Why Arabian Nights?

23 Nov 2023

I love this time of year. Renewing family bonds and reconnecting with friends fills my Holiday season with pure joy, setting me up for whatever the New Year has in store. Sharing precious time together is what it’s all about for me, and my household merrily celebrates Nochebuena and Christmas!

Over the coming weeks and months, communities across Bristol will celebrate a number of festivals. Diwali, the five-day Hindu Festival of Lights, begins on 12 November. Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights, starts at nightfall on 7 December. Bodhi Day commemorating Buddha's enlightenment is celebrated on 8 December. Yule, the pagan celebration of the winter solstice begins on 20 December.

Each festival celebrated has its own special customs and traditions, passed down through generations of families over many centuries.

When we were thinking about this year’s festive production in the Theatre, I wanted us to stage a big show that would appeal to every community and every family in Bristol. I thought about how stories are passed down through generations and about the enduring potency of tales from the Middle East that have long appeared in Western culture at this time of year.

Sonali Bhattacharyya’s wonderful Arabian Nights is far from the stereotypes of the past and gets to the essence of why these stories endure. It’s a universal story of good versus evil, of hope and wonder, of two sisters that inspire collective power to make positive change where they live. It is a story and a show for everyone.

At this particular moment when there is so much confusion in the world, we hope that your visit to the theatre will provide a moment of respite and joy; a reminder of our common humanity and capacity for goodwill and hope.

Nancy Medina Artistic Director - Bristol Old Vic