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Supported by City of Melbourne Quick Response Arts Grants, we present a recording of Danish Sheikh’s lecture/performance Much to do with Law / But more to do with love

Recorded perforamnce staged on July 27th 2023 at Institute of Postcolonial Studies, 78-80 Curzon Street North Melbourne, Australia.

In 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality, striking down a 158 year old colonial sodomy law. The decision was widely celebrated. Weeks after decriminalisation, the movement for same-sex marriage was in full swing. The battle was done, queer Indians could all move on.

But what is lost in the rush to move on?

In this lecture-performance, Danish Sheikh picks up a series of legal artifacts from the recent past: a contract drafted by two queer lovers in a small town in the late 90s; an affidavit written by a transgender woman in the early 2000s. Each of these documents tells a story of how queer persons in India found a way to live within the shadow of the sodomy law, through creatively reworking quotidian forms of law. Sheikh implores us to look at these accounts as resources for legal imagination, asking us to think about how queer dissent can unlock the imaginative possibilities within the law.

Written and Performed by: Danish Sheikh
Dramaturg: Vidya Rajan

About the Performer: Danish Sheikh is an activist lawyer, academic, and theatre practitioner. He recently completed a PhD thesis on practices of queer dissent in India at the University of Melbourne. His interdisciplinary writing at the intersections of law and sexuality has been cited by the Indian Supreme Court in its decision to decriminalise homosexuality in 2018 and was awarded the Postgraduate Paper Prize by the Law Literature and Humanities Association of Australasia in 2022. His first book Love and Reparation: A Theatrical Response to the Section 377 Litigation in India was published in 2021.

About the Dramaturg: Vidya Rajan is a writer & performer currently based in Australia working across screenwriting, theatre, comedy, and digital space. A former writer-in-residence at the Malthouse Theatre, graduate of the VCA, and a recipient of Screen Australia’s Developer Program, her work has often been described as surreal, inventive, darkly funny, and probing of the contemporary moment. Recently, her sketch writing as part of the The Feed (SBS) won the 2022 AWGIE award for Best Comedy Writing, and her digital interactive experience In Search of Lost Scroll took home Best Experimental Artwork at the 2022 Melbourne Fringe awards.

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Recorded: 26 July 2023