Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams on MOSQUITOES



Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams who are currently starring in the sold out production of Mosquitoes in the Dorfman Theatre will take part in a talk on 18 September reflecting on the challenges and rewards of performing in the new play by Lucy Kirkwood.

Tickets £7 (£5 concessions).

To book tickets, visit the NT website here.

Further Mosquitoes related talks and events include:

Lucy Kirkwood and Rufus Norris Thu 7 Sep, 6pm
On Screen: Particle Fever Mon 11 Sep, 5.30pm
Designing Mosquitoes Mon 25 Sep, 10.30am
Making Mosquitoes with designer Katrina Lindsay Mon 25 Sep, 5.45pm
Distrusting Science Thu 21 Sep, 6pm
Theatre Dialogue Club: Mosquitoes Thu 28 Sep, 7.15pm

Mosquitoes, a new play by Lucy Kirkwood

Alice is a scientist. She lives in Geneva. As the Large Hadron Collider starts up in 2008, she is on the brink of the most exciting work of her life, searching for the Higgs Boson.

Jenny is her sister. She lives in Luton. She spends a lot of time Googling.

When tragedy throws them together, the collision threatens them all with chaos.

Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams play the sisters in this new drama from Chimerica writer Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Rufus Norris.

Mosquitoes is sold out for the entire run, with the exception of good availability for the matinee performance on 20 September. It is also still possible to buy seats via day tickets and Friday Rush.

Classic Spring Announces ‘Wilde Talk’ series including Stephen Fry and Merlin Holland, and full casting for A Woman Of No Importance

Stephen Fry
Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry

Classic Spring has announced that Stephen FryFrank McGuinness, Franny Moyle and Merlin Holland will give pre-show talks before evening performances of A Woman of No Importance at the Vaudeville Theatre this autumn. Merlin Holland, Oscar Wilde’s grandson will give the first address, offering his unique insight, entitled ‘The Remarkable Reputation of Oscar Wilde’. Stephen Fry will reflect on ‘Playing Oscar’, having portrayed Wilde on the big screen in ‘Wilde’ (1997). Also included in the series are Franny Moyle (author of ‘Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs. Oscar Wilde’) exploring Wilde’s women, and Frank McGuinness, who has adapted ‘De Profundis’ for the season will consider Wilde alongside Ibsen and Strindberg in ‘Wilde the European’.

For A Woman of No Importance, Emma Fielding, Dominic Rowan, Crystal Clarke, Harry Lister-Smith, Sam Cox, William Mannering, Paul Rider and Phoebe Fildes join the cast, alongside the previously announced Eve Best, Anne Reid, Eleanor Bron and William Gaunt.

Emma Fielding’s screen credits include This is England ’90Capital and Arthur & George. Her recent stage credits include Rapture, Blister, Burn (Hampstead Theatre), In the Republic of Happiness (Royal Court) and Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Royal Shakespeare Company). She has been nominated for two Olivier Awards.

A regular on The Globe stage, Dominic Rowan, most recently starred as the Duke in Measure for Measure (2015). Other credits include starring opposite Hattie Morahan in Carrie Cracknell’s acclaimed production of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House (Young Vic/West End/BAM New York) and Jacob Thorne on ITV’s Law & Order.

American actor Crystal Clarke trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and then won a role in the feature film Star Wars: The Force Awakens from an open audition call of over 67,000 people. She will also appear in the forthcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi later this year.

Classic Spring is the new theatre company from Dominic Dromgoole, former Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe. Its first season is a year-long celebration of Oscar Wilde that aims to offer a fuller picture of the man and the artist, and reveal this much-loved playwright as the brilliant renegade he was in his own time.

Dominic Dromgoole will direct the first play A Woman of No Importance, starring Olivier Award-winning actor Eve Best as Mrs Arbuthnot, alongside Anne ReidEleanor Bron and William Gaunt. Multi-award-winning actor, director, comedian and playwright Kathy Burkewill then direct Lady Windermere’s Fan.

The season will continue with the titles An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, with casting and creatives to be announced in due course.

Wilde Talks

Merlin Holland: The Remarkable Reputation of Oscar Wilde
Saturday 14 October, 6pm

Stephen Fry: Playing Oscar
Thursday 19 October, 6pm

Frank McGuinness: Wilde the European
Saturday 11 November, 6pm

Franny Moyle: A Woman of No Importance
Thursday 7 December, 6pm

A Woman of No Importance
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Dominic Dromgoole
Designed by Jonathan Fensom
Lighting by Ben Ormerod

6 October to 30 December 2017
Press night: 16 October 2017

Lady Windermere’s Fan
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Kathy Burke

12 January to 7 April 2018
Press night: 22 January 2018

De Profundis
Adapted by Frank McGuinness
3 to 6 January 2018

Performance times
Thursday and Saturday matinees: 2.30pm

Please visit classicspring.co.uk for a detailed performance schedule

Wilde Talks tickets £10
Tickets from £19.50, with reduced price previews
Box office: 0330 333 4814 / classicspring.co.uk


Pleasance launches in-house award, The Indies!

The Indies
The Indies

The Indies

In its 33rd year in Venue 33 on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Pleasance Theatre Trust is proud to launch The Indies, a new award celebrating the best shows at the Pleasance as voted by the companies and artists themselves.

The categories for The Indies are as follows:

Best Show Categories

Celebrating excellence across the programme as a whole.

Best Comedy, Cabaret or Variety Show

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Show

Newcomer Categories

Highlighting companies and acts bringing their first full show to The Pleasance.

Best Comedy Cabaret or Variety Newcomer

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Newcomer

Miscellaneous Categories

Best Poster Design

Spirit Of The Pleasance

Each company in the Pleasance programme can cast a single set of votes in the category relating to their own genre.

