SAMUEL Hodges - the director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, has unveiled plans for their Autumn 2018 season and women's power is high on the agenda.

In September, some of the UK’s most influential female voices including Wendy Cope, Jenny Éclair, Suhayla El-Bushra, Natalie Haynes, Shappi Khorsandi and Brona C Titley, come together to write a world première, Women in Power – a musical comedy based on the Greek classic, The Assemblywomen. Directed by NST Associate Director Blanche McIntyre, the production opens on 6 September at NST City and runs until 29 September.

To mark the 100 years since the first women gained the right to vote in the UK, the company have curated The Bungalow Café Festival to commemorate this anniversary with performances from Ruby Wax, a reworking of the story of Medusa created by NST Laboratory Associates and performed by award-winning comedian Elf Lyons, and Bullish by Lucy J Skilbeck.

Ahead of a UK tour, Katori Hall’s award-winning The Mountaintop opens in NST City’s Studio, in a co-production with Reading Rep Theatre and Desara Productions, directed by Roy Alexander Weise, winner of the JMK Award 2016. This production will then visit a network of studio theatres across the UK that has been formed by NST, Reading Rep Theatre and Desara Productions, to enable the work of emerging directors to be seen more widely.

As part of a wider programme of work for children and families, NST sees two world première productions this Christmas - Humbug! The Hedgehog Who Couldn’t Sleep, a funny and upliftingearly years show in association with London-based theatre company Dumbshow, and Billionaire Boy, based on the bestselling book by David Walliams.

Returning is the NST’s critically acclaimed, sell-out smash hit The Shadow Factory, and the previously announced co-production with Exeter Northcott Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston of Don Carlos starring Tom Burke.

Samuel Hodges said: “The coming season is populated by household names from Tom Burke and David Walliams to Shappi Khorsandi and Jenny Eclair in our NST productions as well as some of the country’s most original and creative theatre companies, Kneehigh, Frantic Assembly and 1927, underlining our commitment to attracting the highest quality artists to Southampton.

“And it’s a season of remembering - 100 years since women won the right to vote, 50 years since the death of Martin Luther King, and I’m particularly proud that for the first time in NST history, we’re bringing one of our productions back due to popular demand! The Shadow Factory will be our one year anniversary celebration at NST City.”