mark helyar blog

author, director & musician

13/01/2014 12:32 PM
fantastic news for dongria kondh

The Indian environment ministry has finally rejected Vedanta Resources' plans to mine Niyamgiri, Orissa for bauxite. After many years of campaigning, this is amazing news for the Kondhas, three of India’s most isolated tribal groups, who live in approximately 200 villages located across the hill range.

The post fantastic news for dongria kondh appeared first on mark helyar blog.


21/12/2013 05:28 PM
tackling rural isolation

Earlier this year, 25 people appeared on stage at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton. Their performances were deeply personal, written by themselves about themselves. Had they known two months previously what they would be doing, many would have run a mile. Some people barely had the confidence to walk through the door of the continue reading

The post tackling rural isolation appeared first on mark helyar blog.


31/10/2013 09:56 AM
beginning to feel the fear

I’m getting that scared-but-excited and daunted-but-can’t wait feeling in the pit of my stomach. It can only mean one thing: rehearsals start next week. It’s a while since I’ve been in the rehearsal room; much of my role as Co-Director of Theatre at Take Art has been to support others in making theatre. So I’m continue reading

The post beginning to feel the fear appeared first on mark helyar blog.


19/08/2013 10:32 AM
fight continues for dongria kondh homeland

news update: ”India’s Dongria Kondh tribe has overwhelmingly rejected plans by notorious British mining giant Vedanta Resources for an open-pit bauxite mine in their sacred Niyamgiri Hills, in an unprecedented triumph for tribal rights.” Survival International (19 Aug 2013) On 18 April 2013, the Indian Supreme Court rejected an appeal to allow Vedanta Resources’ to mine the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa for continue reading

The post fight continues for dongria kondh homeland appeared first on mark helyar blog.


21/06/2013 07:20 PM
dams, landslides and flooding disaster in uttarakhand

The news coming out of India about the widespread flooding is devastating. ActionAid reported earlier today that "The situation here is catastrophic. People’s houses and animals have been washed away and many roads have simply disappeared. Our partners in the region have reported that nearly 5,000 people are still missing in Kedarnath, presumed dead."

The post dams, landslides and flooding disaster in uttarakhand appeared first on mark helyar blog.


26/04/2013 01:36 PM
polio eradicated in india but legacy remains

Earlier this week The Guardian reported that polio has almost been eradicated across the world. The total number of reported cases worldwide fell last year to an all-time low of 223. Until 2002, India had the highest number of polio cases  per annum. Now it’s not had a confirmed case for two years. The disease continue reading

The post polio eradicated in india but legacy remains appeared first on mark helyar blog.


19/04/2013 01:19 PM
indian supreme court acknowledges rights of dongria kondh

Since travelling to Niyamgiri, Orissa, in December 2008, I have been following the Dongria Kondh tribe’s fight against Vedanta Resources’ plans to mine its land for bauxite. It’s good news, therefore, that the Indian Supreme Court yesterday (18 April 2013) rejected an appeal to allow the company to mine the Niyamgiri Hills. Instead, it has said that continue reading

The post indian supreme court acknowledges rights of dongria kondh appeared first on mark helyar blog.


15/04/2013 11:53 AM
and another thing is…

One of Word/Play’s aspirations is to give people the confidence to say what they want to say – in public. For some of the participants, walking through the door to the first workshop was tough enough. Who’d have imagined that, two months later, they’d be standing in front of a microphone performing work they’d written themselves, about continue reading

The post and another thing is… appeared first on mark helyar blog.


23/02/2013 12:42 PM
the next thing is…

I’m getting a warm buzzy feeling when people let me know what Word/Play is doing for them. A voice in my head goes ‘yes, hoorah, they get it!’ *PunchTheAir!*  What I mean is: Word/Play seems to be making a difference, and in ways that I hadn’t dared imagine. The strapline for Word/Play describes how we continue reading

The post the next thing is… appeared first on mark helyar blog.


25/01/2013 06:50 AM
the thing is…

I'm a little bit scared. But in a good way. After nearly 18 months of planning, fundraising and hard thinking, a new initiative, called Word/Play, is about to start.
Word/Play brings together theatre, spoken word and digital media to create change. It's for people in Somerset who want their voice to be heard, to feel better about themselves or to make a difference to their quality of life.

The post the thing is… appeared first on mark helyar blog.