Martin Dodd for UK Productions and Derek Nicol & Paul Walden for Flying Entertainment proudly present the Nottingham Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse production of
“There is a way to be good again”
“Thought-Provoking, Poignant and Heartbreaking”Read more
“A poignant and touching West End play”Read more
“This is theatre at its solid best”Read more
“Costin and Turner lead the company in raw, honest and unspeakably beautiful work”Read more
“A fantastic way to start the new theatrical year”Read more
“Wonderfully poetic”Read more
“Matthew Spangler’s adaptation held the crowd spellbound”Read more
“A brilliant piece of work”Read more
“Aa Afghan epic to remember”Read more
“An extraordinary performance”Read more
“Exquisitely written and directed”Read more
“I urge everyone to see The Kite Runner”Read more
“Impeccably acted”Read more
“A must see this season”Read more
“You ABSOLUTELY MUST see The Kite Runner!”Read more
CAST IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER
RAVI AUJLA / General Taheri/Raymond Andrews
Theatre includes: WHAT THE BUTLER SAW (Leicester Curve Theatre/ UK Tour), THE THREE LIONS (St James’ Theatre London/ Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh Festival), THE TEMPEST (Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth), THE WESTBRIDGE (Royal Court), AS YOU LIKE IT (ETT /Rose Theatre), COMMERCIAL ROAD (Hackney Empire), FREE OUTGOING (Royal Court Theatre), ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA, JULIUS CAESAR and THE TEMPEST (RSC), HAIRY FAIRIES (Brighton Festival), HACK (Jermyn St Theatre), MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN (RSC/ NY Productions), UNSUITABLE GIRLS (Pilot /Leicester Haymarket), RIVER ON FIRE (Kali Theatre/ Tour), THE COLOUR OF JUSTICE (NT/ Tricycle Theatre), MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Shakespeare Link), INDIAN INK (Aldwych Theatre),WICKED YAAR!National Theatre and UNTOUCHABLE (Riverside/ Tamasha).
Television includes: CORONATION STREET (ITV), FLOWERS (Kudos/Channel 4), KILLING JESUS (Scott Free Prods), EASTENDERS (BBC), SILENT WITNESS (BBC), SADIE JONES (BBC), DOCTORS (BBC), CASUALTY (BBC), SPIT GAME (Zenith North), FAMILY AFFAIRS (Channel 5), PEAK PRACTICE (Carlton TV), episodes of THE BILL (Thames TV), ELDORADO (BBC), FAMILY PRIDE (Central TV), THE SPECIALS (BBC Pebble Mill), CAPITAL CITY (Euston Films), SHELLEY (Thames TV).
Film includes: ACCIDENT MAN (Sony), PHANTOM (Eastern Vibes Ltd), COMMON PEOPLE, WILL (Strangelove Films), THE RESPONSIBILTY VIRGIN (RSA Films Ltd), THE FAMILY BUSINESS (Morgan Creek Films), JINNAH (Petra Films), LONDON (Vijayta Films).
Recent radio includes : THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS (BBC World Service).Read more
JO BEN AYED / Hassan/Sohrab
Training: East 15 Acting School
Theatre: MOORMAID, (Arcola Theatre), CABARET, (Kimball Theatre) JUICE STRAWS ARE BLEAK (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Greenside)
Roles whilst training: SAME OLD SONG AND DANCE (Corbett Theatre, Padlock Production) WINTER’S TALE (STYX), ATTIC (Corbett Theatre), SECRET HISTORY (Corbett Theatre)
Jo is thrilled to be joining the cast of “The Kite Runner”. He would like to thank his Mother and Father for supporting him to get to where he is today.Read more
Amiera Darwish / Soraya/Mrs Nguyen
Theatre includes: William Wordsworth (Theatre By The Lake); The Iliad (Edinburgh Royal Lyceum Theatre); The Divided Laing (Arcola Theatre); Bakkhai (Almeida); The Absence of War (Headlong); Unfaithful (Traverse Theatre); Crime and Punishment (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow); Glasgow Girls (National Theatre of Scotland).
Television includes: Doctors; The Tunnel; Waterloo Road; Casualty. Film includes: Honour; Strange Places; Kirk; The Pursuit.
Amiera trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.Read more
RAJ GHATAK / Amir
Raj trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and Queen Mary University.
Theatre credits include: Miss Meena and the Masala Queens (nominated Best Stage Production – UK tour); Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Best New Musical winner – Sheffield Crucible); Drones, Baby, Drones (Arcola); Hector (ATG); The Low Road, The Spiral, Free Outgoing and Unheard Voices – Shades (Royal Court Theatre); Free Outgoing (Traverse Theatre); The Bad, Sad and the Broken-Hearted and Soho Cinders (Best Musical nomination – Soho Theatre); Golgotha (Conspirators Kitchen/Tristan Bates); The Secret Garden (Edinburgh Festival Theatre/Toronto); Bombay Dreams (Best Actor nomination and Best Supporting Performance in a Musical – Apollo Victoria, West End); Simply Cinderella (Curve); The Great Extension, High Heel Parrotfish and Airport 2000 (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Hijra (the Bush and West Yorkshire Playhouse); West Side Story (Prince of Wales, West End); East Is East (Best New Comedy nomination – Oldham Coliseum); The Absent Lover (Thresh); My Dad’s Corner Shop (Birmingham Rep); Don’t Look At My Sister Innit!, Bollywood or Bust, Arrange that Marriage (Bloomsbury Theatre/tour) and Nagwanti (Tara Arts).
