The Orange Tree Theatre today announced the full cast for the return of Sonali Bhattacharya’s Two Billion Beats. Nimmo Ismail and Tian Brown- Sampson will direct Shala Nyx (Asha) and Tanvi Virmani (Bettina) in the return of this exhilarating production following its acclaimed world premiere at the Orange Tree Theatre in 2022. The production opens on 24 January with previews from 20 January and runs until 4 February 2023.
Bouncing with wit, Sonali Bhattacharyya’s upbeat play is a coming-of-age story about the unfairness of growing up in a world where you don’t make the rules. Sonali Bhattacharyya was 2018 Channel 4 writer in residence at the OT, where she wrote Chasing Hares, winning the Sonia Friedman Production Award and Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award, produced at the Young Vic in 2022.
Seventeen-year-old Asha is an empathetic rebel, inspired by historical revolutionaries and iconoclasts Sylvia Pankhurst and B R Ambedkar. She’s unafraid of pointing out the hypocrisy around her but less sure how to actually dismantle it.
Meanwhile, her younger sister, Bettina, wide-eyed and naïve, is just trying to get through the school day without getting her pocket money nicked. When Bettina turns to her for help, Asha starts to ask what standing up for her political beliefs really looks like.
Sonali Bhattacharyya is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose productions include Megaball (National Theatre Learning), Slummers (Cardboard Citizens/Bunker Theatre), 2066 (Almeida Theatre), The Invisible Boy (Kiln Theatre) and White Open Spaces (Pentabus Theatre).
Shala Nyx plays Asha. Her theatre credits include The Croydon Avengers (UK tour), The Shadow Factory (NST City), The Gravity (Bristol Old Vic), Cookies (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The People’s Tribunal Crimes of Aggression: Afghanistan Sessions (Camden Peoples Theatre), A Thousand Splendid Suns (UK tour), Listen Local (The Kiln), Kabul Goes Pop (Brixton House). Her television credits include Bottom Knocker Street, Unlike, Henry VI, I Have Covid, Eastenders, Hunted in Afghanistan, Casualty, My American Family; and for film, Der Grosse Bluff, Home, Knock Down Ginger, Gita, The Old Guard, Gifts, and NYE Dubai.
Tanvi Virmani plays Bettina. Her theatre credits include The Tempest (Bath Theatre Royal), and Life of Pi (Wyndham’s Theatre). Her radio credits include The Nazi’s Rise to Power.
Nimmo Ismail directing credits include Glee & Me, The Christmas Star (Royal Exchange Manchester), Fragments, My England (Young Vic), and SNAP (The Old Vic).
Tian Brown-Sampson directing credits include Different Book Covers (Tamasha), Lost Laowais (VAULT Festival), and Like Yesterday (Young Vic).