The Lustrum Award Winner (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023) and critically acclaimed – “Powerful & Captivating “ 4****  The Scotsman, - BIRD  is the stage sequel to our critically acclaimed dance film – ‘Catch The Bird Who Won’t Fly’  choreographed by Amina Khayyam.

BIRD opens with a striking silent scream – connected to the experiences of domestic violence survivors – conveying a feeling of being trapped. Amid this emotional turmoil – “Where I will go? Will anyone believe me?” – is a question that crosses the mind of many women stuck in abusive situations. The desire to break free is accompanied by uncertainty about the future. They must venture into the unfamiliar and try to rebuild their life.

It takes an incredible amount of courage to not only leave an abusive situation but also to accept help from strangers. The fear of retaliation, an unknown future, and emotional ties can all make it difficult to leave. And then, accepting help from strangers or support services further requires them to overcome feelings of vulnerability, shame and distrust.

BIRD started in a workshop with a women’s community group – where a participant asked – “What happens to a woman when she runs away from domestic abuse?” a question often targeted at the stigma and cultural pressure in communities of those who escape it or try to.    

The tone, the expression, the nervousness in her voice, the looking away after she asked the question, prompted this scalding emphatic kathak fluence-d piece exploring the social stigma for women in such a situation. 

Amina Khayyam said “All issues relating to women are a huge part of AKDC’s work and one of the re-occurring themes that keeps coming up again and again is domestic violence within the community. In our digital work ‘CATCH THE BIRD WHO WON’T FLY’ we explored experiences of the perception felt by women that they have no option available to them, so they stay with their abusers… and the difficult decision they made and the dynamic relationship with external agencies and other DV leavers when they find themselves being hurled together in a refuge home or sheltered place” 

High energy Kathak weaves the story to a specially commissioned live music score.


Choreography : Amina Khayyam

Music composition: Jonathan Mayer

 additional music : John Marc Gowan's sequence from Slut

Dancers : Jane Chan, Jalpa Vala, Sushma Vala, Abirami Eswar, Amina Khayyam 

Musicians: Debasish Mukherjee (tabla), Iain McHugh (cello), Alec Cooper (sitar)

Producer and Dramaturgy : Hardial Rai

Lighting : Clare O'Donogue