Ballet Black to return to Theatre Royal Stratford East this November

ballet black isabela coracy and jose alve
ballet black isabela coracy and jose alve

Ballet Black Isabela Coracy and Jose Alves in captured by Martin Lawrance photo bill cooper

Theatre Royal Stratford East today announced that Ballet Black are to return to the theatre this November with another triple bill and as part of their new partnership with the company which launched last year.

 In this latest mixed bill, Artistic Director Cassa Pancho commissions bold choreography once more, blending the classical and contemporary, narrative and abstract, for her ballet company comprising British and international dancers of black and Asian descent.

 A four-hander characterised by intricate detail and propulsive energy, Captured ebbs and flows to the fiery emotion of Martin Lawrance’s edgy choreography, set to a Shostakovich string quartet. First premiered in 2012, Captured was an instant audience and critical success.

French choreographer, Ludovic Ondiviela, presents Dopamine (you make my levels go silly), a beautiful pas de deux about love, lust and passion with an original score created by acclaimed British composer, Fabio D’Andrea.

 South Bank Sky Arts Award-winner Annabelle Lopez Ochoa turns a popular fairy tale on its head, as Red Riding Hood is given a surprising twist – the Wolf might just regret messing with Red Riding Hood!

 Theatre Royal Stratford East                                                                                                                       Listings

Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

 Wednesday 8 November – Saturday 11 November, 8pm

 Box Office: 020 8534 0310

Facebook: theatreroyalstratfordeast   

Twitter: @stratfordeast

Theatre Royal Stratford East offer free tickets to people named Summer for world première of Rikki Beadle-Blair’s Summer In London

Summer In London

Summer In London

Summer In London

Theatre Royal Stratford East today invite anyone who shares the name of the production’s title role, Summer to attend the world première of Rikki Beadle-Blair’s new rom-com Summer in London for free. Summer in London, opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East today and runs until 29 July.

Anyone named Summer will be entitled to one free ticket to the show on a date of their choice (subject to availability). Please note that to claim free ticket photo ID will be required.

Come and celebrate the first play in mainstream British theatre led by an all trans cast, written and directed by award-winning filmmaker and LGBTQ activist Rikki Beadle-Blair MBE.

Four friends court the same woman on a budget of nothing while the sun shines. A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Generation Rent in a city that still hides a bit of magic, if you know where to look.

As the sun sets and the drinks flow things get complicated, and we discover nothing is as it first appears.

A love letter to London and a story of friendship, love and finding yourself. Don’t miss this funny, sexy and life-affirming night out!

Theatre Royal Stratford East                                                                                                                       Listings

Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

Box Office: 020 8534 0310

Facebook: theatreroyalstratfordeast

Twitter: @stratfordeast
Instagram: theatre_royal_stratford_east

Youtube: theatreroyalstratfordeast

8 July – 29 July

Press night: 13 July 7pm

 Ticket prices

Newham Discount Night £2.50

8-12 Jul previews £12-£15

Mon-Thu until 20 Jul £12-£22

Tue-Thu from 25-27 Jul £12-£25

Fri-Sat £12-£25

Concessions from £8

Access performances

Signed Fri 28 Jul 7.30pm

Audio Described Sat 29 Jul 2.30pm

Captioned Wed 26 Jul 7.30pm


Musical Theatre Workshop 2017 begins its 2-week development period with 6 new musicals

Musical Theatre Workshop

Musical Theatre Workshop

  • 6 new musical projects and 12 artists to take over TRSE for 2 weeks
  • Facilitated by TRSE MT New Writing Manager Sevan Tavoukdjian and Specialist Tutors Fred Carl and Robert Lee from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts
  • Artists include SOHO/Royal Court writing alumni, The Voice UK finalist, BRIT graduates, and international recording artists
  • MTW runs from 17-28 July
  • Invite-only sharing on 28 July.

Theatre Royal Stratford East’s annual Musical Theatre Workshop will take place 17-28 July as 12 artists take over the building to develop 6 new musicals under the guidance of TRSE’s artistic team including MT New Writing Manager Sevan Tavoukdjian and MTW facilitatorsFred Carl and Robert Lee, specialist tutors from NYU’s prestigious Tisch’s School of the Arts which runs the world’s only graduate programme focused on musical theatre writing.