The Indies highlight not only the best in Pleasance’s comedy and theatre programmes but shine a light on Festival newcomers, staying true to the Pleasance’s mission of supporting new talent in the arts industry. The Award also recognises the best poster design and gives a special recognition to a company who showcased the Spirit Of The Pleasance by going out of their way to help another company or act. This spirit is reflected in the Awards themselves, encouraging companies to celebrate the work of their peers.

The Award is named after Christopher Richardson’s (founder of the Pleasance) beloved dog Indie.

Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance said:

“I’m delighted to announce the Pleasance Indies in our 33rd year. Cultivating a supportive environment where ideas can be realised to their fullest potential has always been a cornerstone of the Pleasance’s mission and the introduction of these awards is a perfect way to both promote this sense of community amongst our artists and celebrate the wealth of creativity in our programme.”

Winners of The Indies will be announced on the Pleasance Twitter (@ThePleasance) account today (Thursday, 24 August) at 3pm.


The United Kingdom And Europe: Nations On The World Stage

The United Kingdom and Europe: Nations on the World Stage
 The United Kingdom and Europe: Nations on the World Stage

The United Kingdom and Europe: Nations on the World Stage

Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Lyric Theatre Belfast, The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, Sherman Theatre, Cardiff and The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) present


Nations on the World Stage

  • A partnership of leading theatres in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales embarks on an epic cycle of new play commissions which will explore Britain’s changing relationship with Europe
  • Launch of the project to be marked by a symposium at The RSA, London, on 21 September 2017, introduced by Sir Nicholas Serota, chaired by Mark Lawson and featuring Kwame Kwei-Armah, April De Angelis, Roy Williams, Tanika Gupta, James Graham and David Greig amongst others


Collaborating with three partner venues across the United Kingdom, Royal & Derngate Northampton is launching an epic cycle of new play commissions exploring Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s changing relationship with Europe. This ambitious programme of work, providing a platform for voices from across the political spectrum of our islands, will tell stories from England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Royal & Derngate’s producing partners will be the Lyric Theatre Belfast, Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre and Edinburgh’s The Lyceum. The venues will be partnering with The RSA on talks and debates.

James Dacre, Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate, explains: “Northampton is the geographical centre of England and our town’s history captures the polarising perspectives from the urban and rural, the liberal and conservative, the passionately local and proudly international. Royal & Derngate, here in the middle of England, has now invited all of the nations of the United Kingdom to embark on a theatrical exploration of their place in the world. Our three partner theatres will join us in initiating a cycle of plays that respond both to Brexit but also to the political and ideological divisions that recent events have exposed across the country. By bringing together a diverse group of emerging and established artists, thinkers and practitioners from across Europe, we aim to create a cycle of work that offers a unique insight into our nation’s past and present while imagining the possibilities for its future.”

Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Royal & Derngate added: “This project provides a platform for a broad spectrum of view and opinion. This is particularly important for us in Northampton as a clear majority of Northamptonshire voters who participated in the referendum thought that Brexit would be a positive force. Their voices will be heard too.”

Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director of Sherman Theatre, said: “I am delighted that Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre is playing a part in this exciting endeavour. In Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England it feels apposite that theatre makers become part of this vital discourse around identity at this time in history.”

David Greig, Artistic Director of The Lyceum, said: “In an age beset by binaries, when political debate feels like grenades lobbed over social media walls, Theatre becomes a vital gathering space. In theatre we can explore identity and ideas from multiple perspectives, it lets us see ourselves in the lives of others. Britain’s relationship with Europe will be the defining issue of the next decade so The Lyceum is delighted and proud to be part of this hugely ambitious and timely project. We hope we can contribute a Scottish perspective to the tapestry and also look forward to hosting a new canon of work from some of the best writers across the UK.” 

Jimmy Fay, Executive Producer of the Lyric Theatre added: “We in Belfast’s Lyric Theatre are delighted to be part of this imaginative and energising initiative. As Northern Ireland has been balanced on the shifting plates of culture, tradition and politics for many years we feel our perspective adds value to this timely debate and look forward to examining theatrically, and with passion, the many confused senses of identity, belonging and loss that Brexit has brought into being and that a hard border, particularly between the North and South of Ireland, will enforce.”   

On Thursday 21 September the theatres will present a symposium in the Great Room at The RSA in London. Dacre explains: “Given that this commissioning cycle will bring together a diverse range of playwrights, artists and thinkers from across the political spectrum, it feels appropriate that it should be launched with a symposium which asks: How should theatre respond to and reflect the changing role of Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Europe over the next decade?”

The symposium will run from 6.30pm to 7.45pm with a live audience of 180, and will be filmed for broadcast and podcast. Beginning with short statements from a panel comprised of Kwame Kwei-Armah, April De Angelis, Roy Williams, Tanika Gupta, James Graham and Brad Birch, a “Question Time” style debate will follow, chaired by journalist and broadcaster Mark Lawson.

The evening will be introduced by Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, and will conclude with the launch of this epic new cycle of play commissions by James Dacre, Artistic Director of Northampton’s Royal & Derngate and David Greig, Artistic Director of The Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, on behalf of the four partner theatres. Further information on the commissioning and producing process will be announced in due course.

The symposium is open to the public. Places are strictly limited and can be booked via The RSA’s website at https://www.thersa.org/events/2017/09/United-Kingdom-and-Europe-Nations-on-the-World-Stage.


Royal & Derngate

Royal & Derngate, Northampton, is the main venue for arts and entertainment in Northamptonshire, with audience members and participants last year numbering more than 474,000 in Northampton and beyond. As one of the major producing venues in the country, Royal & Derngate was named Regional Theatre of the year by the inaugural Stage 100 Awards in 2011, an accolade for which it was nominated again in 2016. The theatre also won the award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre in the UK Theatre Awards 2015 for its Made in Northampton work.

