Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Northern Stage in association with Nuffield Southampton Theatres present the European Premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns
By Ursula Rani Sarma
Based on the book by Khaled Hosseini
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini’s spiritual sequel to The Kite Runner will have its European première at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 2 – 18 May before playing at partner venues Northern Stage (30 May – 15 June) and Nuffield Southampton Theatres (25 June – 6 July). The show will also tour to Hackney Empire (22 -25 May).
The cast features Waleed Akhtar (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen/ Lasse Hallström; What Shadows / Birmingham Repertory Theatre and The Kite Runner/Nottingham Playhouse & Liverpool Everyman); Pal Aron (Behind the Beautiful Forevers/National Theatre; Stella/ Sky One); Sujaya Dasgupta (Death of a Salesman/Royal & Derngate, Press/BBC); Munir Khairdin (Whitechapel/ITV); Naveed Khan (Tamburlaine and Tartuffe /RSC); Mollie Lambert (The White Devil/Shakespeare’s Globe); Shala Nyx (Miss Prue/Bristol Old Vic; The Shadow Factory/Nuffield Southampton Theatres) and Liza Zahra (The Kite Runner/Wyndham’s) and Amina Zia (Tartuffe/RSC).
Khaled Hosseini’s international best-selling novel is the powerful story of three generations of women discovering strength in unity and finding hope in the unlikeliest of places. Set in 1992 in an Afghanistan ravaged by war, an orphaned Laila is left alone in an increasingly threatening world. Her older neighbour Rasheed is quick to open his home and takes Laila as his second wife.
Rasheed’s first wife Mariam has no choice but to accept her younger, and now pregnant, rival. As the Taliban take over, life for all of them becomes a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear, and the two women find themselves unlikely allies. In A Thousand Splendid Suns, love grows and sustains the human spirit even during the hardest of times.
Roxana Silbert directs A Thousand Splendid Suns, her final show as Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre. She said:
“In Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns we are given a rare glimpse into 30 years of contemporary Afghan history and thanks to Ursula Rani Sarma’s emotionally stirring adaptation audiences will be able to bear witness to the extraordinary story of two radiant women who struggle to survive the terrifying political situation they find themselves in. I can’t wait to bring this inspiring and enlightening story to the stage.”
Playwright Ursula Rani Sarma said:
“This play is about the immense strength and endurance of women and how they can survive tremendous suffering to keep those they love alive. It is also about how even in the darkest of times and places, love can grow and sustain the human spirit beyond all pain and hard-ship. It’s about friendship and loyalty, courage and selflessness, grief and violence. What the play has to say about love, endurance, and survival is very much worth listening to for a contemporary audience. There is beauty and strength at the heart of A Thousand Splendid Suns, and I feel so proud to be part of its evolution from novel to stage.”
Ursula Rani Sarma is a scriptwriter for stage and screen. Her previous credits include Delicious (Sky), the award-winning film Anywhere But Here, Yerma (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and The Dark Things (Traverse Theatre).
Khaled Hosseini is one of the most widely read and beloved novelists in the world, with over 38 million copies of his books sold in more than seventy countries. The Kite Runner was a major film and was a Book of the Decade, chosen by The Times, Daily Telegraph and Guardian. A Thousand Splendid Suns was the Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year in 2008. Hosseini is currently a Goodwill Envoy to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Refugee Agency and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation which provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan. He was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and lives in northern California.
A Thousand Splendid Suns will have set and costume designs by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita, lighting design by Simon Bond, composition by Mahmood Kamen, sound design and co-composition by Dave Price with Ben Hart as magic consultant.