Theatre Royal Stratford East has announced a new season of shows for 2023 and into 2024.
A new production of Beautiful Thing is scheduled, in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Jonathan Harvey’s much-loved coming-out story.
Directed by Anthony Simpson-Pike, the play runs from 8 September to 7 October 2023.
In 2024 Stratford East plans to revive its hit Windrush ska musical The Big Life, 20 years after it first premiered at the theatre.
The Big Life has a book by Paul Sirett and EastEnders star Tameka Empson, with lyrics by Paul Sirett and music by Paul Joseph. This new production will be directed by Tinuke Craig (The Color Purple, Trouble in Butetown), and will play from 16 February to 30 March 2024.
The venue will also continue its Young Company initiative, nurturing young talent across East London, by presenting a new production written by Guleraana Mir called here, here, here, inspired by the Young Company. Directed by Katie Greenall, with support from trainee assistant director Taiwo Oyebola, the show is set in 1993, 2023 and 2043 and about a building, about Stratford and about London. The show runs on 28 and 29 July 2023
Live at Stratford East also continues in 2023, with comedy and music one-night events. The line-up includes Mawaan Rizwan and Thanyia Moore in May and ‘An Evening of Soca Carnival – LIVE!’ featuring Triniboi Joocie & special guests in August.
Key creative team have also been announced for Stratford East’s Christmas pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk. The panto, which runs from 18 November 2023 to 6 January 2024, has a book and lyrics by Anna Jordan, music and lyrics by Robert Hyman and will be directed by Denzel Westley-Sanderson.
Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Nadia Fall said in a press statement: “Nostalgia, love and feel-good theatre. Our new season is a warm bath of nostalgia, love and laughter, kicking off with the 30th anniversary revival of Jonathan Harvey’s modern classic Beautiful Thing, which tenderly explores first love on a South London Estate in the 90s. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Windrush, so we’re incredibly excited to announce the return of our celebrated ska musical The Big Life, which takes a playful look at romance and the relationships of the young people who arrived from the Caribbean to forge new lives in the UK. Our panto, Jack and the Beanstalk, promises an exciting collaboration between our Sky Arts Associate Artist Denzel Westley-Sanderson and prolific writer Anna Jordan, with composer Robert Hyman who will be celebrating his 25th year writing those fantastic Christmas earworms! We’re also delighted to be continuing our series of one-night events with the return of comedy night Live at Stratford East and Don’t Stop The Beat Productions with An Evening of Soca Carnival – Live!, and to be welcoming our 2023/24 Young Company to our stage with their new production, here, here, here”.
Currently playing at Stratford East is hit comedy Village Idiot by Samson Hawkins, directed by Artistic Director Nadia Fall, running to 6 May 2023.
Up next is Dave Harris’ Tambo & Bones, directed by Matthew Xia in a co-production between Stratford East and Actors Touring Company, from 16 June to 15 July 2023.
Stratford East artistic director Nadia Fall was announced last week as the director of new musical The Parent Agency, based on David Baddiel’s book and with music by Dan Gillespie Sells.