Danusia Samal on Bangers at Arcola Theatre

The Garage musical Bangers returns to London next week at Arcola Theatre following its previous sell-out shows at Soho Theatre and a run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In a new look production, the gig theatre piece is combination of “original music, lyrical storytelling and pure UK garage vibes” with two characters bringing stories of love, sex and the power of music backed by a live onstage DJ.

Ahead of opening at Arcola, we caught up with the play’s writer Danusia Samal to find out more about what it’s like to be taking the place back to London.

Danusia Samal Q&A

What can you tell us about Bangers?

Bangers is all about the music we grew up with and how it shapes us into the adults we become. It treads the line between a party and a play – telling the stories of two very different people whose lives intersect, the drama shaped and manipulated by a live DJ. It’s filled with lots of great original tracks by Duramaney Kamara and lots of classic bangers too!

What was the inspiration for the play?

I was always interested in what music teaches us about love, sex and gender. We sing along to lyrics that are deeply problematic, but that music is part of us, and part of our history. As society (hopefully) grows and shifts – how do we reclaim the bangers?

I was part of the Soho 6 cohort in 2021 and pitched this idea. It was more a concept than a play so a lot of the work was then about who the characters were and how their stories connected.

You’ve had runs at Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe – what’s it like to now open at Arcola Theatre?

I’m really excited to bring this show to an area with its own rich music history. The Arcola is a great space and we’re looking forward to filling it with theatre and music audiences.

We’re also collaborating with the Arcola on some wraparound events which should be a great opportunity to keep the party vibe going and see some brilliant acts after the show.

Has the play changed at all since those earlier runs?

Every time we’ve done Bangers, we’ve found something changes. Whether that’s the energy and ideas a new cast member brings, a different space, or the fact we learned something about what worked and didn’t in our last run and we want to address it in the writing and staging. As a writer, it’s a privilege to keep getting opportunities to improve the play and clarify what we’re trying to say as a company. It means we can keep making the production bigger and better.

Is there anything you hope audiences take away from the show?

I hope audiences have a brilliant night out that is maybe different from the usual theatre experience. I hope they feel kinship with at least one of the characters in the play and leave the auditorium with a desire to discuss and explore some of the questions in the show. We’re working hard in this run to create a party vibe that the Bangers can continue even after the show finishes.

Bangers is at Arcola Theatre from 17 July to 10 August 2024