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Theatre Royal Stratford East announces new season of shows

Artistic director Nadia Fall reveals eight upcoming productions

Dave Harris and Samson Hawkins

Theatre Royal Stratford East has announced a new season.

Artistic director Nadia Fall said today: "This new season has a tantalising sense of mischief and the chance for a delicious collusion between the stage and the audience. From Anthony Neilson's cult play, The Wonderful World of Dissocia, which transports us to another dimension, exploring mental health through a kind of Alice in Wonderland meets David Lynch experience, to the UK premiere of Dave Harris' Tambo and Bones which looks at the commodification of Black lives with an actual hip-hop concert slap bang in the middle of it.

Although each production tells its own unique story, conjuring up wildly different worlds, they are all brilliantly theatrical, often addressing the audience directly. It's certainly the opposite of staying in and watching the television, unless you have a television where the characters leap out of the box and envelop you in the story!

Village Idiot, Samson Hawkins' debut play, invites you to a village fair where you can actually enter a meat raffle. And we're delighted to announce Eva Sampson, one of our new Sky Arts associates, as director for our panto Cinderella.

"We're also excited to welcome a visit from Sheffield Theatres, with a Ramps on the Moon production of Much Ado About Nothing, directed by artistic director Rob Hastie. ThickSkin and Traverse Theatre Company bring us How Not to Drown, an incredible real-life story with human resilience at its heart, whilst National Youth Theatre present Bola Agbaje's Olivier Award-winning Gone Too Far!. Our talented Young Company take to the stage with painkiller, a new play by Sophie Ellerby. If there's one thing that unites our next season it's that of bold and unapologetically pure theatre."

Directed by Toby Clarke, painkiller runs from 28 to 30 July 2022 and follows a group of young soldiers who are drafted but refuse to fight against an invasion. They are consequently offered the choice between a prison sentence or enrolment in a military clinical trial to test a cutting-edge gene therapy to treat pain.

Anthony Neilson's The Wonderful World of Dissocia, his poignant and comical exploration of the nature of mental illness, plays from 16 September until 15 October and is helmed by Emma Baggott.

The Sheffield Theatres and Ramps on the Moon production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which is also adapted by Hastie, runs from 1 to 5 November.

Cinderella will be staged from19 November to 7 January 2023, with Sampson at the helm, and will also feature book and lyrics by Leo Butler and music and lyrics by Robert Hyman.

How Not to Drown, running from 26 January until 11 February, is written by Nicola McCartney and Dritan Kastrati and directed by Neil Bettles. It tells the true story of an 11-year-old unaccompanied asylum-seeker, who escapes to the UK in the turmoil of the Kosovan War, and features an ensemble cast that includes co-writer Kastrati.

Agbaje's Gone Too Far!, examining themes of identity and heritage through the lens of two brothers from different continents, runs from 24 March to 1 April.

Hawkins' Village Idiot is a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse and Ramps on the Moon, directed by Nadia Fall. Centred around a family feud kicking off at a country fair, the comedy plays from 13 April until 6 May.

Finally, Tambo and Bones, a co-production with Actors Touring Company, will be directed by Matthew Xia and staged from 16 June until 15 July.

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