The P Word

by Waleed Akhtar
A Bush Theatre Production

Now playing until 29 October.

‘I’m not in your Britain. I’m in another Britain.’

Zafar flees homophobic persecution in Pakistan to seek asylum in the UK. Londoner Bilal (or Billy as he prefers to be known) is ground down by years of Grindr and the complexity of being a brown gay man. Their worlds are about to change forever.

Moving through casual hook-ups to the UK’s hostile environment, Waleed Akhtar’s sharp-witted and devastating new play charts the parallel lives of two gay Pakistani men. This story of who wins in the luck of life’s draw is a new Bush Theatre commission directed by Anthony Simpson-Pike (Lava).

★★★★★ “Tremendous. Devastating. Plays like this are rare.” Time Out
★★★★ “Irresistible. Bewitches with hope, romance and heart.”
★★★★★ New European ★★★★★ Hamza Jahanzeb ★★★★ The Times ★★★★ Arts Desk
“Gorgeous” Pink News “Thrillingly moving” The Stage

The Bush are proud to be working with Micro Rainbow to realise this production. Micro Rainbow opened the first safe house in the United Kingdom dedicated solely to LGBTQI asylum seekers and refugees, and work to support them at all stages of the process.

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Assistant Director
Voice and Accent Coach
Production Manager
Company Stage Manager
Costume Supervisor
Set and Costume Designer
Movement Director
Assistant Stage Manager
Production Dramatherapist
Sound Designer


Waleed Akhtar
Waleed Akhtar is a writer and actor. He was the recipient of the 2023 Peggy Ramsay/Film 4 bursary and was awarded an MGC Futures bursary winner in 2021. He won Most Promising Playwright at The Offies 2023 and was nominated for the equivalent at The Evening Standard Awards. His play, The P Word won the Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre at the 2023 Olivier Awards, alongside a nomination for Best Play at the WGGB Awards in 2022. Work for theatre includes: The P Word (Bush Theatre); Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan (Brixton House, Mercury Theatre, & HighTide); Sholay on the Big Screen (Off Stage Theatre, Bush & Nubian Life); I Don’t Know What To Do (co-creator - Vault Festival). His translation work includes Alexis Michalik’s The Art of Illusion (Hampstead Theatre); Famalam (Season 4 contributor); Sketchtopia and Newsjack (BBC Radio 4 – Contributor); Lost Paradise (Short film B3 Media/UK Film Council). He is currently under commission at the Almeida Theatre & Unicorn Theatre. Work for television includes: The Road Trip (Paramount+/42MP) and a television adaptation of his hit play The P Word (House Productions). He is a current participant of the BBC Studios Spotlight scheme developing an original drama with Sid Gentle Films. His original audio play Mrs Bibi will be released by Audible in 2025. As an actor his credits include Cruella, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Great.  
Esh Alladi
Esh Alladi trained at LAMDA and the University of Cambridge. He is an actor, writer and producer who is also a qualified doctor. In 2019, he won the UK Theatre Award for ‘Best Supporting Performance’ for Hobson’s Choice at the Royal Exchange. His theatre credits include An Adventure (Bolton Octagon); Out West (Lyric Hammersmith; The Argument (Theatre Royal Bath); Hobson's Choice (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester); Rutherford and Son (Crucible Theatre); Absolute Hell (National Theatre); Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company); Lions and Tigers (The Globe); Nell Gwynn (The Globe and ETT National Tour); A Midsummer Night's Dream (New Wolsey Theatre); The House of In Between (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Wit (Royal Exchange Theatre); My World Exploded a little bit (Tristan Bates Theatre); The Beaux' Stratagem, Dara, Behind the Beautiful Forevers, War Horse BBC Prom, From Morning to Midnight, Romeo & Juliet (National Theatre); The Wind in the Willows (Birmingham Rep). His television credits include Red Rose (BBC), The Other One (BBC), Anthony (BBC), Casualty (BBC), Eastenders (BBC), A Confession (ITV), Apple Tree House (BBC), Houdini and Doyle (ITV) and Frankie (BBC). Esh’s film credits include Still Life, The Leak, Ordinary Love, and Christmas at the Palace.


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