For the first time since the theatre was closed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kiln Theatre returns to the stage with a live streamed reading of Ayad Akhtar’s critically acclaimed The Invisible Hand on 18 December at 7pm. First staged by the company in 2016, Kiln Theatre’s Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham directs this specially revised reading of the play for this one-off performance. Rubasingham reunites Tony Jayawardena and Daniel Lapaine from the original company, with new cast members Scott Karim and Maanuv Thiara.

All tickets for the reading are free and can be reserved via Kiln Player: Ticket bookers will have the opportunity to make a donation to Kiln Theatre as part of the checkout process. Donations will go towards the Kiln Community Appeal, supporting Kiln Theatre’s many communities through new and existing projects. Read more at

Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham said today, “The Invisible Hand was my last production before we closed down for refurbishment in 2016, and it was a play I was deeply proud of, and one that seemed to really resonate with audiences. Ayad and I have stayed in touch ever since, and after reading his wonderful new book Homeland Elegies in the height of lockdown, I asked whether he would host a supporter’s night via Zoom. He kindly accepted and we went on to discuss bringing the show back for a new audience. So, here we are – stripped back to just Ayad’s thrilling and fastidiously researched words, in our first ever (but hopefully not the last) live stream.”

This reading is the first in a series of events for the company over the coming months – further details will be announced shortly. For the duration of rehearsals and performance, the company will be observing social distancing protocols in line with current government advice.



By Ayad Akhtar

18 December at 7pm

Cast: Tony Jayawardena (Imam Saleem), Scott Karim (Bashir), Daniel Lapaine (Nick Bright),

Maanuv Thiara (Dar)

Director Indhu Rubasingham; Assistant Director Tom Wright;

Lighting Operator Lucía Sánchez Roldán; Production Sound Engineer Jon Sealey

Vision Mixer and Camera Director Chris Lincé; Broadcast Engineer Tom Lee

American banker Nick Bright knows that his freedom comes at a price. Confined to a cell within the depths of rural Pakistan, every second counts. Who will decide his fate? His captors, or the whims of the market?

Ayad Akhtar tense, thrilling and ‘fiendishly clever’ (Financial Times) The Invisible Hand, lays bare the raw, unfettered power of global finance, and will be seen here in a specially revised version for the reading. Kiln Theatre’s Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham’s ‘brilliantly executed’ (Daily Mail), ‘palpitating production’ (WhatsOnStage) went on to play to sold out houses in 2016, and was the final production in the theatre before it closed for refurbishment.

Ayad Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the author of American Dervish, published in 25 languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto’s Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. His most recent novel, the critically acclaimed Homeland Elegies, was published in September. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has received commissions from Lincoln Center and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing. The Invisible Hand premièred at the Repertory Theater of St Louis before a run at Kiln Theatre. Other theatre credits include Disgraced (American Theater Company in Chicago; Lincoln Center, New York and Bush Theatre – Pulitzer Prize for Drama) and The Who & The What (La Jolla Playhouse).

Tony Jayawardena returns to the theatre to play Imam Saleem – he previously appeared in White Teeth and The Invisible Hand. His theatre credits include Christmas at the Snow Globe (Shakespeare’s Globe), Hobson’s Choice (Royal Exchange Theatre), Young Marx (Bridge Theatre), Lions and Tigers, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre), The Roaring GirlThe Arden of FavershamThe White DevilThe Empress, Twelfth Night (RSC), Dick WhittingtonLove and Stuff (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Wind In The Willows (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Wah! Wah! Girls (Sadler’s Wells/ Kneehigh), Great Expectations (English Touring Theatre), The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (Royal and Derngate, Northampton), London AssuranceAll’s Well That Ends Well, England People Very Nice (National Theatre). For television his recent work includes The Duchess, The Crown, Ackley Bridge, The Tunnel, The Windsors, Strike BackThe Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby; and for film, his work includes TowerblockTrance and A Cat Named Bob.