Television credits include: Hetty Feather (BAFTA nominated – BBC); EastEnders (BBC); Taboo (Tom Hardy/Ridley Scott); Dead Set (BAFTA winner – Zeppotron); The 7.39 (BAFTA nominated – Carnival); Sinchronicity (Shine Productions) and Doctors (BBC).
Film credits include: Christopher Robin (Disney); Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie (That’s Nice Films); Starter for 10 (Starter Films); Defrosted (Funny Women Comedy Shorts Award winner – Tea Films); Diary of a Thagee (Best Thriller nomination – Split Second Films); Job’s Dinner (Issa Films); The Lives of the Saints (Dazed Film); Birthday Girl (Miramax); Karma Magnet (Black and Blue Productions); Dangerous Parking (Dangerous Films); Never Say Never Mind (Revenge Films) and Sari and Trainers (Stretch Limo Productions).Read more
Oliver Gyani / Ensemble
Oliver recently played the part of Shere Khan in an outdoor production of Jungle Book (sixteenfeet Productions). Other theatre includes Half ‘n’ Half (the Curry Musical) at the Wales Millenium Centre, The Nutcracker (Storypocket Theatre), Comedy of Errors (Groundlings Theatre), Henry V (Groundlings Theatre), Parade (Greenwich Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre Sotto Voce), King Lear (Better Than Nothing Prods). On television Oliver played in Project Onyx, The First Great Escape (C5), D-Day As It Was (BBC). Film appearances include Roll (Fate Productions) and Final Fantasy: Kingsglaive. He has also appeared in a number of commercials and corporate videos.Read more
REZ KABIR / Ali/Farid
Rez is an actor, storyteller, working on stage and screen. He trained at Tara Arts
He has worked extensively in UK and abroad highlights being in OSLO, at the National Theatre and West End transfer, Doctor/ Mr Shah, EAST IS EAST, Northern Stage and Nottingham Playhouse, THE TALKATIVE TORTOISE (Little Angel Theatre), GOVERNMENT INSPECTOR (Tara), THE PHANTOM QUEEN (Hi Ching) for Belfast Festival, ROMEO AND JULIET (MGT/Jadapur/Shatiniketan) tour of India in a bi-lingual adaptation playing Tybalt and the Nurse!
His career has involved acting, writing, producing and working on numerous collaborative and partner productions in UK and abroad and worked with – Jatinder Verma, Badal Sircar, Shobna Jeyasingh to name a few. Works have included Londonee (Gurpreet Bhatti), Debdas (Farukh Dhondy), Enig-Mas (Raminder Kaur), All Our Heroes (Zero plus Culture), Truly Untold (Kayser Forid, Filim Co), Umrao Jaan Circle of Light (MGT/Tamarind). Pericles Prince of Tyre Story Project (NIE).
Film work has included The Infiltrator, starring Bryan Cranston and directed by Brad Furman, Zohra (Kemal Akhtar) Winner of UK Film Council Race in Media Award, What Are you Looking At? (Faryal), The Northern Paradigm (Mark Hall) and Aghori (Tarun Jasani).
He is Artistic Director of Tamarind Theatre Company specialising interactive storytelling in arts, education and literacy, also executive producer for Mukul And Ghetto Tigers Theatre Company based in London. Personal projects include Legend of the Black Lotus (Tamarind), The Wizard of the Moon (Tamarind/Zero Culture) and Umrao Jaan-Circle of Light (MGT/Tamarind).Read more
HANIF KHAN / Musician
Hanif Khan is a professional tabla player and teacher. He has performed both nationwide and internationally at major music festivals and events. He is a versatile artist equally able to collaborate as an accompanist or solo performer. He has worked with some of the leading exponents of Indian classical music such as: Hariprasad Chaurasia, Rajan and Sajan Mishra, Ronu Majumdar, Nishat Khan, amongst others. Audiences have included Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Sir Paul McCartney, to name a few. He has worked on musical recordings for fusion artists crossing over a wide spectrum of musical genres. Trained in the authentic Indian manner, as the son of renowned tabla player, Ustad Hidayat Khan, Hanif has a wealth of experience as an acclaimed performance artist in his own right.Read more
SOROOSH LAVASANI / Assef
After performing in a variety of theatre in the north east and then filming the well received, Berlin international film festival’s ‘Halbschatten’, Soroosh spent 3 years in London Academy of Music and Drama performing as Cyrano De Bergerac, Moritz in Spring Awakening and Hastings in Richard lll.Read more
Umar Pasha / Kamal/Zaman
Umar Pasha trained on the BA Acting programme at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formally the Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) from 2010 to 2013.
His Theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet (National Theatre) Macbeth, Twelfth Night, A Lie of the Mind and Tartuffe.
