Torchlight Launches Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and Scotland’s Young People vote #BRAW as ScotWord

Definition of braw: grand, fine, super, beautiful

Braw was shortlisted by the young champions because of its positivity and its uniqueness to Scotland, and the public agreed.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay kicked off three days of fantastic free and ticketed events with the Torchlight Procession this evening, which marked the start of Year of Young People 2018 with a stunning reveal of #ScotWord in Holyrood Park.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay kicked off the three day festival of fantastic free and ticketed events with the Torchlight Procession this evening, which was declared a major success by organisers Underbelly, who produce Edinburgh’s Hogmanay on behalf of the City of Edinburgh Council.

Torches sold out before the event and in perfect weather conditions approximately 20,000 people, including 17,000 torchbearers, were led by young people performing mass pipes and drums, samba drumming, and 30 Vikings young and old from Shetland’s Up Helly Aa Festival, down the Royal Mile, past Holyrood Palace and the Parliament to form the stunning #ScotWord in Holyrood Park. An additional estimated 25,000 people watched the stunning event.

In a further celebration of the beginning of Year of Young People 2018 it was young performers from across Scotland including Pipe Idol Robbie Mac Isaac who beat off three other finalists in the fierce final at Piping Live in 2017, members of Hawick Scout Pipe Band and Preston Lodge High School Pipe Band in Prestonpans that entertained the crowds. Over 20 young pipers and drummers from Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Juvenile Pipe Band joined the procession alongside the rousing sound of talented young brass players from Whitburn Youth Band. Leith samba band Pulse of the Place kept the rhythm with their vibrant young samba sound.

This year young Jarls of the legendary Up Helly Aa Vikings from Shetland took centre stage when the 2017 Jarl Squad championed their young members in their annual appearance at Torchlight Procession, alongside the young #ScotWord champions who led discussions around the country to find the one word which sums up what makes young people proud to live in Scotland.

Together more than 100 young people entertained the procession and spectators, supported with performances by Pyroceltica and fire sculptures by Skyefyre to create a spectacular night.

On stage in Holyrood Park, hot young Scottish pop project Ava Love and the 4-piece indie rock band from Perth & Kinross-shire already making waves Josef Lawrence and the Hypocrites played to amassed crowds while ScotWord #BRAW was revealed for the first time in front of thousands of people.

The #ScotWord campaign was co-designed and led by young people, connecting with their peers between the ages of 8 and 26, encouraging them to choose one word they want to say about Scotland to the rest of the world. The resounding response was #BRAW from a shortlist which also included #CULTURE #WELCOME #HAME #ALIVE #DIVERSE and #BONNIE.

2,000 torch bearers spelt out #BRAW in Holyrood Park at the end of the Torchlight Procession, stretching 104m long and 24m high and visible from space. Images of this launch of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay have been shared around the world putting the young people of Scotland centre stage and heralding the start of the Year of Young People 2018, a year in which Scotland will celebrate its young people and enable them to shine – in this case quite literally – on the Edinburgh stage, the Scottish stage and the international stage.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has joined with One City Trust to support its mission in Edinburgh. A donation from each torch sold was made to the Trust. One City Trust initiates and funds projects in many areas, including education, social welfare, human rights, inequalities and poverty seeking to run initiatives which actively bring people together from across divides, have long-term social inclusion benefits, are low-cost but high-impact and offer innovative and collaborative methods for addressing social exclusion.

The Torchlight Procession is supported by the EventScotland International Events Programme, Year of Young People 2018 Events fund and Scotland’s Winter Festivals Fund.

Underbelly, producers of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay has worked with a number of partners including the Scottish Government, EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, and Young Scot to realise the #ScotWord project. The Young Champions have collectively worked with a hugely diverse range of their peers from a wide range of backgrounds during the campaign, delivering workshops to groups in schools, universities, youth groups and libraries across Scotland including; Who Cares? Scotland, LGBT Youth Scotland, The Royal Blind School of Edinburgh and Landed Peer Education Service.

Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam, Directors of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay said: “When we set about designing Edinburgh’s Hogmanay 2018, we wanted to engage the people of Scotland and at the start of Scotland’s Year of Young People, most especially young Scotland. This is a country that empowers young people and has a proud history of discourse that we’re so pleased to see is flourishing. #ScotWord is the blazing voice of Scotland’s young people telling the world why they’re proud to live in this extraordinary country and what better word to sum that up than BRAW? The iconic procession was a huge success made all the more wonderful by the young performers who entertained us all. There is a lot more to come over the next two days and we look forward to sharing our spectacular Street Party with you tomorrow, as well as welcoming families to the first ever Bairns Afore.”

Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, said: “It is a special moment to lead such a breath-taking torchlight procession through Scotland’s capital and to see people come together from all over the world to celebrate the start of Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. You see the city at its best and you can’t help but feel proud of its streets and its people. This year, the event has raised much needed funds for the OneCity Trust and involved young people from all over Scotland to welcome the Year of Young People 2018. I want to thank every single young Scot involved. Well done.”

Katie Tweedie, #ScotWord Young Champion said: “It has been absolutely incredible to be part of the #ScotWord campaign for Edinburgh’s Hogmanay. As a #ScotWord Champion for Midlothian I have engaged with youth groups and charities allowing as many young people as possible to get together and think big about what makes them proud to live in Scotland.”

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Hundreds of young people have shared what makes them proud of Scotland’s rich and diverse culture. Year of Young People 2018 is an opportunity to further strengthen their voice and celebrate the amazing ideas, talents and achievements which make up our nation’s young people.

“Next year, will provide a platform for young people to take centre stage, with an exciting programme of cultural, music and sporting events taking place across the country for all ages to enjoy. Importantly, it will celebrate their contributions amongst local communities and give them a stronger voice on issues which most affect their lives.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is an occasion known the world-over and one that plays a valuable role in reinforcing Scotland as the perfect stage for events.  The spectacular Torchlight Procession has once again started New Year celebrations around the world, giving visitors and locals taking part the opportunity to illuminate the city streets”.

“EventScotland is proud to support the event which this year, in celebration of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 has put Scotland’s young people in the driving seat, creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally as part of the #Scotword project.”

Hogmanay 2018 is bigger than ever before, new elements include Bairns Afore, Message from the Skies, a revamped Torchlight Procession, Hogmanay HQ, extra stages and activities across the Street Party arena, new viewing areas and the move of The Ceilidh to West Princes Street Gardens under Edinburgh Castle.

#edhogmanay #ScotWord





Cardboard Citizens Artistic Director Adrian Jackson has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List

Adrian Jackson
Adrian Jackson

Adrian Jackson

Adrian Jackson has today been awarded an MBE for his work in the theatre industry. Jackson, an artistic pioneer and activist for social change, founded Cardboard Citizens over twenty-five years ago. Since then the award-winning company has become renowned for their work with homelessness, their community activism and their groundbreaking use of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed. The company’s approach has influenced a generation theatre makers with its style of practice and affected thousands of lives around the UK with its commitment to social justice.

For a quarter of a century Cardboard Citizens has striven to create work in which theatre illuminates homelessness and the lives of homeless people, offering a space for debate, a theatre in which there is a home for all. Founded by Jackson, the company originated in the Cardboard City that occupied the Bullring in Waterloo in the early 90s (now the site of the IMAX cinema). Cardboard Citizens makes theatre that effects personal, social and political change in the lives of homeless people and in society’s perceptions of them. The company has toured hostels, day centres and prisons, as well as traditional theatre buildings across the UK, bringing theatre to the most marginalized. Through storytelling, the company breaks down conventional divisions between audience and performer, telling untold stories and opening the company’s unique insight into experiences of homelessness to general audiences, as well as presenting plays performed by, with and for homeless people. Cardboard Citizens also runs workshops and training alongside productions.

Adrian Jackson, Cardboard Citizens Founder, Director and Chief Executive said: “I am very chuffed to have been given this honour, which I regard as an award for Cardboard Citizens and all the amazing staff and members we have had over the last 25 years. It is and always has been a team effort, and I am so proud of all we have achieved. When we started out, the idea that theatre could be anything more than a therapeutic distraction for homeless people was regarded as fanciful – maybe more than anything our achievement has been to demonstrate that the arts can be so much more. Cardboard Citizens is a place where homeless people can find their feet again, a space where they won’t be judged and a platform from which they can share untold stories that need telling. It’s living proof that theatre can be a genuine catalyst for change. I celebrate the company’s recognition, but mourn the fact that homelessness is once again so common in our rich nation. 

We will continue to play our part, as long as it is needed, and sadly now, as homeless numbers rise inexorably and unnecessarily, we seem to be needed more than ever. We will announce our plans for 2018 shortly.”

