Luqman Ali: Artistic Director
Luqman initially trained in the sciences of Islam and the languages (Arabic, Persian and Urdu) and cultures of the Middle East and the Sub-continent and spent a decade working for publishing houses in the USA and the UK.
In 1997, Luqman co-founded Khayaal, the first professional theatre company of its kind offering audiences a fascinating experience of classic Muslim world culture through contemporary stagecraft. He adapted, co-directed and produced Khayaal’s award-winning debut production, Conference of the Birds, in 1998 which was described by Time Out as ‘a pleasure’ and ‘a refreshing burst of visual creativity’. He went on to pioneer the theatrical interpretation of the tales of Jalaluddin Rumi and Fariduddin Attar producing numerous theatrical shorts including Four Mystics and a Merchant, Bad Beard Day, Between the Devil & Me and Tattoos in Qazvin. In 2004, he broadened the scope of his work adapting traditional tales from right across the Muslim world in Tales from Muslim Lands which included Peony Garden on Nanshan Mountain, Bling Bling Blind, Incey Witty Spider and Man Take Thy Flight.
Luqman’s latest works are Sun & Wind, a spiritual reflection on extremism and Hearts & Minds, a theatre-in-education play for young people exploring issues of identity, citizenship and extremism. Since 2008, Hearts & Minds has reached over 20,000 mainly young people in schools and colleges across England and has also been performed in the USA. Luqman is currently writing a play exploring the intersection of Britain and Islam in the story of coffee. Luqman is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship and a member of the Concordia Forum.
Eleanor Martin: Associate Director
Eleanor obtained a BA Hons. in Drama & English Literature prior to training as a professional actor at Mountview Theatre School. She went on to work in theatre, film and television in Britain and abroad including parts in popular television drama series. Eleanor is also a theatre-in-education specialist with 25 years of experience delivering training in drama to adults and children nationally and internationally.
As a founding member of Khayaal, Eleanor has researched, produced, devised, directed, and performed for the Company since its inception. She co-directed and performed in the Conference of the Birds, Khayaal’s award winning debut production and has since played a pivotal role in all of Khayaal’s productions. For four years Eleanor toured Khayaal’s one woman play, Sun & Wind, about which BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Programme said ‘the play makes use of powerful writing and the extraordinary ability of the actress to convey the highs and lows of a woman struggling to reconcile her own pain with the need to convey truth.’ She most recently devised and delivered bespoke workshops for the British Museum’s critically acclaimed Hajj Exhibition as well as for Shakespeare’s Globe, Living Islam Festival and Goldsmiths University.
John Habib Dunne: Associate Director
John began working as a professional music composer on graduating with music from University College, Dublin, in 1983. In 1984 he was a founder of the award-winning Dublin theatre company The Passion Machine, writing original music for 15 of their new plays. He was awarded a national theatre award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Irish Theatre’ in 1987 and by the early 90’s had worked in all the major Dublin theatre venues, including the National (Abbey) Theatre.
He went on to compose and direct music for theatre, television and film internationally through the remainder of the ‘80s and the ‘90s working especially in the US, UK and Ireland winning a BAFTA children’s television award and numerous awards for theatre. He later returned to academia and graduated in 1997 with an MA in ethnomusicology from Limerick University. From 2005 to 2008 John worked as Programme Leader of the BA (hons) in Popular Music at Northumbria University in Newcastle before joining Khayaal as an associate director.
He is particularly interested in applying Islamic principles to the creative practices available to us in modern society - music, theatre, film, writing, and the visual arts, creativity and spiritual development.
Board of Directors
Dr. Peter Clark
Prof. Nabil Matar
Lord McKenzie of Luton
Dr. Tariq Ramadan
Mr. Rory Stewart OBE FRSL MP
Staff and Volunteers