English Touring Theatre and Papatango Theatre presents

The Funeral Director

By Iman Qureshi

“I just thought it would be a secret I’d have to die with. And now – I think it’ll be what kills me.”

Life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn’t always easy, but Ayesha has things pretty sorted. She and Zeyd share everything: a marriage, a business, a future.

Until Tom walks in to organise his boyfriend’s funeral. A snap moral decision, informed by the values of their community and their faith, has profound consequences.

Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is – no matter the cost.

Winner of the 2018 Papatango New Writing Prize from 1,384 entries, The Funeral Director is an incisive and heartfelt story of sexuality, gender and religion in 21st century Britain.

“Thought-provoking… Tackles sensitive subjects without sensationalising them or passing judgement.” – British Theatre Guide

“A powerful insight into tensions not always so evident on mainstream stages… The growing tension and movement into an angry defence of his religion from Zeyd (Assad Zaman) is a particular standout.” – Manchester Wire

“An engrossing, thought-provoking play of great integrity.” – Jildy Sauce

The play is dramatic on so many levels, and clever on so many more, and is certainly well-written… Life-affirming.” – The Reviews Hub

“Director Hannah Hauer-King skilfully ensures that this is a story that remains humane rather than preachy… An engaging and absorbing piece of theatre that is definitely worth seeing.” – Live Art Alive

“Challenging, provocative… Enthralling… A must-see production.” – Caught in the Act

“A nuanced and non-prescriptive look at issues of race, religion and sexuality… A sensitively told, thought-provoking, debate-inspiring piece of theatre… A must-see.” – Emma Reviews

“Beautifully directed by Hannah Hauer-King… You can understand why this script won Papatango’s 10th annual New Writing Prize; it is current and important. It is also hugely funny, and it succeeds in blending these genres together seamlessly.” – Reviewer Number 9

“Director Hannah Hauer-King sensitively gives equal weighting to the voices of the Muslim community as much as to the flaws within some of their beliefs, while ensuring neither side overpowers… An engrossing, often challenging play.” – Upstage Reviews

★★★★ “Makes a humane point without lapsing into preachiness… Examines Islamic attitudes to same-sex relationships with grace and dignity.” – The Guardian

“At an hour-and-a-half without an interval, The Funeral Director presents a bit of a challenge, but the payback far outweighs the investment… An accomplished piece of work.” – Nottingham Post

“Sensitive and nuanced.” – The Stage

“The play certainly unfolds in fine dramatic style, and highlights not only an area of profound tension and negotiation in our society, but also some of the ways in which those tensions might eventually be resolved.” – The Scotsman

★★★★ “This unflinching text is a charged, thought-provoking piece with relevance beyond its geographic and cultural setting.” – The Skinny

★★★★ “A fascinating conundrum lies at the heart of The Funeral Director… There are some nice performances here and a genuinely moving conclusion… A play that will have you discussing its central premise for hours after you’ve left the theatre.” – Bouquets & Brickbats

★★★★ “The Funeral Director is a powerful, thought-provoking 90 minutes of theatre, which shows great promise from all involved.” – The Wee Review

★★★★ “A very good play… The applause was loud and long.” – ScotsGay Arts

★★★★★ “A triumphant piece of theatre… Mesmerising.” – Ravi Ghosh, Spy in the Stalls

★★★★★ “Pitch perfect.” – Shaun Dicks, Rewrite This Story

★★★★ “Papatango have dug up a real gem from a very promising writer.” – Alex Benjamin, London Box Office

★★★★ “A writer to watch, Qureshi has written a brilliant piece.” – Niall Hunt, Theatre Full Stop

★★★★ “Tough, tender… Extremely moving.” – Asian Culture Vulture

★★★★ “Bravely explores the intersection of religious freedom, culture and LGBTQI rights… Despite the weight of its themes, there is plenty of sharp, dark comedy to enjoy.” – Afridiziak

Want to know more about Papatango Theatre and English Touring Theatre?

  • Running time: 90mins (no interval)
  • The show features strobe lighting
  • Please be aware that while there is no graphic imagery, violence, nudity or strong language in the play, there is one scene in which a baby is prepared for burial. If you have any concerns about watching this scene, please contact Box Office and a member of staff will be able to advise on how this sensitive matter is presented.
  • £12.50 full /  £5 – £10.50 conc.
  • Caption Subtitled performance provided by John Reevell on Fri 29 Mar, 19:45
  • Touch Tour provided by Anne Hornsby, Mind’s Eye Description, on Sat 30 Mar, 18:45
  • Audio Described performance provided by Anne Hornsby, Mind’s Eye Description, on Sat 30 Mar, 19:45