Kibong Tanji (ALDWYCH, THEATRE ROYAL STRATFORD EAST, TRAFALGAR STUDIOS), Claudia Jolly (OLD VIC, CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE), Shuna Snow (RSC), Lara Sawalha (NATIONAL THEATRE, YOUNG VIC, ALMEIDA), Freddie Stabb (GRAEAE, MANCHESTER ROYAL EXCHANGE), Mariah Louca (YOUNG VIC, EVERYMAN, ALMEIDA,ROYAL COURT), Fanta Barrie (BIRIMINGHAM REP, THE OTHER PALACE, HIGHTIDE) and Fayez Bakhsh (THE NATIONAL) have been cast in the premiere of Iman Qureshi’s heartwarming comedy about community, queerness, and belonging. With songs.
When banks and sandwich shops have more pride than we do,
where can we go to be with our tribe?
It’s 2022. There’s a rainbow flag in every high street window – and no lesbian bar.
Enter The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs: a lesbian choir on a mission to unite its community.
Soho Theatre and Damsel Productions, the theatre company championing women’s untold stories, announces the eight-strong cast for the premiere of award-winning writer Iman Qureshi’s latest play, The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs. Directed by Hannah Hauer-King, this heart-warming play with songs will be Soho Theatre’s new-writing highlight of the season, forming part of its spring/summer 2022 programme.
Qureshi (2018 Papatango Prize winner, The Funeral Director and Soho Six 2019 alumni) breaks new ground writing a comedy about a lesbian community choir struggling to survive. Led by a world-weary conductor with lofty ambitions, the disparate and unruly choir gossip, flirt and attempt to sing their way onto the main stage at Pride.
The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs is a timely play which places community and togetherness at its very heart, whilst exploring deeper questions about lesbian invisibility, male violence and ultimately, the desire for a life with dignity and a sense of belonging.
Qureshi comments: “When I first arrived in London, Soho instantly felt like home. I’m thrilled that this precious piece has found its home too in the heart of Soho. This show could be for anyone who has felt alone and is longing for connection, communion, or a big warm hug.”
The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs director Hauer-King, who also worked with Qureshi on The Funeral Director, adds: “Plays with songs have a particular power and can connect with audiences in a special way. This is a story about belonging, harmony and togetherness, and the music of the choir feels like the perfect way to riff on these themes. But despite its lighter tones, Ministry is also a play asking some difficult questions about why lesbian women struggle to commune and take up space.”
The Ministry of Lesbian Affairs was co-commissioned by Soho Theatre and Damsel Productions and is supported by the Cara Delevingne Foundation. The production will run for 6 weeks in Soho Theatre’s Main House from 5 May to 11 June 2022.
Kibong Tanji Lori
Claudia Jolly Ana
Shuna Snow Connie
Lara Sawalha Dina
Freddie Stabb Fi
Mariah Louca Brig
Fanta Barrie Ellie
Fayez Bakhsh Man
Writer Iman Qureshi
Director Hannah Hauer-King
Set and Costume Designer Anna Reid
Costume Supervisor Danielle Levy
Lighting Designer Zoe Spurr
Sound Designer & Co-Music Director Nicola T. Chang
Co-Music Director & Vocal Coach Victoria Calver
Fight Directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown
Casting Director Nadine Rennie CDG
Producers Kitty Wordsworth for Damsel Productions
Ameena Hamid for Soho Theatre
Dates: 5 May – 11 June 2022
Times: 7.30pm (2.30pm matinees)
Prices: From £12