Tamasha and Harrogate Theatre present
The House of Bilquis Bibi
by Sudha Bhuchar, adapted from Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba
directed by Kristine Landon-Smith
design by Sue Mayes; lighting by Natasha Chivers; sound by Mike Furness
at Hampstead Theatre from 22 July to 14 August (press night: Monday 26 July) + UK tour
As the company celebrates its 21st year, Tamasha relocates Lorca’s passionate masterpiece to Pakistan’s fertile Punjab region. Against a dusty landscape, the story unfolds of a domineering mother and how her obsession with upholding the family’s status affects the fate of her five unmarried daughters. The production features an all-female cast of nine including Indian star Ila Arun and The Kumars at No. 42’s Indira Joshi.
The House of Bilquis Bibi brings together Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith as they celebrate an impressive 21 years together as the company’s founders and Artistic Directors. The production premieres at Hampstead Theatre in London before a tour which sees the company making a welcome return to Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, Harrogate Theatre, and Oldham Coliseum.
Extending its global ties, the company is delighted to welcome Ila Arun to play Bilquis Bibi. A household name in India, she hits British cinemas during 2010 in West is West (the much-anticipated sequel to hit film East is East, based on Tamasha’s original stage production). An acclaimed singer and actor, Ila starred in Bollywood blockbuster Jodhaa Akbar and TV show Fame Gurukul, and has released hit songs including Ringa Ringa which featured in Slumdog Millionaire and the famous, Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai, from Khalnayak, which won Filmfare Best Playback Singer , (shared with Alka Yagnik).
Tamasha was founded in 1989 by director Kristine Landon-Smith and actor/playwright Sudha Bhuchar to bring contemporary work of Asian influence to the British stage. It strives to transform theatre to create a space where British Asian talent takes centre-stage. The company has been discovering and developing emerging artists with major successes including playwright Ayub Khan-Din, whose play East is East went on to be produced as a smash-hit film. Bollywood writer, Abhijat Joshi who co-scripted, 3 Idiots, (winner IIFA 2010) got his first break when Tamasha premiered his play, A Shaft of Sunlight, which director, Vidhu Vinod Chopra saw – the two met, and the rest is history. Actors, Jimi Mistry, Emil Marwa, Nina Wadia and Parminder Nagra are amongst some of the luminaries, who got their early breaks in the company’s productions.
Tamasha’s previous adaptations have included Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights set in late 18th century Rajasthan, Lorca’s Yerma transposed to a British Punjabi setting and Zola’s Therese Raquin relocated to modern-day small town Punjab. These adaptations promote a unique theatrical exchange by allowing an audience familiar with the original to experience a window into another world at the same time as allowing an Asian audience to have access to a European classic through the prism of their own cultures. Other popular productions have included Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings & A Funeral; Strictly Dandia and A Fine Balance.