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Omnibus Theatre, Clapham. Marie McCarthy: ‘Our work is to offer alternative views, offer inspiration, empower people to change and facilitate that change.’

Marie McCarthy

In some ways, Omnibus Theatre is just what you’d want from a converted Victorian Library on Clapham Common.

Other aspects of this 90 seat theatre you’d definitely want to see a show in are more surprising, and the property’s proximity to one of London’s busiest tube stations, just 2 minutes away from an extraordinary amount of hustle, bustle and footfall, seems somewhat at odds with this rather modest arts organisation (that receives no public funding).

This is a remarkable community arts organisation that aims to inspire audiences of all ages to learn new skills and discover their own creativity.


Marie McCarthy outside Omnibus Theatre, Clapham.

Omnibus’ Artistic Director, Marie McCarthy, is giving me a tour of the building and telling me all about the vision. “Being a fan of architecture, I was very interested by the fact that it’s previous use was as a library and essentially a found space,” she says.

“Throughout the last four years, I have been discovering how flexible the space is. Performances occur in stairwells, dressing rooms, back corridors, the bar as well as the theatre. The artistic programme is inspired by the legacy of the library so the work we make includes Classics reimagined for a contemporary audience, adaptations, spoken word, storytelling across multiple platforms.”

Access and inclusion are the key both to her work and her ethos, which marks her out as a conscientious artistic director. “There are three festivals a year: Perception Festival in the Autumn for unheard voices, LGBTQ+ in February and then in May, we have a festival of story-makers. We have 8 associate artists and from a variety of disciplines including a poet, writers, directors and cross art form theatre makers.”

The Perception Festival kicks off in October and contains a dynamic programme of 14 events including a festival launch night. Highlights include Scandal and Gallows new staging of Nickolai Gogols The Overcoat, I Walk in Your Words, headphone verbatim theatre by Kristine Landon-Smith And A Cracked Plaster Spy, a new play by Futures Theatre. “We have been developing the Perception Festival for the last three years exploring how we view the world and how the world views us,” she explains.

“This year is the biggest and most well-defined festival that we have done to date. We’re looking at difference, moving from one tribe to another – It’s about looking at the journey from the place of feeling different and not accepted and what that journey entails.”


Part of the job of being a really good AD is to know that you have brought what you can to an organisation and knowing when to step aside. On the topic of moving on, what will the organisation look like after 7 years, I ask. “Physically the building would look different. In the four years that I have been in post – I understand how the building works but also how it could be working more effectively by moving the café /bar to the front of the building and developing a second performance space,” she says.

“I would hope that after 7 years we are in a position to make more work and that relationships with regional companies are more developed, that core funding is in place. We receive project funding but no core funding as yet and I want to support more creative learning and participatory work. I believe Artistic Directors are guardians of buildings and I think it is important to have a sense of when it’s time to hand over. If those ideas aren’t fresh and the hunger to make a difference isn’t there then it’s time to move on.”

Another significant achievement, says McCarthy, was winning the Royal Court Theatre Support Award, which offers a year of the venue’s expertise. “We were delighted to have won the Peter Brook Empty Space award last November and our relationship with The Royal Court has been instrumental in helping us to raise our profile and communicate our identity more effectively.”

How does she balance the books with risk taking? “My reference point is the building. What work fits, how can we push a boundary, find a new slant. What do our audiences want? How can I listen more effectively, watch more acutely,” she says.

We are 6 years into a Tory arts policy and talking during the week that the barmy narrative of British politics seems to be taken straight from a Carry On film. What are her thoughts on May’s Britain, I ask. “We had a young person participating in a workshop playing the game Fruit Salad – he said “If you are disappointed with your life – jump in the centre.” He was 8 years old. This is a real problem, it is about a lack of hope.”

“It feels to me that our work is to offer alternative views, offer inspiration, empower people to change and facilitate that change,” she says.

PERCEPTION FESTIVAL 2017 – A festival about going against the tide runs Wed 4- 28 Oct

Box Office: Tel: 020 7498 4699


PERCEPTION FESTIVAL 2017 – A festival about going against the tide, Wed 4- 28 Oct

Marie McCarthy
Marie McCarthy

Marie McCarthy

What inspires us to go against the grain, take chances, make radical choices and find a new tribe?  This October Omnibus Theatre is hosting the annual Perception Festival. The line up includes vibrant drama, music & debate. This year’s theme explores the discomfort, uncertainty, rebellion and bravery of going against the tide.

Marie McCarthy, Omnibus Theatre’s artistic director said: “I’m delighted to announce a strong line-up for Perception Festival. Exploring the subject of non-conformity, going against the tide and looking at what happens when you step outside of the box, instinctively felt like the right place to go for this year.”

  • A programme of 14 events including a festival launch night. Highlights include Scandal and Gallows new staging of Nickolai Gogols THE OVERCOAT, I WALK IN YOUR WORDS, headphone verbatim theatre by Kristine Landon-Smith AND A CRACKED PLASTER SKY, a new play by Futures Theatre.
  • FESTIVAL LAUNCH NIGHT (for press), 3rd OCTOBER, 7.30pm


4-6 Oct, 7.30pm – DRAMA The Overcoat

7 Oct, 7.30pm – DRAMA Where Do All The Pigeons Go?

7-8 Oct, 11am to 4pm – Omnibus Theatre Fun Palace Weekend

8 Oct, 7.30pm – MUSIC Mosaic

11 – 12 Oct, 7.30pm – DRAMA A Dangerous Woman

13 Oct, 7.30pm – SPOKEN WORD – The Frog Princess Punked

14 Oct, 7.30pm, COMEDY DRAMA – Schutte The Unromantic

15 Oct, 4pm – MUSIC Beethoven’s Quartet Journey

17-19 Oct, 7.30pm – DRAMA – Mary And Me

20 Oct, 7.30pm – DEBATE – I’m Unique…Just Like Everyone Else

21 Oct, 7.30pm – DRAMA –  I Walk In Your Words

22 Oct, 4pm – MUSIC – Jesse Sebastian Flamenco

24- 28 Oct, 7.30pm – DRAMA – A Cracked Plaster Sky

Full programme line-up details include: 

DRAMA – The Overcoat. By George Johnston. Wed 4 – Fri 6, Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 12+. £12/£10 conc.

