, ,

Elixir – the smash hit zombie spectacle returns to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe!



Thought science wasn’t sexy? Enter Elixir, making a killer return to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. With a potent mix of chemical balance and imbalance, new school death defying acrobatics, old school slapstick and an injection of Australian testosterone, Elixir will challenge perceptions and set pulses racing.

Elixir is circus with a difference! Uninhibited by cliché or expectation, subversive and hilarious, this all Australian production follows the story of three enthusiastic, slightly bumbling yet skilfully acrobatic scientists who attempt to create the elixir of life. The mayhem that follows is a beautiful mix of incredible acrobatics and impeccable comic timing. The scientists test their concoctions on themselves, and the madness that breaks loose in the laboratory is the perfect mix of amazing acrobatics, comedic misadventure and an engrossing narrative.

More than just jokes, thrills and spills, Melbourne based Head First Acrobats have re-crafted the smash hit 2016 show that sees them not only raise the dead but throw them, spin them and test whether zombies can bounce. Acrobats fly five metres into the air on the teeterboard, spin upside down on the mesmerizing cyr wheel, perform incredible one-arm handstands on wobbling canes and balance on nothing but their heads on the swinging trapeze.

The three members of Head First Acrobats (HFA) are all graduates of the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA). Based out of Melbourne, the award winning entertainment company provide world-class circus and physical theatre performance. Elixir is the first show from the company which toured internationally in 2016 to sell out shows and rave reviews. Elixirwas voted in the top 10 shows of Adelaide Fringe in 2015, and won the First and Foremost Entertainment award in its UK debut at Brighton Fringe 2015.

High powered acrobatics, a brilliant stumble of slapstick and a shimmy of burlesque” (The Herald)

‘Raucous, late night circus with mesmerising skill’ (TheReviewsHub.com)

Overwhelmingly fun atmosphere” (Edfest.com)


Twitter: @hfacrobats

Facebook: HeadFirstAcrobats

Instagram: @headfirstacrobats



Underbelly and Head First Acrobats present:


Venue: The Beauty, The Underbelly Circus Hub, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017

Dates: Fri 4th August – Sat 26 August, (not 9th, 14th or 21st), 22.15pm


Aug 4, £10

Aug 5, 6, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, £12.50 (£11.50)

Aug 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, £14.50 (£13.50)

Running time: 60mins

Tickets available at www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk and www.edfringe.com


Mike Shepherd, Kneehigh: “I used to walk over the Millennium Bridge full of hope and now it is with a knot in my stomach.”

Mike Shepherd

Mike Shepherd

Mike Shepherd, Artistic Director of Kneehigh Theatre Company has had a remarkable career as a director, performer and as founder of Kneehigh.

We are talking on the same day that Emma Rice, former Artistic director and long-time friend and collaborator with Shepherd penned a spirited open letter to the incoming Globe artistic director. Rice offered candid insight into the politics behind the scenes of the organisation. It is, by all accounts, a fascinating thing. When offering up advice from the perspective of her time in post, she reveals, “I have learnt, never again, to allow myself to be excluded from the rooms where decisions are made” she continues, “…as important and beloved as the Globe is to me, the board did not love and respect me back.”

So, what does Mike think about it all? “The thing that is a huge shame is that Emma created a brilliant and vibrant artistic community at the Globe and that hasn’t been valued at all,” he pauses. “I used to walk over the Millennium Bridge full of hope and now it is with a knot in my stomach.”. He continues: “Essentially after head-hunting her and taking her away from Cornwall they discarded her – it is a dreadful situation.” Their mutual respect and affection will last long after Rice leaves the Globe. Indeed, he is very clear that they will work together in the future and that Emma will always be a part of the Kneehigh family.

His dynamism is, he confesses, the result of finding his artistic feet during a genuinely political time. “Look, I’m so old, I’m from a generation where we genuinely thought we could change the world; that Bob Dylan era. I was never a hippy, though I’m contemplating becoming one. An effective hippy.” Shepherd laughs when I tell him that I wish it was two years ago and ask his thoughts on our Prime minister’s surprise announcement of a Snap Election outside No 10, saying she has delivered stability after the Brexit referendum result. “It’s pretty desperate isn’t it,” he says bluntly. “I was horrified that we voted Brexit. I spent some time recently touring around a very troubled America… On one hand, we have to keep fighting and on the other you want to turn your back in disgust.”

Before coming to the bigger issue – the global refugee crisis and how to make a difference, when it comes to making work that is relevant to audience members’ lives and concerns, Kneehigh are in a league of their own. “Our latest show 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips ends with the Martin Luther King, Jr quote: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” At the end of the show we asked audiences to buy a lucky button, make a wish for a better, safer world. We raised over $50,000 for organisations helping refugees in Europe and Syria.”

Shepherd has been steering Kneehigh since Rice left two years ago, continuing the political and socially sensitive work with gusto. How has he been getting on working closely with Charles Hazlewood and Carl Grose? “Well, Charles is an extraordinary man, he comes up with the most brilliant projects, he has an amazing creative energy. Carl came up through the company; he was originally our apprentice,” he says. “Those two really chime and are absolutely best friends. I should also mention our close links with choreographer Etta Murfitt and our magnificent lighting designer Malcolm Rippeth. That is a very strong creative team that is fuelling our work and continuing the Kneehigh journey,” he adds.