Umar is an actor-musician who has trained in dance, physical theatre and improvisation.Read more
GARY PILLAI / Baba
Trained at Oxford School of Drama. Theatre includes: Chilcot (Lowry/BAC); Another World, Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre); Mustafa (Birmingham Rep); Much Ado About Nothing (RSC & West End); Tagore’s Women, Gandhi and Coconuts (Kali Theatre); Wuthering Heights (Tamasha/Lyric Hammersmith); Mahabharata (Sadler’s Wells); A Passage To India (Shared Experience/BAM); Cancer Tales (New Wolsey); Macbeth, Richard III, The White Devil, An Ideal Husband, The Witches, Bollywood Jane, Unsuitable Girls, Death of a Salesman, The Good Woman of Setzuan (Leicester Haymarket); Oedipus, Don Juan (BAC); Staying On (Theatre of Comedy/Yvonne Arnaud); The Moonstone (Royal Exchange); House and Garden (Watermill Newbury).
Television includes: Black Earth Rising (BBC); Hard Sun (BBC); Bodyguard (World Prod); Citizen Khan (BBC); Game of Thrones (HBO); Emmerdale (ITV); Casualty (BBC); Remember Me (BBC); Silent Witness (BBC); EastEnders (BBC); Love & Marriage (ITV); Coronation Street (ITV); Dirk Gently (BBC); Survivors (BBC); The Passion (BBC); Torchwood (BBC); Mysterious Creatures (ITV); Dalziel and Pascoe (BBC); The Bill (ITV); Adventure Inc (Tribune); Footballers’ Wives (ITV); Family Affairs (ITV); Green-Eyed Monster (BBC); Men Only (CH4); Choices (BBC).
Film includes; Gangs Of Tooting Broadway, Franklyn, Far North, The Waiting Room, How I Became Indian
Radio & Animation includes; Mr Madila, Strings (RCA); Sparkhill Sound, The Archers, Book at Bedtime, Funny Boy, Patricia’s Progress (BBC).Read more
Jay Sajjid / Wali/Doctor
Training: Royal Central School of Speech and Drama
Bio: This is Jay’s West End debut, his credits include Three Girls, DCI Banks and Shameless.Read more
Karl Seth / Rahim Khan/Dr Schneider/Omar Faisil
It is 28 years now since Karl graduated from LAMDA and during those years he has extensively used his acting skills to enjoy a very active career and build up an extensive CV.
Karl recently finished a run of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ at the Sheffield Crucible, where he played the role of ‘Chief Sitting Bull’.
Before this he spent 2 years in the West End with 2 wonderful Productions – ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ and ‘East is East’. Both Productions received fabulous reviews.
In fact his theatre credits are too numerous to mention here but he has played in most theatres around the UK and productions that he has performed in include: Julius Caesar; Paradise of the Assassins; The Taming of the Shrew; Mixed Blessings; Beauty and the Beast; The Firebird; The Snow Queen; Jungle Book and Macbeth to name but a few.
His face is also familiar from appearances on TV in various BBC and ITV productions and includes a performance in the feature film ‘Young Indiana Jones Chronicles’
Karl has a wonderful High Baritone voice which makes him very popular at parties!Read more
Danielle Woodnutt / Ensemble
The Kite Runner is Danielle’s professional stage and West End debut
Prior to joining the production she worked extensively as a studio presenter for Manoto TV and as a performer in their drama series Fat Family in the role of AmyRead more
All other characters played by members of the company.
In 1985 Giles was appointed as artistic director of the Gate Theatre, London. In 1989 Giles joined the National Theatre as Literary Manager before becoming Artistic Director of the Palace Theatre, Watford in May 1995. Giles has been the Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse since 1999. His most recent productions include: Sleuth, The Glass Menagerie, Any Means Necessary, Tony’s Last Tape, Forever Young, Arcadia, The Second Minute, Charlie Peace: His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend and Of Mice and Men.
Giles is also a playwright and his work has been produced widely in the UK and Europe. He has a new play opening in Glasgow in the spring of 2017.Read more
Barney began his career as a model maker and set dresser in film and television. His credits include: Star Wars, The Mummy, The Da Vinci Code and Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
He began designing for theatre in 2002 and designed the original production of The Kite Runner at Nottingham Playhouse and its subsequent UK tour.
Other theatre includes: Sleuth, Charlie Peace, His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend and Diary of a Football Nobody (Nottingham Playhouse), Talking Heads, The Worm Collector, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Count of Monte Cristo, Mela and Full of Noises (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Life and Times of Mitchell and Kenyon – nomination for Manchester Theatre Awards Best Design Award – and The Hobbit – UK Theatre Award Winner of Best Show for Children and Young People (Dukes Theatre, Lancaster), Solace of the Road, The Odyssey and Kes (Derby), Blue/Orange, See How They Run and Whatever Next! (Theatre Royal, York), The Mist in the Mirror adapted from the novel by Susan Hill (Oldham Coliseum), The Frozen Scream directed by Olivier award-winning writer and performer Christopher Green and co-written by the novelist Sarah Waters (Wales Millennium Centre and Birmingham Hippodrome), Tiny Heroes (Daniel Bye and Sarah Punshon), Beep (Northern Bullits), The Enough Project (Dep Arts), Emergency Story Penguin, They Only Come at Night: Resurrection and Mapping the City (Slung Low), Thrive (Zest Theatre), Broken Time (Three Stones Media), Stig of the Dump and Treasure Island (Mind the Gap), The Woods (Jane Packman Company), Flit (Edinburgh International Festival), Remote (Camden People’s Theatre), Body Faded Blue (National Theatre of Cyprus), Hanuman the Superhero Monkey (Singapore Repertory Theatre) and the rock ‘n’ roll pantomimes Beauty and the Beast, The Sword in the Stone and, for Christmas 2016, Sinbad (Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich).Read more
Recent credits include: The Seven Acts of Mercy, The Alchemist, A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Play for the Nation, Queen Anne (RSC), Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (NT), The Suppliant Women (ATC/Edinburgh Lyceum), Torn (Royal Court), Hydrargyrum (Rambert Dance) and I Call My Brothers (Gate).
