Birmingham REP unveils East Is East cast

Published: 29 July 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Tony Jayawardena who will play George Khan
Sophie Stanton who will play Ella Khan

Birmingham REP has announced the full cast for its 25th anniversary production of East Is East, the comic family drama of the British-Asian experience.

Since premièring on the REP’s stage in 1996, Ayub Khan Din’s work has sold out three London runs and been adapted into a BAFTA-winning film. It returns home before going to the National Theatre which is co-producing with the REP.

Tony Jayawardena will play George Khan. He took the roles of Imam Saleem in The Invisible Hand by Ayad Akhtar at the Kiln Theatre in July 2021 and Hari Hobson in Tanika Gupta’s adaptation of Harold Brighouse’s Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester in 2019.

Sophie Stanton is Ella. She has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, appearing as Jacques in As You Like It and Gremia in The Taming of the Shrew, both in 2019.

The rest of the cast comprises Amy-Leigh Hickman as Meenah, Irvine Iqbal as Mr Shah and the doctor, Adonis Jenieco as Saleem, Rachel Lumberg as Annie, Noah Manzoor as Sajit, Joeravar Sangha as Maneer, Gurjeet Singh as Tariq and Assad Zaman as Abdul.

East Is East features George Khan who wants to raise his family the proper Pakistani way but has not counted on the distractions of 1970s Salford. It is up to mum Ella to try to keep the family together.

Iqbal Khan directs, with Bretta Gerecke looking after the set, projection and lighting design. Susan Kulkarni is costume designer, Felix Dubs is composer, John Nicholls takes care of sound design, associate director is Natasha Kathi-Chandra and video associate is Max White.

East Is East will run at the REP from Friday 3 until Saturday 25 September.