Lyn Gardner recently wrote an article about the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’s success in making theatre universally appealing and how our strongest culture triumphs are only conceivable because of the subsidised arts sector.  “How wonderful that Steven Hoggett and John Tiffany are artists that have come from subsidised theatre backgrounds. Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is an exemplar of mainstream theatre attracting a whole new generation of theatre audiences, many of whom will be attending theatre for the first time,” he says. “That’s one of the biggest challenges for me always; it’s hard earned – we don’t just dip from one good idea to another, we want to make a difference and engage with diverse and new audiences.”

Next month Kneehigh will take up residence at Brighton Theatre Royal as part of the Brighton Festival with a restaging of the critically acclaimed Tristan and Yseult; Emma Rice’s acclaimed staging of the Cornish legend that catapulted Kneehigh onto the national stage. “Yes, I’ll be doing Tristan and Yseult for the last time,” he pauses. “As King Mark I say ‘We don’t look inland there’s not much point. No, outward, outward lies the way!’. Looking ahead, we are also thrilled to be working with Keziah Serreau who will be assistant director on the Tin Drum in collaboration with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse. We will also be looking into a new Kneehigh show based on Marie Curie, currently titled ‘Radioactive (Love and fall out)’”.

He ends on at note of upbeat positivity about the next generation of artists and the future. “I’d just like to encourage organisations to pull together and to collaborate– there needs to be a spirit of hope. Theatre is there to provoke, challenge and entertain.”

Situation presents Verity Standen’s Refrain, a roaming, immersive choral experience around Conscientious Objectors in St Helens, Merseyside

Image © Paul Blakemore

This Spring, during the centenary of the First World War, composer Verity Standen creates a new immersive, choral experience at three sites of historic significance in the stories of conscientious objection.

St Helens will host one of these events as the home town of school teacher Ernest Everett, who was arrested for refusing to undertake combative service in 1916.

He was court-martialled and sentenced to two years of hard labour, the first conscientious objector to receive such a sentence.

Over the next few years, he was sentenced seven more times. In Refrain, Everett’s story, symbolic of many more cases of this kind, is given a voice once again.

REFRAIN will be a roaming performance which will move across various historical sites in the George Street Quarter of the town centre, including the oldest building in St Helens; the Friends Meeting House.

Local males from all walks of life who have volunteered to sing in this work are meeting regularly to explore their voices and the issues surrounding conscientious objection.

There will be indoor and outdoor sections to explore throughout allowing the audience to walk through the singers discovering different sounds and voices as they do.  All ages are welcome.

Artist Verity Standen, said: “I am thrilled to be working with such a diverse range of the voice – men drawn from all walks of life. I try to leave room for the performers take the music their own direction within the compositions I’m writing. I expect the piece to sound and feel totally different in each location, as it will be shaped by the local singers, the architecture and history of each site, and each audience who will explore it in a different way.”

Claire Doherty, Director of arts producers said: “REFRAIN represents Situations commitment to growing art out of place and to offering the chance to hear untold stories. REFRAIN offers the opportunity to experience these sites as never before, against the background of the extraordinary struggles over conscience.”

Patrick Fox, Director of Heart of Glass said: “We are delighted to be working with partners to develop this ambitious project. Verity Standen is an extraordinary artist who creates exquisite work with her collaborators.  

“The histories of conscientious objection in England require a sensitive and respectful approach. Heritage stories such as Ernest Everett, a teacher in St Helens and a World War One Conscientious Objector, are often left unheard and misunderstood, viewed as irrelevant and in isolation instead of part of a national, contemporary story.

“This story and others form the backdrop of this new immersive choral experience and we are delighted to work with our community partners and audiences to create a special experience in St Helens this May. This is art as it should be, in direct conversation with the social and political.”  

The meeting point for this performance will be confirmed via e-mail. All indoor venues explored will have step free access. Performances will take place come rain or shine so please ensure you are prepared for being outdoors in all weathers.

Getting there

St Helens is a 35-minute drive from Liverpool centre or a 30-minute train journey from Liverpool Lime Street to St Helens Central.

Parking – Birchley Street Car Park is the nearest parking to the site.

For more information on visiting St Helens, please visit www.heartofglass.org.uk

About the artist

‘Sound rose and fell in waves until it felt as if I was drenched in music that had seeped its way into every organ in my body, and maybe even found my soul.’

Lyn Gardner, The Guardian on Verity Standen’s HUG, 2015

Verity Standen is an award-winning artist, composer and choir leader, whose unique work with voices has surprised and enchanted audiences around the UK and internationally. From intimate concerts to immersive theatrical experiences, Verity’s work seeks to reimagine how audiences experience vocal music. Verity’s immersive choral piece HUG won the Off West End TBC Award 2016 and was nominated for The Arches Brick Award and a Total Theatre Award. As well as touring her pieces HUG, MMM HMMM and SYMPHONY across the UK and internationally, Verity is currently composing for a contemporary dance opera, which will premiere in 2017. She is also researching a sound design project for in-patients at London hospitals and recording a soundtrack for an independent documentary. REFRAIN is her most ambitious project to date.www.veritystanden.com

Mayflower Theatre launches £3.9M auditorium refurbishment and fundraising project for 2018

Mayflower Theatre Staff Launch Mayflower 90 campaign

Mayflower Theatre Staff Launch Mayflower 90 campaign

Mayflower Theatre today launched its Mayflower 90 Auditorium Appeal with plans for a £3.9 million refurbishment of their Grade II listed auditorium with a planned closure in the summer of 2018 to complete the works. The theatre has also launched a public fundraising campaign to help towards the cost of the project.

2018 marks the theatre’s 90th Anniversary, the foundation stone was laid on 1 Feb 1928 and the theatre opened on 22 December 1928 with a performance of Winona. The theatre is investing to make major improvements to ensure future generations can continue to experience the very best live performances in the region.