Fresh from the success of Heart of Darkness last spring, Scandal and Gallows Theatre are back with a new staging of Nikolai Gogol’s famous short story. Hilarious and brutal, this is a modern fairy tale about a woman who asked for very little in life, and didn’t even get that.

“Well and truly riveting” **** The Sunday Times on Heart of Darkness

DRAMA – Where Do All the Dead Pigeons Go? Co-produced by Arc Stockton and Northern Stage Supported by Greyscale. Sat 7, Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 14+. £12/£10 conc.

Where do all the dead pigeons go? I could give the answer right now…but it would ruin the show. Between you and me, i’m still not sure. With felt tip pens, and his ex-girlfiends overhead projector, Scott Turnbull takes us on a journey through space and time in this miraculous weaving of science fiction, memoir, parable, fairytale and farce.

A Dangerous Woman

A Dangerous Woman

DRAMA – A Dangerous Woman. By Manjeet Mann. Wed 11 – Thur 12 Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 14+. £12/£10 conc.

“We all had the desire to leave. I felt it from them. A pulse. A real flesh and blood pulse. I know they felt it, you couldn’t ignore it, couldn’t speak of it. Se we silenced it’s beat.”

The story of one woman’s struggle to carve her own path in a family of six women. Women who are both allies and enemies. Based on real experiences, this bold and unapologetic new play explores what happens when you dare to challenge conformity, and make your voice heard.

***** ‘Touching an poignant’ – Behind the Arras (For Flying Solo)

SPOKEN WORD – The Frog Princess Punked. By Sally Pomme Clayton & The Swamp Girls. Fri 13 Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 14+. £12/£10 conc.

Ivan marries a frog? A wicked racket! Urban meets forest. Patriarchy meets feminism. Baba Yaga meets Koschey the Deathless! Pioneering storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton and musicians Georgia Kalogeropoulou and Dawn Rose embark on a provocative collaboration, combining girl-punk with a surreal narrative, mixing spoken word, distorted guitar, demonic drums, and a collage of fragmented images v-jayed live by digital artist Folios Begklis. It’s gonna be loud! Adults only!

COMEDY DRAMA – Schutte The Unromantic. By Katy Schutte. Sat 14 Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 14+. £12/£10 conc.

A comic solo show written and performed by Katy Schotte, fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe 2017. This is the story of her trying to find love despite

freezing up at chocolates, serenades and thoughtful surprises. For the record, Katy is perfectly happy to put Baby in the corner.

***** Three Weeks (for Who Ya Gonna Call?)

***** Broadway Baby (For Happily Never After)

***** Edinburgh Reviews (For Nightmare Live)

Mary and Me

Mary and Me

DRAMA – Mary And Me. By Wild Productions. Tue 17 – Thur 19 Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 14+. £12/£10 conc.

Ireland. 1986. A 15 year old girl dies giving birth at a grotto. An original and sometime humorous imagining of a young woman’s search for understanding, in a conversation with the statue of the Virgin Mary. Inspired by a true story. Nominated for a Bobby Award, Brighton Fringe 2017.

***** “It’s many a writers’ dream to have their first play be as good as this…a brilliant performer, whose commanding energy fills the space and an exceptionally talented writer. “

DEBATE – I’m Unique…Just Like Everyone Else. Fri 20 Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 14+. £10/£8 conc.

An evening of theatre, film and spoken word. In a world where everyone is as unique as the next person, Omnibus Theatre collaborates with theatre makers Rachael Black and Naomi Joseph in an evening of theatre, film and spoken word as we explore conforming and rebelling in today’s world.

DRAMA – I Walk In Your Words. By Kristine Landon-Smith & Associates in collaboration with Tamasha Theatre. Sat 21 Oct, 7.30pm. For ages 14+. £12 / £10 conc.

Three very different personal testimonies. Funny and poignant, this interview-based verbatim theatre piece challenges cultural stereotyping. Hear true stories of identity and belonging that are all at once poignant, unpredictable, tender, and funny.

A Cracked Plaster Sky

A Cracked Plaster Sky

DRAMA – A Cracked Plaster Sky. By Kay Adshead. Tue 24- Sat 28 Oct, 7.30pm. £15/£12 conc.

Informed and inspired by real stories of working women in street prostitution, Kay Adshead’s new play tells the irreverent and painfully amusing story of Grace, and the voice inside her head. A voice that, despite poverty, violence, imprisonment, estrangement and despair, won’t shut up. Told over 70 years, it proposes a different way of being and reveals other shining universes.

MUSIC – Mosaic. Sun 8 Oct, 4pm. £10 / £5 conc for under 25s

Led by 2015 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize winner and British vibraphonist Ralph Wyld, Mosaic’s repertoire consists of original musi inspired by a wide variety of sources, from artist Paul Klee to Aldershot Town Football Club. The band seamlessly blends elements of contemporary jazz and chamber music in exciting and unexpected ways.

