FIRST LOOK: Production Photos: UK Tour of WAIT UNTIL DARK

 Sheffield Theatres: Full cast announced for Eugene ONeill’s Desire Under The Elms

Desire Under The Elms
Desire Under The Elms

Desire Under The Elms

Artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, Robert Hastie, today announced the full cast for Eugene O’Neill’s, Desire Under the Elms, in his inaugural season. Sam Yates directs the previously announced, Olivier Award-winner, Matthew Kelly in the role of Ephraim, and joining him will be Claudia Cadette (Woman), Colin Haigh (Old Farmer/Sheriff) and Tim Dewberry (Man). The company will also include Me’sha Bryan (Young Girl),  Emma Darlow (Fiddler), Aoife Duffin (Abbie Putnam), Theo Ogundipe (Peter), Sule Rimi (Simeon) and Michael Shea (Eben). The production will open on the 25 September with previews from the 20 September and will run until 14 October.

‘If I could, in my dyin’ hour, I’d set it afire an’ watch it burn…’

Ephraim Cabot’s sons work from morning till night, believing his farm will one day be theirs. But everything changes when the old man returns from town with a new wife. This haunting and erotic tragedy is one of the great American plays from Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill.

Eugene O’Neill (1888 – 1936) was one of the greatest American playwrights. His many works for the stage includeBeyond the Horizon, The Emperor Jones, Anna Christie, Strange Interlude, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Iceman Cometh, Long Day’s Journey into Night and A Moon for the Misbegotten. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1936.

Aoife Duffin plays Abbie Putnam. Her theatre work includes Chekhov’s First Play (Dead Centre Theatre Company), The Taming of the Shrew (Shakespeare’s Globe), A Girl is a Half Formed Thing (Corn Exchange and Young Vic), Spring Awakening (Headlong) and The Crucible (Lyric Theatre Belfast). Her television work includes Resistance and Moone Boy; and for film Earthbound, Out of Here What Richard Did, Behold the Lamb and Joy.

Matthew Kelly returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Ephraim. His previous work for the company includesThe History Boys. For theatre, his credits include Toast (Park Theatre & UK tour), VolponeLove’s SacrificeThe Jew of Malta (RSC), Twelfth Night (Liverpool Everyman), To Sir With Love (Royal & Derngate and UK tour), The History Boys (Sheffield Crucible), The Seagull (Southwark Playhouse), God of Carnage(Nuffield, Southampton), Educating Rita (Menier Chocolate Factory and Edinburgh Festival), Legally Blonde, Spamalot (UK tours), Buried Child (Curve Leicester), Waiting For Godot (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Sign Of The Times and Lend Me A Tenor – The Musical (both West End), Comedians (Lyric Hammersmith), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Trafalgar Studios), Troilus and Cressida (Shakespeare’s Globe), Victory (Arcola Theatre), Amadeus (Wilton’s Music Hall), Mirandolina (Manchester Royal Exchange), Endgame (Liverpool Everyman), Forgotten Voices (Riverside Studios) and Of Mice and Men(Birmingham Repertory Theatre and West End – Olivier Award for Best Actor). For television, his work includes Cold Blood, Bleak House, Egypt: The Pharaoh And The Showman and The Temple Of The Sands, Moving On, Benidorm, MI High, My Family At War, Forensic Casebook, City Hospital and Stars in their Eyes; and for film, Showreel, Tribute, Two Stops To Bank and Tortoise.

Theo Ogundipe plays Peter. For theatre, his work includes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (The Old Vic); for the RSC, Cymbeline, King Lear, Hamlet, King Lear and Julius Caesar (also West End and Broadway); and Brave New World(Royal and Derngate). For film his work includes Julius Caesar and Stud Life.

Sule Rimi plays Simeon. His theatre work includes Barber Shop Chronicles (National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse), Mary Stuart, They Drink It in the Congo (Almeida Theatre), The Rolling Stone (Royal Exchange, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Orange Tree Theatre) and Boardergame (NTW). His television work includes Unforgotten, Stella, Crash, Caerdydd and Doctor Who; and for film, Indifferent, Black or White, The Machine and Panic Button.

Michael Shea plays Eben.  His theatre work includes Peter and the Starcatcher (Royal & Derngate, Northampton).  For television, his work includes Derry Girls and for film, The Big Picture and Two Angry Men.

Sam Yates directs. His work for the stage includes Murder Ballad (Arts Theatre), Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe), East is East (Trafalgar Studios and UK tour), The El. Train (Hoxton Hall), Outside Mullingar (Ustinov at Bath Theatre Royal), Billy Liar (Royal Exchange), Cornelius (Finborough Theatre & 59E59 New York), and Mixed Marriage  (Finborough Theatre); and for screen, The Hope Rooms (Winner Grand Prize Future Filmmaker Award, RIIFF 2016), and CymbelineAll’s Well That Ends Well and Love’s Labour’s Lost (The Complete Walk, Shakespeare’s Globe).