So far the theatre has secured £2.54 million towards the cost of the project, but as a charitable trust which receives no direct public subsidy it needs help to raise the remaining £1.35 million.

Michael Ockwell, Mayflower Theatre Chief Executive said, “Our wonderful theatre comes to life when our audience are sat in the auditorium, and now it is in need of a major refurbishment programme to secure its future. Plans include repainting the whole of the auditorium, moving the pit further under the stage and installing brand new seating in the Stalls and Circle. This work is essential not just to preserve the building, but to benefit the more than 500,000 people each year who enjoy visiting our theatre. It will provide higher levels of comfort, better access and more opportunities to experience live performance in Southampton.”

Jenny Boland, Mayflower Theatre Fundraising Manager added, “The public fundraising begins now and you can help by going onto our website to donate, buying a seat plaque which will go onto one of our brand new seats or texting MAYF10 £10 to 70070 to donate £10. We will be announcing further fundraising activities soon.”

Actor Shane Richie has been a regular favourite at Mayflower Theatre and said, “Mayflower Theatre is a fantastic venue and I have loved playing here many times over the years. I genuinely ask that the public support the theatre in making the auditorium the very best in the country.”

Craig Revel Horwood who is set to star in Mayflower Theatre’s pantomime this year added, “If ever there was a fab-u-lous theatre to play, it would be Mayflower Theatre. It was the perfect venue for me to play Miss Hannigan in Annie in 2015 and I am looking forward to appearing in Snow White this Christmas”

, ,

Cicolombia to bring explosive Latin circus to the Underbelly Circus Hub in Fringe premiere of Acéléré



Circolombia delivers guts, grace and gusto, direct from Bogota to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for the first time. Celebrating Colombia’s rich diversity with voices, dance and spectacular raw, infectious energy – Acéléré is no ordinary circus!

Having taken London’s Roundhouse by storm with their explosive debut show Urban, this electrifying troupe will bring their unique and visceral performance style to Edinburgh with Acéléré.

Inspired by Colombia’s diverse communities, Acéléré features the sheer power of 14 of the most talented performers across the country. Delivering world-class, gravity defying performances coupled with mind-boggling skill and a willingness to take terrifying risks on stage, Acéléré promises a show audiences will never forget. Many of the artists trained and graduated at the National School of Circo Para Todos (“Circus for All”), a school that supports young people at risk in Colombia through circus training. The young company includes some of the most revered circus performers in the world.

Best described as a ‘circus concert’, music plays a prominent role throughout. With daring circus artists singing and rapping live whilst performing their skills, the music is not just important, it’s essential. Acéléré showcases incredible circus skills performed with an infectious energy and extraordinary dynamism that constitutes the hallmark of Circolombia’s artists. This coupling of a powerful, original soundtrack and live performance alongside raw, wild individual and collective energy garnered by the 14 strong troupe creates a genuineness and authenticity that is rare in contemporary circus.

Felicity Simpson (Circolombia Director and Creative Producer) began her career as a circus performer in England and Europe before moving to Brazil, where she founded Intrepida Trupe during the 80’s, bringing circus to totally new platforms – musicals, opera and open-air. She spent the next 20 years using circus to pioneer new innovations in business and education. Felicity co-founded Circo Para Todos, the first professional circus school in the world specifically dedicated to underprivileged children, which became in 2005 Colombia’s National Circus School, a key institution in South America for world circus training and where she remains Chair. In 2006 she created Circolombia ltd.

Renato Rocha (Acéléré Theatre Director) bouncing nonstop from Brazil, Renato has been developing an international career since 2010. In London he has created shows for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Roundhouse and LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre). He has also created shows for the Marseille International Biennial of Arts, the National Theatre of Scotland.

Jose Henry Caycedo Casierra (Creative leader)
Jose Henry is an amazing award winning artist at the major circus festivals around the globe, such as Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain in Paris and Wuhan China. One of CIrco Para Todos, (Colombia’s National Circus School) first graduates, his outstanding enthusiasm in developing circus arts is nonstop, alternating between performing contracts, Artistic Tutor and a vital role in the creation of Colombian contemporary Circus.

An adrenalin-fuelled mix of strength, skill and daring, a great night out” TimeOut ****
These audacious artistes both blow the mind and stir the heartSunday Express ****
A sexy tangle of muscular limbs” Evening Standard ****



Acéléré by Circolombia

Circolombia in association with Underbelly

Venue: The Lafayette, The Underbelly Circus Hub, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017

Dates: Mon 7th August – Sat 26 August, (not 9th, 14th, 21st), 9.15pm

Aug 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, £19.50 (£18.50)

Aug 10, 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24 £17.50 (£16.50)

Running time: 60mins

Tickets available at www.underbellyedinburgh.co.uk and www.edfringe.com

Full casting announced for SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH at Chichester Festival Theatre

Marcia Gay Harden and Brian J Smith

Marcia Gay Harden and Brian J Smith © Johan Persson

Full casting has been announced for Tennessee Williams’ SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH, directed by Jonathan Kent, running at Chichester Festival Theatre from 2 – 24 June, with a press night on Friday 9 June.

The company is headed by two of America’s leading stage and screen actors: celebrated Oscar and Tony Award-winning actor Marcia Gay Harden makes her UK theatre debut as Alexandra, and Brian J. Smith plays Chance. Joining them are: Emma Amos, Hester Arden, Matthew Barker, Victoria Bewick, Alex Bhat, Ray Emmet Brown, Graham Butler,Richard Cordery (as ‘Boss’ Finley), Ingrid Craigie, Joy Cruickshank, Tim Francis, Kurt Kansley, Rob Ostlere, Sam Phillips, Daniel Tuite and Ewart James Walters.

