When Chaplin Met Gandhi tells the story of Gandhi’s remarkable 1931 visit to London, where he spent twelve weeks in the East End. Whilst staying at Kingsley Hall in Bow, Gandhi met with local children, teaching the youngsters from the rough-and-tumble streets of East London his philosophy of non-violent resistance.
Charlie Chaplin, beloved across the world and in London at that time for the premiere of his new film City Lights, requested to see Gandhi, believing that they had a special connection in their affinity for the poor and the disempowered. Although Chaplin was at first dismissed by Gandhi’s entourage as ‘just a buffoon’, Gandhi agreed to see the man who had created the Little Tramp – and the ensuing encounter brought together two of the greatest figures of the twentieth century.
When Chaplin Met Gandhi premiered at Eastlea Community School, Canning Town in 2012, in a unique collaboration between professional theatre artists and a secondary state school. In 2013, the Gandhi Foundation invited the company and cast to perform the play at Kingsley Hall in Bow, where Gandhi stayed and lived for three months in 1931.