Stratford East revives Windrush Ska musical The Big Life

Stratford East is reviving the hit Windrush Ska musical The Big Life, two decades after its original premiere and subsequent transfer to the West End.

The new production is set to run from 16 February – 30 March 2024.

Directed by Tinuke Craig, the cast of the revival will see Tameka Empson reprise her original role as Mrs Aphrodite. Joining her is a talented cast including Juliet Agnes (Kathy), Danny Bailey (Admiral/Eros), Gabrielle Brooks (Sybil), Nathanael Campbell (Bernie), Khalid Daley (Dennis), Beth Elliott (Jacqueline/Secretary), Leanne Henlon (Mary), Rachel John (Zulieka), Karl Queensborough (Lennie) and Ashley Samuels (Ferdy).

The creative team behind this much-anticipated production consists of Jasmine Swan (Set and Costume Designer), Elliot Griggs (Lighting Designer), Emma Laxton (Sound Designer), Ian Oakley (Musical Director), Ingrid Mackinnon (Choreographer), Jacob Sparrow (Casting Director), among others. The team promises to bring a fresh and vibrant interpretation to the musical.

Set in the 1950s in London, The Big Life tells the story of Ferdy, Bernie, Dennis, and Lennie, four young men who arrive from the West Indies full of dreams and aspirations. Determined to succeed, they vow to forgo wine and women for three years to focus on their ambitions. However, their resolve is tested as they navigate the challenges of life in England and encounter the irresistible Sybil, Mary, Zulieka, and Kathy.

The Big Life intertwines the story of Shakespeare’s ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ with that of the Windrush generation, creating a joyful, uplifting Ska musical that promises to have audiences dancing in their seats. The show is not just a celebration of musical theatre but also a tribute to a significant chapter of British history.

Further casting details and musicians will be announced in the coming months.

For more information and tickets, visit

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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