1956, a hotel on the Gulf of Mexico. Alexandra del Lago, a fading Hollywood legend, has fled the ridicule that greeted the premiere of her come-back movie. Desperate for anonymity and forgetfulness, she is holed up in a small seaside town on the Gulf of Mexico. With her is Chance Wayne – a young hustler, trying to lend his wasted, disreputable life some meaning and now returning home to reclaim his childhood love from her ruthless father, the corrupt politician ‘Boss’ Finley.

In perhaps his most searing and personal of plays, Tennessee Williams examines failed ambition, lost youth and love, and the corruption and bigotry that lurks beneath the American Dream. As the present-day United States faces uncertainty and momentous change, Sweet Bird of Youth is a portrayal of the degradation of American values and the corrosive lure of celebrity.

Academy and Tony Award-winning actor Marcia Gay Harden, whose work embraces independent and studio films, television and theatre, plays Alexandra. Her many film roles include the artist Lee Krasner in Pollock, for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress; Celeste in Mystic River, for which she received another Oscar nomination; Miller’s Crossing, The First Wives Club, Meet Joe Black, Mona Lisa Smile, The Hoax, Used People, Grandma, Into the Wild, American Gun, Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker. She stars in the CBS drama Code Black, while earlier television work includes The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler and Law and Order: SVU, for both of which she received Emmy Award nominations, and the critically acclaimed HBO series The Newsroom.

Marcia Gay Harden made her Broadway debut in Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, for which she received a Tony Award nomination as well as Drama Desk and Theatre World awards. She won the Tony Award and Outer Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress in 2009 for Yasmina Reza’s God of Carnage, a role she reprised in Los Angeles in 2011 with the original Broadway cast.

Brian J. Smith, who plays Chance, earned Olivier and Tony Award nominations for his role as the Gentleman Caller in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, a role he first played on Broadway and is currently reprising in the West End. His screen work includes Trey in the independent film Hate Crime; Matthew Scott in the TV series Stargate Universe; and Will Gorski in Netflix’s Sense8, of which a new series starts in May.

Director Jonathan Kent returns to Chichester following his hugely successful productions of the Young Chekhov Trilogy (Evening Standard Award for Best Revival), Gypsy and Sweeney Todd (both of which won Olivier Awards for Best Musical Revival) and Private Lives, all of which transferred to London. He was Joint Artistic Director of the Almeida Theatre from  1990 – 2002.

The production will be designed by Anthony Ward, with lighting by Mark Henderson, music by Debbie Wiseman, sound by Paul Groothuis and video by Andrzej Goulding.

SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH  is sponsored by Covers Timber & Builders Merchants and Harwoods Group.


Pre-Show Talk with Jonathan Kent           Wednesday 7 June, 5.45pm

Free but booking essential.

Late with Kate & Marcia Gay Harden         Thursday 15 June, Post-Show

Marcia Gay Harden joins Kate Mosse to talk about her extraordinary film career and Tony Award-winning work in theatre.  Free.

Post-Show Talk                                            Monday 19 June

Stay after the performance to ask questions, meet company members and discover more. Free.

 The Trump Effect                             Saturday 24 June, 11am, Steven Pimlott Building

Alongside Caroline, Or Change and Sweet Bird of Youth, a panel of history students and academics from the University of Chichester examine some of the most dramatic periods in American history – times of political and social change. Tickets £5.

 Digital Drafts                                     Saturday 15 July – Saturday 12 August

Listen to a series of new short plays through sound installation boxes in the Festival Theatre Foyer. Using themes from Sweet Bird of Youth as a stimulus, young playwrights will work together to craft their short pieces, which will be recorded in radio play style by members of Chichester Festival Youth Theatre. Free.


Box Office 01243 781312

Online cft.org.uk

Tickets from £10. Prologue tickets for 16 – 25 year olds for £5.

Press night: Friday 9 June

Cast Announced for Anatomy of a Suicide written by Alice Birch directed by Katie Mitchell

Gershwyn Eustache Jnr., Paul Hilton, Peter Hobday, Adelle Leonce, Sarah Malin, Jodie McNee, Hattie Morahan, Kate O’Flynn and Dickon Tyrrell have been cast in Alice Birch’s Anatomy of a Suicide directed by Katie Mitchell. It runs in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs 3 June 2017 – 8 July 2017 with Press Night on Thursday 8 June.

With set design by Alex Eales, costume design by Sarah Blenkinsop, lighting by James Farncombe, music by Paul Clark and sound by Melanie Wilson

 “My mother always said to Live Big.
Live as much as I could.”

Three generations of women.

For each, the chaos of what has come before brings with it a painful legacy.

“I have Stayed. I have Stayed – I have Stayed for as long as I possibly can.”
Anatomy of a Suicide is part of the Royal Court’s Jerwood New Playwrights programme, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

Alice Birch (Writer)
For the Royal Court: Ophelias Zimmer (& Schaubühne, Berlin), Revolt. She said. Revolt again (& RSC/Soho Rep).
Other theatre includes: We Want You To Watch (National); The Lone Pine Club (Pentabus); Little Light (Orange Tree); Little on the inside (Almeida/Clean Break); Salt (Comedie de Valence); Many Moons (503).
Film includes: Lady Macbeth.
Awards include: George Devine Award (Revolt. She said. Revolt again); International Critic’s Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) at San Sebastian International Film Festival, Critic’s Choice Award for Best First Feature at Zurich Film Festival (Lady Macbeth); Arts Foundation Award for Playwriting.

