Full Casting Announced For Harvey Virdi's New Play MISS MEENA AND THE MASALA QUEENS

Rifco Artistic Director Pravesh Kumar today announces full casting for his production of the world première of Miss Meena & the Masala Queens, written by Harvey Virdi. The production opens at Watford Palace Theatre on 9 May 2017 before touring to Warwick Arts Centre, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, West Yorkshire Playhouse and newly announced tour dates Greenwich Theatre and Theatre Royal Windsor.

A new piece inspired by the British Asian drag queen community, created in consultation with LGBTQ community, will uncover the untold stories of men who choose a female persona. Behind the sparkling costumes and big Bollywood style lip-sync dance numbers Miss Meena & the Masala Queens reveals a very human story about the meaning of family.

Harvey Virdi has worked on a number of Rifco productions as a writer and performer. Writing credits for the company include Meri Christmas and Happy Birthday Sunita. Acting credits for the company include There's Something About Simmy, Meri Christmas, The Deranged Marriage and Airport 2000. Virdi has worked extensively as a performer on stage and screen. Recent theatre acting credits include The Borrowers (Sherman Theatre), The White Devil, Roaring Girl Season and Arabian Nights (all RSC), Tiger Country and Tales From The Harrow Road (Hampstead Theatre), England People Very Nice and The Threepenny Opera (National Theatre). Her acting work for television includes Citizen Khan (on going), The Kumars, Lucky Man and Class Dismissed; and for film, Honour, Jadoo, Brick Lane, Bend It Like Beckham and Thunderbirds.

Ali Ariaie plays Kabir /Ranjeet. Previous theatre credits include Correspondence (Old Red Lion), Trust Me (The Dissent Ensemble) and Medea (The Actors Factory). Television credits include Raised By Wolves.

Harvey Dhadda plays Preetho. His recent performances include Anna Nicole (Royal Opera House) and Aladdin (QDOS Entertainment).

Raj Ghatak plays Miss Meena. His previous credits for Rifco include Airport 2000 .He is currently appearing in Everybody's Talking About Jamie (Sheffield Crucible) and his other theatre credits include Drones Baby Drones (Arcola Theatre), Hector (ATG), The Low Road, The Spiral, Free Outgoing, Shades/Unheard Voices (Royal Court Theatre), Free Outgoing (Traverse Theatre), The Bad, Sad and Broken Hearted, Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre), Bombay Dreams (Apollo Theatre), Simply Cinderella (Curve), The Great Extension, High Heel Parrotfish, (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Hijra (Bush Theatre / West Yorkshire Playhouse), West Side Story (Prince of Wales Theatre). For television, his credits include Taboo, Dead Set, The 7.39 and Sinchronicity; and for film, Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie, Starter for 10, Defrosted, Diary of a Thagee and Job's Dinner.

Nicholas Prasad plays Shaan. His theatre credits include Treasure Island, The BFG, The Wind in The Willows (Birmingham Rep), Ross(Chichester Festival Theatre), A Mad World My Masters, Titus Andronicus (RSC), The Tempest (Tobacco Factory Theatre) and Mustard (Bristol Old Vic). For television, his credits include Drifters III and The Five.

Vedi Roy plays Pinky. His previous credits for Rifco include Laila the Musical. Other recent theatre credits include The Quite Remarkable Tales of the Owl and the Pussycat (Belgrade Theatre), The Hunting of the Snark (Sherman Theatre / Hong Kong tour), Soldier (Mermaid Theatre) and A Midsummer Night's Remix (Leicester Square Theatre).

Jamie Zubairi plays Munni. For theatre, his recent credits include The Letter (Wyndham's Theatre), Other People's Shoes (Barbican Plymouth), Burmese Days (Aya Theatre). His television credits include Cuckoo, Grange Hill and Cucumber; and for film, Tides and Project Alcatraz.

Artistic Director of Rifco Pravesh Kumar directs. He started the company in 1999 to make a different kind of theatre for a community that could not see themselves represented on English stages. Before setting up Rifco, Kumar worked extensively in Mumbai's film and television industry, as an assistant director and writer. His theatrical directorial debut was in 1999 with a UK tour of Bollywood - Yet Another Love Story, which opened to packed houses at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith. He has gone on to achieve critical acclaim for Rifco's award-winning productions: Laila The Musical, Britain's Got Bhangra, Happy Birthday Sunita, It Ain't All Bollywood, There's Something About Simmy, Airport 2000, Meri Christmas, Where's My Desi Soulmate?, The Deranged Marriage and Break The Floorboards. His first short film, Gods On Mountains was shot entirely on location in the Himalayas and was nominated for the Satyajit Ray Short Film Award in 2009. He was Associate Director on the musical Wah! Wah! Girls, which opened in the West End as part of World Stages London for the 2012 Olympics. He also writes and directs MummyJi Presents, a live theatre variety show and digital show, which was originally commissioned by The Space, a collaboration between the BBC and Arts Council England.

Watford Palace Theatre

5 - 13 May

Press night: Tuesday 9 May, 7pm

Post show talk Thursday 11 May

7:30pm, Thursday 11 May and Saturday 13 May matinee 2:30pm

Box Office: 01923 225671


Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

16 - 20 May

7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm

Box Office: 024 7652 4524


Greenwich Theatre, London

24 - 27 May

7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm

Box Office: 0208 858 7755


Theatre Royal, Windsor

30 May - 3 June

8pm, Thursday matinee 2:30pm, Saturday matinee 3:00pm

Box Office: 01753 853 888


NST Campus, Southampton

6 - 10 June

7.30pm, Saturday matinee 2.30pm

Post show talk Wednesday 7 June

Box Office: 023 8067 1771


West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

13 - 17 June

7.30pm, Thursday matinee 1.30pm, Saturday matinee 2pm

Box Office: 0113 213 7700


For more information, visit www.rifcoarts.com/shows/miss-meena-the-masala-queens.

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