Recent highlights of its Made in Northampton touring productions include a nationwide tour of Death of a Salesman, a major revival of Peter Whelan’s The Herbal Bed (winner of the 2016 UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production), a major tour of King Lear, starring Michael Pennington and Soul, a new play by Roy Williams about Marvin Gaye. Previous acclaimed seasons have included Shakespeare’s King John, world premieres of Arthur Miller’s The Hook and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Young America (Northampton and National Theatre, London) and End of the Rainbow (Northampton and West End).

The theatre runs a wide-ranging Get Involved participatory programme which reached over 26,000 people last year and it has recently opened a second screen at the Errol Flynn Filmhouse, which shows the best in world, independent, British and mainstream films.

Lyric Theatre, Belfast

The award-winning Lyric Theatre makes a unique and vital contribution to the community as the only full-time producing theatre in Northern Ireland.

Premiering the works of playwrights such as, Stewart Parker, Christina Reid, Martin Lynch, Marie Jones, Owen McCafferty and Rosemary Jenkinson, and employing some of Northern Ireland’s finest actors, including Adrian Dunbar, Dan Gordon, Conleth Hill, Ciaran Hinds, Stella McCusker, Frances Tomelty and the Theatre’s patron, Liam Neeson, its mission is to produce high-quality professional theatre that is alive to the complex cultural experience and diverse traditions of the community, and to use the power of live theatre to empower, inspire, engage and educate.

From first rehearsal to final curtain, the shows we create are truly indigenous products of Northern Ireland. Putting local issues and local characters centre stage is what the Lyric does best. Our shows are relevant to local audiences and revealing to visitors to the city. And a very important part of the Lyric Theatre’s strategy is to tour as widely as possible, to give audiences outside Northern Ireland an insight into our culture and to the work of the Lyric.

Officially opened in May 2011 by Brian Friel, the Lyric’s new home on the banks of Belfast’s River Lagan, on the site of the previous theatre, is a landmark £18.1m building that signals the continued regeneration of the city and is a catalyst for real progress in arts infrastructure for artists and audiences alike.

Designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey, and built in a stunning blend of Belfast brick, glass, steel, concrete and Iroko timber, the new theatre is alive and dramatic at all times. Spacious lobbies and bars overlooking the river, and two beautiful auditoria with an exciting artistic programme, makes the Lyric a thriving social hub, creative learning space and a real attraction for visitors to the city.

The Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh

The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company is a crucible of Scottish talent, developing Scotland’s considerable indigenous artists and presenting the best of international drama from its home in a magnificent, intimate Victorian building in Edinburgh’s West End.

Internationally celebrated playwright David Greig became the 8th Artistic Director of The Lyceum in 2016. As part of his premiere 2016/17 season, the company produced ten full productions, making it one of the biggest producing companies in the United Kingdom. The 2017/18 season, also comprised of ten productions including World and Scottish Premieres, was announced earlier this year.

In recent years, The Lyceum has staged co-productions with Told by an Idiot, Edinburgh International Festival, Actors Touring Company, Theatre Royal, Bath; The Bush Theatre, London; Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company; National Theatre of Scotland; Citizens Theatre; Dundee Rep; Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse; Chichester Festival Theatre and the Lyric Hammersmith.

In addition, The Lyceum also runs an award-winning, ambitious and acclaimed Creative Learning programme which engages with over 16,000 young people across Scotland annually.

For more information, please visit lyceum.org.uk

Sherman Theatre, Cardiff

Sherman Theatre makes excellent work with eclectic appeal, champions Welsh artists, and promotes new Welsh work nationally and internationally.

The Sherman generates opportunities for the citizens of Cardiff to connect with theatre through relevant inspiring and visionary engagement. Sherman Theatre is one of the UK’s leading producing houses, with a particular focus on the development and presentation of new writing. The theatre also runs a significant outreach and participation programme.


The mission of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) is to enrich society through ideas and action. We believe that all human beings have creative capacities that, when understood and supported, can be mobilised to deliver a 21st century enlightenment. Supported by our 28,000 Fellows, we share powerful ideas, carry out cutting-edge research and build networks and opportunities for people to collaborate, helping to create fulfilling lives and a flourishing society.

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Crazy For You Caroline Flack, Interview: “There is so much more to the UK than London.”

Caroline Flack knows all about troubled romances after her 8-week stint presenting Love Island, the most watched and talked about show of the summer. The source of many a heated watercooler conversation, the show is all about relationships going wrong, or right. So it is fitting that she makes her theatrical debut playing Irene, a woman whose love life is also bumpy, in hit musical ‘CRAZY FOR YOU’.

“She’s strong. She knows what she wants. But there’s a vulnerability,” Flack tells me as we chat during rehearsals. “She gets hurt the whole way through, but she’s brilliantly defiant. She stays strong and doesn’t give up. She’s naughty as well. There’s definitely bits of Irene that are quite like me.”

CRAZY FOR YOU’, which tours the UK from August 2017 to May 2018, is a joyful, romantic musical comedy packed with fantastic Gershwin songs. It’s the story of Bobby, a banker who longs to be a stage star. When he’s forced to foreclose on a failing theatre, he falls for the owner’s daughter who would want nothing to do with him if she knew who he was. Irene is the woman he leaves behind.

“It’s feel good and fun,” says Flack. “It’s a show the whole family can enjoy, but it’s got a very cool vibe to it too. It’s one of those shows where you will have a smile on your face the whole way through. I know, because I’ve seen the rehearsals. I think audiences will be blown away by the talent of the cast.”


