After hearing Elizabeth Newman speak passionately on a panel discussion about women's theatre, I kinda have a big (intellectual) crush on her, so I'm very keen to see her tackle a new adaptation by Deborah McAndrew of the classic Anne Bronte novel in a theatre that is very close to my heart.
1 The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Bolton Octagon
Another literary adaptation in the North-West and another where the choice of director is instrumental in its inclusion here. Jeff James (La Musica) has worked closely with Ivo van Hove as an associate director and so the thought of what he might be cooking up for this world premiere of Jane Austen's novel is most exciting indeed.
2 Persuasion, Royal Exchange
Described as a coming-of-age story with a twist, Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae's new musical is the last show in the final season of Daniel Evans' artistic directorship in Sheffield and true to form, it looks to be a brave and important piece, once again giving voice to those who aren't necessarily normally heard in this genre (cf: Flowers for Mrs Harris).
3 Everybody's Talking About Jamie, Crucible
Danai Gurira's Eclipsed was my play of the year in 2015 and so it's great to see her work returning to the Gate Theatre, exploring another piece of recent African history that will doubtless be once again uncompromisingly thought-provoking.
4 The Convert, Gate
I loved BU21 when it opened at Theatre503 last year so it is great to see Stuart Slade’s ingeniously inventive play getting a well-deserved transfer into the West End here. Set in the aftermath of a fictitious terrorist attack, it's disturbing and absolutely essential.
5 BU21, Trafalgar Studios,
6 Narvik, HOME Manchester and then UK tourA new play with songs by Lizzie Nunnery, inspired by tales from naval veterans and stories of her grandfather’s time in the Navy, this show comes courtesy of Box of Tricks, a company whose utterly beautiful Plastic Figurines ranked highly in my 2015 list. I won't be catching this until its final venue in the tour so look out for it in February and March.
Andrew Maddock had a good year last year - his in/out (a feeling) and The We Plays both impressed at the Hope Theatre - and his latest looks like an interesting proposition too. It's playing at the Theatre N16 which, of course, is in Balham (right by the station).
7 He(art), Theatre N16
The talk may be about Jez Butterworth's latest selling out but for my money, a new debbie tucker green play is where the excitement lies in what looks to be a fascinating year ahead at the Royal Court.