This year’s participants were selected through a year-long search of industry recommendations, showcases, scratch nights, Edinburgh Fringe and London Fringe productions. Each partnership is brand new and over the two weeks the writers will begin developing 6 brand new British musicals that speak to our current and future lives while pushing the boundaries of form and structure.

The 12 artists include international gospel and blues recording artist Izo Fitzroy, The Voice UK finalist Vince Kidd, BRIT school graduates Lakeisha Lynch Stevens and Dominic Powell, and SOHO/Royal Court writers group alum Joyce Lee. Joining them will be Tom Wright, Ruth Chan, Abi Zakarian, Gabby Wong, Colm Molloy, Arnoud Breitbarth, and Tori-Allen Martin.

Musical theatre is a key priority for TRSE, being an art form that has the power to bridge gaps across cultures and overcome language barriers.  TRSE’s vision is to break new ground with musicals that bring contemporary and urban music into the mainstream of British theatre.  The aim is to revitalise the musical form, to create work that is relevant to and informed by today’s Britain and attract new and diverse audiences.

To realise this vision, TRSE launched its Musical Theatre Initiative (MTI) in 1998, giving writers and musicians a development process to bring their own voices into the context of theatre, using words and music or beats.  Without such support, there is no natural bridge into musical theatre for much of the music-writing talent that is abundant in Britain today.

The Musical Theatre Workshop (MTW) is a key component of MTI gathering a broad range of participants including singers, songwriters, musicians, music producers, MCs, poets, novelists, spoken word artists, DJs, composers and other professional artists to cross genres and create forward-thinking and boundary-breaking new pieces of musical theatre. The participants are invited via open calls and existing relationships with new and emerging artists.

Sevan Tavoukdjian, TRSE’s MT New Writing Manager, said: I am beyond excited by this year’s group of MTW artists. I was so inspired by last year’s group to keep finding, supporting and developing new and undiscovered voices. The work they generate will push the form and challenge the industry to support brave, bold, and new voices and stories.

 Kerry Michael, Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said: MTW has changed and grown each summer as we respond to the needs and wants of artists and as we look ahead to the growth of MT form and story-telling.. These artists represent our promise and dedication to developing new voices and new British musical theatre while bridging the gaps between artists of all genres to create game-changing musicals.

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Summer in London, Rikki Beadle-Blair Interview: “Now feels like a perfect storm; there’s never been a more inspiring and exciting time to be an artist.”

Rikki Beadle-Blair
Rikki Beadle-Blair

Rikki Beadle-Blair

It’s mid-morning on a hot summer’s day in Stratford. I am sitting in on rehearsals for Rikki Beadle-Blair’s new play ‘Summer in London’ at Theatre Royal Stratford East. The cast are in the middle of a Skype call with a leading trans awareness charity and the conversation is geared around identifying micro aggression and confirming pronouns. To the uninformed, it may not be easily understood that there are still multiple difficulties for trans people, binary and non-binary who are seeking access to a society on the same terms as everyone else.

Beadle-Blair is a writer, director, composer, choreographer, designer, producer and performer. He has won several awards including the Sony Award, the Los Angeles Outfest Screenwriting and was ranked forth on the Rainbow list of the UK’s hundred most influential LGBT+ people. What star sign is he? “I’m a Leo. I would say I am a template Leo,” he smiles. “Leos like bright colours and are summery creatures. They have lots of friends. They like being at home and are very bold. I think Leo’s struggle to keep their egos in check – but if someone else is a good leader – then they are the first to admit it.”

We are talking at lunch between rehearsals ahead of the Queen’s Speech, a week on from the Grenfell Tower fire and on the same day that Donald Trump has blamed his predecessor Barack Obama over the death of Otto Warmbier, 22, the US student who died after being imprisoned for 17 months in North Korea. Beadle Blair smiles patiently when considering the long and slow decline of the Western World and says: “None of it surprises me but all of it is quite shocking. A lot of the things that I think of as really very terrible are really good. These are crazy and politically turbulent times, where you just don’t know what’s going to happen next, people are clinging to their jobs and are promoted beyond their capabilities. Now feels like a perfect storm; there’s never been a more inspiring and exciting time to be an artist,” says Beadle-Blair.

