Cabbing into Coventry – Approaching Empty comes to the Belgrade Theatre
Ishy Din’s new play explores life in the North East for a post-industrial generation of working class men
Following the success of his 2016 World War I drama Wipers, award-winning playwright Ishy Din returns to the Belgrade Theatre this March with a brand new show about working class lives in post-industrial North East England.
Set in a scruffy minicab office in the aftermath of Margaret Thatcher’s death, Approaching Empty tells the story of Mansha, a taxi driver who decides it’s time to take control of his own destiny and offers to buy the business from his lifelong friend, Raf.
But as the realities of the state of the company slowly unravel, the two men must confront the difficulties of going into business with those closes to them. To make matters worse, political differences are threatening to drive a wedge between them, and there’s also the younger generation to consider.
Having grown up in Middlesborough, Din writes from personal experience of a generation of working class men struggling to carve out their identities in the modern world. Following stints in retail, warehousing and clerical work, Din’s first break as a playwright came in 2010, after he heard a call-out for scripts on a sporting theme on BBC Radio 5 Live.
His first major commission, Snookered, eventually ran at London’s Bush Theatre in 2012, taking home the title of Best New Play at the Manchester Theatre Awards. Approaching Empty is his third full-length stage play, conceived as the second part of a trilogy about “Asian men in confined spaces” that began with Snookered. It’s also his second work to explicitly draw on his experience as a cabbie, following his 2018 piece Taxi Tales which ran as part of BBC2’s Performance Live series.
Presented by Tamasha, Kiln Theatre and Live Theatre, Approaching Empty is directed by Pooja Ghai and designed by Rosa Maggiora, with lighting by David Plater and sound and composition by Arun Ghosh.
Casting for the show includes Nicholas Khan, Karan Gill, Rina Fataina, Nicholas Prasad, Maanuv Thiara and Kammy Darweish.