Queen of Sheba bowed before King Soloman but Bilquis bows
to no one. I
won’t stand by and see these girls making dust out of their
This week sees the world premiere of Tamasha's 21st birthday
House of Bilquis Bibi at
in the Punjabi town of Jhang, Sudha Bhuchar's
passionate drama tells the story of widow Bilquis and her
five free-thinking daughters, who find themselves stifled
by their mother's love and her literal approach to religion.
the wake of her husband's death, Bilquis finally agrees for
her eldest girl Abida to marry cousin Pappo. But what will
happen when she discovers that more than one daughter is staying
awake for him?
Sudha Bhuchar has skilfully adapted Lorca's
classic 1936 play The House of Bernarda Alba into
a subtly political drama about small town lives with global
ties in modern Pakistan. Bollywood
actress and Indian folk-pop singer Ila Arun
(Jodhaa Akbar) takes the central role of Bilquis.
She leads an all-female cast of nine, which also includes
Indira Joshi (The Kumars at No. 42),
directed by Kristine Landon-Smith.
show runs at Hampstead from Tue 22 July - Sat 14 August
and tickets are priced £10 - £25. To book,
call 020 7722 9301 or
House of Bilquis Bibi
is a co-production with Harrogate
Theatre. Following its London run, the show will
tour to Belgrade
Theatre Coventry, Harrogate
Theatre and Oldham
21: Exhibition and Events
story of Tamasha is really the story of all the wonderful
actors and artists who have worked with the company over the
years. During the run at Hampstead
we will be presenting a photographic exhibition
in the lower foyer charting Tamasha's 21 years in pictures.
during the London run, there will be a series of free
talks and platform events. Stay behind after the
show for discussions on the continuing relevance of Lorca's
work (Thu 5 Aug) and to hear director Kristine
Landon-Smith and the show's actors discuss Tamasha's distinctive
rehearsal process (Tue 10 Aug).
the show on Wed 11 August, a panel including
Zaiba Malik (journalist), Avaes Mohammad
(playwright, poet and performer), Rukhsana Yasmin
(editor, Profile books) and Ali Zaidi (Artistic
Director, motiroti), chaired by Sara Wajid,
will discuss modern Pakistan and how its heritage and history
influence their work. Tickets for this event are free but
must be booked in advance. Click
here for details.
of the Citizens Foundation evening
The performance on Thu 5 August will be in
aid of UK charity Friends
of the Citizens Foundation (FTCF).
Since 1995, the Citizens Foundation has built 660 purpose-built
schools across Pakistan, providing formal education to 92,000
children regardless of ethnicity, gender, caste or religion.
Their 4,800 female teachers ensure 50% of all children enrolled
You can support the charity by buying a ticket on this night
priced at £25, which includes a £10 donation to FTCF. Call
020 7722 9301 and quote 'Friends
of the Citizens Foundation'.
Main image: Ila Arun as Bilquis in rehearsals for The
House of Bilquis Bibi. Photo Robert Day.
image: Meneka Das, Parminder Nagra, Pravesh Kumar, Sameena
Zehra, Raza Jaffrey and Shiv Grewal in Fourteen Songs,
Two Weddings and a Funeral (1998). Photo by Charlie Carter.