A STUDENT playwright will see one of her works staged at Hackney Empire this week.

Mina Maisuria, who spent her early years in Turnpike Lane before moving with her family to Walthamstow, is one of three new writers who have been selected for a short season of works reflecting East End life.

The talented 33-year-old was given the opportunity to stage her play, Commercial Rd., after recently being named at Angle Theatre’s New Writers Awards. Other recipients of the awards include Luciana Saldanha for The Sea At Night and Shamser Sinha for Khadija Is 18, both of which will be staged at Hackney Empire in June.

Mina’s success is all the more remarkable considering that she has only just finished her first year on an MA playwriting course at Goldsmith’s College.

“It’s just amazing, I feel so humbled, honoured and chuffed,” reflects Mina, who also trained as an actress at Mountview Academy in Wood Green. “When I got the call to say that I had been shortlisted, it was just fantastic.

“I was actually born in Hackney and have some wonderful childhood memories of the place. Now my play will be staged there, so it’s really come full circle.”

Commercial Rd. is a light-hearted look at an East End petrol station and the lives of its dispossessed Asian workers: Krishnan (Kal Aise), Feroza (Rina Mahoney), Ramanathan (Alton Letto), Girish (Ravi Aujla) and Sonny (played by EastEnders actor Ashley Kumar).

Mina explains: “On the surface it’s about a bunch of workers in a petrol station, but the play actually looks into their lives, particularly in the three days leading up to an important visit from their boss.

“What I’m really interested in are the little, everyday things that happen to us. People think they lead such boring, mundane lives, but actually none of us do, because every little thing that happens can either build us up or destroy us. The small things really do matter.”

She adds: “It’s certainly something that most people will not have seen before and there are some wonderful light-hearted moments balanced with real drama.”

Mina tells me she was inspired to write the piece after her younger brother, Karan, worked for a short while in a petrol station.

She says: “He used to come home and tell me all these stories about the people who worked there. It opened my eyes to all the migrant workers in London and the lives that they are busy leading. I just found it so interesting. Even though Karan worked there a few years ago, those stories really stayed with me and I knew I just had to write them down.”

With just a week to go before the opening night, Mina tells me that she’s been enjoying watching the actors read from the scripts that she penned.

“It’s really exciting seeing actors perform your work and I think they bring something else to it,” says Mina excitedly.

“The best thing is knowing that the play is not just on my laptop or in a script, it’s now really coming to life. I just can’t wait until the opening night.”

Commercial Rd. runs from Wednesday, June 3 to Saturday, June 20, 7.30pm at Hackney Empire, Mare Street. Matinee Sat 2.30pm. Details: 020 8985 2424