Writer Alice Birch and director Katie Mitchell discuss Anatomy of a Suicide 

Katie Mitchell (Director)
For the Royal Court: Ophelias Zimmer (& Schaubühne, Berlin), 2071, Ten Billion, The City, The Country, Forty Winks, Nightsongs, Mountain Language/Ashes To Ashes.
Other theatre includes: 4.48 Psychosis (Schauspielhaus, Hamburg); The Maids (Toneelgroep, Amsterdam);Shadows (Eurydice Speaks) Lungs, The Yellow Wallpaper (Schaubühne, Berlin); Cleansed, Women of Troy, Three Sisters, Waves (National); Reisende auf einem Bein, Happy Days, The Rest Will Be Familiar To You From Cinema (Schauspielhaus, Hamburg); Brandstichter Festival (Stadschouwburg, Amsterdam); The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic); The Forbidden Zone (Salzburg Festival/Schaubühne, Berlin); A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (Vienna Burgtheater); Say it with Flowers, The Trial of Ubu (Hampstead); Night Train (Schauspiel, Köln/Avignon Festival/Theatertreffen); Rings of Saturn, Waves (Schauspiel, Köln).
Opera includes: Pelleas et Melisande (Aix en Provence Festival); Lucia di Lammermoor, Clemency (ROH); Pealleas et Melisande, Alcina, Trauernacht, The House Taken Over (Aix-en-Provence Festival); The Way Back Home (ENO/ Young Vic); Le Vin Herbe (Staatsoper, Berlin); Written on Skin (Aix-en-Provence Festival/ROH); Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore (Staatsoper, Berlin/Salzburg Festival); Orest (De Nederlandse Opera).
Film includes: Untitled Short Film for Warp/Film4, Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, Jenufa, Rough for Theatre 2, The Turn of the Screw.
Katie has been an Associate Director at the RSC, National Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre. She was awarded an OBE in 2009 for services to Drama and has recently been appointed as the Visiting Chair in Opera Studies at Oxford University for 2016-17.

Gershwyn Eustache Jnr
For the Royal Court: a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun)
Other theatre includes: The Royale (Bush); The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth on Film (Globe); Home, nut (National); Romeo & Juliet (Custom Practice/UK tour).
Television includes: Britannia, Fortitude, Legends, Peter Pan, Run, New Worlds, Redemptions End.
Film includes: The Yellow Birds, Second Coming, Starred Up.

Paul Hilton
For the Royal Court: Terrorism, Mountain Language.
Theatre includes: Peter Pan, wonder.land (& Manchester International Festival), The President of an Empty Room, Mourning Becomes Electra, Three Sisters, The Oresteia (National); The Cherry Orchard, The Daughter-In-Law (Young Vic); All New People, Riflemind, In Celebration, On The Third Day (West End); Doctor Faustus, As You Like It, A Mad World My Masters (Globe); Polar Bears, The Wild Duck (Donmar); Rosmersholm, The Storm (Almeida); The Homecoming, Les Blancs, Ghosts (Royal Exchange, Manchester); Three Sisters (Oxford Stage Company); The Mysteries: Part I – The Creation, The Mysteries: Part II – The Passion, Romeo & Juliet, The Cherry Orchard, Richard III (RSC); Twelfth Night, A Small Family Business, Stone Free (Bristol Old Vic).
Opera includes: Dr Dee (ENO).
Television includes: Grantchester, The Driver, The Crimson Field, Case Histories, Labyrinth, Silk, Twenty Twelve, The Sinking of Laconia, Room at the Top, Garrow’s Law, Casualty 1909, Robin Hood, True Dare Kiss, The Relief of Belsen, Daziel & Pascoe, Medieval Heist, Trial & Retribution, The Family Man, The Princes in the Tower, Silent Witness, The Last Dragon, The Bill.
Film includes: Lady Macbeth, Swansong, London Road, Wuthering Heights, Klimt.
Radio includes: The Hatton Garden Heist, The Master & Margarita, Hamlet, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Brothers Karamazov, Watership Down, St Joan, Earthsea, Pilgrim.

Peter Hobday
Theatre includes: Othello (Globe); Rudolf (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Cleansed, An Oak Tree (National); The Boy Who Never Grew Up, The Little Gardener (Lyric, Hammersmith); The Cherry Orchard, The Way Back Home (Young Vic); Written On Skin (Lincoln Center, NYC); Say It With Flowers (Hampstead).
Television includes: Episodes, The Mimic.
Film Includes: Roses in Winter.

Adelle Leonce
For the Royal Court: Torn.
Theatre includes: In the Night Time (Gate); Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (National); Tipping the Velvet, A Streetcar Named Desire, Woyzeck, Chamber Piece, Glitterland, A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts (& Tricycle), A Stab in the Dark (Lyric, Hammersmith).
Television includes: Ordinary Lies, DCI Banks, Shameless, Vera, In the Garden.

Sarah Malin 
Theatre includes: The Tempest (Southwark); Measure for Measure, The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic); Buckets, Unrivalled Landscape (Orange Tree); Cuckoo (Unicorn); An Enemy of the People (Just Jones); Blue Sky (Pentabus); Say It With Flowers (Hampstead); Here Lies Mary Spindler, The Penelopiad, Macbeth (RSC); Marianne Dreams (Almeida); Iphigenia at Aulis (National); Pericles (Lyric, Hammersmith); The Cherry Orchard (ETT); The Norman Conquests (Theatr Clwyd); Ring (Soho); Dangerous Corner, Dead Wood (Watermill); The Book of David (Really Useful Group); Grimm Tales (Stephen Joseph); Twelfth Night (Imaginary Forces); The Tinderbox, World on Fire, David Copperfield (New Vic, Stoke); No Way Out (ATC); Madness in Valencia, Hecuba (Gate); The Merchant of Venice (Sherman); The Spanish Tragedy (Old Red Lion); Blavatsky’s Tower (Red Room). 
Television credits include: What Remains, EastEnders, The Children, Wire in the Blood, Silent Witness, Guardian, The Knock, Emmerdale, The Law, The Bill, Every Silver Lining.
Film credits include: Doctor Strange, Heretiks.
Short film includes: School Gates.
Radio includes: Pericles.

