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Goldman launches Soho reign

First Published 17 April 2008, Last Updated 21 April 2008

Lisa Goldman, the incoming Artistic Director at Soho theatre, has announced her first season of productions. The May-September season includes three new productions that Soho both commissioned and developed, two of which will be directed by Goldman. The season also includes two new plays by Tanika Gupta and Marcy Kahan performed by the National Youth Theatre, and the return of Deafinitely Theatre.

In launching the new season, Goldman has also set out her aims for the ethos of the theatre under her directorship. The Goldman-era Soho will aim to nurture free expression and debate, create work that will free imaginations and reflect and explore London's global culture. The theatre's thought-provoking productions will be augmented with talks and a late-night programme, and the relationship between comedy and new writing at the venue will be examined.

Goldman also announced plans for an annual site-specific walkabout piece connecting the theatre to the local community. The inaugural piece will be staged in September to coincide with the Chinese Autumn Moon Festival and is entitled Moon Walking In China Town.

Goldman's inaugural season opens in May with Philip Ridley's Leaves Of Glass (3-26 May), starring Ben Whishaw, Maxine Peake, Ruth Sheen and Trystan Gravelle. Ridley's tale of an East End family struggling to cope with loss is Goldman's first directorial outing at the Soho; her second is Baghdad Wedding, presented from 28 June-21 July as a co-production with Akbar Kurtha. The first play by London-based Iraqi writer Hassan Abdulrazzak follows three friends struggling with their sexual, cultural and political identity and is set against the backdrop of London and war-torn Iraq.

Between Leaves Of Glass and Baghdad Wedding, the work of Oladipo Agboluaje returns to Soho. The British Nigerian's The Estate was a success at the venue last year, and he follows it with The Christ Of Coldharbour Lane (31 May-21 June), an anarchic comedy about a preaching ex-prisoner's mission to make revolution – starting with Brixton.

Another return to Soho, Deafinitely theatre takes to the stage from 26 July-4 August with a piece entitled Playing God. This new play, which is created to reach both hearing and deaf audiences, explores the controversial coclear implant debate.

The summer is completed by the National Youth Theatre, which presents Tanika Gupta's new play White Boy and Marcy Kahan's new piece 20 Cigarettes alongside a selection of new 30-minute plays.

MA

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