Bradford Bostin' Brigade — Interview with Shazia Bibi

Bradford Bostin' Brigade — Interview with Shazia Bibi

23 March 2017

by Neale Birch

Shazia has stepped into the community cast of Anita and Me at the last minute. Read all about her involvement at the Alhambra this week.

Amateur casts from communities across the UK are taking part in a special production of Anita and Me. Our Bradford Bostin’ Brigade are doing sterling work, as we would expect from having used local ensembles at the Alhambra a number of times now. However, unforeseen circumstances have led us to find a replacement for one of our ensemble cast. At the very last minute, Shazia Bibi has made herself available for us and will play the role of Baby during our week of performances here in Bradford. I am already delighted with her work and I know she is going to be a huge asset to us.

I talked to Shazia about her introduction to theatre and drama, and what she was hoping to get out of this experience.

ShaziaWho Am I? & Where do I come from?
Well, I was not born in Bradford, though I have lived here since I was 6 months old. Little baby Shazia had no idea she wanted to pursue performing arts. As I grew up, I wanted to become a diagnostic radiographer or a doctor. I often got told because of my gender and ethnicity that was harder to achieve, however with the strength and determination I possess, I never gave up. During my GCSE's I worked extremely hard, then A Levels came along and I was sure that I was doing diagnostic radiography at University. I had two weeks of experience at Bradford Royal Infirmary. Yes, indeed, I was pretty certain that I was going into a medical career. But, as they say, life had different plans. I failed my AS Biology and that moment was devastating.

In 2011, I came third in the Ilkley Literature Festival for a poem I had written called, ‘A Gift of A friend’. My interests in Poetry and writing became more prominent and I started to write more. When I was on the stage performing my poem, I felt alive. At that moment, I thought ‘let’s choose Drama for University’ so that I can improve my self-confidence. I was extremely shy and an individual who had low self-esteem. I honestly believe choosing Drama at University helped me come out of my shell and my comfort zone. Throughout university I hardly wanted to pursue acting and dancing, I wanted to pursue writing. However, following a bereavement of a loved one, I used dancing and performing arts as a way to cope with the grief. It was in the last year that I came to realise performing is what I wanted to do. I am starting from a clean slate and hope to achieve a lot more.

One of the most influential quotes that keeps me motivated is,

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don't give up” Anne Lamott

I definitely have that streak in me in, whatever I choose to do, which is not giving up regardless of circumstances. I come from a Pakistani background, and personally feel that there should be more women from different ethnicities represented in theatre, film and TV. And I hope to be one of them. My experience with working with the team of Anita and Me is very valuable, I do not see anything as a big or small opportunity. For me, every opportunity is as important and valuable as the last.


Shazia joins the rest of the Brigade; Jayne, Molly, Leona, Michelle and Oliver, in performances at The Alhambra from Tuesday 21 March until Saturday 25 March. 


Anita and Me opens at Wolverhampton Grand theatre, where it plays from 14 to 18 February 2017. It then tours to Cheltenham, Blackpool, Nottingham, Bradford and Edinburgh.

Get tickets for this show by visiting our tour page