Plays by Ayub Khan Din

All the Way Home

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ayub Khan Din's All the Way Home is a family drama set in the author's native Salford. It was first performed by the Library Theatre Company at The Lowry, Salford, on 29 September 2011.

Bonfire Night in Salford. Brian, a successful photographer who left for London, returns to the city (now in the throes of regeneration) to a family living in the shadow of cancer. Confined within the walls of their home, Brian and his siblings await the death of their brother Frankie, who (unseen) lies dying upstairs in bed, his empty armchair standing in the corner of the kitchen, unused. Amidst the cut and thrust of spiky Salford banter, long harboured resentments rise to the surface, and loyalties are tested as family bonds unite and divide, unravel and unwind.

The premiere production was directed by Mark Babych and designed by Hayley Grindle, with Sean Gallagher as Brian, Susan Cookson as Janet, Kate Anthony as Carol, Julie Riley as Sonia, Paul Simpson as Phillip, Judith Barker as Auntie Sheila, Naomi Radcliffe as Samantha and James Foster as Mickey.

East is East

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

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.

Last Dance at Dum Dum

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ayub Khan Din’s play Last Dance at Dum Dum is a comedy about the last remaining members of a dwindling community of Anglo-Indians living in Calcutta in the 1980s. It was first performed on 14 July 1999 at the New Ambassadors Theatre in the West End in a production by the Royal Court Theatre.

Calcutta, 1981. In a peeling colonial bungalow in the Dum Dum district of Calcutta live the last, ageing members of an Anglo-Indian community – a gang of eccentrics attempting to come to terms with their pasts and their fears for the future. Violet is obsessed with all things British, Daphne has a weakness for French records, Elliot has a questionable dress sense and Muriel is prone to confrontational outbursts when anyone threatens their territory. For them, the imperial sun never set. More British than the British despite their mixed race, they cling determinedly to their supposed superiority over the rest of the population. But beyond the jasmine-covered walls of Dum Dum, a rising tide of Hindu nationalism and militancy is creeping ever closer.

The Royal Court production at the New Ambassadors was directed by Stuart Burge and designed by Tim Hately with a cast including Sheila Burrell, Madhur Jaffrey, Diana Fairfax, Madhav Sharma, Rashid Karapiet, Avril Elgar, Paul Bazely and Nicholas Le Prevost.

Notes on Falling Leaves

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ayub Khan Din's Notes on Falling Leaves is a short, elegiac play about a young man losing his mother to dementia. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Downstairs, London, on 11 February 2004.

The characters in the play, called simply Man and Woman, occupy a stage covered in fallen leaves, with a single park bench. The man (aged 26) has come to visit his mother (early fifties) in her care home, and has spent the previous night in the old family house before it is cleared by the council and offered to another family. He describes taking a new girlfriend to the former family home the previous night and having sex with her. But his repeated nervous coughs and throat-clearings suggest a man desperately ill at ease, and though he knows his mother can't understand a word he's saying, talking to her helps him. When he imagines what's going on now in his mother's brain, she begins to speak...

In his Foreword to Ayub Khan Din Plays: One (Nick Hern Books, 2014), the author notes that his own mother 'was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at an early age and eventually the disease claimed her life after three years. I always found it difficult during the family visits to see her. In my mind, I was never quite sure what it was I was actually visiting'.

The Royal Court premiere was directed by Marianne Elliot and starred Ralf Little and Pam Ferris.

Rafta, Rafta…

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ayub Khan Din's play Rafta, Rafta... is a comedy about marital difficulties within a close-knit Indian family living in England. Based on Bill Naughton’s 1963 play All in Good Time, it was first performed at the National Theatre, London, in the Lyttelton auditorium on 26 April 2007 (previews from 18 April).

The play is set in the working class English town of Bolton. Eeshwar Dutt is a first-generation immigrant and patriarch of the family. He has a troubled relationship with his newlywed son Atul (aged twenty-two), whose married life with Vina Patel has got off to a rocky start. Atul is so woefully inhibited by the intrusiveness of his parents and his brother Jai’s childish pranks that his beautiful virgin bride remains just that. Six weeks later and the whole family starts to panic...

The National Theatre premiere was directed by Nicholas Hytner and designed by Tim Hatley, with a cast including Harish Patel as Eeshwar Dutt, Ronny Jhutti as Atul, Rudi Dharmalingam as Jai and Rokhsaneh Ghawam-Shahidi as Vina.

A feature film adaptation, with a screenplay by Ayub Khan-Din, was released as All in Good Time in 2012, directed by Nigel Cole.

To Sir, with Love

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Ayub Khan Din's To Sir, With Love is a play based on E.R. Braithwaite's 1959 autobiographical novel of the same name. It was first performed at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, on 10 September 2013 (previews from 7 September).

Ricardo ('Rick') Braithwaite, an ex-RAF fighter pilot and Cambridge graduate, arrives in London in 1948. Despite his First Class degree in electronic engineering he is turned down for job after job in his chosen profession and discovers the reality of life as a black man in post-war England. Taking the only job he can get, Rick begins his first teaching post, in a tough but progressive East End school. Supported by an enlightened headmaster, Leon Florian, the determined teacher turns teenage rebelliousness into self-respect, contempt into consideration and hate into love, and on the way, Rick himself learns that he has more in common with his students than he had realised.

The Royal & Derngate premiere was directed by Mark Babych and designed by Mike Britton, with a cast including Matthew Kelly as Florian and Ansu Kabia as Rick. The production later toured the UK.

Picture of Ayub Khan-Din

Ayub Khan-Din studied drama at Salford College of Technology and at Mountview Theatre School. After graduating, he joined Tara Arts, appearing in numerous productions with them, including Tartuffe at the National Theatre. His other acting work includes playing Sammy in the film Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, appearing in Coronation Street and playing the title role in a film of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot.

His first play, East is East, was staged as a co-production between Tamasha, the Royal Court and Birmingham Rep, and it opened in Birmingham in 1996. After its Royal Court run, it transferred to the Theatre Royal Stratford and then to the West End, winning the John Whiting Award, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Best West End Play and Best New Writer Awards. The film of East is East, with a screenplay by Ayub Khan-Din, won the British Independent Film Award for Best Screenplay, BBC Asia Award, Evening Standard Best Film, Empire Magazine Best Debut, Galway Film Fleadh Best First Feature, and the Golden Spike at the Valladolid Film Festival in Spain. Ayub Khan-Din also scripted its sequel West is West, released in 2010.

His other plays include Last Dance at Dum Dum (Royal Court Theatre, 1999, West End and UK tour) and Notes on Falling Leaves (Royal Court, 2004). Theatre adaptations include Rafta, Rafta… an adaptation of Bill Naughton’s All in Good Time (National Theatre, 2007) and To Sir, With Love, based on the novel by E.R. Braithwaite (Touring Consortium Theatre Company/Royal & Derngate Northampton, 2013).