A Brixton House production presented with HighTide, in association with Mercury Theatre Colchester

★★★★★ New European

‘A brave piece about the betrayal of a generation.’

‘An elegantly written, often very funny, piece that works precisely because it takes a moral position on Afghanistan, and, underlying every word, there is a raw and admirable fury.’

★★★★ The Stage

‘Shanko Chauduhuri’s all-white design, seamlessly incorporating video panels (hat tip to video designer Gino Ricardo Green) showing archive pop clips that evoked a nostalgic glow in this nearly 40-year-old.’

‘Anna Himali Howard’s production pulses with energy.’

***Nominated for two Offie awards: Most Promising New Playwright and Lead Performance in a Play***

In Afghanistan there are many important issues. So I am asking a very important question.

Britney, or Shakira?

Who is the real Queen of Pop?”

Inspired by a true story of Afghanistan’s first youth music TV programme, Kabul Goes Pop: Music Television Afghanistan explores the devastating effects as two young friends take on the political landscape while trying to build a new Afghanistan. 

Kabul Goes Pop brings us into a world post the US invasion that is complex, contradictory, and shocking – all to a soundtrack of early 00 pop!

Kabul Goes Pop was first presented at the Mercury Theatre as part of Mercury Reads in early 2021 and was then part of our Inventing The Future Festival later that year. This fully staged production is directed by rising star of British theatre Anna Himali Howard, previously Associate Director on the legendary theatre production FLEABAG by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

2022 Tour

Brixton House: 13 – 1 June

Harlow Playhouse: 8 June

Colchester Mercury: 15 – 18 June

New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich: 20 June

Credit Artwork © Azarra Amoy

Production sponsor: Lansons

Kabul Goes Pop! Poptastic Playlist

To get you in the mood we’ve curated a playlist of the most poptastic noughties hits mentioned in the play.

In Conversation

Writer Waleed Akhtar sat down with Gbolahan Obisesan, Artistic Director of Brixton House to discuss the inspiration behind Kabul Goes Pop! You can watch the full interview here.

Content Warnings:

The show contains swearing and themes which may cause distress.

Sexual violence is referred to, and abduction and murder is described.

Grief over the loss of a loved one is depicted, and the mental illness and death of a family member is referred to.

War and political violence is discussed, including mentions of suicide bombings and a description of being injured in a bombing.

Life under Soviet and Mujahideen conflict and Taliban rule in Afghanistan is described.

Cast & Creatives

  • Shala Nyx Samia
  • Arian Nik Farook
  • Waleed Akhtar  Writer
  • Anna Himali Howard Director
    Anna Himali Howard is a director, theatremaker and dramaturg. Her work has been staged at theatres including the Bush Theatre, the Gate Theatre, the Orange Tree and Birmingham REP. She trained on the Birmingham REP Foundry, as the Paines Plough Trainee Director, on the NT Studio Directors’ Programme and the Royal Opera House Directors’ Course.   Anna’s work as a Director includes I STAND FOR WHAT I STAND ON (upcoming, Strike A Light), INSIDE (Orange Tree Theatre), I WANNA BE YOURS by Zia Ahmed (Paines Plough/Bush Theatre), and YOURS SINCERELY by Will Jackson (Birmingham REP). Anna was Associate Director on FLEABAG by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Drywrite/Soho Theatre international tour), and Staff Director on SMALL ISLAND (National Theatre).
  • Shankho Chaudhuri Set and Costume Designer
  • Anna Clock Sound Designer
  • Rajiv Pattani Lighting Designer
  • Gino Green Video Designer
  • Yami Löfvenberg Choreographer
  • Neetu Singh Assistant Director
  • Olivia Ward Costume Supervisor