Casting announced for Bent at the National Theatre

Stephen Daldry
Stephen Daldry

Stephen Daldry

The National Theatre will mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality in England and Wales by staging its first Queer Theatre event series from 6 – 10 July 2017.

A group of world class actors and directors will look at how theatre has charted the LGBT+ experience through a series of rehearsed readings and post-show discussions in the Lyttelton Theatre.

The fourth play in the NT’s Queer Theatre series of rehearsed readings is Bent by Martin Sherman (1979), directed by Stephen Daldry on Sunday 9th July 2.30pm.

Following Nazi Germany’s Night Of The Long Knives in 1934, gay lovers Max and Rudy are taken away to Dachau by the Gestapo. Desperate to avoid the dreaded Pink Triangle, Max claims to be Jewish. In amongst the horrors of the Camp, he meets Horst who wears his Pink Triangle with pride.

Cast announced today includes*:

George Mackay, Simon Russell Beale, Giles Terera, Pip Torrens, Paapa Essiedu, John Pfumojena and Adrian Grove.

The NT’s Queer Theatre event series is hosted in partnership with Pride in London and includes:

  • Neaptide by Sarah Daniels, directed by Sarah Frankcom, Thursday 6 July, 7.30pm
  • Wig Out! written and directed by Tarell Alvin McCraney, Friday 7 July, 7.30pm
  • Certain Young Men written and directed by Peter Gill, Sat 8 July, 7.30pm
  • Bent by Martin Sherman, directed by Stephen Daldry, Sunday 9 July, 2.30pm
  • The Drag by Mae West, directed by Polly Stenham, Monday 10 July, 7.30pm.

*Further casting to be announced shortly.

Free post show talks (40 mins) will follow each reading exploring the issues in the plays and in a wider context for the LGBT+ community.

A Christmas Carol at Windsor Castle, an immersive Christmas production to run for 9 performances, staged in the State Apartments at Windsor Castle

A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

This December, for the first time, an immersive Christmas performance will be staged in the magnificent State Apartments at Windsor Castle.

Throughout the festive period, nine family-friendly evening performances of Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol will be presented by theatre company Watch Your Head. The performances will take place in the Castle’s two largest rooms, where the young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret performed Christmas pantomimes during the Second World War.

Tailor-made for Windsor Castle and using Dickens’s own words from his public readings of the classic tale, the production will feature live music and immersive elements, transporting the audience into a Victorian Christmas. Visitors will accompany Ebenezer Scrooge from the Castle gates to the Waterloo Chamber, where Jacob Marley awaits to conjure his haunting dreams of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come. A cast of actors and musicians performing all around will transform the colossal space into Dickensian London, before the audience follows Scrooge into St George’s Hall to celebrate his new-found festive spirit beneath the Castle’s spectacular Christmas tree.

The event will form part of a programme of Victorian-themed activities at Windsor Castle this Christmas. Monarchs have been celebrating Christmas at Windsor Castle since the 12th century, but it was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who introduced many of the Christmas traditions that we know today. Prince Albert is credited with popularising the German tradition of Christmas trees while enjoying the festive season at the Castle, and the Queen and Prince Albert were often seen ice skating and enjoying winter sleigh rides in the Castle grounds.

It was during this period that Dickens first published A Christmas Carol in 1843, and it has remained a festive classic ever since. The work can be seen in miniature in the library of Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House, built in the early 1920s as a perfect replica of an aristocratic Edwardian residence and housed ever since at Windsor Castle.

Jemima Rellie, Director of Content and Audiences, Royal Collection Trust, said, ‘Windsor Castle at Christmastime evokes images of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert and their young family celebrating around the Christmas tree. As part of our Victorian-themed festive programme, we are excited to be staging an immersive Christmas performance in the State Apartments for the first time, and are sure that audiences will enjoy a unique experience that they will treasure for years to come.’

Sara Langridge, Producer, Watch Your Head, said, ‘We are so delighted to continue our relationship with Royal Collection Trust in this way – A Christmas Carol really is the perfect story for this magical place and we can’t wait for audiences of all ages to share this wonderful experience at Windsor Castle.’

Their third collaboration with Royal Collection Trust, Watch Your Head’s latest production follows their recently staged immersive performances of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Castle’s Moat Garden.

A Christmas Carol is directed by Sasha McMurray, with costumes designed by Annina Pfeul and an original score by Joseph Reuben.


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The Establishment: Eton Mess – Assembly George Square Theatre, Omnitorium

The Establishment
The Establishment

The Establishment

After a critically-acclaimed 2016 run of The Establishment at Edinburgh, Brighton and Prague Fringes, comedians Dan Lees and Neil Frost are bringing their new show The Establishment: Eton Mess to the Ed Fringe 2017 as part of the Assembly Festival.

