Thrilling Dugsi Dayz: A Vibrant British-Somali Production Channeling The Breakfast Club Ready to Electrify the Royal Court


British Somalis feel a rush of nostalgia with Dugsi Dayz, a popular play debuting at the Royal Court Theatre this week. Reminiscing about youthful days spent in mosque classrooms, the show highlights the humor and chaos of religious schooling known as dugsi in the Somali community.

Children in the UK attend mosque classes, learning about Islam, Arabic, and Quran recitation, uniting with peers from various backgrounds. Writer Sabrina Ali’s production reimagines Eighties comedy The Breakfast Club within a dugsi setting, showcasing the essence of female friendship and Somali culture through the experiences of Salma, Munira, Yasmin, and Hani.

Ali, who also acts in the play, explores the theme of confinement, bringing together diverse personalities in a limited space to uncover shared experiences. Dugsi Dayz, initially staged at Rich Mix in east London, resonated with audiences nationwide, leading to a Royal Court debut due to its widespread popularity among viewers.

The storyline, rich with references to Somali folklore and cultural nuances, sheds light on the struggles of representation faced by black Muslim girls in the entertainment industry. Ali’s journey in theatre began with a desire to see herself reflected on stage, ultimately leading to the success of Dugsi Dayz, supported by Side eYe Productions and Kayd Somali Arts and Culture.

By providing a platform for marginalized voices, Side eYe aims to challenge stereotypes and offer diverse narratives that showcase the complexity and authenticity of Muslim characters. Despite facing reluctance from traditional theatre circles, the team behind Dugsi Dayz believes in the power of storytelling to drive social change and promote inclusivity.

As the play continues to captivate audiences, both onstage and off, its impact goes beyond entertainment, emphasizing the significance of representation and the beauty of diverse perspectives in storytelling. Dugsi Dayz serves as a testament to the creativity and resilience of artists striving to rewrite the narrative and create a more inclusive and representative cultural landscape.

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