n., from the Chinese zhǐlǎohǔ — a nation, institution, etc., that appears powerful but is in fact weak. "He reminded Mao that the paper tiger had nuclear teeth"
To us, a paper tiger symbolises contradiction. Paper is culture, thought, social order. Tiger is force, instinct, the wild. A paper tiger is simultaneously delicate and immense, fragile and ferocious, beautiful and with a bite.
Who we are
Paper Tiger Productions is Afsaneh Gray, Omar El-Khairy and Tanya Singh. We are a collective of theatre and film makers. We have been seen as Iranian, Indian, British, Jewish, Palestinian, not Turkish enough, Punjabi, Arab, Hindu, Asian, Muslim, woman, Sikh, black, not black enough, English, not English enough. What we haven’t been seen as is Ukrainian, Polish and communist, which we also are.
What we make
Writing is at the core of our work: we are all told to ‘write what we know’. For us, this seems to mean bringing news from faraway lands or tales from the ghetto at home. These narratives are supposed to serve a pedagogical function; telling audiences about marginalized communities. It brings with it formal expectations of realism and naturalism. We want to write what is true for us, in the way that we want to tell it — whatever form that might take. We want to explore what we don’t yet know.
Paper Tiger is a space where we can do that. We work in fluid conformations, embracing collaborators from other disciplines, backgrounds and companies, but always helping to develop and produce each other’s work.