Cultural identity at the heart of new interpretation of classic play The Importance of Being Earnest

“This is also the story of Algernon, who knows where he comes from but doesn’t seem to be clear about who he is; and Earnest who thinks he knows who he is, but not where he is from; a story from the wonderful Oscar Wilde, an immigrant himself.”

A team of Turkish actors and creatives have joined forces with other nationalities to stage a multicultural version of the Oscar Wilde classic play The Importance of Being Earnest in Hackney, East London, this week.

The two-hour long play will be performed at the Hackney Showrooms for three nights from Tuesday, 27 November, to Thursday, 29 November. Each performance starts at 8pm, with tickets priced at £15.

The play has been produced by London-based Pan Productions, which describes itself as a “dynamic new independent theatre production company focusing on bringing into the UK Turkish-speaking productions with internationally renowned Turkish-speaking actors, artists and musicians”.

The Importance of Being Earnest will be the company’s first English-language production and aims to “bring people from different cultures and languages together to enjoy the English language and explore what it means to be from somewhere else and answer our question of ‘Who are we?’ in England,” a press release said.

“Where we are from, our culture and our upbringing affect us. When we move, we adapt to where we live, the language we speak… We change and we are changed. Yet the question of ‘Who am I?’ is ever present. 

“This is our story, a group of actors and creatives who spoke their first words in different languages, but made the UK their home and English the language of their daily toil and nightly poetry.”

The play’s award-winning director Aylin Bozok said: “As the daughter of immigrants, I was born in Switzerland and grew up there and in Turkey but I never felt I belonged to either. I can safely say that I feel I am a Londoner. And now tackling this quintessentially English play I find I could relate to it because, despite cultural and linguistic differences, humans are humans, whether in their truth or their lies.”

Theatre Details

Title: ‎The Importance of Being Earnest

Language: English

Dates: Tuesday 27, Wednesday 28, and Thursday 29 November 2018

Start Time: 8pm

Venue: Hackney Showrooms, Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT

Admission: Tickets are £15 and can be purchased online via Eventbrite

Main photo above (L-R): Serpil Delice (Miss Prism), Kerem Kocaer (John Worthing), and Ece Ozdemiroglu (Lady Bracknell)