That cast, which includes ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ winner Tom Chambers and West End star Charlotte Wakefield, are indeed supremely talented. While the ‘triple threat’ performer – singer, dancer, actor – is considered the holy grail of musical theatre, ‘CRAZY FOR YOU’, stars are quadruple threats. They also play their own instruments. “I’ve never been so in awe of a cast before,” Flack gushes.

CRAZY FOR YOU’, is a reunion of sorts for Flack and Chambers. Both won the BBC’s flagship Saturday evening dance competition and starred together when show’s live version toured the country.

When Flack talks about the ‘Casualty’ and ‘Holby City’ star, who built his stage reputation leading the casts of ‘Top Hat’ and ‘White Christmas’, she does so in terms that make him feel like a big brother. He looked after her, he supported her when she was nervous. He is, in fact, the ideal person to have around as you make your professional theatre debut.

It was her time on ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ in 2014, and the live tour, that reignited her ambition to perform on stage. It was an ambition she had held since childhood. When, as a teenager, she discovered that performing could be a career, she set her heart on it and studied for three years at Bodywork Company in Cambridge. “It’s the only real qualification I have,” she laughs.

Her ambition to perform on stage morphed into a presenting career when she started being offered jobs. From co-presenting Channel 4’s celebrity sports show ‘The Games’ in 2005, she moved to ‘Gladiators’, Saturday morning kids show ‘TMI’, ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here Now!’ and ‘The Xtra Factor’. They’re projects she clearly loved, but that eagerness to get back to the theatre was always lurking. Quite simply, she says, “I love the stage.”

“It wasn’t just a case of wanting to be on stage, it was wanting to be on stage but doing the right thing,” she explains. So why was this Watermill Theatre production of Crazy For You the show that brought her back to the theatre? The answer is that playing Irene gives her the opportunity to get to grips with a character rather than worrying about leading an entire show singlehandedly. It’s the chance to relearn her craft and refresh her memory of theatrical performance. And, in a show packed with glorious songs like I Got Rhythm and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, she has a fantastic solo number. “As soon as I head Naughty Baby,” she enthuses, “I thought ‘Yes, this is great.’”

Choreographer Nathan M Wright has created a new routine specifically for Flack. It’s still being finalised as we chat, so she can’t give too much away, but she does say it “plays to her strengths,” and uses a piano and rope. “It’s saucy and suggestive, but not too naughty,” she laughs.

Handily, for an actor about to set off on a tour around the country, she’s a fan of the nomadic life. “I’m a traveller at heart,” she grins. “There is so much more to the UK than London and I don’t get to see it enough, so I’m massively excited. There’s some really amazing venues around the UK, and to play them will be hugely exciting.”

Push her a little harder on where she’s most excited about visiting, though, and the ‘born traveller’ outlook fades, just a touch. “Norwich,” she says. “It’s my home town.” It’s not that she’s looking for home comforts, but that performing for an audience filled with family and friends will be a special occasion. “We’re planning some fun dinners afterwards,” she laughs.

She’s also looking forward to the show’s northern dates. The tour will head to Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester and Liverpool before Flack departs in December. “I think there’s something in me that should have been northern,” she giggles. “It’s very friendly up in the north. With the ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ tour, the more northern you got, the more excitable the crowds were.”

I wonder whether, having worked on both ‘Strictly’ and ‘X Factor’, Flack has sought dance or vocal advice from any of those shows’ experts. “All my experts are standing in front of me in this production,” she replies. “I only have to ask them.”

She needs no extra advice on dealing with pre-show anxiety either. While she may not have performed in a musical before, competing in Strictly, both on TV and our tour, tested her courage. She’s an old hand at live TV too. “The nerves never kick in until just before you start,” she explains. “An hour before, they suddenly hit.” They come with a “good sickie feeling,” she says. “I have a little mantra I say to myself. It’s never changed. I say that in my head and then I get on with it.”

With Strictly, her success revolved around just two people. When she’s presenting, it’s often just Flack “on a sofa, chatting to someone”. With ‘CRAZY FOR YOU’, “you’ve got 30 people all working together.” And she is relishing the team ethos that comes with being part of a musical production.

The cast are even talking about getting her involved in the music side of the show. “Everyone says’ that they’re going to teach me something by the end of the tour. I am aiming for the drums.”

So don’t be surprised if, by a later tour date, you see Flack with drumstick in hand, proving herself not just a bona fide musical theatre star, but a quadruple threat too.

Can you imagine.

Crazy for You is currently at Theatre Royal Plymouth and then tours the UK until 5 May 2018. www.crazyforyoutour.com 

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Pleasance launches in-house award, The Indies!

The Indies are here

The Pleasance Theatre Trust celebrates its 33 years at Venue 33 with a new award, “The Indies”.


In its 33rd year in Venue 33 on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Pleasance Theatre Trust is proud to launch The Indies, a new award celebrating the best shows at the Pleasance as voted by the companies and artists themselves.

The categories for The Indies are as follows:

Best Show Categories

Celebrating excellence across the programme as a whole.

Best Comedy, Cabaret or Variety Show

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Show

Newcomer Categories

Highlighting companies and acts bringing their first full show to The Pleasance.

Best Comedy Cabaret or Variety Newcomer

Best Theatre, Family, Music or Dance Newcomer

Miscellaneous Categories

Best Poster Design

Spirit Of The Pleasance

Each company in the Pleasance programme can cast a single set of votes in the category relating to their own genre.


The Indies highlight not only the best in Pleasance’s comedy and theatre programmes but shine a light on Festival newcomers, staying true to the Pleasance’s mission of supporting new talent in the arts industry. The Award also recognises the best poster design and gives a special recognition to a company who showcased the Spirit Of The Pleasance by going out of their way to help another company or act. This spirit is reflected in the Awards themselves, encouraging companies to celebrate the work of their peers.

The Award is named after Christopher Richardson’s (founder of the Pleasance) beloved dog Indie.

Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance said:

“I’m delighted to announce the Pleasance Indies in our 33rd year. Cultivating a supportive environment where ideas can be realised to their fullest potential has always been a cornerstone of the Pleasance’s mission and the introduction of these awards is a perfect way to both promote this sense of community amongst our artists and celebrate the wealth of creativity in our programme.”

Winners of The Indies will be announced on the Pleasance Twitter (@ThePleasance) account today (Thursday, 24 August) at 3pm.

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Edinburgh Festivals Diary: Day 6

Edfringe Festival Diary-Day 6

It’s 9.45am at Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh and I am having a coffee with the Times Theatre critic: Ann Treneman. Ann was the Times political sketch writer for 12 years. We are talking about navigating the wonderful arena of theatre.

‘The theatre world is much crazier than the world of politics… Seriously,’ she tells me.

‘Amazing. We must go out for a drink before I fly home,’ I said.

‘Some of us have reviews to write, Carl,’ she replied with a smile.


Ann Treneman

We talked about the various things, shows we’d seen etc, etc and so on.

‘Well, I always think of that terrific Michelle Obama quote: ‘When they go low, we go high,’ she smiles. 

I made my way over to the Traverse for Gary McNair’s one-man piece about the writer’s teen years when he chose Morrissey as a confidante. Letters to Morrissey is the theatre equivalent of a chunky chocolate bar. The audience was mostly male and mostly 25 to 44-years old. I can’t remember much else to be honest.

I head over to Pleasance for Cardboard Citizens’ remarkable version of the TV drama ‘Cathy’. Beautifully written by Ali Taylor, ‘Cathy’ is a new forum theatre show which looks at how life might be like today for the protagonist of Cathy Come Home. The show speaks stridently and is one with that comes with a pain at its heart.


Cirkopolis / Letters to Morrissey

I check my emails.

‘This looks like the kind of thing you’d like to crash,’ it read.

Attached was an invitation to the 2017 Federation of Scottish Theatre – Festivals Reception on Tuesday 22 August at 5.30pm at Dynamic Earth. It soon became clear that Scotland has got it right. The level of joined-up thinking and networking in the room was palpable: bringing the sector together and starting proper conversations. Brilliant.

After giving up on Google maps in this city I finally arrive at the EICC for Quebec company Cirque Éloize take on Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Cirkopolis is never less than interesting. Dazzling acrobatics build up a remarkable parade of imagery, yet this lively show never quite touches the heart. ‘Entertaining’, is how I would describe this show. In an ideal world, the music wouldn’t be so loud, but nothing in life is ideal.


Anyway, the last show of my Edinburgh Fringe was Toxic Avenger at Pleasance Courtyard. I loved this show at Southwark Playhouse. I didn’t in Edinburgh. The cast are seriously talented and I think it’s the perfect venue and time slot, the show still boasts exquisite performances and is still really well sung. Hopefully some of the dumbed-down changes will be reversed, which includes but is not limited to squirting the audience with a water pistol.

This was my third time in Edinburgh and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the city so busy.

I’ve had a terrific time but now I must go. 

Thank you to the beautiful people of Edinburgh who treated me with such equanimity and friendliness. To all, great thanks.

I’ll be back…






National Theatre Posters – a new exhibition at the NT

A Taste of Honey Poster-design by Charlotte Wilkinson photograph by Phil Fisk

National Theatre Posters, curated by design critic and writer Rick Poynor, will open in the National Theatre’s Wolfson gallery in October, exploring poster design at the NT from 1963 to the present.

Curated by Rick Poynor, Professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading, this exhibition explores the evolution of poster design at the National Theatre, showcasing many classic examples. From 1963 to the present day, each art director led the theatre’s graphic design studio in creating images for posters, programmes and now digital artwork. The exhibition features posters designed by Ken Briggs, Richard Bird, Michael Mayhew, Charlotte Wilkinson and current Creative Director Ollie Winser and the Graphic Design Studio.

The exhibition will include original posters, interviews with past and current Art or Creative Directors and will trace the changes in process, design and function over the past 50 years.

Curator Rick Poynor said:

“An exciting theatre poster manages to capture the essence of a play. It grabs your attention with something surprising and draws you in. The National Theatre has a long tradition of producing adventurous poster designs that encapsulate the inventiveness and energy of its productions.”

“The NT’s first graphic designer, Ken Briggs, collaborated closely with the theatre for a decade. That set the pattern and the theatre went on to appoint a succession of designers – Richard Bird, Michael Mayhew, Charlotte Wilkinson and Ollie Winser – who have worked in-house on the posters and other graphics. Each designer has maintained a very high standard of creativity and the posters’ graphic styles have evolved to reflect the changing needs of the theatre and its audiences.”

There will be a book, National Theatre Posters: A Design History, published by Unit Editions, which will be launched to coincide with the exhibition.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of related events:

Exhibition Insight with curator Rick Poynor

27 October12-1pm, Wolfson Gallery, £3

A walk around the current exhibition with curator Rick Poynor, please meet in the Wolfson Gallery.

Talk: Where is the Poster Now?

8 November6-7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/5

A talk on the art of poster design by Rick Poynor, design critic and Professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading, featuring his research for the exhibition currently running in the Wolfson Gallery, National Theatre.

Talk: Graphic Design at the National Theatre

21 November6 – 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £7/5

An exploration of the working design process by the Graphic Design Studio (GDS) at the National Theatre with Creative Director, Ollie Winser and members of his design team focussing on real campaigns for recent NT productions.

On Screen: Helvetica

27 November, 5.30pm, Cottesloe Room, £5/3

Gary Hustwit’s brilliantly designed feature-length documentary, Helvetica, explores typography. The film features contributions from National Theatre Posters exhibition curator, Rick Poynor.