Kate Winslet CBE, Cardboard Citizens Ambassador said: I have the highest regard for Adrian both as a man of the theatre and as a social campaigner and I felt honoured to have been invited by him to be an Ambassador of Cardboard Citizens some nine years ago. His company, Cardboard Citizens, was the forerunner in Britain of companies who grasp the potential of excellent art to address the problems of today through a powerful mixture of telling the stories of the homeless through theatre, as well as working with the homeless to improve their self-respect and self-standing. He has done – and is doing – a remarkable job.

 He has dedicated himself selflessly to the company and its growth and reach over the last 25 years, and I can think of few people working in the arts today who more deserve a national honour.”

Prue Skene CBE, Chair of the Cardboard Citizens Board of Trustees said: “I am more than pleased that Adrian has been given this honour. Not only has he led Cardboard Citizens for 25 remarkable years but he has also been an international spokesman for Theatre of the Oppressed since Augusto Boal’s death. He is both a true man of the theatre and an activist for social change – a rare combination. His MBE is long overdue and on behalf of everyone connected with Cardboard Citizens I would like to say how proud we are of our association with him and to congratulate him warmly.”

Full Casting announced for Royal Shakespeare Company’s Macbeth


Returning home from battle, the victorious Macbeth meets three witches on the heath. Driven by their disturbing prophecies, he sets out on the path to murder.

Polly Findlay directs this contemporary production of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thriller which runs in repertoire in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 13 March until 18 September. Her production of David Eldridge’s play Beginning transfers from the National Theatre into the West End at the Ambassadors theatre from 15 January – 24 March 2018.

Joining Christopher Eccleston and Niamh Cusack as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are David Acton (Duncan);Afolabi Alli (Company); Donna Banya (Donalbain/Gentlewoman); Stevie Basaula (Bloody Captain/2nd Murderer);Edward Bennett (Macduff); Katy Brittain (Doctor); Raif Clarke (Boy); Paul Dodds (Chamberlain 1); Josh Finan(Company); Bally Gill (Ross); Mariam Haque (Lady MacDuff); Michael Hodgson (Porter); John Macaulay(Chamberlain/Lord); Luke Newberry (Malcolm); Tom Padley (1st Murderer); Tim Samuels (Lennox) and Raphael Sowole (Banquo).

The production is designed by Fly Davis with lighting by Lizzie Powell and music by Rupert Cross. Sound is by Christopher Shutt and movement is by Aline David with fights by Kate Waters and Illusions by Chris Fisher.

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Polly Findlay

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
13 March – 18 September 2018

Press night: Tuesday 20 March, 7pm

Broadcast live to cinemas on 11 April.
Followed by encore screenings and international screenings from the 4 May.

Tickets: 01789 403493 or


Val McDermid brings Susan Ferrier back to life in New Year’s Resurrection

New Year's Resurrection
New Year's Resurrection

New Year’s Resurrection

  • Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrates Edinburgh’s and Scotland’s rich literary heritage and its young people with the launch of the innovative and collaborative new project Message from the Skies co-commissioned with the Edinburgh International Book Festival –  a story told chapter by chapter on 12 buildings and landmarks across Edinburgh
  • Message from the Skies opens on 1 January at dusk and runs until 25 January, with one Scotland’s greatest contemporary novelists, Val McDermid, leading a collaboration of Scottish artists
  • Val McDermid reveals she will bring Edinburgh’s 19th Century novelist Susan Ferrier back to life in New Year’s Resurrection.
  • In this unique collaboration, McDermid is joined by leading artists from across both Scotland and a multitude of art forms including: Philip Howard of Pearlfisher, Edinburgh based projection company Double Take Projections, some of Scotland’s finest soundscape artists; Michael John McCarthyRJ McConnell and Pippa Murphy, graffiti artist Elph and actors Sandy McDade and Phyllis Logan.
  • Marking the Year of Young People 2018 the project includes short stories by three young writers who won a short story competition and which will be projected onto three buildings from 4pm – 5pm each day from 2 January.

Launching at dusk on New Year’s Day 2018, Message from the Skies runs until Burns Night on 25 JanuaryInspired by a line from Robert Burns’ poem Sketch New Year’s Day. To Mrs Dunlop (1790), Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Book Festival have commissioned Val McDermid to write a short story, New Year’s Resurrection, which will be told in a series of chapters through projections and other art onto buildings and landmarks around Edinburgh.

Val McDermid collaborates with director and dramaturg Philip Howard of emergent theatre company Pearlfisher, Edinburgh based architectural projection mapping specialists Double Take Projections, and three of Scotland’s finest composers and sound designers; Michael John McCarthyPippa Murphy and RJ McConnell, graffiti artist Elph and actors Sandy McDade and Phyllis Logan to bring the story to life.

