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Summer in London, Rikki Beadle-Blair Interview: “Now feels like a perfect storm; there’s never been a more inspiring and exciting time to be an artist.”

Rikki Beadle-Blair
Rikki Beadle-Blair

Rikki Beadle-Blair

It’s mid-morning on a hot summer’s day in Stratford. I am sitting in on rehearsals for Rikki Beadle-Blair’s new play ‘Summer in London’ at Theatre Royal Stratford East. The cast are in the middle of a Skype call with a leading trans awareness charity and the conversation is geared around identifying micro aggression and confirming pronouns. To the uninformed, it may not be easily understood that there are still multiple difficulties for trans people, binary and non-binary who are seeking access to a society on the same terms as everyone else.

Beadle-Blair is a writer, director, composer, choreographer, designer, producer and performer. He has won several awards including the Sony Award, the Los Angeles Outfest Screenwriting and was ranked forth on the Rainbow list of the UK’s hundred most influential LGBT+ people. What star sign is he? “I’m a Leo. I would say I am a template Leo,” he smiles. “Leos like bright colours and are summery creatures. They have lots of friends. They like being at home and are very bold. I think Leo’s struggle to keep their egos in check – but if someone else is a good leader – then they are the first to admit it.”

We are talking at lunch between rehearsals ahead of the Queen’s Speech, a week on from the Grenfell Tower fire and on the same day that Donald Trump has blamed his predecessor Barack Obama over the death of Otto Warmbier, 22, the US student who died after being imprisoned for 17 months in North Korea. Beadle Blair smiles patiently when considering the long and slow decline of the Western World and says: “None of it surprises me but all of it is quite shocking. A lot of the things that I think of as really very terrible are really good. These are crazy and politically turbulent times, where you just don’t know what’s going to happen next, people are clinging to their jobs and are promoted beyond their capabilities. Now feels like a perfect storm; there’s never been a more inspiring and exciting time to be an artist,” says Beadle-Blair.

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Rikki has written 28 plays in the last decade that have been performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Bush TheatreSoho Theatre, Tristan Bates Theatre and Contact Theatre in Manchester. What, I wonder, does success look like to him? “I know when a show is successful when I watch it and think: ‘who wrote that?’ Then I realise it was me,” he nods. “I feel something is successful when I’ve stepped out of my own limitations and done something I haven’t done before something that challenges me. If I can test my humanity, prejudice, ego and philosophy then I have succeeded.”

The aim – and Rikki seems to have adopted this as his mission – is to make theatre and art for everyone. “What Summer in London is and what my work is – the revolution for which it is calling for is not a revolution in where anyone is deposed but where everyone is valued,” he adds, quickly. “So that we are all elevated. All of us can be elevated by one another, that’s my job, my life’s work and that’s what I’m offering the audience… Along with the standard expectation of high entertainment.”

‘Summer in London is billed as a cross between “a modern Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Inbetweenerswith an all-transgender cast.” So, what else can audiences expect from this play? “An astonishing cast who are full of vibrancy and humanity,” he says. “I tend to do very funny plays around very heavy subjects. I wanted to make something set in London that was uplifting, vivid and inspiring. I think I live in the most romantic and inspiring cities in the world. I want to capture what it’s like to be part of that culture and the home of so many talented people who come here to get the urban grit. Theatre Royal Stratford East is the perfect delivery room for this play; this is Stratford international!”” he beams.

“This theatre is one of the most revolutionary theatres in the world.”

Summer in London is at Theatre Royal Stratford East on 13 July, with previews from 8 July, and runs until 29 July.

Announcing the World Premiere of He Shoots! He Scores! A Musical With Balls at Above The Stag Theatre from 5 July 2017

Above The Stag Theatre

Kicking off our summer season in connection with Pride in London, Above The Stag Theatre presents He Shoots! He Scores! A Musical With Balls by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper (Get ‘Em Off, Beauty on the Piste, Tinderella) and directed by Rob McWhir (Get ‘Em Off, Torsten – The Beautiful Libertine, The Bus).

Step inside the locker room in this rude, romantic and rib-tickling new musical comedy.

Fresh off the train from rural Devon, Joe joins the Hercules Harriers: London’s worst gay football team. He sets out to transform them from hot messes into winners, in time for an international gay tournament. But with the promise of athletic gays convening from all over Europe, the Harriers are more interested in action off the pitch.

From the team behind Get ‘Em Off! and the writers of our award-winning pantomimes, He Shoots! He Scores! promises great tunes and big laughs for all.

Above The Stag Theatre is an award-winning theatre in Vauxhall, London with a focus on producing LGBT+ themed theatre including new writing, musicals and revivals. It is the only full-time professional LGBT+ theatre in the UK. As a registered charity, Above The Stag Theatre also hosts exhibitions, rehearsed readings and other events throughout its annual programming offering new writers, photographers and other forms of artists a platform to present their work.

Press Night of He Shoots! He Scores! is on Friday 7 July at 7.30pm. 

Listings Details:

From 5 July 2017

Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm

Sunday 6pm

Bookings: www.abovethestag.com

Tickets: Previews 5-6 July – £12.00

From 9 July all tickets £20.00

Book by Jon Bradfield and Martin Hooper

Music & Lyrics by Jon Bradfield  

Directed by Rob McWhir

Musical Direction by Iain Vince Gatt

Lighting Design by Jamie Platt

Produced by Peter Bull for Above The Stag Theatre



FIRST LOOK: Video Footage from COMMITTEE…(A NEW MUSICAL) at the Donmar Warehouse

The Public Administration and Constitution Affairs Committee Take Oral Evidence on Whitehall’s Relationship with Kids Company

Previews from Saturday 24 June 2017 (Press Night: Monday 3 July 2017)
Donmar Warehouse

“The objective of this session is not to conduct a show trial. We want to learn some lessons.”

What happens when something goes wrong? Who holds us accountable? On 15 October 2015, as part of an inquiry into ‘The collapse of Kids Company’, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Alan Yentob gave evidence to The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Hadley Fraser, Josie Rourke and composer Tom Deering have transformed that evidence session into a new musical. Sandra Marvin (City of Angels) will play Camila Batmanghelidjh, founder of Kids Company, and Omar Ebrahim will play Alan Yentob, former chairman of the charity.

It is based on the Parliamentary transcript of the oral evidence session on 15 October 2015 and the words spoken by those participating in the Inquiry.

 Tonic Theatre announces fourth Tonic Celebrates Event featuring award-winning director Marianne Elliott

Tonic Theatre has announced their fourth Tonic Celebrates event, featuring Olivier and Tony award-winning director Marianne Elliott, in conversation at the Soho Theatre Upstairs on Monday 31 July.

Tonic Celebrates is a series of events foregrounding the achievements of inspirational women in theatre. Each event brings together a group of remarkable women, all of whom are leaders in their field, to discuss their careers, work, and successes. The first half of the evening is chaired by Tonic Theatre’s Director Lucy Kerbel, before the floor is opened to the audience for questions.