Sheffield Theatres                                                                                                                                    Listings


20 September – 14 October

Press night: 25 September

 Crucible Lyceum Studio 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA

Box Office 0114 249 6000 – Mon – Sat 10.00am to 8.00pm

On non-performance days the Box Office closes at 6.00pm.


Season at a glance                                                                                                                                          Listings


14 September – 7 October

Press night: 19 September

At Bush Theatre from 18 October to 25 November



18 October – 4 November

(Press night at Theatr Clwyd on 26 September)



7 December 2017 – 13 January 2018

Press night: 13 December


Theatr Clwyd: Full cast announced for major revival of Jim Cartwright’s The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice

The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice
The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice

The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice

Artistic Director of Theatr Clwyd, Tamara Harvey, today announced the full cast for a major revival of Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Opening in the Anthony Hopkins Theatre on Tuesday 10 October, with previews from Thursday 5 October, the company will be led by Theatr Clwyd Associate, Catrin Aaron, in the lead role of Little Voice. She will be joined by Victoria John (Sadie), Christian Patterson (Mr Boo/Phone Man), Nicola Reynolds (Mari Hoff), Simon Holland Roberts (Ray Say) and Joseph Tweedale (Billy). The production sees Co-Artistic Director of Out Of Joint Theatre, Kate Wasserbergreturn to Theatr Clwyd to direct.

 In a northern town in the 1980s Little Voice hides in her room with her favourite records, away from the chaos of the world outside, with a secret that could change her life – a voice that could make millions. But will she sing? Little Voice is an award-winning comedy about mothers, daughters and finding a voice of your own.

Jim Cartwright is an award-winning writer and his work has been translated into over 35 languages. His plays include Bed (National Theatre), Two (Octagon Theatre/The Young Vic), Eight Miles High (Octagon Theatre) and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (National Theatre/The Aldwych Theatre). He made his directorial debut with Road at The Royal Exchange Theatre and as a director his credits include I Licked a Slag’s Deodorant, Hard Fruit (Royal Court Theatre), Prize Night (Royal Exchange Theatre), A Christmas Fair (Milton Rooms), Mobile Phone Show (National Theatre), The Ancient Secret of Youth and The Five Tibetans, Two2 (The Octagon). His television work includes RoadVroomWedded and June.

Catrin Aaron returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Little Voice. Credits for the company includes Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, All My Sons, Macbeth, Of Mice and Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Silas Marner. Other theatre credits include Henry V (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), The Forsythe Sisters (Gaggle Babble), What People Do and London: Let’s Get Visceral (Old Vic Tunnels) and Tartuffe, The Three Musketeers (Haymarket Theatre Basingstoke). For television, her credits include The Indian Doctor and The Bastard Executioner. For film, her credits include the forthcoming Apostle.

 Victoria John returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Sadie. Credits for the company include Cyrano de Bergerac, All My Sons, The Light of Heart, and A Chorus of Disapproval. Other theatre credits include HIR (Bush Theatre), The Frozen Scream(Birmingham Hippodrome), Treasure (King’s Head Theatre), Reasons for Feeling (Tristan Bates Theatre), and The Real Story of Puss in Boots (Streetwise Fringe, Dubai). Television credits include MirandaCast Offs and Little Britain.

 Christian Patterson returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Mr Boo/Phone Man where his credits include Insignificance, All My Sons, Under Milk Wood, Aristocrats, Equus, and A Christmas Carol. Other theatre credits include My Country (National Theatre), Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), The Merchant of Venice and The Water Babies (Chichester Festival Theatre), Matilda and The Secret Garden (RSC/Aldwych Theatre) and Macbeth (Albery Theatre). For television his credits include PrideMr SelfridgeOutside the Rules, ScoreGrafters, Malice in Wonderland and I Know You Know.

 Nicola Reynolds returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Mari Hoff. Credits for the company include Silas Marner. Other theatre credits include Mother Courage and Her Children (National Theatre Wales), To Sir With Love (Northampton Royal & Derngate and The Touring Consortium), Maid Marion & Her Merry Men (Bristol Old Vic), Under Milk Wood and Tales From The Magic Story Bowl (Bolton Octagon). Television credits include RequiemStellaIdealLucky Bag, Murder and Ready When You Are Mr McGill. For film her credits include Human Traffic, Sex Lives of The Potato Men, Blue Monday.

