More information on motiroti archive

Artistic projects overview

motiroti projects involved practitioners from all disciplines within the visual arts, multi-media, live art, sports, experimental theatre and socially engaged practice, as well as individuals and communities from other creative and learning industries. The work aimed to blur art-form specialism to encourage a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural dialogue. Projects included the first Bollywood musical to be devised and performed in the UK: Moti Roti Puttli Chunni (1993), and the touring production Alladeen, which explored the reality of Indian call centres by using new technologies on stage. For the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002, the company was commissioned to produce Celebration Commonwealth, involving 4,000 artists and participants. motiroti projects were staged in a variety of locations: in London, from the streets of Notting Hill and Brick Lane to Tate Modern and the Royal Albert Hall; in towns and cities as varied as Bristol, Walsall, Reading, Barrow-in-Furness and Manchester; and overseas in India, Pakistan, South Africa and the United States. motiroti twice received the Time Out Dance and Performance Award and was awarded an OBIE for Alladeen.


Given the variety of media that motiroti used as their creative outlets, it is difficult to categorise the work as simply theatre, exhibitions etc. Instead, they are better regarded as “projects”. The projects were developed by the company with one or more artistic directors often in collaboration with leading practitioners in the visual arts. Collaborators with Ali Zaidi and Keith Khan included Kamal El Alaoui, Christophe Berthonneau, Sonia Boyce, Darrell Butlin, Dominic Campbell, Poulomi Desai, Nina Edge, Femi Elufowoju Jnr , Diane Esguerra, Sonali Fernando, Salvatore Forino, James Gibbs/dbox, Petra Goebel, Shobna Gulati , Mazhar Hussain, Mira Kaushik, Christopher Kondek, Sophie Leyton, Jo Martin, Gavin O’Shea, Steve Ouditt, H. Patten , Ali Pretty, Vanessa Richards, DJ Scanner, Zineb Sedira, Indran Selvarajah, Shrikanth Sriram, Shabaka Thompson, Gauri Tripathi, Betty Vaughan Richards, Axel Vogelsang, Marianne Weems, and Stephan Zerwas. Commissioners and presenters of the projects included Arnolfini, the Barbican Centre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, DCMS, the ICA, the London International Festival of Theatre, the New Art Gallery Walsall, Roma Europa Festival, the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Court Theatre, Somerset House, the South Bank Centre, Tate Modern, the Theatre Royal Stratford East, Warwick Arts Centre, and Whitney Museum of American Art. The logistics of organising and staging the work was undertaken by a producer, who did not always work in situ. This is reflected in some significant gaps in the archive production files.


From 1990 to 1998, administration was undertaken by an external company, whilst motiroti was funded on a project-by-project basis. When the company became a revenue-funded organisation, administration became an in-house activity. From the mid-1990s, the administrative and financial processes were more formalised. Records of the early period are therefore incomplete and often survive as mixed files documenting a variety of activities. Fund-raising was a major activity for the company and the applications for grants, both successful and unsuccessful, provide a significant insight into arts funding in the UK. The company was governed by a board of management after 1996 and maintained a flexible structure of part-time staff, which included an artistic director, an associate artist, a company producer, a development producer, a projects producer, an administrator, a finance officer, and other freelance staff as required.