London Cast and Edinburgh Transfer Announced for NASSIM at the Bush Theatre Studio
Casting is also announced today for the London run of Nassim. For each performance across the run, a different cultural figure will join Nassim on stage to perform his new work. Performers will include: British-Egyptian actor and activist Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner, United 93), actor Vivienne Acheampong (City of Glass, Rainbow Class), playwright and screenwriter Alexi Kaye Campbell (Apologia, Woman in Gold), director Phelim McDermott (Akhnaten, A Christmas Carol), writer and performer Sabrina Mahfouz (With a Little Bit of Luck, Breaking the Code) and actor Hattie Morahan (Anatomy of a Suicide, A Doll's House). Casting for the Edinburgh run to be announced.
Nassim Soleimanpour's audacious theatrical experiment explores the power of language to unite us in unknown, uncertain times. Nassim is the Iranian playwright's second play to receive its UK Premiere at the Bush Theatre. The first, BLANK, was produced as part of the Bush Theatre's annual new writing festival, RADAR, in 2015. This will be the Bush Theatre's first production to transfer to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since Simon Stephens' Sea Wall in 2009.
Dear performer. I want to show you something. Did you know, in Farsi my name is written like this: '.ROUPNAMIELOS MISSAN si eman yM'
No rehearsals. No preparation. Just a sealed envelope and an actor reading a script for the first time.
Nassim follows Soleimanpour's globally acclaimEd White Rabbit Red Rabbit, which has been translated into 15 different languages and performed over 1000 times by some of the biggest names in theatre and film including Sinead Cusack, Ken Loach and Whoopi Goldberg. It had already been performed hundreds of times in more than a dozen languages by 2013 when Soleimanpour was first permitted to travel outside his native Tehran.
Khalid Abdalla (performer) is a British-Egyptian actor and activist. Notable film credits include The Kite Runner and United 93. Further film work includes Assassin's Creed, Our Kind of Traitor, In the Last Days of the City, Tigers and Green Zone. He is a founding member of the Mosireen Collective of Egyptian filmmakers, focusing on documenting the events leading up to and following the 2011 revolution in Cairo. He himself has starred in and produced several documentaries, including The Square, which won the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.
Vivienne Acheampong (performer) recently completed her run in City of Glass at the Lyric Hammersmith. She returns to the Bush Theatre following her one woman show Rainbow Class (RADAR 2015) which she later took to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Further stage credits include Monster Raving Loony (Soho Theatre), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (West End), Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens (First Light Theatre/ West End) and Julius Caesar (St. Ann's Warehouse).
Alexi Kaye Campbell (performer) was born and brought up in Athens, Greece, then trained as an actor in London and New York. He appeared in several television series before turning to writing. He returns to the Bush Theatre following his play Apologia, a revival of which is currently running in the West End. Other writing credits for the stage include Sunset at the Villa Thalia (National Theatre), Bracken Moor (Shared Experience/ Tricycle Theatre) and The Faith Machine and The Pride (both Royal Court). He recently wrote his first film, Woman in Gold, which was directed by Simon Curtis and featured Dame Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds.
Phelim McDermott (performer) is most widely-known as an award-winning theatre and opera director. He is a founding member of theatre company Improbable and collaborates regularly with ENO and Metropolitan Opera, New York. Notable directing credits include Akhnaten (ENO) which won the Olivier Award for Best New Opera Production, A Christmas Carol (West End), The Enchanted Island (Met Opera), The Addams Family (Broadway), Philip Glass's Satyagraha and Così fan tutte (Improbable/ ENO/ Met Opera) and Shockheaded Peter (West Yorkshire Playhouse/ Lyric Hammersmith/ West End/ Little Schubert Theatre, Off Broadway/ World Tour) which won the Olivier Award for Best Entertainment. Further productions with Improbable include Lost Without Words and Theatre of Blood (National Theatre), Beauty and the Beast (Young Vic), The Hanging Man, Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith), Lifegame and the multi-award-winning 70 Hill Lane. He has a longstanding interest in using improvisation in rehearsals and performance, and is a regular improvising guest with the Comedy Store Players.
