The House of Bilquis Bibi

"The 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 hearts"

This week sees the world premiere of Tamasha's 21st birthday production The House of Bilquis Bibi at
Hampstead Theatre.

Set 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.

In 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.

The show runs at Hampstead from Tue 22 July - Sat 14 August and tickets are priced £10 - £25. To book, call 020 7722 9301 or book online.

The 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 Coliseum.

Tamasha 21: Exhibition and Events

The 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 Theatre, we will be presenting a photographic exhibition in the lower foyer charting Tamasha's 21 years in pictures.

Also 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).

Before 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.

Friends 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 are girls.

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.

Smaller 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.

The House of Bilquis Bibi

Thu 22 Jul -
Sat 14 Aug

Hampstead Theatre

£15 - £25
£10 for under 26s
020 7722 9301

Book online >

Tue 7 Sep -
Sat 11 Sep

Belgrade Theatre

£6.50 - £17
024 7655 3055

Book online >

Tue 14 Sep -
Sat 18 Sep

Harrogate Theatre

£11 - £15
01423 502 116

Book online >

Tue 28 Sep -
Sat 2 Oct

Coliseum Theatre

£5 - £18.50
0161 624 2829

Book online >

Tamasha gratefully acknowledges financial support from
Unity Theatre Trust and Friends and Patrons of Tamasha.

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