Great Expectations


Pip, a poor village boy, finds two chance meetings that set his life on an unexpected course. At the water’s edge, he has a terrifying encounter with an escaped convict. In the decaying grandeur of Miss Haversham’s house, he falls hopelessly in love with the heartless Estella. When an anonymous benefactor helps him move to Calcutta, the heart of the British Raj, Pip pursues his great expectations and his dream of winning Estella’s heart.

Relocating Pip’s extraordinary journey to nineteenth-century India, this coming-of-age story, evoking some of Dickens’ most colourful characters, is faithful to the period of the book and the richness of Dickens’ language – a vivid theatrical retelling of a universally loved masterpiece.

For me, it is about trying to redress the balance. So often history is ‘whitewashed,’ immigrants are seen as recent phenomena, and our common history is ignored – Tanika in Picture this Post

Gupta has adapted this classic with absolute valour and aplomb. This is not an attempt to superimpose or meld cultural contexts. Rather, it’s a telling of the Dickens’ story that brilliantly reimagines and recenters it – all while honoring the genius of the 19th century narrativeJamil Khoury, Silk Road Rising Artistic Director in Broadway World


Tanika’s adaptation returned to stages from the 8th of September to the 7th of October 2023 as a Royal Exchange Theatre and Tamasha co-production. 

Pooja Ghai is the artistic director of Tamasha and the director of this production. As a director from the global majority, she implicitly understands my point of view. The creative vision is further supported by the designer Rosa Maggiora who works her magic with the set and costume designs. Tanika, interviewed in Close-up Culture

Pooja Ghai added that Great Expectations is a fresh new perspective on a well-known story. It is witty and brave, bringing to life well-loved characters in a whole new light. 

It is one thing to produce a play that is a faithful and intriguing adaptation of its source material. It is quite another for said production to build on those foundations and create something this special.

Dickens in the Raj has style and warmth – The Times ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bengal in 1905 is tailor-made for Dickens – The Guardian⭐⭐⭐⭐

An all-round entertaining production that looks great, keeps you engaged, is full of wit and packed with morals – The Reviews Hub ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Gupta’s adaptation of Great Expectations is truly spellbinding with a fantastic alternate view of this much-loved story.West End Best Friend ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Great Expectations offers both humour and poignant moments, bringing well-known characters to life in a fresh and engaging settingFrankly My Dear ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Gupta’s thought-provoking adaptation adds an extra layer of warmth and nuance – Mancunian Matters 

Great Expectations exceeded our expectations – The Mancunian 

Powerful, compelling and doesn’t miss a beatI Love Manchester 


In 2017 Gupta’s adaptation went to Chicago. Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and Silk Road Rising brought Great Expectations to Chicago from May 11th – July 2nd. 

What is exciting about this adaptation is that not only is she very true to the original Dickens—80 percent of the dialogue is straight from the novel – she’s added this amazing expansion of the story by starting it in 1861, which is the same year that the novel was published – Nick Sandys (co-director).

Co-director Lavina Jadhwani stated that in Gupta’s adaptation, the politics are much clearer, more contemporary, more relevant. Jadwani goes on to say: hearing a black man in the role of Magwitch speak about the injustices of our legal system is heartbreakingly contemporary.

Read more about the 2017 adaptation in an American Theatre interview with the Co-directors.

Tanika Gupta’s transplanting of Dickens’s story to 1860s India couldn’t be more potentChicago Reader

Gupta’s adaptation, Dickens’ words take on new lifeNew City Stage

Gupta finds the right formula to adapt Charles Dickens’ 1861 novel through an Indian perspective. Pip’s transformation is relatable to modern America, where immigrants feel the need to become more American.- PerformInk Chicago 


Tanika Gupta’s adaptation of Great Expectations premiered as a co-production of the English Touring Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre, directed by Nikolai Foster. The initial run lasted from the 17th of February to the 7th of May 2011.

“Tanika Gupta’s adaptation brings a colonial eye to Charles Dickens’s orphan story.” Time Out

“If you are looking for a traditional Dickensian tale of London, prepare yourself for something slightly different.” A Younger Theatre

“A gripping story revolving around a cast of intriguing characters” Chicago Sun Times

“It’s the rags-to-riches storyline which appealed to me” The Arts Desk