Val McDermid has revealed that in New Year’s Resurrection she will resurrect Susan Ferrier an Edinburgh born and bred novelist in the nineteenth century.

“The most remarkable thing about the nineteenth century Scottish novelist Susan Edmonstone Ferrier is that she has all but disappeared from our consciousness. In her lifetime, her novels were wildly popular, earning her significantly more substantial publisher’s advances than Jane Austen. And yet now almost nobody knows her name. Susan Ferrier deserves better than this.” said Val McDermid.

Message from the Skies encourages residents and visitors to explore Edinburgh’s iconic locations in a new light: streets and buildings which have inspired some of the world’s finest authors over the centuries – from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson to J K Rowling and Muriel Spark, and the streets and buildings which McDermid and her other collaborators have been inspired by and to which all the artists respond in this unique piece of work, made especially for Edinburgh. The project is inspired by the nineteenth century tradition of publishing novels chapter by chapter: readers must go from location to location to read the whole story, simultaneously exploring both this piece of new work and the city.

The starting point and the site of the first chapter is Parliament Square, off the Royal Mile in Edinburgh’s Old Town. From there, readers can navigate by using the app or following the signage leading to the next instalment.

The app is filled with additional content about the story and locations, and will translate Val’s story into seven languages – French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Polish and Spanish, making the project equally accessible to visitors to Edinburgh. The app will also read the text in English to visually impaired audiences.

Virago re-publish Ferrier’s first novel Marriage on 28 December to coincide with this project, with a new forward by McDermid.

Three talented young local writers have also won the opportunity to see their works projected nightly on buildings across Edinburgh’s city centre in a competition which saw over 200 entries sifted through by the expert judging panel of Ali Bowden, Director, Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, Janet Smyth, Children & Education Programme Director, Edinburgh International Book Festival, and Boogie and Arlenefrom Forth 1’s Breakfast Show.

Primary school winner:

Lucy Hutcheon, age 11: ‘I’m so happy! I can’t believe my story was chosen.  It feels great to know that people enjoy what I write.’

Davidsons Mains Primary School

S1-S3 Winner:

Maisie Dalton, age 12: ‘I’m in shock, I never expected to win. I can’t stop shaking with excitement!’

Balerno High School

S4-S6 Winner:

Jemma Glover, age 16: ‘I am delighted, it means a lot that other people will be able to read my writing. I hope I have made my city, my home proud.’

Balerno High School

Message from the Skies is commissioned and presented by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Book Festival, produced by Underbelly and Pearlfisher, in partnership with Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust and is developed with support from Creative Scotland through the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Festivals Expo Fund.
Charlie Wood and Ed Bartlam said: “Message from the Skies is the moment of contemplation in Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, running through to Burns Night on 25 January and celebrating Edinburgh’s and Scotland’s literary heritage and a powerful collaboration of some of Scotland’s most exciting artists. We’re looking forward to the new year resurrection of Susan Ferrier.”
Director Philip Howard said: “Message from the Skies celebrates Edinburgh’s built environment and its status as Unesco World City of Literature. It is a story and a walking tour but also a quasi-theatrical experience and we have quite a few tricks up our sleeves. Susan Ferrier’s is a remarkable story, and Val asks some very topical questions about why as a female Scottish writer Ferrier has been excised from the literary history of the nation.
“It’s a beautiful piece of storytelling but Val has had a lot of fun with it as well. We’re treading a course between honouring Susan’s legacy and restoring her voice and having a little bit of a crime caper along the way.”

Councillor Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: “This year Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrates its 25th birthday so it’s fitting that it will be the biggest party ever staged in Scotland’s great capital city. The fireworks display is being extended with new events like Bairns Afore and Message from the Skies plus favourites such as the Torchlight Procession and Loony Dook. There will be something for everyone not just to see but to take part in. Come along and experience what Edinburgh’s Hogmanay is really about!”


Johnnie Fiori joins the UK Première of Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage at Southwark Playhouse

Johnnie Fiori
Johnnie Fiori

Johnnie Fiori

Antic Face today announced that Johnnie Fiori will play Betty 4 alongside Sara Stewart (Betty 1), Lucy McCormick (Betty 2), Beatriz Romilly (Betty 3) and Genesis Lynea (Betty 5) in the UK première of Jen Silverman’s Collective Rage. Nina Wadia has had to regretfully withdraw from the production due to scheduling conflicts. The production opens in the Large at Southwark Playhouse on 29 January, with previews from 24 January and runs until 17 February.