Marianne is the Artistic Director of the newly founded Elliott & Harper Productions, established with producer Chris Harper. Their first production, Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle, opens at the Wyndham’s Theatre on 3 October, and stars Kenneth Cranham and Anne-Marie Duff. Most recently, Marianne has directed the sell-out production of Angels in America at the National Theatre, starring Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane and Denise Gough. Her other theatre credits include Husbands and Sons, The Light Princess and Rules for Living, also at the National Theatre, where she was an Associate Director. Her productions of War Horse and A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time with the NT have transferred to the West End, Broadway and toured extensively. She has won two Tony awards for Best Direction of a Play and an Olivier Award for Best Director. She was an Associate Director at the Royal Court, where her productions include Stoning Mary, Notes on Falling Leaves, The Sugar Syndrome and Local. Previously she was an Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre where she directed Port, Design for Living, Les Blancs, As You Like It, A Woman of No Importance, Nude with Violin, Fast Food, Martin Yesterday, Deep Blue Sea, Mad for It, Poor Superman and I Have Been Here Before.

The fourth Tonic Celebrates follows previous successful events at the Ambassador’s Theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe and the National Theatre. Previous panelists have included Globe Artistic Director Emma Rice, writers Moira Buffini, Tanika Gupta and Jessica Swale, lighting designer Paule Constable, designer Vicki Mortimer, Tricycle Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham, NT’s Director of Producing and Planning Sacha Milroy, and leading fight directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown.

Further guests for the Soho Theatre Upstairs event will be announced shortly, and tickets are available through Soho Theatre box office.

Winners Of Seventh Annual Wicked Young Writer Awards reveal young people engaged with the world and more hopeful

Wicked Young Writer Awards Judges
Wicked Young Writer Awards Judges

Wicked Young Writer Awards Judges, Photo Helen Maybanks

  • FOR GOOD winner reveals the importance of community in the digital age
  • 15 year-old’s winning insightful story expresses a brave view of mental illness
  • 7 year-old boy from London writes a heartfelt poem portraying life and death
  • Strictly Come Dancing star and former MP, Ed Balls, amongst this year’s panel of judges

THE 2017 WICKED YOUNG WRITER AWARDS today announced its winners during a ceremony involving over 115 shortlisted finalists and their families and teachers at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the award-winning musical WICKED.

Amongst this year’s finalists were consciously crafted stories, poems and non-fiction pieces of writing. The brave and honest writing showed a hopefulness for the world and understanding of the importance of empathy and the need to give a voice to issues that concerned them, including mental illness, dementia, kindness to strangers, hope in adversity, forced marriage, the importance of community in the digital age and the value of education to change the world and help us feel compassion.

Now it its 7th year, the Awards encourage young people aged 5-25 years to use writing as a way of expressing themselves, producing unique and original pieces of prose and poetry. Over 25,000 young people have entered the Awards since they began in 2009, with this year seeing the fastest growing level of entries to date. Over 600 primary and secondary schools and colleges entered this year’s competition from all over the UK with a particularly impressive rise in entries for the 8-10 and 18-25 categories.

Championed by Patron, Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cornwall, this year’s judges included former Labour MP, Ed Balls, ITV News Arts Editor, Nina Nannar and the acclaimed performance poet and writer Laura Dockrill. Author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon books, Cressida Cowell, returned as Head Judge for the third consecutive year, together with long-standing judges Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust and Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of WICKED. Anna Bassi, Editor of The Week Junior is also a guest judge for the FOR GOOD Award for Non-Fiction.

Gaby Roslin, TV and radio presenter, hosted the ceremony with prizes presented by Head Judge Cressida Cowell and the panel of prestigious judges.

Cressida Cowell said of the winners, “This year, my fellow judges and I read poems and stories addressing really big issues – mental illness, hope in adversity, kindness to strangers and the value of education. There was an incredible range of styles and an array of brilliantly original voices, but they all had this in common – they made us as judges feel something.

Jonathan Douglas, director of the National Literacy Trust said, “Every year I am moved by the incredible writing of the children and young people who enter the Wicked Young Writer Awards – and this year was no exception. Children tackled incredibly difficult subject matters with originality, creativity and an undeniable sense of hope buoyed by the good that can come out of bad situations. Well done to everyone who took part in this year’s awards and congratulations to the worthy winners! We hope that the Awards will continue to inspire children and young people to give their thoughts, ideas and passions a voice.”

WICKED cast members also performed songs from the hit musical including the popular ‘For Good’, as well as readings of the winning entries, which were revealed as:

5-7 Category:

Winner: Adam Rafael Holmes, 7, from Islington, London for Auntie Helen has gone to heaven

(This is an honest and heartfelt poem about life and death. Thoughtful, playful and positive about death and a celebration of life).

Runner-up: Rosa Little, 6, from Botley, Oxford for The Four Seasons

(A poem about the seasons full of imaginative description and inventive use of words language. It also features a unique and heartfelt welcome to refugees).

 8-10 Category:

Joint winner: Iona Mandal, 10, from Birmingham for Indigo’s Adventures With Love

(A sophisticated and lyrical meditation on the nature of love, both tangible and abstract.)

Joint winner: Miranda Tansley, 10, from Tunbridge Wells for The Suffragettes of Tunbridge Wells.

(This story breathes life into a true episode from the frontline of the Suffragette movement).

 11-14 Category:

Winner: Isla Siggs, 13, from Eastbourne, for A Spot of Bother

(A grisly tale! A meticulously detailed history of a truly disgusting spot that simply will not be defeated).

 15-17 Category:

Winner: Julia McGrattan, 17, from Hemel Hempstead for Perfectly Unstable

(A brave, brilliantly executed, short story tackling a difficult subject of mental health. A calculated deception or the beginning of decent into madness. A satisfying twist forces the readers to draw their own conclusions).

Runner-up: Ilana Pearce, 15, from Leeds for Why Don’t You Just Stop?

(This poem is an insightful account of living with OCD, expressed in language and rhythm that reflects the real struggle that sufferers face every day).

18-25 Category:

Winner: Claire Joicey, 22, from Cornhill-on-Tweed for The Attic

(A haunting and atmospheric story told in richly descriptive prose, painting a portrait of sorrow and buried grief).

 ‘FOR GOOD’ Category:

Winner: Scarlett Rushton, 25, from Chalfont St Peters for Bus 305

(A surprising true story of community and the beauty and importance of connection in the digital age).


Grenfell Matters – a fundraiser with SPID Theatre

  • As an award-winning charity with 12 years’ experience reinventing community theatre for North Kensington council estate audiences, Grenfell is close to S.P.I.D.’s heart.
  • SPID (Social Political Independent Direct) believes the Grenfell Tower tragedy underlines the need to change how social housing is valued and maintained, as residents’ fire concerns date back to 2013.
  • Being based in W10’s Kensal House estate, the charity share a landlord with Grenfell and have long asked Kensington and Chelsea’s Tenants Management Organisation to improve the safety of the borough’s council estates. They are now campaigning to extend their lease in order to refurbish the space properly, and urge others to do the same.
  • SPID wants Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation to learn from Grenfell by relinquishing its control of social housing and return it to the residents and charities who truly cherish it because they live and work there.
  • SPID is concerned about the long-term housing of Grenfell survivors. The council’s trend is to sell the earmarked space for profit instead, as showcased by their latest documentary (pw swordfish) about the fate of Trellick Tower’s communal graffiti area
  • SPID is determined to ensure that the borough replace and improve on the social housing that the fire destroyed.

About  S.P.I.D.

S.P.I.D. (Social Political Innovative Direct) uses participatory drama to bring people together. They promote shared experience in a shared space, championing solidarity and community spirit. Their Living History program dramatising council estates’ heritage was the subject of a BBC documentary as well as the Clore Prize. The charity has won Time Out Critic’s Choice, Fringe Report’s Best Outreach Award, the Apollo Award and a Young People Now award. S.P.I.D have previously collaborated with the National Theatre, the Gate Theatre, The Bush Theatre and Riverside Studios.

