The Playwright's Laboratory Hosts a Pop-Up Residency at Arcola Theatre

Plays will run 24 April - 5 May.

By: Mar. 29, 2023

The Playwright's Laboratory Hosts a Pop-Up Residency at Arcola Theatre

The Playwright's Laboratory invites you to an exciting opportunity to travel the globe in one place in a series of script-in-hand readings from playwrights across the world, presenting a kaleidoscope of international cultures.

With new works from Japan, South Africa, Canada, USA, Kenya & Australia, TPL's Pop Up Festival brings stories that cover the spectrum of the human condition, universal themes and ultimately provides a space of healing within a messy, turbulent world.

From a docudrama set on the doorstep of the murder of George Floyd, spiralling into a gangster-torn Singapore, and drifting into one Canadian's journey through grief - TPL's Pop-Up Festival of New Plays gives you the chance to move between countries without ever having to leave your seat.

Join in from 24 April - 5 May for a selection of plays carefully chosen in partnership with: Playwrights Centre (Minnesota, USA), Constellations Stage & Screen (Indiana, USA), Citadel Theatre (Edmonton, Canada), How Now Brown Cow Productions (Johannesburg, South Africa), Japanese Playwright Association (Tokyo, Japan), and African Women Playwright Network (Africa).

TPL's "Pop-Up Residency" provides international playwrights the unique opportunity to have their work performed on the British stage, promoting collaboration between theatre-makers from diverse cultural backgrounds.

The Plays


Passing by Dipika Guha (USA) about two British expats who live on an isolated island, seemingly away from the indigenous peoples, until a bloody and brutalised young girl appears. 'Passing' confronts the history of colonialism and chronicles a history that resists erasure. (Tuesday 25 April). Directed by Ailin Conant.

Expelled by Rosalind Butler (South Africa) about a student at a boarding school, notorious for its culture of misogyny, finds himself entangled in a social media scandal with threatening consequences. 'Expelled' exposes the power of social media and the gap between perception and reality, questioning what 'truth' really is. (Wednesday 26 April). Directed by Imy Wyatt Corner.

100 Years Stray by SaringROCK (Japan), translated by Aya Ogawa, is an apocalyptic coming-of-age story, which delves into a fictional universe where extreme isolation is the norm and women no longer exist. (Thursday 27 April). Directed by Ailin Conant.

Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella (USA) about a Muslim, Yemeni-American senior along with a disgraced Evangelical science teacher with a mysterious past, who embark on a neurological study together, triggering conflicts over love, faith and culture. (Friday 28 April). Directed by Katharine Farmer.

Whittier by TyLie Shider (USA), a contemporary docudrama following a diverse community of neighbours quarantined in Whittier, Minneapolis, days after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. (Saturday 29 April). Directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour.


Out of Bounds by JC Niala (UK/Kenya) about two lovers, Felicity and Rose, who are forced to navigate the cultural and class differences that they face in the nineties and noughties, against a backdrop of their family secrets and lies, to discover if they can truly be surmounted. (Monday 1 May). Directed by JC Niala.

The Culture by Laura Jackson (Australia) about two best friends and chat show co-hosts, Will and Katie, who, fed up with their single lives, decide to plunge themselves into the dating pool. They soon learn what it's like to find love as a woman and a gay man, inadvertently testing the limits of friendship and whether it is enough to keep them safe. (Tuesday 2 May). Directed by Sepy Baghaei.

Burning Mom by Mieko Ouchi (Canada) about Dorothy, who, facing a new life without her husband, makes the terrifying decision to travel solo to Burning Man, the world's largest art festival in the Nevada desert. Based on the playwright's real mother, 'Burning Mom' is a poignant tale of the lengths one will go to shed the pain and grief of the past. (Wednesday 3 May). Directed by Mieko Ouchi.

Golden Blood by Merlynn Tong (Singapore/Australia) about a teenage girl who is left in the care of her estranged, gangster brother, when her mother dies. Left with next to nothing, they become a formidable duo until they are forced to confront the consequences of their desire for excessive levels of luxury. (Thursday 4 May). Directed by Rebecca Goh.

Love-No Filter by Momoko Takeda (Japan) translated by Jeremy Kuhles, shines a light on the suffocation of living up to expectations and the monotony of living with societal ties while exploring the unfiltered love between the people involved with running a fish-smoking factory in rural Japan. (Friday 5 May). Directed by Ailin Conant.

The Creatives

Co-produced by The Playwright's Laboratory (TPL) and Arcola Theatre, the play readings will be directed by a team of directors including Sepy Baghaei, Ailin Conant, Rebecca Goh, Katharine Farmer, Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, Mieko Ouchi, JC Niala, and Imy Wyatt Corner.

The Playwright's Laboratory

TPL is a new writing platform that produces and films "industry readings" of plays, offering playwrights an online platform to share their work with an international audience of industry professionals.

Quote from Katharine Farmer, Artistic Director of The Playwright's Laboratory

"I could not be more excited to bring plays from all four corners of the world to the UK. For me, it not only presents a unique opportunity for international playwrights to have their work heard and read on the British stage but enables our audiences to engage with material coming to the UK for the very first time. I am hoping the festival will encourage more cross cultural collaboration in the theatre industry as well as spark new ideas for emerging playwrights".

For tickets and more information, see:

Festival Summary

25 April - Passing by Dipika Guha (USA), directed by Ailin Conant

26 April - Expelled by Rosalind Butler (South Africa), directed by Imy Wyatt Corner

27 April - 100 Years Stray by SaringROCK (Japan), translated by Aya Ogawa, directed by Ailin Conant

28 April - Paradise by Laura Maria Censabella (USA), directed by Katharine Farmer

29 April - Whittier by TyLie Shider (USA), directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour

1 May - Out of Bounds, written and directed by JC Niala (Kenya/UK)

2 May - The Culture by Laura Jackson (Australia), directed by Sepy Baghaei

3 May - Burning Mom written and directed by Mieko Ouchi (Canada)

4 May - Golden Blood by Merlynn Tong (Australia), directed by Rebecca Goh

5 May - Love-No Filter by Momoko Takeda (Japan) translated by Jeremy Kuhles, directed by Ailin Conant


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