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Riz Ahmed to debut theatre piece about his 'toxic breakup' with UK Manchester international festival to premiere new rap and music theatre piece

Category: BAME, BAME Inclusion, BAME Diversity, BAME Network, diverse and inclusive workplace

Riz Ahmed to debut theatre piece about his 'toxic breakup' with UK


Manchester international festival to premiere new rap and music theatre piece

The actor and musician Riz Ahmed is bringing the world premiere of a new piece to Manchester, which melds rap music and theatre, and will explore his complicated relationship with Britain.

The Long Goodbye – which was commissioned by Manchester International Festival – is described as a “close-up look at the breakup of a toxic relationship with the country you call home”, and will feature new songs from the actor.

Performed in the round, the music will be similar to his work in the Swet Shop Boys rap group who have released one album, 2016’s politically charged Cashmere, and two EPs. The Long Goodbye will also have a narrative element and has been described as “bracing and emotional”.

“I can’t wait to come to Manchester and share the world premiere of this live experience,” Ahmed said. “It takes us on a journey through our past to the current crossroads we face as a multicultural society.”

The artistic director and chief executive of MIF, John McGrath, said: “We are so pleased to be working with Riz Ahmed to premiere his new show [The Long Goodbye] in Manchester. Riz is an extraordinary and fearless artist and an increasingly important commentator and activist.”

Ahmed is best known for his on-screen roles but also for his rap alter-ego, Riz MC. He played Bodhi Rook in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, was in Chris Morris’s 2010 terrorist satire Four Lions and made his film debut in Michael Winterbottom’s The Road to Guantánamo, before winning an Emmy award for his performance in the HBO drama The Night Of.

In 2017, he warned that the lack of diversity on British TV could drive young people to Isis, saying people from minority backgrounds will “switch off and retreat to fringe narratives, to bubbles online and sometimes even off to Syria” because their stories were not represented on screen. In the same year he was invited to become a member of the Oscars’ voting body.

A year earlier he wrote about his battle against being typecast in the British and Hollywood systems, and was included on Time Magazine’s annual “Time 100” list in 2017, which picks out the 100 most influential people in the world.

Written and performed by Ahmed, The Long Goodbye will be directed by Kirsty Housley, who co-directed the experimental Philip Glass-inspired experimental theatre piece Tao of Glass at last year’s MIF.

Ahmed will perform The Long Goodbye for three nights from 26-28 March at the former railway station turned arts venue, Mayfield, before the show travels to Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York on 3-4 April.


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