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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

A hilarious comedy making its world premiere at the Octagon this spring

A brand new ‘East meets Wigan’ comedy is the latest instalment in the Octagon’s

impressive spring line-up.

Habibiti Driver, a co-production with Tara Finney Productions, makes its world premiere debut on the Octagon stage from Thu 21 April – Sat 7 May 2022, directed by Sepy Baghaei.

Written by Shamia Chalabi and Sarah Henley, it was performed as a play-reading as part of the Octagon’s First Bite series in 2019, but now audiences can enjoy the first full-scale production of this heart-warming new comedy.

A talented cast of 6 actors star in this must-see production that explores the clashes,

compromises and comedy that come with living in a mixed-culture family in today’s Britain.

The cast includes:

Shamia Chalabi (Tartuffe and Tamburlaine, Royal Shakespeare


Houda Echouafni (A Museum in Baghdad and King John, Royal Shakespeare


Dana Haqjoo (The Boy With Two Hearts, Wales Millennium Centre and NotMoses, Arts Theatre);

Timothy O’Hara (The Shark is Broken, West End and Little Mermaid, Pins and Needles Productions and Theatre Royal Bath);

Helen Sheals (UK tour of udy and Liza The Musical, On Song Production and Bill Elms Productions and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Octagon Theatre Bolton);

and Hemi Yeroham (Arabian Nights, Iris Theatre and US tour and Off-Broadway production of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Aquila Theatre).

Writers Shamia Chalabi and Sarah Henley said: We are absolutely thrilled that Habibti

Driver is getting its world premiere at the Octagon. After a tough few years we think that the show will be the perfect tonic. We hope that audiences will embrace its sense of warmth,

community and humour. With this in mind we think that Bolton is the perfect home for it, it’s

time for a bloody good laugh!”

Director Sepy Baghaei added: I’m so delighted to be working with this incredibly talented

cast, many of whom have been ready and raring to tell this story for over two years now. Despite pandemic delays, I know everyone in this cast is just as excited as ever to be

bringing the show to Bolton. I can’t wait for Octagon audiences to join us for this funny and

moving exploration of what it means to grow up in a mixed-culture family in contemporary

Britain - there’ll certainly be laughs and maybe even a few tears!”

Relationships are put to the test for Ashraf – an Egyptian Muslim taxi driver – and his half Egyptian, half Wigan daughter Shazia in this exciting new production based on co-writer Shamia Chalabi’s real-life experiences. Join the family in Ashraf’s taxi as they navigate driving lessons, sing karaoke and explore whether, despite their differences, family can win out regardless.

The creative team for Habibti Driver includes: set and costume design by Helen Coyston, lighting design by Pablo Fernandez Baz and sound design by Dinah Mullen.

This brand new comedy comes to the Octagon from Thu 21 April – Sat 7 May 2022. Tickets start from £15 and are on-sale now.

Find out more and book tickets via the Octagon Box Office on 01204 520661 or at

The Octagon is a See it Safely and Good to Go approved venue complying with all the latest government guidance and have implemented Covid-safety measures to keep audiences safe.

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