Other theatre includes: Richard III, Mojo, Posh, Through the Leaves (West End), The River (Broadway), Hecuba, The Christmas Truce, I’ll Be the Devil (RSC), Minetti (Edinburgh International Festival), The Events (ATC/Young Vic/New York), The River, Choir Boy, Chicken Soup With Barley, Now or Later, The Ugly One (Royal Court), Ah Wilderness, Dirty Butterfly, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, The Girlfriend Experience (Young Vic), The Accrington Pals, Orlando, To Kill a Mockingbird (Manchester Royal Exchange), Oh, What a Lovely War!, Look Back in Anger, The Borrowers (Northern Stage), Flint Street Nativity, The Tempest (Liverpool Playhouse), The Duchess of Malfi, Hedda Gabler (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Angels in America (Headlong). Dance includes: 35 works for Richard Alston Dance Company (Sadler’s Wells and worldwide), Red Balloon, Magical Night (Aletta Collins/ROH2), Bloom, Labyrinth of Love (Rambert), Eden/Eden (Wayne McGregor/Stuttgart and San Francisco Ballets), Run for It (Scottish Ballet/Cultural Olympiad) and Four Seasons (Oliver Hindle/Birmingham Royal Ballet).
Music includes: La Bianca Notte (Hamburg Opera), OperaShots, La Voix Humaine (Royal Opera House), Carmen, Werther and Saul (Opera North). Charles won the 2013 Knight of Illumination Award (Drama) for The River, the 2013 TMA UK Theatre Best Design Award for The Accrington Pals and the BroadwayWorld.com Best Lighting Award 2014 for Richard III.Read more
William Simpson is a filmmaker and video designer whose work appears on the stage, screen and in exhibition.
His video design, projection credits and work has appeared in shows such as Rocky Das Musical (Stuttgart, Stage Entertainment), Darkness Darkness (Nottingham Playhouse), Derren Brown – Miracle (UK tour), Theatre of Illumination (Light Night, Leeds), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (compositing and aerial filming) (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Rapunzel Rock ‘n Roll Panto (Liverpool Everyman), Freefall (Unit 23), Kes (Cast, Doncaster), Guantanamo Boy (Brolly/ Half Moon Theatre), Richard III and Charlie Peace (Nottingham Playhouse), Up and Down (GaGa Theatre), Treasure Island (Mind the Gap), The Noise (Unlimited Theatre), Kes (Derby Theatre), the original and European stage premiere of The Kite Runner (Nottingham Playhouse and UK tour), Diary of a Football Nobody (Nottingham Playhouse), the award-winning adaptation of Of Mice and Men by Mike Kenny (Mind the Gap), Clockwork (NT), Ragtime (LAOS), Mapping the City (Slunglow), The Mamba (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Piano Circus – Trilogies (Kings Place).
Directing and film work includes: the award winning Soldiering On, Jump the Fire – Melt Yourself Down, Anish Kapoor Flashback, Born Survivor, It’s Not Over Yet – Middleman, Talking Transformations, Instructions for Films and Lear Settings.Read more
Composer & Musical Director
Theatre credits include: The Jew of Malta, Anya, The American Pilot and White Out (all Royal Shakespeare Company), Sleuth, The Kite Runner, Charlie Peace and Families of Lockerbie (Nottingham Playhouse), Margaret Catchpole (Eastern Angles), Three Wheels (Birmingham REP/ ACE), Flight of Hope (People Show), Dreaming (BSA) and Nine Lives (Leeds Studio).
Jonathan won a Royal Television Society Award with Losing It (Channel 4), with other commissions including Gogmagog (English National Opera), Lights Out (New York Arts), Grimm Tales (City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Radio 3), Flight to the Ford (CBSO), It’s Not a Game and The Long Lost Son (Evelyn Glennie), Black Heart and A Little Madness (BBC Singers), and O Rex Gentium (Ex Cathedra), winning national awards with The Ice Palace. His music is broadcast and played worldwide through Audio Network. Jonathan has achieved a first class honours in music (BA), and was awarded a doctorate in musical composition in 2006. He’s lectured and taught all over the world, and worked with groups such as the CBSO, ENO, Brodsky Quartet, Ensemble Bash and Kokuma African Dance Company in learning and participation projects throughout the UK. Jonathan is delighted to be bringing The Kite Giles Croft for a sixth time. Other current projects include Macbeth (director: Justin Audibert) at the National Theatre, reworking Anya (RSC) for puppet-theatre, and working with choreographers Anita Gonzalez and Joel Valentín-Martínez on Living Lakes in the United States. www.jonathangirling.co.ukRead more
Drew trained at BristolE Old Vic Theatre School and was subsequently part of the Lighting and Sound Department at Nottingham Playhouse where he started designing for in-house productions. In 2014 he left to become a freelance sound designer.
