Diversity across cultures and art forms for Scotland and beyond

Bijli is a company focused on creating work that encourages diversity across cultures and art forms for Scottish and UK communities, and beyond.

Founded by Writer, Mariem Omari, and Director, Umar Ahmed, their collaboration has been nationally recognised for its ground-breaking approach to the creation of Physical Verbatim Theatre, and their authentic representation of the diversity of the Scottish community.

Driven by a commitment to create work that is guided by innovation, truth, and humanity, Bijli from its inception is reaching new audiences through the creation of dynamic, socially engaged work, that has a visceral impact.

Meet the Team

Mariem Omari

Mariem Omari is an activist, playwright and performer. She lived in the Middle East and North Africa for five years where she worked with some of the most vulnerable people in the region. She has since committed to promoting the stories of the many ‘voiceless’ to strengthen the voice for human rights and equality.

Continuing her journey in the ‘healing power of story’, Mariem engaged with the Scottish Recovery Network on the Write to Recovery program. Her first play, If I Had A Girl...opened in Glasgow in April 2016 to sell-out audiences and received five-star reviews during its March 2017 tour; and her solo show, Staring out of Windows, was developed as part of the Street Theatre’s HIVE Program and LaMaMa’s NY’s 2014 International Playwrights Residency.

She was one of the National Theatre of Scotland’s Starter for 10 artists, selected to develop her new play, One Mississippi. She is Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Bijli, Company in Residence at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Umar Ahmed

Umar Ahmed_Website

Umar Ahmed is an actor, director, and writer. His first play Sylhety was performed in Dhaka. He also wrote and directed Lupo for Grahamstown Festival, South Africa and he is the director and co-writer of How to make a Killing in Bollywood which toured nationally of the back off its success at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Other credits include: My Name Is (Tamasha Theatre Company), Eclipse (Necessary Stage Company, Singapore), Re-Union (7:84 Theatre Company, Scotland), Damascus Aleppo and Could You Please Look into the Camera (National Theatre of Scotland/Oran Mor), Theatre UnCut (Traverse Theatre, Scotsman Fringe first), The Old Curiosity Shop and Rallying Round (NTC Theatre Company), Brrr... Arabian Nights (Proteus Theatre), The Animal People (The Bare project), Taggart (TV), Big Sky, A World Elsewhere, Going Spare and Early Belt Present (BBC Radio 4), and If I Had A Girl… (Showcase 2016 and National Tour 2017).

He is Artistic Associate at the ARC Stockton, and Co-Founder of Bijli, Company in Residence at the National Theatre of Scotland.

Stephen Barnes_Headshot

Stephen Barnes

Adviser and Dramaturg

Stephen is a writer, director, performer and filmmaker; whose work spans a wide range of disciplines, media and contexts. He has directed thirteen productions and authored fourteen produced plays for stage and screen.

Stephen has initiated and facilitated projects focussed on empowering participants to transcend their circumstances through creativity, in the UK and South Africa - including collaborations with The Playwrights Studio, Ankur Productions and the BBC. As well supporting a variety of creative artists and organisations individually, he is also the Artistic Director of 4word Creative Arts, and the Facilitator of Write Tron For All for the Tron Theatre in Glasgow.

Leila Talmadge (& Marlene)

Leila Talmadge

Designer and Marketing Adviser

Leila is a graphic and interior designer whose work spans various industries all with a keen interest in consistent branding with a strong aesthetic. She develops brand strategies with clear identities, ensuring all platforms use the same design language.

Based in Glasgow, and with her trusted sidekick, Marlene the Frenchie, Leila also is the Chair of the Board of Trustees to a National Children's charity, so has a strong desire to support social enterprise projects that "give back to the community" and encourage diversity and inclusion.

Production: How to make a killing in Bollywood
Production: How to make a killing in Bollywood

Our Mission

To create socially engaging work that encourages diversity across cultures and art forms for Scottish and UK communities, and beyond.

Our Vision

Our vision encompasses:

  • Reaching new audiences through the creation of dynamic,  socially engaged work, to raise awareness of, and discussions  about, social issues;
  • Creating a home for the exploration of different art forms;
  • Supporting artistic development with diverse groups through professional and community projects; and
  • Taking work created locally, to international audiences via a  range of media (including theatre, TV, film).

Our Values

We (Bijli) are united in our commitment to create work guided by the following values:

  • Diversity
  • Integrity
  • Truth
  • Humanity
  • (Com)passion
  • Innovation