on the rich heritage of the sari and unpicks the idea of the sari from a male viewpoint. Handlooms sets out to challenge the often simplistic and stereotypical assumptions which are made about appearance and migrant life, through its exploration of the sari.

Perhaps most interestingly, the performance invites the audience to understand the male-dominated arena of bartering for fabric, buying and designing and draping the garment onto South Asian women, alongside the modern fashion demands and generational changes that are seeing these rich traditions slowly disappearing.

Artistic Director of Rasa, Rani Moorthy explains, “I was very aware growing up that men sold the sari, dictated what we wore, designed the saris. I was also conscious of the language used when encountering female clients; sensuous, intimate, about the women’s body, the drape – the gestures – so contrary to the strict social rules we had between genders in the south Asian community. It took me a long time to understand this was something so unique – and that it was dying out.”

Handlooms is the second show in Rasa’s sari trilogy, and the Manchester performances form part of In The City, a year-long programme of site-specific performance, as the Contact Theatre undergoes a major building transformation.

12 — 24 March 2018

Book Now

What's on: Theatre

Everyman & Playhouse Spring Summer Season
Everyman & Playhouse Spring/ Summer Season

A busy and brilliant season – expect contemporary takes on the classics, world premiere adaptations of bestsellers and fantastical family shows. There’s plenty to enjoy in Liverpool’s theatres this spring.

Culture in South Lakes
Culture in South Lakes

Not only one of Britain’s most picturesque national parks, the Lake District is also brimming with culture. Here’s what’s on over the next few months.

free entry
La Clique at Depot Mayfield
La Clique at Depot Mayfield

Underbelly’s sensational and internationally acclaimed circus show will pitch its spectacular Spiegeltent on the rooftop of Depot Mayfield.

from £19.50
Barbara at The Edge
Barbara at The Edge

Featuring performance and song, crumpets and conversation, theatre-maker Mark Croasdale brings a new show inspired by the experience of caring for a grandparent with dementia.

from £13.00
MIF23: We Cut Through Dust

We Cut Through Dust is a walk into the future, guided by a series of phone calls. Over the course of an hour, you’ll be taken on a journey through the city.

free entry

Culture Guides


We go all in on festivals, with a round-up of everything from city-spanning giants to grassroots gems you may not know about.


There's no rest for the art lover - this month brings outdoor sculpture, musings on water, political drawings and Liverpool Biennial 2023!

Classical Music

Summer's classical music calendar is filling up nicely! Read our top picks of concerts happening in Manchester and the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House

The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Gerry Potter (credit Lee Baxter)

Books are big this summer, with festival readings, poetry slams, creative writing activities and famous faces all putting in an appearance.

Food and Drink

All signs point toward June being a scorcher of a month, so let’s take a look at all things summery food and drink.

Tours and Activities

From literary activities to brilliant independent shops, keep your minds and homes filled with the good stuff this month.

Theatre in Manchester

Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.