Betty is rich; Betty is lonely; Betty’s busy working on her truck; Betty wants to talk about love, but Betty needs to hit something. Meanwhile, Betty decides to stage a production of that play-within-a-play from…what’s it called again? Summer’s Midnight Dream?

 In Collective Rage the lives of five very different New York women named Betty collide at the intersection of anger, sex and “theat-ah”. As they meet, fall in love, rehearse, revel and rage, they realise that they’ve been stuck reading the same scripts for far too long. Strongly influenced by cabaret and female drag, this outrageous comedy exquisitely rejects shame and stereotype. It will punch you in the gut, break your heart and then take you dancing.

 Jen Silverman’s theatre work includes The Moors (Yale Repertory Theatre, Susan Blackburn Smith Award Finalist), The Roommate (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), Phoebe in Winter (Clubbed Thumb), The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane (InterAct Theatre – Barrymore Award),Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties (Woolly Mammoth and The Theater @ Boston Court), and All the Road Home (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park).

Johnnie Fiori plays Betty 4. Her theatre credits include originating the role of Motormouth Mabel in Hairspray at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Also at the Shaftesbury Theatre credits include Thoroughly Modern Millie and 125th Street. Other theatre credits include The Sunshine Boys (Savoy Theatre), Vernon God Little (Young Vic) and The Exonerated (Riverside Studios). For television, her work includes Episodes and Lost in London; and for film, Powder Room. In addition to acting, Fiori has also had an extensive singing career.

Antic Face and Nik Holttum Productions presents

The UK première of


By Jen Silverman

Directed by Charlie Parham; Designer: Anna Reid; Lighting Designer: Zoe Spurr

Sound Designer: Hollie Buhagiar; Choreographer: Nichola Treherne

24 January – 17 February 2018

Press night: 29 January 7:30pm

Southwark Playhouse, Large



Southwark Playhouse

77-85 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6BD

24 January – 17 February 2018

Press night: 29 January 7:30pm


Box office: 020 7407 0234



Twitter: @anticface @CollectiveRage



Performance times:

Monday – Saturday – 7:30pm

Tuesday and Saturday – 3:00pm


Ticket prices: £12 previews, £20 standard, £16 concession

Full Casting announced for RSC National Tour of Hamlet

Paapa Essiedu
Paapa Essiedu

Paapa Essiedu

Tour opens in Salford, before visiting Plymouth, Hull, Newcastle Upon Tyne and Northampton, January – March 2018. Production then runs at Hackney Empire between 6 And 31 March 2018.

National Press Night: Tuesday 30 January 2018 at The Lowry, Salford

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) will tour its acclaimed production of Hamlet, originally seen in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2016, to Salford, Plymouth, Hull, Newcastle upon Tyne and Northampton between January and March 2018, before transferring to London’s Hackney Empire between 6 and 31 March 2018.

“A landmark production” Financial Times
“Simply a terrific Hamlet, a blazing new star standing at the heart of an intelligent and engrossing production” TheSunday Times

Directed by Simon Godwin, the production will see RSC Associate Artist Paapa Essiedu reprise his award-winning performance in the title role as one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic heroes.

Joining Paapa in the cast are Romayne Andrews (Rosencrantz), Lorna Brown (Gertrude), James Cooney(Horatio), Patrick Elue (Fortinbras), Kevin N Golding (Player King), Tracy-Anne Green (Player), Maureen Hibbert(Player Queen), Whitney Kehinde (Cornelia), Byron Mondahl (Professor of Wittenberg), Joseph Mydell (Polonius),Mimi Ndiweni (Ophelia), Esther Niles (Osric), John Omole (Voltemand), Clarence Smith (Claudius), Buom Tihngang (Laertes), Ewart James Walters (Ghost) and Eleanor Wyld (Guildenstern).

RSC Executive Director, Catherine Mallyon, said: “We are passionate about taking the productions we make in our home in Stratford-upon-Avon to theatres across the UK.  In 2018 we are glad that many people across the country will have the opportunity to see our work at their local theatre. As well as Hamlet, our acclaimed production of Matilda The Musical will also embark on its first UK and Ireland tour, and our First Encounters with Shakespeare production of Julius Caesar will visit schools and theatres between January -March.”

