New Play Explores Possession and Exorcism

New Play Explores Possession and Exorcism

Kali Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre present

By Naylah Ahmed
Directed by Janet Steel

Wednesday 7 – Saturday 24 March 2012
Press Night: Thursday 8 March 2012 7.15pm
Soho Upstairs, Soho Theatre, Dean Street, London W1D 3NE

On Tour: Plymouth, Bradford, Birmingham and Manchester

Naylah Ahmed’s compelling and vivid thriller, Mustafa, will receive its world premiere in March. Opening at Soho Theatre, Mustafa, co-produced by Kali and Birmingham Repertory Theatre will also tour to Plymouth, Bradford, Birmingham and Manchester.

Mustafa is in prison for the death of a teenage boy during an exorcism. Racked with guilt at the loss of an innocent life and isolated in a world where his beliefs are constantly challenged, he tries to avoid trouble. But when prisoners who taunt him suffer mysterious injuries and prison officers start behaving strangely, Mustafa starts to think the evil djinn he tried to banish from the young victim’s body is still with him and he must face it once more…

Is Mustafa the deluded killer of a teenager or a brave innocent man who risked his life to deliver the boy from a dangerous being? This compelling and vivid thriller where nothing is quite what it seems will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Talking about her inspiration for the play, Naylah Ahmed, said "Throughout the eighties we spent many Eid nights during family get togethers huddled in a room listening to djinn stories that kept us deliciously scared but that we heard, essentially, as stories, fiction. As I got older I started thinking about where these stories began, and realised when they were first recounted, miles away in Pakistan, they were told as accounts of something that had really happened. So why didn’t we see them that way, what had changed? There are so many ways of exploring this rich subject matter, but the transition of account to story is what first sparked the idea for what finally came to be Mustafa."

Birmingham writer Naylah Ahmed has been writing since the late 1990s for stage, radio and television. In particular she was a founding script editor for Silver Street, the first ever British Asian soap. She won the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting with Butcher Boys in 2008, and was one of the writers of These Four Streets – a multi-authored play about the Lozells riots which premiered at Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 2009. Mustafa was developed on attachment at The REP and subsequently commissioned by the theatre.

Directed by Janet Steel, Mustafa features a cast of four. Playing the title role of Mustafa is Munir Khairdin whose previous theatre credits include The Comedy of Errors (Royal Exchange), Behzti (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and Bombay Dreams (West End). He is joined by Gary Pillai as Shabir. Gary’s stage credits include A Passage to India (Shared Experience), Wuthering Heights (Tamasha / Lyric Hammersmith) and Mahabharata (Sadler’s Wells). Ryan Early plays Dan – Ryan is best known for his role as PC Tom Nicholson in Heartbeat and his stage credits include shows at the Royal Court and The Globe. Completing the cast will be Paul McCleary as Len. Paul’s credits span stage and screen including The Taming Of The Shrew (RSC), Juno And The Paycock and Oedipus (National Theatre) and films Calendar Girls and Britannia Hospital.

Set design for Mustafa will be by Colin Falconer, lighting design by Tim Mitchell and music by Arun Ghosh.

Kali Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre have co-produced a number of productions in the past. In 2010 the two companies presented Behna (Sisters) in the kitchen of a South London home. Other co-productions include A Thin Red Line, Deadeye, Chaos and Bells.

Kali Theatre Company marks twenty one years as the only theatre company in the UK dedicated to championing women writers from a South Asian background. It was founded in 1990 by Rita Wolf and Rukhsana Ahmad and since 2002 its Artistic Director has been Janet Steel. The Company seeks out original writers, focusing on content and ideas as much as on style, to present memorable theatre. Kali has established a reputation for creating theatre that takes audiences on unpredictable journeys that inspire, excite and intrigue.

Birmingham Repertory Theatre is now temporarily closed until 2013 as the theatre undergoes redevelopment as part of the new Library of Birmingham. However, the company is still producing and commissioning work in different venues across Birmingham as well as on tour.

Listings Information

Wed 7 – Sat 24 March
Soho Theatre Upstairs, 21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
Performance Times: 7.15pm (Mon to Sat),matinees at 3.30pm on Sat 10, Sat 17 and Sat 24 March
Ticket prices: £12.50, concessions £10
Box Office: 020 7478 0100/

Wed 27- Sat 31 March
Drum Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth PL1 2TR
Performance Times: 7.45pm
Ticket prices: £13, concessions £9
Box Office: 01752 267 222 /

Wed 11- Sat 14 April
Bradford Kala Sangam Studio, St Peters House Forster Square Bradford BD1 4TY
Performance Times: 7pm
Ticket prices: £6.50
Box Office: Book online via (no booking fee)

Tue 17- Sat 21 April
Birmingham Repertory Theatre @ mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH
Performance Times: 8pm, matinee at 2pm on Sat 21 April
Ticket prices: £12, concessions £7.50
Box Office: 0121 236 4455 /

Thu 26 – Sat 28 April
Manchester Royal Exchange Studio, St Ann’s Square Manchester M2 7DH
Performance Times: 7.30pm (Thu & Fri), 8pm (Sat)
Ticket prices: £10, concessions £7
Box Office: 0161 833 9833

Region: All
Venue: Soho Theatre and touring nationally
Venue Address: 21 Dean Street, London
Press Tickets: Available
Sponsorship: Not Available
Press Tickets:
Name: Yasmeen Khan