 Simon Holland Roberts returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Ray Say. Credits for the company include Arden of Faversham, The Taming of the Shrew, and Cyrano De Bergerac. Other theatre credits include The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Saint Joan (Donmar Warehouse), Strife (Chichester Festival Theatre), Of Mice and Men (West Yorkshire Playhouse), and Man is Man (The Steam Industry). For television his credits include Accused, The Street, Shameless, Stepping Up and DaVinci’s Demons and for film The Borrowers and Strictly Ghetto.

 Joseph Tweedale plays Billy. Recent theatre credits include Northanger Abbey (Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds), The Borrowers and Taith (Sherman Theatre), Barnbow Canaries (West Yorkshire Playhouse), UKIP! The Musical (Hell Bent Theatre), Either/Or (Theatre 503), The Tempest and Alice Through the Looking Glass (Quantum Theatre), Dido, Queen of Carthage/King Lear, and A Midsummer Nights Dream (Lazarus Theatre Company). Film credits include Outdoors is Safer, Deadly Dinner Date and Exit.

 Kate Wasserberg is the Co-Artistic Director of Out Of Joint Theatre Company. She was the founding Artistic Director of The Other Room in Cardiff, where her directing credits included The Dying of Today, Play/Silence, Sand and Seanmhair. She returns to Theatr Clwyd where as an Associate Director her credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, Roots, Gaslight, The Glass Menagerie and A History of Falling Things and other credits for the company include All My Sons and Insignificance. Further credits include The Barnbow Canaries (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Ten Weeks (Paines Plough), The Knowledge (Dirty Protest at the Royal Court) and Last Christmas (Edinburgh Festival). As Associate Director of the Finborough Theatre, her credits include Mirror Teeth, The ManSons of York, Little Madam, The Representative, and The New Morality.

Theatr Clwyd                                                                                                                                              Listings

Raikes Lane, Mold CH7 1YA

 Anthony Hopkins Theatre


Thursday 5 – Saturday 28 October

Press Night: Tuesday 10 October   

Matinee performances:

Saturdays at 2.30pm

Wednesday 18 October at 2.30pm

Thursday 26 October at 2.30pm

Box Office: 01352 701521

Tickets £25 – £10

Twitter: @Clwydtweets Facebook: /TheatrClwyd

 Season at a glance                                                                                                                                          Listings


Theatr Clwyd – Emlyn Williams Theatre

Thursday 21 September – Saturday 14 October

Press Night: Tuesday 26 September


Emlyn Williams Theatre

Wednesday 18 October – Saturday 4 November

Press Night: Thursday 19 October


The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto

Anthony Hopkins Theatre

Friday 24 November – Saturday 20 January

Press Night: Tuesday 28 November

THE SNOW QUEEN (World Premiere)

Emlyn Williams Theatre

Friday 15 December – Saturday 6 January

Press night: Monday 18 December

Traverse Theatre to continue championing representation and inclusivity in Autumn/Winter season



  • Traverse Festival 2017 audience numbers reach nearly 40,000
  • Associate Director Gareth Nicholls to direct Autumn/Winter world premiere of award-winning play How To Disappear by Morna Pearson – an important story of the personal consequences of austerity
  • Launch of new under-30s ticket type to increase theatre access to young people
  • Class Act to travel to India as part of the British Council’s UK/India 2017 Season, supported by the British Council, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government
  • Edinburgh Class Act to include Gaelic school for the first time
  • Traverse Theatre to work with Young Carers on new creative project

Traverse Festival 2017

In this, the 70th anniversary year of the Fringe, the Traverse Theatre has delivered a defiant programme representing narratives that are often silenced or side-lined – provoking crucial conversation and placing powerful contemporary theatre at the heart of cultural life.

Audience response reflected the strength of the programme – taking in 17 productions, among them eight world premieres, three European premieres and five Scottish premieres – with total audience numbers reaching 39,385 across the 297 production performances.

The programme received a trio of Fringe First awards (Letters to MorrisseyNassim and Adam), two Herald Angel awards (Adam and Zinnie Harris), a Scottish Arts Club Award (Adam), a Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award (The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk), plus an Amnesty Freedom of Expression shortlist for Adam, a Total Theatre Award shortlist for Wild Bore, and a Holden Street Theatres award shortlist for Locker Room Talk.

And so, as we say goodbye to #TravFest17 – a landmark programme representing a wide range of experiences, voices and dramatic forms – so we look towards our Autumn/Winter season, where the Traverse will continue to champion representation and inclusivity in its myriad forms.

