The Khayaal Theatre Company brings historical stories from across the Muslim world to the stage and now to your television.
Over the past 23 years, Khayaal has developed a strong reputation as the first dedicated producer of professional English language theatre inspired by Muslim heritages and cultures. Khayaal is forging a new genre and brand of cross-cultural theatre whose formula of wisdom and humour has won it popular and critical acclaim nationally and internationally.
Khayyal was founded in 1997, by Luqman Ali and Eleanor Martin with the intention of exploring classic Muslim literature through contemporary stagecraft as a means of fostering greater interfaith understanding. Based in Luton, just outside of London, they have been recipients of many awards including in 2019 the American Folklore Society Aesop Accolade.
Luqman adapted and produced Khayaal’s award-winning debut production, Conference of the Birds, in London. He went on to pioneer the adaptation of Muslim literature from African, Arabic, Turkish and Persian cultures. These were staged at The Globe’s Shakespeare and Islam Season (2004). They have also performed at the British Museum’s critically acclaimed Hajj Exhibition (2012) as well as in theatres and schools throughout the UK and internationally.
The Company is directed in its work by a number of aims:
- To celebrate and contribute to the rich aesthetic, artistic and literary traditions of Muslim cultures in mainstream popular culture.
- To develop new audiences for the performing arts within Muslim communities and new audiences for Muslim literature, art and culture in wider society.
- To promote inter-cultural dialogue, engagement and understanding by demonstrating reconciliation between East and West, the traditional and the modern and Muslims and people of other faiths and traditions.
- To assist in developing cultural capital and currency for Muslim communities that will facilitate greater and more inclusive socio-cultural stakeholding and integration and challenge Islamophobia and extremism.
Alchemiya is delighted to present three pieces by Khayaal Theatre and we look forward to adding more stories to these, in the future.
The Doctors Helper
A young man resorts to artifice in order to gain a menial position with a physician of great repute from the House of Wisdom. But at what cost will he keep that position? And what will the physician do to save his own reputation? A psychological thriller from Baghdad.
Tales of the Sands from Tunisia
A mesmerising tale of the courage required to embrace the inevitable changes that life brings. A parable of trust from Tunisia.
Life and Death at the Spring. A Hausa Tale
Life and death arrive at a spring in the desert but must first decide on who is the oldest between them before they can take a drink. A wisdom tale from Hausa people of West Africa.