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Edinburgh Fringe Feast: “My English Persian Kitchen” Will Bring Culinary Theatre to Life

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A Life-Affirming New Play Filled with the Mouth-Watering Flavours of Iran, Featuring Live Cooking and Inspired by Best-Selling Author Atoosa Sepehr’s True Story

Soho Theatre and Traverse Theatre proudly announce the World Premiere of “My English Persian Kitchen,” a compelling new play by Hannah Khalil. Directed by Chris White, this captivating drama will debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 1 – 25 August, before transferring to London for a three-week run from 16 September to 5 October.

A Story of Resilience and Culinary Connection

“My English Persian Kitchen” follows the journey of a woman forced to flee her homeland with no hope of returning. In a bid to recreate the comfort of her mother’s kitchen, she begins cooking the traditional dishes of her childhood. Through this culinary journey, she not only connects with her past but also builds a new community around her in an unfamiliar place. The play, inspired by the real-life story of best-selling cookery book author Atoosa Sepehr, explores themes of community, identity, and belonging, all richly marinated in the flavours of Persia.

A Unique Theatrical Experience

Isabella Nefar, known for her roles in “Salomé” (National Theatre), “Tehran” (Apple+), and the forthcoming feature film “Reading Lolita In Tehran,” stars in this solo performance. The play uniquely incorporates live cooking on stage, with Nefar preparing the beloved Persian dish, Ash-E Reshteh, and sharing it with the audience, creating an immersive and communal theatre experience.

Voices of the Creators

Playwright Hannah Khalil reflects on the personal connection she felt to Sepehr’s story, stating:

“At first, I wasn’t sure I was the right person to turn this story into a play, but after talking to Atoosa I realised it’s not a story about Iran, but one about what it is to start again. What it is to try and build a community in a new place from scratch. And that’s the story of my mum and me. That’s a story I understand. And I love cooking the food of my Palestinian heritage as a way of connecting to my roots in the same way Atoosa does. We have that in common too. I can’t wait for audiences to taste Atoosa’s story too.”

Atoosa Sepehr adds:

“I didn’t realise how much I love cooking and how much I love food until I came to this country. The way that smell and taste can simply transport you to a different time and place. An important theme in the play for me is the idea that even in our lowest moments life sometimes offers a way out, an opportunity to learn and grow and ultimately to redefine who we are as individuals. Culture truly has no borders and when we migrate to a new country, we take with us aspects of our homeland that can contribute to a wonderfully rich multi-cultural society. I hope audiences will find this story an uplifting and empowering one.”

Director Chris White comments on the unique aspects of the play:

“Hannah has created a play that not only captures Atoosa’s story, but her voice; sometimes verbatim and at other times the essence and spirit of it. To direct a play with such variety of language, and which touches different theatrical styles, is particularly appealing to me. Most of all though, ‘My English Persian Kitchen’ is a chance to renew an ancient and timely ritual of one person telling a story to a group of people who all share food together.”

My English Persian Kitchen” promises to be a sensory feast that blends storytelling, cultural exploration, and culinary delight. Don’t miss this unique theatrical experience that celebrates resilience, community, and the rich tapestry of multiculturalism.

My English Persian Kitchen is part of the Traverse Theatre’s £1 Ticket Project.

About £1 Tickets

The £1 Ticket Project was inspired by the late Martin Currie, a beloved Traverse audience member known for his distinctive and striking suits. Martin was passionate about the Traverse Theatre and the transformative power of live theatre. He was committed to sharing this passion with as many people as possible, especially those who might not have had the chance to experience theatre before.

In honour of Martin’s memory, his friends generously raised funds to launch the £1 Ticket Project. This initiative aims to continue Martin’s legacy by making theatre accessible to new audiences, breaking down barriers, and inspiring a new generation of theatre-goers. Through their support, we hope to keep Martin’s spirit alive and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to experience the magic of live theatre.

Barry Kirkham
Barry Kirkham
Barry Kirkham: Edinburgh Magazine's go-to for tales of tech, science, and yesteryears. Often found wandering Edinburgh's alleys, fork in one hand, history book in the other, he's your fun guide to Scotland's capital and its delicious mysteries!

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