MUSIC – Beethoven’s Quartet Journey. Dante Quartet with David Timson. Sun 15 Oct, 4pm. £15 /£12 conc/£5 for under 25s

Actor David Timpson represents Beethoven in this thrilling concert-drama, with the Dante Quartet performing all 3 of Beethoven’s great ‘Razumovsky Quartets. Beethoven was the ultimate non conformist. In a time when composers were humble employees, Beethoven insisted on being treated as an equal. After suffering deblilitating hearing loss, he went on to create many of his greatest works while totally deaf, insisting to his critics that he was “writing music for a later age”. As featured on BBC Radio 4

MUSIC – Jesse Sebastian Flamenco. Sun 22 Oct, 4pm. £10 / £5 conc under 25s.

Flamenco is music on the edge. It is passion only just restrained, emotion only just contained by form. It is wild, subversive, elemental, a flight to the death in music and dance. Jesse Sebastian returns as part of Perception Festival with special guests for no less than the fifth time.

FUN PALACE WEEKEND. Sat 7 – Sun 8 Oct, 11am – 4pm.

Science relies on those brave enough to be revolutionary, to go against the word of the day. Part of Perception 2017, our Omnibus’s Youth Theatre, Actors Alive scientists launch the weekend with a bang with their immersive show. Get stuck into the experiments and crafts around the building, and then stop for some delicious themed refreshments in our cafe-bar. The Omnibus Fun Palace will have something for everyone, of all ages, embracing the fun and creative nature of the national Fun Palaces movement.


Box Office: Tel: 020 7498 4699

Email: [email protected]

Online: www.omnibus-clapham.org

Omnibus Theatre, 1 Northside, Clapham Common, London, SW4 0QW

Twitter: @Omnibus_Theatre

Facebook: @OmnibusTheatre

Instagram: omnibus_theatre

Full casting announced for World premiere of Cilla The musical



Andrew Lancel and Carl Au join the cast of Cilla the Musical written by BAFTA® award winning Jeff Pope, with it’s world premiere at the Liverpool Empire on 7th September.

Bill Kenwright’s new musical features: Andrew Lancel (Brian Epstein); Carl Au (Bobby); Amy Bridges (Rose Willis); Gemma Brodrick-Bower (Pauline); Paul Broughton (John White); Bill Caple (Ringo Starr); Tom Christian (Kenny Willis); Tom Dunlea (Hutch); Pauline Fleming (Big Cilla); Joshua Gannon (Paul McCartney); Billie Hardy (Pat); and Michael Hawkins (John Lennon).

They join the previously announced Kara Lily Hayworth as Cilla, who beat thousands of hopefuls in nationwide open auditions for the coveted role.

The musical reunites Tom Dunlea, Michael Hawkins and Gemma Brodrick-Bower, all of whom starred in Jeff Pope’s original ITV mini-series Cilla, on which the musical is based. It also reunites Andrew Lancel with the role of Epstein, which he played on stage to great critical acclaim in Epstein – The Man Who Made The Beatles. Andrew is best known to TV audiences as super-villain Frank Foster in Coronation Street and as DI Neil Manson in the long-running ITV television series The Bill.

The legendary Merseybeat sound is authentically performed live on stage by the cast who are completed by: Alan HowellJay OsbourneAlex HarfordWill KinnonJenny MurphyTom Sowinski; and Christopher Weeks.

CILLA – THE MUSICAL is the spectacular and heart-warming musical adaptation of the critically acclaimed hit ITV television series by Bafta-Award winner Jeff Pope (The MoorsidePhilomenaFrom The Cradle To The GraveMrs Biggs and the acclaimed Little Boy Blue which had ITV audiences glued to their screens). It tells the extraordinary story of the ordinary girl from Liverpool whose teenage dreams of stardom lead her to becoming one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers of all time.

It’s an introduction by a young John Lennon to music mogul Brian Epstein that changes Priscilla White’s life forever. By the age of just 25 she would be known as singer and TV Star Cilla Black, Number One selling artist and at the fore-front of the Brit-Pop music scene. The musical score is the ultimate soundtrack to the 60’s including Cilla’s greatest hits Anyone Who Had a HeartAlfie and Something Tells MeTwist and Shout by the Beatles, California Dreamin by The Mamas and The Papas’ and many more.

Cilla – The Musical is produced by Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield, alongside Executive Producer Robert Willis




Liverpool Empire Theatre                                            atgtickets.com/liverpool

07-16 September                                                            0844 871 3017

Edinburgh Playhouse                                                   atgtickets.com/edinburgh

19 – 23 September                                                          0844 871 3014

Milton Keynes Theatre                                                  atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes

26 – 30 September                                                          0844 871 7652


Mayflower Theatre, Southampton                                 mayflower.org.uk

03 – 07 October                                                  023 80 711811

New Alexandra Theatre Birmingham                            atgtickets.com/birmingham

10 – 14 October                                                              0844 871 3011

Blackpool, Opera House                                               wgbpl.co.uk

17 – 21 October                                                  0844 856 1111

New Theatre, Cardiff                                                    newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

31 October – 04 November                                              029 2087 8889

New Wimbledon Theatre                                              atgtickets.com/wimbledon

07 – 11 November                                                          0844 871 7646

Regent Theatre, Stoke                                                  atgtickets.com/stoke

14 – 18 November                                                          0844 871 7649

Palace Theatre, Manchester                                          atgtickets.com/manchester

21 – 25 November                                                          0844 871 3019

Bradford, Alahambra Theatre                                       bradford-theatres.co.uk

