Birmingham Repertory Theatre to premiere stage adaptation of Meera Syal’s Anita and Me

Birmingham Repertory Theatre has today announced that it will premiere the first stage adaptation of Meera Syal’s Anita and Me. Adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta and directedby Roxana Silbert the show opens in autumn 2015.

Wolverhampton-born writer and actress Meera Syal’s semi-autobiographical debut novel, Anita and Me, was first published in 1996. It was shortlisted for the Guardian fiction prize and won a Betty Trask Award.

The story of nine-year-old Meena, growing up in the only Punjabi family in a Black Country mining village, Anita and Me paints a comic, poignant, compassionate and colourful portrait of village life in the era of flares, power cuts, glam rock, decimalisation and Ted Heath. Syal’s novel is a unique vision of a British childhood in the Seventies, a childhood caught between two cultures, each on the brink of change.

It was recently announced that Anita and Me would be added to the new English Literature GCSE syllabus. Meera says of the stage adaptation:

I am so thrilled that Anita and Me is being developed and premiered at the Birmingham Rep, in the West Midlands where I grew up, where the novel is set and whose people and stories had such a huge influence on my childhood. I know Roxana and Tanika and the rest of the team will do it proud and I can't wait to see Anita, Meena and the rest of the crew come to life on stage. It will be, I'm pretty sure, bostin!

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre says:

Meera’s brilliant novel is a wonderful coming of age story. It’s an engaging and funny tale set in a tight knit community about a young girl trying to decide her cultural identity and I look forward immensely to realising it on stage.

The announcement of Anita and Me comes hot on the heels of Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s critically acclaimed world premiere of Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s play Khandan (Family). This new play about loyalty and ambitions within a Punjabi family enjoyed a sell-out run at The REP and was referred to in the Secretary of State for Culture, Sajid Javid’s key note speech last week. Khandan transfers to the Royal Court Theatre, London this week where it is due to play to full houses until June 28.  

Priority booking for school members for Anita and Me is now open and public booking will open in autumn 2014.  Box Office: 0121 236 4455 / Birmingham-rep.co.uk

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