Explore Islamic Spirituality with Waswasa at the Birmingham 2022 Festival

Waswasa-Whispers in Prayer is the latest experience at the Birmingham 2022 Festival and opens the window to the world of Islamic prayer. Taking place at Birmingham Hippodrome in August, artist Mohammed Ali promises it will be a memorable theatrical performance.

The experience explores the deep caves of Islamic prayer in an immersive experience that combines art, music and movement. The organizers hope it will provide a new insight into faith for non-Muslims, it also aims to highlight expressions of faith while challenging negative perceptions of Islam and the Muslim community.

The public can also take a closer look at a replica of Birmingham’s famous Quran, believed to be one of the world’s oldest 6th or 7th century manuscripts.

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Waswasa is the Arabic word used to describe diversion from prayer. Those behind the performance believe that in busy, technology-driven times, many seek that impossible flow-state through the gym, meditation or yoga, yet fail because life is just too busy.

Members of the public are invited to help build Waswasa by participating in a series of events at the Soul City Arts studio space in Sparkbrook. These events encourage Muslim and non-Muslim groups to write their real prayers, hopes and dreams on special prayer mats that will be showcased in the Waswasa performance.

Wawasa whispers in a prayer at Birmingham 2022 Festival

Hundreds of prayer mats are created in a dedicated space for meaningful conversation, food and entertainment. Soul City Arts Artistic Director Mohammed Ali MBE says: “We are incredibly proud to have been given this opportunity at the Birmingham 2022 Festival to explore the concept of Islamic prayer, something we’ve wanted to do for a while and put our voice in Waswasa, an uplifting cultural experience where all are welcome.

“We hope this immersive multidisciplinary theater performance at the Birmingham Hippodrome will give audiences a glimpse into the Islamic world and bring communities together in a small way. Gratitude goes to the B2022 team led by Martin Green for the commission and support from our hereby epic project that will enable us to tell this story that we hope will inspire, educate, surprise and entertain our audiences.

“Thanks also to our partners at the Birmingham Hippodrome, University of Birmingham, University of Warwick and Guidhall Live Events, part of Guildhall School of Music & Drama.”

Waswasa will run for ten days at the Birmingham Hippodrome from August 25 to September 3 with tickets from £8, the performance £15 and the walk-through experience £8. The performance is open to everyone from 11 years old and lasts 50 minutes, with a maximum of 50 spectators.

Book your tickets here

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