Instep Today

Riz Ahmed to make a theatre show debut about ‘toxic relationship’ with the UK

Instep Today
By Instep Desk
Tue, 02, 20

Riz Ahmed’s new theatre show is all set to get a world premiere at this year’s Manchester International Festival

British-Pakistani actor, activist, rapper (Riz MC) and a member of Swet Shop Boys, Riz Ahmed shot to fame with HBO’s outstanding mini-series The Night Of in 2016. He also bagged an Emmy Award for his performance and became a global name.

Since then, he has not only featured on the cover of Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people across the world but has starred in prominent films like Jason Bourne, a Stars Wars film, Nightcrawler as well as Tom Hardy-starrer Venom, among others.

The actor and rapper is now geared up for his debut theatre show, which combines rap music and theatre, and will explore his complicated relationship with Britain.

Commissioned by Manchester International Festival (MIF), the theatrical production, titled The Long Goodbye is set to get a world premiere.

Dubbed as a “close-up look at the breakup of a toxic relationship with the country you call home”, The Long Goodbye will feature new songs by Riz Ahmed, which will be similar to his work with the Swet Shop Boys.

Moreover, it will have a narrative element and has been described as “bracing and emotional”.

The Long Goodbye is the latest in Manchester International Festival’s series of pre-Factory events, paving the way for the opening of The Factory. It will be a major new arts space that is being developed in the heart of the city, that will be MIF’s future year-round home.

MIF is presenting the show outside a festival year. It is one of a number of pre-Factory events taking place in 2020, with the next festival taking place in July 2021.

In a recent interview the Venom actor, who also raps under the moniker Riz MC, shared that he can’t wait to go to Manchester and share the world premiere of this live experience.

“It takes us on a journey through our past to the current crossroads we face as a multicultural society,” he added.

According to the artistic director and chief executive of MIF, John McGrath, “We are so pleased to be working with Riz Ahmed to premiere his new show [The Long Goodbye] in Manchester. Riz is an extraordinary and fearless artist and an increasingly important commentator and activist. For audiences it will offer a hint of the range and caliber of work that will be made and experienced when we open The Factory.”

Written and performed by Riz Ahmed, The Long Goodbye will be directed by Kirsty Housley, who co-directed the Philip Glass-inspired experimental theatre piece Tao of Glass at last year’s MIF.

Ahmed will perform The Long Goodbye for three nights from March 26 to March 28, 2020 at the former railway station turned arts venue, Mayfield, before the show travels to Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York on April 3 to 4, 2020.