Orla O’Loughlin, Traverse Artistic Director, and Linda Crooks, Traverse Executive Producer say:

‘The Traverse is proud to stand with the best of both Scottish, UK and global artists in order to shine a light on stories and experiences that have been too long in the shadows and to continue to champion work that is not afraid to ask the difficult questions about who we are and how we might affect change. We are delighted to reflect on how this year’s Festival programme has so powerfully resonated – it is clear that the inclusive body of work has made a deep impact on our audience and industry peers, and has actively been embraced as a direct challenge to the status quo and the troubled political times in which we live. We recognise there is so much more work to be done on the issue of representation and reach and this year’s Festival programme has only galvanised our commitment to do more and be better.’

Autumn/Winter 2017

Marking his first main stage production since joining the Traverse as Associate Director in June this year, Gareth Nicholls will direct the world premiere of award-winning play How to Disappear(the Catherine Johnson Award for ‘Best Play’) by Traverse Associate Artist Morna Pearson. How to Disappear tells an important story of the personal consequences of austerity, one-size-fits-all disability assessments and the limitations of the UK’s mental health care. The story speaks of the real and tangible effects of governmental policies on the lives of individuals and families – exploring the idea that even the smallest of changes can turn people’s lives upside down. It marks Pearson’s main stage return following The Artist Man and the Mother Woman, and is once again laced with her pitch-black humour with and huge heart.

More seldom-told tales are brought to the stage with COAL – choreographer Gary Clarke’s powerful piece of dance theatre about life at the coal face; and, 30 years since its UK premiere at the Traverse, a new adaptation of Manfred Karge’s Man to Man tells the story of a woman – ravished by war, poverty and hunger – forced to adopt the identity of her dead husband in order to survive in Nazi Germany.

The Coolidge Effect uses a blend of storytelling, poetry and science to examine how pornography affects our mental health; while Damned Rebel Bitches celebrates the independent, risk-taking women of the war years’ generation, performed by an international and intergenerational cast aged 30-75. Plus, the return of Dive Queer Party for special Halloween- and Christmas-themed events, celebrating the very best of queer performance with their own inimitable energy.

Traverse co-productions include Jury Play, in which the award-winning Grid Iron imagine a change in how we deliver courtroom justice, inspired by the pioneering work of Dr Jenny Scott of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research. Turning Traverse 1 into a courtroom, barriers are deconstructed and jurors take centre stage, with audience members given the opportunity to ‘opt in’ to the jury. Later in the season there is Our Fathers, a co-production with Magnetic North, a new play by Traverse Associate Artist Rob Drummond and Magnetic North’s Artistic Director Nicholas Bone, inspired by Edmund Gosse’s Victorian memoir about growing up in an evangelical Christian family. It sees Drummond and Bone – both sons of clergyman – exploring belief and how to disagree with someone you love.

The Traverse is also delighted to continue its relationship with multi award-winning theatre maker Shona Reppe – following her 2016 CATS Award win for ‘Best Production for Children and Young People’ and ‘Best Design’ for previous festive family smash-hit, Black Beauty – with a Christmas production of the double award-winning Cinderella (Total Theatre Award and Ipay Victor Award) to entertain families in Traverse 2.

The Traverse will also seek to encourage inclusivity within its audience with the launch of a newunder-30s ticket type, aimed at increasing theatre access to young people.

Gareth Nicholls, Traverse Associate Director, says:

I’m absolutely delighted to be directing Morna Pearson’s award winning play How to Disappear as my first Traverse main stage production. This blisteringly funny piece combines a thrilling mix of magic realism, black humour and biting social commentary to explore how people disappearing on the fringes of society survive. With food banks in full use and a forgotten many increasingly falling through the cracks, How to Disappear is a uniquely theatrical play that asks vital questions about the world we live in. I’m relishing the opportunity to present it to audiences this Christmas.’

Creative Learning

Our creative learning and engagement programme continues to offer important opportunities to a breadth of the community, aiming to bring as many people as possible within the walls of the theatre – schools, colleges, universities, new audiences, artists and professionals.

The season ahead will see our iconic education project, Class Act, travel to India, to work in partnership with RAGE Theatre, Mumbai for Class Act Mumbai. During January 2018 it’ll see Scottish playwrights and directors collaborating with Indian artists to inspire school-aged young people from Mumbai to write their own short-plays, providing an innovative creative learning experience, cultural collaboration and advocating access to the arts for all. Class Act Mumbai is part of the British Council’s UK/India 2017 Season and is supported by the British Council, Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government.

In addition, Edinburgh Class Act 2017 will this year include a Gaelic class from James Gillespie’s High School for the very first time, with the support of Bòrd na Gàidhlig and National Theatre of Scotland, alongside Drummond High School, Liberton High School and The Royal High School. These pupils will work with acclaimed Scottish playwrights, before having their work showcased on the Traverse stage in late November.