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Rikki has written 28 plays in the last decade that have been performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Bush TheatreSoho Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre and Contact Theatre in Manchester. What, I wonder, does success look like to him? “I know when a show is successful when I watch it and think: ‘who wrote that?’ Then I realise it was me,” he nods. “I feel something is successful when I’ve stepped out of my own limitations and done something I haven’t done before something that challenges me. If I can test my humanity, prejudice, ego and philosophy then I have succeeded.”

The aim – and Rikki seems to have adopted this as his mission – is to make theatre and art for everyone. “What Summer in London is and what my work is – the revolution for which it is calling for is not a revolution in where anyone is deposed but where everyone is valued,” he adds, quickly. “So that we are all elevated. All of us can be elevated by one another, that’s my job, my life’s work and that’s what I’m offering the audience… Along with the standard expectation of high entertainment.”

‘Summer in London is billed as a cross between “a modern Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Inbetweenerswith an all-transgender cast.” So, what else can audiences expect from this play? “An astonishing cast who are full of vibrancy and humanity,” he says. “I tend to do very funny plays around very heavy subjects. I wanted to make something set in London that was uplifting, vivid and inspiring. I think I live in the most romantic and inspiring cities in the world. I want to capture what it’s like to be part of that culture and the home of so many talented people who come here to get the urban grit. Theatre Royal Stratford East is the perfect delivery room for this play; this is Stratford international!”” he beams.

“This theatre is one of the most revolutionary theatres in the world.”

Summer in London is at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 13 July, with previews from 8 July, and runs until 29 July.

The Who’s Tommy to be live streamed from Theatre Royal Stratford East to care homes across the UK

The Who's Tommy
The Who's Tommy

The Who’s Tommy. Click on the image to book your tickets for the show

This Saturday 17 June at 2:30pm, Theatre Royal Stratford East will be live-streaming the iconic musical, Tommy, into adult social care homes across the UK as part of their commitment to the Ramps on the Moon initiative to make theatre accessible to all.

Older people across the UK will be watching the musical in HD from the comfort of their own armchairs, along with invited family and friends.

The live-stream will be captioned and there is also the option to listen to the show’s audio description.

Based on the iconic 1969 concept album, The Who’s Tommy is the multi-award-winning epic rock musical written by Pete Townshend. With a cast of 22 performers and musicians, this is the story of the pinball-playing boy which has entertained and intrigued audiences for more than 40 years. A one-of-a-kind theatrical event! Tommy runs at Theatre Royal Stratford East until 17 June and continues to The Crucible, Sheffield from 22 June – 1 July.

Music and Lyrics Pete Townshend; Book Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff
Additional Music and Lyrics John Entwistle and Keith Moon; Director Kerry Michael
Associate Director Nicola Miles-Wildin; Dramaturg Paul Sirett; Designer Neil Irish
Musical Director Robert Hyman; Assistant Musical Director Oliver Vibrans

Choreographer Mark Smith; Lighting and AV Designer Arnim Friess

Sound Designer Andrew Johnson for Creative Technology
Casting Director Polly Jerrold

British Sign Language Creative Consultants Jeni Draper and Daryl Jackson


Adam Langstaff, Alim Jayda, Amelia Cavallo, Amy Trigg, Anthony Snowden, Becky Barry,

Donna Mullings, Garry Robson, Hearns Sebuado, Julian Capolei, Lukus Alexander,

Matthew Jacobs-Morgan, Max Runham, Natasha Julien, Natasha Lewis, Peter Straker,

Shekinah Mcfarlane, Stacey Ghent, Steve Simmonds, Tony Qunta, William Grint


Casting Announced For The World Première Of Rikki Beadle-Blair’s Summer In London

Summer in London


Summer in London

Summer in London

Theatre Royal Stratford East today announced the  casting for the world première of Summer in London, a new romcom about four young homeless men living in Stratford during a summer heatwave, with an all-transgender cast. Rikki Beadle-Blair directsTigger Blaize (Mosey), Kimberley Clarke (Joan), Tyler Luke Cunningham (Hamza), Emma Frankland (Justine), Victoria Gigante (Summer), Ash Palmisciano (Jack) and Kamari Romeo (Ryoko). The production opens at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 13 July, with previews from 8 July, and runs until 29 July.

