Curve is proud to announce the casting for its world-première Made at Curve production of Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual, running in Leicester from 26th September – 6th October 2018. The production is adapted for the stage by Curve Associate Artist, Dougal Irvine from the 2012 book by Riaz Khan. The gritty drama will be directed by Curve’s Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster. Press night is on Wednesday 3rd October at 7pm.
Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual sees Curve once again championing young emerging talent, with recent graduates Jay Varsani and Hareet Deol cast in this thrilling two-man play.
Jay Varsani is set to play the central role of Riaz, who guides the audience through his induction into the world of football ‘casual’ culture. Jay is a recent graduate of East 15 Acting School, with Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual being his professional debut. Roles whilst training include Ariel in The Pillow Man; Laertes in Hamlet; Ginger in Jerusalem; Joe Keller in All My Sons and Riz in The Invisible. Jay has also appeared as a stunt performer in Ripper Street for Tiger Aspect Productions and BBC.
Hareet Deol, a Leicester local, is set to play Riaz’s brother, Suf. Hareet is a recent graduate of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, with Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual being his professional stage debut. Credits whilst training include Charles/ Silvius in As You Like It, Alex in Microcosm and Peppe in Napoli Milionaira. Hareet also played Josh in The Shore (Solus Productions).
Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual tells Riaz Khan’s colourful account of growing up in the multi-cultural city of Leicester. Riaz fights back against racial abuse and social injustices by becoming involved in the football ‘casual’ culture, and joins Leicester’s infamous ‘firm’ of football hooligans, the ‘Baby Squad’.
Decked out in the latest designer gear and ready for a brawl with the rival firm on match day, Riaz and his friends unwittingly create a multi-cultural gang advocating racial tolerance, where the only labels that matter are on the clothes. But as the years go by and the casualties of football firms around the country mount up, Riaz soon discovers the true price of belonging to a subculture of violence.
Set in the 1980s, this new piece of writing explores the development of the hybrid youth culture of the time, which developed within a shocking culture of violence. The story is vividly brought to life with the characters of Riaz and Suf portraying the various colourful characters they interact with.
Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster said:
“We were privileged to meet many talented young actors in auditions for Dougal Irvine’s cracking adaptation of Riaz Khan’s book, based on his astonishing life story. Both Jay and Hareet instantly stood out as remarkable talents. Curve is all about nurturing new talent and we are proud Jay and Hareet will make their professional stage debuts in this gritty, provocative and funny new play which receives its world premiere here in Leicester this Autumn.
“Whilst it’s widely discussed that there is an imbalance of BAME artists graduating from UK drama schools today, the reality of this hit home casting this play, when we discovered only a handful of graduating actors were from South Asian backgrounds. 2018 marks our 10th Birthday at Curve and in looking to the future, we are continuing to find ways in which we can ensure the talent pipeline for future years represents the world we live in today.”
The production is supported by De Montfort University as part of the strategic partnership between the two organisations.
Adapted for the stage by Curve Associate Artist, Dougal Irvine
Director – Curve’s Artistic Director, Nikolai Foster
Set and Costume Designer – Grace Smart
Composer and Sound Designer – Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Tasha Taylor Johnson
Casting Director – Kay Magson CDG
Tickets can be purchased online at www.curveonline.co.uk, in person at Curve’s Ticket Office or over the phone on 0116 242 3595.
60 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1SB
Twitter: @CurveLeicester Facebook: /CURVEtheatreLeicester Instagram: @Curve_Leicester
Ticket Office: 0116 242 3595
Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8pm (6pm non-performance days)
Sunday: one hour before the performance
Celebrating its 10th birthday this year, almost one million people annually engage with Curve through performances and projects at our home in Leicester, across the UK and internationally. Under the leadership of Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster, Curve has developed a reputation for producing, programming and touring a bold and diverse programme of musicals, plays, new work, dance and opera. All of this presented alongside a dynamic mix of community engagement, artist development and learning programmes, which firmly places audiences, artists and communities at the heart of everything we do.