In addition, our Open Submissions window opened on the 1 August, with dozens of script submissions received so far. Finished, full-length scripts from emerging playwrights in the UK and Ireland can be submitted electronically until 30 September. Full details of the submissions guidelines are on the Traverse website.


Elsewhere, with the Traverse’s December production, How to Disappear exploring important themes relating to the social care system, the Traverse will connect with young people fromEdinburgh Young Carers. This will mark the beginning of a new relationship, leading to a large scale collaborative arts project slated to begin in early 2018, working to present young carers voices through different creative mediums. In Traverse 2, we will host Shona Reppe’s Cinderella, including a ‘Relaxed Performance’, with the intention of keeping our stages and stories open and accessible to all.


Traverse Young Writers will also return in September, focussing on supporting emerging talent in young people aged 18-25. This season the Young Writers course will work with award-winning playwright Lynda Radley, along with Traverse Associate Directors to hone their playwriting skills. We also have a new Writers’ Group, led by Zinnie Harris, to begin in September, with the aim of connecting with writers representing a diverse range of experience and stories, and exploring how different forms of performance/writing can collaborate to create bold, new theatre.


Pleasance Celebrates 33 years at Venue 33 with an Award-Winning, Landmark Festival

Pleasance Theatre Trust celebrated 33 years at Venue 33 and 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August with an ambitious, multi-award winning programme of theatre, comedy, dance and circus: an incredible 5074 performances of 258 shows in 27 venues, including a new addition of the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Ticket sales were up every day of the Festival compared to 2016 with total ticket sales up by 5 per cent compared to 2016 (12 per cent including the tickets sold for EICC shows). This represents a record number of tickets sold at the Pleasance!

A registered charity, showcasing the best of established and discovering new talent in the arts industry since 1985, the Pleasance invests over £130,000 every year in young talent on and off the stage through various Pleasance Futures initiatives, including Young Pleasance, XYP (ex-Young Pleasance), Media Futures, Pleasance Scratch, Kidzone and the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund for theatre and comedy.

Recipients of the Fund for theatre, Unpolished Theatre, were awarded a highly coveted Fringe First award for their debut show, Flesh and Bone as well as Holden Street Theatres Award which guarantees a 5 week long run at the Adelaide Fringe next February. A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) by Silent Uproar and Education, Education, Education by The Wardrobe Ensemble topped Pleasance’s award list with a Fringe First each. The latter also received The Stage’s Best Ensemble Award whilst political comedy for children, Me and My Bee, received the Stepladder Award from Les Enfants Terribles as well as the Fringe Sustainable Practice Award 2017!

The magnificent Theatre Re received the ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award, following glowing reviews of their latest offering, The Nature of Forgetting.

Lauren Pattison and Sophie Willan won a Herald Angel each with Terry Alderton scooping the Malcolm Hardee Award for Comic Originality.

Almost half of all Comedy Awards nominees were presenting a show at the PleasanceJordan BrookesSophie Willan and John Robins were all nominated in the Best Comedy Show 2017 category with Darren HarriottEd Night, Kwame Asante, Lauren Pattison and Natalie Palamides getting a nod in the Best Newcomer 2017 category.

The Best Comedy Show went to John Robins (co-shared, for the first time ever, with Hannah Gadsby) and Best Newcomer to Natalie Palamides for LAID.

Ken Cheng won the 10th annual Dave’s Funniest Joke Of The Fringe with: “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.”

This August saw the Pleasance launching its own in-house award, The Indies. Named after Christopher Richardson’s (founder of the Pleasance) beloved dog, Indie, the award is voted for by the companies and artists themselves. This year’s winners are:

Best Comedy, Cabaret or Variety Show – Joseph Morpurgo: Hammerhead

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Show – Testosterone

Best Comedy Cabaret or Variety Newcomer – Evelyn Mok: Hymen Manoeuvre

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Newcomer – Poll Function

Best Poster Design – Skin

Spirit Of The Pleasance – The Dreamer

Pleasance shows received a record number of four and five star reviews: 454 four stars (and 7 four-and-half stars) and 163 five stars! Lauren Pattison topped the comedy chart with 3 five star reviews and 8 four stars (Phil Wang takes the second spot with 11 four stars!) and Nature of Forgetting took the theatre’s top seat with 8 five stars and 4 four stars (A Super Happy Story trails in second position with 7 five stars and 4 four stars).

This year, Pleasance Theatre Trust, a charity itself, supported various charities through special, one-off events. Requiem for Aleppo, a dance show at the EICC with music by David Cazalet and choreography by Jason Mabana raised £15,000 for Syria Relief. As education is the main priority for the charity, the money will support the building of the sixth training centre for teachers in Syria.

