‘The Big Life’ to celebrate 20th anniversary at Theatre Royal Stratford East

Paul Sirett and Tameka Empson's Olivier Award-nominated ska musical combines William Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost with tales of the Windrush immigration.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Theatre Royal Stratford East has announced three new productions with shows now scheduled through March 2024. The season includes their Christmas pantomime, as well as anniversary revivals of The Big Life and Beautiful Thing. Upcoming shows include Village Idiot and Tambo & Bones.

“Our new season is a warm bath of nostalgia, love and laughter,” said artistic director Nadia Fall.

In 2024, Paul Sirett and Tameka Empson’s The Big Life will return to Theatre Royal Stratford East, where it originally opened. Tinuke Craig directs the historical musical that follows immigrants onboard HMT Empire Windrush. The Big Life begins previews on 16 February, with an opening night on 22 February, and performances to 30 Mar. 2024.

In a London Theatre review, our critic praised "the finely honed, well-balanced, and foot-tapping [arrangements]. There are some detectable jazz and blues influences too. The music of course is the essential ingredient in the vibrant and rhythmic dancing."

The 30th anniversary of Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing will begin previews on 8 September, with an opening night on 14 September, and performances to 7 October.

Although South London neighbours and teenage boys Ste and Jamie appear to be different, they come to terms with their sexuality and explore their feelings. Beautiful Thing explores what it means to be 16 and in love. Anthony Simpson-Pike directs.

Anna Jordan and Robert Hyman co-write Theatre Royal Stratford East’s pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk. The show begins previews on 18 November, with a press night on 25 November, and performances to 6 Jan. 2024. Denzel Westley-Sanderson directs the festive tale of Jack as he sells a cow for magic beans.

Photo credit: The Big Life (Photo courtesy of production)

Originally published on

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