The producers of The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes are proud to present a series of discussions at the Arcola Theatre focusing on the issues surrounding the play and its international context. These informative and informal panels will be open to anyone who has booked a ticket to see the show at any point during the run on a first-come, first-served basis. The discussions will begin ten minutes after the end of the play that evening.
Thursday 24 July: Iraq, Now and in the Future
Richard Norton-Taylor (Chair)
Richard Norton-Taylor was until recently the security editor at The Guardian, and regularly contributes to BBC news and current affairs programmes. He won the Freedom of Information Campaign Award for journalism in 1986. He edits theGuardian Defence and Security blog. As a playwright, work includes The Colour of Justice and Justifying War: Scenes from the Hutton Inquiry.
The Rt Hon Clare Short
Clare Short is a British politician. She was the Member of Parliament from 1983 to 2010; for most of this period she was a Labour Party MP. She stood down as a member of parliament at the 2010 general election. Short was Secretary of State for International Development from 3 May 1997 until her resignation from that post on 12 May 2003. In June 2009 Short received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Ulster in recognition of her services to international development.
Jonathan Steele is a Guardian columnist, roving foreign correspondent and author. Since 9/11 he has reported from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. His new book is Ghosts of Afghanistan.
Houzan Mahmoud is a Kurdish women’s rights campaigner, and the Spokesperson of the Organisations of Women’s Freedom in Iraq. She was born in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1973 and currently residing in London. Her articles were published in UK publications including The Independent and The Guardian, The Tribune, The Newstatsman and others.
Houzan led many campaigns internationally, including campaigns against the rape and abduction of women in Iraq, and against the imposition of Islamic sharia law in Kurdistan and Iraqi constitution. She led many other campaigns around the world against so called honour killings, and against violation of freedom of expression. She has written many articles about the situation of women in Iraq, Kurdistan and Middle East, which have been translated into and published in many languages.
Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP
Alistair Burt entered Parliament for the first time in 1983 for Bury North, and since 2001 has been the Member of Parliament for North East Bedfordshire. Following a lengthy and varied front bench career in both Government and Opposition, Alistair was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office between May 2010 – October 2013 with responsibility for Counter Terrorism, Counter Proliferation, Counter Piracy, North America, Middle East and North Africa, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. Mr Burt was appointed a member of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council in November 2013.
Thursday 31 July: Immigrants,Detention Centres And Forcible Deportation
Celia Clarke, Director of BID (Bail For Immigration Detainees), has more than 19 years’ experience in senior management in the charitable sector, 8 and a half years as BID Director, prior to which she was Director of a charity providing free individual and group therapy to women living on poverty level incomes for five years, preceded by six years on the senior management team of an international NGO, heading up the funding function. http://www.biduk.org/
Theresa Schleicher is the Casework Manger at Medical Justice, an NGO that promotes and defends the healthrights and related legal rights of immigration detainees, mainly by arranging independent medical assessments for detainees.
Medical Justice sees detainees for a variety of reasons: to documents evidence of torture, assess current mental and physical illness, and to recommend appropriate treatment. The majority of Medical Justice’s clients are later released, often because they are found to be torture survivors or because they are medically unfit for detention.
Theresa joined Medical Justice in 2009. Prior to this she worked at Women for Refugee Women and the Afghan Association of London. http://www.medicaljustice.org.
Ali McGinley is the Director of AVID (the Association of Visitors to Immigration Detainees), the national membership network of volunteer visitors to those detained under immigration acts in the UK. AVID works to ensure detainees rights are upheld and to promote volunteer visiting. AVID supports 20 member groups who visit detainees across the country, and lobbies for positive change in the detention system by collating evidence based on the day to day realities of life in detention.
Ali joined AVID in 2009. She has 13 years experience in the charity sector including eight years working on human rights issues. Before AVID, Ali worked in the International Secretariat of Amnesty International www.aviddetention.org.uk
Thursday 7 August: Attitudes Towards Refugees & Deportation
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (Chair)
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a Ugandan-born British journalist and author, who describes herself as a “leftie liberal, anti-racist, feminist, Muslim, part-Pakistani, and … a very responsible person”. Currently a regular columnist for The Independent and the Evening Standard, she is a well-known commentator on issues relating to immigration, diversity and multiculturalism. She is a founder member of British Muslims for Secular Democracy.
