Jane Horrocks to Star in West End Revival of East Is East, Co-starring Playwright Ayub Khan Din

By Mark Shenton
09 May 2014

Jane Horrocks will star in the first major London revival of Ayub Khan Din's East Is East since it was first seen at the Royal Court in 1996 after premiering at Birmingham Rep. She will co-star with the playwright himself, appearing in his own play for the first time, in the production that begins performances Oct. 4 at the Trafalgar Studios, prior to an official opening Oct. 15, for a run through Jan. 3, 2015.



It will be directed by Sam Yates and is being presented as part of director Jamie Lloyd's second "Trafalgar Transformed" season in the reconfigured theatre.

In a press statement, Lloyd commented, "Having announced Martin Freeman in Richard III, I am thrilled to reveal the next production of my second Trafalgar Transformed season. Both Richard III and East Is East are powerhouse plays that provoke discussion and debate – programming that reflects our location on Whitehall, just a few steps away from the centre of British politics. I am overjoyed to welcome the incredibly talented Jane Horrocks, who will star in Ayub Khan Din's modern classic, and am excited that Ayub himself has agreed to play George. This will add even more weight and authenticity to this major revival of his semi-autobiographical play. In a drive to support emerging talent, I am pleased to introduce West End audiences to the work of Sam Yates, who will direct the production. Sam's recent work, including The El Train with Ruth Wilson, has been dazzlingly impressive and I can't wait to see what he creates with this unique piece."

Khan Din added, "East Is East will always remain a special piece for me because of its autobiographical nature and the fact that it continues to find relevance with each generation of young people that see it. I look forward to revisiting it with a new company, not just as the writer, but as an actor as well."

In the play, Pakistani chip-shop owner George Khan - "Genghis" to his kids, who will be played by Khan Din - is determined to give his children a strict Muslim upbringing against the unforgiving backdrop of 1970s Salford. Household tension reaches a breaking point as their long-suffering English mother, Ella (to be played by Horrocks), gets caught in the cross fire - her loyalties divided between her marriage and the free will of her children.

East Is East is Khan Din’s first play, following an initial career as an actor. He subseuquently adapted the play into a hugely successful feature film, starring Om Puri and Linda Bassett. For his screenplay he won a British Independent Film Award and a London Critics’ Circle Film Award, and was nominated for two BAFTAs for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Carl Foreman Award for Most Promising Newcomer, and a European Film Award for Best Screenwriter. He was last seen on stage in May 2013, when he appeared in the title role of Bunty Berman Presents at Off-Broadway's Acorn Theatre, co-authored by himself and Paul Bogaev. Other plays include Last Dance at Dum Dum, Notes on Falling Leaves, All the Way Home, Rafta Rafta, West is West, All in Good Time, an adaptation of To Sir With Love.

Horrocks' stage credits include Annie Get Your Gun and The Good Soul of Szechuan, both at the Young Vic, Aunt Dan and Lemon at the Royal Court, Absurd Person Singular at the Garrick Theatre and Cabaret at the Donmar Warehouse. She is renowned on stage for the original production of Jim Cartwright's The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, which was written for her and premiered at the National before transferring to the West End's Aldwych. She also played the title role in a film version, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors Guild Award.

To book tickets, which are on priority sale now and on general sale from May 13, contact the box office on 0844 871 7632 or visit www.trafalgartransformed.com for more details.