Last chance to see six-time Tony award-winner Audra Mcdonald in Lady Day At Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill (2)

Audra McDonald in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning singer and actress Audra McDonald will complete her limited engagement portraying jazz legend Billie Holiday in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill onSaturday 9 September. The production, which won McDonald her record-setting sixth Tony Award, opened at London’s Wyndham’s Theatre in June to widespread critical acclaim and has earnt her a ‘Best West End Debut’ nomination in advance of the UK Stage Awards this year.

On Friday 25 August at 4pm, Audra McDonald will take part in an exclusive #TwitterTalks Q&A, live from London’s Twitter headquarters, where she will answer questions about her career, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill and her celebrated time in London. Tune in via @TwitterStage. Chart stars such as HAIM, Olly Murs and Zara Larsson have been interviewed on the Twitter UK sofa and now it’s the West End’s turn as McDonald launches the first in a series of #TwitterTalks with stars of the London stage.

Written by Lanie Robertson and directed by Lonny PriceLady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grillrecounts Holiday’s life story through the songs that made her famous, including “God Bless the Child”, “What a Little Moonlight Can Do”, “Strange Fruit” and “Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness”.

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill won two Tony Awards in 2014 including ‘Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play’ for Audra McDonald, making her Broadway’s most decorated performer, winner of six Tony Awards and the first and only person to receive awards in all four acting categories.

1959, in a small, intimate bar in Philadelphia, Holiday puts on a show that unbeknownst to the audience, will leave them witnesses to one of the last performances of her lifetime.  Through her poignant voice and moving songs, one of the greatest jazz singers of all-time shares her loves and her losses.   

Billie ‘Lady Day’ Holiday had what is widely considered one of the greatest jazz voices of all-time. BornEleanora Fagan in April 1915, she rose to popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with her pioneering vocal style strongly inspired by jazz instrumentalists. After a turbulent personal life and struggle with addiction, she died at the untimely age of 44. In 2000, Holiday was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London


First performance: 17 June 2017

Final performance: 9 September 2017

For full performance schedule see website: LadyDayWestEnd.com

Tuesday to Saturday at 7.45pm

WednesdayThursday and Saturday at 2.45pm

Box Office
Website:         LadyDayWestEnd.com
Telephone:     0844 482 5120
Prices from     £19.50
Premium and exclusive club seating available

Social Media
Twitter:           @LadyDayWestEnd
Instagram:     @LadyDayWestEnd
Facebook:       Facebook.com/LadyDayWestEnd

Audra McDonald

Casting announced for Witness for the Prosecution in magnificent courtroom setting inside

Catherine Steadman
Catherine Steadman

Catherine Steadman

Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Rebecca Stafford Productions today announce casting for their major new production of Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie, opening on London’s South Bank this OctoberCatherine Steadman, best known for her role as Mabel Fox in Downton Abbey and nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance in Oppenheimer will play the role of Romaine, while rising star Jack McMullen, whose recent work includes hard-hitting TV drama Little Boy Blue, Waterloo Road and Noel Clarke’s Brotherhood, will play Leonard Vole.  David Yelland (The Crown, Foyle’s War) will play Sir Wilfrid Robarts, Philip Franks (ArtNoises Off) will play Mr Myers, Patrick Godfrey(Half Life, Mr Turner) will play Sir Justice Wainwright and Roger Ringrose (Broadchurch, Mr Selfridge) will be playing Mr Mayhew. The cast will also include Richard Attlee, Elliot Balchin, Alexandra Guelff, Miranda Horn, Jon House, Jules Melvin, Hywel Simons and Alex Stedman.

David Yelland

David Yelland

Directed by Lucy Bailey (Comus, The Graduate, Titus Andronicus), this gripping tale of justice, passion and betrayal will open in The Chamber, a magnificent court room setting inside London County Hall. The audience will find themselves thrillingly placed in the thick of the action in this spectacular location.

Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. The stakes are high. Will Leonard survive the shocking witness testimony?  Will he be able to convince the jury of his innocence and escape the hangman’s noose?

Witness for the Prosecution will run from 6 October – 11 March with Press Night on 23 October.  The production will be designed by William Dudley, with lighting by Chris Davey and sound design by Mic Pool.  

Jack McMullen

Jack McMullen



Richard is best known for playing Kenton in The Archers on Radio 4. His theatre credits include: Sleuth (Watermill Newbury), The Way of the World (Sheffield Crucible), Arthur and George (Birmingham Rep), Calendar Girls (Noel Coward Theatre), Macbeth, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Present Laughter (Theatre Royal Bath) and War and Peace (Shared Experience). He has toured internationally with the English Shakespeare Company and the Kosh and worked in Rep at York, Chester and Exeter. T.V and Film credits include: My Mad Fat Diary, Silent Witness, Midsomer Murders, The I.T. Crowd, My Week with Marilyn, Topsy-Turvy and Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie.


Elliot’s recent stage credits include Kenneth Branagh’s production of Macbeth (Manchester International Festival/ Park Avenue Armory, New York) and The Judas Kiss (Chichester Festival Theatre / Theatre Royal Bath/ Hampstead Theatre/ Ed Mirvish Theatre, Toronto and BAM, New York).  Recent film credits include Journey’s End.  Elliot was a member of the BAFTA credited ITV Junior Television Workshop at the age of 9, working alongside the likes of Samantha Morton, Toby Kebble, Vicky Mclure and Jack O’Connor. Early credits include The Spidermen (National Theatre), feature film The Tulse Luper Suitcase directed by Peter Greenway and on TV The Bill and Casualty.


