You Are Always With Me

Director Filiz Ozcan’s production is most impressive in its simple yet effective storytelling. ★★★★

– The Upcoming

A bittersweet romance, a pair, both lonely in their own ways, found themselves drawn to each other. As they form a bond that defies conventions, their relationship makes us ask whether love holds the answer to loneliness? Can we ever make love shape our lives for the better?

Afandiyev’s You Are Always With Me caused a stir with its thinly disguised observations on class in Soviet society when first staged in Soviet-era Azerbaijan in 1964. Its resonances are still as powerful and relevant today, in its gentle examination of how love naturally takes different forms in the different stages of our lives, and the way how the world seeks to impose and mould those loves. Afandiyev leaves us with the confidence that the individual will always prevail in the face of society’s hypocrisy and control.

Ilyas Afandiyev was an Azerbaijani and Soviet writer, member of Azerbaijan Union of Writers, Honored Art Worker of Azerbaijan, laureate of the State Prize of Azerbaijan and People’s Writer of Azerbaijan.

2014 is the centenary year of the birth of celebrated writer Illyas Afandiyev. Born May 26, 1914 in the Fuzili town of the Azerbaijan SSR, he is revered as a source of inspiration for society and has left an indelible mark on generations of writers nationally and internationally. His fruitful career bore more than 80 works, including plays, novels, short stories and essays. He is seen as a master of psychological dramas, leading a call for human rights, freedom and independence. Indeed, much of his inspiration comes from the persecution of his family by the Soviet state during the 1930s, where of the Afandiyev’s property was seized and some condemned as ‘public enemies’ and either shot or sent into exile.

On his works subject matter, Afandiyev famously said, “The writer should be the owner of a large heart, the high human qualities. Only in this case, the writer can affect the feelings of the people, awake love, compassion and mercy in them.” It is this message of freedom and tolerance that defined his work.

On the occasion of the celebration of his 100th birthday, he was described by Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO as “an outstanding playwright and writer-most of all, he was a great intellectual and humanist.”

To find out more about Ilyas Afandiyev, visit our blog

Filiz Ozcan is a director of theatre and festivals. She is also a member of the World Arts Platform Artist Advisory Group. Currently she is working for Pegasus Theatre and Filiz is also one of the founding members of Komola Collective. Her recent productions include: Birangona: Women of War which toured UK, Bonbibi at Rich Mix London (as part of A Season of Bangla Drama), A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Newcastle-under-Lyme, The Legends of King Arthur (for the Without Frontiers Festival) in Poland, Rusalka at BAC London, and the Cost of Living, which toured secondary schools in Stoke-on-Trent. Besides directing, she has also assisted Jatinder Verma (Tara Arts), Sue Moffat (New Vic Borderlines), Philip Parr (Parrabbola) and Oliver Jones (Trestle Theatre). Currently she is working on Salty Water and Us (as part of A Season of Bangla Drama) and Birangona: Women of War which will be touring five cities in Bangladesh.

Director Filiz Ozcan’s production is most impressive in its simple yet effective storytelling. ★★★★

Aisha Josiah, The Upcoming

You’re Always With Me is a brave and unapologetic piece of traditional writing that gives us the opportunity to spot happiness in unlikely places.

A Younger Theatre

Forget everything you think you know about Soviet era writers, go see the real thing and be as amazed as I was.

Terry Eastham,

Forget everything you think you know about Soviet era writers, go see the real thing and be as amazed as I was.

Terry Eastham,
Sanan Aliyev
Creative Producer

Filiz Ozcan

Oliver Weeks
Oliver Weeks
Composer/Sound Designer

Beth Duncan
Stage Manager

Tom Boucher
Lighting Designer

Paulina Rzeszowska
Set & Costume Designer

Mark Modzelewski
Mark Modzelewski
Assistant Director

Zara Plessard

Doug Devaney headshot
Doug Devaney

Stephanie Harte

Karl Niklas
Badal Farajov/Faraj

Helen Coles

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