Could you find love in London on zero budget?

Join four cheeky lads as they compete to win the heart of a beautiful woman called Summer on four free dates across London. Though secretly homeless – and broke – they use every trick in the book to find cost-free ways to impress her.

We follow the streetwise romeos on boat rides, to museums, parks and firework displays as they try to win their date. As the sun sets and the drinks flow things get complicated, and we discover nothing is as it first appears.

This hilarious new romcom play – think The Inbetweeners mixed with a modern Midsummer Night’s Dream – is about friendship, finding love and being yourself. Summer in London is written and directed by Rikki Beadle-Blair with an all trans cast and an original new soundtrack.

IMPORTANT Notes on language

As Summer in London features an all-transgender cast, features or reviews are likely to refer to being transgender. The correct pronouns for the cast are listed below for reference in addition to their bios.

Rikki Beadle-Blair is a writer, director, composer, choreographer, designer, producer and performer. He has won several awards including the Sony Award, the Los Angeles Outfest Screenwriting and was ranked forth on the Rainbow list of the UK’s hundred most influential LGBT+ people. Beadle-Blair works extensively in theatre and has written 28 plays in the last decade that have been performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre and Contact Theatre in Manchester. For television and film his credits include Blackbird starring Oscar-winning actress Mo’nique, Stonewall, Metrosexuality, Noah’s Arc and FIT, KickOff and Bashment for his company Team Angelica. He is also one of the creative directors of the Visionary Youth Project for Young European Film Activists.

Tigger Blaize (s/he) returns to Theatre Royal Stratford East to play Mosey – previous work for the company includes Super Skinny Bitches. Theatre credits include Intertwined (Bush Theatre), The Elves and The Shoemakers (Theatre Hullabaloo), Spots Birthday Party (Oxford Playhouse, UK tour), Rabbit & Hedgehog (York Theatre Royal), The Twits (Belgrade Theatre Coventry, UK tour). TV credits include Apple Tree Yard, and forthcoming Hard Sun.

Kimberley Clarke (she/her) plays Joan. Theatre credits include The Maids (Russian tour), The Las Vegas Story, In the Flesh (world tour), The Vampires of Sodom (New York) and Trans Scripts (UK tour). TV credits include Wave Lengths and Cold Feet. Film credits include Killer Tongue and Preaching to the Perverted. Kimberley is also one of the leads in new web seriesSpectrum London.

Tyler Luke Cunningham (he/him) plays Hamza. This production marks his stage debut. TV credits include Boy Meets Girl.

Emma Frankland (she/her) plays Justine. An award-winning theatre maker and performer (two-time Fringe First award winner and Total Theatre Award nominee), her work includes None of Us is Yet a Robot, Rituals for Change and Don Quijote (British Council Showcase at Edinburgh Fringe, UK & international tour). She is also an Associate Artist with Coney and Chisenhale Dance Space.

Victoria Gigante (she/her) plays Summer. Theatre credits include Rise (Waterloo Green) and My Dad’s Gap Year (Bush Theatre).

Ash Palmisciano (he/him) plays Jack. Theatre credits include King Lear (RSC). TV credits include Boy meets Girl and Mum.

Kamari Romeo (he/him) plays Ryoko. Theatre credits include The Bear/The Proposal (Young Vic), Elemental(Bush Theatre), Sequin Deep (Theatre N16), The Jungle Book (Emporium Brighton) and Alice in Wonderland(The Minack Theatre).