Scott Karim plays Bashir. His theatre work includes The Arrival, The Invisible (Bush Theatre), Oklahoma!, The Country Wife (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Village (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Young Marx (Bridge Theatre), Food (Finborough Theatre), Imogen (Shakespeare’s Globe), King Lear and Brave New World (Royal & Derngate). For television, his work includes Halo, The Dumping Ground, Dracula, Crazy Diamond and Britannia.

Daniel Lapaine returns to the theatre to play Nick – he previously appeared in Holy Sh*t and The Invisible Hand. His theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice (Shakespeare’s Globe), Other Desert Cities, Hedda Gabler (The Old Vic), The Winter’s Tale (Sheffield Crucible), The Dance of Death (Donmar Trafalgar), All My Sons (Apollo Theatre), Scenes from the Back of Beyond, F***ing Games (Royal Court), Les Parents Terribles, King Lear (Sydney Theatre Company), Island (Belvoir Street Theatre), Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, Hamlet (Bell Shakespeare Company). For television his work includes Upright, Van der Valk, My Husband’s Double Life, Black Mirror, The Durrells, Versailles, Catastrophe, Critical, Vexed, Lewis, Vera, Black Mirror, Identity, Moonshot, Hotel Babylon; Sex, the City and Me; Jane Hall, Good Housekeeping Guide, Golden Hour, Jericho, Death on the Nile, Redcap, Helen of Troy, I Saw You and Tenth Kingdom. Film credits include Dead in Tombstone, Zero Dark Thirty, Gozo, Jack the Giant Killer, Shanghai, Last Chance Harvey, Collusion, Abduction Club, Ritual, Journeyman, Double Jeopardy, Elephant Juice, Brokedown Palace, 54, Say You’ll Be Mine, 1999, Dangerous Beauty, Polish Wedding and Muriel’s Wedding.

Maanuv Thiara returns to the Kiln Theatre to play Dar – he previously appeared in Approaching Empty. His theatre credits include The Funeral Director (Southwark Playhouse), King Lear (Bristol Old Vic), Hamlet (Almeida Theatre), A Passage to India (Park Theatre), Hamlet (Harold Pinter Theatre), Twelfth Night (Orange Tree Theatre), King Lear and The Trojan Women (Bristol Old Vic); and for television, Brassic, Line of Duty, Hamlet and The Boy with the Topknot.

Indhu Rubasingham is Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre. Her work for the company includes Pass OverWhen the Crows Visit, Wife, White TeethHoly Sh!t, Red Velvet (which transferred to New York and later to the Garrick Theatre as part of the Kenneth Branagh Season) and Handbagged (winner of Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre – also West End, UK tour, Washington DC and New York). Other productions for Kiln Theatre include The Invisible Hand, A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes, Multitudes, The House That Will Not StandPaper DollsWomen, Power and Politics, Stones in His Pockets, Detaining Justice, The Great Game: Afghanistan, Fabulation and Starstruck. Other theatre credits include The Great Wave, Ugly Lies the BoneThe Motherf**cker with the Hat (Evening Standard Award for Best Play), The Waiting Room (all National Theatre), The Ramayana (National Theatre/ Birmingham Rep), Belong, Disconnect, Free Outgoing, Lift Off, Clubland, The Crutch and Sugar Mummies (Royal Court Theatre), Ruined (Almeida Theatre), Yellowman and Anna in the Tropics (Hampstead Theatre), Secret Rapture and The Misanthrope (Minerva, Chichester Festival Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Chichester Festival Theatre), Pure Gold (Soho Theatre), The No Boys Cricket Club and Party Girls (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Wuthering Heights (Birmingham REP), Heartbreak House (Watford Palace Theatre), Sugar Dollies and Shakuntala (Gate Theatre), A River Sutra (Three Mill Island Studios), Rhinoceros (UC Davis, California) and A Doll’s House (Young Vic).

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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