Four theatres to co-produce My Beautiful Laundrette

Published: 15 April 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

“Strikingly relevant issues”: My Beautiful Laundrette

Four theatres are getting together to co-produce a new stage version of Hanif Kureishi’s 1985 Oscar-nominated film My Beautiful Laundrette.

Leicester’s Curve, the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Everyman Theatre Cheltenham and Leeds Playhouse will present the drama which explores cultural conflict, gender equality, class and generational strife. It will be presented “against a funky backdrop of ‘80s music and culture”.

Set in London during the Thatcher years, My Beautiful Laundrette tells the story of a young British Pakistani, Omar, who transforms his uncle’s run-down laundrette into a thriving business. After being confronted by a fascist gang, Omar recognises schoolfriend Johnny and uses their history to diffuse the situation. As they renovate the laundrette together, love blossoms between them.

Curve’s artistic director Nikolai Foster, who will direct the play, and chief executive Chris Stafford said, “Hanif surfs a multitude of strikingly relevant issues in his 1985 masterpiece—from the journey of the immigrant, English working-class society, women’s roles in the family and the results of Thatcher’s policies. Kureishi does all of this with bucketloads of wit, openness, compassion and a sense of mischief at the absurdity of it all.”

Hamish Glen, artistic director of the Belgrade, added, “we’re really pleased to be continuing our ongoing partnership with Curve after the success of our previous co-productions, Ishy Din’s Wipers and Pink Sari Revolution in 2017.

“My Beautiful Laundrette forms part of our ongoing efforts to reach and retain new audiences, and, with the support of our co-producers, we hope to strengthen the relationships we’ve already begun to develop with the diverse communities of the Midlands, particularly as Coventry moves towards its year as UK City of Culture in 2021.”

The production will open at Curve from 20 September until 5 October. It then tours to Everyman Theatre Cheltenham from 8 until 12 October, Leeds Playhouse from 15 until 26 October, Belgrade Theatre Coventry from 29 October until 2 November and Birmingham REP from 5 until 9 November.