Mandeep Dhillon and Jalleh Alizadeh will take leading roles in the stage premiere of Meera Syal’s much-loved novel, Anita And Me which opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 9 October (press night Tuesday 13 October).
Adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and directed by Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s artistic director Roxana Silbert, Anita And Me is a warm and touching coming-of-age tale that follows Meena (Mandeep Dhillon), the rebellious teenage daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington. When she becomes friends with the impossibly feisty Anita (Jalleh Alizadeh), she thinks she’s found her soul mate but her world is turned upside down as she finds herself caught between her two cultures.
Mandeep Dhillon is best know for her roles of Saz in the BBC3 series Some Girls and Dacia in CBBC’s hit series Wolf Blood. She can be currently seen in one of BBC iPlayer’s first Original Drama Shorts, My Jihad. Mandeep has also appeared in popular shows such as The Thick of It, Whitechapel and Cardinal Burns and on stage in Angle at the Bush and Little Platoons at the Bush Theatre. Local Birmingham actress Jalleh Alizadeh has appeared on screen in the ITV comedy drama Benidorm and BBC dramas Doctors andHustle.
Playing Meena’s parents, Daljit and Shyam, are Ayesha Dharker and Ameet Chana. Ayesha Dharker played Meena’s mother in the film of Anita And Me. She is currently appearing in Othello at the RSC and her many other theatre credits include the West End and Broadway musical Bombay Dreams, The Ramayana at Birmingham Repertory Theatre and Arabian Nights at the RSC. On television Ayesha has appeared in Coronation Street, Indian Summers and Doctor Who. Her film credits include Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and The Terrorist.
Ameet Chana was a series regular in EastEnders and is currently appearing in the BBC drama My Jihad. On stage Ameet has appeared in Happy Birthday Sunita at Watford Palace Theatre and The Djinns of Eidgah at the Royal Court Theatre. His film credits include The Black Prince and Unhallowed Ground.
The cast for Anita And Me also includes: Amy Booth-Steel (Mrs Ormerod); Janice Connolly (Mrs Worrall);Joseph Drake (Sam); Kiren Jogi (Aunty Shaila); Megan McCormick (Tracey); Tarek Merchant (Ned);Chris Nayak (Uncle Amman) and Yasmin Wilde (Nanima).
The Anita And Me set is designed by Bob Bailey with lighting design by Chahine Yavroyan. Ben and Max Ringham compose and design the sound, and movement direction will be by Ann Yee.
Anita And Me opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 9 to 24 October. Tickets are £7 - £35, for more information and to book call The REP's box office on 0121 236 4455 or visit birmingham-rep.co.uk.
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