Story of Hope, The Boy With Two Hearts To Play Wales Millennium Centre

Wales Millennium Centre are to produce the world premiere of the stage adaptation of The Boy With Two Hearts. Directed by Amit Sharma, this extraordinary true story of a family’s journey from Afghanistan to Wales will be performed in Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio from 1 – 23 October 2021.

The Boy With Two Hearts, as featured on BBC Radio 4’s Book of the Week, has been adapted by Phil Porter for the stage from the book of the same name by Hamed Amiri. It tells the  true story of the Amiri family and Hamed’s elder brother, Hussein, whose heart condition made their journey to the UK all the more critical. The Amiri family are living in Cardiff and are closely involved in the stage production.

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre said: “Hamed first told his story to us over two years ago and wondered how, and if, we could tell it on stage at Wales Millennium Centre. We knew that it needed care and time and to be told as the Amiri family wanted it to be told. It is a story of love, loss, family and connections and of a journey which is difficult, physical, emotional and personal. It is also a journey which brought a family to Wales which is now their home. I don’t think that you can fail to be moved and inspired by it.”

Hamed Amiri’s book, The Boy With Two Hearts has been adapted for the stage.

Terrifying Journey From Afghanistan Across Europe

Herat, Afghanistan, 2000. A young mother makes a speech demanding freedom for Afghan women, angering local Taliban leaders who issue a warrant for her execution. With no choice but to run, the Amiri family embark on a long and terrifying journey out of Afghanistan and across Europe.

Thrown into an unfamiliar world of fake passports and untrustworthy handlers, the Amiris must learn how to live with nothing and avoid capture at all costs. With their eldest son Hussein’s life-threatening heart condition growing steadily worse, the UK is their goal.

Will they beat the odds and reach the UK in time for Hussein to receive the surgery he so badly needs?

Shamail Ali (Hessam and Farshid Rokey (Hamed) in The Boy With Two Hearts

True Story Brought To Life On Stage

Hamed Amiri said: “I am very excited and emotional to not only see my family’s journey come to life on stage, but also get to relive those many precious moments we had along the way.”

Wales Millennium Centre has assembled a creative team led by Amit Sharma who will direct a cast made up of Afghan performers Shamail Ali (Hessam), Farshid Rokey (Hamed) and Ahmad Sakhi (Hussein), who play the Amiri brothers, as well as the award-winning Afghan vocalist and composer, Elaha Soroor.  They are joined by Dana Haqjoo and Géhane Strehler.

Amiri – Free Virtual Reality Experience

Alongside the play, a new free virtual reality experience will run at Wales Millennium Centre.

A story of family, love and positivity. This communal VR experience, titled ‘Amiri’ is inspired by the stories of Hussein Amiri and his family, created in collaboration with Hamed and Hessam Amiri to honour their brother’s life.

Amiri brings together a small audience to share in the positive impact Hussein had on those around him in life, and following his death in 2018, as well as those that came to the family’s aid when they most needed it. The experience is centred around the sofra – the living/dining space within the family home where the family would meet, talk and exchange stories over food.

Told through a mixture of written, performed and verbatim recordings, the story surrounds the audience in an ever-changing virtual world which combines subtle imagery, light and shadow to evoke the feeling and atmosphere of the family stories being told, from Afghanistan to Wales.

Amiri is a Wales Millennium Centre and All Seeing Eye production in collaboration with Hamed and Hessam Amiri and funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation Culture Fund.

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