28 November – 02 December                                          01274 432 000

Dartford Orchard Theatre                                             orchardtheatre.co.uk

16 – 20 January                                                             01322 220 000

York, Grand Opera House                                            atgtickets.com/york

23 – 27 January                                                             0844 871 3024

Glasgow, Kings Theatre                                               atgtickets.com/glasgow

30 January – 03 February                                                0844 871 7648

Dublin, Bord Gais Energy Theatre                                bordgaisenergytheatre.ie

06 – 10 February                                                            ROI: 0818 719 377

UK: 0844 847 2455

Oxford, New Theatre                                                    atgtickets.com/oxford

13 – 17 February                                                            0844 871 3020

Royal & Derngate, Northampton                                   royalandderngate.co.uk

20 – 24 February                                                            01604 624 811

Newcastle, Theatre Royal                                             theatreroyal.co.uk

27 February – 03 March                                                  0844 811 2121

Chester, Storyhouse                                                     storyhouse.com

05 – 10 March                                                                01244 409 113

Bristol Hippordrome                                                    atgtickets.com/bristol

13 – 17 March                                                                0844 871 3012

Woking, New Victoria Theatre                                      atgtickets.com/woking

20 – 24 March                                                                0844 871 7645

More tour dates to be confirmed soon.

Punchdrunk celebrate 200th performance of ‘Sleep No More’ in Shanghai with release of cinematic trailer

Punchdrunk Sleep No More Shanghai

Punchdrunk International and co-producers SMG Live today release a cinematic trailer to celebrate the 200th performance of their award-winning production of Sleep No More in Shanghai. The film offers a rare glimpse of the sell-out show.

Sleep No More broke all box office records when it opened, becoming the fastest selling theatrical production in the city. To date, over 58,000 tickets have been sold. Tickets are currently sold out until the end of September, with more due to be released soon. Whilst still in its first year, Sleep No More is already the third longest running show in Chinese theatre history. It has become a trail-blazer for British theatre finding success in new territories.

The Sleep No More experience is closely guarded by the company. By sharing the cinematic trailer, audiences who may not get the chance to see the show in Shanghai can take a look at the ambitious production.

Punchdrunk International’s visceral, tactile and darkly cinematic telling of Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Macbeth, spans five floors of a vast, specially constructed building in the Jing’An district of the city.

This is the first time an immersive show of this size has been performed in China. To create this production, the original creative team have collaborated with Chinese co-producers SMG Live and Chinese artists. The production shows the world of 1930s Shanghai in sumptuous cinematic detail, and has attracted a devoted network of followers, some of who have seen the show more than 70 times.

The creative team for Punchdrunk’s SLEEP NO MORE is Felix Barrett (Co-Direction, Co-Design and Lighting), Maxine Doyle (Co-Direction and Choreography), Livi Vaughan and Beatrice Minns (Co-Design),Stephen Dobbie (Sound Design), David Israel Reynoso (Costume Design) and Colin Nightingale (Creative Producer).

SLEEP NO MORE is performed by an international company, including many long-term Punchdrunk collaborators alongside a host of some of the most exciting and innovative performers China has to offer.


The production is sold out until the end of September 2017. For information on the release of new tickets visit http://www.sleepnomore.cn

Venue: The McKinnon Hotel, 1013 West Beijing Road, Shanghai

Pricing: Wed – Thu evening show, RMB 590

Fri – Sat evening show, RMB 690

Sat – Sun matinee show, RMB 590

In addition a strictly limited number of VIP tickets will be available for all performances.

VIPs receive Fast Pass entry and a complimentary drink on arrival for a supplementary payment of ¥80 RMB.

Bristol wins big at Edinburgh Fringe – Bristol Old Vic Ferment supported shows triumphant at iconic festival

Bristol Old Vic is heralding a bumper year of success for Bristol and South West artists who have each been supported by the theatre’s Ferment initiative – a year round quest to find, support and nurture local talent. Ferment provides local artists with an opportunity to explore their theatrical ideas in an ongoing dialogue with audiences and recent projects have proved a triumph with critics and audiences north of the border at the iconic Edinburgh Fringe festival.
Ferment supported successes this year include:
  • A Fringe First and The Stage Edinburgh Awards for Made in Bristol success story The  Wardrobe Ensemble with Education, Education, Education, which returns to Bristol Old Vic in November
  • Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas’ Palmyra wins Total Theatre Award while their second piece, Eurohouse is labelled a must-see
  • Viki Browne’s Help! tackles mental health at the Fringe and heralded a 4-star hit.
  • Idiot Child’s What if the plane falls out of the sky? reviewed as “a wee gem of a show”
  • Christopher Harrisson’s The North! The North! scores a flurry of brilliant reviews and described as “intelligent, exhilarating and strikingly original and moving”

Each of the shows has been supported in bespoke ways by Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment initiative – whether though financial support, free rehearsal space, creative feedback or a professional platform during the highly respected and often imitated Ferment Fortnights which occur each January and July at Bristol Old Vic. These nights allow work at various stages of development to be presented in front of an audience for feedback before being taken to the next stage.

By inviting artists whose work spans genre and form to experiment, play and make the theatre of tomorrow, Ferment continues to develop these vital local voices by offering tailored advice to creatives both emerging and established, and works closely with them through the development process.

Emma Bettridge, Ferment Producer said: “I insufferably bang on about the importance of supporting an artists’ process. For an artist to be given the space around an idea to let it breathe, and for Ferment to be able to properly support that process, the idea really does become the very best it can be. I’m so, so thrilled with the work we’ve backed this year. These works are proudly shining in a sea of over 3000 other shows A DAY. This is epic. It is proof that the recipe works; discover the idea, flesh it out, give it space and support and time and belief and there you have it – work of exceptional quality standing tall amongst the very best out there.

