The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is set to launch its innovative Essex on Stage programme on Saturday 23 March with the regional premiere of David Eldridge’s In Basildon and play readings by three exciting Essex playwrights Sadie Hasler, Kelly Jones and Dan Murphy.

Essex on Stage is an ambitious new two year programme led by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, championing positive notions of Essex, celebrating theatre made by working class people and raising aspirations for emerging artists from Essex and Outer East London. It includes commissioning new plays, establishing a network of venues, touring drama about Essex across Essex for new audiences, organising local events to develop talent and making life changing projects with communities.

The day begins with a rehearsed reading of Tammy by Kelly Jones at 11.30am on the Queen’s Theatre stage, followed by a Q&A. Set in Dagenham, Tammy is a play about female sexuality, family secrets and the fractured relationship between mother and daughter. The play won the Wales Drama Award (BBC Writersroom and National Theatre of Wales) in 2014.

Audiences will then be transported to London’s East End with Dan Murphy’s Legacy at 2.45pm, which will be performed in the Queen’s Theatre’s newly built Rehearsal Space, followed by a Q&A. Legacy follows a group of builders working on the 20th floor of a luxury apartment block in Stratford, overlooking the Olympic Stadium on ‘Super Saturday’ 2012. As the world is glued to Britain’s greatest sporting day, the builders watch on as the place they call home becomes unrecognisable.

The final play reading is Stiletto Beach by Sadie Hasler at 5.30pm on the Queen’s Theatre stage, followed by a Q&A. When a beach is left burning, fingers are pointed at a gang of Essex girls. In this piece, Hasler questions what is an Essex girl anyway?

The day also includes two performances of David Eldridge’s critically acclaimed family drama In Basildon, at 2.30pm and 8pm. This is the first revival since the production premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in 2012.

Tickets are £5 per play reading, £10 for all three play readings as purchased as a package or £25 for all three play readings and a performance of In Basildon (on Saturday 23 March only). Under 26s can see all three Essex on Stage readings and the evening performance of David Eldridge’s In Basildon for just £18.

Essex on Stage has been made possible by the generous support of The Clothworkers’ Foundation. Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is the recipient of the 2018 Clothworkers’ Theatre Award, a competitive annual prize given to a regional producing theatre, that has only ever been awarded five times.

For more information about Essex on Stage click here.

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