Duration 65 minutes, without interval

XENOS in the Moscow 25 and 26 july 2019 – last performance of Akram Khan in a full-length solo piece.

The title XENOS means ‘stranger’ or ‘foreigner’. Akram and his world-class team of collaborators draw in this new solo work on the archives of the 20th century, unearthing the experience of colonial soldiers in the First World War.

 As Akram himself writes: 
“I will investigate specific questions that confront me more and more every day, like a shadow constantly following me, haunting me, whispering to me… Do we need to tell other people’s stories in case they vanish? Who are the ‘other’ people? Are stories of human journeys told, retold, and told again, so we can eventually learn from our mistakes? Who are ‘we’, a collective or many individuals? What makes us human? Are we still human?”

Over 4 million non-white men were mobilised by the European and American armies during the conflict. Around 1.5 million of them were from India, mostly peasant-warriors from North and North-Western India, who fought and died in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. In service to the myths of Empire, dislocated from their homelands and cultures, their stories have until recently remained in shadow.

Akram has brought together a stellar creative team. Along with dramaturg Ruth Little and acclaimed Canadian playwright Jordan Tannahill, he teams up with set designer Mirella Weingarten, award-winning lighting designer Michael Hulls, costume designer Kimie Nakano, and composer Vincenzo Lamagna.

Akram is joined on stage by five international musicians: percussionist B C Manjunath, vocalist Aditya Prakash, bass player Nina Harries, saxophonist Tamar Osborn, and violinist Clarice Rarity.

This is not war. It is the ending of the world.
This is just such a war as was related in the Mahabharata.
Letter home from a wounded Indian sepoy

Co-production: International festival-school of contemprorary art ”Territory” and Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Music Theatre

In colaboration with

Commissioned by 14-18 NOW: WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England, and by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Co-produced by Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens, The Grange Festival Hampshire, Sadler’s Wells London, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Théâtre de la Ville – Paris/La Villette – Paris, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, National Arts Centre Ottawa, The Centre for China Shanghai International Arts Festival (CSIAF), Centro Cultural de Belém, Festspielhaus St. Pölten, Grec 2018 Festival de Barcelona, HELLERAU – European Center for the Arts Dresden, Tanz Köln, Edinburgh International Festival, Adelaide Festival, Festival Montpellier Danse 2018, Julidans Amsterdam, Canadian Stage Toronto, Romaeuropa Festival, Torinodanza festival / Teatro Stabile di Torino – Teatro Nazionale, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts New York, University of California Berkeley, Danse Danse Montreal, Curve Leicester.

Sponsored by COLAS

Supported by Arts Council England

Akram Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells London and Curve Leicester.

Produced during residency at The Grange Festival, Hampshire and Onassis Cultural Centre – Athens (OCC).

Special thanks to Katia Arfara & the OCC team, Michael Chance, Michael Moody, Nigel Hinds, Jenny Waldman, Sarah Goodfellow, Hervé Le Bouc, Delphine Lombard, Béatrice Abeille-Robin, Mr. & Mrs. Khan, Yuko Khan, Sayuri & Kenzo Khan, Dannii Evans, Zia Ali, Es Devlin, Zena Edwards, Tim Freke, Ronan Harrington, Daniel Hernandez, Amit Lahav, Jerome Lewis, Confucius MC, Vahakn Matossian, Camilla Power, Ella Saltmarshe, Murray Shanahan, Zahed Sultan, Temujen Gunawandera, Jess Balla, Chris Timpson, Paul Evans, Robin Leonard, Florian Stagliano.

Akram Khan gratefully acknowledges Akram Khan Company staff team: Farooq Chaudhry, Jan Hart, Richard Fagan, Tina Fagan, Mashitah Omar, Clare Cody-Richardson, Céline Gaubert, Christine Maupetit, Amy Sharkey, Hannah Patel, Mai Tassinari, Nathan White, and all those who contributed to make the production successful.


Artistic Director / Choreographer / Performer — Akram Khan
  • Dramaturg — Ruth Little
  • Lighting Designer — Michael Hulls
  • Original Music Score and Sound Design — Vincenzo Lamagna
  • Set Designer — Mirella Weingarten
  • Costume Designer — Kimie Nakano
  • Writer — Jordan Tannahill
  • Rehearsal Directors — Mavin Khoo and Nicola Monaco
  • Dancer — Akram Khan
  • Musicians — Nina Harries (double bass & vocals), B C Manjunath (percussions & konnakol), Tamar Osborn (baritone saxophone), Aditya Prakash (vocals), Clarice Rarity (violin)
  • Producer — Farooq Chaudhry
  • Technical Director — Richard Fagan
  • Production Manager — John Valente
  • Stage Manager — Marek Pomocki
  • Lighting Engineer — Stéphane Déjours
  • Sound Engineer — Julien Deloison
  • Technician — Russell Parker
  • Project / Tour Manager — Mashitah Omar
  • Props made by Louise Edge from LFX props & special fx


The original music score was devised in collaboration with the musicians, and contains extracts from Requiem in D minor K. 626 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart), Hanging on the Old Barbed Wire (traditional composition), Tu Karim (traditional composition), Chhap Tilak (Amir Khusro), Babul Mora (Nawab Wajid Ali Shah), Naiharwa (Kabir).