English Touring Theatre and Papatango present

The Funeral Director
By Iman Qureshi 

UK tour: 7 – 30 March 2019

Director: Hannah Hauer-King;Designer: Amy Jane Cook; Lighting Designer: Jack Weir

Sound Designer: Max Pappenheim

English Touring Theatre and Papatango today announce the full cast for the UK tour of Iman Qureshi’s The Funeral Director,an exploration of a gay Muslim woman coming to terms with her identity. Hannah Hauer-King directs Edward Stone (Tom), Assad Zaman (Zeyd) and Francesca Zoutewelle (Janey), joining returning cast member Aryana Ramkhalawon (Ayesha). Winner of Papatango’s 10th annual New Writing Prize from 1,384 entries, the original production was premièred by Papatango at Southwark Playhouse and now embarks on a UK tour in a co-production with ETT to Traverse TheatreNottingham PlayhouseThe North Wall and HOME Manchester in Spring 2019.

“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 made her full-length debut with The Funeral Director. 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. Qureshi has also written for the Guardian, Independent, Time Out and the Huffington Post and been writer-in-residence at various schools. She was shortlisted for the Muslim Writer’s Award in 2011 and the Tony Craze Award in 2017.

Aryana Ramkhalawon reprises the role ofAyesha.Her other theatre credits include The TempestSwallows and Amazons and Much Ado About Nothing (Storyhouse/Grosvenor Park Rep Company), The Secret Seven(Storyhouse), The Hijabi Monologues (Bush Theatre), DevikaOde 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 RoadLawless – Drama MattersCrime StoriesBollywood Carmen and Jamillah and Aladdin.

Edward Stone plays Tom.His theatre credits include Outside (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Julius Caesar (Bristol Old Vic) and All Quiet on the Western Front (Soho Playhouse, New York).

Assad Zaman plays Zeyd. His theatre credits include White Teeth (Kiln Theatre), Coriolanus (RSC/Barbican), Salome (RSC), Arms and the Man (Watford Palace Theatre), A Midsummer Night¹s Dream (New Wolsey Theatre), East is East (UK tour), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre), Beats NorthGrimm Tales (Northern Stage) and Tyne (Live Theatre/Theatre Royal Newcastle). His television credits include VeraApple Tree Yard and Cucumber.

Francesca Zoutewelle plays Janey. Her credits for English Touring Theatre include Twelfth Night (a co-production with Flute Theatre) and Hamlet (Arcola Theatre, in a co-production with Flute Theatre). Other theatre credits include Callisto: A Queer Epic (Arcola Theatre), Into the Woods, Britannia Wave the Rules (Royal Exchange Theatre), The Last Days of Troy (Shakespeare’s Globe/Royal Exchange Theatre) and Merlin (Royal & Derngate Northampton). For film her credits include The Head Hunter and Mr Turner.

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) andHypernormal (Vaults Festival). Associate/Assistant work includes Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Radiant Vermin (Soho Theatre) and Daytona (Theatre Royal Haymarket).

Tour Dates

Traverse Theatre 

7 – 9 March 2019

Box Office: 0131 228 1404 / www.traverse.co.uk

Nottingham Playhouse 

14 – 16March 2019

Box Office: 0115 941 9419 / www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk

The North Wall 

21 March 2019

Box Office: 01865 319450 / www.thenorthwall.com

HOME Manchester 

27 – 30March 2019

Box Office: 0161 200 1500 / www.homemcr.org