East is East

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DOI: 10.5040/9781784601805.40000003
Acts: 2. Scenes: 10. Roles: Male (7) , Female (3) , Neutral (0)

Ayub Khan Din’s debut play East is East is a comedy about an Anglo-Pakistani family living in multiracial Salford in the 1970s. It was first performed at Birmingham Repertory Studio Theatre on 8 October 1996 in a co-production by Tamasha Theatre Company, the Royal Court Theatre Company and Birmingham Repertory Company, before transferring to the Royal Court, London. It was later adapted into a feature film, with a screenplay by the author, that became one of the most successful British films ever made.

Pakistani chip-shop owner George Khan – 'Genghis' to his kids – is determined to give his six children (Abdul, Tariq, Maneer, Saleem, Meenah and Sajit) a strict Muslim upbringing against the unforgiving backdrop of 1970s Salford. Household tensions reach breaking point as their long-suffering English mother, Ella, gets caught in the crossfire – her loyalty divided between her marriage and the free will of her children.

The premiere production was directed by Kristine Landon-Smith and designed by Sue Mayes, with Nasser Memarzia as George Khan and Linda Bassett as Ella. The production transferred to the Royal Court, London, where it opened in the Theatre Upstairs on 19 November 1996, then in the Theatre Downstairs from 26 March 1997.

East is East won the John Whiting Award in 1996 and was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 1998.

The feature film adaptation, released in 1999, was directed by Damien O'Donnell and starred Om Puri as George Khan and Linda Bassett as Ella.

The play was revived in a new version at the Trafalgar Studios, London, in October 2014 in a production directed by Sam Yates and designed by Tom Scutt, with Ayub Khan Din as George Khan and Jane Horrocks as Ella.

From East is East

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Nick Hern Books

Ayub Khan Din

ISBN: 9781854593139

Series: NHB Modern Plays

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