WOMEN in in Power receives its world première in Southampton next week.

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, have come together to write this raucous new musical comedy based on the Greek classic, The Assembly Women.

Directed by NST Associate Director Blanche McIntyre, the production opens on Thursday September 6 at NST City and runs until September 29.

The drama sees the country in political turmoil. Recent wars and alliances have left Athenians no option but to take the most extreme action. The most radical: a government of women!

Women storm the Assembly, dressed as men, big fake beards, big shoes and a big vision - total equality! A world where power imbalance is eradicated and with it debt, greed and theft. But this has unintended and hilarious consequences.

Aristophanes’ Women in Power is turned into a celebration of fun-filled and silly comedy sketches, slapstick, songs, dance, dumb gags, clever gags, music and women taking the lead.

The production is all part of a bigger celebration of women at NSTs. 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.”

Other theatre highlights include Proto-type Theater’s The Audit (or Iceland, a modern myth) (September 10) examining contemporary politics 10 years on from the 2008 financial crash; SEXY (September 14) which explores the conflicted relationship women have with their bodies and Luca Rutherford’s Political Party (September 17) showing how politics is done, through music, dancing and eggs.

Other theatre includes Bullish (20-21 Sep), a new play exploring new and ancient territories in trans-masculine gender and identity. Plus, the NT There will also be live screenings of the National Theatre’s Julie (October 3) starring Vanessa Kirby and Eric Kofi Abrefa .

Comedy highlights include Ruby Wax, the Monk and the Neuroscientist: How To Be Human (29-30 Sep), Sara Pascoe with LadsLadsLads ( October 14) and an all-female line up of NST’s regular The Comedy Bar: Big Gig (October 11) including Lucy Porter, Angela Barnes and Shazia Mirza.

Salon Du Cinema celebrates the trail blazing icon, Mae West ( September 12), RSC Live screening of The Merry Wives of Windsor (October 8), a live all-female DJ set from Frau DJs (September 22) and talks by leading feminist speakers Dr Naomi Paxton (September 22) and Dr Finn Mackay (September 29).

The festival culminates with a new production of Medusa (October 11-13), a story of rejection, redemption and revenge, created by Laboratory Creative Associates and performed by Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Elf Lyons.