A critically acclaimed hit in 2016, Charlene James’ powerful play CUTTIN’ IT which explores the physical and mental impact of FGM in the UK, receives a new production at the Royal Exchange from director Nicki Miles-Wildin. Urgent and sharply funny this award-winning play tells the story of teenagers Muna, popular and funny, and Iqra quiet, thoughtful…surviving. A cautious glance on a bus leads to a moment of unmistakable recognition - a painful secret ties these two Somali girls together and then rips them apart when ideas of tradition and ritual collide in a makeshift waiting room reeking of antiseptic and stale blood. Taking on the roles of Muna and Iqra are Asha Hassan and Hermon Berhane. This stunning contemporary play runs from 9 January – 1 February 2020 in the studio theatre at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
Muna’s the life and soul of the 47 bus, trading top-deck trash-talk with her friends on the daily run to school. Iqra sits alone downstairs, five years in England but far from fitting in. Both born in Somalia 15 years ago, the pair fall into friendship. But it’s a shared secret that brings them closer together – and pushes them apart.
Hermon Berhane returns to the Exchange following her role in THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA. Her recent theatre credits include MATHILDA AND THE ORANGE BALLOON & PEOPLE OF THE EYE TOUR (DH ensemble) and THE TWO FRIDAS (Handprint Theatre, Chickenshed and V&A Museum).
Asha Hassan makes her Royal Exchange debut in this production, her recent credits have included BEE, CHAOS (National Theatre Connections) and SHUHAYLA, EXTREMISM (Theatre Peckham).
Nickie Miles-Wildin is Associate Director at Graeae Theatre Company. Previously she was Resident Assistant Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre as part of the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. Directing credits include: THE FOREST OF FORGOTTEN DISCOS (Contact /Jackie Hagan), THE TEMPEST AT ABRAHAM MOSS (Royal Exchange Theatre); BINGO LINGO (co-director/Wild N Beets); DISABILITY SEX ARCHIVES, TWO CAN TOUCAN (TwoCan Theatre); NANA'S JUMBLE (Kazzum). Assistant Director credits at RET include MOTHER COURAGE & HER CHILDREN, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, FRANKENSTEIN, GUYS AND DOLLS and THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA (partnered with Graeae). Other credits: Staff Director on MOSQUITOES (Dorfman, National Theatre). Associate Director credits include: MIXTAPE (Royal Exchange Theatre); TOMMY (Ramps On The Moon National Tour). In 2014 Nickie co-founded TwoCan, Gloucestershire’s first professional disabled-led theatre company. As an actor Nickie is best known for her role as Miranda in the Paralympics Opening Ceremony, London 2012.
Charlene James is an award-winning writer. Her play CUTTIN’ IT ran at the Young Vic and Royal Court to critical acclaim and won multiple awards; including the George Devine Award and an Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play. Charlene was awarded the Charles Wintour award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. She is currently under commission from The Royal Court and the Royal Exchange Theatre. Charlene is also developing her own original TV dramas with New Pictures and World Productions. She has written on A Discovery of Witches for Bad Wolf/Sky and is also writing on a prominent BBC series.
The creative team includes; Designer Amanda Mascarenhas, Lighting Designer Louise Anderson, Sound Designer Munotida Chinyanga, Caption Designer Teresa Garratty, Movement Director Jenni Jackson, BSL Consultant Rebecca Withey, Audio Description Consultant Anne Hornsby.
All performances of CUTTIN’ IT are creatively captioned and there will be creative use of BSL and spoken English throughout. Audio description will also be available for every show via a pre-recording.
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