The Women’s Prize for Playwriting opens today for submissions for the 2021 Prize, closing on 12 July at 5pm. The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is designed to celebrate and support exceptional playwrights who identify as female by providing them with a national platform. Any person of 16 years or older who is resident in the UK and Ireland and identifies as female can enter. The Prize is for a full-length play (defined as over 60 minutes in length), written in English, and the winning playwright wins £12,000. For further details, please visit

The mission of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting is to address the inequality in the number of plays written by women and men on major stages in the UK. In 2018, only 26% of new plays on main stages in Britain were by women. This prize is designed to level the playing field and to honour and raise the profile of work by playwrights who identify as female.

The Women’s Prize for Playwriting has been created by Ellie Keel Productions (EKP) and Paines Plough, with principal partner 45North and in association with Sonia Friedman Productions. Sponsored by Samuel French Ltd, a Concord Theatricals company, who are the official publishing partner of the prize. The founding sponsor of the Prize was PER People.

The judges for this year’s Prize are Arifa AkbarMel Kenyon (Chair), Lucy KirkwoodWinsome PinnockJasmine Lee-JonesIndhu RubasinghamJenny SealeyNina SteigerNicola Walker and

Jodie Whittaker.

In its inaugural year two First Prizes of £12,000 were awarded to Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me by Amy Trigg and You Bury Me by Ahlam. The world première of Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me is the first production in Kiln Theatre’s reopening season, running from 21 May – 12 June, with press night on 26 May; and also announced today, Audible will produce the audio production of the play.

Ellie Keel: “I’m delighted to be propelled into Year 2 of The Women’s Prize for Playwriting by such positive news for our First Prize winner from last year, Amy Trigg. Amy’s play Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me will have a full run at Kiln Theatre and will be produced for audio by Audible. With the help of our excellent partner organisations, this year we’ll be equally ambitious for our winners, as we strive for proper gender equality in the writers of plays for national stages. We can’t wait to read the brilliant plays by women that we know are out there.”

Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner, Joint Artistic Directors of Paines Plough: “We are thrilled to be returning to run The Women’s Prize for Playwriting this year as a co-founding partner. This prize is an active call to arms for greater gender equality on our national stages and last year’s prize demonstrated the incredible amount of female writers creating big, bold and beautiful stories all deserving of a theatre home and audience. We are excited to now build on our learnings from the first year as we continue to grow our mission in 2021 to discover, develop and champion female voices by giving them the support and platform they demand. Writers – send us your stories, they don’t need to be finished or perfect and you don’t need to have written a play before; one of our 2020 winners won with her first ever play so if you are even just a little bit tempted, go for it as we want to hear from you!”

Jessica Rose McVay, Creative Director and CEO, 45North: “I am thrilled that 45North is partnering with Ellie Keel and Paines Plough again this year for The Women’s Prize for Playwriting. We saw great breadth and depth of work throughout the competition last year, and I am so pleased that after an difficult and exhausting year, WPP submissions are open for the incredible female playwrights of the UK!”

Sonia Friedman: “SFP is delighted to be part of the second year of the Women’s Prize for Playwriting. In these difficult and complex times, it feels more important than ever to champion underrepresented voices and find vital, new stories for our stages. This brilliant initiative has already discovered some extraordinary work, and we are very excited to see what the prize brings to light in 2021.”

Abigail Gonda, Commissioning Producer for Theatre, Audible UK: “Reasons You Should(n’t) Love Me marks the entrance of Amy Trigg – a brilliant writer and performer whose deft and wit will no doubt entertain audiences for many years to come. Audible is delighted to bring this award-winning play to listeners across the world so they can share in the fantastic theatrical premiere.”


York Theatre Royal reopening Love Season

All you need is love as York Theatre Royal reopens on May 17

A celebration of York’s creativity, solo shows featuring Ralph Fiennes and Julie Hesmondhalgh, a new drama about writer Graham Greene and spy Kim Philby and Strindberg’s Miss Julie transposed to 1940s Hong Kong are among highlights in the reopening Love Season at York Theatre Royal.

The theatre will reopen on May 17 with Love Bites, celebrating local artists – poets, performers, singers, dancers, digital artists – who have been commissioned to write love letters celebrating the return to live performances following the easing of government restrictions.

Chief Executive Tom Bird said: “We can’t wait to welcome our audiences back to the theatre in May with The Love Season, an exciting and varied programme of work that celebrates what we’ve all been missing this past year – human connection, the live experience, and a sense of togetherness”.