Theatre Royal Stratford East                                                                                                                       Listings

Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

Box Office: 020 8534 0310

Facebook: theatreroyalstratfordeast

Twitter: @stratfordeast
Instagram: theatre_royal_stratford_east

Youtube: theatreroyalstratfordeast

 8 July – 29 July

Press night: 13 July 7pm

Ticket prices

Newham Discount Night £2.50

8-12 Jul previews £12-£15

Mon-Thu until 20 Jul £12-£22

Tue-Thu from 25-27 Jul £12-£25

Fri-Sat £12-£25

Concessions from £8

Access performances

Signed Fri 28 Jul 7.30pm

Audio Described Sat 29 Jul 2.30pm

Captioned Wed 26 Jul 7.30pm

SMOTHER opening at Theatre Royal Stratford East



Following the sellout success last year at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 201 Dance Company and Patrick Collier Production Company are embarking on the premiere UK tour of SMOTHER from April – June 2017. Challenging the the taboo that persists in urban dance around presenting stories of homosexuality, choreographer Andrea Walker directs a cast of seven in a fast-paced, intimate performance about relationships.


★★★★ “Takes hip-hop into thrillingly new terrain” – The Guardian

★★★★ “This is the new generation of street dance” – The Times

★★★★ “One of the hot tickets of the Fringe” – The Herald

​★★★★ “A show that feels authentically young and cool and full of the amplified feelings of first love” – The Evening Standard

★★★★★ Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

★★★★ “captivating and frankly ingenious” – Scotsgay

Can you stay true to yourself, when everything suggests you change? 201’s raw, contemporary hip-hop movement comes to the UK in Smother: a story of two people’s broken encounter, touching on themes of addiction, obsession, and the true meaning of commitment. The show uses fast-paced, hard-hitting choreography and follows a number of relationships to raise questions about companionship and identity. Having repeatedly found that hip-hop lacks powerful gay voices, 201 present a bold, provocative show that brings a new voice to the urban dance scene. After acclaimed performances in New York and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, 201 Dance Company have gone from strength to strength.



Casting announcement for the world première of the stage adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s Room

Theatre Royal Stratford East and Abbey Theatre Dublin today announces the full cast for the world première of Emma Donoghue’s bestselling novel Room. Previously adapted by Donoghue for the screen, winning multiple awards, she now brings the story to the stage featuring songs by Scottish songwriter Kathryn Joseph and Cora Bissett. Bissett directs Stephen Casey(Grandpa/Doctor), Fela Lufadeju (Big Jack), Liam McKenna (Old Nick), Lucy Tregear (Grandma) and Witney White (Ma). The role of Little Jack will be shared by Darmani Eboji, Taye Kassim Junaid-Evans and Harrison Wilding. Opening on 10 May, the production previews from 2 May and runs until 3 June. Following its run in Stratford, Room will then play at Abbey Theatre, Dublin and Dundee Rep.

Kidnapped as a teenage girl, Ma has been locked inside a purpose-built room in her captor’s garden for seven years. Her five-year-old son, Jack, has no concept of the world outside and happily exists inside Room with the help of Ma’s games and his vivid imagination where objects like Rug, Lamp and TV are his only friends. But for Ma the time has come to escape and face their biggest challenge to date: the world outside Room.

Emma Donoghue is an award-winning writer, living in Canada with her family. Donoghue is an accomplished playwright with her plays being performed both sides of the Atlantic. Theatre credits include I Know My Own Heart, Trespasses, Don’t Die Wondering, Ladies and Gentlemen. She also wrote a monologue for Signatories, a play of monologues commissioned by University College Dublin to celebrate the centenary of the Easter Rising and her play Trespasses is currently being developed as an opera. Her first full-length feature film, Room (adapted from her international bestselling novel of the same name which was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes), won Donoghue Best Adapted Screenplay nominations for the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Critics’ Choice Awards and the BAFTAs. The film starred Brie Larson who received the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress. Currently Donoghue is adapting her novel Frog Music into a feature film for Monumental Pictures Limited and her latest novel, The Wonder about a ‘fasting girl’ in 1850s Ireland, was shortlisted for Canada’s Giller Prize. Her first novel for children The Lotterys Plus One, will be published on 20 April 2017. Other novels include The Sealed Letter, Life Mask, Slammerkin, Landing, Hood and Stir-fry. Short-story collections include Astray, Three and a Half Deaths, Touchy Subjects, The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, and Kissing the Witch; and literary history includingInseparable, We Are Michael Field, and Passions Between Women.