Bristol audiences can see The Wardrobe Ensemble’s award-winning Education, Education, Education at Bristol Old Vic this November.

Education, Education, Education runs from 1-4 November at Bristol Old Vic Theatre.
Tickets £15-£10. 7.30pm 

www.bristololdvic.org.uk / 0117 987 7877

What the critics said…
Total Theatre Award WinnerInnovation, Experimentation and Playing with Form.
“Smashing fable about power, ego and war” 4 stars, The Guardian – Lyn Gardner
“Sublime” 4 stars, Whatsonstage.com
“Weird, wonderful” 4 stars, The StageEDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION
The Wardrobe Ensemble won The Stage Edinburgh Award for the second year running.
Fringe First award for Education, Education Education. 
“something special” 4 stars, Time Out – Andrzej Lukowski
“Smartly entertaining” 4 stars, The Guardian- Lyn Gardner
“slick, polished and highly entertaining” The Stage, 4 stars- Natasha Tripney

“a wee gem of a show” The List, 4 stars
“endearing” The Stage, 3 stars
“Hilariously absurd” Exeunt

“do yourself a favour and get down to see Help!” 4 stars, Broadway Baby
“a brave and refreshing production” 4 stars, To Do List

wonderfully playful, intimate and ultimately moving show” 4 stars, The Guardian – Lyn Gardner
timely and refreshing” 4 stars, The Reviews Hub

intelligent, exhilarating, strikingly original and moving, I cannot recommend this play enough” 4 stars, Edfest Magazine
It’s a darkly twisted version of a revenge story… with enough mythical aspects and a good dollop of humour to lift it far above the pack” 5 stars, British Theatre Guide

Global Live Stream Kicks Off 5 SOLDIERS Dance Production’s National Tour of Army Barracks

Rosie Kay [credit Tim Cross]

Rosie Kay [credit Tim Cross]

Rosie Kay [credit Tim Cross]

Rosie Kay Dance Company’s acclaimed production 5 SOLDIERS will be brought to a whole new audience with the live streaming of a performance from a working Army drill hall in central London.

The live stream has been commissioned by The Space as part of its mission to use digital technology to bring great art to wider audiences. Viewers around the world will be able to experience 5 SOLDIERS through YouTube, Facebook Live and on the internet with distribution partners including Sadler’s Wells, The British Army and BBC Arts Digital.

5 SOLDIERS – The Body is the Frontline arrives in London fresh from an award-winning sell out run at [email protected] – the Army’s first ever Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue. It has won a string of ★★★★ and ★★★★★ star reviews for its visceral portrayal of the lives and experiences of a female and four young male soldiers as they undergo training and are deployed in the middle of a brutal conflict.

The live stream on 8 September kicks off a national tour, in association with the Army, that begins with three performances presented in partnership with Sadler’s Wells at the drill hall at London’s Yeomanry House. It will include a post-show discussion where the audience will be able to put questions to a panel including Lt Gen James Bashall CBE, Lt Col Sue Wright former SO1 Arts, choreographer and creator of the show creator Rosie Kay, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive Alistair Spalding and Observer dance critic Luke Jennings.

The performance can be seen live on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/user/rosiekay), Facebook Live (search Rosie Kay Dance Company, Sadler’s Wells, British Army, BBC Arts Digital), at www.5soldiers.co.uk and www.bbc.co.uk/arts at 7.45pm.

Kay said: “It’s vital that we understand what we ask of British soldiers. 5 SOLDIERS gets beyond the uniform to humanise their stories and experiences. The response from audiences, including everyone from veterans to peace activists, has been tremendous.

“Having the live streaming, the BBC distribution, the Army’s support for the Fringe and the national tour is tremendous. It provides us with superb opportunities to reach new audiences with a humanistic portrayal of war; complex, nuanced, uncomfortable-yes, but overall, impassioned and truthful.”

Tickets have already sold out for ThursdayFriday and Saturday’s shows.

The Army sees the arts as providing a means of engaging with sections of the community that rarely come into contact with the military.

Lieutenant Colonel Jo Young, the Army’s head of arts engagement, said: “The commissioning of this broadcast shows yet again that 5 SOLDIERS is a remarkable piece of work and builds on the huge success of [email protected], our first ever Fringe venue.

“There could hardly be a better way to launch a national tour that’s all about creating new links with communities, reaching new audiences and generating public discussion about the role of today’s Army and the lives of its soldiers.

“We are society’s Army and it’s vital that we hold honest and open conversations with society about who we are and what we do. That is something we are doing by supporting artists and performers of all kinds to explore a host of issues including the role of women, racism and equality both within the Army and in society as a whole.”

The national tour will give the public the chance to see 5 SOLDIERS performed at drill halls and Army barracks across England and then take part in Q&A sessions. The tour is being organised in partnership with a variety of arts organisations and theatres.

Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells Artistic Director and Chief Executive, said: “Visceral, thought provoking and compassionate, 5 SOLDIERS is a fine example of dance’s ability to address society’s complex, nuanced and current themes. I’m delighted that Rosie’s important work will reach an even wider audience through The Space’s commission.”

The Space supports some of the most exciting contemporary performing arts including recent dance commissions involving Boy Blue working with Danny Boyle, and Wayne McGregor.

