Henna Night - a new play by Amy Rosenthal, daughter of actress Maureen Lipman - will open the re-launched Chelsea Theatre, a newly equipped 110-seat venue in World's End, Chelsea London. The production will have a limited run from 26 November to 22 December 2001.

Under the artistic directorship of Francis Alexander, the Chelsea Theatre aims to become a "major player in the production and presentation of world and British premieres in London". In addition to developing new plays, the theatre intends to provide a programme of complimentary arts and education activities.

Henna Night is about two women who should never have met - Judith (Jack's ex) and Ros (Jack's current girlfriend). When Judith (not looking her best, with a henna-soaked towel wrapped round her head) opens the door to Ros, sparks start to fly. But their evening of hell and hair-dye turns unexpectedly into a meeting of minds - of two women who, under different circumstances, could be the best of friends.

In 1997, The Chelsea Centre (as it was then called) received two substantial grants - one from ACE and the other from the Sir Anthony Hopkins Foundation - in order to bring experienced writers to work in the local community. From that, nine successful commissions arose, including Rosenthal's first full-length stage play, Sitting Pretty, which also had a successful off-Broadway run and which is currently touring the UK in a production starring Lipman and Jane Carlin.

The Chelsea Theatre's newly refurbished auditorium, front of house and adjacent café have been funded by grants from The John Lyons Trust and the Eva and Hans K Rausing Trust.

Henna Night stars Amy Marston (who was in the original production of Sitting Pretty at The Chelsea Centre) and Rosie Thomson. It is directed by Caroline Hadley and designed by Bob Bailey with lighting by Aideen Malone and sound by Simon Whitehorn.

- by Terri Paddock