About iAm 4.0

You have been selected. We offer you a rare opportunity to participate in a secret focus group, playtesting a ground-breaking new technological innovation. Be the first to get your hands on the most exciting new product being developed today; a piece of tech which will revolutionise the way we all live our lives. You will, of course, be asked to sign an NDA, and then, in small groups, will get the chance to interface with this revolutionary product, testing its capabilities and helping us discover how it interacts with you. Come, experience the future.

 iAm 4.0 explores our attachment to technology, and the human costs we are willing to accept in the digital age. SPID premiered the show in collaboration with the Bush Theatre London, was nominated for a Off West End Theatre Award, and gained four star reviews  here , here and here . The Grenfell benefit performance is part of a summer tour including Secret Garden Party, Southwark Playhouse, Portobello Rising Festival and The Bush Theatre, dates and info here .

Initial casting announced for the World Premiere production of RABBITS at Park Theatre

Alex Ferns © Joe Boggon

Alex Ferns © Joe Boggon

A new black comedy tale of marital strife and bunny murder comes to Park Theatre from Joe Hampson, the writer of Skins, The News Quiz & Newsjack who makes his stage writing debut with Rabbits. An exploration of contemporary sexual politics, Rabbits follows the fallout as Frank prepares to save his and Susan’s marriage by taking their pet rabbit to be murdered – by a psychopath. With caustic jokes and abominable intentions, the production will run 26 July – 19 August 2017, with an official press night on Friday 28 July.

The production will star Alex Ferns (Legend, The Legend of Tarzan, EastEnders) and David Schaal (The Inbetweeners, The Office), with additional casting to be announced.

When Frank asks a stranger to kill his pet rabbit, it appears to be an isolated act of desperation, mania and warped logic. However, as Frank and Susan delve into their issues and try to repair their spiraling marriage, we see their private lives unravel and the initial bunny slaying takes on a whole new dimension, revealing what is really at the heart of their relationship.

Joe Hampson said: “Since starting out working on shows about teenage relationships and then moving on to write about more mature, complex and irregular ones, the same question always appears: what is it that is keeping these people together? As our collective understanding of sexual politics and the makeup of relationships has taken a dramatic step away from traditional ideas of heteronormative monogamy, it is interesting to question what drives two or more people to intertwine their lives and what it takes to sustain that commitment, whatever form the relationship takes.”

Rabbit is directed by Sadie Spencer, whose directing credits include: Cautionary Kate (King’s Head Theatre); Albee Vector the Sound Collector (tour with House Theatre Network, Bristol Old Vic); and Seeing Double (Pleasance, Camden People’s Theatre). She was a finalist in the 2017 JMK competition and her associate credits include: What’s in a Name (Birmingham Rep, Jeremy Sams) and Outside Mullingar (Ustinov Studio, Sam Yates).

David Schaal

David Schaal

David Schaal’s theatre credits includes: American Justice (Arts Theatre), Beggars Bush (Globe Theatre/Latitude Festival), Brotherly Love (Edinburgh Festival), The Roman Bath (Arcola Theatre), and Cyrano De Bergerac (Manchester Royal Exchange). His television appearances include: The Inbetweeners (Ch4), Fearless (ITV), Frontier (Netflix), We The Jury (BBC), Modern Toss (Ch4), Ashes To Ashes (BBC), The IT Crowd (Ch4), Doc Martin (BBC), and The Office (BBC). His film credits include: The Inbetweeners Movie, 101 Year Old Man, Fallen, The Inbetweeners 2, Pirates – In An Adventure with Scientists, and Kidulthood.

Alex Ferns’ theatre credits include: Out There On Fried Meat Ridge and The Father (Trafalgar Studios), True West (Tricycle), South Pacific (Barbican), The Hard Man (King’s Theatre),  Guys & Dolls (West End), ID (Almeida Theatre) and Coyote On A Fence (West End/Royal Exchange. Alex’s screen credits include: Romans (Dreamscape), Legend (Working Title Films), Tarzan (Warner Brothers), Hot Property (Fortune Films), Joyeux Noel (Nord-oust  Prod), River City (BBC), Taboo (BBC), Wallander (BBC & Left Bank), The Passing Bells (BBC), 24: Live Another Day (Sky 1/Netflix), The Widower (ITV) and Low Winter Sun (Channel 4). Alex is of course also well known for his role as Trevor Morgan in EastEnders.

Venue: PARK90, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP
Dates: 26 July – 19 August 2017
Press Night: Friday 28 July, 7pm
Performances: Evenings Tue – Sat 7.45pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 3.15pm
Running time:
Prices: £14.50 Previews / £18 Full / £16.50 Concessions/ £13 Child/ £10 Young Patrons (26 Jul – 2 Aug)
Age Guidance: 12+
Booking: www.parktheatre.co.uk / 020 7870 6876
*10% telephone booking fee, capped at £2.50 per ticket

Anna Ledwich to Direct Groundbreaking West End Production Inspired by True Online Experiences of Cyber Bullying

Cookies TRH
Cookies TRH

Cookies TRH

The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust in partnership with the Pureland Foundation and children’s charity Kidscape present the world premiere of Emily Jenkins’ pioneering new play Cookies for two performances only at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 29th October 2017.

 “The internet is their battleground.
London their surround sound.
YouTube their statement maker
– their whatsit –
manifesto maker.” 

In a world of gaming, vlogging, instant messaging and streaming, the online and offline worlds of four teenagers collide when each are exposed to cyber bullying and a darker side to their digital lives.

Inspired by the online experiences of 120 students, Cookies by Fringe First Award winner Emily Jenkins, will take us on an astonishing digital journey that questions the effects and consequences of cyber bullying, and other sinister sides to the internet.

Anna Ledwich, 2015 Olivier Award nominee for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate theatre, directs this stimulating, timely and significant new piece of theatre.

Cookies has been commissioned and developed for The Cyberscene Project; an inspirational theatre initiative created by The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust in partnership with Kidscape and generously funded by Pureland Foundation. The project aims to use theatre to support the health and well-being of young people affected by cyber bullying and to raise awareness of not only the dangers of being online, but also the positives too.

In October 2016, the Cyberscene team went into four London-based further education colleges and began scripting the play through a series of theatre based workshops. In this supportive environment, over 100 young students worked alongside theatre professionals to share their intimate experiences of being online; to learn from each other and to be part of an empowering initiative which aims to address the impact of cyber bullying and the wider digital realm. The final production will feature 25 of the original 100 students as an ensemble alongside a cast of established actors who will be announced at a later date.

It is through hearing the voices of these young students that Emily Jenkins was able to conceive Cookies, a bold, new play which directly addresses some of the issues brought up in the workshops through live performance.

Speaking about the play, Emily Jenkins said;

“For those who have grown up with the internet it has become almost as fundamental to daily life – as elemental as oxygen. We are still discovering the rules and intricacies of existing within this world; yet it is young people themselves who are most aware of the difference it makes.

This play has come directly from what young people shared with me about their daily online lives; and their extraordinary and terrifying online experiences. Before we tell them what they should do or how they should behave we need to listen to what they have to say. This is not my story. It’s theirs.”