Jodie McNee
Theatre includes: The Night Watch, Hamlet, Orpheus Descending, A Taste of Honey (Royal Exchange, Manchester); An Oak Tree, Our Country’s Good, Three Winters (National); Game (Almeida); A Life of Galileo, Written on the Heart, Measure for Measure (RSC); Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air); Canary, When We Are Married, Twelfth Night (Liverpool Everyman Playhouse); The Empty Quarter (Hampstead); When We are Married (West End); The Frontline, King Lear (Globe); Seagull, Knives in Hens, Double Portrait, Jenufer (Arcola); Cymbeline, The Changeling (Cheek by Jowl/Barbican/International tour); Mother Courage, This Happy Breed (ETT); The Burial at Thebes (Playhouse, Nottingham).
Television includes: Little Boy Blue, Britannia, Ripper Street, Criminal Justice, Poirot, The Liverpool Nativity, Shane.
Film includes: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Physician, Collider, One Happy Moment, A Picture of Me
Radio includes: Zola: Blood Season, With Great Pleasure.

Hattie Morahan
For the Royal Court: The City.
Theatre includes: A Doll’s House (Young Vic/West End/BAM, NYC); The Changeling (Globe); The Dark Earth & the Light Sky (Almeida); Plenty (Crucible, Sheffield); The Real Thing (Old Vic); Time & the Conways, Some Trace of Her, The Seagull, Iphigenia at Aulis, Power (National); Family Reunion (Donmar); See How They Run (ACT/UK tour); Twelfth Night (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Singer (Tricycle/Oxford Stage Company); Arsenic & Old Lace (Katherine Dore Management/West End); The Circle (TEG/UK tour); Night of the Soul, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Hamlet, Love in a Wood (RSC).
Television includes: Inside No. 9, My Mother & Other Strangers, The Outcast, Ballot Monkeys, Arthur & George, The Bletchley Circle, Law & Order, Midsomer Murders, Eternal Law, Outnumbered, Lewis, Money, Lark Rise to Candleford, Marple, Trial & Retribution, Bikesquad, Sense & Sensibility, Bodies, New Tricks, Peacock Spring.
Film includes: Beauty & the Beast, Mr Holmes, Alice through the Looking Glass, The Visit, Summer in February, Having You, The Golden Compass, Out of Time, Good Boy, Love Hate.
Radio includes: Three Sisters, Book of the Week – Charlotte Bronte: A Life, The Barchester Chronicles, Dystopia: Drowned World, Welcome to Out Village – Please Invade Carefully, The Indivisibles, The Uninvited Guests – Book At Beachtime, The Harpole Report, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Otherwise Engaged, All That I Am, Something Understood, The Comic Illusion, The Squire’s Daughter, A History of the Mind, The Artist is Thinking, Edward II, The Doll – Daphne Du Maurier Stories, Serious Money, The Tiger’s Wife, The Art of Deception, Direct Red, Miss MacKenzie, With Great Pleasure, I Claudius, A Month in the Country, Sister, My Own Private Gondolier, Words & Music, The Twyborn Affair, Chronicles of Ait, Forgiveness, Overtime, Plenty, Spellbound, Trevor’s World of Sport, What I Think of My Husband, When Greed Becomes Fear. 

Kate O’Flynn
For the Royal Court: The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, A Miracle.
Theatre includes: The Glass Menagerie (West End/Edinburgh International Festival); The Trial (Young Vic); A Taste of Honey, Port (National); Lungs, The Sound of Heavy Rain (Paines Plough/Crucible, Sheffield); Marine Parade (ETT); The Whisky Taster (Bush); House of Special Purpose (Minerva, Chichester); See How They Run, The Children’s Hour (Royal Exchange, Manchester).
Television includes: No Offence, Father Brown, Doctor Thorne, Not You Again, Ordinary Lies, New Tricks, Room at the Top, Playhouse Presents: The Snipist, Above Suspicion, The Syndicate, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kingdom, The Palace, Trial & Retribution, Heartbeat.
Film includes: Bridget Jones’ Baby, Mr. Turner, Up There, Happy Go Lucky.
Awards include: Manchester Evening Standard Award for Best Newcomer (The Children’s Hour); TMA Award for Best Supporting Actress (The Children’s Hour); Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Newcomer (Port).

Dickon Tyrrell
For the Royal Court: Harvest.
Other theatre includes: Twelfth Night, The Oresteia, Measure for Measure, Othello, Doctor Scroggy’s War, Julius Caesar, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, The Duchess of Malfi, The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Globe); Rutherford & Son (Northern Stage); The Romans in Britain (Crucible, Sheffield); Major Barbara (Peter Hall Company/West End); The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Richard II, Julius Caesar, The Devil is an Ass (RSC).
Television includes: Law & Order, The Bill, The Trial of Tony Blair, Coronation Street, Rough Crossings, Aberfan, Doctors, Peak Practice, Harry, Spender.
Film includes: The Isle.

