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New plays to have on your theatre wishlist

We aren't sure when theatres are re-opening but we know these are shows to be excited about

The Apology
© Suki Mok

It's a precarious time for all right now, with venues up and down the country closing while the effects of the coronavirus outbreak are dealt with. Nevertheless, we have no doubt that through grit and determination theatres will re-open, and we want to make sure that you are excited about what will hopefully be there when they do. There's nothing wrong with having a light at the end of the tunnel!

RashDash – Oh Mother

Abbi Greenland, Helen Goalen and Becky Wilkie are RashDash, a creative team whose output spans not only theatre but music and dance also. The company gained rave reviews for their creative interpretation of Chekhov's Three Sisters in 2018 and return to the Royal Exchange's Studio space later this year with their newest production, Oh Mother. Showing in Bristol as well as Manchester, Oh Mother explores the questions and problems surrounding modern motherhood. 19 to 23 May – Bristol Tobacco Factory Theatre. 16 July to 1 August – Royal Exchange Studio Theatre

Tim Price – Force Majeure

Henny Finch and Michael Longhurst
© Helen Maybanks

Ruben Östlund's 2014 film Force Majeure was a critical success upon its release, a comedy-drama that depicted the breakdown of Tomas and Ebba's marriage in the aftermath of an avalanche. Tim Price has adapted Östlund's dark comedy for the stage, where Tomas' instinctive self-preservation during the disaster drives a rift between him and his family. Michael Longhurst directs a production that ought to interest fans of the film as well as newcomers. 7 August to 20 September – Donmar Warehouse

Zadie Smith – The Wife of Willesden

Certainly the most famous writer on this list, Zadie Smith has occupied a rare space in the literary and public eye since her 2000 novel White Teeth became one of the most celebrated debuts in British history. She has continued to excel as a novelist since then and it is therefore with much anticipation that her debut play The Wife of Willesden arrives at Kiln Theatre in autumn. Smith has adapted Chaucer's The Wife of Bath as part of Brent 2020, a festival celebrating London's borough of culture this year. 10 September to 24 October – Kiln Theatre

Christopher Shinn – The Narcissist

The Narcissist
© Seamus Ryan

American playwright Christopher Shinn's new piece examines the use of personal and political language in the modern age, where every text sent could potentially be used as a weapon and leverage by enemies. Shinn was a finalist for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and has consistently written work for esteemed theatres on both sides of the Atlantic, so we're sure this will be top tier. 2 to 24 October – Minerva Theatre

Lolita Chakrabarti – Calmer

Lolita Chakrabarti and Adrian Lester
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Fresh from winning a WOS Award earlier this month for her adaptation of Life of Pi, Lolita Chakrabarti's newest work arrives on British stages in mid-October. Calmer was recently announced as part of the Birmingham Rep's exciting new season and will be directed by Adrian Lester. The play is about three generations of women in one family and the challenging relationships that exist between them. 16 to 31 October – Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm – Typical Girls

Described as "part-gig, part-play", Typical Girls uses the music of seminal British post-punk band The Slits to explore the lives of incarcerated women in a mental health unit. Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's new play has been commissioned by Clean Break, a unique theatre company recognised for their amazing work with and for women in the criminal justice system. If the band's music is anything to go by, expect a wild and boisterous performance. 6 to 21 November – Sheffield Studio Theatre. 2 December to 9 January – Soho Theatre

Kyo Choi – The Apology

The Apology
© Suki Mok

Groundbreaking theatre company Yellow Earth recently celebrated 25 years of developing and producing British East Asian talent but this does not mean the company are resting on their laurels. November sees their latest work The Apology produced at Dalston's Arcola Theatre. Kyo Choi's historical play is set in Seoul in 1991 and questions how far a country can rectify past mistakes and atrocities. 18 November to 19 December – Arcola Theatre

Jack Thorne – After Life

Jack Thorne
© Dan Wooller for WhatsOnStage

Headlong announced in 2019 that their final season under artistic director Jeremy Herrin would feature a new play from Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Let The Right One In, A Christmas Carol). After Life is a co-production from Headlong and the National Theatre and will play to audiences in January 2021. Based on Hirokazu Kore-eda's 1998 film, the story takes place in a kind of purgatory and asks the characters to choose one moment from their lives in which to live eternally. January 2021 – Dorfman Theatre

Ross Willis – Wonder Boy

Wonder Boy

Wonder Boy centres on 14 year-old Sonny, weighed down by grief and a stammer with no support at school, and how a fictional comic book hero helps him to escape his grim existence. Being cast in Shakespeare's Hamlet by a wonderful teacher is the push Sonny needs to learn that joy and friendship can be found in his real life as well. Willis' debut play Wolfie proved him to be a writer of real empathy and intelligence, so it will be fascinating to see where Olivier Award-winning director Sally Cookson takes this moving teenage story. 17 October to 7 November – Bristol Old Vic