Looking Back at Abi - DT Memory Box


For this week's Memory Box, we're heading back to autumn 2018 with the Derby Theatre and Queen's Theatre Hornchurch production of Abi

Written by Atiha Sen Gupta and starring Safiyya Ingar, Abi explored how a fiery 15-year-old girl experiences modern society by delving into her realm of boys, family, partying, ambitions and social media, with wit and flair.

Abi was also part of our RETOLD Series: a series of new one-woman plays commissioned by Derby Theatre and written by some of the most provocative female playwrights in contemporary British theatre, aiming to crack open classic tales and see the story afresh from the perspective of a female character.

The Joys of Family

Abi starred the talended Safiyya Ingar who revisted her infamous character 'Abi' from home. In the clip, Abi explores her family members different levels of 'coolness' - something we can definitely all relate too. 

*WARNING: Video contains strong language and adult content*

Watch on YouTube

Abi Trailer

Watch on YouTube

Key Facts and Memories

- Abi was a contemporary response piece to Mike Leigh's cult classic, Abigail's Party.

- Abi was produced in co-production with Queen's Theatre Hornchurch.

- Abi was part of the Theatre's RETOLD series, a programme of shows which re-tells classic stories from the perspective of one of the female characters - in this case, the titular character in Abigail's Party.

- Abi was a one-woman show performed by the brilliant Safiyya Ingar - whose other credits include the world premiere of Lava at Nottingham Playhouse and Hobson's Choice at The Royal Exchange, Manchester.

- Abi was written by Atiha Sen Gupta - a British playwright and screenwriter. She was writer-in-residence for 2016-2017 at Theatre Royal Stratford East in London.

- Abi was well received by the press, with quotes including -

"Full of zest and humour...Safiyya Ingar was captivating...Ingar has a magnetic energy"
The Guardian

"Safiyya Ingar gives a vivid performance in this contemporary response to Mike Leigh’s 1970s comedy" 

The Stage

"Safiyya Ingar is genuinely superb in the role"

There Ought to be Clowns

Photography © Robert Day

"A powerful, often funny performance by Safiyya Ingar"


 ★★★★ "A fresh and energetic production"


 ★★★★ "A delightfully enjoyable, skilled performance"


Photo Gallery

Just 1 day to go until the BEST PARTY EVER begins in Abi, our contemporary response to Abigail's Party. ...

Posted by Derby Theatre on Friday, 28 September 2018

About the Show

Part of Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series - new plays that crack open classic tales and see the story afresh from a new perspective.

After one of her regular visits to see grandmother Abigail in hospital, 15 year old Abisheera (‘Abi’ for short) decides to throw the BEST PARTY EVER at her Nan's flat.

Struggling to face the imminent reality of life without the only family member she is close to, Abi throws her all into the preperations. But as she tries to clear her head and the flat, family secrets begin to surface. Will Abigail’s past threaten Abi’s already fragile present?

The digital life of millennials is brilliantly captured in Abi, a fresh new play jointly commissioned by Derby Theatre and Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

Photography © Robert Day