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. His theatre credits include AI (Young Vic); A Thousand Splendid Sons (Birmingham Rep and tour); Flight (Vox Motus/The Bridge); What Shadows (Birmingham Rep/ Park Theatre); Fracked! (Chichester Festival Theatre tour); The Kite Runner (Nottingham Playhouse and tour); Cold Calling: The Arctic Project (Birmingham Rep); Wipers (Leicester Curve); Back Down (Birmingham Rep); Velocity (Finborough); RE:HOME (The Yard); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tooting Arts Club); Under 11's (Soho Theatre); Love Match (Cheltenham Everyman); Make and Model: Radar Festival (Bush Theatre). His television credits include The Great (Hulu); Tyrant (FOX); Three Girls (BBC); Casualty (BBC); Holby City (BBC); Bucket (BBC); Dustbin Baby (BBC); Edge of Heaven (Hartswood Films); Doctors (BBC); Law and Order UK (Kudos); The Gym (BBC Studios). Waleed’s film credits include Cruella (Disney); The Wedding Guest (Revolution Films); The Roads Not Taken (Adventure Pictures); Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (Kudos Film); Night Bus (El Capitan); Miss You Already (Embargo Films); Bruno (Jeva Films); The Intent 2 (Purple Geko); 90 Minutes (El Capitan); Sparks and Embers (Cinemagine); Sidney (BFI). His audio credits include Tommies (BBC Radio 4); My Son the Doctor (BBC Radio 4); In Here (BBC Radio 4); What the Papers Say (BBC Radio 4).  Waleed is also a resident member of the Actors for Human Rights network and seasoned comedy improviser. As a writer his most recent work includes Kabul Goes Pop (Brixton House / Hightide / Colchester Mercury – UK Tour) and a new commission from Audible as part of the Emerging Playwrights scheme. He created Sholay On The Big Screen supported by the Bush and I Don’t Know What To Do at the Vault Festival 2020 (Evening Standard Pick of the Fest). His short film Lost Paradise was produced by UK Film Council, and he has contributed material for BBC Radio 4’s Sketchtopia and Newsjack and BBC3’s Famalam. He was a Michael Grandage Company Futures bursary winner in 2021.
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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