Sabrina Mahfouz (performer) was raised in London and Cairo. She is a playwright, performer, poet and screenwriter. She returns to the Bush Theatre following productions of her plays Battleface and Dry Ice. Further writing for the stage includes With a Little Bit of Luck (Paines Plough), SLUG (Nabokov), The Love I Feel is Red (Tobacco Factory Theatre), Chef (Underbelly at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe/ Soho Theatre) and Clean (Traverse Theatre). She is also known for her poetry collection How You Might Know Me and the literary anthology The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write. She created the television series Breaking the Code and further work with the BBC includes, Railway Nation: A Journey In Verse and We Are Here.
Hattie Morahan (performer) won the Best Actress Critics' Circle and Evening Standard Theatre Awards for her portrayal of Nora in A Doll's House (Young Vic). She returns to the Bush Theatre following her performance of Nassim's BLANK (RADAR 2015). Further stage credits include Anatomy of a Suicide and The City (Royal Court), The Changeling (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), The Dark Earth and the Light Sky (Almeida Theatre), Plenty (Sheffield Crucible), The Real Thing (Old Vic), The Seagull, Three More Sleepless Nights, Time and the Conways, Some Trace of Her, Iphigenia at Aulis and Power (all National Theatre) and Family Reunion (Donmar Warehouse). On television she is best known for her roles in My Mother and Other Strangers, The Outcast, Ballot Monkeys, Arthur & George, Outnumbered, Eternal Law, Money, The Bletchley Circle, Marple, Sense and Sensibility and Bodies. She appeared as the Enchantress in the recent Disney film Beauty and the Beast. Other film credits include Alice Through The Looking Glass, Mr Holmes, Summer in February and The Golden Compass.
Nassim Soleimanpour (playwright and performer) is an independent multidisciplinary theatre maker best known for his multi award-winning play White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Nassim's play BLANK premiered in the UK at the Bush Theatre's RADAR festival in 2015, also playing in Amsterdam and Utrecht with further performances all over the world including in Argentina, Australia and India. Further plays include Blind Hamlet which premiered at LIFT Festival 2014 prior to a UK tour and productions in Bucharest and Copenhagen. Nassim now lives in Berlin and has been commissioned to write a new play for Teater Momentum (Denmark).
Omar Elerian (director) is Associate Director at the Bush Theatre where he directed One Cold Dark Night by Nancy Harris and Islands by Caroline Horton. He also co-directed the Olivier nominated You're Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy at the Bush Theatre alongside Daniel Goldman. He was also Associate Director on The Royale by Marco Ramirez, Perseverance Drive by Robin Soans and Chalet Lines by Lee Mattinson. Other directing credits include acclaimed site-specific production The Mill - City of Dreams (Bradford, Yorkshire), Testa di Rame (Festival Inequilibrio, Italy) and Les P'tites Grandes Choses (Maison de Arts du Cirque et du Clown, France).
Rhys Jarman (Designer) previously designed the set for MONEY: The Game Show at the Bush Theatre. He was one of the winners of the 2007 Linbury Biennial Prize, for his design of Varjak Paw for the Opera Group. Further stage design credits include James and the Giant Peach and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Northern Stage), The Time of Your Life (Gecko/ Battersea Arts Centre/ BBC), The Dreamer (Gecko/ Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre), The Machine Stops (Pilot Theatre/ York Theatre Royal), Hurling Rubble at the Sun, Hurling Rubble at the Moon (Red Ladder Theatre Company/ Park Theatre), Institute and Missing (both Gecko/ World Tours), The Nutcracker (Nuffield Theatre), Holes (Edinburgh Festival Fringe/ Arcola Theatre) and Three Way (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). Forthcoming work includes Alice in Wonderland (Northern Stage), How I Hacked My Way to Space (Unlimited Theatre) and The Wedding (Gecko). He also designs work for outdoor events, opera and television.