Paapa Essiedu won Best Performance in a Play at the UK Theatre Awards in 2016 for his role as Hamlet.  Paapa’s other RSC credits include Edmund in King Lear, Fenton in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Mouse and his Child.  Additional theatre credits include King Lear (National Theatre) and Romeo and Juliet (Tobacco Factory).  He played Demetrius in Russell T Davies’ adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for BBC1 (2016), and appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s 2017 film adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express. Paapa will shortly be seen on TV in The Miniaturist and Mike Bartlett’s Press (both BBC 1) and Jack Thorne’s Kiri (Channel 4).

See Paapa talking about the role:

Simon Godwin’s work as a director includes The Two Gentlemen of Verona (RSC), Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe),Twelfth Night, Man and Superman, The Beaux’ Stratagem and Strange Interlude (National Theatre). He is Associate Director at the National Theatre, and was Associate Director at Northampton Royal & Derngate between 2001-04.

Simon Godwin said: “I’m delighted that Hamlet will be touring in 2018.  Paapa Essiedu is British with Ghanaian heritage. When Paapa and I talked about the production, I realised how radical it might be to see Denmark through the lens of a completely different culture, a culture that Paapa himself had experienced.  I began to imagine a Denmark re-conceived as a modern state influenced by the ritual, traditions and beauty of west Africa.  So, our setting is full of the colour, emotional intensity and passion associated with that part of the world.

“As Hamlet, Paapa is intelligent, youthful and charismatic, with a contemporary wit.  But Paapa’s portrayal is also mercurial with an element of danger.

“Part ghost story, part family tragedy, part dark comedy, Hamlet is an urgent and gripping thriller.  I can’t wait to see how audiences respond to it around the country.”

Watch a clip from the production in 2016:–tWffBTyqM

Hamlet is directed by Simon Godwin and designed by Paul Wills with lighting by Paul Anderson. Music for the production is composed by Jamiroquai percussionist Sola Akingbola. Sound is by Christopher Shutt. Movement byMbulelo Ndabeni. Fights by Kev McCurdy.


Hamlet performance dates

National press night: Tuesday 30 January 2018 at The Lowry, Salford

The Lowry, Salford
26 January – 3 February 2018
Box Office: 0843 208 6000
Theatre Royal Plymouth
6 – 10 February 2018
Box Office: 01752 267222
Hull New Theatre
13-17 February 2018
Box office: 01482 300306
Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne
20 – 24 February 2018
Box Office: 0191 230 5151

Royal & Derngate, Northampton
27 February – 3 March 2018
Box Office: 01604 624811
Hackney Empire
6 – 31 March 2018
Box Office: 020 8985 2424

The Alternative Queen’s Christmas Message from Dan Glass, UK Activist Of The Year – Sexual Freedom Awards


A Queen’s Christmas Message from Jeremy Goldstein for LAP on Vimeo.

Created by Dan Glass, Jeremy Goldstein, and Daniel Saul with David Stuart at 56 Dean Street

From Emmeline Pankhurst to Marsha P Johnson and ACT UP London, this 4-minute film celebrates the power of the individual to incite change through community activism.

Dan Glass says: “In 2017, we continued our journey towards equality, love and sexual freedom through celebrated acts of triumph and resistance. In 2018, we mark 30 years since the hated Clause 28 was passed, and the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote. More than ever, our hard-won freedoms and civil liberties are now under attack, so please support this important message and help our unique take on a Christmas Classic go viral.”

Jeremy Goldstein says: “I am super proud to launch ‘A Queen’s Christmas Message’ with ACT UP London. In the words of Penny Arcade ‘hitting like on Facebook is not activism’ so as we enter 2018, let’s be vigilant, and do what we can to combat stigma and the rising tide of fascism. Small acts of wonder, humour and defiance really can change the world, so please share this short film to increase awareness, joy and happiness in 2018.”

Dan Glass is among the UK’s most prominent LGBTQI and HIV activists campaigning hard for over a decade to combat stigma and to improve services for queer Londoners in areas such as health, environment, housing, and social justice. In 2014, he revitalised ACT UP London, and in 2015 led the now infamous Beyond UKIP Cabaret pub protest against then UKIP leader Nigel Farage. In 2008 Dan superglued himself to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street, in protest over Heathrow Airport’s third runway. His new project ‘Bang Bus’ for ‘Queer Tours of London’ will run throughout 2018.