The performance taking place at the Theatre Royal Haymarket is the first landmark in the project’s legacy. Blayne George, Programme Director at Masterclass commented;

“This project doesn’t end on 29th October; on the contrary that’s where it begins. Along with this important new play we will be collating our research into a free resource pack for schools and education providers across the United Kingdom as a way of helping to raise awareness and combat the ever-growing issues of cyber bullying and digital security.”

In addition to directly supporting young people, The Cyberscene Project is also about helping adults understand the complexities of cyber bullying and engage appropriately with younger generations. Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO of children’s charity Kidscape, said;

“It’s vital that as adults seeking to support children with bullying issues we strive to understand their lives and the situations they face.  This enthralling performance will challenge us to engage on a much deeper level with young people, many of whom stand in the front line in the war against cyber bullying and online abuse. It tests our assumptions, urging us to explore their realities and work with them to find new solutions.”

Cyberscene is generously supported by The Pureland Foundation and the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Bruno Wang, Chairman of the Pureland Foundation said;

“We all know the internet can be informative and entertaining, but it’s also a place where young people can be led to harm and, as such we are proud to be partnering with Masterclass and Kidscape on such a poignant, relevant and necessary project.”

Cyberscene has been created under the artistic guidance of renowned British theatre director, Jonathan Church CBE.

Dr Ellen Helsper, Director of Graduate Studies and Associate Professor in the Media and Communications Department at the LSE, is overseeing an evaluation of the project which links with her wider research into the subject area.

Additional links and support

If you or someone you know is experiencing cyber bullying and you would like some additional support please visit Kidscape’s website for further guidance.



29th October 2017


Theatre Royal Haymarket, Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4HT

Tickets: http://www.trh.co.uk/whatson/cookies/

Box Office: 020 7930 8800

Twitter: @MasterclassTRH / @TRH_London



From £7.50

For full details either visit www.trh.co.uk or call 020 7930 8800


Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff to make stage debut In Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends – The Musical

Andrew (Freddie ) Flintoff photo by Jacamo
Andrew (Freddie ) Flintoff photo by Jacamo

Andrew (Freddie ) Flintoff photo by Jacamo

Former England cricket captain, and star of SKY’s League of Their Own, Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff will swap the cricket pitch to tread the boards as he joins an all star cast for the world premiere of Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends – the Musical. Freddie will play Kevin Chadwick opposite the previously announced, Jodie Prenger as his fiancée, Kelly. Freddie takes to the stage for the first time on 7th November 2017 as Fat Friends – the Musical opens at Leeds Grand Theatre. He will then tour with the production to Southampton, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bradford and Blackpool.

One of the world’s most recognised cricket stars, Freddie Flintoff won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2005 after playing a pivotal role in regaining the Ashes from Australia. Since the Lancashire Lad’s cricket career ended in 2010, he has forged a career as a much loved presenter and broadcaster. Appearing as a captain on Sky’s A League of Their Own, being crowned King of the Jungle in the first Australian version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, Freddie has also launched a clothing range ‘Flintoff by Jacamo’. Having just filmed a part in Kay Mellor’s new ITV series, this role will see Freddie continue to affirm his acting credentials after bowling over the show’s creator, Kay Mellor and composer Nicholas Lloyd Webber during auditions!

Freddie Flintoff said: “I am really excited to be starring in Fat Friends – The Musical at Leeds Grand in November and at some other great venues around the UK in 2018. Having had the pleasure of recently working on an episode of Kay’s latest TV series, it’s great to have the opportunity to work with her again. I loved the TV series and think Fat Friends – The Musical, is going to give people a great night out. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Kay Mellor said: “I was introduced to Freddie at one of our TV casting sessions – it was clear to me that he could leave his cricket bat behind, embody a character, and understand the drama. It was a no brainer… he got the part. Then, as we were talking through Fat Friends – The Musical, I wondered if Freddie could sing. I was ecstatic when Nick met him and agreed his voice was perfect for the role. I am thrilled and delighted that Freddie is able to join us for our run at Leeds and part of the tour as well, playing our leading male and fiancee to Kelly played by Jodie Prenger. I can’t wait to start working with the super talented cast we’ve got so far!”

Nicholas Lloyd Webber said: “I am thrilled that Freddie will be joining our stellar cast of Fat Friends – the Musical. He immediately really impressed us in his audition and we are so excited to be working with him on our show. Our starting XI is now nothing short of sensational.”

The award winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator and one of the UK’s most prolific writers, Kay Mellor, whose extensive television credits include hit series of Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate, In the Club and whose stage credits include A Passionate Woman. Freddie joins the award winning Jodie Prenger and X-Factor winner Sam Bailey with further casting to be announced.

Produced by Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel, with original music and songs composed by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, Fat Friends – The Musical will open at Leeds Grand Theatre in November ahead of an extensive UK tour, visiting Bromley, Newcastle, Hull, Southampton, Sheffield, Southend, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Dartford, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Glasgow, Bradford, Aberdeen and Blackpool.

Fat Friends – the Musical is designed by Bretta Gerecke with choreography by Karen Bruce, musical supervision, orchestrations and arrangements from Simon Lee, sound design by two time Olivier Award winning Gareth Owen and lighting design from Tony Award nominated Nick Richings, Fat Friends – The Musical, sees the nation’s favourite group of dieters reunited as this new show bursts on to the stage.

The ‘weight’ is over; Packed full of warmth, life and weight loss, this brand new stage show reunites our favourite foodie friends in an original musical bulging with hopes, humour and heart. Join the infamous group of loveable characters as they are put through their Zumba paces at their local branch of Super Slimmer’s by the lovelorn Lauren whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams. Fat Friends offers a generous serving of hilarious fun with a sprinkle of romance on top!

Fat Friends hit television screens in October 2000, following the lives of a group of overweight friends as they struggle with the absurdities of modern dieting. Running for five years on ITV, the show starred Alison Steadman, Gaynor Faye and Lisa Riley and launched the careers of James Corden and Ruth Jones. Written by Kay Mellor, the show was nominated for multiple awards including the BAFTA for Best Drama Series.

Online: www.fatfriendsthemusical.com
Twitter: @FatFriendsShow

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is a presenter, broadcaster and cricketing legend.

Andrew made his first-class debut for Lancashire in 1995; he made his biggest impact for England in the summer of 2005, when he played a major role in regaining the Ashes from Australia. His contributions won him the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and in 2006 Andrew was awarded an MBE. He later retired from professional cricket in September 2010 until he joined Lancashire in 2014 which led him to play in NatWest T20 blast squad in May 2014, Australian T20 Big Bash league in December 2014 & January 2015. In early 2016, Flintoff was elected the new President of the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) at the PCA’s annual general meeting held in Birmingham. Freddie released his autobiography “Second Innings: My Sporting Life”, a celebration of Flintoff’s 20 years in cricket in 2015.

In addition to his sporting career, Andrew has developed a strong broadcast career. Featuring in well-known television and radio programmes, including; A League of Their Own (SKY1), Freddie Flintoff versus The World (ITV2), Freddie’s World of Sport (BBC Radio 5 Live), Alone In The Wild (Discover), Freddie Flintoff Goes Wild (Discover), The Hidden Side of Sport (BBC), Flintoff: From Lord’s To The Ring (SKY1), Flintoff’s Ashes Roadshow (BBC Radio 5 Live), Flintoff’s Road Through The Rainforest, Flintoff: Lord of the Fries (SKY1), I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here! (ITV), Special Forces: Ultimate Hell Week (BBC2), The Project and Big Bash League (Channel 10).


Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel present
Fat Friends – The Musical
By Kay Mellor
Director: Kay Mellor
Music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber
Musical Supervisor, Orchestrations and Arrangements: Simon Lee
Set and Costume Design: Bretta Gerecke
Sound Design by Gareth Owen
Lighting Design by Nick Richings

Tue 7 Nov – Sat 2 Dec
LEEDS Grand Theatre
0844 848 2700

Tue 16 – Sat 20 Jan
BROMLEY Churchill Theatre
020 3285 6000

Tue 23 – Sat 27 Jan
NEWCASTLE Theatre Royal
0844 811 2121

Mon 29 Jan – Sat 3 Feb
HULL New Theatre 
01482 300 300

Mon 5 – Sat 10 Feb
SOUTHAMPTON Mayflower Theatre
02380 711811

Mon 12 – Sat 17 Feb
0114 249 6000

Mon 19 – Sat 24 Feb
SOUTHEND Cliffs Pavilion
01702 351135

Mon 5 – Sat 10 Mar
0844 871 7652

Mon 12 – Sat 17 Mar
NORWICH Theatre Royal
01603 630000

Mon 19 – Sat 24 Mar
0844 871 3018

Mon 26 – Sat 31 Mar
NOTTINGHAM Theatre Royal
0115 989 5555
ON SALE 25 May

Tue 3 – Sat 7 Apr
BIRMINGHAM New Alexandra Theatre  
0844 871 3011
ON SALE 26 May

Mon 9 – Sat 14 Apr
DARTFORD Orchard Theatre 
01322 220000

Thu 19 – Sun 21 Apr
0844 871 3014

Tue 24 – Sat 28 Apr
CARDIFF Wales Millennium Centre 
029 2063 6464

Mon 30 Apr – Sat 5 May
GLASGOW Kings Theatre 
0844 871 7648

Mon 14 – Sat 19 May
BRADFORD Alhambra Theatre 
01274 432000

Mon 21 – Sat 26 May
ABERDEEN His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122

Mon 28 May – Sat 2 Jun
BLACKPOOL Winter Gardens
0844 856 1111


River Stage Festival Returns to London’s South Bank – Full line up announced

The Glory

Five free weekends of the best and brightest entertainment from some of the UK’s leading arts and culture organisations will once again arrive at London’s South Bank this summer; The Glory, HOME, Manchester, WOMAD, Rambert and the National Theatre each ‘take over’ the River Stage for a weekend throughout July and August.

Following the success of their appearance at River Stage 2016, The Glory return to the National Theatre to kick off River Stage 2017. The Glory, said “We can’t wait to storm the River Stage again with drag-fuelled back-to-back shows, including previews of our latest work. In giving us this platform the NT gives a nod to London’s alternative scene which is almost a theatre genre of its own and among the best in the world. We’re keeping it all family-friendly while showing off the capital’s best contemporary talent. Bringing the underground overground… the results will be rare, spectacular and so much fun in the sun! We’ll see you there- dress-up encouraged but optional”

Then HOME will bring an array of performers and musicians from Manchester to the capital. Walter Meierjohann, Artistic Director: Theatre, HOME, said “Following HOME’s previous collaborations with the National Theatre, we are delighted to have been invited to curate a weekend of this year’s River Stage Festival. We are looking forward to sharing the best HOME and Manchester has to offer, with an eclectic line-up of performers and musicians – this will be the ultimate HOME from home weekend.”

WOMAD Festival, the acclaimed international arts festival, makes its River Stage debut with a variety of music, arts and dance. Chris Smith, Director of WOMAD, said “WOMAD celebrates diversity, togetherness and sharing cultures across borders so it is perfect for us to collaborate with the NT’s River Stage, showcasing some of the best global acts in the most varied, buzzing and colourful city on the planet. We are delighted to be bringing a splash of colour and the funky festival vibes from WOMAD to central London and to work with such a prestigious institution as the NT”.

Rambert returns to the River Stage, with an eclectic range of performances from the world of contemporary dance. Mark Baldwin, Artistic Director at Rambert said: “Rambert at the River Stage provides the most amazing chance for anyone passing by to engage with and enjoy dance from some of the freshest talent and most exciting dance makers in the world today. We moved to our new building on the South Bank just 3 years ago so it’s a brilliant opportunity to celebrate and showcase our presence here. Whether you want to join in with a workshop or sit back and enjoy stunning dance and music, our programme promises to be an energetic and uplifting weekend.”

To conclude the festival, the National Theatre brings you a jam-packed bank holiday weekend.Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: “It’s brilliant to be announcing the 2017 line up for the River Stage festival. I’m delighted that this range of partners from across the country have decided to join us this year, and the assortment of performance, music, dance and workshops free for all ages is a vibrant and vital part of the National Theatre programme this summer.”

London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: “In the summer months the Southbank really comes alive with Londoners and visitors enjoying fantastic restaurants, market stalls and street theatre. The return of the River Stage adds to the buzz with an incredible season of free outdoor entertainment. From world class dance and circus acts, to workshops and DJs, there’s something for everyone – so make the most of the summer nights and soak up some exciting new culture on the Thames as the sun goes down.”

28 – 30 July 2018

Friday 28 July

Luxury Hell
6.30pm – 7.30pm

Jonny Woo kicks off the weekend with East London super group Luxury Hell, a blazing fusion of contemporary scene legends who will rock out the River Stage with funked-up alternative anthems.

The Unholy Hour (John Sizzle & Shesus & the Sistas)
7.30pm – 8.30pm

Welcome to the musical church of John Sizzle and the Miss-iah herself, Shesus, and the sexy habit-clad Sistas! Divine interventions, saintly sing-a-longs and musical miracles abound from these festival favourites.

Lipsync1000 Allstars
8.30pm – 9.30pm

Enjoy a dazzling selection of star turns from The Glory’s biggest and most prestigious drag queen competition LIPSYNC1000! Jutting their hips, jiggling their bits and moving their lips to your favourite hits! WIGS! HEELS! LASHES & SASSY ATTITUDE!

Apocalypstick Party

9.30pm – 10.45pm

It’s a new world order! London is burning tonight as a glamorous tribe of radical fairies, super queers, fashion freaks and punk queens gather outside the National Theatre for this hell-raising riverside rave! The world is ending, so put some lipstick on, and dance into the fire.

Saturday 29 July

Love Inn with Auntie Maureen & Timberlina
1pm – 2pm

Join lovely, beardy drag legend Timberlina and his side-puss Auntie Maureen for this old-school “Love Inn”, a cheeky brunch-time boogie and request-filled family-friendly music sesh.
Figs in Wigs

2pm – 3pm

Figs in Wigs, the UK’s all-female performance troupe and the world’s first non-singing, all-dancing Backstreet Boys tribute act. They do other stuff too but it’s all about the boys!

Homo Histories (Gay History Pageant)

3pm – 4pm

Queer legends, past and present, aplenty! Meet Oscar Wilde and tennis champ Martina Navratilova. And if there’s one thing history’s taught us – Madonna will steal the limelight.

Big Gay Songbook
4pm – 5pm

The Glory’s campyloo piano bar returns singing the songs that make us gay. Join Jonny Woo, Rudi Douglas, Farrah and guests for an old-school London boozer sing-song with a glam twist.

Man Up!
5pm – 6pm

Move aside queens, the Drag Kings are in town! This live spectacular brings you the brauniest, butchest fellas in town. Stuff it! Pack it! They’re here, drinking beer…get over it!