Philip’s recent theatre credits include  ArtNoises Off and Journey’s End (all West End),  Murder in the Cathedral(Temple Church, London), Flare PathBreaking the CodeThe Winslow BoyThe Hound of the BaskervillesThe Secret of Sherlock Holmes and The Rocky Horror Show (all UK tours).  Philip spent ten years with the RSC, in London, Stratford, on tour and in New York.   His TV credits include The Darling Buds of May, Heartbeat, Bleak House, Martin Chuzzlewit, Absolutely Fabulous, Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders.  Film work includes Finding Neverland and The Phantom Thread. Concert performances include The Soldier’s Tale, Silverlake, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, King Arthur.

Philip is also an award winning theatre director, his productions include Private Lives, The Heiress (both National Theatre),  Nicholas Nickleby Parts One and TwoTaking Sides, Collaboration, The Duchess of Malfi, Dear Lupin (all West End),  The Comedy of Errors (Regents Park Open Air Theatre) and four of the Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre).  He was an associate director at Chichester Festival where credits include Twelfth Night, The Deep Blue Sea, The Master Builder and Separate Tables.


Patrick most recently appeared in Half Life (Theatre Royal Bath). He has performed extensively with the National TheatreRoyal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Globe.  Stage credits include Cause Celebre and The Iceman Cometh (Old Vic), Master Builder, Enemies, Galileo and The Iceman Cometh (all Almeida Theatre), The Crucible  (Regent’s Park Open Air),  Lying Kind, Life Price and Inside Out (Royal Court) and The Importance Of Being Earnest (Birmingham Rep/ Old Vic).  Productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company include Barbarians, Romeo And Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, Merry Wives of Windsor and Cymbeline.  West End credits includeSchool for Scandal, Wild Oats and The Important of Being Earnest. On Broadway he has performed in the RSC’sNicholas Nickleby, The Iceman Cometh, Brooklyn Academy, Summerfolk and Love’s Labour’s Lost.

Patrick’s many TV appearances include Da Vinci’s Demons, Fallen Angel, The Falklands Play, Bramwell, A Dance To The Music Of Time, Dandelion Dead,  Agatha Christie’s Poirot, Shadow Of The Noose,  Pericles; Prince of Tyre, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and Hobson’s Choice. Film credits include Breathe (to be released), Mr Turner, Final Prayer, Les Miserables, Dimensions, The Duchess,  Oliver Twist, The Importance Of Being Earnest, The Count Of Monte Cristo, Ever After, Remains Of The Day, A Room With A View,  Heat and Dust and Morris.


Alexandra’s theatre includes Gaslight (Royal & Derngate), Ghosts (Trafalgar Studios) and The Busy Body (Southwark Playhouse).  On television she has appeared in Call The MidwifeLaw & OrderEastenders, Obsession and Dark Matters. Her film credits include Brimstone.


Miranda has recently finished playing the role of Dollie in British Feature film The 12. Prior to this she played the joint lead in the short film Pillow Talk, which was nominated for several awards. This is Miranda’s professional stage debut.


Jon’s previous work for the stage includes Hamlet (Cockpit Theatre) and The Last Lycoon (Above the Arts Theatre). His appearances for TV and film include BBC detective drama River, Bronson and the Oscar-nominated Bollywood epic Lagaan. Jon has also written the screenplay and soundtrack, directed and performed in the television pilot, Elvis Jones.


Jack’s multiple TV credits include Little Boy Blue, Maigret, Together, Common, Fast Freddie, Waterloo Road, Moving On, The Street, The Bill, The Forgotten Fallen, Grange Hill and Brookside. On stage, he most recently appeared in Henry V (Regent’s Park Open Air). Further theatre work includes Kill Me Now (Park Theatre), Fathers and Sons (Donmar Warehouse), Carthage (Finborough Theatre) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner(York Theatre Royal).  For film, his work includes Brotherhood, The Marker, Urban Hymn, The Hatching, The Knife That Killed Me, The Lie is Dead and Seamonsters.


Jules’ numerous theatre credits include In Lambeth, The Broken Heart and The Rape of Tamar (Lyric Hammersmith), A Chaste Maid in Cheapside, Augustine’s Oak, The Taming of the Shrew, an all-female Richard IIIMuch Ado About Nothing, Pericles and Othello (Shakespeare’s Globe), Ursula, The House of Correction and I Saw Myself (The Wrestling School), The Devil is an Ass and Faust Parts One and Two (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Rose Tattoo (National Theatre), Private Lives (Hampstead Theatre), An Inspector Calls (English Theatre, Frankfurt) and Gabriel (UK Tour). TV credits include The Bill and Casualty.


Roger’s recent theatre credits include Untold Stories (Newbury Watermill), Each His Own Wilderness (The Orange Tree Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest and Travesties (Birmingham Rep)Other credits includes The Picture (Salisbury Playhouse), The Tempest (York Theatre Royal), Burnt by the Sun, Never So Good (The National Theatre), The Duel (Lyric Hammersmith), Henry VI Part 3 (Shakespeare’s Globe) and King Lear (Barbican Theatre). TV credits include Outlander, Berlin Station, Tina and Bobby, Call the Midwife, Mr Selfridge, The Musketeers, The Hour, Silent Witness and Spooks. Film work includes Stan and Ollie, Love/Loss and The Rookery. 


Catherine is most well-known from her role as Mabel Lane Fox in ITV’s Downton Abbey. She was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress at the Olivier Awards for her role in Oppenheimer (Royal Shakespeare Company/ West End).  Further theatre work includes She Stoops to Conquer (Theatre Royal Bath), That Face (West End), Numbers (Royal Court), Babooshka (Pleasance) and The Glory of Living (BAC). More widely her TV credits include BucketFearlessMidsomer MurdersTutankhamunTrying AgainFresh MeatBreathlessQuirkeLewisPlastic GangstersAn Old Fashioned ChristmasLaw & OrderMissingThe TudorsThe InbetweenersDoctorsHolby CityMansfield Park and The Bill. Film work includes AstralAbout TimeLenaCold WaterSalmon Fishing in the YemenDust and Princess Kaiulani.


