Asif Khan’s new children’s play, Jabala and the Jinn, will be livestreamed from the Belgrade Theatre on Sat 27 March at 3pm, followed by a Q&A with Asif Khan, director Rosamunde Hutt, the performers and the creative team. A pre-recorded performance of the show will then be available to stream on the Theatre’s website from Weds 31 March – Sat 24 April. The stream will be available to viewers for 24 hours after it is first accessed.
Jabala and the Jinn tells the story of schoolgirl Jabala. A few months have passed since Jabala’s mum died and her dad is struggling. One morning, she hears a voice speaking to her in Arabic – but there’s no one there. Could it be her mum? Has she imagined it?
With the help of a new refugee boy at school – a Shakespeare enthusiast called Munir – Jabala summons the Jinn (or ‘genie’). But this is no ordinary Jinn and nothing like the ones she’s heard about in her grandma’s stories. Jabala is in for a big surprise!
The tale of a little girl’s playful and adventurous encounter with a very cheeky Jinn is told through a thrilling combination of physical theatre, music and new writing.
Writer Asif Khan, an award-winning playwright and actor, is passionate about creating stories drawing on his own experience of growing up as a Muslim in Britain. He is particularly keen to represent Muslim characters and communities in stories for younger audiences.
Asif Khan said: “We don’t see much theatre or stories about British Muslims, particularly for this age group (5-8 years). These are children who are experiencing theatre for the first time, so seeing something that that they can relate to will bring them back to the theatre again. It’s so important to see yourself represented… I know growing up I didn’t have that, and we can underestimate how important that is to children.”
Director Rosamunde Hutt has 30 years of experience in producing and directing new plays for young people. During the development stages, she and Asif worked with young British Muslim actors, devising and exploring different ideas and themes.
Rodamunde Hutt said: “I’m delighted that despite these extraordinary times we are able to reach out to children and families with this play by award winning writer Asif Khan. Jabala and the Jinn is funny, poignant and full of heart, featuring three children who revel in the unexpected and face jeopardy and change with resilience and optimism. To complete the mix we’ve got a vibrant set and lighting design and witty evocative original music. We’re thrilled to be premiering this brand new play at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.”