Cora Bissett is a director, actor, musician and Artistic Director of Pachamama. She returns to Theatre Royal Stratford East after last year’s production of Glasgow Girls. Following a career in music, she has worked extensively in theatre, television and film including the Palme D’Or-winning feature Red Road. She won the Arches Award for ‘New Directors’ in 2008 and devised and directed her first piece Amada, which went on to tour nationally. Pachamama was launched with Roadkill at the 2010 Edinburgh Festival Fringe garnering 9 major awards. It toured to Glasgow, London, Paris, Chicago and New York, winning an Olivier Award for Outstanding Production. Her collaborative music/theatre project with The Arches, Whatever gets You through the Night, was a sell-out success at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and won the Theatre Award in the Creative Scotland Awards in 2012. She recently directed other Music-Theatre project GRIT-The Martyn Bennett Story and Janis Jopin-Full Tilt which garnered 5 star reviews in its 2 Festival and London runs. She is currently Associate Director at the National Theatre of Scotland for whom she directed Rites about the sensitive issue of FGM in 2015.

Kathryn Joseph is a Scottish songwriter. Her debut album, Bones You Have Thrown Me and Blood I’ve Spilled, won Scottish Album of the Year award. Previous credits for writing for theatre include The Ballad.

Stephen Casey plays Grandpa/Doctor. His theatre credits include Mametz and Silly Kings (National Theatre Wales), Animal Farm (Peter Hall Season at Bath Theatre Royal), Journey’s End, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Tempest (UK tour) Of Mice And Menand As You Like It (Old Vic), Andorra (Young Vic), Henry V, Comedy Of Errors, A Jovial Crew, Two Shakespearean Actors, King Lear, The Pretenders, Richard II, Don Juan, The Odyssey, Tamburlaine, and The Changeling (Royal Shakespeare Company); and for television, Mount Pleasant, Love and Marriage, Jericho and Da Vinci’s Demons.

Fela Lufadeju plays Big Jack. For theatre his credits include The Importance of Being Earnest (Curve, Leicester & Birmingham Rep), Kiss Me Kate (Theatre Du Chatalet), Beautiful (Aldwych Theatre) and Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios).

Liam McKenna plays Old Nick. For theatre his credits include Flowering Cherry (Finborough Theatre), Asking Rembrandt (Old Red Lion), Hamlet (Rose Theatre Kingston), Magpie Park and Tender Dearly (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Money, SummerFolk, The Merchant of Venice, The Villian’s Opera and Peter Pan (National Theatre). For television his credits include The Bastard Executioner, Hustle, Battlefield Britain, Dirty War, The Greatest Heist, Ultimate Force, Stick With Me, Kid, Elington and Kiss & Tell; and for film, The Riot Club, Maleficent, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Metamorphosis, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Eastern Promises, Venus, Like Minds, Chromophobia, The Libertine, Vanity Fair, To Kill A King, Uprising and The Ice House.

Lucy Tregear plays Grandma. Her theatre credits include The Middlemarch Trilogy, Seven Year Twitch, The Conspirators, Lips Together Teeth Apart, Flora The Red Menace (Orange Tree Theatre), The Country Wife (Haymarket Theatre), Coriolanus, A Woman Killed With Kindness, The Merry Wives Of Windsor, The Two Gentlemen Of Verona (Royal Shakespeare Company), By Jeeves (Scarborough/Duke Of York/Lyric) and Three Sisters (Chichester Festival Theatre); and for television, The Robinsons, Peak Practice and Between The Lines.

 Witney White plays Ma. Theatre credits include (National Theatre), Dusty (Charring Cross Theatre), Snow White (Fairfield Halls) and Loserville (West Yorkshire Playhouse & Garrick Theatre).

The Abbey Theatre is Ireland’s national theatre. It was founded by W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory. Since it first opened its doors in 1904 the theatre has played a vital and often controversial role in the literary, social and cultural life of Ireland. Room will be part of Neil Murray and Graham McLaren’s first season as new directors of the Abbey Theatre.

