Playwright and Screenwriter
Photo by Alex Brenner
Seventeen-year-old Asha is an empathetic rebel, inspired by historical revolutionaries and iconoclasts Sylvia Pankhurst and B R Ambedkar. She’s unafraid of pointing out the hypocrisy around her but less sure how to actually dismantle it.
Meanwhile, her younger sister, Bettina, wide-eyed and naïve, is just trying to get through the school day without getting her pocket money nicked. When Bettina turns to her for help, Asha starts to ask what standing up for her political beliefs really looks like.
Two Billion Beats |Orange Tree Theatre
Two Billion Beats returns to
The Orange Tree Theatre
on 20th January 2023 and runs until 4th February. Co-directed by Nimmo Ismail and Tian Brown-Sampson, with a brilliant new cast of Shala Nyx (Kabul Goes Pop) and Tanvi Virmani (Life of Pi) !
★★★★ “Moving portrayal of sisterly love…I’d defy anyone to remain unmoved” The Guardian
★★★★ “Sonali Bhattacharyya has struck gold with this incredibly important play” Theatre Weekly
★★★★ “This timely and thoughtful new play from Sonali Bhattacharyya…compellingly shows that the stakes can be high when people – especially women – from a diaspora community raise their voices” WhatsOnStage
★★★★ “Confidently drawn two-hander that probes injustices, both domestic and colossal” The Stage
Photography by Rosaline Shahnavaz, Design by Émilie Chen
Chasing Hares |Young Vic Theatre
Set between 2000s Kolkata and contemporary Leicester, Chasing Hares tells the story of one family's resistance against the inhumanity of machine capitalism. The Khub Bhalo garment factory is on lockdown, leaving Prab unemployed. He finds a way to win favour with Devesh, the boss' son by writing for his Bengali folk theatre troupe, but soon finds being Devesh’s right hand man is loaded with moral compromise. Prab is caught between his family’s modest hopes for a better life and his long-repressed desire for radical change. Is imagining a better future as hard as enacting one?
Directed by Milli Bhatia (Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner) and starring Ifram Shamji, Ayesha Darker, Zainab Hasan, Scott Karim and Saroja-Lily Ratnavel
★★★★ “Sonali Bhattacharyya's fast, witty script finds an original way to tell the global backstory of the zero-hours workforce, joining up the dots from child labour in West Bengal to unethical working conditions in Britain.” The Guardian
★★★★★ “The story seamlessly yokes the personal to the political ” The Telegraph
★★★★ "The way Sonali manages to mix comedy with thought-provoking and deeply affecting dialogue is a testament to her genius as a writer." All That Dazzles
Silence |Tara Theatre/Donmar Warehouse
Based on personal testimonies from survivors of partition adapted from Kavita Puri's 'Partition Voices'. Co-written with Gurpreet Bhatti, Ishy Din and Alexandra Wood and directed by Abdul Shayek.
★★★★ "The power of ‘Silence’ comes in its impassioned, painful truths." - Timeout
"Silence is essential viewing – an act of collective remembering that propels a key moment in history back into the spotlight, where it belongs." - Whats On Stage
Photograph by Manuel Harlan
Assembly - Keyworkers' Cycle |Almeida Theatre
A love letter to teachers and the power of collective organising in the face of the pandemic, Assembly was part of the Keyworkers' Cycle, a season of work inspired by medieval mystery plays and dedicated to the people who kept the country going during the first year of Covid. Assembly was directed by Kate Colledge and starred Doreene Blackstock and Jonny Khan plus an amazing community cast.
★★★★ "A potent reminder of the way a generation of pupils was failed by the government at what was already a desperately hard time." - The Stage
★★★★ "Taken all together each well-researched play formed a smart state of the nation overview." - The Telegraph
"Moving, courageous and memorable – emphasising the importance of kindness, dreaming, dancing and the mutual care that helps us survive." - The Observer
Photo by Ali Wright
2066 |Almeida Participation
'2066' imagines a future without universal healthcare and the impossible decisions this leaves a mother and her daughter. Directed by Dani Parr, with Sophie Melville as Eve and Sara Goddard as Kara.
Photo by Peter Schiazza
Slummers |Cardboard Citizens
An immersive multi-story speculation on need, greed and good intentions, HOME TRUTHS is revealed through the world premieres of nine short plays by some of the UK’s most exciting playwrights: Sonali Bhattacharyya, Lin Coghlan, EV Crowe, Anders Lustgarten, Nessah Muthy, Chris O’Connell, Stef Smith, David Watson and Heathcote Williams with Sarah Woods.
The Invisible Boy |Kiln Theatre
Written for a young company in Wembley Park as part of Kiln Theatre's 'Mapping Brent' festival, The Invisible Boy is a funny, spooky look at how complicated things can get when you’re a teenage boy.
Old Vic 12 |Old Vic Theatre
I was really excited to be selected from over 1300 applicants as one of three playwrights for the inaugural Old Vic 12, the programme for developing theatre artists, introduced by Matthew Warchus, artistic director of the Old Vic. This incredible opportunity involved the chance to collaborate with the rest of the Old Vic 12 on a new commission, my play Five Years, which received a rehearsed reading at the Criterion, West End.