Youkti Patel as Aroosa in The House of Bilquis Bibi, 2010

Youkti Patel as Aroosa in The House of Bilquis Bibi, 2010

Creative Team

Writer  Sudha Bhuchar
Director  Kristine Landon-Smith
Designer  Sue Mayes
Lighting Designer  Natasha Chivers
Composer  Felix Cross
Sound Designer  Mike Furness


Bilquis Bibi  Ila Arun
Abida  Ghizala Avan
Bushra   Rina Fatania
Sumayyah   Mariam Haque
Mehroonsia   Indira Joshi
Aroosa   Youkti Patel
Amana   Shalini Peiris
Fida   Vineeta Rishi
Servant / Zainab   Balvinder Sopal

The House of Bilquis Bibi (2010)

by Sudha Bhuchar
adapted from The House of Bernarda Alba
by Federico García Lorca

Bilquis Bibi rules over her household with a rod of iron and a stifling love which cages her five daughters. Like butterflies forever cocooned, they long to shimmer and show their true colours. 

When her husband dies suddenly, Bilquis agrees for eldest girl Abida to become engaged to her nephew Pappo. He brings with him the hope of love and the American dream.

Bilquis turns a blind eye to the illicit nightly visits Pappo pays to his fiancée's balcony. But what will happen when she realises that more than one daughter is staying awake for him?

Tamasha celebrated its 21st year with a new adaptation of Lorca's masterpiece, The House of Bernarda Alba. Set in the Punjabi town of Jhang, it tells a personal yet subtly political story of small town lives with global ties in present-day Pakistan.

Singer and actress Ila Arun (Jodhaa Akbar, Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai, Ringa Ringa) played the domineering matriarch Bilquis. She led an all-female cast of nine, which also included Indira Joshi (The Kumars at No. 42).

Performed in English with some Urdu and Punjabi.

A Tamasha and Harrogate Theatre co-production

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“Delicately written and compellingly acted… Ila Arun makes a commanding matron whose threatening stare, tautly drawn lip, and downcast gaze send chills down my spine”
Spoonfed  |  Click here to read the full review

“Class, complicated matters of the heart and the role of women take centre stage…  for powerful, thought-provoking drama, Tamasha clearly triumphs every time”
Official London Theatre  |  Click here to read the full review

“Pakistan is a complex country – but for anyone with an interest in this part of the world, it is surely required viewing”

Camden New Journal  |  Click here to read the full review

“Kristine Landon-Smith’s production strikes all the right faithful, tasteful notes”

Financial Times

"This intricate play about honour, propriety and fear finds a perfect home in the house of Pakistani matriarch Bilquis Bibi. The life in a small town in Pakistan is beautifully etched in the play"

Asian Age  


Interview with Kristine Landon-Smith & Sudha Bhuchar on Theatrevoice Listen ›

Interview with Kristine Landon-Smith & Sudha Bhuchar on BBC Radio 4'sWoman's Hour  Listen ›

Interview with Sudha Bhuchar and actress Youkti Patel on the Nihal show on BBC Asian Network  Listen ›

Interview with actress Ghizala Avan on Weekend Mirpuri on BBC Asian Network  Listen ›