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Glitterball Comes to Riverside

Sonia’s life has always been a bit of a double act, brought up as one half of a Shirley Bassey tribute act. alongside her overbearing mother Gloria, she left a trail of sequins across the working men’s clubs of East Anglia.

Now she’s divorced, battling through the middle-age jungle, wrangling unimpressed teenagers and navigating rocky friendships.

But the unexpected arrival of Sonia’s half-brother Naim from Manchester brings a refreshed sense of belonging and cultural identity, as he introduces her to her Pakistani side she had never known before.

Sonia is excited to immerse herself in the culture and finally begins to piece together the mosaic of her life. But a disturbing discovery threatens to shatter her world all over again.

Can Sonia shake off the past, even with her ever-present mother keeping ‘the show’ on the road from beyond the grave?

Inspired by a real-life, Glitterball is a midlife coming of age comedy about motherhood, identity and finding your time to shine.

Glitterball is the first commission to come out of the Rifco Associates Programme, a talent development initiative to improve pathways into the industry for underrepresented voices.

Pravesh Kumar, Artistic Director, said “At Rifco, we are committed to telling the stories of underrepresented voices and are thrilled to be bringing you our first mainstage production born out of the Rifco Associates Programme. Yasmin Wilde’s story felt so relevant to us because it sheds much-needed light on the mixed-heritage experience. It is also an empowering example of how a ‘midlife crisis’ can be a positive turning point with a strong intergenerational focus. We hope it will strike a chord with audiences and open up themes that are still too often missing from mainstream entertainment, while also giving them some feel-good, classic Bassey numbers to sing along to.”

 

Cast:

Sonia - Yasmin Wilde
Gloria - Janice Conolly
Jade - Nikhita Lesler
Naim - Muzz Khan
Debs - Victoria John
 

Music Director / Albee - Miles Russell 

Set & Costume Designer - Libby Watson 

Lighting Designer - Mark Dymock

 

Approx. Running Time: 2hrs inc interval | Suitable for ages 10+

 

Listings information

Riverside Studios, 101 Queen Caroline St, London W6 9BN Tue 27 Sept - Sat 08 Oct
Eves 7.30pm, Thu, Sat & Sun mat 3.30pm
Tickets £25, concessions available

riversidestudios.co.uk | 020 8237 1000

 

Yasmin Wilde lives in Cornwall with her family. She has been an actress for over thirty years, working in theatre and television in the UK. Recent work includes shows at Birmingham Rep, Manchester Royal Exchange and Stratford East, and TV appearances in After Life, This Is Going To Hurt, Shakespeare and Hathaway and Peter Kosminsky’s The Undeclared War soon to come to Channel 4. Performing new writing has always been a passion, and inspired by working with brilliant playwrights like Tanika Gupta and Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, Yasmin applied for the RIFCO mentorship scheme. Under their guidance, she developed her idea for a play about dual heritage, the fracturing of identity in motherhood, and Shirley Bassey - and  Glitterball was born. Yasmin has also written two musicals, Office Tramp and The Nightingale, which she hopes to get produced one day.

Pravesh Kumar is the Artistic Director of Rifco Theatre Company and was awarded an MBE for Services to Theatre in the Queen’s New Year’s honours 2022. He started Rifco Theatre Company in 2000 to make a different kind of theatre for a community that could not see themselves represented on English stages.

Pravesh has been at the forefront of bringing new British South Asian audiences into theatres all over the country. His theatrical directorial debut was in 2000 with a UK tour of Bollywood - Yet Another Love Story. He has gone on to achieve critical acclaim for Rifco’s productions: Britain’s Got Bhangra, The Deranged Marriage, Laila The Musical, Dishoom!, Pyar Actually, Miss Meena & the Masala Queens, Happy Birthday Sunita, There’s Something About Simmy, Airport 2000, Meri Christmas, and Break The Floorboards. His short film, Gods on Mountains was nominated for the Satyajit Ray Short Film Award. Most recently Pravesh wrote the book for the acclaimed rap musical, Mushy: Lyrically Speaking. Pravesh is currently co-writing a new main stage musical and leads on the Rifco Associates programme finding new British South Asian voices of the future.

 

Notes to Editors

Rifco Theatre Company

Artistic Director, Pravesh Kumar founded Rifco Theatre Company in 2000. Rifco develops and produces new plays and musicals, touring nationally to some of the UK’s most prestigious regional theatres. It presents theatre of scale and spectacle that is authentic, topical, thought-provoking, rich and entertaining which celebrates and reflects contemporary British Asian experiences, culture and society.

Their success lies in understanding their audience. A vital part of creating new work is through listening and working alongside British South Asian communities. Kumar’s work is ‘homegrown’ and he believes in gently challenging perceptions and warmly reflecting the communities he knows.

Rifco is committed to diversifying the kind of work seen in our British theatres. It does this by commissioning British South Asian playwrights and working with as many diverse actors, designers and directors as possible. The company defines its work through five programme strands:

Rifco Theatre Company – new plays and musicals for the middle scale
Rifco Associates – talent development programme
Rifco Digital – new creative content for distribution online
British Asian Festival – biennial, multi-artform celebration of British Asian talent