Last year marked 25 years of the Pleasance’s partnership with Waverley Care, Scotland’s HIV and Hepatitis C charity which has now raised over £460,000 and is in the running for the Best Partnership Award at the Scottish Fundraising Awards! All proceeds from ticket sales from both the Pleasance’s annual Tartan Ribbon Comedy Benefit as well as Amusical, a special night of comedy celebrating all things West End, also went to support Waverley Care.

Anthony Alderson, Pleasance Director said: “The 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has been one of the best festivals I can remember. The quality of the work created is unprecedented with 3 Pleasance Fringe Firsts and a Pleasance act winning in both Comedy Awards categories in this landmark year.

Our incredible staff have pulled off an amazing festival and we look forward to sharing another brilliant programme with you next year!”

School of Rock The Musical to host BBC Radio 2 Children In Need Gala

The cast of School of Rock The Musical with Pudsey (photo by Toby Mansfield)
The cast of School of Rock The Musical with Pudsey (photo by Toby Mansfield)

The cast of School of Rock The Musical with Pudsey (photo by Toby Mansfield)

On 6 November 2017Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Oliver award-wining School of Rock will host this year’s BBC Radio 2’s BBC Children in Need Gala at the New London Theatre. Hosted by Ken Bruce and the charity’s mascot Pudsey, at least 50% of the proceeds from the Gala will go to BBC Children in Need’s 2017 Appeal going on to make a difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.  The Gala audience will see BBC Radio 2 presenters, VIP’s and members of the public join forces to rock out with the cast and celebrate a truly memorable night.  Tickets range from £50 – £140 and are available from

Based on the iconic hit movie and with a rocking new score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, School of Rock – The Musical follows slacker and wannabe rock star Dewey Finn turn a class of straight-A 10 year old students into an ear popping, riff scorching, all conquering rock band!  Dewey poses as a substitute teacher at a prestigious prep school to make ends meet, and when he discovers his fifth graders’ musical talents, he enlists his class to form a rock group and conquer the Battle of the Bands. As Dewey falls for the beautiful headmistress, can he and his students keep this special assignment secret as they learn to fully embrace the power of rock?

For the fourth time since its West End premiere School of Rock – The Musical recently announced an extension to its West End run, now booking to 13 January 2019 and later this month Andrew Lloyd Webber will welcome a new kids cast to his smash hit show as it approaches it’s first birthday.  In New York, the Broadway production is now in its second year continues at the Winter Garden Theater.

Based on the smash hit 2003 film of the same title, and with a cast led by Gary Trainor as Dewey Finn, School of Rock features music from the movie, as well as new music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber with lyrics by Glenn Slater and a book by Julian Fellowes.  School of Rock – The Musical is directed by Laurence Connor with choreography by JoAnn M. Hunter, set and costume designs by Anna Louizos, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Mick Potter, music supervision by John Rigby with Matt Smith as musical director.

Produced by Paramount Pictures, the 2003 hit film School of Rock was directed by Richard Linklater and starred Jack Black in a career-defining performance.

School of Rock — The Musical is produced in the West End by Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Really Useful Group and Warner Music Group & Access Industries with Madeleine Lloyd Webber as Executive Producer.


Theatre:                    New London Theatre, 166 Drury Lane, London WC2B 5PW

Gala performance:     6 November 2017 at 7pm

Tickets:                     From £50 up to £140 VIP Packages which includes interval and post show drinks and the chance meet and greet the cast after the performance

Box Office:                0844 811 0052


Twitter & Instagram: @SchoolofRockuk



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Howard Brenton, Interview: ‘Rome had crazed emperors, now America has one as it declines towards its fall.’

As the great Howard Brenton’s new play The Blinding Light arrives in the West End, we had a chat about age, Trump, being a writer and Strindberg.

At a British theatre-lover’s dream dinner party, Howard Brenton should be the first guest on the list. His dozens of plays include Epsom Downs, The Romans in Britain, In Extremis and Laurence After Arabia. Brenton has also published a novel and written for TV, including Spooks. He is one of theatre’s best people.

Howard .jpg

Howard Brenton in rehearsals

We are talking during a week of rehearsals for The Blinding Light. Brenton gives no hint of anything readily except the sharpest mind and an unwavering honesty.

How is 2017 treating him, I ask? “Very well,” he says. “Though I’ve got old-man-in-a-hurry-itis – mid-seventies, so much I want to write, a sense of time running out.”

The Blinding Light is a 90-minute thriller about Strindberg’s Inferno period and charts Strindberg’s notorious breakdown in Paris in 1896, known as his ‘Inferno period’. The production is the first play of Tom Littler’s debut season at Jermyn St Theatre and a world premiere.