Performances will be presented with socially-distanced audiences and adhere to the latest Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, to ensure the safety of staff and audiences.

The Love Season opens with Love Bites (17 & 18 May) celebrating York’s creativity with 20 commissioned love letters covering a range of art forms and disciplines. Former Look North presenter Harry Gration will host the evening which has a “Pay What You Feel” ticket policy.

Creative Director Juliet Forster said: “For these very special performances which mark the full re-opening of York Theatre Royal after over a year of closure, we are joining forces with the remarkable talent of many of York’s finest artists to put together an evening of live performance. 

“Drawing on a range of art forms and disciplines, Love Bites will explore the idea of love letters, dedicated to people, places, things, actions, occupations (and much, much more!) in a multitude of ways, all presented in five-minute specially commissioned bite sized chunks”.

The Love Season continues with The HandleBards recounting in their own inimitable way the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet (25 & 26 May), created by three actors cooped up together during lockdown. The result is an unhinged and bonkers, laugh-out-loud version of Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers.

Following sellout performances in the UK and Australia York’s very own drag superstar Velma Celli brings Love Is Love: A Brief History of Drag (29 May) to the Theatre Royal stage in an electrifying cabaret performance promising heavenly vocals, theatrical swagger and razor sharp wit.

Multi award-winning, BAFTA- nominated actress Julie Hesmondhalgh stars in The Greatest Play in the History of the World (1-5 June), which is touring northern dates after a sellout Edinburgh Festival run and transferring to Manchester and London’s West End. The play was written for Julie by her Brentwood Award winning writer husband Ian Kershaw.

In This Time (8-9 June) the award-winning circus theatre company Ockham’s Razor present a unique take on the trapeze act in a show about time, age and the stories we tell ourselves.

Favourite characters from the hit TV show take to the stage in Twirlywoos Live! (11-13 June) in a show for ages 1+. Also for young audiences comes The Snail and the Whale (2 & 3 July), inspired by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved picture book. This Tall Stories show is for ages 4+

Red Ladder Theatre stage The Damned United (16 June), adapted from David Peace’s novel by Anders Lustgarten and telling the story of Brian Clough’s time as manager of Leeds United. 

Strindberg’s classic Miss Julie (22-26 June), directed by Dadiow Lin, has been adapted by British-Hong Kong writer Amy Ng into a politically-charged story set in 1940s Hong Kong. “Vital, timely adaptation of Strindberg’s play” was the verdict in a 5-star review from The Stage.

Direct from the West End, Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (30 June) will deliver spontaneous musical comedy.

Oliver Ford-Davies and Stephen Boxer star in Ben Brown’s new political drama A Splinter of Ice (6-10 July), presented by the Original Theatre Company. Olivier Award winning Ford Davies plays the writer Graham Greene who travels into the heart of the Soviet Union to meet his old MI6 boss Kim Philby.

Ralph Fiennes directs and stars in the world premiere of T S Eliot’s Four Quartets (26-31 July). This solo theatre adaptation features Burnt Norton, East Coker, The Dry Salvages and Little Giddings which were published together in 1943. The quartet ranges across themes of time, nature and the elements, faith and spirituality, war and mortality.

For full details of The Love Season visit

Tickets from £12, with members’ discounts available. 

Members 10-day priority booking opens Friday (April 9), members 5-day priority booking on April 14 and general bookings open April 19 – all from 12noon.

Book online 

By telephone 01904 623568, Monday to Saturday 12 noon to 3pm,  from April 14 

In person Thursday to Saturday, 12 noon to 3pm, from April 15

ABBA MANIA returns to the West End for first time in 19 years | Shaftesbury Theatre, 21 May – 6 June 2021

Critically acclaimed ABBA MANIA returns
to the West End for the first time in 19 years
Friday 21st May – Sunday 6th June 2021

After a year of silence on the West End, audiences are invited to dust off their flares to become a Dancing Queen and say ‘Thank You For The Music’ with ABBA MANIA. Last seen in the West End nearly two decades ago, the world’s number one touring ABBA tribute concert is back by popular demand this May. Coming to the Shaftesbury Theatre, it’s the perfect party as we head out of lockdown!

