Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is excited to announce that the Essex on Stage Showcase, previously to perform at the 10th anniversary VAULT Festival, will now be staged at London’s Bush Theatre, the internationally renowned home for new writing, from 11 – 23 April 2022.

The Essex on Stage Showcase will platform bold, ambitious, homegrown performances that celebrate and champion Essex and Outer East London artists, including the London premiere of new work by Kenny Emson and the debut solo show by Kristin Mcilquham – supported by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Matthew Schmolle Productions.

“Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is thrilled to be working with this exciting collection of extraordinary Essex artists, ‎the Bush Theatre and Matthew Schmolle Productions on this exciting next chapter for the much-celebrated Essex on Stage programme. This showcase will help demonstrate the rich array of original and authentic work emerging from the burgeoning Essex theatre sector. We couldn’t think of a better home than the Bush for sharing this work with a widening audience of theatregoers, old and new.” Mathew Russell, Executive Director, QTH

The line-up includes PRINCESS ESSEX, new work written and performed by Anne Odeke. Based on the little-known, true story of Princess Dinubolu, Princess Essex is the funny and dynamic tale of the first black woman to ever enter a beauty pageant in the UK. It is a story which asks us to question why so much of black Essex history has been hidden, and what it means to be a ‘black Essex girl’.

Nicola and Stacey Bland of Post-it Productions present their new comedy drama DAISY, a timely piece that explores female harassment and misogyny. This new play follows the story of two East End Sisters as they attempt to navigate their way through their part time job in a local Pub/ Restaurant. Through the sister’s eyes we see the comings and goings of regulars, drifters and lively locals and how these brief encounters of this everyday job affect the day to day lives of the girls, their family, and ultimately their future.

Awarded four stars by Broadway Baby at its debut on Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch’s ‘The Other Stage’ in 2019, I AM GAVRILO PRINCIP, a solo show “movingly written and performed with charm by Oliver Yellop” of Further Theatre, explores the life and legacy of one of history’s greatest unknowns. History has not been kind to Gavrilo Princip, not good enough for Heaven, not bad enough for Hell. This is not a story about the colossal impact of his actions or the greatness of an individual and the terrible majesty of war. His story is about the complications of wanting to change the world, of having the best intentions and getting the worst possible results.

As actor and writer Kristin approaches the big 4-0 she’s forced to confront, kicking and screaming, some of the unfinished business in her life and why she just can’t seem to tie up any of her loose ends. Kristin Mcilquham is an actor, writer and co-founder of Blue Gravy Productions. HEADCASE is a funny and moving true story about the aftermath of her father’s brain injury and the impact that’s had on their relationship, her life and, well, pretty much everything really.

TO HAVE & TO HOLDa new play by published playwright, director and Havering local Michelle Payne, is a cleverly crafted two hander that, at its core, explores modern romance, dating and repairing a broken heart. It’s the day of her best friend’s wedding and as Maid of Honour she needs to make a speech. But where does she start, and how does she end it? Over the span of twelve years audiences follow Him & Her and the decisions that led them to where they are today – at separate weddings. This sharp and honest script explores the ever-growing threat of online grooming and the lasting implications on the parties involved.

The final production in the Essex on Stage Showcase is a play about youth work. THE SH*T presented by The Working Party Theatre Company, written by Kenny Emson, is an honest, unflinching examination of the relationship between those on the margins of society and the people employed to help them. In one of the thousands of forgotten youth centres across our country, Eric works for a single hour each week to break Daniel out of his spiral towards jail or the grave. But what happens when the work itself becomes a matter of life and death? This play was created in response to research and consultation with youth workers and young people in London and Leeds. Audiences join Eric and Daniel for a glimpse of their weekly support sessions in this dynamic new play.

Tickets for an Essex on Stage Showcase performance are £15, £10 students/under 26s. For more information and to book, visit www.bushtheatre.co.uk/whats-on.

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