What does he like about Jermyn St Theatre? “It’s a very romantic theatre, tiny but in the middle of the West End. It has a great potential to radiate out invention and new work, says Brenton. “It’s also just about the same size as Strindberg’s Intimate Theatre in Stockholm – and look what that achieved!”

Who, I wonder, inspires him? “The conductor Daniel Barenboim. He’s a great musician – his first recording of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, made in his twenties, is an evergreen classic and he’s become the greatest living Wagner conductor,” he says quickly. “He’s Jewish and, with the Palestinian activist and scholar Edward Said, he founded the wonderful East-West Divan orchestra, made up of young Palestinian and Israeli musicians. Some may call him naive but I love his big heartedness, his faith that art can heal.”

Stindberg laid the foundations for modern drama and Brenton speaks with authority on the Scandinavian master. A born theatre-buff – he reels off a concise history of the Swedish dramatist. “Strindberg gave us two traditions, often at war with each other. His work is, roughly speaking, in two periods, either side of his notorious breakdown in Paris in 1896, his ‘Inferno period’ – the subject of The Blinding Light’,” he explains.

“Before that crisis he developed an intense naturalism in plays like ‘The Father’, ‘Creditors’ and, most famously, ‘Miss Julie’. Then, having abandoned the theatre for four years, he began a series of fantastical plays which founded modern expressionism – the great examples are ‘A Dream Play’, ‘The Ghost Sonata’ and the magnificent, all but unstageable, ‘To Damascus’. He went from one extreme to another – which was typical of him,” he goes on, “but he always wanted to make the theatre more real, at first by being true to the minutiae of everyday life – the famous cooking on stage in ‘Miss Julie’– then by trying to stage psychological states so vividly you think you are dreaming wide awake.  By ‘realist’ or ‘expressionist’ means he wanted audiences to see the world in a new light …  the Strindberg Project.”

His mood is serious, too, when we talk about Donald Trump; this is the week that the president’s business panel resigned. Then the arts and humanities. Then he sacked the lot. “Rome had crazed emperors, now America has one as it declines towards its fall. We’ll get dragged down with it unless we do something radical.”

What next for this remarkable playwright? “I’ve two big new plays going on in the new year, one at Hampstead Theatre and the other opening the new Nuffield Theatre Southampton. So, alongside The Blinding Light this is a hectic Summer of discussions with directors, rewrites and casting. I’m a very lucky playwright.”

Is it easy being a writer, I ask. “Yes,” he smiles. “The stress will, I’m sure, finally do me in but I love it so.”

The Blinding Light runs at Jermyn Street theatre, London, until 14 October.


Box office: 020-7287 2875.

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Remarkable Invisible, Matt Addis, Interview: ‘When the vast majority of actors are based in London it makes complete sense to hold auditions there.’

The final show of  Theatre by the Lake’s summer season is something of a treasure: a new play from Laura Eason, writer/producer of House of Cards and author of  Sex With Strangers, one of the most-performed plays in the USA in recent times. 

I thought it would be good to chat to Matt Addis who is starring in domestic drama Remarkable Invisible about his role, the production and other things.

‘FYI’ Addis has previously appeared in War Horse at National Theatre and Boeing-Boeing at Comedy Theatre among other things.

Here is what we discussed.  (see below, obvs.)

Hi Matt! How is 2017 treating you?

It’s been great thanks. I’ve worked on some awesome projects and am delighted to find myself back in Keswick for the summer.

How would you describe your state of mind while rehearsing ‘Remarkable Invisible’?

We had a somewhat intense process for this production – just over 2 weeks in the rehearsal room, which is rather short for a new play. I try to keep energised with plenty of fresh air and exercise. I’ve also been immersing myself in the world of the play as much as possible, listening to US radio stations, reading novels my character might read, and creating playlists of his favourite music.

Creativity can sometimes flourish in the absence of people demanding it, right?

I think creativity flourishes where it is encouraged, or often where circumstances demand creative solutions.

Is it easy being an actor?

There are many great joys in our line of work, and many challenges – sometimes just finding work you want to do can be tricky.

Keswick is quite special place isn’t it. What are you experiences of the spending time there?

I first worked here in 2011, and fell in love with the town then. I’ve been back as often as I can since, both for work and holidays. If it was practical to live here and do what I do, I’d move here tomorrow.

What are your thoughts on members of Equity have condemning regional theatres for holding auditions and rehearsals in London?

I live outside London and travel there for auditions regularly. When the vast majority of actors are based in London it makes complete sense to hold auditions there. I enjoyed rehearsing one of Keswick’s summer shows in London – I got to spend more time at home with family, and recorded a couple of audiobooks over the weekends. I also very much enjoyed rehearsing my second show in Keswick, and racing up fells after rehearsals.

Are actors difficult people to be friends with?

