SAPAC: Art is for everyone

SAPAC: Art is for everyone

27 August 2018


South Asian Performing Arts Centre: Art is for everyone

Sapac logo - south asian performing arts centre swindon

This post is largely by way of sharing a lovely Swindon Advertiser Monday Matters piece – Art is for Everyone written by the smashing Sarah Singleton.

SAPC – the South Asian Performing Arts Centre – is a lovely conception and a brilliant thing with Indu Sharma at its helm.

Says Indu:

‘I noticed there were quite a few communities in Swindon of South Asian origin, but they were divided into different groups,” she recalled. “They arranged various festivals and cultural programmes, however they were not really available to a lot of the people in Swindon.

A lot of the time, these communities were not even going to each other’s programmes. I thought, why don’t we make it available to everyone and we could share it?’ … Our focus so far has been to present diverse cultural events. We would like to share these with the general public – with whoever is interested.’

SAPAC work often with the splendid Swindon Dance – a recent event staged in conjunction with them back in June of this year sold out. How fab is that?  And later this year – on October the 6th to be precise – SAPAC will be part of a spectacular collaborative arts project at the Wyvern Theatre. Presented by Nicky Alberry, the current High Sheriff of Wiltshire, the event is called ‘Uncelebrated Journey’.

‘Uncelebrated Journey will feature an eclectic mix of dance, music and film, including a contribution from SAPAC. 

It’s based on a poem Alfred Williams wrote, about a place in India he stayed in during World War I, when he was in the army, Indu said.

Alfred Williams - the Hammerman Poet

Alfred Williams – the Hammerman Poet

He stayed in Ranikhet, a hill station in the Almora district in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, in the foothills of the Himalayas.’  The image below shows Alfred’s home in Swindon named after Ranikhet:

Ranikhet - AlFred Williams

Swindon Dance:

Uncelebrated Journey:

Community library at Swindon Hindu Temple

Community library at Swindon Hindu Temple

17th December 2017


A Community Library Launches at the Swindon Hindu Temple

Swindon Hindu Temple logo

To be fair, ‘A community library LUNCHES at the Swindon Hindu Temple’ would have been an appropriate heading being as how this event was celebrated with a food festival. Oh such scrummyness. Sadly for me, I’m getting over a virus and my normal appetite for Indian food – well food in general – is not, at the moment, up to scratch,

But that’s all a digression. I’ve been to the temple before so though it was about time it got a mention on this here blog. Because y’know, the overall vibe at the temple is never anything but welcoming and inclusive. It’s just lovely.

The temple came on to my horizon via Carole Bent – the photographs below are hers. Thanks Carole. I do try with photographs but they never come out right. Harrumph!

I had no idea, until Pradeep spoke at the event, that the community library that the temple has set up is part of the town’s library network. I though it was cool anyway. But when I heard that I thought it was even cooler! It was super fab to see Liam with the book bike there reading to the children!

Some pictures from yesterday’s library launch and food festival:

You have to take your hat off to Pradeep Bhardwaj, chaiman of Swindon’s Hindu temple trust, and his associates.  What they’ve achieved with a run-down industrial unit on the Cheney Manor estate can be described as miraculous. And a testament to what can be achieved with will and passion.

As Pradeep told the Swindon Advertiser last year when the Temple celebrated its official opening:

“For many here it is the biggest day of their lives. There have been Hindus in Swindon for 60 years but there hasn’t been a temple or community centre.

“I am very proud, more than proud, I am humbled. To be able to accomplish something like this for the entire community is beyond my wildest dreams.

“Throughout our lives we keep chasing dreams but having seen what it’s like to do this I would be willing to forego any of my personal dreams.”

