New Earth Theatre and Storyhouse, in association with Arcola Theatre, today announce the dates for the world premiere production of WORTH, a new darkly comic drama exploring immigration and family secrets from Chinese Canadian writer, Joanne Lau.

Directed by Mingyu Lin, WORTH confronts the truth of generational trauma in immigrant families, inspired by the true events that followed the death of Lau’s mother. The production opens at Arcola Theatre on 12 April, with previews from 7 April, and runs until 29 April, before transferring to Chester’s Storyhouse, playing from 5 to 20 May.

Artistic Director of New Earth Theatre, Kumiko Mendl, said today, “I’m thrilled that New Earth and Storyhouse have come together to produce the world premiere of Joanne Lau’s WORTH. Developed through our Professional Writers Programme and arriving hot on the heels of The Apology, I am so proud that New Earth continues to champion BESEA writing of such calibre. WORTH is a piece that not only brings into sharp focus the complex emotions of loss and grief but also asks us to re-examine what we truly value in a time of crisis.”

Writer Joanne Lau added, “When I was writing WORTH in 2019, little did I imagine it’d be premiering at a time when the themes of loss and grief would be particularly poignant and fresh for so many (myself included). My original urge to write this story was simply to entertain and engage. I’m so grateful to New Earth Theatre and Chester Storyhouse for a chance to talk about this subject and its impact, and hopefully help others like me feel less alone, ashamed, and invisible. In a time where anti-Asian hate crimes have soared, some of us need extra courage to stand up and fight back, not just for ourselves, but also for our community.”


New Earth Theatre and Storyhouse in association with Arcola Theatre present


Written by JOANNE LAU

Director: Mingyu Lin; Designer: Moi Tran; Sound Designer and Composer: Nicola T Chang;

Movement Director: Iskandar إسكندر Ramzi bin Sharazuddin


Arcola Theatre: 7 April – 29 April 2023

Press night: Wednesday 12 April at 7pm

Storyhouse, Chester: 5 – 20 May 2023


Hours before their mother’s funeral, the Yeung siblings gather in the family home for the first time in years, only to discover their inheritance is missing. With seemingly only £44 cash to her name and the house due to be repossessed, where has all the money gone? Tensions escalate as they race to find it, uncovering ugly truths and shocking family secrets along the way.

Inspired by true events, WORTH takes a darkly comic look at family loss and sibling rivalry. Straddling two cultures, this biting new comedy asks the question – where do you put your worth?



Joanne Lau is a Chinese Canadian writer based in the UK, and an alumnus of the BBC Writersroom Comedy Room and BBC New Talent Hotlist 2017. She’s been a finalist for the BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing Forum (TV Drama), Royal Court Theatre/Kudos Writing Fellowship, Cinequest Teleplay 60, and Funny Women Awards. She has several original projects in development and her produced credits span television, theatre, radio, and film, and include Silverpoint (CBBC), Theodosia (HBO Max), Ted’s Top Ten (CTIV), Big Tree City (Netflix), The Kentucky Meat Shower (Sphinx 30/New Earth Theatre), Love by Numbers (Routledge Anthology of Short Plays with Great Roles for Women), Drop the Dead Panda (BBC Radio 4), Sketchtopia (BBC Radio 4), and Misguided Meditations (BBC Radio 4).

Mingyu Lin is a director for stage and screen. She is a Resident Artist with York Theatre Royal and a Reader for Traverse Theatre and the Bruntwood Prize. She was a recipient of Living Pictures’ Directors’ bursary 2021, Creative Associate at Headlong, an alumna of the Royal Court Writers’ Programme and a founding member of BESEA advocacy group BEATS. Her theatre credits include Does My Bomb Look Big in This? (Soho Theatre), Overheard (York Theatre Royal/Nottingham Lakeside) and No Bond So Strong (Midlands Arts Centre). She also works as a screen director and audio director.