We are thrilled to announce the cast for WELCOME TO IRAN, a new play written and directed by our Artistic Director Nadia Fall and co-produced with the National Theatre. The production has its world premiere here at Stratford East before transferring to the National Theatre. The cast includes Moe Bar-El, Nalân Burgess, Souad Faress, Karina Fernandez, Nicholas Karimi, Serena Manteghi, Maimuna Memon, Isabella Nefar, Kareem Samara and Joplin Sibtain.
Based on real-life interviews, this new play by Nadia Fall (Home, King Hedley II) offers a tender and witty snapshot of modern Iran. Ava is a twenty-something Londoner. Following the death of her estranged father, she journeys to Iran in search of his past and her culture.
Exploring this often misunderstood country, Ava is swept into a world of raves, raids and illicit love, all whilst negotiating family politics, Tehran traffic and the morality police.
Nadia Fall, writer and director, said:
“When I went to Iran, I wasn't quite sure what I would find. As I met with everyday Iranians, from taxi drivers to baristas, from nail technicians to students, I was able to glimpse under the skin of this incredible country. With the play, I wanted to disrupt the illusions and pre-conceptions we tend to hold here in the West. People are people, first and foremost, with all their contradictions - love, death, oppression and resistance all coexist together. In these recent times of political turmoil between the USA and Iran, I hope that Welcome To Iran will give a voice to Iranian people and their everyday stories.”
Moe Bar-El. Theatre credits include The Jungle (Curran Theatre, San Francisco); Every Day I Make Greatness Happen (Hampstead Theatre, Downstairs; Olivier Award nomination for Best Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre); Moormaid (Arcola Theatre); Punk Rock (Courtyard Theatre) and Awkward Silences (Sadler’s Wells Theatre). Television credits include Tehran, Honour, Code 404, Doctors, Snatch, Le Bureau Des Legendes, Tyrant, Phoneshop, Black Mirror, and film credits include Mitra, Zero and Austenland.
Nalân Burgess. Theatre credits include Out of Sorts (Theatre503); Where We Are: The Mosque (The Arcola); My Beautiful Laundrette (Above The Stag); Citizen (The Space Theatre); and Nine (Edinburgh). Short plays include Who's Mom & Who's Mama (Theatre503); Sexual Assault (The Pleasance); Rage Room (Lyric Hammersmith); Horizon of the Irreversible Night (The Arcola); and Dutty Wine (The Bunker). TV credits include Rude Boys (BBC3) and film credits include Taarof; Meeting; House of Salem; Essex Boys Retribution; and He Who Dares.
Souad Faress. Theatre credits include Pride and Prejudice and The Wisdom Club (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds); The Village (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Goats, A Curse (Royal Court Theatre); Winter Hill (Octagon Theatre); Chilcot (The Lowry/BAC/NT Studios); Tiger Country, Sugar and Snow (Hampstead Theatre); The House of Bernada (Almedia Theatre); The Permanent Way (Out of Joint/Sydney Theatre Company/National Theatre); Celestina (Birmingham RepTheatre/Edinburgh International Fest) and Homebody/Kabul (Cheek by Jowl/Young Vic). Television credits includes Back to Life, The Spy, Porters, Game of Thrones, Apple Tree House, Brief Encounters, Berlin Station, Sense8, Cabbage & Patch, Vera, Doctors, Making of a Lady, Utopia, Hunted, Hollyoaks, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Silent Witness, Holby City, Law & Order, The Bill, Trial & Retribution, Casualty, Family Affairs, Being April and Coronation Street. Film credits includes Made in Italy, Christopher Robin, Bridget Jones's Baby, Sixth Happiness, My Beautiful Laundrette and Bhaji on the Beach.
Karina Fernandez. Theatre credits include Fanny and Alexander (The Old Vic); Shrapnel (Arcola Theatre); Gibraltar (Arcola Theatre); Mare Rider (Arcola Theatre); There is a War / Edgar and Annabel (National Theatre); and Bites (Bush Theatre). Film credits include Miss Marx, Nico, 1988, Sense of an Ending, Pride, Mr Turner, Another Year and Happy Go Lucky.
Nicholas Karimi. Theatre credits include A View from the Bridge (York Theatre Royal and Royal & Derngate); The Twilight Zone (Ambassadors Theatre); The Comedy of Errors (RSC); Macbeth (National Theatre); The Arabian Nights (Lyceum, Edinburgh); A Tale of Two Cities (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); The Kite Runner (West End/Nottingham Playhouse/Liverpool Playhouse); Any Means Necessary (Nottingham Playhouse); An Oak Tree, Everyman, War Horse, Macbeth (National Theatre); Lardo (Old Red Lion); The Hairy Ape (The Old Vic); Titus Andornicus (The Globe); Damascus Aleppo (Oran Mor/Traverse Theatre/National Theatre of Scotland); Game of Life (The Yard Theatre); Outward Bound (Finborough Theatre); The Double (Theatre Royal Bath) and The Fear of Breathing (Finborough Theatre). Upcoming television appearance in Adult Material.