The temple’s website describes its vision thus:

  • Establish “Cultural Hub & Centre of Excellence” – first of its kind outside India
  • A Social, Cultural and Community Hub accessible to all community groups with an interest in Indian music, dance, arts, culture, religion, cuisine, literature, health & wellbeing
  • Establish Swindon as a Cultural destination, one of the top places to visit in England, promote cultural & religious tourism, attract new businesses & investment
  • Ambitious project – unique in nature, scope, impact & overall vision
  • Contributing significantly to the local area & economy
  • Demonstrate long-term, strategic benefits of community-based enterprise

Amen to all of that is all I have to say!

What a wonderful Switch on to Swindon ambassador Pradeep is.

At this point I feel I should give mention also to SAPAC – another Asian organisation/group that Swindon is blessed to have in its midst. They too open their doors, their activities to anyone that is interested regardless of culture.

There’s lessons for us all from both these groups I feel.

The Hindu temple on the ether:

The website for the Swindon Hindu Temple is here:

They’re on Twitter:

And a public Facebook group:



South Asian Performing Arts Centre: Tabla and Sitar at Swindon Arts Centre

South Asian Performing Arts Centre: Tabla and Sitar at Swindon Arts Centre

11th September 2017


Sapac logo - south asian performing arts centre swindon

South Asian Performing Arts Centre: Tabla and Sitar at Swindon Arts Centre

SAPAC present tabla and sitar

Where: Swindon Arts Centre
When: Friday 6th October 2017
Book Online:    Telephone: 01793 524481
Musicians playing sitar and tabla

Musicians playing sitar and tabla

Swindon South Asian Performing Arts Centre Tabla Event

Tabla event information

‘Samswara – Sitar & Tabla / Indian Music Performances, Stroud & Devon, UK

Indian music – Sitar & Tabla performances & workshops in Stroud, Gloucestershire, Devon, Bristol, Swindon & South West UK, South Wales, London, the Midlands & throughout the UK.

Having trained as a Tabla player in Indian Music (North Indian classical / Hindustani music), Jon has worked with various musicians in this genre.’

About Swindon’s South Asian Performing Arts Centre – SAPAC

SAPAC is a diverse art organisation set-up in 2009. The organisation’s mission is to make diverse art an active part of Swindon’s cultural scene. 

To that end, and supported by Arts Council England, SAPAC hosts top-class national and international artists in Swindon at affordable prices. The events are open to anyone in Swindon and the surrounding areas.

SAPAC run regular classes in Tabla and and arrange workshops in various forms of Indian music and dance. The classes are run by professionals are open to anyone from the age of 6 years.

New Term for Tabla

The new term for Tabla starts on the 16th September at 11.30 am on Saturday mornings at the central community centre. The classes are every week.

For more information visit the SAPAC website:

About Tabla – via Wikepedia

The tabla is a South Asian membranophone percussion instrument (similar to bongos), consisting of a pair of drums, used in traditional, classical, popular and folk music. It has been a particularly important instrument in Hindustani classical music since the 18th century, and remains in use in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.[2] The name tabla likely comes from tabl, the Persian and Arabic word for drum.[3] However, the ultimate origin of the musical instrument is contested by scholars, some tracing it to West Asia, others tracing it to the evolution of indigenous musical instruments of the Indian subcontinent.

The sound of the sitar

The sitar is, as this article explains, ‘a stringed instrument of the lute family that is popular in northern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.’

‘The word sitar is derived from the Persian word sehtar, meaning “three-stringed.” The instrument appears to have descended from long-necked lutes taken to India from Central Asia. The sitar flourished in the 16th and 17th centuries and arrived at its present form in the 18th century. Today it is the dominant instrument in Hindustani music; it is used as a solo instrument with tambura (drone-lute) and tabla (drums) and in ensembles, as well as for northern Indian kathak (dance-dramas). Two modern schools of sitar playing in India are the Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan schools, each with its own playing style, type of sitar (varying in size, shape, number of strings, etc.), and tuning system.’

Famed for his association with The Beatles and George Harrison in particular, here’s Ravi Shankar at Woodstock in 1969: