‘Something for everyone’: New Theatre Royal artistic director’s promise ahead of inaugural season

PUBLISHED: 07:00 31 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:34 31 August 2018

Nadia Fall is the new artistic director for TRSE

Nadia Fall is the new artistic director for TRSE

Michael Shelford

As the Theatre Royal Stratford East steps into a new era, its new artistic director is keen to retain links to the past.

Anya Chalotra (Jyoti) and Scott Karim (Farooq) in rehearsal Picture: Scott RylanderAnya Chalotra (Jyoti) and Scott Karim (Farooq) in rehearsal Picture: Scott Rylander

The Village, which opens on Friday, September 7, is the first show to be performed as part of Nadia Fall’s inaugural season.

“It was done for the first time in this country by the woman who founded this theatre, Joan Littlewood,” Nadia explained.

“Usually when someone is opening their inaugural season, they do something like Shakespeare.

“I wanted to show off the theatre. It’s an homage to Joan.”

Nadia Fall is the new artistic director for TRSENadia Fall is the new artistic director for TRSE

The play is a modern adaptation of an old show, Fuenteovejuna, and centres around how an Indian village copes when an inspector arrives and unsettles things.

Nadia described it as being feminist, but also about solidarity and uniting as a community.

She explained that she wanted to offer “something for everyone” during her inaugural season.

“We’ve got Ballet Black, who are always popular, and The Wolves, which is about a girls’ football team and what they talk about in the locker room, but it’s not cliche,” she said.

Scott Karim (Farooq), Ragevan Vasan (Ved) and Harki Bhambra (Gopi) in rehearsal Picture: Scott RylanderScott Karim (Farooq), Ragevan Vasan (Ved) and Harki Bhambra (Gopi) in rehearsal Picture: Scott Rylander

This year’s pantomime, Sleeping Beauty, will be directed by Matthew Xia, who was responsible for the Gerry Raffles Square theatre’s recent show, Shebeen.

Next year will see Lenny Henry take to the theatre’s stage in August Wilson’s King Hedley II.

“It’s set in Reagan’s America, but it’s very relevant now,” Nadia said. “It’s about a man caught in the cycle between prison and poverty.”

Other scheduled shows include Equus - which featured Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in its West End version - and an adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s popular novel Noughts and Crosses, which explores love in a segregated society.

Artistic director Nadia Fall in rehearsal Picture: Scott RylanderArtistic director Nadia Fall in rehearsal Picture: Scott Rylander

“We want to do things for young people,” Nadia said.

“It’s important to understand what people like, get to know what shows go down well.”

She admitted to feeling “a huge sense of duty” towards replacing Kerry Michael as head of the theatre, having worked with schools and community groups in Newham and Tower Hamlets earlier in her career, and added: “We want to tell the stories that excite people in east London.”

For more about shows and to book tickets visit

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