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Royal Court Theatre Announces Cast for Word-Play by Rabiah Hussain

Royal Court Theatre Announces Cast for Word-Play by Rabiah Hussain

Photographer Helen Murray. Clockwise from top left, in alphabetical order: Kosar Ali, Mariam Haque, Maimuna Memon, Laurence Ubong Williams, Ragevan Vasan.

Kosar Ali, Mariam Haque, Maimuna Memon, Laurence Ubong Williams and Ragevan Vasan have been cast in Word-Play, written by Rabiah Hussain and directed by Nimmo Ismail. 

Word-Play is designed by Rosanna Vize, with lighting by Jamie Platt, sound design by Melanie Wilson, video design by Daberechi Ukoha-Kalu and movement direction by Ken Nakajima. Ellie Fulcher is dramaturg.

“We’ve got another 10 minutes before shit really hits the fan.” 

In the Downing Street Press Office an emergency meeting has been called. The Prime Minister has been ad-libbing on live tv (again) and his words are going viral. There are accusations of Islamophobia, and demands for an apology; but as the team debates what to do next, it’s already too late. His words have found their way to dinner parties, bus journeys and newspaper columns across the nation – and not everyone is angry. 

Royal Court Headshots ; Word-Play ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Rabiah Hussain’s new play explores how language seeps into public consciousness and reverberates with far-reaching consequences that will last for generations. 

“History always ripples on. Even if we don’t realise it.”

There will be a post-show talk with Rabiah Hussain on Wednesday 12 October 2022.


Rabiah Hussain (Writer)

Theatre includes: Spun (Arcola & Canada tour). 

Awards include: German Baden-Wuttemberg Youth Theatre Price (Spun), German Youth Theatre Award

Rabiah was selected as a writer for the Kudos TV and Royal Court Theatre Fellowship Programme 2019 and wrote on the third edition of the Royal Court Living Newspaper. She wrote WE ARE SHADOWS, an audio drama tour of Brick Lane for Tamasha Theatre. Rabiah was selected to be part of the BBC Drama Writers’ Programme and was paired with Clerkenwell Films. 

Nimmo Ismail (Director) 

As assistant director, for the Royal Court: The Prudes, Goats.
As director, theatre includes: Two Billion Beats (Orange Tree); Glee & Me, Holding Space, The Christmas Star (Royal Exchange, Manchester); a meal (Poleroid); Fragments, My England (Young Vic); SNAP (Old Vic); two Palestinians go dogging (Sparkhaus); The Other Day, Twelve Months’ Notice, The Debate, Winter Blossom Karaoke (Camden People’s Theatre); Television Guide, The Displaced/We Came in a Tiny Red Boat, I Actually Have a Son (GSMD/Squint).
As assistant/staff director, theatre includes: Oklahoma!, Wings (Young Vic); The Antipodes (National); Shedding a Skin (Soho); Our Town (Open Air); A Very Very Very Dark Matter (Bridge); The Phlebotomist (Hampstead); Quarter Life Crisis (Brixton House/Edinburgh Fringe).
Nimmo took part in the Royal Court Writers Programme and is Sky Arts Artistic Associate at Theatre Royal Stratford East 2022/2023. 


Kosar Ali    

Royal Court Headshots ; Word-Play ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Television includes: Pru, Dangerous Liaisons.
Film includes: Rocks.
Awards include: BIFA Award for Most Promising Newcomer, BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress (Rocks), Muslim Women Awards in the Arts & Entertainment, Screen International Star of Tomorrow. 

Mariam Haque 

Royal Court Headshots ; Word-Play ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

For the Royal Court: Living Newspaper Edition 2.
Other theatre includes: Folk (Hampstead); When the Crows Visit (Kiln); Dara, Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National); Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth (RSC); Home Truths (Cardboard Citizens, Bunker); Diana of Dobson’s (New Vic); Almost Near, Hurried Steps (Finborough); The House of Bilquis Bibi (Hampstead & Tamasha); Crossed Keys (Eastern Angles); Invasion! (Tooting Arts Club); Monster Under the Bed (Polka); Au Revoir Les Enfants (Tour de Force).
Television includes: Live at the Moth Club, Midsomer Murders, Plebs, Ladhood, Henpocolaypse, Worzel Gummidge, This is Going to Hurt, Pls Like, Finding Alice, Trying, Flowers, Black Mirror: Shut Up and Dance, Doctors, Eastenders, Holby City, Hunted.
Film includes: What’s Love Got to Do With it?, Down from London, Benjamin, Undercliff, Smear, Lost Paradise.
Radio includes: The Listening Project. 

Maimuna Memon 

For the Royal Court: Living Newspaper Edition 6.
Other theatre includes: The Band Plays On, Standing at the Sky’s Edge (Sheffield Theatres); Nine Lessons and Carols (Almeida); Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air); Ghost Quartet (Boulevard); Hobson’s Choice, Into the Woods (Royal Exchange Manchester); Electrolyte (Wildcard, Pleasance Dome); The Assassination of Katie Hopkins (Theatr Clwyd); Winnie & Wilbur (Birmingham Rep); The Busker’s Opera (Park).
Television includes: Sherwood, Unforgotten, Doctors.
Radio includes: Welcome to Iran. 

Royal Court Headshots ; Word-Play ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Laurence Ubong Williams 

Theatre includes: A Place for We (Talawa, Park); The Welkin (National); The Watsons (Menier Chocolate Factory); The Deep Blue Sea (Chichester Festival Theatre); The Glass Piano (The Print Room at Coronet); Stop and Search, Top Trumps by Caryl Churchill/Roy Williams et al. (Theatre503); Jumpy (Theatr Clwyd); The Winter’s Tale (Orange Tree); How to Find Us, Swordy Well (Soho).
Television includes: Flatshare, The Capture, Back, Humans, Doctors.
Film includes: Lord of the Rings: War of the Rohirrim, My Dinner with Herve.
Awards include: Offie Award for Best Ensemble (A Place for We).  

Ragevan Vasan 

For the Royal Court: Living Newspaper.
Other theatre includes: The Animal Kingdom, Little Scratch (Hampstead); Name, Place, Animal, Thing (Almeida); I Wanna Be Yours (Paines Plough, Bush); The Village (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Love for Love, Queen Anne (RSC); Hurling Rubble at the Sun, Hurling Rubble at the Moon (Park).
Television includes: Andor, Save Me, The State, Fortitude, Cuffs.
Film includes: Up on the Roof, Dumbo, Walk like a Panther, Daphne, The Last Witness.
Radio includes: 157 Years, Brick Lane. 

Royal Court Headshots ; Word-Play ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

Listings Information:


Written by Rabiah Hussain 

Directed by Nimmo Ismail 

Jerwood Theatre Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS  

See Also

Thursday 29 September – Saturday 05 November 2022 

Monday – Saturday 7.45pm 

Thursday & Saturday matinees 3pm from Thursday 06 October 2022 

Captioned Performances Friday 21, Friday 28 October 2022 at 7.45pm, Thursday 3 November 2022 at 3pm 

BSL Interpreted Performance Wednesday 02 November 2022, 7.45pm

Relaxed Environment Performance Saturday 29 October 2022, 3pm 

Press Performance Tuesday 04 October 2022, 7pm 

Post-show talk Wednesday 12 October 2022 

Standard Tickets £12 – £25 

First Look Tickets** 


Under 27s*** 

Access £17.50 (plus a companion at the same rate) 

*ID required. All discounts subject to availability.