Photo Flash: THE GREAT GAME: AFGHANISTAN At Tricycle Theatre

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The Great Game: Afghanistan - a festival exploring Afghan culture and history through twelve plays, a five day film programme, a ceramic exhibition and discussion sessions returns to the Tricycle Theatre for a limited run from 23 July until 29 August 2010 with a press day on 31 July.

Following the run at the Tricycle, the production will embark on an American tour from 5 September - 19 December 2010, visiting The Shakespeare at the Harman, Washington, The Guthrie at The McGuire Proscenium, Minneapolis, Berkeley Rep at The Roda, The Freud Playhouse, Los Angeles and The Public at The Skirball, New York.

Directed by the Tricycle's Artistic Director Nicolas Kent and Theatre Director Indhu Rubasingham, assisted by Rachel Grunwald, The Great Game: Afghanistan will present the world premiere of a new play by Lee Blessing, alongside the plays premiered last season by writers Stephen Jeffreys, Ron Hutchinson, Amit Gupta, Joy Wilkinson, David Edgar, David Greig, Colin Teevan, Ben Ockrent, Abi Morgan, Richard Bean and Simon Stephens. These plays will be accompanied by three monologues by Iranian writer and documentary maker Siba Shakib and verbatim pieces by the Guardian's Security Editor, Richard Norton Taylor, to reflect the present situation in Afghanistan, taken from interviews with American and British Generals, Afghan politicians, US and British politicians and contributors to the Obama review on the Afpak policy.

All plays will be presented in repertoire throughout the festival. Designs are by Pamela Howard and Miriam Nabarro, lighting is by James Farncombe, with sound by Tom Lishman.

Part Three: Enduring Freedom 1996-2010

Honey by Ben Ockrent
While civil war rages, a lone CIA agent realises the dangers of American disengagement. He's found an 'in' to persuade Commander Masoud, the Lion of Panjshir, to help them get back into the game. But with the Taliban closing in on Kabul, will it be enough?

Ben Ockrent's first play, The Pleasure Principle, was produced at the Tristan Bates Theatre in October 2007. In 2008 he developed Khoa San, a new comedy drama series for BBC3/World Productions, as well as Joe Mistry, a comedy series for Hartswood Film and Television and Kidnapped, a new drama series for BBC3/Company Pictures. Ockrent is also currently writing a new comedy series for BBC3 and a new drama series for Channel4/Cowboy Films.

The Night Is Darkest Before the Dawn by Abi Morgan
The widowed Huma is trying to re-open her husband's school following the American bombing and 'liberation' of Afghanistan; however she needs to persuade six more girls to attend. But Behrukh's father is more concerned with his opium crop and who will harvest it.

Abi Morgan's plays include Fast Food for Manchester Royal Exchange, Skinned and Sleeping Around for Paines Plough, Tiny Dynamite for the Traverse, Tender for Hampstead, Splendour - which won a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival in 2000 and Fugee for the National Theatre. Her television work includes My Fragile Heart, Murder, Tsunami - The Aftermath, White Girl and Sex Traffic, the multi award winning drama for Channel 4. Her film writing includes Brick Lane, an adaptation of Monica Ali's bestseller. She is currently developing a six part serial for BBC2 and films for BBC Films and FilmFour includingThe Invisible Woman and The Story of You . Royal Wedding, the drama she has written for BBC 2, will be broadcast in Spring 2010.

On the Side of the Angels by Richard Bean
Jackie and Graham are working for Direct Action World Poverty east of Herat. They are thrown together to work on a new project about land rights. In trying to help and settle local disputes, the results are not what they expected, as Bollywood, women's rights and tribal disputes create a toxic mix.

Richard Bean's most recent play England People Very Nice premiered at the National Theatre. His other writing credits include The English Game, produced by Headlong, In The Club for Hampstead Theatre, a version of Moliere's The Hypochondriac for the Almeida, Harvest, Honeymoon Suite, Under The Whaleback and Toast all for the Royal Court, The God Botherers for the Bush Theatre, Le Pub! and The Mentalists for the National Theatre, Up On Roof for Hull Truck, Smack Family Robinson for Live Theatre Newcastle and Mr England for Sheffield Crucible Theatre.

Canopy of Stars by Simon Stephens
In a bunker guarding the Kajaki Dam, two soldiers talk of chips and gravy, football, women and whether the British should start to negotiate with the Taliban insurgents. A searing insight into soldiers at war, and what happens when they go home.

Simon Stephens' recent plays include the award-winning Punk Rock for the Lyric Hammersmith and Royal Exchange Theatre, Sea Wall for the Traverse Theatre and Bush Theatre, Heaven for the Traverse Theatre and Òran Mór and Pornography for the Edinburgh Festival and Tricycle Theatre. His isHisplays for The Royal Court Theatre include Bluebird, Herons, Country Music and Motortown. His other plays include Port for the Royal Exchange Theatre, for which he won the Pearson Award for Best Play, One Minute for the Traverse and Bush Theatres, On the Shore of the Wide World - which won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best New Play and Harper Regan, both for the National Theatre. Stephen has co-written A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky which will open at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in May and his new version of Jarry's Ubu Roi will be staged by Toneelgroep, Amsterdam later this year.

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