Night of a 1000 Jay Astons
6pm – 7pm

Don’t miss this revival of Jonny Woo’s cult Edinburgh Fringe show! A lip-synced musical “all about the slutty one from Bucks Fizz”. Follow the skirt-flinging story of the unstoppable Eurovision winner Jay Aston.

Grizzle Go ABBA
7pm – 8pm

Comedic duo John Sizzle and A Man To Pet bring ABBA to the stage. Mamma Mia – here we go again! They’ll talk ABBA, they sing ABBA, they are ABBA. Aren’t they? Did we mention ABBA?

80’s Armageddon
8pm – 10.45pm

A glorious 80’s pop party meltdown. Duran, Spandau, Whitney, Madge & Michael! Let the Glory take you back to when shoulders were big and pop was BAD! Now That’s What I Call Music!

Sunday 30 July
Drag life drawing
1pm – 2pm

Join The Glory’s own life-drawing coaches James Davison, Simon Gray and host Jonny Woo for this special “drag life drawing” session. An art class for all the family with music, material and special guests. Come along and draw a queen!

Sizzle’s Sunday Service
2pm – 3pm

Laidback grooves, horoscopes and Prosecco possession. Kick back, grab the fizz, and enjoy the sizzling views of the Thames at this chilled out Sunday sesh with DJ John Sizzle and friends.

Glory Lates Presents….
3pm – 5pm

The Glory’s Grand Finale! Come and see a host of the greatest performers from their much-celebrated cabaret roster, starring RICHARD THOMAS, SEX SHELLS, JAIME NANCI, Le Gateaux Chocolat, Jonny Woo, John Sizzle, and more.


4 – 6 August

Friday 4 August

Bourgeois & Maurice
6.30pm – 7.30pm

Sequin-clad satirical weirdos Bourgeois & Maurice write songs that stick like bloodstains in your new carpet and dissect current affairs and moral confusion. “It’s hard to think of any other act delivering such clever, funny and sharp material” Time Out

Dave Haslam
7.45pm – 10.45pm

Dave Haslam DJ-ed over 450 times at the Hacienda in Manchester through the late 1980s when his eclectic, open-minded and ground-breaking DJing became a focus for Madchesters indie/dance fraternity
Saturday 5 August

Mighty Heart Theatre

Saturday 5 August

All day

Creators of work that aims to reflect the world around them, Mighty Heart Theatre are on a mission to see what people think of Manchester & The North, with some other pop up surprises along the way. These words will then be turned into a performance on Sunday.

Bootworks Theatre

The Jukeboxes
12pm – 1pm
Watch two beautiful 1950s Jukeboxes spring to life as two performers re-create classic pop music videos using props, puppets and a terrible selection of wigs. The kitsch duo bring to life the likes of The Beatles, Sinead O’Connor and Adele. Dance and sing along, whatever your age!

The Beat Chics
1.30pm – 2.30pm

The Beat Chics believe in two things and two things only. Music from the 1960s and vinyl records. When they head to the River Stage, they’ll be spinning a collection of classic and rare records perfect for an afternoon on the South Bank, including tracks from The Shangri-Las, The Supremes, The Zombies, Lulu and more.

Bootworks Theatre

The Jukeboxes
2.45pm – 3.45pm
Watch two beautiful 1950s Jukeboxes spring to life as two performers re-create classic pop music videos using props, puppets and a terrible selection of wigs. The kitsch duo bring to life the likes of The Beatles, Sinead O’Connor and Adele. Dance and sing along, whatever your age!

4pm – 5.30pm

Toiling down the art mines, Pen:Chant taps the seams of spoken word, comedy, live music, contemporary performance and everything in between. Unearthing gems from Manchester, the UK and around the world we present them to you, confident they’ll make your hearts and minds sparkle.
In Bed With My Brother

We Are Ian
7.30pm – 8.20pm

1989. Manchester. The year it all changed from black and white into crazy technicolour. Illegal raves. Acid parties. We might not have been born, but Ian remembers and can take us back. Peppered by recordings of conversations we’ve had with Ian, and scored by buzzing 80s and 90s tracks.

“Be Ian, be you but really, just be in this audience” ✮✮✮✮✮ A YOUNGER THEATRE

Celluloid History Songs with live score

By Josephine Oniyama

8.30pm – 9.05pm

Singer-songwriter Josephine Oniyama uses historical footage from the North West Film Archive to create a magical, multimedia performance. The songs were influenced by inspiring scenes of industrial working-class people, young and old, discovering ways to spend their new leisure time.

The Beat Chics
9.30pm – 10.45pm

The Beat Chics are back and are digging deep into their vinyl boxes and setting out on an excursion into some of the best pop and rock the 60s have to offer spinning tunes from girl groups, garage, Northern Soul and much more.

Sunday 6 August

Vogue Workshop by House of Ghetto

1pm – 1.45pm

Made popular by the likes of Madonna and the classic documentary Paris is Burning (1990), voguing is characterized by model-like poses integrated with angular and linear arm, leg and body movements. This dance-based workshop will explore the link between voguing and fashion portraiture. Strike a pose!
Mr Wilson’s Second Liners
1.50pm – 2.25pm

Where New Orleans meets 90s club classics. 90s club culture’s greatest hero, Mr Tony Wilson, is back with upbeat dance tracks over traditional slow hymns. The vision is an anarchic, street theatre extravaganza, bursting with colour and sound, and rousing audiences young and old into a joyful frenzy.

Little Soldier Productions

2.30pm – 3.30pm
Meet Merce, Patricia, Dan and Thomas. Keyboard warriors, forty-somethings worried that their children hate them for not making more of a difference, and lots of music. An unpredictable and urgent theatrical counter protest. A show about changing the world, with a live rock band. Welcome to the revolution.

Mr Wilson’s Second Liners
3.30pm – 4pm

Where New Orleans meets 90s club classics. 90s club culture’s greatest hero, Mr Tony Wilson, is back with upbeat dance tracks over traditional slow hymns. The vision is an anarchic, street theatre extravaganza, bursting with colour and sound, and rousing audiences young and old into a joyful frenzy.

Mighty Heart Theatre

4pm – 4.30pm

Verbatim Reading – see above

Boy Blue Entertainment

4.30pm – 5.30pm

Join Boy Blue Entertainment and their youth companies, Sky Blue, The Bluez and The Blueprint, for an energetic, inspiring and participatory hip hop summer party.
Boy Blue Entertainment is an award-winning hip-hop dance company and Barbican Artistic Associate which was founded in London by Choreographer Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy and Composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante.   The Company are close collaborators with HOME, Manchester. Acclaimed for presenting “the perfect marriage of music and dance” Boy Blue demonstrate boundless creative energy in all their performances, laying down the beats, and delivering thrilling and raw dance sequences.


11- 13 August

Friday 11 August

Afro Cluster
7.00pm – 8.00pm

Afro Cluster are a Cardiff based band that meld authentic sounds and rhythms of afro-funk and hip-hop with impassioned, politically conscious lyrics atop bold melodies, afro-beat aural acrobatics, rich harmonies and complex rhythms.

Mr Benn ft. Souls Liberation and Bongosan
8.30pm – 10.30pm

Reared on a tasty diet of Aswad, The Specials and King Tubby, 90s hip hop, plenty of jungle and hi-life rhythms, the musical influences behind DJ / producer Mr Benn’s sound are always rooted in a passion for the heavy bass that his home town of Bristol is renowned for.