ABBA MANIA brings to life ABBA’s last ever concert in an exhilarating two-hour production celebrating the timeless joy of their songs. Featuring the Swedish supergroup’s irresistible
music, fantastic costumes and electrifying staging, this concert is perfect for life-long ABBA fans and newcomers alike. Dig out your platforms and enjoy all your favourite hits including Mamma Mia, Voulez Vous, Dancing Queen, Winner Takes It All, Waterloo, Fernando, Does Your Mother Know, Super Trouper and many more.

ABBA MANIA have delighted more than three million audience members since their formation in 1999, performing over 3,000 live shows in 30 countries across the world – from Germany to Tahititi, Sweden to Venezuela, USA to Australia. For the first time since 2002, West End audiences will have the opportunity to relive the iconic era when ABBA ruled the airwaves

ABBA MANIA producer, Todd Littlewood comments, There’s nothing more perfect for reopening of the West End than the belt-out, feel-good music of ABBA. It’s been a tough year and as audiences begin to take their seats in auditoriums once again, we can’t wait to return to where it all began for ABBA MANIA and make sure that joy is ABBA-solutely centre stage.

ABBA MANIA are one of the best on the circuit – Daily Mirror

Close your eyes and it could have been ABBA – Sky News

Following its West End season ABBA MANIA will tour as part of Sounds In The Grounds and The Legends Festival, followed by a full UK tour this autumn. There will also be a 55-date US tour, a debut Russian tour and a 25-date arena tour in France throughout 2021 and 2022.

Rescheduled dates for the UK Tour of GREASE starring Peter Andre






The producers of the first new production in 25 years of Jim Jacobs & Warren Casey’s iconic musical GREASE, have been working hard to reschedule the 2021 dates of the UK tour. The musical was due to tour in 2020 but had to be postponed due to COVID-19.  Directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, the 2021 tour will now begin at Curve, Leicester from 30 – 31 July.

The tour will continue on to Theatre Royal Plymouth from 3 – 7 August, The Marlowe, Canterbury from 9 – 14 August, Theatre Royal Nottingham from 17 – 21 August, Milton Keynes Theatre from 23 – 28 August, Stoke Regent Theatre from 30 August – 4 September, New Victoria Theatre, Woking from 7 – 11 September, The Orchard Theatre, Dartford from 13 – 18 September, Bristol Hippodrome from 21 – 25 September, Edinburgh Festival Theatre from 27 September – 2 October, Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield from 5 – 9 October, Manchester Opera House from 11 – 23 October, Grand Opera House, Belfast from 26 – 30 October, The Alexandra, Birmingham from 2 – 6 November, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from 9 – 13 November, Liverpool Empire from 15 – 20 November and Wales Millennium Centre from 22 – 27 November.

Following his success starring in the UK and Ireland tour in 2019, Peter Andre will star in the 2021 tour at certain venues. Peter Andre is currently scheduled to perform at certain performances in Leicester, Plymouth, Canterbury, Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Woking, Dartford, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Southampton, Liverpool and Cardiff. Customers are advised to check their local websites for specific dates.

As well as reprising the role of Teen Angel, Andre will also play Vince Fontaine. Further casting to be announced.

Peter Andre said “I was so thrilled to have been returning to Grease this year as I had the most wonderful time on the last tour working with our incredible cast and creative team, I can’t wait to get back out there performing with them. Grease is joyous and will truly allow you to escape to a different time, with show-stopping dance routines and some of the most iconic songs of all time. It’s a show about solidarity and it celebrates friendship, which is even more important now with how the last 12 months have been. As the song goes, We Go Together!”

Peter Andre is known for his successful music and television career and became the sixth highest selling artist in the UK in the 1990s with number one hits such as Mysterious GirlFlava and I Feel You. He has had two number one albums and has toured all over the world, collecting a multitude of national and international awards. Peter’s many TV shows and appearances, include his reality show Peter Andre: My Life60 Minute Makeover and the third series of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here in 2004.

GREASE originally opened in Chicago in 1971, followed by a move to Broadway in 1972, where it received seven Tony Award nominations, including one for Best Musical. During the show’s eight-year run, at the time, little known actors including Peter Gallagher, Patrick Swayze and John Travolta all appeared in the production, with Richard Gere understudying many roles before going on to star as Danny Zuko in the 1973 London premiere.

The 1978 film adaptation starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John is the fourth highest-grossing live action musical of all time and celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. The musical features beloved songs, including Summer NightsGreased Lightnin’Hopelessly Devoted To You and You’re The One That I Want.