Fiona Morris, Chief Executive and Creative Director of The Space, said: “The Space is delighted to be working with this exciting, innovative Midlands dance company, helping them transform the reach of this powerful new work to online audiences around the UK and beyond. It is incredibly exciting that artists now have opportunities to publish work online that responds to contemporary issues and prompts debate across society.”

Praise for 5 SOLDIERS

  • Last year’s performances at Tramway in Glasgow earned ★★★★★ reviews from The Herald and The Scotsman. It also earned a five-star review in The Observer, a nomination for Best Modern Choreography in the National Dance Awards and topped the Best Dance of 2015 charts in The Observer, The Guardian and The Independent.
  • At this month’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe it won ★★★★ from The List and ★★★★★ from Broadway Baby, Edinburgh Festivals Magazine and the Edinburgh Guide as well as a Summerhall Jawbone Award for ‘Greatest Festival Moments 2017’.
  • Kay (who was the choreographer for the hit film Sunshine on Leith) was raised in Edinburgh and her Rosie Kay Dance Company is based in Birmingham. She undertook detailed research to create 5 SOLDIERS. She joined The 4th Battalion The Rifles for two weeks and experienced battle exercises on Dartmoor and Salisbury Plain. Kay then visited a military rehabilitation centre to learn about the effects of conflict. The professional dancers have all also undergone real military training exercises.

The Old Vic and Sony Music Entertainment announce the release of the Official London Cast Recording of Girl from the North Country.

Girl From The North Country packshot
Girl From The North Country packshot

Girl From The North Country packshot

The Old Vic and Sony Music Entertainment today announced the release of the Official London Cast Recording of Girl from the North Country. Featuring lyrics and music by Bob Dylan, the album was recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios and will be available to buy, download, and stream on 29 September 2017.

Girl from the North Country opened at The Old Vic in July to 5-star reviews and runs until 7 October 2017.

 The album is available to pre-order now on Amazon.

 “A superb cast use Bob’s back catalogue to glorious effect in Conor McPherson’s astonishing cross-section of hope and stoic suffering in Depression-era Minnesota”

***** The Guardian

“This is not, just to set the record straight, Bob Dylan the Musical. You don’t need to know his songs to fall for this play by Conor McPherson, which includes 20 of them. But if you do know them well, as I do, then there are moments when you can just close your eyes and melt into the night”

***** The Times

“This is Dylan like we’ve never heard him before, 20 songs sculpted into plaintive but beautiful new arrangements by Simon Hale. Some numbers are familiar, others less so, but nearly all are delivered so hauntingly well by the 20-strong company that they send shivers down the spine as we hear the lyrics afresh”

***** Evening Standard

“Henderson’s rendition of “Like a Rolling Stone” is laceratingly lovely, performed with vocal might and moral heft”

***** The Independent

“Girl from the North Country is one of the most transporting shows I have seen in years…I came away feeling that Dylan has been writing not a series of songs but an unfolding chronicle”

***** The Observer

“Dylan’s songs expand the emotional palette: direct and gnomic, raging and desiring”

***** The Sunday Times

“The arrangements – by Simon Hale – are ravishing”

***** Time Out

“The effect, as dialogue and song bleed in and out of each other in a fluid, dream-like piece of theatre, is sublime”

**** Metro

“Ballads of Bob make for a Dylan delight”

**** Daily Mail

“The music really makes it. Dylan’s great songs will have you singing into the back of your hand…Dylan fans have no choice but to grab their tickets”

**** The Mail On Sunday

 “Dylan’s songs illuminate the action and the characters at various intervals…it works beautifully”

**** The Daily Express

 “You don’t need to be into Bob Dylan’s music to get bursts of pleasure from Conor McPherson’s new play. But if you do happen to be a Dylan fan, boy are you in for a treat”

**** Radio Times

Written and directed by Conor McPherson, Girl from the North Country is aptly set in Bob Dylan’s hometown of Duluth, Minnesota. It’s 1934 and a community who are living on a knife-edge soon huddle together in the local guesthouse. The owner, Nick, owes more money than he can ever repay, his wife Elizabeth is losing her mind and their daughter Marianne is carrying a child no-one will account for. And, when a preacher selling bibles and a boxer looking for a comeback show up in the middle of the night, things start to spiral beyond the point of no return.

Brought to life by a 20-piece company of actors and musicians, award-winning playwright Conor McPherson beautifully weaves the iconic songbook of Bob Dylan into this new show full of hope, heartbreak and soul.

Conor McPherson said:

“I’m so delighted the brilliant talent of our cast will be captured at Abbey Road Studios. It’s been an honour working with them on Bob Dylan’s incredible songs. The reaction from audiences every night and the clamour for a recording has been overwhelming and is a true testament to their stunning voices.”

Girl from the North Country features songs from every period of Bob Dylan’s catalogue with new musical arrangements by Simon Hale.


  1. Sign On The Window
  2. Went To See The Gypsy
  3. Tight Connection To My Heart
  4. Slow Train Coming/License To Kill
  5. Ballad Of A Thin Man (Instrumental)
  6. I Want You
  7. Blind Willie McTell (Instrumental)
  8. Like A Rolling Stone/To Make You Feel My Love
  9. Like A Rolling Stone (Reprise)/I Want You
  10. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere/Jokerman
  11. Sweetheart Like You/True Love Tends To Forget
  12. Girl From The North Country
  13. Hurricane/All Along The Watchtower/Idiot Wind
  14. Lay Down Your Weary Tune (Instrumental)
  15. Duquesne Whistle/Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)/Is Your Love In Vain?/License To Kill
  16. Tight Connection To My Heart (Underscore/Reprise)
  17. Lay Lady Lay (Instrumental)/Jokerman (Reprise)/Clair De Lune
  18. Forever Young
  19. My Back Pages

Extra dates added and full cast confirmed for the return of Barber Shop Chronicles

Following the sell out run at the National Theatre this summer extra dates have now been added for the return of Inua Ellams’ play Barber Shop Chronicles to the Dorfman this autumn, now opening on 20 November and in repertoire until the 9 January. Tickets go on sale at midday on Thursday 31 August.

