Paines Plough, The Women’s Prize for Playwriting, 45North, The Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and the Orange Tree Theatre, in association with Bristol Old Vic announce casting for Ahlam’s play YOU BURY ME which will play in Bristol, Edinburgh and London from the 24th February until 22nd April 2023. 

Ahlam’s YOU BURY ME is a play about sex, friendship and coming of age in post-Arab Spring Cairo and was joint winner of the inaugural Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020, an award established by Ellie Keel Productions and Paines Plough. 

YOU BURY ME will be performed by a cast of six actors. Nezar Alderazi (Occupational Hazards) will play Rafik; Olivier-award nominated actor Moe Bar-El (The Jungle) will be taking on the role of Tamer; Tarrick Benham will play Osman (New Voices for a New World); Hanna Khogali (Brief Encounter) will play the role of Alia; Eleanor Nawal (Sherlock in Homes) will play Lina and Yasemin Özdemir (Angel) will play Maya.

Directed by Paines Plough’s Joint Artistic Director Katie Posner, the production will open at Bristol Old Vic from 24th Feb to 4th March before moving on to The Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh from 7th to 18th March and running at the Orange Tree Theatre from 27th March to 22nd April, marking the first show in Tom Littler’s first season as Artistic Director at the OT. Tickets are now on sale at all venues.

This story is about a city. A city of exhaust fumes, drunken phone calls, first kisses, hysteria, sweat and laughter. Cairo.

Coming of age in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, six young Egyptians navigate friendship, loss and secret Grindr dates in the city that made them.

Winner of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting 2020, YOU BURY ME is an explosive, political debut from Ahlam about a generation emerging from a national trauma, determined to live and love freely.

“Only Cairo, eh? Only Cairo will push you to your absolute limits and then suddenly… you’re in love. You’re in love and you’re entangled and stuck. How does this city do that?”

Ahlam moved around a lot as a child. She has lived in Germany, Singapore, Kenya, Venezuela, Turkey and the UK. She initially studied theatre in Egypt, where she created work combining elements of classical Greek Theatre and surrealism with contemporary dance, based on her heartbreak. Her interest in text-based theatre was forced upon her in true British tradition, when she was asked to write a reimagining of Indiana Jones to take to the Edinburgh Fringe. Luckily, it turns out she quite likes writing. Ahlam is a dreamer. Ahlam dreams of revolution. Ahlam dreams of the emancipatory power of day-dreaming. Ahlam dreams of big ensemble theatre with giant sets. Ahlam dreams of pistachio-crusted salmon she ate once in Sicily. Ahlam dreams of love. You Bury Me isn’t the first play she’s written and it won’t be her last. 

Katie Posner (she/her) joined Paines Plough as Joint Artistic Director with Charlotte Bennett in August 2019. Katie has most recently directed – Hungry for Soho Theatre/ Roundabout Edinburgh, Really Big and Really Loud, Black Love (Co-Director for Roundabout) and You Bury Me staged reading for the Edinburgh International Festival (Paines Plough/Ellie Keel Productions/45 North)

Katie is an experienced and award-winning director. She has worked across a wide variety of productions both overseas and on national tours, including multiple productions with York Theatre Royal and Pilot Theatre with whom she was Associate Director from 2009 until 2017. Her work encompasses both intimate pieces of new writing and larger-scale community pieces. In 2019 Katie received a UK Theatre Award nomination as Best Director with her production of My Mother Said I Never Should at Theatre By The Lake. Productions include: My Mother Said I Never Should (Theatre By The Lake); Mold Riots (Theatr Clwyd); The Seven Ages Of Patience (Kiln Theatre); Swallows & Amazons (Storyhouse), Babe (Mercury Theatre); Playing Up (NYT); Finding Nana (New Perspectives); Made In India (Tamasha/Belgrade/Pilot); Everything Is Possible: The York Suffragettes, End Of Desire (York Theatre Royal); The Season Ticket (Northern Stage); A View From Islington North (Out Of Joint); In Fog And Falling Snow (National Railway Museum); Running On The Cracks (Tron Theatre); York Mystery Plays (Museum Gardens York); Blackbird, Ghost Town, Clocking In, A Restless Place (Pilot Theatre).