GREASE is directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, with designs by Colin Richmond, orchestrations and musical supervision by Sarah Travis, lighting design by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Tom Marshall and 2021 tour casting by Kay Magson CDG, with original tour casting by David Grindrod CDG.

This production of GREASE is produced by Colin Ingram, InTheatre Productions, Donovan Mannato, Playing Field, Hunter Arnold, Araca and Curve.



Twitter: @greaseuktour                      

2021 Tour Schedule

30 – 31 July                          Curve, Leicester                                                      0116 242 3595


3 – 7 August                         Theatre Royal Plymouth                                           01752 267222


9 – 14 August                       The Marlowe, Canterbury                                        01227 787787

                                                                      On sale soon

17 – 21 August                     Theatre Royal, Nottingham                                       0115 989 5555      


23 – 28 August                     Milton Keynes Theatre                                             0844 871 7615*


30 August – 4 September     Stoke Regent Theatre                                              0844 871 7615*                                                   


7 – 11 September                 New Victoria Theatre, Woking                                  0844 871 7615*

                                        On sale soon                     

13 – 18 September               The Orchard Theatre, Dartford                                01322 220000


21 – 25 September               Bristol Hippodrome                                                  0844 871 7615*


27 September – 2 October   Edinburgh Festival Theatre                                      0131 529 6000


5 – 9 October                       Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield                                        


11 – 23 October                   Manchester Opera House                                        0844 871 7615*

26 – 30 October                   Grand Opera House, Belfast                                    028 9024 1919


2 – 6 November                    The Alexandra, Birmingham                                     0844 871 7615*


9 – 13 November                  Mayflower Theatre, Southampton                            02380 711811


15 – 20 November                Liverpool Empire                                                      0844 871 7615*                 


22 – 27 November                Wales Millennium Centre                                        


*calls cost 7p per min plus your phone company’s access charge

Red Ladder announces new co-production Homebaked – The Musical

Red Ladder and Liverpool’s Royal Court team up to create a new musical inspired by Liverpool’s famous community bakery


Written and composed by Boff Whalley; Directed by Rod Dixon

Liverpool’s Royal Court, 24 September to 23 October 2021

Red Ladder Theatre Company is thrilled to be teaming up with Liverpool’s Royal Court this autumn to co-produce Homebaked – The Musical, bringing the story of Liverpool’s famous co-operative bakery to the stage. Playwright Boff Whalley, a founder member of the band Chumbawamba, has written this uplifting musical drama which is inspired by the real-life events of a group of residents coming together to save their neighbourhood bakery – and their homes – from demolition.

Back in 2012, the people of Anfield faced losing a huge slice of their local community to property developers. Things were looking bleak until a group of like-minded individuals got together and declared: “enough is enough”. Seeking a place for locals to earn a crust they transformed a crumbling old bakery. Homebaked was born.

This was the first step on an epic journey. What started with a half-baked idea rose and peaked until it had spawned a thriving community business with plans to transform the adjacent terrace into environmentally sustainable, quality homes and commercial spaces with affordable rent. Is it really possible? A piece of cake.

As part of the new co-production, Liverpool’s Royal Court and Red Ladder will be working with members of the community in Anfield to create a choir that will become a part of the show.

Homebaked – The Musical is directed by Red Ladder’s artistic director, Rod Dixon. He says, “I’m thrilled to be making a new piece of work in the city where I grew up. This true-life story of locals standing up to save their community in Anfield is ripe for adapting into an uplifting new musical drama. The story behind the Homebaked bakery and Community Land Trust is incredibly inspiring; a real show of working-class resilience, pride and defiance and the power of people pulling together and refusing to bow down to bullies.

Liverpool’s Royal Court is the perfect partner for Red Ladder in creating this new co-production; both organisations put local communities at the heart of our work. As well as experiencing a great night out, our audiences feel represented, moved and inspired watching stories unfold on stage that reflect their real lives.”

Writer Boff Whalley says: “I was asked to be involved in writing a musical about Homebaked and I thought it was perfect –  a great real life story of a community pulling together. What I loved about making Homebaked into a musical comedy is that it’s a good night out, and a way to feel inspired and positive. Music and laughter are so important to stories like this – changing the world one singalong chorus at a time. It’s what we all need right now; that sense of feeling stronger together.”

