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Dash Arts’ production of


One Thousand and One Nights
Alf Layla wa-Layla

Commissioned by Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity
Dramatised and directed by Tim Supple | Stories adapted by Hanan al- Shaykh

World Premiere: June 2011 | Luminato, Toronto 
August 2011 | Edinburgh International Festival

"It is an extraordinary enterprise. By the end of the evening, I was totally converted…moving and durable…" ★ ★ ★ ★ Michael Billington, The Guardian

Dramatised and directed by Tim Supple, with stories adapted by the seminal Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh, and commissioned by the Luminato Festival, Dash Arts present one of the world’s great folk story-cycles.

1001 Nights

Written by Arabic writers from tales gathered in India, Persia and across the great Arab Empire, the One Thousand and One Nights are the never-ending stories told by Shahrazad night after night, under sentence of death, to the king Shahrayar who has vowed to marry a virgin every night and kill her in the morning.

The web of tales woven by Shahrazad were exoticised and adapted for children in the West under the title of the Arabian Nights. This production unearthed the true character of the One Thousand and One Nights as it is in the oldest Arabic manuscripts. In turns erotic, brutal, witty, poetic and complex, the tales tell of love and marriage, power and punishment, rich and poor, and the endless trials and uncertainties of fate. The great cities and thriving trade routes of the Islamic world provide the setting for these stories that employ supernatural mystery and intense realism to portray the deep and endless drama of human experience.

One Thousand and One Nights was created with actors, musicians and designers gathered over two years of travel and development across the Arabic speaking world. After three months rehearsal in Fez, Morocco, the production – performed in Arabic, French and English - premiered at Luminato, Toronto and went on to enjoy award-wining, sell-out success at Edinburgh International Festival.

Further UK and international touring of One Thousand and One Nights is planned; further details to be announced.


"Supple’s wonderful production…an instant classic of engaged story telling…a rediscovered literary masterpiece." ★ ★ ★ ★ The Independent, Michael Coveney
"Ambitious does not begin to describe is impossible not to warm to these tales. They are sexy, irreverent, surprising, visually arresting." ★ ★ ★ ★ Sarah Crompton, The Daily Telegraph 
"It is energetically staged, physically expressive and musically exciting, sometimes bawdily amusing. Houda Echouafni is touching as Shahrazad, and Assaad Bouab convincingly brutal as the King and measured as the Caliph Haroun al Rashid. " Libby Purves, The Times
"… yet again his staging is perfect. We are clearly in need of a stereotype-busting image of the culturally-rich Arabic world." The Stage, Lauren Paxman
The music, composed and performed live by five musicians, is a delight. There are standout performances from Assaad Bouab, Houda Echouafni, Ramzi Choukair and Nanda Mohammad."★ ★ ★ ★ Veronica Lee, The Sunday Telegraph
"Tim Supple’s outstanding dramatisation…he is very much Peter Brook’s successor…a fantastic tree of ever-branching stories…the topicality of this – from Arab Spring to post-riot Britain – does not need spelling out…this was quietly wonderful, world class theatre." ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Kate Bassett, Independent on Sunday


Samia Badih's - Gulf News
| Benedict Nightingale’s - The Times
Philip Hensher - Independent | Dominic Cavendish interviews Tim Supple - Telegraph

For Production and Touring information for One Thousand and One Nights please contact us at

Download the Press Release


Edinburgh Festival backstage 2011 - A Journey into One Thousand and One Nights

A Thousand and One Nights 1 A Thousand and One Nights 2 A Thousand and One Nights 3 A Thousand and One Nights 4 A Thousand and One Nights 5 A Thousand and One Nights 6 A Thousand and One Nights 7 A Thousand and One Nights 8

One Thousand and One Nights Playtext

We have a limited number of One Thousand And One Nights playtexts for sale; this exclusive edition contains all the dramatised stories from Dash Arts’ acclaimed 2011 production, along with introductions from the author Hanan al-Shaykh, and the dramatist and director Tim Supple. It also features dramatisations of additional stories that were not included in the performed version.

Price: £12 inc. postage+packaging (UK delivery only).
If you would like to purchase a playtext for International delivery, please contact us on


Research and casting of One Thousand and One Nights was undertaken in collaboration with Ahmed El Attar, Orient Productions, Egypt (Regional Producer)