The show combines the best of clowning, quick wit and British stiffed lipped eccentricity to bring two ultra-privileged British gents from a bygone era to the stage. Struggling to hold on to their values, wealth and power in the modern world, their whimsical world of cricket, tea and secret arms deals is under threat and they’re not giving up that easily.

The Establishment: Eton Mess is an extremely fun, high-spirited show which touches on many of the important issues that face us as a nation today.

The Establishment: Eton Mess is produced by Honky Bonk, a theatre company specialising in physical comedy and clown influenced contemporary performance. The Establishment were finalists in the highly regarded New Act of The Year (NATY) Top of the Bill Showcase 2017 at London’s Leicester Square Theatre.

Dan Lees ( studied at Ecole Phillipe Gaulier in Paris and has toured his one man show Brainchild all over the world including Berlin, Prague, Adelaide, London & Edinburgh, it was directed by Complicite Theatre’s Mick Barnfather and received the Judges’ Award for Theatre at the London Mimetic Festival in 2014. Dan performed with Phil Burgers, Edinburgh Comedy Winner in Bewhatthefuck at Edinburgh Festival 2014 and featured in Living With Monkey a pilot for TV by Nina Conti. Dan is also co-founder of the London Clown Festival.

Neil Frost ( studied at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. In 2015 he was nominated for the Prague Fringe Inspiration Award for his one-man show Everything’s Possible, Nothing’s Available. Neil has worked with pioneering immersive theatre company Shunt on their show The Boy Who Climbed Out of His Face.

Both Neil and Dan tour regularly with Clowns Without Borders UK ( a charity that aims to relieve suffering through laughter and play, of all persons, especially children, who live in areas of crisis including refugee camps, conflict zones and other situations of adversity. They have performed in India, Greece and in February this year they will be touring Refugee Camps in Serbia.

Another much-needed chapter in our national legacy of lampooning the powers that be, building on Peter Cook, the Pythons and The Fast Show…You can imagine this going down very well indeed at the Palladium or the BBC.” ★★★★Stage

“Very cleverly observed.”  ★★★★½ Reviews Hub

“Enjoy the charming chutzpah of Dan Lees and Neil Frost…They don’t miss a beat.” ★★★★Skinny

“One of the best shows I’ve seen…top class” ★★★★★ Mumble Comedy

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Twitter: @estabcomedy Facebook: /estabcomedy Instagram: estabcomedy



Venue:  Assembly George Square Theatre, Omnitorium, EH8 9JZ

Time:  17:00 Running Time: 60mins

Dates:  02 – 28 August. Previews 2 – 4 August. No show Sun 6th and Mon 14th August

Tickets: Previews £6; 7 & 8 August 2-4-1 tickets £10.50; 5, 9-10, 15-17, 21-24 & 28 August £8; 11-13, 18-20, 25-27 August £10.50

Bookings:, 0131 623 3030 or Assembly box offices at Assembly Hall and Assembly Roxy, Assembly George Square, Assembly Checkpoint and Assembly Rooms

RSC launches audience research project to monitor emotional response to Titus Andronicus


Titus Andronicus is renowned for being Shakespeare’s goriest revenge tragedy, as the body count piles up and blood fills the stage, the play poses questions about the nature of sexuality, family, class and the morality of revenge. For the RSC’s forthcoming production as part of the Rome Season and directed by Blanche McIntyre, an innovative audience research project will be conducted in collaboration with Ipsos MORI to monitor the emotional engagement of a theatre and cinema audience. With the aim of exploring two questions: Does Shakespeare still shock? And, is the emotional engagement of watching a play live at the theatre the same or different to that of watching it live at the cinema?

To explore this the RSC will recruit a sample of participants who will wear a heart rate monitor on their wrist throughout their experience of watching the play.  There will be two groups, a sample of theatre audiences who will watch the show in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, and a second group will watch the ‘Live from Stratford-upon-Avon’, broadcast of Titus Andronicus in a cinema when it is streamed live on the 9 August. The two groups will be demographically matched based on age, theatre experience and gender to achieve a comparable set of results.

As well as monitoring their heart rate as they watch Titus Andronicus, the participants will immediately after the show complete a series of short interviews, to explore the strength of reaction and engagement.

There has been previous research around the impact of cinema broadcasts, but this will be the very first time there will be direct measurement and comparison of the emotional experience of both theatre and cinema audiences for a Shakespeare play.

The results and findings from the project will be released in November 2017.

Titus Andronicus opens on the 4 July and runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon until the 2 September, the production then transfers to the Barbican in London from the 7 December – 19 January. It is broadcast ‘Live from Stratford-upon-Avon’ to cinemas across the world on the 9 August.

Titus Andronicus is part of the RSC’s Rome Season, which also includes Julius CaesarAntony & Cleopatra and Coriolanus. The productions run in Stratford-upon-Avon before transferring to the Barbican from November 2017.

To book tickets call 01789 403493 or online at

Live from Stratford-upon-Avon is generously supported by SIDNEY E. FRANK FOUNDATION