Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is today announcing it has this week commissioned four Outer East London and Essex writers to work collaboratively with Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul. The writers will together create a special new play, celebrating the very best of Essex resilience and spirit, as an epic, humorous and celebratory antidote to lockdown stories, to be performed later in Autumn 2020.
The project is being developed in such a way that it can be flexibly made, rehearsed, performed and shared with audiences, in person and online, in a COVID-19 Secure way. Further details will be announced when tickets go on sale in August.
Three of the four writers have not been commissioned by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch before:
- Anne Odeke, a Southend actress who is currently rehearsing with the RSC for their 2020 season (The Winter’s Tale, RSC; Bartholomew Fair, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Globe Theatre)
- Guleraana Mir, (Coconut, Ovalhouse), Hornchurch-based playwright and one half of female-led theatre company The Thelmas
- Kenny Emson, award-winning Essex playwright (Rust, Terrorism, Bush Theatre; Plastic, Mercury Theatre Colchester)
The fourth, Sadie Hasler, co-founder of Southend theatre company Old Trunk, wrote the highly acclaimed Stiletto Beach for the Theatre, as part of the 2019 Essex Girls and Boys season.
Anne Odeke says ‘You’re asking me how it feels as a creative from Essex to be commissioned by the incredible Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch? The honest answer? Terrifyingly exciting! I’m a great fan of the other writers; they all come with their own style. It will be fantastic to share our thoughts and experiences of the remarkable county of Essex – it’s going to be a great night.’
Guleraana Mir says ‘It means a lot to be commissioned by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch as part of Essex on Stage. The Queen’s is my local theatre, and I’ve lived on its doorstep all my life, so it’ll be wonderful to see my work on its stage.’
Kenny Emson says ‘In these uncertain times it’s fantastic that Queens Theatre Hornchurch is committing to commissioning and producing new work. I grew up in Essex and believe passionately that if the stages of our theatres are populated by the voices of the people that live in their communities, they will always find an audience.’
Sadie Hasler says ‘I’m absolutely ruddy thrilled to be a part of Queen’s amazing ongoing Essex on Stage project. I never thought as a female writer I’d get a job celebrating Essex, but writing Stiletto Beach opened my eyes, and heart, to the importance of pride in where you live. It was one of the most inspiring affirming times of my life. Since then I’ve been lit up like a glow stick with defiant love for the brilliant people of Essex.’
Epic Essex is part of Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch’s Essex on Stage project. 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.