A playwright has received three prestigious Offie award nominations for his play ’10 Nights’.

‘10 Nights’ by Shahid Iqbal Khan, is a 75-minute play, about a young man named Yasser who performs Iʿtikāf in the last ten nights of Ramadan. Some Muslims stay in the mosque at the end of Ramadan day and night to pray, fast and meditate. The play, a co-production by Graeae and Tamasha, ran from 14 October to 13 November at the Bush Theatre in London. It was directed by Kash Arshad.

Graeae is a theatre company for D/deaf and disabled artists. They were set up in 1980 when the founders, Nabil Shaban and Richard Tomlinson, found that there weren’t many roles or jobs for D/deaf and disabled creatives within the industry. They also wanted to make theatre more accessible and dispel myths and prejudices about disability.

Khan, who is deaf, first started working with Graeae when he landed a place on their esteemed Write To Play writing course. Assignments included writing a fifteen-minute monologue and a full-length play by the end of the year.

Khan said: “When I was trying to think of a fifteen-minute monologue piece for my assignment..it occurred to me that Iʿtikāf isn’t really well known outside of the Muslim community.”

He added: “I didn’t know about theatres in London, my knowledge was more local, I thought it would be a good chance for me to learn about the London theatre scene.

“I initially wrote a monologue which I later developed into a full length play, I submitted it and Graeae, Tamasha and the Bush Theatre all loved it. They came together and decided to put the play on.

“My play has had a really good run although people are wary of returning to theatres due to the pandemic. We had steady numbers every night which means a lot in the current climate. We have had a great response from audiences.”

It has had praise and positive reviews. According to Asian Culture Vulture: “’10 Nights’ is an enjoyable show, well acted, presented in British Sign Language and captioned in English/Urdu .” They gave the show four out of five stars.

According to Aleks Sierz, a well respected theatre critic and journalist: “10 Nights is a very enjoyable, thought-provoking and moving play.”

Shahid continued: “I initially acted in a couple of plays in the noughties and I relished the experience but I was worried about how much work I could get as a deaf and/or Asian actor. So I went into writing to try and write parts that could give opportunities to Asian and/or D/deaf actors.”

Shahid added: “My play got three Offie nominations, including Best New Play by Shahid Iqbal Khan, Best Leading Performance by Zaqi Ismail and Best Supporting Performance by Sumayya Si-Tayeb. The play has integrated BSL, English subtitles, Urdu subtitles and audio description.”

The show will be streamed internationally from January 10-15 2022. Tickets can be purchased through the Bush Theatre website.