Skip to main content
Bhangra Nation artwork. Image shows the title over a bright pink, cloudy background. The text “Bhangra” is in a curvy font, “Nation” is in a varsity-style font, and “A New Musical” is in cursive. On top of the R in Bhangra is a bright turquoise bhangra turban.

Bhangra Nation - Cast Announcement

Casting for the UK Premiere of Bhangra Nation – A New Musical, presented by Birmingham Rep in association with Mara Isaacs & Tom Kirdahy, is announced today (Tue 12 Dec 2023).

Bhangra Nation – A New Musical is a powerful and pulsating new show about competitive Bhangra dancing, which will run at Birmingham Rep from 17 Feb to 16 Mar 2024.  When Mary and Preeti’s Bhangra team qualifies for the USA nationals, they set off on opposing quests to dance to their own beat. Drawing from competitive Bhangra and mixing it with other Indian and Western dance forms, Bhangra Nation – A New Musical is a brash, intoxicating and joyous musical comedy for today.

Four members of the Bhangra Nation company are dancing around a boombox. Siobhan Athwal is playing Sunita; she is standing on the far left in a bright yellow and white embroidered Kurta. In the middle is Jena Pandya, who plays Mary; she is wearing blue paint-stained dungarees and flying a scarf above her head. Zaynah Ahmed is on the far right; she is playing Preeti, with her leg in the air and wearing a bright blue Kurta. Iván Fernández González is at the front; he is playing Billy and is doing a shoulder freeze while wearing a red, white, and blue checked shirt.

From left on back row: Siobhan Athwal as Sunita, Jena Pandya as Mary and Zaynah Ahmed as Preeti. In the foreground is Iván Fernández González as Billy.

The cast includes:  Zaynah Ahmed (Preeti), Gregory Armand (Jake), Siobhan Athwal (Sunita), Tia Antoine Charles (Lily), Lydia Danistan (Shilpa), Iván Fernández González (Billy), Kuldeep Goswami (Mohan), Bob Harms (Wallace), Raimu Itfum (Varun), Romaya Jey (Swing), Sophie Kandola (New Mary), Arysha Kelly (Shetal), Ai Kumar (Constance), Aaron Mistry (Swing), Jena Pandya (Mary), Ajay Sahota (Gobind), Edward Turner (Swing), Leo Udvarlaky (Bob), Mervin Noronha (Amit) and Kyle Evans (Noah).  Further cast will be announced in due course.

With a book by Mike Lew and Rehana Lew Mirza, music and lyrics by Sam Willmott,  direction by Stafford Arima and choreography by Rujuta Vaidya, this ambitious and exhilarating new musical will be built and rehearsed at The Rep. Joining the already announced creative team are: Michael Taylor (set design), Linda Cho (costume design) Adam Fisher (sound design) Nick Richings (lighting design) David Bengali (projection design), Rebecca Howell (additional choreography and musical staging), Parambeer Samrai (bhangra consultant), Richard Morris (musical supervision), Kuljit Bhamra  (additional arrangements and orchestrations), Matthew Malone (orchestrations) and casting by David Grindrod for Grindrod Burton Casting.

Jena Pandya (playing Mary) is standing on the far left wearing a bright pink embroidered Kurta. Iván Fernández González (playing Billy) is in the middle wearing a bright green embroidered Kurta. Zaynah Ahmed (playing Preeti) is on the far right wearing a blue embroidered kurta. Siobhan Athwal (playing Sunita) is in the front. She is kneeling and wearing a yellow embroidered Kurta. They are all wearing necklaces, holding wooden sticks and smiling.

From left on back row: Jena Pandya (Mary), Iván Fernández González (Billy) and Zaynah Ahmed (Preeti). In the foreground is Siobhan Athwal (Sunita) Photo by Alexis Chabala

The Tony Award-winning producers Mara Isaacs (Hadestown) and Tom Kirdahy (Hadestown and The Inheritance) said:

Bhangra Nation – A New Musical  is a joyful, exuberant celebration of Bhangra and a deeply felt exploration of identity and community among young people finding their own way forward in the world. We can’t imagine a better home to help launch Bhangra Nation in the UK than in Birmingham!’

Birmingham Rep Artistic Director Sean Foley added:

I am beyond thrilled to be welcoming the amazing cast, the award-winning producing team, the extraordinary international creative team, and this spectacular show, to the Birmingham Rep. In a City that has a claim to be the modern centre of Bhangra, I’m looking forward to seeing the show connecting with both our South Asian communities, and with all audiences looking for a great night out. The Rep is a theatre for everyone, and I hope many people who perhaps will have never been to the theatre before will come along to enjoy the sheer talent involved in this feel-good new musical.’ 

The show originally premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego in 2022 under the title Bhangin’ It.