Drew has designed extensively with Nottingham Playhouse on shows including: Time and the Conways, Of Mice and Men, Richard III, My Judy Garland Life, The Importance of Being Earnest, Forever Young and Grandpa in My Pocket:Teamwork. Also, The Threepenny Opera in collaboration with Graeae Theatre Company. Other sound designs include: Sweet Charity and Trevor Nunn’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich), Workshop Negative (Gate Theatre), Mary Shelley (Shared Experience), Sleeping Beauty (Cast, Doncaster), The Dissidents (Tricycle), The Crossing (Tangle), Darkness Darkness, Unforgettable (New Perspectives), Jack and the Beanstalk (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds), The Wiz, Seance on a Sunday Afternoon, Empty Bed Blues, Smile (Lakeside Arts) and the 2015 UK tour of Miss Nightingale the Musical.Read more
Kitty Winter is a movement director, choreographer and director, she trained at Laban and on the MA Movement course at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Recent movement credits include: Cinderella, A Christmas Carol and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Derby Theatre), Here I Belong (Pentabus Theatre), Blood (Tamasha/Belgrade Theatre Coventry), Tom’s Midnight Garden, Rapunzel and Jack (Nottingham Playhouse), Tiny Treasures and The Night Pirates (Theatre Hullabaloo), The Dog House, Women on the Verge of HRT and Puss in Boots (Derby LIVE), The Magical Playroom (Seabright Productions/Pleasance, Edinburgh), Roots (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Ghandi and Coconuts (Kali Theatre/Arcola), Dick Turpin’s Last Ride (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds) and Squid (Theatre Royal Stratford East).
Recent directing credits include: Feet First and Car Story (Box Clever Theatre), Spinning Yarns and FIVE (Theatre Hullabaloo/Theatre Direct, Canada), The Blue Moon (Wriggle Dance Theatre), Anything to Declare? (The Gramophones) Whose Shoes? (Nottingham Playhouse) and Awaking Durga (Kali Theatre/Soho Theatre). Kitty is Co-Artistic Director of family theatre company WinterWalker, and has recently produced and directed Three Keepers (UK tour), Come to the Circus (Déda, Derby), and The Beast of Belper (Belper Arts Festival). You can find out more about her work at www.kittywinter.comRead more
Philip is on the Equity Register of Fight Directors, and the examining staff of the BASSC. He teaches for RADA.
Recent theatre includes: Ariodante (Teatro Campoamor), Julius Caesar, I’ll Be the Devil (RSC), Der Rosenkavalier, LaScala Di Seta, Cosi Fan Tutte (JPYAP), Veneziana, L’Isola Disabitata, Der Rosenkavalier (ROH), L’Isola Disabitata (ROH international tour), Simon Boccanegra, La Traviata (re-cast), Faust, Ariodante (ENO), L’Olimpiade (Garsington Opera), Andrea Chenier, Stiffelio (Holland Park Opera), Mahabharata, Carrie’s War (Sadler’s Wells), Dedication, Noises Off (Nuffield, Southampton), Dial M for Murder (UK tour), King Lear (Northern Broadsides), Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (Theatre Clwyd), Noises Off (Royal Court, Liverpool), The Ladykillers (Hull Truck), The Mysteries, God of Soho, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, A New World, Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe), Sleuth, Noises Off, The Duchess of Malfi, A Skull in Connemara, Time and the Conways, Aladdin, The Kite Runner, Robin Hood and the Babes (Nottingham Playhouse), Saturday Night, Sunday Morning, Dial M for Murder, A View From the Bridge, The Grapes of Wrath, King David, Man of Blood, Tango, Romeo and Juliet, Lonesome West, IPH, Journey’s End, Julius Caesar, Coriolanus, Aladdin (Mercury Theatre, Colchester), Gaslight, Kiss Me Quickstep, Robin Hood and Marian, The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Rivals, Hamlet, Bleak House, Humble Boy (New Vic, Stoke), As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors, Stig of the Dump, Macbeth, Othello, Cyrano de Bergerac, Romeo and Juliet, The Wind in the Willows, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Merlin and the Woods of Time, Masters Are You Mad? (Storyhouse Chester), Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville), Macbeth (Hampton Court Palace), Gaslight, To Sir With Love, The Talented Mr Ripley, Humble Boy (Royal Theatre, Northampton), The Djinns of Eidgah, Piano/Forte, Sugar Mummies (Royal Court), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Theatre Royal Haymarket), King Lear, Breakfast With Mugabe (Theatre Royal, Bath), Corrie! (international tour), Carrie’s War (Apollo), Romeo and Juliet (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds), Death and the Maiden, Arsenic and Old Lace, What the Butler Saw, People at Sea, The Herbal Bed, Robin Hood, Shadowlands, Sleeping Beauty, Playing for Time, To Kill a Mockingbird, Cinderella, Jamaica Inn, Jack and the Beanstalk, Aladdin, The Hired Man (Salisbury Playhouse), Oleanna, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Lord of the Flies, Looking for JJ, Hobson’s Choice (York Theatre Royal), Treasure Island, As You Like It, The Wind in the Willows, Macbeth, Henry V, Antony and Cleopatra, Dr