Kevin Fearon, Executive Producer at Liverpool’s Royal Court says: “Red Ladder are one of this country’s leading theatre companies and it’s been a personal ambition to work with them on a show for our audience. Their work starts with people’s real stories and then they turn it in to something magical. I am excited about what they will bring to our stage”.

Homebaked – The Musical will receive its premiere staging at Liverpool’s Royal Court from 24 September to 23 October 2021. 

For tickets and more information, please visit

First Look – Trailer for EUROBEAT – The Pride of Europe Streaming Theatre

A new online version of EUROBEAT – The Pride of Europe will premiere on Stream.Theatre from 14 to 18 May 2021.

The show will be hosted by David O’Reilly’s “Orla Board” as Marlene Cabana the glamorous mistress of ceremonies, with a cast led by Joanne Clifton (BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, The Rocky Horror Show, Flashdance), Tia Kofi (BBC Three’s RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Series 2), Harriet Thorpe (BBC’s The Brittas Empire, Cabaret) and Tom Read Wilson (C4’s Celebs Go Dating, BBC’s Celebrity Best Home Cook), the show will also star West End and musical theatre stars Christine Allado (Hamilton, The Prince of Egypt), Scott Garnham (Les Miserables, Billy Elliot, The Barricade Boys), Aisha Jawando (Tina in Tina, The Tina Turner Musical), Scott Paige (Cinderella, Nativity!), Claudia Kariuki, (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, School of Rock), David Ribi (Milkshake, Channel 5), comedian Sooz Kempner, Annell Odartey (WhatsonStage Awards), George Olney (Saturday Night Fever, Fiddler on the Roof), Alexzandra Sarimiento (Hamilton, Strictly Ballroom) and Jaime Tait (Motown, Beautiful).

EUROBEAT – The Pride of Europe has a book, music and lyrics by Craig Christie, is directed by Max Bex Roberts, choreographed by Callum Tempest and the musical supervisor is Adrian Kirk.

Dundee Rep’s hit Smile about the footballing legend Jim McLean reimagined for film as part of Rep Studios

Dundee Rep Ensemble presents


Tactical genius and greetin’-faced moan: the history of the footballing legend, Jim McLean celebrated in Dundee Rep’s smash hit Smile, reimagined for film for Rep Studios. Tickets on sale now.

16 April – 16 May 2021

Available digitally on Rep Studios:

Tickets from £7.50

Dundee Rep is pleased to announce the welcome return of its critically acclaimed smash hit, Smile, which in 2020 saw the auditorium filled to the brim, many of the audience football fans, with hundreds of people making this show their first ever visit to a theatre.

Originally presented in February and March 2020 as part of Dundee Rep’s 80th anniversary season which was cut short due to the global pandemic, this version of Smile is restaged and shot specifically for film and presented on Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre’s new digital platform, Rep Studios.

Smile focuses on the legendary and controversial figure of Jim McLean, Dundee United’s boss who took the team to new heights. He did something that no-one thought possible: turned a provincial football club into a genuine European force, though not without cost.

Examining the life of this highly divisive icon, Smile shines light on the complexities and contradictions, the highs and lows and the triumphs and regrets of Dundee United’s boss, ultimately revealing a Jim McLean not many knew: the one that makes you smile.

Penned by theatre and television writer Philip Differ (Only an Excuse?) and directed by Sally Reid (Scot Quad), the film version of the theatre show, shot on Dundee Rep’s stage, will see Dundee Rep Ensemble’s Barrie Hunter reprising his critically acclaimed role of McLean and Chris Alexander as Jimmy.

Rep Studios is a new digital platform showcasing a season of theatre, dance, and music, celebrating Dundee’s distinctive cultural voice within a wider world facing change and evolution driven by these unique times. It is aimed at reaching and engaging wider audiences thanks to its accessible and digital nature.

The platform provides employment for 84 Scottish based freelancers over 5 months and builds on last year’s digital output which employed 55 freelance artists and creatives.

The first season of Rep Studios includes, apart from Smile, the award-winning musical Islander, two digital premieres from Scottish Dance Theatre, a fresh focus on music events, and a new Mini-Festival, This is for you Dundee.


Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Adam Lenson of Adam Lenson Productions reveal a longlist of 15 new musicals as part of their previously announced ‘Chamber Musical Project’

With a passion and a commitment to discovering new musical theatre, evidenced by Aria’s FROM PAGE TO STAGE festival and full-time literary department, and Lenson’s regular SIGNAL concerts, Katy Lipson and Adam Lenson have come together to offer this previously announced commission for an original piece which they intend to be a yearly offering.  There were over 200 entries for this opportunity with each writing team submitting a pitch and a sample of previous work.

