A licensed production of Hijabi Monologues USA
- Nine monologues are being performed at the Bush Theatre as part of the UK premiere of the international projectHijabi Monologues
- Programme includes three new monologues by British female writers – including one first-time writer from Shepherd’s Bush – alongside monologues written by Hijabi Monologues Co-Founder, Creative Director and Head Writer Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah
- The cast, also announced today, comprises established talent alongside a local performer making their stage debut
- The monologues will be performed at the Bush Theatre from 28-30 September 2017
Hijabi Monologues London is part of an international project focusing on the real-life experiences of both local and international Muslim women. In a similar style to Black Lives, Black Words at the Bush Theatre earlier this year, Hijabi Monologues London features interweaving stories from our doorstep as well as experiences of Muslim women from across the world and will be performed at the Bush Theatre from 28 – 30 September.
Directed by Milli Bhatia, the performance will feature monologues penned for this international project by Co-Founder, Creative Director and Head Writer Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah, as well as new works from members of the Bush Theatre’s community totalling nine UK premieres. Of the three brand new works, two are by emerging writers Nimmo Ismail and Hanan Issa, and one is by first-time local writer Amal Abdi.
Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre said, ‘This year we have deliberately brought international movements into our local community with the hugely successful Black Lives, Black Words back in March and the upcoming Hijabi Monologues London this September. With London still reverberating from events that have made us question what community is, it’s imperative that artists and audiences come together to stand up for and celebrate the diversity of our city.’
Recruited through an open audition call, the cast of Hijabi Monologues London comprises established talent alongside a performer making their stage debut. The actors are: Ayesha Dharker, Zainab Hasan, Michal Keyamo, Hibo Muuse, Nadia Kemp-Sayfi Nadi and Aryana Ramkhalawon.
First time performer Hibo Muuse said, ‘As a young black British hijabi I’ve always struggled with the concept of identity. Walking into an acting workshop being greeted by people who don’t look like me or relate to me can be intimidating and the feeling of telling other people’s stories can make you feel isolated and foreign. This project is not only an exciting chance for our voices to be heard as Muslim women, but it is also an opportunity for us to take control of these stories and tell them ourselves – openly and honestly’.
Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah is Co-Founder, Creative Director and Head Writer of Hijabi Monologues, which has toured across the United States and internationally for a decade. A South Floridian Bangladeshi based in New York City, Ullah holds a PhD in Arabic and Comparative Literature from Columbia University where she will be teaching literature as a Post-Doctoral Fellow. She has consulted for a number of theatre and television productions on Muslim cultures including Orange is the New Black.
Milli Bhatia trained on the MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck and was previously Resident Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. She is a Creative Associate at the Gate Theatre. Previous credits at the Bush Theatre include My White Best Friend, This Bitter Earth (both Black Lives, Black Words), Left Hangin’ and Here Comes the Bride.
Hijabi Monologues London includes:
Hijabi Spiderman by Amal Abdi is the story about a young Muslim girl’s superhero identity in London.
New Ways of Looking by Nimmo Ismail is about the experience of watching and being watched on the tube.
With Her Back Straight by Hanan Issa tells the story of an inspirational mother who taught strength in the face of adversity
Hitting on a Hijabi 101 by Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah is a collection of comedic vignettes about the types of strategies men employ in picking up a hijabi.
Hoops is about a woman’s first experience at a football game. The original story Hurricane, by Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah, has been adapted by Bush Theatre’s Ellie Horne to fit a UK context.
I’m Tired by Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah expresses one woman’s frustration with the burden of representation.
My Son’s Wedding Feast by Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah is the story of a woman who struggles to remember the moments after hearing news about the sudden death of her eldest son.
The People You Meet by Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah is a collection of stories about the types of strangers Muslim women meet in public.
The Story about the Really Quiet, Subdued, Shy and Not Very Sociable Hijabi by Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah is a story about a young woman who becomes the talk of her peers after a surprising incident.
Hijabi Monologues, an international project founded in the USA, is about creating a theatre space for the experiences of Muslim women; a space to breathe as they are; a space that does not claim to tell every story or speak for every voice. Each production across the world is a unique combination of local and international stories.
Hijabi Monologues London is a licensed production of Hijabi Monologues USA. Hijabi Monologues London is kindly supported by Amal – A Said Foundation Project, British Council and Safera Foundation.