Faustus, Rapunzel, Twelfth Night, Robin Hood, Macbeth, The Snow Queen, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors (Creation Theatre), Dial M for Murder (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Robin Hood (The Theatre, Chipping Norton), The Taming of the Shrew, King Lear, Canterbury Tales, Twelfth Night, Henry V, As You Like It, Macbeth, Richard III, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, As You Like It (Guildford Shakespeare Co), Peter Pan, Cinderella (SECC, Glasgow and Venue Cymru), Jack and the Beanstalk (Theatre Royal, Plymouth), Bad Jazz (Drum Theatre, Plymouth), Aladdin (King’s Theatre, Edinburgh), Dial M for Murder, Suddenly At Home, Macbeth, Deadly Murder, Romy & Julian, Deadly Nightcap (Vienna’s English Theatre), The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, The Conquering Hero, The Conspirators, The Making of Moo, The Company Man, Nan, The Tinker’s Wedding, Adam Bede (Orange Tree Theatre), Dracula (Open Book Theatre), Honest (Theatre 6), Stone Cold Murder (Vienna’s English Theatre and Mill at Sonning Theatre), Peter Pan (High Wycombe Swan), Jack & the Beanstalk (Swansea Grand Theatre), Robin Hood, Merlin (The Dukes, Lancaster), Dick Whittington, Peter Pan (Orchard Theatre, Dartford), Corrie! (international tour), Jack & the Beanstalk (Lyceum Theatre, Crewe), Carthage (Finborough), Peter Pan (Cliff’s Pavilion, Southend), Hamlet (USA tour), Peter Pan (Buxton Opera House), Soul Man (Steven Joseph Theatre, Scarborough), Cool Hand Luke (Aldwych), Aladdin (New Theatre, Hull), Twelfth Night (cruise ship tour), Misery (Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon), Smash (Menier Chocolate Factory), Snake in the Grass (The Print Room) and Corrie! (UK tour).
Film includes: King Arthur, Pan, The Knife That Killed Me and Dark Signal.Read more
THE MUSIC OF THE KITE RUNNER
The famous French composer, Claude Debussy, said that “Music is the silence between the notes”. This article is a small insight into how a slightly less famous English composer has interweaved ‘the silence between the notes’ into the fabric of The Kite Runner since we first started rehearsing it four and a half years ago.
Putting on a play always involves collaboration. The most important person is the director, who puts the team together, makes all the final decisions, and is the driving force behind the production. The rest of the creative team is made up of the writer, the set-designer, lighting designer, composer, movement director, sound designer, fight director and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There’s a huge team of people that have made The Kite Runner happen.
As the composer, the script and director are always my primary points of reference when thinking about the music. What does the script say to me (what sounds, tunes, emotions, textures or colours does it make me imagine?), and then what does the director want to do with the play? Once I’ve spent some time with the director and script, I’ll start working on ideas, listing key scenes and moments in the drama. These initial ideas – normally written notes on traditional manuscript, or an instrument or two – are then introduced into the rehearsal room, and that’s where the real magic starts to happen.
With our first version of this show, for example, we had a great singer and his voice inspired me to think about writing songs to underpin some key emotional scenes. After I’d written the songs, and taught him the music (being musical director as well as composer), we rehearsed them into each scene to see how they worked – this is when the director gives his definitive opinion: always a nervous moment! And finally, if the music makes it past the director’s cut, do they work when finally showing the production to an audience? Even here, I can be asked to alter or move the song or music cue – and occasionally cues can still be lost for ever!
The next most important person for me in The Kite Runner is the near-omnipresent tabla player. The tabla – Indian drums you’ll see at the front of the stage – are mentioned in the script, but the use of tabla music presented me with my biggest challenge. I hadn’t researched Indian music since I was at University, so I enlisted the help of the Asian Music Network (Viram Jasani) and Emeritus Professor of Afghan Music & Ethonomusicology at Goldsmiths, John Baily. Viram helped me find a tabla player – Hanif Kahn – and John took me through the (very subtle!) differences between Afghan, Indian and Pakistan classical music.
With their initial help & oversight, Hanif and I started on a five-week exploration of collaborative creativity that produced all of the tabla music in The Kite Runner. Hanif couldn’t read western notation, and I couldn’t understand how on earth he played such complex rhythms, so we initially just had to find a way of communicating (mostly in gestures, sounds and taps!). In the end, some of the rhythms are original Girling – as in Assef’s first appearance – and others are me honing & shaping traditional Indian rhythms into music cues useful for the drama, perfectly executed by Hanif on the stage.