Definitely not. We’re often very social creatures who are comfortable being open, and good at maintaining friendships.

Have you ever left a negative review for something you’ve bought online?

Yes, I think honest reviews help us all when we’re online.

What kind of man are you?

I’m a strong-minded, healthy, vegetarian feminist liberal.

The Rep season at Theatre by The Lake aside, what’s happening next for you?

November sees me back in the studio for more audiobooks, and then hopefully heading overseas for more theatre.

Is there anything that you’d like to add?

Come and see the show, it’s on until November 4!

Remarkable Invisible is on at Theatre By The Lake in Keswick until November 4

First Look:  Production Images: Hairspray The Musical

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‘Man to Man’ looks quite good doesn’t it.

Good news everyone: Wales Millennium Centre’s poignant and powerful production of Manfred Karge’s Man to Man opens in Cardiff at the Bute Theatre on September 8 – 9 with just 2 performances prior to a nationwide tour visiting London – Wilton’s Music Hall (Sep 12 – 23), Birmingham – REP (Sep 26 – 30), Edinburgh – Traverse Theatre (Oct 11 – 14), Newcastle – Northern Stage (Oct 17 – 18) and Liverpool – Everyman Theatre (Oct 25 – 28). Man to Man then embarks for New York to play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Nov 7 – 11).

This will be Wales Millennium Centre’s first production in the USA.  So well done to them. 

This one woman play tells the life story of a woman called Ella Gericke, who lived with her husband Max until one day he died. Then the Nazis arrived…

Based on a true story, we witness Ella’s struggle and determination in a volatile 20th century Germany where she adopts the identity of her dead husband to survive.

Man to Man is a striking and spellbinding modern fairy tale inspired by the traditions of German storytelling. It gives audiences an incredible insight into what life was like in 20th century Germany, including the radical changes of the Nazi’s rise to power, the Cold War and the Berlin Wall coming down.

Renowned as one of the UK’s leading presenting houses, Wales Millennium Centre has recently embarked on producing work with the intention of taking the very best made in Wales to the world. As one of our first productions, Man to Man demonstrates the bold ambition of Wales Millennium Centre as a national home to the performing arts – to Inspire our Nation and Impress the World.

Man to Man opened to 5 star reviews in Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2015. Translated by award-winning playwright, Alexandra Wood, this new version unites the talents of a multi-Olivier and Tony award-winning creative team, led by directors Bruce Guthrie (Director of RENT the Musical & The Last Mermaid) and Scott Graham (Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly and Movement Director of Olivier-winning West End/Broadway production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).

These people are capable of excellent theatre.

Bruce Guthrie, said: “Man to Man is a series of fragmented memories that our protagonist Ella is remembering and  re-living. She is a working class character with no sense of self pity: a hero in many ways who finds herself having to make life and death choices on a daily basis.  I found that compelling when I first read the script. It is a familiar yet alien world. This version is about taking the audience on a sensory journey, evoking different reactions based on the series of potent memories explored.”

Maggie Bain in Man to Man. A Wales Millennium Centre production. Photo - Polly Thomas 042.jpg

Maggie Bain in ‘Man to Man’ image copyright Polly Thomas

Man to Man


By Manfred Karge

Translated by Alexandra Wood

Performed by Maggie Bain

Directed by Bruce Guthrie & Scott Graham

Design by Richard Kent

Lighting Design by Rick Fisher

Sound Design by Mike Walker

Video Design by Andrzej Goulding

Music by Matthew Scott

Produced by Pádraig Cusack

‘Wales Millennium Centre’s licence to present Manfred Karge’s MAN TO MAN is granted by Rosica Colin Limited, London, by arrangement with henschel SCHAUSPIEL, Berlin.’

Age Guidance: 14+ (Contains strong language and adult themes, apparently.

Here is a trailer. No idea what’s going on but it all looks quite exciting.


Manfred Karge’s Man to Man 2017

Cardiff – Bute Theatre – Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Sep 8 – 9

On sale soon – 029 2039 1391/ – 029 2063 6464


London – Wilton’s Music Hall

Sep 12 – 23

Now on sale – 0207 452 3000/ – 0207 702 2789


Birmingham – Repertory Theatre

Sep 26 – 30

On sale soon – 0121 236 4455

Edinburgh – Traverse theatre

Oct 11 – 14

On sale date:

Monday, August 21 – 0131 228 1404


Newcastle – Northern Stage

Oct 17 – 18

On sale Mon 5th June to members, on sale Thurs 15th June to general public – 0191 230 5151

Liverpool – Everyman Theatre

Oct 25 – 28

On sale soon – 0151 709 4776

New York – Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)

Nov 7 – 11

On sale date:

Monday, August 7