Room plays at Abbey Theatre, Dublin, from 24 June – 22 July 2017

Theatre Royal Stratford East hosts New Musical Development Collective in its inaugural year

Theatre Royal Stratford East is proud to announce a year-long partnership with the New Musical Development Collective (NMDC), a brand new company focused on dramaturgy and development of British musicals and artists. The NMDC launches this month with its inaugural Musical Theatre Lab (MT-Lab) on 7 March 2017 and will be in residence at Theatre Royal Stratford East for a full year, ending with a public sharing of work on 9 March 2018.

One of NMDC’s goals is to foster and develop new British musicals that respond to the modern world and contemporary life with a focus on enriching the fabric of British theatre making and stories. Each year the NMDC plans to be in residence at an organisation with an interest in producing new musicals. Through the in-kind support of these theatres, the NMDC will be able to nurture composers, songwriters, lyricists, and playwrights from all backgrounds with an interest in creating work for the stage that brings together words and music.

The MT-Lab writers will receive a £1000 stipend, year-long dramaturgy and development, industry and skills masterclasses and workshops, a work-in-progress sharing at The Other Palace, an excerpt sharing at Theatre Royal Stratford East, a 12-month membership to Mercury Musical Developments, free tickets to Theatre Royal Stratford East productions, and access to hot desks and rehearsal rooms.

The inaugural 2017 NMDC MT-Lab writers, chosen from an open call for applications, will include Zara McFarlane, Amber Hsu, Stu Barter, Firdos Ali, Nikki Burnhope, Shireen Mula, Joe Von Malachowski, and David Austin Grey. These 8 artists come from across the UK with backgrounds in theatre, music and fine arts.

As part of its residency at Theatre Royal Stratford East, NMDC will be producing two EMERGE concerts, showcasing the talent of new/emerging acting and writing talent, as well a Think Tank Roundtable series revolving around diversity in the British Musical Theatre.

The NMDC is supported by Arts Council England, Mercury Musical Developments, Musical Theatre Network and The Other Palace and will be mentored and supported by Theatre Royal Stratford East during its year-long residency.

Kerry Michael, Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said:

Musical theatre is a key priority for Theatre Royal Stratford East, being an art form that has the power to bridge gaps across cultures and develop new audiences. We are excited to support and mentor the New Musical Development Collective with our shared vision to break new ground with British musicals. As an organisation that has always had musical theatre development as one its cores, we are excited to share our knowledge and expertise with the NMDC as they respond with us to the rallying call for new British musicals.

 Sevan Tavoukdjian, NMDC co-founder, said: What started as an idea in the back of my head a year ago has grown into something I didn’t think possible. I was lucky to meet Adam and Aaron who then agreed to jump on board with me. I feel we’ve created something really special. I couldn’t be more thrilled that Theatre Royal Stratford East agreed to be our first host organisation. They have much to teach us and we’re ready to learn. We hope to play a part in the growing wave of new British musicals in the UK.

 Adam Lenson, NMDC co-founder, said: I am thrilled to be working with a group of artists from such diverse creative practises and am looking forward to forming a unified collective that can debate, argue and learn together and who can form challenging, innovative and well-crafted new British musicals. As artists we saw the gaps and the needs and wanted to respond to them in a way that supported the artists and the industry.

 Aaron Rogers, NMDC co-founder, said: With the incredible support of the Arts Council England we are able to offer a creative working environment for these eight writers. Theatre Royal Stratford East as our host theatre and MTN, MMD and The Other Palace as our supporters, gives us the ability to support our artists as they write four brand new British musicals. Our sole aim as a company is to offer platforms where we hope to encourage writers to be bold & brave with their storytelling.

Social Media – Theatre Royal Stratford East

Facebook:              theatreroyalstratfordeast

Twitter:                 @stratfordeast


Social Media – New Musical Development Collective

 Facebook:              NewMusicalDevelopmentCollective

Twitter:                 @NewMTDev

Instagram:             newmtdev

Hashtag:               #NMDC2017



A People’s Theatre

This famous producing theatre, located in the heart of London’s East End on the edge of the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, prides itself on creating world class work that reflects the concerns, hopes and dreams of its community. A prolific developer of new work, this award-winning theatre attracts artists and audiences often not represented in other venues. Through a continuous loop it inspires and is inspired by its vibrant, young and diverse audience.

