Counting Stars

Counting Stars

Welcome to Club Paradise and the hidden world of a London nightclub seen through the prism of toilet attendants, Sophie and Abiodun's relationship. Atiha Sen Gupta’s heartwarming love story beckons us to celebrate with them as they approach their first anniversary.

Grab a stool onstage to experience up close the world of these two young lovers and the people they have to cope with on one of the busiest club nights...Valentine's night!

'This is witty, scrumptious writing, alive to the possibilities of the moment… Estella Daniels enchants us as Sophie… Lanre Malaolu is a dynamo as Abiodun' The Times

'Inviting, gripping and heartfelt... this is an important piece of theatre'

'Neatly-constructed two-hander that combines delicate romance with tragedy... Gupta has been appointed writer-in-residence at TRSE and this new production is a shining endorsement of her work' The Stage

‘Beautifully written… a must see’

'Stratford East's new season bounds with confidence' Evening Standard

'Casts a vital light on a precarious labour that's all too often forgotten' Time Out

'This thought provoking play manages to both startle and amuse' Newham Recorder

‘Sen Gupta's play genuinely does that thing theatre often claims to do: opens your eyes to the situation of others you previously overlooked’

'An insight into the kind of life too many migrants are forced to endure in the United Kingdom' British Theatre Guide

‘An authentic and necessary tale… refreshingly immersive… Counting Stars shines a light on the grottiest of places and finds the stubborn glimmer of stars’

'Intriguing, thought provoking and funny'

'A clear-headed warm-hearted play... the acting’s superb'

'Gupta’s skilful, sensitive and slyly humorous writing has real guts and soul' The Rip Tide

'Pooja Ghai’s production is vibrant, energetic and heartfelt'


Age guidance 15+ Contains strong language and violence

Running time 65 minutes with no interval

Party with us: Join us onstage before each performance to experience the Paradise Club! There'll be music, dancing and a full bar, so come and get in to party mode! The house opens at 7.15pm for evening shows and 3.15pm for matinees.


Estella Daniels
Theatre credits include: Treasure island,(Theatre Royal Haymarket) Festa (Young Vic), Iya-Ile (Soho Theatre), Racing Demon (Sheffield Crucible), Dirty Butterfly (Young Vic)
TV credits include: Nala in Sinbad (Sky), Death In Paradise (BBC), Da Vinci's Demons (BBC Worldwide/Fox) 

Lanre Malaolu
Theatre Credits include: Mitch in Karagula (Soho Theatre), Ithamore in The Jew of Malta (Royal Shakespeare Company), Anton in The Internet Is Serious Business (Royal Court Theatre), Jim Mosten in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Park Theatre), Ziad in Springtime (Greenwich Theatre), Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Almedia Theatre), Duperret in Marat/Sade (Royal Shakespeare Company), Fairy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Donalbain/Witch in Macbeth (Globe Theatre).
Television Credits include: Owen in Holby City (BBC),Yardie in Remainder (Tigerlilly Films), Mo in The Bill (Talkback Thames), Rob in The Armstrong & Miller Show (BBC), Kingsley in Harley’s Angels (Nickelodeon) and Robin in Driving Me Mad (BBC).
Film Credits include: Kwame in Fallout (Company Pictures), Benjamin in Cherries (Free Range Films), Black Jacket in Inkheart (New Line Cinema).
Radio Credits include: Monolo in Havana Quartet (BBC) and Riess in St Christopher (Canvas Media).
Lanre is co-Artistic Director of Protocol Dance Company, and has just completed a year long attachment as part of the The Old Vic 12 program as choreographer. 




Writer Atiha Sen Gupta 
Atiha Sen Gupta is a playwright and screenwriter. She began her creative life at Hampstead Theatre’s youth company – The Heat & Light Company where she staged semi-professional productions alongside her peers. When she was 17 she was commissioned to write a play which became What Fatima Did – bridging the gap between the learning and literary departments – and which played on Hampstead’s main stage to critical acclaim in 2009. For this, Atiha was nominated for the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award and the John Whiting award. Concurrently she was on the writing team for e4’s Skins and co-wrote episode 6 of series 3.

Atiha wrote State Red which played at Hampstead Downstairs in 2014. In 2015, Counting Stars played at the Assembly Rooms at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival which lead to a nomination for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards. In early 2016 Atiha co-wrote episode 37 of series 52 of the BBC’s flagship medical drama Holby City. She is currently under commission to The Bush Theatre. Atiha is writer-in-residence at the Theatre Royal Stratford East from 2016-2017.

Director Pooja Ghai
Pooja Ghai is the Associate Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Theatre Royal Stratford East credits: The House of In Between, Selfie Rules, Rugged Rock (Angelic Tales), Home Theate, The Infidel The Musical (Assistant Director). Other credits include: Tamasha 25, Shakti & Seva, Mother India (Rich Mix), As You Like It (Ellen Terry Theatre), The Accordian Shop (Leicester Curve), The Tune is Always Better on the Outside, Oysters, Mirad a boy from Bosnia, Gigging for Gaza (The Bedford), The Difference (Soho Theatre). As an actor Pooja’s many TV, Radio and Theatre credits include: Class (Series regular), Eastenders (Semi-regular), Grease Monkeys (series regular), Casualty, Holby, Doctors. She has worked extensively in theatres around the UK including Theatre Royal Stratford East, National Theatre, Bolton Octagon, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Soho and the Finborough to name a few. Pooja has also worked extensively on BBC Radio 4, World Service and The Asian Network. 

Costume & Set Designer Diego Pitarch
Diego Pitarch was born in Valencia (Spain) where he trained as an Architect. In 1992 he moved to Paris (France) to complete a four year course in Interior Design at the prestigious E.S.A.G. school of Design. For his final diploma he was declared first of his promotion and obtained an Excellency award for his
Thesis in Theatre Design. While in Paris he collaborated with
the prestigious American designer Hilton McConnico. Amongst other projects Diego contributed in the design of an exhibition celebrating the “Carre” Hermes at the Suntory Museum in Osaka (Japan). 1999 saw Diego relocating to London to study at the Slade School of Art where he successfully completed his MA in Theatre Design. In 2001 he was selected for the Linbury Prize and his design, for Katya Kabanova for the Welsh National Opera, placed him amongst the finalists. Since then Diego has developed a career as an International Theatre Designer, collaborating with renowned Directors and Companies. His work has appeared in theatres across the UK, Europe and the Caribbean. Some of his recent successes include Sunset Boulevard in London’s West End and Spend, Spend, Spend which won a TMA award for Best Musical in 2009, the 2011 European tour of The Who’s Tommy, the 2013 UK and Ireland tour of Fiddler on the Roof starring Paul Michael Glaser and the 2014 UK touring production of Fame. For more information and photos please visit:

Lighting Designer Laura Curd
Laura is Lighting Technician at Theatre Royal Stratford East, and has had the opportunity to light various productions during her time here, including the recent Love n’ Stuff. 

Sound Designer Chris Murray
Chris is the Senior Technician (Sound) at Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Previous design work includes: Love ‘n’ Stuff (2013 & 2016) (Theatre Royal Stratford East), The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Kitchen (Mercury Theatre Colchester & Edinburugh Fringe Festival)

Access Performances



Signed: 8 Sep 8pm 
Audio-description: 15 Sep 8pm
Captioned: 9 Sep 8pm




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