Lisa Doyle – Head of Advocacy for the Refugee Council
Lisa Doyle is the Head of Advocacy at the Refugee Council, where she is responsible for managing its campaigning, media, parliamentary, policy and research work. She leads on the organisations research agenda and since joining the charity in 2005, has undertaken research on a variety of issues that affect refugees and asylum seekers including an examination of cashless support for asylum seekers, the impact of denying entitlement to work, access to post-16 education and the experiences of newly-granted refugees. Lisa previously held positions at the Learning and Skills Development Agency (LSDA), where she conducted research concerning widening participation. Before joining LSDA, she was a lecturer in Human Geography at University of Sussex.
Deborah Coles – Co-Director, Inquest
The Co-Directors are jointly responsible for leading INQUEST and ensuring its continued credibility as a high-profile service-delivery and campaigning organisation. They are responsible for individual staff management and supervision as well as organisational and team management and development. They devise INQUEST’s strategic policy on reform of the inquest system and issues arising from casework, in particular in relation to deaths in custody, and liaise with government – frequently at ministerial level – and other relevant organisations. The Co-Directors lead specific projects and undertake research to assist the organisation in achieving meaningful change in related policy and practice. They represent the organisation both orally and in writing at external events and in the media and work on individual cases ranging from inquests to hearings in the House of Lords.
Thursday 14 August: New Writing From The Middle And Further East
Raficq Abdulla (Chair)
Born in South Africa of Muslim parents, Raficq Abdulla is an Oxford-educated barrister, as well as a writer, public speaker, and broadcaster.
His publications include Words of Paradise, a new collection of interpretations of the poetry of Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), and a fresh interpretation of Conference of the Birds, the allegorical poem by the medieval poet and mystic, Farid al-Din Attar (1142-1220). He has been a regular reviewer of books on Islam for many years and has published articles on issues concerning identity, Islamophobia, and the aftermath of the Salman Rushdie affair. He has also written on John Ruskin.
Over the past 15 years, Raficq Abdulla has written and presented a large number of programmes on Islam for BBC World Service radio, including The Four Caliphs,Rumi, The Conference of the Birds, and a series on the life of The Prophet Muhammad. He has written screenplays for Channel 4, including the award-winning films Blood of Hussein, and Born of Fire.
He is a trustee of the Poetry Society, Planet Poetry and of PEN.
Rashid’s debut play The President and The Pakistani (directed by Tom Attenborough), based on the real-life story of Barack Obama and his illegal immigrant flat-mate opened at the Waterloo East Theatre in run-up to the US presidential election in 2012. Rashid’s short play Arab Spring (starring Nabil Elouahabi) was performed at the Nursery Festival in 2011 and was featured on BBC Arabic Service. His short play, Hardcore, was selected for a best of programme at the 503 Theatre. He is a graduate of the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers’ Programme.
Rashid wrote Man and Boy (starring Eddie Marsan), which won Best Short at the Tribeca Film Festival 2011 and a top prize at the Aspen Film Festival. His previous short film Father (starring Sam Spruell and Matt King) was selected for festivals in the UK and internationally. He has co-written the forthcoming feature film Orthodox (starring Stephen Graham) about an Orthodox Jewish boxer and has another feature film in development.
Rashid works as a reporter for the London Evening Standard covering subjects including crime, arts and politics, and is a screenwriter as well as a journalist.
Hassan won the Arab British Centre Award for Culture 2013.
Hassan Abdulrazzak is of Iraqi origin, born in Prague and living in London. Hassan’s first play Baghdad Wedding, was staged at Soho Theatre (London) in 2007 and Belvoir St Theatre (Sydney) in 2009. It was also broadcast on BBC radio 3 (2008). Hassan was awarded the 2008 George Devine and Meyer-Whitworth awards and the 2009 Pearson award. He was also awarded the Sara Sugarman bursary which financed a year long attachment at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) under the tutelage of Lloyd Trott (RADA’s dramaturg).
Hassan’s latest play THE PROPHET played at The Gate Theatre, London in the summer of 2012, directed by Christopher Haydon and based on extensive interviews in Cairo with revolutionaries and soldiers, journalists and cab drivers.
His translation of the Palestinian play 603 by Imad Farajin for the Royal Court Theatre is published by Nick Hern Books in a collection entitled ‘PLAYS FROM THE ARAB WORLD’. His short plays have been performed at Soho theatre, Southwark Playhouse and as part of the Celebrating Sanctuary festival. He has been published in The Guardian, Edinburgh Review, Banipal, Niqash and Snakeskin. He is currently working with screenwriter and playwright Nick Drake on the film adaptation of Baghdad Wedding for Focus Features. Hassan works full time as a cell and molecular biologist at Imperial College. Website: http://abdulrazzak.weebly.com