Hanif went through every Indian classical rhythm (thal, taals or talas) he knew, teaching me their names, number of beats in each cycle, their tempi, and we went from there. It became slowly clear to me where to use certain taals and we started experimenting with variations, counter-rhythms and sub-divisions of the beat.
However, a classical tabla player shouldn’t break the taal once they’ve set the cycle in motion – but stopping or changing a cycle on a specific word or action is essential when writing music for plays. Let me give you a brief example: straight after Assef is driven off the stage with his henchmen in Act One (Kamal: “A big mistake!”), Hanif starts playing Jhapthal medium taal under the first description of the Kite Fighting Tournament. The taal changes on Amir saying “the real fun began when the kite was cut” to Jhapathal fast. I make the tabla pause just before Amir says “but Hassan was by far the greatest kite runner I’d ever seen” – a crucial line – before Hanif plays Jhapthal fast again, imitating the runners chasing the fallen kite across the stage.
As we introduced more and more tabla music into the show, things started to take shape. But the one thing I never interfered with Hanif’s pre-show performance – that still is entirely down to the amazing virtuosity of master-musician Hanif Khan!
Being a classically-trained (Western) composer, I love live music in any form. So, alongside the tabla, I introduced a variety of hand-held percussion instruments into the show. Tibetan Singing Bowls produce long, single-tones with a rich variety of overtones. The note is sustained by rubbing a wooden mallet around the bowl’s rim. Traditionally the bowls are used for relaxation but you’ll notice in our production they are used for anything but chillin’ out! Here, the bowls represent the sound of blood rushing around your ears, that sense of panic when you’re faced with a situation you can’t handle, or when fear literally freezes you to the spot.
The Schwirrbogen – initially played by Ameira Darwish (Soraya) at the opening of the play – or ‘large, over-grown wooden football-rattles’ as one reviewer said (hmm!) – were something I introduced into rehearsals in Nottingham from an early stage. With Kitty Winter, the movement director, we slowly worked the Schwirrbogen into the story, highlighting key moments of drama throughout the show, including the central kite-fighting tournament of the first half, becoming the wind beneath the fluttering kites in the Afghan sky.
There are other drones too, including the tampura – a wooden, Indian stringed instrument – to underpin other moments of drama. The tampura is useful for situating our drama in the near-east, as well as providing the backdrop for story-telling and songs alike. It wasn’t feasible to have more physical instruments on stage, so the tampura sounds – Ma, Pa, Nee or Ord, two drones sounding at different intervals – are instead triggered through the digital sound-desk. Drones, in all their many forms, are one of the most useful compositional tools when working in stage or film, providing a simple but subtle backdrop to all kinds of scenes.
The songs themselves are sung live but off-stage, hidden from the audience. The singers can see the action, but we can’t see them. I experimented with a number of ragas – Indian classical scales, akin to Western major and minor scales – to reinforce the authentic nature of The Kite Runner. In the end, the songs were based on Raag Malkauns, one of the oldest Indian ragas, each one a variation on the other (apart from the female ‘wailing’ song). The raga contains a haunting, contemplative character that lends itself well to the play. I decided to re-write the songs as duets when we moved to London (at the Wyndhams) in 2016. I must say a big thanks to our first Hassan, Farshid Rokey, for translating some of Matthew Spangler’s text into Dari, and these songs are written down in traditional Western notation.
The only ensemble song is in Farsi – the Happy Birthday song sung for Amir, Tawalodet Mubarak, in the first half. The words are traditional birthday lyrics, but unlike the Happy Birthday that I have sung for years, every Tawalodet has a different tune!
There’s some beautiful Afghan songs we’ve also used that I can take no credit for – the amazing Ahesta Boro for the wedding scene for example – as well as some inspired sound-effects provided by the brilliant Drew Baumohl (another key collaborator!). Plato said “music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul”. Thanks to the wonderful writer Khaled Hosseini and to Matthew Spangler, who adapted this story for stage, The Kite Runner certainly has a way of reaching those secret places too, with a little help from the music and visuals. Tashakur!
Jonathan Girling Composer & Musical Director -August 2017 jonathangirling.co.uk @jongirlingRead more
Producer Martin Dodd’s career has encompassed performance, theatre management and large-scale outdoor event production as well as promoting and producing all of UK Productions’ shows and events since its inception. UK Productions was formed in 1995 to produce musicals and pantomimes, for which it is now one of the country’s most prolific producers.
West End credits include: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Theatre Royal, Haymarket). Other producing credits for national and international tours include: The Kite Runner (2014), 42nd Street (1997, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2012), Oklahoma! (2010), Singin’ in the Rain (2009), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2005–2010), South Pacific (2007/8), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (2001/2, 2005/6, 2008/9), Jekyll and Hyde – The Musical (2004/5), Carousel (2003/4 and 2000), Fiddler on the Roof (2008, 2003), Murdered to Death (2002), Anything Goes (2001), The Pirates of Penzance (1998/9) and Barnum (1995/6). Other tours include: three original dance shows starring Wayne Sleep – World of Classical Ballet, Aspects of Dance and Ready Steady Dance (also starring Melanie Stace), and concert tours with Petula Clarke (1997/8) and Dave Willetts (2004).