Each longlisted entry will receive a nominal fee of £250 to take their original pitch and idea further to a demo and synopsis with one entry receiving a writing commission of up to £6000 which will be funded by these two independent organisations.

Both producers are acutely aware of the lack of more established British chamber musicals within mainstream publishing and licensing houses and would like to help support UK-based writers in creating content which they hope in the long term could fill these gaps.

It is their intention to find, curate, and develop a show for production which may also lead to publishing and international production opportunities.

The long-listed works include:

By Christina Bloom
Amid a global pandemic and without her wife by her side, a young woman comes close to death when she suffers a ruptured ectopic pregnancy and finds herself reflecting back at events that led to this moment, as her life flashes before her eyes.

By Cordelia O’Driscoll
A soulful musical exploration of a complex female friendship, shifting in time between the golden optimism of endless teenage summers and the reality of where they find themselves now, and everything that happened in between.

By Emelie Odukwe & Lily Vincent-Frankland
A heartfelt, contemporary and dynamic piece which, at its core, is an uplifting tale of life, identity and community; set inside a high-rise building in south London and told with a refreshingly unique and vibrant sound

By Freya Smith & Jack Williams
One relationship. Two women. A contemporary song-cycle exploring identity, memory and deception.

By Guy Woolf & Isla Van Tricht
Based on the true story of the first-generation immigrant creators of Superman, this inspirational new musical shows what happens when two young minds imagine how to save the world.

By Tommy Antonio and Robert Casey
In this anti-fairytale orgy two best friends searching for meaning amidst endless hookups and parties emerge from London’s underbelly to have a baby with an electronic score played by a DJ.

By Hilmi Jaidin
A dark, original musical about algorithms, stochastic terrorism, and cat videos.

By Jen Green & Caroline Wigmore
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of the now-disgraced medical startup Theranos, and once the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire, tells her side of the story

By Leo Munby & Annabel Mutale Reed
A contemporary fairy tale about wishing for love in a world of missed connections”.

By Michelle Payne & Craig Webb

The sex education you never had to a pop soundtrack.

By Natalie Pound, Sam Young, Sam Hoppen
A black comedy that explores and satirises commonplace and backhanded approaches to mental health crises, family relationships, and duties of care, all wrapped up in a completely absurd quest to solve a murder mystery

By Jonathan O’Neill & Isaac Savage
A two-hander chamber musical with a genderless cast and writing format. The show centres around a couple dealing with grief, and their decision whether to move on or remain comfortable in their denial.

By P Burton-Morgan and Robin Simões da Silva

Three best friends, who we meet aged 11, 21 and 31, grow together and grow apart in this knotty, complex branching tale of family, friendship and compromise.

By Sarah-Louise Young, Richard Link, Paul Chronnell
Locked in an escape room a dysfunctional family must confront some of life’s biggest questions and their own personal fears before they can be released

By Eden Tredwell
Female classical composers take on the modern music industry in this new genre-bending piece.



Following the success of Inside,streamed last month and watched by audiences around the world, Orange Tree Theatre today announces the full cast and titles for Outside– the second instalment of Inside/Outside, a collection of world premiere short plays by emerging and established writers. Georgia Green directs Zainab Hasan (Asha)and Ashna Rabheru (Bettina)in Two Billion Beats by Sonali BhattacharyyaTemi Wilkey (Lou) in The Kiss by Zoe Cooper, and Fiston Barek (Kasujja) and

Robinah Kironde (Rita) in Prodigal by Kalungi Ssebandeke. The trio of short plays will be performed and livestreamed from the Orange Tree Theatre’s auditorium from 15-17 April.

Outside presents three stories of finding connection in the darkness and coming together after so long apart.  

The designer is Camilla Clarke, lighting designer Rajiv Pattani and Sound Designer & Composer Max Pappenheim. and Casting by Sarah Murray.

The Inside/Outside series is curated by OT Literary Associate Guy Jones.Inside/Outside is part of OT On Screen, the Orange Tree Theatre’s digital project launched in January 2020 with Maya Arad Yasur’s play Amsterdam, watched by over 25,000 people worldwide. The productions, filmed in collaboration with The Umbrella Rooms, mark the company’s first live-streamed project, and the first live performances at the Orange Tree Theatre since lockdown began on 16 March 2020.

