“Electrifying” —The Times
“Cuts to the thrust of the most critical, insoluble dilemma of our times; faith’s absolutism against liberalism’s tolerance... a huge dramatic force” —WhatsOnStage
“Magnificently ambitious... throws both light and darkness on a crucial moment in world history” —Time Out
An intense domestic drama of global consequence—for India then and for our world now.
1659. Mughal India. The imperial court, a place of opulence and excess; music, drugs, eunuchs and harems. Two brothers, whose mother’s death inspired the Taj Mahal, are heirs to this Muslim empire. Now they fight ferociously for succession.
Dara, the crown prince, has the love of the people—and of his emperor father—but younger brother Aurangzeb holds a different vision for India’s future. Islam inspires poetry in Dara, puritanical rigour in Aurangzeb. Can Jahanara, their beloved sister, assuage Aurangzeb’s resolve to seize the Peacock Throne and purge the empire?
Originally performed by Ajoka Theatre, Pakistan, Tanya Ronder's adaptation of Dara premiered at the National Theatre, London, in 2015.
Tanya Ronder is a celebrated playwright who trained at RADA and spent fourteen years working as an actress before turning to writing. Her 2007 adaptation of DBC Pierre's Booker Prize–winning novel, Vernon God Little, was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best New Play as well as a What's On Stage Award for Best New Comedy and was revived by the Young Vic in 2011 as part of their anniversary season. In 2009, she adapted JM Barrie's much-loved children's book, Peter Pan, which played to critical acclaim at Kensington Gardens' twelve hundred seat tent and then moved to the O2 for Christmas before touring America. It toured again in the summer of 2014. Her original play Table opened to critical acclaim in the Shed at the National Theatre in 2013. Other credits include Liolà which opened at the National Theatre's Lyttleton in 2013 and Dara which opened in January 2015, again in the Lyttleton.
Shahid Nadeem is founder and Executive Director of Ajoka Theatre and also a renowned theatre and television director. He has directed many popular Pakistani TV drama serials and stage plays including Burqavaganza, Hotel Mohenjo Daro, Amrika Chalo/Destination USA and Dara. His telefilm An Act of Terror received a Scottish BAFTA nomination in 2009 and was screened at London’s Asian Film Festival. His documentary on the late Bishop John Joseph, A Sun Sets In, was selected by South Asian Film Festival for worldwide screening. His telefilm Mujahid was screened at the Asia Society, New York, in 2004. He produced documentaries on human rights for Amnesty International in 1991–92. Shahid served on the Pakistan Television Corporation in various capacities including as a producer, general manager, Director of Programmes and Deputy Managing Director. He has been associated with the BBC Urdu Service, with the Pakistani newspapers including The Herald, Newsline and Daily Times, with the Indian magazine, Frontline, and with Zee News.
He was born in Sopore, Kashmir. He graduated from the prestigious Government College Lahore and gained his Masters in Applied Psychology from the Punjab University, Lahore. He lives in Lahore, Pakistan, and is married to theatre director Madeeha Gauhar. His daughter Savera and son Nirvaan are well-known actors for Pakistani stage and television.