Listings Information:

Anatomy of a Suicide
By Alice Birch
Directed by Katie Mitchell
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Saturday 3 June – Saturday 8 July 2017
Monday – Saturday
Thursday & Saturday matinees 2.30pm (from 10 June)
Captioned Performance 4 July 7.30pm
Press Night 3 June 7pm

Audio Described Performance 1 July 7:30pm

Age Guidance 14+
Standard Tickets £12 – £45 (Mondays all seats £12 available from 9am online on the day of performance)
First Look Tickets** £12, £16, £25, £35
Concessions* £5 off top two prices  (available in advance for previews and all matinees)

Under 26s £15 (available across all performances for individual bookers, Bands B and C only)
Access £15 (plus a companion at the same rate)
*ID required. All discounts subject to availability.

Full casting announced for West End Production of Annie opening at the Piccadilly Theatre May 2017

Lola Moxom, Ruby Stokes, Madeleine Haynes who will alternate the role of Annie, with Miranda Hart who will play Miss Hannigan,

Lola Moxom, Ruby Stokes, Madeleine Haynes who will alternate the role of Annie, with Miranda Hart who will play Miss Hannigan, photo credit Matt Crockett

Rehearsals began today (24 April 2017) for the West End production of Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre. Joining the previously announced Miranda Hart who will play Miss Hannigan are Alex Bourne as Daddy Warbucks, Holly Dale Spencer as Grace Farrell, Jonny Fines as Rooster and Djalenga Scott as Lily.

The title role of Annie will be shared by Madeleine Haynes, 13-years old from Hadley Wood, Barnet, Lola Moxom, 12-years old from Rochester, Kent and Ruby Stokes, 12-years old from Hampshire. They will be joined by three teams of young performers who will play the girls in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage (see below).  Amber, a 4 year-old Labradoodle, will play Annie’s dog Sandy.

Completing the company will be ensemble members Keisha Atwell, Sophie Ayers, Bobby Delaney, Nic Gibney, Patrick Harper, Ben Harrold,George Ioannides, Megan Louch, Benjamin Mundy, Ben Oliver, Heather Scott-Martin, Anne Smith, Kate Somerset How, Katie Warsop and Russell Wilcox.

 Annie begins previews at the Piccadilly Theatre on 23 May 2017 with opening night on 5 June 2017.  The production is initially booking to 6 January 2018.  Children’s tickets will be half price for Monday to Thursday performances (see listings information below).  The production, directed by Nikolai Foster, is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian. 

 Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search for her true family…

Annie has book by Thomas Meehan adapted from the comic strip Little Orphan Annie, music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin.  The West End production will have sets and costumes designed by Colin Richmond, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Ben Cracknell, sound design by Richard Brooker and orchestration and musical direction by George Dyer. 

 Miranda Hart is best known on television for her hugely successful, semi-auto-biographical and multi award-wining BBC sitcom Miranda which ran from 2009 for 3 series and 2 specials.  She was the recipient of a BAFTA nomination, an NTA Award and two TV Choice Awards for her performance as Chummy in the BBC television drama Call the Midwife.  In 2014 she completed her first sell out stand-up arena tour My, What I Call, Live Show culminating in five shows at London’s 02 Arena.  As a best-selling author her first book Is It Just Me? was the biggest selling non-fiction hardback of 2013 winning Non-Fiction Book of the Year at The National Book Awards. She followed this in 2014 with The Best of Miranda and last year released her third book Peggy and Me.  Her theatre credits include Cruising for The Bush Theatre, Come Out Eli for Battersea Arts Centre, All About Me for Soho Theatre as well as multiple appearances at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her film credits include Spy, The Infidel, Magicians as well as upcoming The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018).   

 Alex Bourne’s (Daddy Warbucks) theatre credits include Mama Mia! and Rocky Horror Show on tour in the UK, Midsummer Songs at the New Wolsey Theatre, Kiss Me Kate for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, The Witches of Eastwick at the Watermill Theatre, We Will Rock You and Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion, Chicago at the Adelphi, Grease at the Cambridge Theatre, Showboat for the Royal Shakespeare Company and Opera North andAnnie on tour in the UK.

Holly Dale Spencer’s (Grace Farrell) theatre credits include Sweet Charity at the Royal Exchange Theatre, White Christmas for West Yorkshire Playhouse,American Psycho at the Almeida Theatre, the title role in Holly Golightly for Sadler’s Wells, Kiss Me Kate for Chichester Festival Theatre and the Old Vic andAnnie on tour.

Since graduating from the Guildford School of Acting in 2010, Jonny Fines’ (Rooster) theatre credits include roles in Nikolai Foster’s production of Greaseat the Curve, The Sound of Music on UK tour, I Love You, You’re Perfect…Now Change!  at The Union Theatre, Avenue Q and Annie on tour.

Djalenga Scott’s theatre credits include Grease and An Officer and a Gentleman both directed by Nikolai Foster at the Curve, West Side Story and Annieon UK tour, Batman Live on tour in the US, Chicago at the Garrick Theatre.