The six world premiere plays are available now as a collection published by Nick Hern Books. Bookers for the livestream will receive an exclusive half-price offer on the published collection.

All rehearsals and filming will be conducted in a Covid secure environment in line with current government guidelines.

With thanks to the Hayburn Trust, and to DCMS and Arts Council England for support through the Culture Recovery Fund.


by Sonali Bhattacharyya

Asha and Bettina are smart teenagers. They’ve become very aware that they’re not being allowed to be themselves.

Sonali Bhattacharyya was 2018 Channel 4 writer in residence at the Orange Tree, where she wrote Chasing Hares, winner of the Sonia Friedman Production Award. Her credits include Megaball (National Theatre Learning for ‘Let’s Play’), Slummers (Bunker Theatre), 2066 (Almeida Theatre), The Invisible Boy (Kiln Theatre) and White Open Spaces (Pentabus Theatre – South Bank Show award-nominated). She was one of three playwrights selected for the inaugural Old Vic 12, and is currently under commission to Fifth Word and Kiln Theatre, writer in residence at National Theatre Studio and recently shortlisted for the Woman’s Playwriting Award for her play Deepa the Saint.

Zainab Hasan plays Asha. Her previous theatre credits include Living Newspaper (Royal Court), The Welkin (National Theatre), [BLANK]Shakespeare Trilogy (also St Ann’s Warehouse, New York)(Donmar Warehouse), Timon of AthensTartuffeTamburlaine (RSC), Hijabi Monologues (Bush Theatre), Boy (Almeida Theatre), Cataline (Untold Theatre, Ovalhouse), Tory BoyzRomeo and JulietThe Prince of Denmark (National Youth Theatre, Ambassadors Theatre), On the Dole (Lyric Theatre), Othello (Brockley Jack Theatre), Romeo and JulietDThe Boyfriend (Ovalhouse), and Totally Over You (Kiln Theatre).

Ashna Rabheru plays Bettina. Her previous theatre credits includeLiving Newspaper (Royal Court), Santi & Naz (The Vaults/The Thelmas), [BLANK] (Donmar Warehouse), Top Girls (National Theatre), and Trojan Horse (LUNG/Leeds Playhouse). Her television credits include All the Small ThingsPickle JarSex EducationYear of the RabbitBountyIndian Summers, and Is This Thing On?.


by Zoe Cooper

Lou and Soph have recently moved, and while Soph goes off to work at the local primary school, Lou is stuck at home and the thought of doing anything is becoming too much.

Zoe Cooper’s Out of Water had its world première at the Orange Tree in 2019 and was a finalist in the 2020 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She was also shortlisted for the Charles Wintour Award for Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Awards 2019, and nominated for the Best New Production of a Play Award in the Broadway World UK Awards. Her playwrighting credits include Jess and Joe Forever (Orange Tree Theatre/Traverse Theatre/UK tour – Off West End Award for Most Promising Playwright Award 2017, longlisted for the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award) and Nativities and Utopia (Live Theatre).

Temi Wilkey plays Lou. Her previous theatre credits include Land Without Dreams (Gate Theatre), Jubilee (Royal Exchange Theatre, Lyric Hammersmith), CymbelineHamlet (RSC), The Comedy of Errors (National Theatre), and How to Hold Your Breath (Royal Court). Her television credits include Years and Years, and Manhunt.


by Kalungi Ssebandeke

Relations have always been strained between siblings Kasujja and Rita, but the death of their mother forces them together.

Kalungi Ssebandeke was selected for the BBC Writersroom London Voices, and Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab. He was also selected for the Lyric Hammersmith Ten Week Writers Programme and has written for the Young Vic, Bush Theatre and Talawa, his credits include Assata Taught Me (Gate Theatre). As an actor, his credits include Blood Knot (Orange Tree Theatre).

Fiston Barek plays Kasujja. His previous credits for Orange Tree Theatre include Amsterdam, and The Rolling Stone. Other theatre credits include King Lear (The Old Vic), RoutesTruth and Reconciliation (Royal Court), Little Baby Jesus (Ovalhouse), and Love the Sinner (National Theatre). His television credits include Silent WitnessHolby City, and Doctors. For film, credits include TAU, and Don’t Look Back.

Robinah Kironde plays Rita. Her previous theatre credits include Julius Caesar (Sheffield Theatres), and Attempts on her Life (In Tandem Theatre Company). Her television credits include AnthonyCarnival Row, and The Widow.

