he Different Moons project set out to record the history, lives and stories of individuals from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India who came to Britain after the Second World War and settled in Rossendale, Lancashire. The project, developed by Horse + Bamboo Theatre, has been led by artists, themselves mainly women from a South Asian and Muslim heritage, who used the stories of the first immigrants and the rich legacy of South Asian and Islamic art forms both to inspire and feed their own work and then to encourage different generations of other women, girls and children living in Rossendale to express their own feelings and thoughts. The recordings, poems, animations and stories collected here are all part of that response.
The Different Moons project developed as part of Horse + Bamboo’s involvement with our local community. The initial idea was to record the history and stories of some of the many individuals from Pakistan, Bangladesh and India who came to Britain after the Second World War and settled in Rossendale, particularly in Haslingden and Rawtenstall. From 2014 to 2016 the project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The project was started in 2013 by Joint Artistic Director Bob Frith, but has been further developed by artists mainly from a South Asian background, including Shamshad Khan, Habiba Shenza and Arry Nessa. We used the stories we heard from the first immigrants to inspire and encourage the younger generation of South Asians living locally to express their own feelings and ideas.
Poems and the writing groups
The poems, accounts and stories presented in the Different Moons book includes work from the main groups who took part in the Different Moons workshops: women, young girls and children. We have succeeded in including a few words from nearly every single one of the over one hundred and thirty participants who took part in the writing workshops, either as solo pieces of writing or joint pieces made up of lines or verses from a number of individuals in the group.
Poet Shamshad Khan directed and led all of the Different Moons poetry workshops. There are intimate and beautiful poems written by the Haslingden Community Link Women’s Group; defiant and tender letters and poems by young girls from two Haslingden girls’ groups; and quirky and surprising stories written by pupils from the Rossendale Valley Islamic Supplementary School, Haslingden and St Mary’s C.E. Primary School, Rawtenstall.
FREE PDF: Download the Different Moons book
Later Different Moons developed a wider reach, offering a range of events and creative activities for the South Asian community as well as opening a drop-in centre in Haslingden, the Apna. This is now an independent organisation operating on Manchester Road in Haslingden, managed by Arry Nessa: APNA, 54 Manchester Road, Haslingden, Rossendale BB4 5TE
In 2017 Bob Frith and Shamshad Khan collaborated as writers and directors on a touring show ‘The Moonwatcher’, which was partly based on the interviews from the first part of the project, as well as on Shamshad’s own experiences. The show went on tour in 2018.