Recent Made at Curve productions include the world première production of An Officer and a Gentleman – the Musical, Leslie Bricusse's Scrooge the Musical, the world première of Amana Fontanella Khan’s Pink Sari Revolution, adapted by Purva Naresh (with Belgrade Theatre Coventry, English Touring Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds); a major revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard (& UK tour), Winner - Best Musical, Manchester Theatre Awards and Best Regional Production, WhatsOnStage Awards; the world premiere of Ravi Shankar’s opera Sukanya (co-produced with the Royal Opera House & London Philharmonic Orchestra); the 50th anniversary production of Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw (with Theatre Royal Bath); Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s Grease (also in Dubai) and a production of Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine, adapted by David Wood (co-produced with Rose Theatre Kingston & on tour).
Nikolai Foster is Artistic Director of Curve. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, grew up in North Yorkshire and trained at Drama Centre London and at the Crucible, Sheffield.
At Curve Nikolai has directed the world première production of An Officer and a Gentleman – the Musical; Leslie Bricusse’s Scrooge the Musical, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard (& UK tour) Winner Best Musical, Manchester Theatre Awards and Best Regional Production, WhatsOnStage Awards, Joe Orton’s What the Butler Saw (with Theatre Royal Bath), Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s Grease (& Dubai World Trade Centre), Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest (with Birmingham Rep), the Broadway musical Spring Awakening (with NYMT), Legally Blonde (Opera Garnier, Monaco & Daegu Opera Festival, South Korea – Winner Best Musical – Daegu International Musical Festival Awards), Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s (& Haymarket Theatre, London & UK tour), Roald Dahl’s The Witches (with Rose Theatre Kingston, Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds & UK tour), Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, Shakespeare’s Richard III, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good and a performance to celebrate the reveal of the tomb of King Richard III at Leicester Cathedral. His production of the Broadway musical Annie concluded a successful run at the Piccadilly Theatre, London, and will soon transfer to Toronto.
Dougal is an award winning writer, lyricist and composer and Curve Associate Artist. He has a long association with theatre in Leicester and Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual marks Dougal’s twelfth Leicester production. He is thrilled to be telling an authentic local story to the audiences for whom he has so much affection.
Dougal’s credits as a Writer/Composer/Lyricist include Eric Idle’s Adventures of The Owl and the Pussycat (Belgrade Theatre/Selladoor), The Buskers Opera (Park Theatre – The Stage top ten new musicals 2016), Angry Birds (The Space, Havering), The Other School (St James Theatre/NYMT), In Touch (Bridewell Theatre), Departure Lounge (LONDON Waterloo East, Public Theatre – WhatsonStage Award Nominee, Best New Musical. MTN Award Winner, Best Music. OFF BROADWAY, NY Summer Play Festival).
As a Lyricist, Dougal is credited with Laila (Rifco Arts/Watford Palace) Britain’s Got Bhangra (Rifco Arts/Stratford East/Watford Palace. Two national tours – UK Theatre Award nominee, Best Musical. Off West End Award Winner, Best New Musical) The Lighthouse (Production Exchange).
Riaz Khan is the son of traditional Pakistani parents in Leicester - the Midlands city where Asians constitute a third of the population. Now a Lecturer at De Montfort University, he found his own identity in the early 1980s, when he adopted football's 'casual' culture. In his book KHAN: Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual, Riaz described the era when British-born children of Asian immigrants began to cross-pollinate with working-class English kids. At odds with the strict Muslim values of his parents, his adoption of the soul-boy look of the 80s coincided with his acceptance into Leicester City Football Club's hooligan 'Baby Squad'. As a result, Riaz and fellow young Asians were the heralds of a hybrid youth culture and Riaz founded his own 'firm' (the YTS), as he, his brother Suf and their peers confounded the old stereotype of Asians as passive and studious.
Now a writer and De Montfort University Lecturer, Riaz Khan encourages young people to stay away from violence and hooliganism.
Training: East 15 Acting School
Theatre whilst training includes:
Ariel in The Pillow Man; Laertes in Hamlet; Ginger in Jerusalem; Joe Keller in All My Sons and Riz in The Invisible.
Jay has also appeared as a stunt performer in Ripper Street for Tiger Aspect Productions and BBC.
Jay is a Spotlight Prize Nominee 2018 and has represented East 15 at the Sam Wanamaker Festival at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre this year.
Training: Mountview Academy Of Theatre Arts
Theatre whilst training includes:
Charles/ Silvius in As You Like It; Alex in Microcosm and Peppe in Napoli Milionaira.
Television Includes: Josh in The Shore (Solus Productions)