Georgia Green directs. Her previous credits include The Mikvah Project (Orange Tree Theatre/BBC Radio 4) for which she was nominated for Best Director at The Stage Debut Awards. Also: Blue Stockings and You Got Older (LAMDA).

Orange Tree Theatre 


1 Clarence Street, Richmond, TW9 2SA


Box Office: 020 8940 3633

Outside:              Thursday 15 – Saturday 17 April 2021

Performance Times: 7.30pm (Evenings) & 2.30pm (Saturday Matinees)

Tickets: from £15 on sale now

Audio described performance: 16 April, 7.30pm

Captioned performance: 17 April, 2.30pm


The Orange Tree (OT) is an award-winning, independent theatre. Recognised as a powerhouse that creates high-quality productions of new and rediscovered plays, entertaining 70,000 people across the UK every year. Since March 2020, the OT has been in hibernation due to the Covid-19 pandemic. An independent theatre and registered charity that relies on ticket income, closure poses significant risk to the OT.

The OT’s home in Richmond, South West London, is an intimate theatre with the audience seated all around the stage: watching a performance here is truly a unique experience. We believe in the power of dramatic stories to entertain, thrill and challenge us; plays that enrich our lives by enhancing our understanding of ourselves and each other.

As a registered charity (266128) sitting at the heart of its community, we work with 10,000 people in Richmond and beyond through participatory theatre projects for people of all ages and abilities.

The Orange Tree Theatre’s mission is to enable audiences to experience the next generation of theatre talent, experiment with ground-breaking new drama and explore the plays from the past that inspire the theatre-makers of the present. 

Artistic Director Paul Miller           

Executive Director Hanna Streeter

Website | Email [email protected]

Twitter @OrangeTreeThtr | Facebook/Instagram OrangeTreeTheatre

Rebuilding Beirut’s theatre scene with Whispers International, an online fundraiser production | April 2021

Rebuilding Beirut’s theatre community with
Whispers International
Saturday 24th April 2021

In the devastating 2020 explosion, the largest non-nuclear blast in history, all of Beirut’s theatres were destroyed. Whispers International will unite British playwrights with acclaimed Lebanese artists; all the proceeds of this online production will go towards helping the theatres rebuild and to support emerging Lebanese artists to create art once more.

Facing a pandemic, a global theatre shutdown and Lebanon’s economic crisis which was only worsened by the explosion, the hardship facing Lebanese artists and producers is unprecedented. Many lost their studios, homes, and belongings. Talented artists are being driven out of the creative industry and out of the country in order to simply survive.

Agatha Ezzedine, actor and co-producer, comments, Beirut has always been the ultimate muse to many artists, and it would be heart-breaking to see it lose its spark and stop making art

Six British playwrights – Mike Elliston, Geraldine Brennan, Kate Webster, Angela Harvey, Kim Hardy and John Jesper – have offered their texts free of charge to support their fellow theatre professionals in Lebanon. Addressing important issues including mental health, political injustice, women’s rights and LGBTQ+ rights, the monologues have been adapted to mirror the current situation in Lebanon and have been translated into Lebanese Arabic with English and French subtitles.

Whispers International features globally celebrated Lebanese actors including Nadine Labaki (Director of Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe and César Award nominated & Cannes Jury Prize award-winning Capernaum), Georges Khabbaz (Murex D’or, Festival de Molière and Rotterdam Film Festival award winning actor), Rita Hayek (lead actress in Academy Award nominated The Insult) and many more

The production is directed by Beirut-based, award-winning theatre director, Lina Abiad; with over 30 years of experience, her innovative directorial style distinctively tackles controversial issues. Whispers International is produced by Josyane Boulos, the renowned Beirut-based theatre producer behind over 75 high-calibre plays and musical shows in Lebanon over the last 30 years, and Agatha Ezzedine, a London-based actor, producer and writer with 15 years of experience in the film and theatre industry. Agatha was born and raised in Beirut and has lived in the UK since 2013.

This production follows an initial successful showing in November 2020 which raised 70 million Lebanese Liras, all of which was used to rebuild Beirut’s theatres. Mike Ellison, one of the playwrights for Whispers International comments, It was a big night for me. My monologue ‘King S’ex’ was streamed from Beirut and I couldn’t be prouder as it was part of a fundraiser to help rehabilitate theatre following the terrible blast on 4th August.