Saturday 12 August

Jus Dance Workshop
1.00pm – 1.45pm
Facilitated by Jamaican dancer and choreographer, Ripton Lindsay, these family workshops combine a mix of his traditional Jamaican dance moves as well as reggae, calypso and creative movements. The workshops are based around fun and energetic steps leading into a routine at the end of the session.

Beatboxing vocal workshop

2pm – 2.45pm

UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage invites you to join an immersive beatboxing experience where you can learn the basic skills, jam with Grace and even have a go at beatboxing into a microphone and hearing your beats blasting out of an amplifier!

Msafiri Zawose
3.00pm – 3.45pm

Tanzania’s charismatic Gogo innovator Msafiri Zawose and his five-member group draw on dozens of hand-wrought instruments to unfold complex compositions. They turn cyclical pieces into choruses, bridges, and intriguing moments of arresting, tight harmonies. Layers build, repeating elements overlap and turn to grooves.

NIMBA workshop & performance
3.45pm – 4.45pm

This is an energetic, at times highly acrobatic display of West African dance. The accompanying musicians don’t disappoint either, whether delivering furious percussive work-outs or undulating melodies of the balafon and Fulani flute. Nimba’s focus is on recounting the mythologies and history of Guinea through choreography. It’ll be the most frenetic and physical history lesson you’ve ever sat in on.

AKA George
5.15pm – 6.15pm

AKA GEORGE is a young, British multi-instrumentalist who writes, sings, produces and above all, performs. From headlining the Silver Hayes stage at Glastonbury to his own packed-out secret gigs around London, this August he brings his reckless, passionate and inspiring stage presence to the River Stage.

The Bollywood Brass Band

6.45pm – 7.45pm

The Bollywood Brass Band is the UK’s pioneering Indian-style brass band. The band tours UK, Europe and beyond. Their previous CD (Chaiyya Chaiyya) was nominated for a Songlines Award, and was a SundayTimes top 10 world music album. ‘Joyous…. Electrifying horn riffs and percussion… irresistible’ SundayTimes, ‘Improbably funky’ Songlines

Gypsy Hill
8.15pm – 9.15pm

Gypsy Hill play an intoxicating mix of Balkan brass, Mediterranean surf rock, ska and swing. Featuring guitars, horns, tuba, a scratch DJ and a mix of live and electronic beats, Gypsy Hill effortlessly mix the traditional with a uniquely modern sound.


9.30pm – 10.30pm

Cal Jader is one of the musical activists, founders and original ‘dancehall caballeros’ behind Movimientos and Love Carnival. With his trademark blend of red hot ‘classico’ Latin beats, uptempo carnival rhythms, tropical bass and fresh global sounds, he is helping to soundtrack London’s alternative club scene in the UK and Europe.

Sunday 13 August

Jus Dance Workshop

12pm – 12.45pm

Facilitated by Jamaican dancer and choreographer, Ripton Lindsay, these family workshops combine a mix of his traditional Jamaican dance moves as well as reggae, calypso and creative movements.

Beatboxing vocal workshop
1pm – 1.45pm

Join an immersive beatboxing experience with UK beatboxing champion Grace Savage. Learn the basic skills, jam with Grace and even have a go at beatboxing into a microphone and hearing your beats blasting out of an amplifier!

Amira Kheir

2.15pm – 3.15pm

Hailed as the ‘Diva of the Sudanese desert’ (BBC World News) Sudanese-Italian singer Amira Kheir has been enchanting audiences around the world with an experimental sound inspired by traditional music from her homeland Sudan and anchored in experimental jazz and soul. The result is a unique style of Sudani-Jazz.

3.45pm – 4.45pm

A proven and unstoppable force on the UK music scene for over a decade, Soothsayers have added their mouth-watering afrobeat and dubalicious flavours to an impressive list of festivals, venues and theatres around the world.



18 – 20 August

Friday 18 August

Introduction to evening from Rambert’s Mikaela Polley

7pm – 7.15pm

Music from A Linha Curva

7.15pm – 7.40pm

Devised in São Paulo to celebrate Brazilian culture, A Linha Curva sees four percussionists share over 50 instruments. Rambert musicians have been touring it around the UK to evoke samba, capoeira, and the sound of the beach at night.


8pm – 8.15pm

Quicksilver is Rambert’s company for dancers aged 15 – 19. Led by Laura Harvey, the company is named after the Mercury Theatre (Rambert’s original home in the1920s) and the nickname of the company’s founder, Marie Rambert.

New Creation by Patricia Okenwa

8.30pm – 8.45pm

An extract of a work-in-progress from up-and-coming choreographer and former Rambert dancer Patricia Okenwa. The piece for two dancers is an exploration of motherhood, inspired by the Stabat Mater.

Collapse – New Movement Collective

9pm – 9.15pm

Rambert associate company New Movement Collective present excerpts from Collapse, a period drama first seen in 2016 at the Southbank Centre and created in collaboration with 3D laser artists ScanLAB Projects, with music by composer and cellist Oliver Coates. This highly physical work celebrates the imperfect in today’s technology, probing the complexities of time, group memory and the cyclical nature of societal evolution.

Tempus by Simone Damberg Wurtz

9.45pm – 10pm

Rambert dancer Simone Damberg Würtz created Tempus as a duet for male dancers to the accompaniment of Game On, a score by former Rambert music fellow Cheryl Frances-Hoad for live piano and a Commodore 64 computer from the 1980s.

Saturday 19 August

Yoga Class

12pm – 12.45pm

Suitable for people wanting to increase strength, flexibility and stamina, this class is based in the Vinyasa flow style of Hatha yoga. Postures are sequenced together to create a fluid moving meditation.

Contemporary Workshop

1pm – 2pm

This class will introduce people to Rambert’s distinctive contemporary dance technique and movement. No previous experience required – all you need is enthusiasm!

Family Workshop

2.30pm – 3.15pm

Designed to let children’s imaginations run wild through games, play and dance, this workshop introduces very young children to dance and movement with their parents or carers.

Children’s Workshop

3.15pm – 4pm

A fun, high-energy workshop offering a fantastic introduction to contemporary dance. Children of all ages and abilities can learn steps from Rambert dances and explore different ways of moving.

Ghost Dances Workshop

4.15pm – 5.15pm

Learn the iconic moves from Rambert’s most famous work, Christopher Bruce’s Ghost Dances. Taught by people who have danced the work, it is a chance for people of all abilities to inhabit this timeless evocation of South American culture.

Ghost Dances Music

7pm – 7.30pm

Ghost Dances is Rambert’s celebrated work inspired by the plight of Chilean political prisoners in the 1970s. The atmospheric folk music, incredibly evocative of the Andes, is performed by Chilean singer Claudia Figueroa and musicians on pan-pipes, quena and guitars.

Doublespeak by Daniel Davidson

8pm – 8.15pm

Doublespeak is a work created by Rambert dancer Daniel Davidson, inspired by the paintings of Odd Nerdrum and Mark Rothko, and the music of Nico Muhly. This abstract work evokes ideas of hunting, defending and evolution

New Creation – Carolyn Bolton / Anna Appleby / Mbulelo Ndabeni

8.45pm – 9pm

A first performance of a work-in-progress collaboration between Rambert’s music fellow, Manchester-based composer Anna Appleby, Rambert dancer Carolyn Bolton and Creator of N’da Dance Company Mbulelo Ndabeni. The piece is a solo work danced by Ndabeni which explores the seeds of chaos and tackles the madness created during conflict.