Serena Manteghi. Theatre credits include The Edit (Theatre 503); Hamlet (Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre); Build A Rocket (Adelaide Festival/National UK Tour); Eurydice (Soho Playhouse, NY); Salty Irina (Ovalhouse); The Terrible Infants (Wiltons Music Hall); The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Stephen Joseph Theatre); Echoes (Brits Off Broadway); My Mother Said I Never Should (St. James Theatre); The Railway Children (Kings Cross Theatre); HEART (Traverse Theatre); Mucky Kid (Theatre 503); Agammemnon (Southwark Playhouse); Some Small Love Story (Arts Theatre) and The Beggar’s Opera (York Theatre Royal). Television credits include Mrs Wilson and film credits include Miss Jihadi, This England and What Are You Waiting For.
Maimuna Memon. Theatre credits include Into the Woods and Hobson’s Choice (Manchester Royal Exchange); Buskers Opera (The Park Theatre); Lazarus (Kings Cross Theatre); Jesus Christ Superstar (Regents Park Open Air); The Assassination of Katie Hopkins (Theatr Clwyd); Standing at the Sky’s Edge (Sheffield Crucible) and Ghost Quartet (Boulevard Theatre). Television includes: Unforgotten Series 3, Doctors. Maimuna has performed in and written the music and lyrics for Electrolyte, a piece of gig theatre which had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018/2019 and toured nationally. She was also the Musical Director for Macbeth at The Watermill Theatre/Wilton's Music Hall.
Isabella Nefar. Theatre credits include JUDE (Hampstead Theatre), Salomé (National Theatre); and Goats (Royal Court). Her film credits include Small City and Waiting for the Barbarians and television credits include Ransom, Aspirin and Attori O Corsari.
Kareem Samara is a multi-instrumentalist, improviser, composer and political organiser. His particular area of interest is in diasporic identity and de-colonial possibilities of sound and music, with particular focus on sonic representations of place and time. As well as performing solo with traditional Arabic instruments and electronics, Kareem is a serial collaborator with musicians and poets worldwide. He is part of a trio with Ryan Harvey and Shireen Lilith, with whom he has released Thin Blue Border Volume 1 and 2 on Firebrand Records, exploring the link between struggles such as Black Lives Matter, the Arab Spring and beyond. Theatre performance and composition credits include History of Water in the Middle East (Royal Court) and The Chronicles of Majnun Layla (Shubbak Festival at Gate Theatre).
Joplin Sibtain. Theatre credits include The Starry Messenger (Wyndhams Theatre / Simon Friend Productions); Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train (Young Vic); Beaux Strategem, Dara, The Oak Tree, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Othello (National Theatre) and Godchild (Hampstead Theatre). Television credits include Avenue 5, White Gold, Nightflyers, Safe, and Marcella.
Nadia Fall directed The Village and King Hedley II as her first shows as Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East. She directed Three Sisters at the National Theatre in winter 2019, and in spring 2020 writes and directs Welcome to Iran as part of her second season, in co-production with the National Theatre. Her other directing credits include The Suicide, Our Country’s Good, Dara, Chewing Gum Dreams, Home, Hymn, The Doctor's Dilemma (National Theatre); Hir, Disgraced (Bush Theatre); R and D (Hampstead Theatre); Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre); Hobson's Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); How Was It For You? (Unicorn Theatre); Sticks & Stones (Polka Theatre); The Maids (Lyric Hammersmith); Miss Julie (Croydon Warehouse Theatre) and Wild Turkey (Site Specific). As Associate Director, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Gielgud Theatre), Collaborators and The Habit of Art (National Theatre), and as Staff Director, Rocket to the Moon, Really Old, Like Forty Five, Phèdre and Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre). Fall has directed at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Unicorn Theatre and led participation initiatives with partners such as the Young Vic, Clean Break, Soho Theatre and the Royal Court. She is also an acting coach, supporting professional actors for film and stage.
Writer and Director Nadia Fall
Designer Ben Stones
Video Designer Zakk Hein
Lighting Designer Joshua Pharo
Movement Director Carrie-Anne Ingrouille
Sound Designer Alexandra Faye Braithwaite
Fight Directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-Annie Ltd
Assistant Director Sepy Baghaei
Casting Director Juliet Horsley
Supported by Cockayne – Grants for the Arts and the London Community Foundation.