During Christmas of 2016/17 they will produce ten pantomimes. The Theatre Royal Bath, Grand Theatre Blackpool, Anvil Basingstoke, Pavilion Theatre Bournemouth, Festival Theatre Malvern, Palace Theatre Mansfield, Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, Pavilion Theatre Rhyl, Empire Theatre Sunderland, and the Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells will all receive the UK Productions treatment of all-star casts in traditional shows backed by lavish sets and costumes.
Upcoming productions include: a national tour of Legally Blonde the Musical starring Rita Simons during 2017/18, as well as their regular children’s shows starring television favourites including Chris & Pui and Dick & Dom.
UK Productions also operates a busy production hire business utilising its extensive stores of musicals, pantomimes and play sets and costumes.
It hires out part and full productions to professional and amateur companies across the UK and internationally as well as designing and making sets, props and costumes to order.Read more
DEREK NICOL AND PAUL WALDEN
FLYING MUSIC /FLYING ENTERTAINMENT
Entertaining the nation for over 30 years, Flying Music and Flying Entertainment have produced numerous nationwide tours and have presented a wide variety of artists including Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Dionne Warwick, Glen Campbell, the Four Tops and more.
Their long-running show, The Solid Silver 60s Show – commonly referred to as a British institution – celebrates its 32nd anniversary in 2017. This winning formula has been adapted to produce The Solid Gold Rock ‘n’ Roll Show, its American counterpart The All American Solid Gold Rock ‘n’ Roll Show and Maximum Rhythm ‘n’ Blues all of which continue to enjoy regular touring and national success. An innovative approach to creating brands has seen them move into the world of theatre. Original shows created by the company include Hollywood and Broadway, The Magic of the Musicals, Salute to Sinatra, Dancing in the Streets which ran for two years in London’s West End and the Olivier Award nominated Rat Pack that enjoyed a three-and-a half-year non-stop run in London, notching up over 1000 performances. The show continues to tour throughout Europe, USA and Canada.
Flying Entertainment joined forces with SJM to present the European premiere of Green Day’s hit Broadway musical American Idiot. The 10-week UK tour opened to standing ovations and rave reviews – rock fans and regular theatregoers stood side by side at this innovative musical that brought the two genres together. In partnership with Canadian producers Annerin, Flying Entertainment took the music of The Beatles back to its home in Liverpool in 2015 when they re-opened the famous Royal Court Theatre with the global smash hit Let it Be, a celebration of the music of The Beatles. A nationwide tour followed.
Thriller Live, the concert spectacular celebrating the career of Michael and the Jackson 5, resides in the West Endat the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue playing to packed houses, rave reviews and standing ovations.
Now a mainstay in London’s West End, Thriller Live is soon to celebrate its ninth birthday and has played to over five million people worldwide.
December 2016 sees the West End premiere of TheKite Runner, co-produced with UK Productions and based on Khaled Hosseini’s international bestselling novel. This powerful production opens at Wyndham’s Theatre for a strictly limited season.
Future productions include brand new musical comedy Adam & Eve…and Steve.Read more
Nottingham Playhouse has been one of the UK’s leading producing theatres since its foundation in 1948. It welcomes over 110,000 customers through its doors each year and creates productions large and small from timeless classics and enthralling family shows to adventurous new commissions, often touring work nationally and internationally.
Notable productions include 1984 – three runs in the West End and currently on tour in Australia; Any Means Necessary, a new play about undercover policing; Tony’s Last Tape which toured nationally this year; and a forthcoming revival of Touched starring BAFTA winning actress Vicky McClure and Aisling Loftus.
Supported by Nottingham City Council and the Arts Council England.
Artistic Director: Giles Croft
Chief Executive: Stephanie Sirr
Artistic Director Designate: Adam PenfordRead more
LIVERPOOL EVERYMAN & PLAYHOUSE
We are two distinct theatres, almost a mile apart, which together make up a single artistic force.
For over 10 years we have been driven by our passion for our art form, our love of our city and our unswerving belief that theatre at its best can enhance lives. While our two performance bases could hardly be more different, they are united by our commitment to brilliant, humane, forward thinking theatre that responds to its time and place.
Our mission is to reflect the aspirations and concerns of our audiences, to dazzle and inspire them, welcome and connect with them, nurture the artists within them and fuel their civic pride. Wherever these connections happen – whether in our theatres, in the community, in schools, or outside Liverpool – we hope to ignite the imagination, explore what it is to be human and always to exceed expectation.
From 2017 a resident acting company returns to the Everyman. The Company will comprise 14 actors, a team of three designers and in-house directors Gemma Bodinetz, Nick Bagnall and Matt Rutter. The theatre will become a place of change and diversity that welcomes people from all backgrounds to enhance and develop their skills. From February to July they will perform Fiddler on the Roof, The Conquest of the South Pole, The Story Giant, The Sum and Romeo and Juliet.
To find out more about the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse work, both on and off stage, call 0151 709 4776, visit everymanplayhouse.com or follow @LivEveryPlay on Twitter.
Supported by Liverpool City Council and the Arts Council England.
Artistic Director: Gemma Bodinetz
Executive Director: Deborah Aydon
Associate Director: Nick BagnallRead more