Written by Iman Qureshi and winner of the prestigious 2018 Papatango New Writing Prize from almost 1400 entries, The Funeral Director is a sensitive, sharp and layered exploration of sexuality and the Islamic faith. This spring The English Touring Theatre and Papatango Theatre will present this deeply perceptive work at HOME Manchester.
I just thought it would be a secret I’d have to die with. And now – I think it’ll be what kills me.
Ayesha is a director of a Muslim funeral parlour in an unnamed Midlands town – it’s her family business, she inherited it from her mother. Life as the owner of a funeral parlour isn’t always easy but together with her husband Zeyd, Ayesha runs a tight ship. She and Zeyd share everything: their marriage, their thriving business and a bright future.
One day Tom, a grief-stricken young white man turns up at their door to ask if Ayesha and Zeyd will organise the funeral of his Muslim boyfriend. Afraid of what will happen to their standing in the community, Ayesha makes a snap moral decision and turns him away.
The plot is further complicated by the fact that Ayesha and Zeyd’s marriage has begun to falter. The real reason for this becomes apparent when Janey, the woman Ayesha first fell in love with, returns to town.
Ayesha finds that she is forced to confront a secret that she has buried, even from herself, for so long. Ayesha must decide who she is – but at what cost?
Running at around 90 minutes, The Funeral Director is Qureshi’s first full-length work. Born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia, Qureshi is a member of Tamasha Playwrights and one of the Soho Six playwrights 2019.
Following the performance on Wednesday 27 March, there will be a post-show Q&A session with the cast and creative team.