What does it take for a Western man to become a Muslim – and for his family to come to terms with his choice?
Inspired by director Annemiek van Elst’s experiences of her brother converting to Islam, she helms the premiere of Becoming Mohammed coming to London’s Pleasance Theatre next month.
When Sara knocks on her brother’s door after two years, she hardly recognises the man in front of her. Thomas has grown a beard, gets up at the crack of dawn, and dates a girl in a Hijab.
They attempt to rekindle their childhood friendship, but Thomas hasn’t told his sister everything yet…
Annemiek van Elst said: “When my little brother converted to Islam, it came as a shock; he started to reject our family traditions and follow the Sharia law.
“What could have been a breaking point became a difficult but beautiful journey of acceptance, which inspired the making of Becoming Mohammed.
“We believe that, now more than ever, there is a need to represent narratives around Islam in a positive light, and that conversion should be seen not as a threat but as an opportunity to build connections.
“Through our show, we aim to offer support to converts and their families, and to contribute to creating a more tolerant society”.
Written by Claudia Marinaro and starring Jack Hammett, Philippa Carson, Jonah Fazel and Nadia Lamin, Becoming Mohammed has been created with the help of Islamic communities in both London and Rotterdam.
In an effort to open up a dialogue and understanding between Western and Islamic communities, half of all performances will begin with a short forum theatre workshop.
And Many Others theatre company will also host post-show Q&As on Friday evenings and will share their research interviews with reverts and Islamic leaders online.
Becoming Mohammed plays at the Pleasance Theatre, N7, from May 2-21.