Welcome To Iran [Drama On 3]


20210411A World Premiere for Lockdown Theatre on BBC Radio 3. Artistic director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nadia Fall weaves an imagined narrative together with real-life stories to construct a tender and witty snapshot of culture and life in modern Iran. ‘Welcome to Iran' was commissioned by Theatre Royal Stratford East and the National Theatre and was due to open at Theatre Royal Stratford East in April 2020.

Ava is a twenty-something dual heritage, British Iranian. Following the death of her estranged Iranian father, she journeys to Iran in search of his past and to connect with her family. 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.

Part of BBC Lights Up, a season of plays for BBC radio and TV, produced in partnership with theatres across the UK. The season will ‘light up' stages and studios by supporting theatre organisations and artists, ensuring that audiences continue to have the opportunity to enjoy theatre at home.

Ava … Maimuna Memon,
Fatemeh… Karina Fernandez
Reza… Nicholas Karimi
Leila… Isabella Nefar
Aunty Soraya … Souad Faress
Waiter/Aligula…Moe Bar-El
Roya…Nalan Burgess
Elnaz…Serena Manteghi
Carpet Dealer/Taxi Driver/Akbar…Joplin Sibtain
Tehran policeman… Dana Haqjoo
Other parts were played by members of the cast

Original songs by Maimuna Memon
Music by Maimuna Memon and Kareem Samara

Theatre Sound Design by Alexandra Braithwaite
Radio sound design by Adam Woodhams and Steve Bond
Assistant Director Sepi Baghaei
Produced by Jeremy Mortimer
Executive Producers Joby Waldman and Bertie Carvel
A Reduced Listening production for BBC Radio 3

"I would be on social media here and see posts of young fashionable Iranians that would give the Kardashians a run for their money: lips pouted, dressed up to the nines and I was thinking this is not the Iran we are sold here in the West. I just thought it would be incredible to meet people and make a story inspired by the testimonials of everyday Iranians. This work is a love letter to Iranian people, who I found to be the most hospitable and poetic folk I have ever met. I was constantly invited to eat or offered gifts and even the Taxi drivers, and waiters recited poetry. I was particularly moved by the young people who absolutely held the same hopes and dreams you'd expect of the young, and despite many stifling restrictions they still found ways to express themselves and to find joy and love. They resisted the system in small ways every day, despite struggling with the effect of impossibly harsh sanctions imposed from outside the country and the draconian laws of the state within”- Nadia Fall

Nadia Fall is the Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East. Her recent stage productions there include a revival of August Wilson's King Hedley II and The Village by April De Angelis. She was an associate director at the National where her work included Home, Dara, Our Country's Good, Hymn, Chewing Gum Dreams, The Doctor's Dilemma and most recently Chekhov's Three Sisters, in a version by Inua Ellams. Nadia Fall's play Home is a verbatim drama that combines real testimonials with music and song to explore the issue of homelessness amongst young people in London. It was first performed in The Shed, a temporary studio venue at the National Theatre, London, in 2013 and in 2020 she co-wrote the film No Masks with Rebecca Lenkiewicz which she directed for Sky Arts, also based on interviews with key workers during the pandemic. She also directed The Outside Dog by Alan Bennett for the BBC.

Theatre Royal Stratford East
Since 1884, Theatre Royal Stratford East, the historic producing house in the heart of London's East End has spearheaded diverse work and championed often marginalised stories on its stage. Many leading actors, writers and directors have been part of the Theatre Royal Stratford East family including Meera Syal, Barbara Windsor, Don Warrington, Indhu Rubasingham, Tanika Gupta, Roy Williams and Cynthia Erivo to name but a few. Now with Artistic Director Nadia Fall at the helm, Theatre Royal Stratford East presents a bold programme of reimagined classics, timely revivals and ground-breaking new work.

Lockdown Theatre was set up by Bertie Carvel to capture in audio form some of the stage productions which had their performances cut short by the closing of the theatres, working with writers, actors, directors and sound designers to reflect the spirit of the original production, while using sound to engage a radio audience. The first four plays were broadcast across BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4 in June 2020, with actors recorded remotely "down the line".

By Nadia Fall. Lockdown Theatre presents the Theatre Royal Stratford East production.

Series of drama performances, ranging from experimental works to the Classics