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Hackney Showroom plans pop-up theatre in Stoke Newington Town Hall to host new Zawe Ashton play

Zawe Ashton's play For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad will be staged at Stoke Newington Town Hall
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Hackney Showroom has announced it will be opening a pop-up theatre in Stoke Newington Town Hall, where it will produce the world premiere of a play by Zawe Ashton.

The organisation announced it would be leaving its home at Hackney Downs Studios in east London earlier this year, blaming unsustainable rent increases.

East London theatre company seeks new premises due to “unsustainable” rent hikes

It will now open a pop-up space at Stoke Newington Town Hall, which the company said would be transformed to host Ashton’s play For All the Women Who Thought They Were Mad.

Ashton said of the play: “I am a woman of colour who has written a play about women of colour. It’s a play about many things, but at its centre is an investigation into the fallout of colonialism and its resounding impact on the women of the African diaspora, specifically women living in the United Kingdom.

“If it weren’t for Hackney Showroom’s refreshing approach to the event of theatre, I wouldn’t be writing this. I have finally found a home for my play and for myself as an artist and a team of collaborators that prioritise creating theatre for a wide and inclusive audience.”

It is the first major production by Hackney Showroom after it announced it would be setting up a producing arm of its operation.

Hackney Showroom is partnering with Hackney council to open the space, and council cabinet member Guy Nicholson said he hoped the collaboration would “breathe life back into some of [Stoke Newington Town Hall’s] spaces”.

Co-artistic directors and co-founders Nina Lyndon and Sam Curtis Lindsay said: “This is the play that brought us together to launch Hackney Showroom five years ago, and so it has a special place in our hearts.

“We are so thrilled to be working with the culture team at the London Borough of Hackney to realise the artistic ambition of this play in such a striking building, which will be transformed for this project. Zawe Ashton has written a profoundly moving and unforgettable piece of theatre and we are honoured to bring it before audiences this autumn.”

Ashton’s play will be directed by Jo McInnes, designed by Natalie Pryce and Ultz, with lighting by Lee Curran.

It runs from October 14 to November 9, with press night on October 17.

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