The autumn performances will see the same twelve actors returning to the production to reprise their roles; Fisayo AkinadeHammed AnimashaunPeter BankoléMaynard EziashiSimon ManyondaPatrice NaiambanaCyril NriKwami OdoomSule RimiAbdul SalisDavid Webber, and Anthony Welsh.

Ellams’ dynamic play features characters from across the globe as the action journeys from a barber shop in London, to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling. Newsroom, political platform, local hot-spot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world.

Speaking about the play’s return to the National Theatre Inua Ellams said ‘I’m delighted to see Barber Shop Chronicles returning to the Dorfman Theatre this autumn. Bijan’s production perfectly captures the mixture of comedy, intimacy and drama of the different characters from around the globe, bringing to life their intertwining stories as they explore the topic of black masculinity. To have the same cast returning for the autumn is really exciting, they brought so much energy and enthusiasm to the play in the summer I can’t wait to work with the whole team again.’

The play is directed by Bijan Sheibani, with design by Rae Smith, lighting design by Jack Knowles, movement direction by Aline David and sound design by Gareth Fry.

Barber Shop Chronicles is a co-production with Fuel and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Barber Shop Chronicles is co-commissioned by Fuel and the National Theatre.  Development funded by Arts Council England with the support of Fuel, National Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Binks Trust, British Council ZA, Òran Mór and A Play, a Pie and a Pint.

The Dorfman Partner is Neptune Investment Management.


ALICE'S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND. Max Krupski 'The White Rabbit'. Photo by Rah Petherbridge Photography
ALICE'S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND. Max Krupski 'The White Rabbit'. Photo by Rah Petherbridge Photography

ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND. Max Krupski ‘The White Rabbit’. Photo by Rah Petherbridge Photography

The Olivier nominated immersive theatrical experience “ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND” must end its critically acclaimed run at The Vaults in just four weeks, on Saturday 23 September 2017. The bespoke children’s show “ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND” must also end its limited run on Sunday 3 September.

This is the last chance in London to see the smash-hit show which was originally conceived as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel of the same name. Following their London runs, both productions will be staged in China later this year, opening in Shanghai in November 2017.

Audiences tumble down the rabbit hole and experience immersion like never before in this interactive, puppetry-packed, fusion of storytelling, music, circus and spectacle…but this isn’t Alice’s adventure, it’s yours…

Make a series of choices; Eat or drink? Grow or Shrink? And find yourself at the centre of the story as you wander through Wonderland, piecing together the puzzle as to what has happened to Alice who is lost in the looking glass. Be careful as your choice leads you down a completely different path into Wonderland; you might grow to enormous proportions and become one of Wonderland’s elite rubbing shoulders with the highest of playing card suits; or you might shrink to be so small that even border control can’t detect you; take tea at the biggest un-birthday party with the maddest of Hatters; let the Cheshire Cat take you hither or thither or you could even find yourself playing a key part in an underground resistance movement to rise against the fearsome Queen.

“ALICE’S ADVENTURES UNDERGROUND” is written by Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo and directed by Oliver Lansley and James Seager; and produced by Les Enfants Terribles and ebp in association with Creature of London.  Les Enfants Terribles and ebp were nominated for an Innovation Award in The Stage Awards 2017 and also featured on The Stage 100 Theatre Power List.

For more information and to book: www.alice-underground.com

Twitter: @AliceUnderLDN

Facebook: www.facebook.com/UndergroundAlice



The Vaults

Launcelot Street, London, SE1 7AD

Box office:  0844 248 1125 or https://www.alice-underground.com/book

Performances: Until Saturday 23 September 2017

Ticket Prices: £39.00 – £71.50



The Vaults

Launcelot Street, London, SE1 7AD

 Box Office: 0844 248 1125 or https://www.alice-underground.com/book-aiw

Performances: Until Sunday 3 September 2017

Ticket Prices: Adult: £26.50. Children: £15.50. Family Ticket (2 adults, 2 children): £71.00

Rehearsals begins for ‘Ramona Tells Jim’ at the Bush Theatre

Ramona Tells Jim - first day of rehearsals. Photo credit Rebekah Ellerby
Ramona Tells Jim - first day of rehearsals. Photo credit Rebekah Ellerby

Ramona Tells Jim – first day of rehearsals. Photo credit Rebekah Ellerby

Rehearsals begin today at the Bush Theatre for Ramona Tells Jim, the world premiere of a darkly comic play about confession and the gravity of young love by Sophie Wu graduate of the Bush Theatre’s Emerging Writers’ Group.  Ramona Tells Jim opens on 20 September (press night 22 September) and runs until 21 October 2017.

It’s 1998.  Ramona, of Englandshire, is 15 and she’s totally cool. Honestly.  She’s completely cool.  On a wet, midge-riddles geography field-trip she meets Jim, a local laddie wearing an anti-pill fleece.  He’s obsessed with hermit crabs, rock erosion and making homemade Irn-Bru cocktails.

Deep in the Scottish Highlands, Ramona falls for Jimmy’s awkward charm and gets caught in a scandal that will haunt them for years to come.