Musical Theatre 

An important aspect of its work is the development of new musical theatre. The Theatre’s vision is to break new ground with musicals that bring contemporary and urban music into the mainstream of British theatre. This has led to the production of a broad spectrum of acclaimed sell-out musicals with its work transferring nationally and internationally. Recent productions include: The Infidel The MusicalFings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be (first performed in 1959), the Olivier-nominated Oh What a Lovely War (restaged in 2014 for its 50th anniversary year, with a national tour to follow in 2015), the UK Theatre Award-nominated Glasgow Girls (with National Theatre of Scotland and Citizens Theatre in association with Richard Jordan Productions Ltd, Pachamama Productions and Merrigong Theatre Company (Australia)), Wah! Wah! Girls (with Sadler’s Wells and Kneehigh), the Olivier Award winning Pied Piper (with Boy Blue Ents), Britain’s Got Bhangra (with Rifco Arts & Warwick Arts Centre), Reasons to be Cheerful (with Graeae Theatre Company and New Wolsey Theatre), Clockwork Orange, Takeaway, Come Dancing (Best Off West End Production – What’s On Stage Awards), The Blacks, The Harder They Come (including West End and North American tour), the Olivier nominated The Big Life, Da Boyz and Baiju Bawra.


Theatre Royal Stratford East’s Sinbad The Sailor best selling pantomime in the theatre’s history

Sinbad The Sailor
Sinbad The Sailor

Sinbad The Sailor

Theatre Royal Stratford East’s production of Sinbad The Sailor has broken all box office records with the highest income and attendance for any show in the theatre’s history. Over 27,000 people have already booked tickets to see Sinbad The Sailor this year of which over 10,000 were first time visitors. In addition, 3,690 local school children attended as part of Newham’s Every Child A Theatre Goer scheme and on 29 December 2016 the pantomime was streamed live to the children’s ward at Newham University Hospital and Richard House Children’s Hospice.

Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Kerry Michael, said today ‘We’re thrilled that people from all over London return to see our pantos year after year. 63% of this year’s bookers are returning visitors and we’ve welcomed over 10,000 new visitors through our doors. We first presented Sinbad the Sailor back in 1888, then again in 1981, and I’ve loved reimagining it for today’s audiences. During Christmas week we streamed a performance live to Richard House Children’s Hospice and the children’s ward at Newham University Hospital, so that families were able to watch it together. We also look forward to presenting our first relaxed panto performance (Tue 10 Jan at 2pm). With two weeks to go Sinbad the Sailor is already our bestselling panto to date. We hope to share our original take on a classic story with many more people over the coming weeks, and to welcome them all back for Rapunzel next year!’

With heaps of surprises along the way, join Sinbad and his friends on a voyage to mysterious places as they strive to successfully complete their perilous quest.

Sinbad the Sailor has been written by Paul Sirett with music and lyrics by Wayne Nunes and Perry Melius. Directed by Kerry Michael the pantomime runs at Theatre Royal Stratford East until 21 January 2017.

Theatre Royal Stratford East                                                                                                                       Listings

Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

Box Office: 020 8534 0310

Facebook: theatreroyalstratfordeast

Twitter: @stratfordeast #SinbadTheSailor

Access Performances:

Signed: Sat 7 Jan 2pm

Audio-description: Sat 14 Jan 2pm

Captioned: Fri 6 Jan 7pm

Relaxed: Tue 10 Jan 2pm

Dates: Playing until Sat 21 January 2017

Prices: Mon-Sat £10-£25.50 (Concessions from £8)


Season at a glance

The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin1 February – 11 March 2017

Thisbe21 – 25 February 2017

Black4 April – 8 April 2017

Smother13 April & 15 April 2017

Room2 May – 3 June 2017

Tommy7 – 17 June 2017

My Country; A Work in Progress19 June – 3 July 2017

Summer In London8 July – 29 July 2017

Rapunzel27 November 2017 – 13 January 2018