Nezar Alderazi – Rafik

Nezar Alderazi trained as an actor at AUC in Egypt and at East 15 Acting School in the UK. Theatre includes: Occupational Hazards (Hampstead Theatre), The Outsider (The Coronet Theatre), Waiting for Godot (Falaki Theatre, Egypt). Television includes: The Looming Tower, Casualty, The B@it. Film includes: The Mauritanian, David French is a Piece of Shit and I Want Him Dead. Radio includes: The Sandman: Act 2, Moby Dick, Arabian Nights Parts 1 & 2.

Moe Bar-El – Tamer

Moe is an Olivier-award nominated actor originally from Iran.

Theatre includes: Every Day I Make Greatness Happen (Hampstead Theatre), The Jungle (West End), Welcome to Iran (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Lockdown and All That/The Monster Inside (Tara Theatre), Moormaid (Arcola Theatre), Punk Rock (Courtyard Theatre), Awkward Silence (Sadler’s Wells).

Television includes: The Peripheral (Amazon Prime), Tehran and Invasion (Apple TV), Dinner with the Parents (Amazon Freevee), Honour and Count Abdulla (ITV), The Bureau (Canal+), Snatch (Crackle), PhoneShop (Channel 4), Black Mirror (Netflix), Tyrant (FX).

Film includes: Femme, Zero, Austenland, Mitra.

Tarrick Benham – Osman

Tarrick trained at The Arts Educational Schools London.

Theatre includes: New Voices for a New World (Oxford Playhouse), Demonstration (Southwark Playhouse), White Horses (Northern Stage, Newcastle), Dr Blighty (Brighton Dome), Mindwalking (UK tour), Heart (UK tour), We Gamble Responsibly (Pleasance Theatre, London), The Emperor’s Lost Gem (Luton Arts Centre), Casino Royale (Secret Cinema), A Gym Thing (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), 7 Jewish Children (Brighton Festival).

Television includes: Snatch, EastEnders, The Royals, Drifters, Holby City, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Doctors.

Film includes: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Swimming with Men, Involuntary Activist, The River, For the Best, Domestik, Mankurt.

Radio includes: Pride & Prejudice

Hanna Khogali – Alia

Hanna trained at Guildford School of Acting. 

Theatre includes: Britannicus (Lyric Hammersmith), 71 Coltman Street (Hull Truck), Brief Encounter (The Watermill), Once (UK tour), Swallows and Amazons (York Theatre Royal), Moll Flanders (Mercury Theatre), Good Fit (Southwark Playhouse), The Lost Ones (Bush Theatre), The Collection (The Wallace Collection), Rags (Hope Mill – UK Premiere), Broken Wings (The Other Palace) and Daisy Pulls it Off (Charing Cross Theatre).

Eleanor Nawal – Lina

Eleanor Nawal is a British Egyptian actor and writer from London.

Theatre includes: Sherlock in Homes and Sherlock in Homes 2 (Bristol Old Vic/Wardrobe Theatre), Polly: the Heartbreak Opera (Sharp Teeth Theatre, UK tour), Underwater Love (Futures Theatre)

Television includes: Launderette (BBC pilot), A Whole Lifetime (BBC/Netflix), The Full Monty (Disney+), Somewhere Boy (Channel 4), Pls Like (BBC), The Alienist (Paramount), Urban Myths (Sky).

Yasemin Özdemir – Maya

Yasemin trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, graduating in 2020.

Theatre includes: Angel – Offies Award nomination (UK tour), Dance to the Bone (Sherman Theatre), Living Newspaper (The Royal Court), We Need to Talk About Grief (Donmar Warehouse), Romeo & Juliet (New Theatre Cardiff/Theatr Clwyd), Pride and Prejudice (Artistic License). Television includes: A Spy Among Friends (ITV), Vandullz (BBC). Film includes: Yummy Mummy, Patrick. Radio and voice over credits include: With Great Pleasure: Michael Rosen and English Rose (BBC Radio 4), In Search of Captain Cat (BBC Radio Wales) and Warhammer 40,000: Darktide (Fatshark/Molinaire).

Yasemin is a highly skilled physical actress with a passion for stage combat. She was a part of the fighting cohort for the epic action film Lady of HeavenFor more information go to