Ulysses Awakes by Alexander Whitley

9.30 – 9.45pm

A solo for a male dancer created by Rambert associate Alexander Whitley to music by John Woolrich. Alexander is a former Rambert dancer who has created works for Rambert, Birmingham Royal Ballet and Ballet Boyz, and whose company makes its debut at Sadler’s Wells in June 2017.

Music from Nia Lynn

10pm – 10.30pm

Jazz singer Nia Lynn tours with Rambert this autumn in a work by Ben Duke, inspired by the music and spirit of Nina Simone.

Sunday 20 August

Yoga Class

12pm – 12.45pm

Suitable for people wanting to increase strength, flexibility and stamina, this class is based in the Vinyasa flow style of Hatha yoga. Postures are sequenced together to create a fluid moving meditation.

Over 60s Workshop

12.45pm – 1.45pm

Whether you have tried dance before or this is your first time, this workshop is a fun way to engage with the work of Rambert. The workshop includes a gentle warm-up followed by a chance to learn moves from Rambert’s repertoire.

R Quintessence and Mercury Movers

2.45pm – 3.15pm

R Quintessence and the Mercury Movers are dance groups for older adults in London. They meet for regular classes and workshops, and create performance works. They’re sharing at the River Stage works they have been inspired to create.

Rep Workshop

3.15pm – 4.15pm

Tomorrow is one of Rambert’s most striking recent works, a re-imagining in dance of Macbeth, created by Lucy Guerin. This workshop is your chance to learn some of the choreography and imagine yourself in the dark and dangerous world of Shakespeare’s anti-hero. No dance experience is required.


4.30pm – 5pm

Quicksilver is Rambert’s company for dancers aged 15 – 19. Led by Laura Harvey, the company is named after the Mercury Theatre (Rambert’s original home in the1920s) and the nickname of the company’s founder, Marie Rambert.


25 – 28 August

Friday 25 August

Concrete Disco

6pm –7pm

Brothers Dom & Joe put their sibling rivalry to good use and join forces behind the decks to get the August bank holiday started in style. Expect multiple sonic layers of disco and mashups galore!

Hackney Colliery Band

7.30pm – 9pm

Influenced as much by contemporary rock and electronica as they are by New Orleans brass bands or the traditional British brass to which their name pays homage, BBC Radio 2 described HCB as ‘one of the greatest live bands we have in this country’.

Amy Lamé
9pm – 10.45pm

Amy Lamé is a broadcaster, writer, performer and DJ. She is London’s first Night Czar, and co-founder and host of the Olivier Award winning arts company and legendary club night Duckie. Amy’s debut book, ‘From Prejudice to Pride: A History of the LGBTQ+ Movement’ – the first of its kind for young people in the UK- was published by Hachette in May 2017.

Saturday 26 August

Beetle Boy and Beetle Queen; readings by M.G. Leonard
12pm – 1pm

Imaginative, funny and informative, M.G. Leonard brings her infectious enthusiasm for the world of beetles to the River Stage, entertaining both adults and children with facts and extracts from her books Beetle Boy and Beetle Queen. ‘Truly great storytelling’ Michael Morpurgo

Goblin’s Peter and the Wolf
1.30pm – 2.30pm

Goblin’s Peter and the Wolf is a brand new show with amazing music created live with a variety of instruments and objects, including real musical vegetables. Combined with imaginative puppetry, physical comedy and fun interaction, the show will have children aged 4+ jumping for joy. With new music lovingly inspired by Prokofiev’s classic, this is Peter and the Wolf as you’ve never seen it before.

Goblin’s River Stage workshop

2.45pm – 3.35pm

Create your own woodland characters as we explore the story of Peter and the Wolf. In this drama and music workshop we will be looking at how different animals are represented by different sounds, movement and music. Recommended age 4-6 years.

Little Bulb Theatre – Hot Club de Bulb
2.30pm – 3.30pm

Hot Club de Bulb are an 8 piece gypsy jazz band performing their own arrangements of Django Reinhardt and Edith Piaf classics. Originally formed in the making of ‘Orpheus’ (a co-production with Battersea Arts Centre) the band celebrate the genre by mixing raucous hot jazz with sweet French chanson.

Goblin’s Peter and the Wolf
4pm – 5pm

Goblin’s Peter and the Wolf is a brand new show with amazing music created live with a variety of instruments and objects, including real musical vegetables. Combined with imaginative puppetry, physical comedy and fun interaction, the show will have children aged 4+ jumping for joy. With new music lovingly inspired by Prokofiev’s classic, this is Peter and the Wolf as you’ve never seen it before.

Little Bulb Theatre – Hot Club de Bulb
5.15pm – 6.15pm

Hot Club de Bulb are an 8 piece gypsy jazz band performing their own arrangements of Django Reinhardt and Edith Piaf classics. Originally formed in the making of ‘Orpheus’ (a co-production with Battersea Arts Centre) the band celebrate the genre by mixing raucous hot jazz with sweet French chanson.

The Fontanelles

7.15pm – 9pm

True London afrobeat heavyweights renowned for their infectious live energy and shows, The Fontanelles stay true to their roots as purveyors of the music of Fela Kuti, while bringing in sounds from Ethiopia, Minimalist textures, sun-drenched dub and righteous horn-led dancefloor groove. Bring your dancing shoes!

Dom Search (The Next Men)

9pm – 10.45pm

Dom Search is a DJ and producer/songwriter, and is eclectic to say the least. Modern pop? It’s a nutriblend of musical abandon – dancehall, drum’n’bass, reggae, roots, instrumental and actual hip hop, soul and soulful low-end boomp, ambient…the perfect party mix!

Sunday 27 August

Mrs H and the Singalong Band
1pm – 2pm

Mrs H and the Sing-along band bring their unique family music to the River stage for the first time. Their aim is provide quality music for children, that adults will love too. Bring your voices, silly dances, a sprinkling of mischief and don’t hold back from joining in the fun!


2.15pm – 2.45pm

A sneak preview of IZINDAVA, a dynamic new work synthesising ballet, contemporary and African dance. Created by Zimbabwean-born Bawren Tavaziva, the work explores human fragility within our changing world and is a beautiful yet haunting work.

Mrs H and the Singalong Band
3pm – 4pm

Mrs H and the Sing-along band bring their unique family music to the River stage for the first time. Their aim is provide quality music for children, that adults will love too. Bring your voices, silly dances, a sprinkling of mischief and don’t hold back from joining in the fun!


4.30pm – 5pm

A sneak preview of IZINDAVA, a dynamic new work synthesising ballet, contemporary and African dance. Created by Zimbabwean-born Bawren Tavaziva, the work explores human fragility within our changing world and is a beautiful yet haunting work.
Benji & Will Bower

6pm – 7pm

Bringing together some of the leading theatre musicians for an eclectic musical journey, Benji and Will take over River Stage with their unique sound that earned them Olivier award nominations for Hetty Featherand Cinderella a fairytale.

NT Live – Twelfth Night
7.30pm – 10.30pm

For one night only, join us at the River Stage for a special, free outdoor screening of the National Theatre’sTwelfth Night. Tamsin Greig is Malvolia in a twist on Shakespeare’s classic whirlwind comedy of mistaken identity and unrequited love.

Monday 28 August

Tea Dance
1pm – 4pm
Spend the afternoon dancing to the joyous live Ballroom