“This first full-length work from the 21-year-old graduate of Hampstead's youth theatre company proves entertaining, thought-provoking and topical, giving a vivid impression of what it is like to be young and living in multi-cultural Britain.” – Telegraph
Fatima Merchant is feisty and strong-willed. At 17, she drinks, smokes and parties. On the eve of her 18th birthday, without word or warning or explanation, she adopts the hijab. Suddenly, to her friends and family she is no longer the Fatima they thought they knew. What Fatima Did... is a funny and provocative exploration of attitudes to identity, freedom and multiculturalism in contemporary London.
Atiha Sen Gupta has written short plays, long plays and everything in between since she was 13. Her first play Eternally Grateful was a terrible dilemma play about a couple (one secular, one Jehovah’s Witness, of course) whose daughter suddenly and conveniently needs a blood transfusion. It didn’t end well. Her first full-length play What Fatima Did was commissioned when Atiha was 17 and part of Hampstead Theatre’s drama youth group ‘Heat and Light’, and played on Hampstead Theatre’s main stage when she was 21. She was nominated for the John Whiting Award and the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. In 2012, Atiha won the prestigious ‘JugendStückePreis’ award for Fatima at an awards ceremony in Heidelberg. Atiha was part of the writing team on E4’s SKINS for three years. In 2014 her play State Red showed at the Hampstead Downstairs.
Counting Stars premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015 at the Assembly George Square which Amnesty International shortlisted for its Freedom of Expression Award. She is writer-in-residence for 2016-2017 at Theatre Royal Stratford East.