23rd Mar 2023

Exploring our Muslim music culture

Sharon Durant shares news of Sing Up’s inclusion partnership with Khayaal Theatre Company and Luton Music Service

Sing Up
Exploring our Muslim music culture

At Sing Up we love to engage and support all children and young people in high-quality singing and music making, however we recognise that there are sections of our diverse communities which are underrepresented in our resources, and this can be a barrier to inclusion.

With the support of Arts Council England, we are thrilled to be partnering with Khayaal Theatre Company and Luton Music Service to better understand the barriers experienced by children from Muslim families in engaging in school singing.

Together, we will be developing new music and resources to improve the balance of representation of Muslim religious and cultural festivals and traditions on our website. We want to ensure that Muslim families can be included in school singing in a manner that is comfortable and appropriate for them.

“We are excited to work together to develop new repertoire that we can use in Luton schools to represent and celebrate our diverse community”
Kerry Watson, Music Service Manager – Luton Music Service

Sing Up recognises the value of working with experts in musical and cultural traditions and of highlighting the provenance and context of the songs and music used. We want the experience of singing our songs to be as authentic as possible for everyone; as a vocal leader, you can create real magic before teaching a traditional song by ‘setting it up’. Telling children where the song comes from and what it’s about will help capture imaginations and inform the expression and communication of the lyrics when they come to sing.

Luton Music Service and Khayaal Theatre have both already had lots of experience in engaging Luton’s Muslim community with their work, and staff at Sing Up are looking forward to the opportunity to learn from their expertise.

About Khayaal Theatre Company

Over the past 25 years, Khayaal has developed a strong reputation as the first dedicated producer of professional English language theatre inspired by Muslim heritages and cultures. Khayaal is forging a new genre and brand of cross-cultural theatre whose formula of wisdom and humour has won it popular and critical acclaim nationally and internationally. The name ‘Khayaal’ means 'imagination' and that it is derived from the name of one of the millennium old traditions of Muslim theatre: Khayaal al-Dill. They have been successfully singing with Muslim children and using music in their productions for Muslim audiences with cultural sensitivity since their inception. 

Luqman Ali: Artistic Director

Luqman, co-founder of Khayaal, specialised in the languages (Arabic, Persian and Urdu), literature and cultures of the Middle East and the Indian Sub-continent. 

He is currently working to nurture an inclusive humanitarian discourse of story and dream in Muslim communities and between those communities and wider society through Khayaal’s national on-demand Theatre programme

Eleanor Martin: Associate Director

As a founding member of Khayaal, Eleanor has researched, produced, devised, directed, and performed for the Company since its inception. 

She has devised bespoke workshops for Goldsmith University, Shakespeare’s Globe and The British Museum and is currently laying the foundations for continuous drama education provision for disadvantaged Muslim children through Khayaal's Drama Academy.