Afghanistan Is Not Funny

Thur 23 May

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A play by Henry Naylor
With photographs by Sam Maynard

A benefit performance to raise funds for The Linda Norgrove foundation.

Multi-award-winning global hit Afghanistan Is Not Funny comes home to Lewis.

A close shave with landmines, abducted by the Mujahideen and nearly shot by the Americans: this is the extraordinary, true story of a comedian and a photographer in war-torn Afghanistan… a trip which changed both their lives & their art.

It’s 2002, the war in Afghanistan has just ended. Western media reports are euphoric, but the terrible collateral damage of the liberation goes largely unreported. Comedian Henry Naylor and photographer Sam Maynard decide to go to Afghanistan. They want to gather information and pictures for a play that shines a light on the real impact of the war on the Afghani people. Despite having no previous experience in war zones, the two innocents (some would say idiots) abroad somehow survive. Three months later ‘Finding Bin Laden’ opens at the Edinburgh Fringe to five-star reviews. There is even talk of a feature film with Hugh Grant.

Twenty years pass, Henry is now an award-winning playwright and Sam is a successful TV executive. Henry calls Sam, he wants to revisit the Afghanistan trip as he now has a very different perspective on their adventure, relationship and motives. The resulting play ‘Afghanistan Is Not Funny’ digs deeper into the real message of their naïve adventure and becomes a global hit, winning multiple awards and five-star reviews.

So why is this benefit event being staged in An Lanntair now? Sam lived in Lewis for twenty years and was co-founder of An Lanntair. He was deeply upset by the death of Lewis aid worker, Linda Norgrove who was killed in Afghanistan in 2010. Many in the islands will be familiar with this tragic story and the important work of the Linda Norgrove Foundation which was established to help the women and children of Afghanistan and celebrate Linda’s extraordinary life.

With such strong connections between the Foundation, the play and An Lanntair, it seems fitting to in some way bring the event home. The proceeds of the sale of the tickets for this performance of ‘Afghanistan Is Not Funny’ will be donated to the Linda Norgrove Foundation.

The Linda Norgrove Foundation (LNF) is based in Mangersta on the Isle of Lewis.  LNF was set up by John and Lorna Norgrove in 2010, in memory of their daughter, Linda, a Scottish Aid worker devoted to improving the lives of Afghans.  Linda was kidnapped and subsequently died during a failed rescue attempt in September 2010.  The Foundation continues Linda’s work, helping women and children in Afghanistan, primarily focusing on health and women’s education.  Currently, LNF is working to bring 20 female Afghan medical students to Scotland to complete their studies this summer: the women had been forced to abandon their education following the Taliban taking power in 2021.

LNF funds small projects with clear outcomes: supporters can see that their money is going to those who need it most.   If you’d like to find out more about Linda’s life and the Foundation’s work, or are inspired to organise your own fundraiser, or make a donation, head to  Every little helps.

Scotsman ★★★★ ‘There are moments in his writing that simply arrest the soul’

Entertainment Now ★★★★★ ‘keeps you on the edge of your seat’

British Theatre Guide ★★★★★ ‘extraordinary’