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Stratford East stages Africa-set dramas

First Published 30 March 2009, Last Updated 30 March 2009

Two new plays exploring contemporary African life, Paul Sirett’s Bad Blood Blues and Mpumelelo Paul Grootboom’s Foreplay, are to be staged at the Theatre Royal Stratford East this spring.

Sirett’s Bad Blood Blues, which runs in the theatre’s studio space from 21 April to 9 May, is a drama exploring the morals and ethics of HIV/AIDS drug trials in Africa which questions whether multi-national pharmaceutical companies exploit those most in need. It stars former Casualty actress Martina Laird whose previous London credits include polygamy drama The Five Wives Of Maurice Pinder at the National Theatre.

Sirett is a regular writer for Theatre Royal Stratford East, where he has previously provided the book and lyrics for musicals The Big Life and Come Dancing, and staged dramas Crusade, A Night In Tunisia and Running The Silk Road.

Bad Blood Blues is followed from 22 May to 13 June by Foreplay, which runs at the East London venue as part of an international tour. The new piece from the writer of the hugely acclaimed Township Stories is an adaptation of La Ronde and explores a South Africa obsessed with violence and sex, where AIDS is still taking too many lives.

Speaking about the programming, Kerry Michael, Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, said: “These two plays give different perspectives on the impact of AIDS on modern Africa. Both pieces have a sharp political edge and there will be much to debate, but also much to enjoy. I’m really looking forward to them and to be working again with Paul Sirett and Paul Grootboom.”

MA

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