Fast forward fifteen years and Jim, of the shittiest village in Scotland, has got a girlfriend and something like a functional life, but Ramona still can’t shake the consequences of that fateful trip.  Determined to clear her conscience, she heads back to the Highlands to find that neither her nor Jim’s lives have turned out how they planned.

 Actress and writer Sophie Wu’s debut play, Sophie Wu Is Minging, She Looks Like She’s Dead, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and transferred to Soho Theatre to critical acclaim.  She is currently developing original TV projects with Charlie Brooker’s company, House of Tomorrow, Roughcut and Kudos and has a script commission for Minging Lizzie for Channel 4.

Director Mel Hillyard won the JP Morgan Award for directing in 2015 and spent 6 months at the National Theatre Studio as Resident Director.  Her directing credits include Scarlett (Hampstead Theatre), The Brink (Orange Tree Theatre), The Late Henry Moss (Southwark Playhouse), Love and Information (The Caird Theatre), Hamlet (The Secret Nuclear Bunker – East 15), Hard Shoulders (Latitude Festival), Even Stillness Breathes Softly Against A Brick Wall (Theatre503), In An Instant (Latitude Festival and Theatre503), His Face Her Face and Three Is Company (King’s Head) and Loose Ends (Edinburgh Festival). 

Lucy Sierra’s recent design credits include Ode to Leeds (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Macbeth (Dorfman, National Theatre and schools tour), Young Vic 5 (Young Vic), Cathy (Cardboard Citizens), The Grand Journey (Bombay Sapphire Immersive Experience), A Kid, This Tuesday (Arcola), The Tempest (Royal & Derngate), Giving (Hampstead Theatre, Downstairs), Another World-Losing Our Children to Islamic State (Shed, National Theatre), Calculating Kindness (Camden People’s Theatre), Snow White & Rose Red (Rash Dash and Cambridge Arts Theatre), Abyss (Arcola), Benefit, We Are All Misfits (Cardboard Citizens), We Have Fallen (Underbelly), If You Don’t Let Us Dream, We Won’t Let You Sleep (Royal Court), Sign of the Times (Theatre Royal, Bury), The Bear (Improbable), Sweeny ToddDavid CopperfieldWhite Nights (Octagon, Bolton), Symmetry (Southwark Playhouse), Songs Inside (Gate) and Fewer Emergencies (Oxford Playhouse).

 Ruby Bentall plays Ramona. Her theatre credits include Britten in Brooklyn (Wiltons Music Hall), The Cement Garden (Heritage Arts Company), Peter and Alice (Noel Coward Theatre), Hansel and GretelGriefThe MiracleDNAShoot/Get Treasure/Repeat(all National Theatre), Blue Heart Afternoon (Hampstead Theatre), Remembrance Day (Royal Court Theatre) and Alice (Sheffield Crucible). Television credits include Midsomer MurdersAbsentiaPoldark series 1, 2 and 3, Jekyll and Hyde (ITV), Blandings II ‘Throwing Eggs’The Paradise (BBC), Larkrise to Candleford (BBC), The BillNew TricksLost in AustenOliver Twist (BBC),Doctors (BBC), You Can Choose Your Friends and Holby City. Film credits include Interlude in PragueBikini BlueMr Turner,Robin HoodThe Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler and Tormented.

Joe Bannister plays Jim. His theatre credits include Wild Honey (Hampstead Theatre), As You Like It (National Theatre),Hobson’s Choice (Vaudeville Theatre), King John (Rose Theatre Kingston), Mad World My Masters (ETT Tour/Barbican), The Witch of EdmontonThe Roaring GirlArden of Faversham (RSC Roaring Girls Season), Titus AndronicusA Mad World My Masters (RSC), Chariots of Fire (Gielgud Theatre/Hampstead Theatre), Bloody Poetry (Jermyn Street Theatre) and The Lion in Winter (Theatre Royal Haymarket). His television credits include Howard’s End (BBC) and Endeavour (Mammoth for ITV). His film credits include The Isle.

 Amy Lennox plays Pocahontas. Her theatre credits include Elly in David Bowie’s Lazarus (King’s Cross), Lauren in Kinky Boots(Adelphi Theatre), Cathy in The Last Five Years (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Steph in Tracks (The Miniaturists, Arcola), Woman inThe Pink Bedroom (The Hotel Plays, Defibrillator), Princess Pertunia in Puss in Boots (Hackney Empire), Doralee Rhodes in 9 to 5 The Musical (UK tour), Velcro in Soho Cinders (Soho), Decade (Headlong), Mary Lennox in The Secret Garden (Birmingham Rep), Margot and u/s Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (original London company), Jenny in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie(Assembly Rooms Edinburgh/Royal & Derngate), Wendy in Peter Pan (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Liesl in The Sound of Music(London Palladium) and Sweeney Todd (Royal Festival Hall). Television credits include Sally McColl in Shetland Series 4 (ITV) and Casualty (BBC). Film credits include: Cruz in Wrong Turn 5 (20th Century Fox); Sophie in Cab Ride (Abelle Films Ltd) and Jen in Never Let Me Go (DNA Films).

Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre said; ‘We first encountered an early version of Sophie’s fantastic play back in 2015, when she took part in our very first Emerging Writers’ Group. We invited a group of guests to listen to a sharing of Ramona Tells Jim and the reaction was electric: we knew we had to programme that play. Fast forward two years and we now have our brand new, intimate Studio and what better play to kick off our autumn season than this. Sophie’s work is smart, funny and rude – I can’t wait for Mel and her team to bring it to life.’

 Ramona Tells Jim is supported by Peter Wolff Theatre Trust.