Interview: Hannah Abdule, Artistic Director at Side eYe Productions, on Dugsi Dayz & More!
We caught up with Side eYe Productions Artistic Director Hannah Abdule to talk about the forthcoming return of the amazing Dugzi Dayz to New Diorama Theatre, plus Ed Fringe experiences, future plans, and some fab things to do in London!
Hi Hannah, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. Could you start by introducing yourself, and your role as part of the Dugsi Dayz creative team?
Thank you for having me! I never know how to describe myself but I love and do a lot of things. I’m Artistic Director of Side eYe, proud Mum and Civil Servant by day. I love good storytelling and part of our vision for Side eYe was platforming new artists and removing barriers to entry. In 2021 I commissioned Sabrina Ali to write her debut play called Muna Knows It All and after a fab run asked if she wanted to do it again – and here we are today with Dugsi Dayz. Part of my role was bringing the crew together, working on script development alongside our wonderful creative team and championing the production to secure support for its future life. I sometimes describe myself as the invisible yet visible facilitator.
We loved Dugsi Dayz! How would you describe it to any of our readers who didn’t read our ★★★★★ review?
We loved your review, it was our first 5* so will live in our memories forever. Dugsi Dayz is witty, fun and nostalgic for so many. The entire time you feel like you’re eavesdropping on 10/10 banter. It’s also refreshing to watch a piece of theatre that doesn’t make muslim women’s hijab the centre of the story, but embraces that muslim women, too, have stories than can be enjoyed by all. I think the one liner we’ve gone for is saying that Dugsi Dayz is a Somali spin off from John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club.
How was the Edinburgh Fringe experience for you and the Dugsi Dayz team?
It was new to us all! We all knew of it, but it was so far from our imagined reality because we knew it cost a lot to be out there. It was the first time the actors had done a run lasting more than a weekend, and they smashed it. A big highlight for us whilst out at the Fringe was the write up Nooruddean Choudry did for Rolling Stone – he captured exactly what we wanted to achieve with the show. Outside of the show we had a blast seeing other shows and connecting with other artists – in particular, the camaraderie between artists of colour was heart-warming.
How important has New Diorama Theatre been to the production of this show?
MASSIVELY! They’ve been rooting for us from the start and they’ve guided us to making the production the strongest it can be. Their belief in us has helped us imagine more ourselves. In previous years we had a habit of shelving plays but we’re going to continue making theatre, and knowing we have NDT by our side is exciting.
What’s next for Dugsi Dayz, and for Side eYe?
We’ve got the run of Dugsi Dayz at NDT, 3-14 October – we’re ecstatic about it, it feels full circle to be back – and then have a tour covering Leicester (3 Nov), Sheffield (5 Nov) and Bristol (7 Nov) at the start of November. We don’t want to stop there so keep shout loud about Dugsi Dayz and let’s get it to more theatres!
As for Side eYe generally, we’re debuting a new play called Desperate Times by Amal Abdi, this will be on at Rich Mix in London, 24 & 25 October 2023 – this is where Dugsi Dayz started, so please come and join us.
What are your favourite things to do in London?
I’m a foodie. The type of foodie that only eats out with people who want to share their meals, that way we can eat as much of the good food on the menu. Stand out favourite places to eat, shout out Roti King near to Euston Station, you can’t go wrong. I love Camden Market, and highly recommend Baba G’s lamb burger. I do wish we had a stronger nightlife culture that isn’t centred on alcohol, but when I am willing to make a trek from east London, Chapati and Karak by Knightsbridge is a great vibe and open relatively late.
Don’t miss Dugsi Dayz at New Diorama Theatre, 3-14 October 2023 – click here for tickets!
I am Joint Editor at To Do List. I like: nice pubs, film marathons, not doing real marathons, bad comedy, plays/musicals with shorter second halves, and the Oxford comma.