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The Boy At The Back Of The Class

The cast of The Boy at the Back of the Class. Photo credit Manuel Harlan.

The World Premiere production of The Boy at the Back of the Class, at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18 May 2024.  Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award 2019 and Winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019.


Rose Theatre and Children’s Theatre Partnership’s production of the world premiere stage adaptation of the multi award-winning and best-selling children’s book The Boy at the Back of the Class, based on the novel by Onjali Q. Raúf, adapted by Nick Ahad and directed by Monique Touko will play at The Belgrade Theatre from Tuesday 14 – Saturday 18 May, with a press performance on Tuesday 14 May.

 The Boy at the Back of the Class is a timely, humorous and heart-warming story about the power of kindness, engaging children and their families in discussions around refugee rights.

Farshid Rokey. Photo credit Manuel Harlan.

There used to be an empty chair at the back of the class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it. He’s nine years old (just like me), but he’s very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets – not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!

After learning that he has fled his own war-torn country, Ahmet’s classmates have ‘The Greatest Idea in the World’ – a magnificent plan to reunite Ahmet with his family. An unexpected and often hilarious adventure follows, all topped off with a terrific twist.

Gordon Millar, Petra Joan-Athene, Sasha Desouza-Willock and Abdul-Malik Janneh. Photo credit Manuel Harlan.

Told from a child’s perspective, balancing heart and humour, The Boy at the Back of the Class highlights the power of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn’t always make sense and reminds us that everyone needs a place to call home.

Assistant Director Amy Crighton, who grew up in Leek Wootton near Coventry, said, "It's been so brilliant to work on The Boy at the Back of the Class, a play with a message that's so important and relevant to the current climate - and one that engages young audiences in its themes too! I'm also so thrilled to be bringing it to Coventry which has been my local theatre growing up - I hope it inspires young people in the area and they enjoy it just as much as I've enjoyed my trips to the Belgrade!"

Hedda Beeby, of Children’s Touring Partnership said, “If there is no theatre for younger audiences, there will be no theatre at all in years to come and it is vital to offer the opportunity to experience live performance from an early age. We are delighted to be working with the Rose Theatre to tell this life-affirming story. It’s about young people for young people.”

Priya Davdra and Petra Joan-Athene. Photo credit Manuel Harlan.

The full cast includes Priya Davdra (Mrs Khan / Mum), Sasha Desouza-Willock (Alexa), Megan Grech (Ensemble/Understudy), Abdul-Malik Janneh (Michael), Petra Joan-Athene (Josie), Joe McNamara (Brendan), Gordon Millar (Tom), Farshid Rokey (Ahmet), Adam Seridji (Ensemble/Understudy) and Zoe Zak (Clarissa).


The creative team includes Monique Touko (Director), Lily Arnold (Set & Costume Designer), Ryan Day (Lighting Designer), Giles Thomas (Composer & Sound Designer), Kloé Dean (Movement Director), Sophie Parrott CDG (Casting Director), Maisie Carter (Fight Director) and Amy Crighton (Assistant Director).



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