In an uplifting tale of finding a voice, this new production follows the real-life story of Musharaf Asghar, who won the heart of the nation when he overcame his debilitating stammer in the Channel 4 documentary Educating Yorkshire. Mushy: Lyrically Speaking recounts the story known and loved by the public of a young man overcoming the odds with the help of an inspirational teacher, then asks what happened next as the teen was hit by the highs and lows of overnight fame.
With music playing a crucial role in helping Mushy to find his voice, the show will use rap and lyrical narration written by rapper Raxstar, and the book has been written by Rifco Theatre Company’s Artistic Director Pravesh Kumar. Mushy: Lyrically Speaking is a Rifco Studio production presented by Rifco Theatre Company and Watford Palace Theatre.
Musharaf Asghar, also known as ‘Mushy’, was the star of Channel 4’s reality TV series, Educating Yorkshire. In amongst the chaotic comprehensive he was a 16-year-old impeded by an acute stammer which threatened to mute him. But thanks to his enthusiastic teacher, Matthew Burton, Mushy was at last given a voice.
The show’s finale revealed an empowered Mushy who spoke to his entire year for the very first time, no longer debilitated by his stutter – his teachers, fellow pupils and the show’s 4m viewers (plus the 7m more who watched the YouTube clip) were brought to tears. Comedian Jack Whitehall called him a “hero”, and Jessica Ennis tweeted that the show made her cry. Mushy now attends events up and down the country as a motivational speaker, a young, positive, Muslim role model.
Musharaf Asghar said, “I’m really excited that Rifco Theatre Company is telling my story, everybody remembers the headphones moment but nobody really knows what happened afterwards. That one moment has changed my life and I hope that I can be an inspiration to other people like me.”
Pravesh Kumar said, “I first saw Mushy on a viral video online and his story really moved me. I started to think about what actually happened to him after the television programme, what is his story now? I contacted him and on the phone his confidence just really shone through and his stammer had almost gone. I met with Mushy and Matthew Burton over a few months and started to collect their stories, they were both so honest and forthcoming. We then took all the research into a workshop with actors and found that music played an important part of the narrative, and a new play infused with rap and lyrical narration was born. I’m genuinely excited about Mushy: Lyrically Speaking, it’s a rare story about a boy finding his voice.”
Mushy: Lyrically Speaking Tour dates:
6 – 15 Sept Watford Palace Theatre
26 – 28 Sept Birmingham Repertory Theatre
1 – 5 Oct Arcola, London