Jeremy Goldstein is a creative producer and writer whose work has been described as ‘an evocative theatrical wonderland’ (Guardian). He founded London Artists Projects in 2000, winning a number of major theatre awards for newly commissioned work. In 2012 Jeremy was named in Time Out as among the 100 most influential people in UK culture for ‘proving political theatre can be fun and outrageous’. In 2018 Jeremy’s new show ‘Truth to Power Café’ will tour the UK and internationally.

Belarus Free Theatre announces the next Kitchen Revolution supper club, featuring Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen
Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen

On Tuesday 16 January, Belarus Free Theatre will host the next Kitchen Revolution Supper club, featuring celebrated Russian-American journalist and leading LGBT activist Masha Gessen. The evening will be chaired by Hazel Healey, Director of SpinWatch, and will also feature well-known news commentator Jamie Kelsey-Fry.

Kitchen Revolution is a series of evenings that combine supper and secrecy, all served with a dash of sedition. Guests will enjoy a feast of home-cooked Soviet food and wine served in a private house, including a selection of special Belarusian dishes to celebrate Old New Year, such as ‘herring in a fur coat’, a traditional layered salad made of finely chopped pickled herring, eggs, beetroot, carrots and potatoes.

The theme of this evening is ‘The uncertain future of democracy’. Provocateurs Masha and Jamie will lead guests in conversations about this increasingly beleaguered form of government, as we look back on a year dominated by Trump, Putin and Brexit, and forward to an uncertain future.

Masha Gessen is a Russian-American journalist and author who won the 2017 National Book Award, the highest literary honour in the United States, for the book The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia. She is also the author of the 2012 international bestseller The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and several other books. She is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a professor at Amherst College. Gessen lives in New York City.

In the dark days of the Soviet Union, dissidents and intellectuals would gather in each other’s homes to talk, argue and dream about one thing – freedom. These whispered conversations, which would have been deemed treasonous if held in public, ultimately coalesced into actions that helped overthrow the repressive Soviet system. This was nicknamed the ‘kitchen revolution’.

Decades later and a world away, Britain’s hard-won freedoms are being eroded, as too many of us sink into political apathy, and a stultifying conservatism envelops the creative arts. It’s time for a new and more public kitchen revolution, time to turn up the volume on the kitchen table whispers of the past, and to encourage everyone to consider how artists should respond when democracy comes under threat.

Natalia Kaliada said: “I spent my childhood under the Soviet regime, and I still remember my parents’ kitchen reverberating with the fierce whispers of dissent. Even when everything is suppressed, it is very difficult to crush that human desire to keep talking, to keep challenging lies, defending truth, and hoping for change. With Kitchen Revolution, we want to remind people how precious and important the freedom to speak really is, and to look at how we might start translating words into real action.” 

Belarus Free Theatre is one of the foremost refugee-led theatre companies in the UK and the only theatre in Europe banned by its government on political grounds. In April, the company was forced to postpone the premiere of a new show in Minsk, after several of its members were arrested or injured during crackdowns on democratic protests against Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko.

Belarus Free Theatre presents Kitchen Revolution 
Theme: ‘The uncertain future of democracy’
Date: Tuesday 16 January 2018
Time: 7pm10pm
Location: E3

Guests will be given a meeting point, from where they will be escorted to the secret venue.

Price: £25 per head, including a feast of Soviet food and complimentary wine.


Omnibus Theatre New Season Announcement – January To April 2018

The new season includes three new plays, a month-long festival, the award-winning Shadwell Opera, two new pieces by Omnibus Theatre Associate Artists and e David Glass joins Omnibus Theatre’s company of Associate Artists.

In chronological order;

  • Jonathan Holloway and Liam Grundy in association with Red Shift Theatre Productions premiere BADBACK MOUNTAIN a funny, poignant and endearing fable. 23 – 27 Jan.
  • 96 FESTIVAL, owes its title to a landmark event which took place on Omnibus Theatre’s doorstep. Back in 1996 Clapham Common hosted the Pride after-march party. Thousands were there in one massive show of togetherness. 96 is a month-long festival of theatre, debate and music that champions and celebrates progress, achievement and possibility for everyone. Highlights include a three-week headline run of THE SOUL OF WITTGENSTEIN, Edinburgh hits DRAG ME TO LOVE by Bonnie And The Bonnettes and HOTTER by Transgression Productions as well as TELL ME THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE by Sue Blundell completes a programme of 16 events. 2 Feb – 28 Feb.
  • Omnibus Theatre associate artist Tom Adams brings MY DAD, THE MAGICIAN an inventive and nostalgic new multi-disciplinary show for families. 18 Mar.
  • Shadwell Opera, a young and vibrant company perform a double bill of innovative work. 26 & 27 Mar.
  • David Glass joins our company of associate artists and also stages MORTGAGE and after show panel discussions. 30 – 31 Mar.
  • Mukul And Ghetto Tigers supported by the EMI Archives Trust premiere GAUHAR JAAN – THE DATIA INCIDENT. The extraordinary story of India’s first recording star. 10 – 29 April.
  • Tickets for the new season go on sale this month. 0207 498 4699 | |Twitter: @Omnibus_Theatre |Instagram: omnibus_Theatre | Facebook @OmnibusTheatre

