Tank tops and tandoori. Anita And Me comes to London’s East End

Anita & Me. Images Ellie-Kurttz.

Meera Syal’s much-loved novel, Anita And Me, has made an acclaimed debut in Birmingham and later this month audiences at Theatre Royal Stratford East will get a chance to laugh and cry when they revisit 1970s life in a Midlands village.

Adapted for the stage by the award-winning playwright, Tanika Gupta, and with specially composed music by Ben and Max Ringham, Anita And Me paints a colourful portrait of rural life for one Asian family in the West Midlands during the era of flares, power cuts and glam rock.

Anita & Me

Directed by Roxana Silbert, the production transfers to Theatre Royal Stratford East from October 29 after opening at Birmingham REP.

Anita And Me is a poignant coming-of-age tale that follows Meena, the irreverent teenage daughter of the only Punjabi family in the mining village of Tollington.

When she becomes friends with the impossibly feisty Anita, she thinks she’s found her soul mate but her world is turned upside down and she finds herself caught between her two cultures.

Meera Syal said: “I am excited to see that Anita And Me will be coming to the heart of the East End at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.

“It is a theatre that I have worked closely with in the early stages of my career and an area of London where I also spent many years living.

“It will be nostalgic to see my childhood story played out on the stage there and I’m thrilled that London audiences will get to witness what life was like for a young Punjabi girl growing up in the West Midlands.”

Kerry Michael, artistic director at the Theatre Royal, said: “We are delighted to be bringing Meera Syal’s superb coming-of-age novel to Theatre Royal Stratford East’s stage.

“We aim to create and present theatre for a beautifully diverse contemporary Britain and Anita And Me is a piece that will speak to a variety of audiences, and ultimately entertain.”

Cast: Mandeep Dhillon, Ayesha Dharker, Ameet Chana, Jalleh Alizadeh, Amy Booth-Steel, Janice Connolly, Joseph Drake, Kiren Jogi, Megan McCormick, Tarek Merchant, Chris Nayak and Yasmin Wilde.

Anita And Me runs at Theatre Royal Stratford East from October 29-November 21.

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