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Full Casting Announced For THE FUNERAL DIRECTOR

Full Casting Announced For THE FUNERAL DIRECTORPapatango today announce full casting for Iman Qureshi's The Funeral Director - winner of their 10th annual New Writing Prize. Hannah Hauer King directs Aryana Ramkhalawon (Ayesha), Maanuv Thiara (Zeyd), Tom Morley (Tom) and Jessica Clark (Janey).

The Funeral Director, an exploration of a gay Muslim woman coming to terms with her identity, has its world première in a four-week run at Southwark Playhouse opening on 2 November, with previews from 31 October, and running until 24 November.

This year's Papatango New Writing Prize received a record-breaking number of submissions from across the UK and Ireland - 1,384. This means the Prize continues to attract more annual UK/Irish submissions than any other playwriting platform - and is unique in giving feedback to all entrants.

"I just thought it would be a secret I'd have to die with. And now - I think it'll be what kills me."

Life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn't always easy, but Ayesha has things pretty sorted. She and Zeyd share everything: a marriage, a business, a future.

Until Tom walks in to organise his boyfriend's funeral. A snap moral decision, informed by the values of Ayesha's community and faith, has profound consequences.

Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is - no matter the cost.

The Funeral Director is an incisive and heartfelt story of sexuality, gender and religion in 21st-century Britain.

Iman Qureshi will make her full-length debut with The Funeral Director. Born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia, she has had short plays or limited runs commissioned or produced by Tamasha, Kalí Theatre, Purple Moon Drama and the BBC. As a member of Tamasha Playwrights and Soho Theatre's Writers Lab her short play His and Hers was produced as part of Tamasha's New Muslim Voices. Iman has also written for the Guardian, Independent, Time Out and the Huffington Post, been writer in residence at various schools, and been shortlisted for the Muslim Writer's Award in 2011.

Aryana Ramkhalawon plays Ayesha. Her theatre credits include The Tempest, Swallows and Amazons and Much Ado About Nothing (Storyhouse/Grosvenor Park Rep Company), The Secret Seven (Storyhouse), The Hijabi Monologues (Bush Theatre), Devika, Ode to Leeds (Leeds Playhouse), Glasgow Girls (National Theatre of Scotland/UK tour), Princess Scintilla (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), The Secret Garden (Royal Alexandra Theatre Toronto/Royal Festival Theatre Edinburgh), Twelve Kali Theatre (Watermans/Birmingham MAC/Rich Mix), Half and Half (Welsh Millennium Centre) and The Rose and Bulbul (Kaddam/Pulse Connects). Television credits include Waterloo Road, Lawless - Drama Matters, Crime Stories, Bollywood Carmen and Jamillah and Aladdin.

Maanuv Thiara plays Zeyd. Theatre includes Robert Icke's Hamlet (West End), King Lear (Bristol Old Vic), A Passage to India (Park Theatre) and Trojan Horse (Leeds Playhouse/Edinburgh Festival, which won an Edinburgh Fringe First and the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award); and for television The Boy with the Top Knot.

Tom Morley plays Tom. His theatre credits include A Room with a View (Theatre Royal Bath), Pitcairn (Chichester Festival Theatre and UK tour), This Beautiful Future (Yard Theatre) and Five Finger Exercise (The Print Room). Television credits include Succession, Humans, The Musketeers, Father Brown and Downton Abbey; and for film, Red Sparrow.

Jessica Clark plays Janey. Her theatre credits include Rotterdam (Trafalgar Studios/Theatre503), The Here and This and Now (Theatre Royal Plymouth), Skin a Cat (Bunker Theatre/Vault Festival), Romeo and Juliet, Merry Wives of Windsor, The Wind in the Willows, The Secret Garden, Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors (Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre), My Dear I Wanted to Tell You (Soho Theatre),

The School for Scandal (Park Theatre), Love's Comedy, The Burglar Who Failed and Return to Sender

(Orange Tree Theatre), Be My Baby (Derby Theatre), Wild Horses (Theatre503) and Respect

(Birmingham Rep). Television credits include series regular in Versailles, Call the Midwife, Silent Witness, Broadside and In Search of the Bröntes.

Hannah Hauer-King directs. She is the Artistic Director and co-founder of all-female theatre company Damsel Productions. Hauer-King started her London directing career acting as Resident AD at Soho Theatre in 2014. She now works as a freelance theatre director alongside directing for Damsel Productions, and as a theatre, comedy and cabaret programmer for Fane Productions. Recent productions include Fabric (Soho Theatre), The Swell (Hightide Festival), Grotty and Breathe (Bunker Theatre), Fury and Brute (Soho Theatre), Clay (Pleasance Theatre), Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre), Witt 'n Camp (Assembly Studios, Edinburgh Fringe) and Hypernormal (Vaults Festival). Associate/Assistant work includes Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare's Globe), Radiant Vermin (Soho Theatre) and Daytona (Theatre Royal Haymarket).



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