Images have been released from rehearsals of Counting Stars at London’s Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Theatre Royal Stratford East’s new season opens with Counting Stars by award-winning playwright and newly appointed Writer in Residence Atiha Sen Gupta. The stage will be transformed into a studio format nightclub installation where you sit on the stage for this funny yet heart-breaking tale directed by Associate Director, Pooja Ghai. Doors will open at 715pm for music and a bar on stage to soak up the atmosphere before the show. The experience will start then. Ghai directs Estella Daniels as Sophie and Lanre Malaolu as Abiodun. The production opens on 1st September with previews from 26th August and runs until 17th September 2016.
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Delving into the underworld of a London nightclub, Counting Stars examines the degrading working conditions of some of Britain’s most exploited people through the prism of the doomed love story of toilet attendants Abiodun and Sophie, who exist on tips alone.
Counting Stars is a heart-felt and funny portrait of immigrant life. Estella Daniels plays Sophie. Her theatre credits include Racing Demon (Sheffield Crucible), The Eumenedies (The Rag Factory), Dirty Butterfly and Festa (Young Vic) and Iya-Ile (The First Wife) (Soho Theatre); and for television Sinbad, Death In Paradise and Da Vinci’s Demons.
Lanre Malaolu plays Abiodun. His theatre credits include Karagula (Deus Ex Machina Productions), The Jew of Malta, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Marat/Sade (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Internet Is Serious Business (Royal Court), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Park Theatre), Springtime (Greenwich Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Almedia Theatre), Macbeth (Globe Theatre) and The Woods (Company of Angels). For television his credits include Remainder, The Armstrong & Miller Show, Harley’s Angels and Driving Me Mad; and for film, Fallout, Cherries, Inkheart and Forever Friends.
Atiha Sen Gupta has been writing plays since the age of 14 for the Heat & Light Company (a drama youth group based at Hampstead Theatre) and Anna Scher Theatre. For theatre her credits include What Fatima Did and State Red (Hampstead Theatre). Counting Stars previously played at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2015. She is currently under commission to the Bush Theatre. For television she co-wrote an episode of BBC1’s medical drama Holby City and was one of the writers on E4’s drama Skins.
Pooja Ghai is Associate Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Previous theatre credits for Theatre Royal Stratford East include The House of Inbetween, Selfie Rules, Rugged Rock (Angelic Tales), Home Theatre and assistant director of The Infidel The Musical. Other directing credits include Tamasha 25, Shakti & Seva and Mother India (Rich Mix), As You Like It (Ellen Terry Theatre), The Accordion Shop (Leicester Curve), The Tune is Always Better on the Outside, Oysters, Mirad a Boy from Bosnia (The Bedford) and The Difference (Soho & Rich Mix). Ghai has also acted in numerous productions at Theatre Royal Stratford East, National Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Soho Theatre and Finborough Theatre; and for television her credits include EastEnders, Grease Monkeys and the upcoming Class for BBC Wales.
Theatre Royal Stratford East
Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN
Box Office: 020 8534 0310
Director: Pooja Ghai; Designer: Diego Pitarch; Lighting Designer: Laura Curd; Sound Designer: Chris Murray
Twitter: @stratfordeast #countingstars
Access Performances: Signed, Audio-description & Captioned performances available
Age guidance 15+
26 August – 17th September 2016
Press night: 1 September 8pm