Belgrade to première children’s show online

Published: 24 February 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Representing Muslim characters and communities: Jabala and the Jinn

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre is to livestream Asif Khan’s new play for children Jabala and the Jinn.

The play tells the story of schoolgirl Jabala and is set a few months after her mum has died. One morning she hears a voice speaking to her in Arabic—but no one is there. With the help of a new refugee boy at school, Jabala summons the Jinn or genie. But she is in for a big surprise, because this is no ordinary Jinn and nothing like the ones she has heard about in her grandma’s stories.

Khan 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.

He said, “we don’t see much theatre or stories about British Muslims, particularly for the five-to-eight age group. These are children who are experiencing theatre for the first time, so seeing something that they can relate to will bring them back to the theatre again.

“It’s so important to see yourself represented. Growing up, I didn’t have that, and we can underestimate how important that is to children.”

Rosamunde Hutt directs Jabala and the Jinn which will be livestreamed at 3PM on Saturday 27 March. It will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Khan, Hutt, the performers and the creative team.

A pre-recorded performance of the show will then be available on the theatre’s web site from Wednesday 31 March until Saturday 24 April.

Tickets priced from £10 are available at the Belgrade Theatre web site.