Bijan Sheibani will direct Federico García Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba running at the Almeida Theatre from 19 January – 10 March 2012, with press night on 26 January at 7pm.
In a new version by Emily Mann The House of Bernarda Alba has designs by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Jon Clark and sound by Dan Jones.
The cast comprises Shohreh Aghdashloo (Bernarda Alba), Jane Bertish (La Poncia), Pandora Colin (Angustias), Jasmina Daniel (Maria Josefa), Amanda Hale (Martirio), Seline Hizli (Amelia), Sarah Solemani (Maryam), Mia Soteriou (A Maid), Badria Timimi (Prudencia) and Hara Yannas (Adela).
Following her husband’s funeral in rural Iran, powerful matriarch Bernarda Alba decrees to her five daughters that the household will enter a period of eight years mourning. The only one it seems will escape this fate is the eldest daughter, Angustias, who is already betrothed to the village’s most eligible bachelor. In the strict confines of the house, jealousy and suppressed sexuality rise to the surface. As Bernarda’s oppression of her daughters increases it is more than the girls’ liberty that is in danger.
Relocating one of Lorca’s best known works to rural Iran, Iranian stage and screen actor Shohreh Aghdashloo will be leading the cast as Bernarda Alba. This will mark her British stage debut; her television credits include Sajida in The House of Saddam for the BBC/HBO, a role for which she won the 2009 Emmy® for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a mini-series or movie. She was named Best Supporting Actress by the Independent Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association for her role in House of Sand and Fog. Her other film credits include The Stoning of Soraya M, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, The Nativity Story, The Lake House and X-Men: The Last Stand, as well as Persian language films Gozaresh and Sute-Delan. She has made regular guest appearances on 24, ER and Will & Grace. On stage her credits include Rainbow on tour in the USA and extensive work with the Drama Workshop of Tehran. Aghdashloo is the co-founder of LA based Theatre Company Workshop 79.
Shohreh Aghdashloo is appearing with the permission of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity.
Jane Bertish (La Poncia) recently played the role of Immacolata in The Syndicate alongside Ian McKellen for the Chichester Festival Theatre. Her other more recent theatre credits include Nicholas Nickleby also for Chichester Festival Theatre, Hurts Given and Received at the Riverside Studios, A Family Affair at the Arcola Theatre and The Duchess of Malfi for West Yorkshire Playhouse. Her television credits include Lewis, Life on Mars, The Passion, Vanity Fair and French and Saunders. Her film credits include The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone, Dance with a Stranger and Paperhouse.
Pandora Colin (Angustias) has previously played the title role in Lorca’s Mariana Pineda at the Arcola Theatre. Her other recent theatre credits include After The Dance and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour for the National Theatre and Betrayal for the Theatre Royal Bath. Her recent television credits include Black Books, Coupling and Hotel Babylon. Her film credits include Run, Fat Boy, Run, A Bunch of Amateurs and Max.
Jasmina Daniel (Maria Josefa) is currently performing in the The Last of the Duchess alongside Sheila Hancock and Anna Chancellor at the Hampstead Theatre. Her other theatre credits include Pera Palas at the Arcola and The Chair Women at the Riverside Studios. Her television credits include Prometheus, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes and Emmerdale and on film her credits include The Rushing Waters of Velaba, Mr. Jericho and Tales from the Crypt.
Amanda Hale (Martirio) was nominated for the Evening Standard Award Most Outstanding Newcomer Award for her part in The Glass Menagerie at the Lyric Hammersmith. Her other theatre credits include Wastwater and The City for the Royal Court, Elektra, After Dido and King Lear for the Young Vic and Our Class for the National Theatre in which she was directed by Bijan Sheibani. Her television credits include Rev, Any Human Heart and Spooks. Her film credits include Bright Star and Richard is My Boyfriend.
Seline Hizli (Amelia) graduated from RADA in 2010 and is currently performing in Nina Raine’s production of Jumpy at the Royal Court. Her television credits include Appropriate Adult, Land Girls and Law and Order.
Sarah Solemani (Maryam) is a former member of the National Youth Theatre and the Cambridge Footlights. She can currently be seen on television playing Becky opposite Russell Tovey as Steve in series two of the highly-successful BBC3 sitcom Him and Her. Her theatre credits include Pornography for the Tricycle Theatre, Burning Cars for Hampstead Theatre and The Graduate at the Gielgud Theatre. Her other television credits include Psychoville, Silent Witness and The Borgias. Her film credits include Mrs Henderson Presents.
Mia Soteriou’s (A Maid) theatre credits include Yerma for West Yorkshire Playhouse, Brecht’s Turandot for Hampstead Theatre and The Odyssey for the Lyric Hammersmith and West Yorkshire Playhouse. Her television credits include Game of Thrones, Eastenders and Holby City. Her film credits include Mamma Mia, Eastern Promises and Topsy Turvy. Soteriou has also worked extensively in radio drama and has helped to compose theatre and radio scores for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC.
Badria Timimi (Prudencia) has worked predominantly in television since graduating from Bristol Old Vic. Her television credits include The Shadow Line, The Fixer, Spooks and Eastenders as well as The House of Saddam for BBC/HBO in which she performed alongside Shohreh Agdashloo. Her theatre credits include Birth of a Nation at the Royal Court, The War Next Door for the Tricycle and Tales from the Harrow Road at the Soho Theatre. Her film credits include Syriana and Pusher.
Hara Yannas (Adela) is currently playing the role of Junia in Britannicus at the Wilton’s Music Hall. Since graduating from LAMDA in 2009 her theatre credits include Pericles at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, It Felt Empty When The Heart Went At First But It’s Alright Now and Uncle Vanya at the Arcola Theatre and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe and on tour.
Bijan Sheibani is an Associate Director at the National Theatre where he has directed Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen as well as Greenland and Our Class. As Artistic Director of Actors Touring Company (2007 to 2010) his productions include Eurydice and The Brother’s Size at the Young Vic and Ghosts of Those Who Return at the Arcola. His Laurence Olivier award-winning production of Gone Too Far was produced by the Royal Court. Earlier this year he directed Harold Pinter’s Moonlight for the Donmar Warehouse. The House of Bernarda Alba is Sheibani’s second production for the Almeida, after The Fixer part of WRITE Playwriting Festival in 2006.
Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca’s first play Mariana Pineda was staged in 1927. As well as The House of Bernarda Alba his other plays include Blood Wedding, staged by the Almeida in 2005 directed by Rufus Norris and starring Gael Garcia Bernal, and Yerma. His first volume of poems, Gypsy Ballads, was published in 1928.