DESIGNER AND SCENOGRAPHER
Rajha is a freelance set and costume designer, trained in Theatre Design at Wimbledon School of Art and has obtained a distinction in MA Scenography at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has extensive experience in small-scale, medium-scale, national and international touring productions. Rajha has designed and collaborated on numerous devised and text based projects, physical theatre, musical theatre and opera, utilising various skills ranging from prop and costume making, workshop training, film editing to puppetry and performance.
RECENT AND UPCOMING WORKS INCLUDE: MISTY (The Bush, also West End); THE DARK (Fuel Theatre); THE MOUNTAINTOP (Young Vic, also UK Tour); NINE NIGHT (National Theatre, also West End).
Other recent theatre includes: MUHAMMAD ALI AND ME (Albany Theatre, London and UK Tour); MOBILE (Paper Birds); HOW NIGERIA BECAME (Unicorn Theatre); SWEET TABOO (Embassy Theatre); I STAND CORRECTED (Artscape, also Ovalhouse) RICHARD II (Ashtar Theatre, Hisham’s Palace, Jericho and Shakespeare’s Globe); STILL LIFE DREAMING (Pleasance, Edinburgh); SAFE (New Diorama); THE LION AND THE UNICORN (Eastern Angles); KRUNCH (National Arts Festival, Grahamstown); SPEAK (Albany Theatre, Rich Mix); MOJ OF THE ANTARTIC (Lyric Hammersmith, Ovalhouse Theatre and South African Tour); VISIBLE (Contact, Everyman, Ustinov and Soho Theatre); EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED; NYMPHS AND SHEPHERDS (Ectetera Theatre); GOBLIN MARKET (Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sydmonton Festival and Southwark Playhouse); THE GHOST DOWNSTAIRS (Co-design, New Perspectives Theatre); THE WALL, CHANGES (Cardboard Citizens).
Opera Includes: DON GIOVANNI and LE NOZZE DI FIGARO(St Andrew’s Church, Islington and Beauforthuis, Holland)
Dance Includes: HEAD WRAP DIARIES (The Place); and POWER GAMES (Jerwood Dance, Ipswich and Edinburgh Fringe Festival).
Rajha Shakiry's work has been exhibited at the V&A (MAKE:BELIEVE)
NINE NIGHT MAKES HISTORIC ★★★★★ WEST END DEBUT
Nine Night, the first ever play by a living black british female playwright to be produced on the West End, earns rave reviews across the board from critics and audiences alike. Directed by MLR’s Roy Alexander Weise, Designed by Rajha Shakiry and Lighting Design by Paule Constable.
‘Under Roy Alexander Weise's direction, transfers to the West End, managing to retain all of the magic it held whilst on the Dorfman stage. Following the story of how a family grieve, it's a play full of laughter, struggle and hope.’
‘There's so much joy amidst the heartbreak, and distress amongst the celebration. Bring something totally unique to the theatrical landscape, Nine Night is a compelling watch.’
‘Roy Alexander Weise's excellent direction keeps both tendencies in perfect, understanding balance as the action sweeps across Rajha Shakiry's perfectly cluttered set, with its plastic covered dining chairs and antimacassars carefully placed on the battered sofa.’
‘Director Roy Alexander Weise presents this drama with restraint and poignance.’
‘ The script, (astonishingly Noble’s debut play), is assured, with recognisable characters and drawn from lived experience, is given an excellent production by director Roy Alexander Weise. ‘
‘the secrets and resentments and strange alliances all come out in the sort of satisfying, surprising, knotty way that everyone who writes this sort of play tries for but few pull off. The director, Roy Alexander Weise, handles it all sure-footedly.’
‘Roy Alexander Weise’s beautifully judged production’
‘It feels so right that this transfer of Nine Night ends with Gordon herself giving us her own words. With its perfect ensemble playing, Roy Alexander Weise’s intuitively persuasive production more than convinces us that we want, and need to listen to them.’
‘Director Roy Alexander Weise works magic to make such a complex web of relations very clear. Within this family tree, he finds subtle complexions that make it more than just a biopic, but a story that encourages a strong togetherness.’
THE MOUNTAINTOP Embarks on UK Tour ★★★★
‘Combining the supernatural with a story such as this might sound far-fetched and problematic, but this production introduces it cleverly and with ease. Religion is inevitably a large part in this story, and the crossing of boundaries and the use of imagery is done tastefully and skilfully.’
‘With just two people on stage and one set, it's simple, yet very effective. This is a testament to the casting; it is Gbolahan Obisesan's Dr. King and Rochelle Rose's Camae who keep us captivated throughout the performance. Their relationship is completely believable and enchanting - two fiery characters running rings around each other until Camae's secret is eventually revealed. Then, empathy, emotion, disbelief and comfort. Both actors have impressive talent.’
‘Directed by Roy Alexander Weise, the Olivier Award-winning play embarks on a UK tour from the new Nuffield Southampton City Theatre. The show is well contained within Rajha Shakiry's simple yet effective design – two beds, a desk, some desk lamps, walls made of wooden panelling and a curtain rail which overlooks the hotel room. We are greeted with Camae bopping her head to Childish Gambino's "This is America", a powerful piece of music released earlier this year which focuses on racism towards African Americans. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there's nothing jarring about the appearance of this track in the '60s setting – with the Civil Rights Movement in full swing – and it develops one of the show's core themes about how past and present speak to each other.’
‘Obisesan and Rose do an incredible job of telling such a huge story. It's a gorgeous show which urgently reminds us of our responsibilities as citizens today.’
The UK tour runs until late 2018.
UK Tour Dates
Northern Stage – 9th October – 13th October
North Wall – 16th October – 20th October
Reading Rep – 23rd– 27th October
Leicester Curve – 13th November – 17th November
Bristol Old Vic – 20th November – 24th November
Birmingham Rep – 27thNovember – 1st December
Misty Triumphs in West End
After a sold-out run at The Bush Theatre, Arinzé Kene’s Misty has taken the West End by storm. As the second black British play ever to play in the West End, Misty has captured audiences and critics alike in this astonishing production. With Dramaturgy by MLR’s Kirsty Housley and Sound Design by MLR’s Elena Peña, this is one production not to miss.
‘Arinzé Kene's work is an extraordinary, playful look at gentrification, writing and what it means to be a young black man in London.’
The Telegraph ★★★★
‘By the end of it, you feel you’ve been drawn into his mind itself - it’s phantasmagorical and inspiringly individualistic.’
London Theatre ★★★★
‘While he’s just trying to tell a story, a truth, he’s still verging on the territory of a Black person in trouble; violent, and in trouble with the law, rather than a plot involving Black people that isn’t about being Black.
Kene’s articulates his frustrations through smart, concise rap and poetry, and it’s difficult not to be enthused by what he has to say, whether it’s about the gentrification of the city he loves – the viruses migrating to the city replacing community theatres with fancy cafes pricing out the people he loves - or how theatre and the arts treat work by Black artists.’
A Younger Theatre
‘It’s spectacular in its honesty and eloquent in its rage; textured in its emotionality; and polished in its rawness.’