Alex was most recently on stage in Pink Mist (Bristol Old Vic/ Bush Theatre/ UK Tour).  Other theatre credits include Layla’s Room (Theatre Centre), The Passenger Project (Box Clever), Silent Dance, Boom! (Bush Theatre), Henry Walker and the Wheel of Death (Roughhouse Theatre), Tangled Minds (Roughhouse Theatre), The Snow Goose(Theatre West) and If You Really Love Me (Company of Angels).  He has also worked on a number of rehearsed readings at The Tobacco Factory.  On TV Alex has appeared in Skins and Casualty. He is also a writer and has had his work performed at Theatre 503 and The Theatre Royal Plymouth as part of the Plymouth Fringe Festival.


Hywel’s numerous recent theatre credits include Hay Fever (Royal Lyceum/ Citizens Theatre), Betrayal (Citizens Theatre), Noises Off (Mercury Theatre), Enquirer and A Doll’s House (National Theatre of Scotland), The Passion of Port Talbot (National Theatre Wales),  Red Bud (Royal Court), Money (Shunt), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Royal & Derngate) and Dangerous Liasons (New Vic). He is well known for his role as Sgt. Craig Gilmore on The Bill. Further TV appearances include Poldark, Casualty, and Doctors. Film credits include Enigma, Shakespeare in Love and Wilde.


David has previously been directed by Lucy Bailey in Uncle Vanya (The Print Room). He most recently appeared on stage in All Our Children (Jermyn Street Theatre).   His other extensive theatre credits include Phaedra, Britannica, Hamlet, John Gabriel Borkman, The Shoe Maker’s Holiday, Summer and Major Barbara (all National Theatre), The Winter’s Tale (Globe Theatre), Taken At Midnight (Chichester Festival Theatre/ West End), A Marvellous Year for Plums, Time and the Conways and The Circle (all Chichester Festival Theatre),  Nicholas Nickleby (Chichester Festival Theatre, West End), An Ideal Husband (Gate Theatre), Henry IV Parts 1&2 (Theatre Royal Bath/ Tour), Mrs Warren’s Profession (Theatre Royal Bath, West End),  The Rules of the Game, The Jew of Malta (Almeida Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest (Old Vic) and Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse).  For the Peter Hall Company credits include An Ideal Husband (West End/ Broadway), Waste, The Seagull and King Lear (Old Vic), The Misanthrope andMajor Barbara (West End), Cuckoos (Gate Theatre/ Barbican) and As You Like It (Theatre Royal Bath/ US Tour).  Other West End credits include Deathtrap, The Deep Blue Sea, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Richard III and God Only Knows.

Among his many TV appearances are the title role in David Copperfield and Rumpole of the Bailey. More recently he has appeared in The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, The Line of Beauty, Agatha Christie’s PoirotThe Crown, Reg and Endeavour. Film credits include Happy EndHunter KillerCoriolanusPrivate Peaceful and The Prince of Wales in Chariots of Fire.


Agatha Christie Limited (ACL) has been managing the literary and media rights to Agatha Christie’s works around the world since 1955, working with the best talents in film, television, publishing, stage and on digital platforms to ensure that Christie’s work continues to reach new audiences in innovative ways and to the highest standard. The company is managed by Christie’s great grandson James Prichard.

November 2017 will see the release of 20th Century Fox’s feature film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s acclaimed mystery, Murder on the Orient Express. The film will be directed by five-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh, who will also star as Poirot. Branagh helms an all-star cast that includes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe, Daisy Ridley, Tom Bateman, Derek Jacobi, Josh Gad, Leslie Odom Jr, Sergei Polunin and Lucy Boynton.

ACL’s recent television projects include the critically-acclaimed BBC One adaptations of And Then There Were None(Aidan Turner, Charles Dance, Sam Neill) and The Witness for the Prosecution (Toby Jones, Andrea Riseborough, Kim Cattrall)both produced by Agatha Christie Ltd alongside Mammoth Screen, with screenplays from Sarah Phelps (Great Expectations, The Casual Vacancy).  The latest adaptation, Ordeal By Innocence, is currently in production.

Globally, ACL works closely with leading screen production companies to deliver territory-specific adaptations. Notable productions include the popular French series Les Petits Meurtres d’Agatha Christie produced by Escazal, and Japanese adaptations of Murder on the Orient Express from Fuji TV (winner of the Tokyo Grand Prix drama award) and the forthcoming And Then There Were None from TV Asahi. Further projects are in development in Europe, the US, Asia and Latin America.

In 2016 literary projects included the global publication of the new Hercule Poirot novel Closed Casket, the second continuation novel from bestselling crime writer Sophie Hannah, published in more than 30 languages and distributed in over 100 territories. Sophie will shortly begin work on two more Poirot novels for publication in 2018 and 2020.


Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Rebecca Stafford Productions present
Witness for the Prosecution
By Agatha Christie
Directed by Lucy Bailey
Designed by William Dudley
Lighting Design by Chris Davey
Sound Design by Mic Pool

London County Hall
The Chamber, County Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB
6 October 2017 – 11 March 2018
Press Night 23 October, 7pm

Box Office: 0844 815 7141
Online: www.witnesscountyhall.com


Until 22 OctoberMonday to Saturday7.30pm and matinees on Thursday and Saturday2.30pm

25 October – 11 MarchTuesday to Saturday7.30pm and matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm and Sundayat 3pm

See website for performances 24 December – 9 January

Website: www.witnesscountyhall.com
Twitter: @WitnessPlayLDN
Facebook: /WitnessPlayLDN