The role of Molly will be alternated by Aurelia Borrelli, eight years old from Saunderton, Buckinghamshire, Ellicia Simondswood, eight years old from Lower Morden, Surrey and Nicole Subebe, seven years old from Romford, Essex.  The role of Tessie will be alternated by Jessica Cartledge, ten years old from Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, Scarlet Grace, fourteen years old from Northaw, Hertfordshire and Dora Yolland, ten years old from Southend-on-Sea, Essex. The role of Kate will be alternated by Shani Roberts, nine years old from Braintree, Essex, Emily-May Stephenson, ten years old from Swadlincote, Derbyshire and Maisie Thorn, ten years old from Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. The role of Pepper will be alternated by Drew Hylton, eleven years old from Loughton, Essex, Eva MacLaughlan, ten years old from Barton-le-Clay, Bedfordshire and Charlotte Ross Gower, fourteen years old from Sittingbourne, Kent.  The role of July will be alternated by Nancy Allsop, fourteen years old from Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, Carla Dixon, thirteen years old from Wimbledon, London and Isabelle Methven, thirteen years old from Harpenden, Hertfordshire.  The role of Duffy will be alternated by Kya Davis, nine years old from Slough, Berkshire, Nicole Dube, twelve years old from Colchester, Essex and Kathryn Whetter, ten years old from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey.

Foster’s production arrives in the West End 40 years after the original Broadway production opened in 1977 and received seven Tony awards including the Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book.  The last West End production of Annie opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in 1998. In 1982, Annie was adapted for the big screen directed by John Huston with a cast including Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters and Albert Finney and in 2014 a further feature film was released, directed by Will Gluck, with a cast including Cameron Diaz and Jamie Foxx.  The much-loved score includes the classics It’s A Hard Knock Life, Tomorrow and Easy Street.


Theatre:                  Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman St, Soho, London W1D 7DY

Dates:                    Booking from 23 May 2017 to 6 January 2018

Press night:              5 June 2017 at 7pm

Performances:          Tuesday 23 May at 7.30pm, Wednesday 24 May at 7.30pm, Thursday 25 May at 7.30pm, Friday 26 May at 7.30pm, Saturday 27 May at 3pm and 7.30pm.

Then Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7.30pm, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm

Miranda Hart will be performing the role of Miss Hannigan until 17 September 2017

Prices:                    Tickets from £20 which include a restoration levy of £1.75.  No booking or transaction fees through official sales outlets

Children Go Half-Price (Monday to Thursday performances, top price only, subject to a maximum of 2 children aged 16 or under with each full paying adult, and subject to availability)

Box Office:              0844 871 7630

Twitter:                   @AnnieMusicalUK

Facebook:               AnnieMusicalUK

Instagram:              anniemusicaluk

Website:                 www.AnnieWestEnd.com




Guest Blog: Charley Williams: “I wrote the songs during my illness as self-therapy, little did I know that they would one day be turned into a musical and for a live audience!”

Charley Williams is someone who has recovered from anorexia after over a decade of struggle and treatment and has used her experiences to explore the impact this has on Hannah, the protagonist of her play and her family and friends. The play When STRAWBERRIES are not enough is powerful, insightful and ultimately uplifting, with great songs too!

Together with her father Simon Williams, a retired head teacher and now educational consultant, they framed the basic plot for a play with songs.  After a chance meeting with the director Wesley Henderson Roe and a year of rewriting, character development and more songs, the plot took the shape of a musical.

The play When Strawberries Are Not Enough opens at Hampton Hill Theatre from 25-29 April. You can book your tickets HERE 

Charley Williams with her daughter

Charley Williams has done a guest blog in which she has talked about her connection with art, music, theatre, the healing and therapeutic power of theatre, how working on Strawberries helped her discover herself. Over to Charley.

Love of theatre, art , music and more 
I am drawn to any art form which explores emotion around human relationships whether that be theatre, sculpture (which I studied), film or music. Unfortunately my struggles with anorexia meant that I missed out on some of the theatre I’d have loved to have seen, although I’ve still watched some very inspiring productions. One example include the opera La Boheme at Soho Theatre which moved me immensely. Mostly, however, I turned towards artists and music which was to hand, to find solace, and in the process I was subconsciously fine tuning my ear to recognise a good melody and poetic lyrics, which later provided fertile ground when writing my own tunes.
Power of theatre and its ability to heal
I believe in the power of theatre to deal with all sorts of taboo issues. In the writing of Strawberries I have experienced a huge learning curve about the art form and about the person that I am. Song and script writing has changed me as a person, it’s helped me fully recognise abilities that I didn’t know I had and helped me become mentally stronger. I wrote the songs during my illness as self-therapy, little did I know that they would one day be turned into a musical and for a live audience!
When Strawberries are not enough

When Strawberries are not enough. Click on the image to book your tickets now!

Musical theatre -the right medium and genre for taking people on Hannah’s journey 
I believe that singing and acting together in the genre of musical theatre is a powerful medium for taking people on Hannah’s journey (based loosely on my own experiences). With a great atmosphere in the theatre we are hoping the audience will be taken on an exhilarating journey of emotions with a deeper understanding of anorexia too.
Role musical theatre can play in tackling complex and darker issues 
Avenue Q challenged people’s expectations about the kinds of topics presented in musical theatre and it is now beginning to be considered an appropriate genre for tackling complex and darker issues. Strawberries will hopefully be one of these success stories. And it must be said here that there are many comic moments in Strawberries, written to highlight some of the absurdities that can be seen as treatment for mental health issues. Since my play tackles other mental health conditions as well as anorexia my desire is that the overall message of hope may be grasped by people struggling.
Not without my father…
The partnership between myself and my father who co-wrote the script has been both challenging and cathartic. We have had our creative differences, but the bond we formed throughout  my illness has remained unspoilt; we’re now closer than ever.
My father was always a supportive figure during my illness and he always kept the candle of hope burning when I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from him.
Life Motto
My motto for life? Well as a loose answer my raison d’etre is all about love and human connection. Family, friends, and more recently the biggest spark in my life is my daughter. In times of both joy and suffering the most important thing is to have people you love around you. This is at the heart of our  musical. Thank you for reading and we hope to see you there!