 Commenting on the Spring programme, artistic director Marie McCarthy said;

“Omnibus Theatre enters its fifth year with exciting new connections and collaborations. Gauhar Jaan – The Datia Incident, is the undoubted highlight of the season – Mukul and Ghetto Tigers and the EMI Archives Trust bring this incredible story of India’s first recording artist to the stage. A truly ground-breaking female artist who made a remarkable impact on the arts one hundred years ago. The play shines a light on an important historical point in time but from a different perspective and is also accompanied by an exhibition based on the early recording industry, courtesans in India and recorded Hindustani music.

I am also delighted to have assembled a programme that includes Jonathan Holloway’s Badback Mountain to David Glass Ensemble and Created A Monster’s Mortgage. I am thrilled to welcome David Glass to our associate artists. His company, the David Glass Ensemble, has long been a creator of inspiring and extraordinary theatre, on a world stage, and I hope this will mark the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with Omnibus Theatre.

96 Festival wonderfully celebrates our connection with the Common and in March we challenge and interrogate with plays giving voice to contemporary issues with The North! The North! and Tom And Bunny Save The World, two great pieces of work exploring the UK.

And finally, our reach is extending internationally. In the New Year we share best practice with theatre-practioners in China and take our work that has originated from our Youth Theatre to Beijing.”


 Badback Mountain

By Liam Grundy and Jonathan Holloway, in association with Red Shift Theatre Productions. Directed by Giles Croft.

Tue 23 – Sun 27 Jan, 7.30pm. £12, £10.  For ages 14 +

A funny and poignant evening of Alt Country music and canny theatrics in the company of two vigorous and very British misadventurers. Celebrated Americana singer-songwriter Liam Grundy (Royal Court Theatre, West End, Memphis, Nashville) joins forces with Jonathan Holloway (Red Shift Theatre Company, BBC, Chung Ying Hong Kong) under the direction of Giles Croft (National Theatre, Nottingham Playhouse, The Gate Theatre, West End) to fashion an endearing fable of two men who decide to do something remarkable. They resolve to ‘take a show’ to the Edinburgh Festival – whatever mysteries and dangers that might entail – and to achieve fame as showbiz icons.

Drag Me to Love

By Bonnie and the Bonettes

Sat 3 Feb, 7.30pm. £12 & £10. For ages 14+

It’s golden stilettos, ripped fishnets, and neon bobs. It’s Doncaster, 2009. An autobiographical show that uses drag performance to build a world of 80s pop anthems and glitter. Follow Cameron as he throws himself into a pair of 6-inch stilettos, and meets new people – making both friends and foes.

The Soul of Wittgenstein

By Another Soup

Tue 6 – Sun 25 Feb, 7.30pm, 4pm Sundays. £15 & £12. For ages 12+

The Soul of Wittgenstein serves as the backbone of the 96 Festival. A three week, run, this sensitive and touching play is a fictional account of one of the finest philosophers of the 20th century, Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Working as a porter at Guy’s Hospital in London during the Blitz, the academic begins a relationship with a young, illiterate and terminally ill patient. Wittgenstein teaches the patient to read classic philosophers, and the patient teaches the philosopher Cockney rhyming slang. Comedy and pathos are blended perfectly in Dave Spencer’s impeccably acted production. It is simultaneously pertinent and engrossing, amusingly confrontational, yet tender.


By Transgression productions

Sat 24 Feb, 9pm. £12 & £10. For ages 14+

“People are more fixated on flesh than ever before in history” Ann (97)

A show about blushing, sweating pinkness and pleasure told through sketches, song and dance. Ell Potter and Mary Higgins’ production explores what makes us all ‘hot’ by exploring how we are all common as well as different. Potter and Higgins explore the body and intimacy in what is normally considered a taboo way in the most hilarious yet heartbreaking way possible. What distinguishes this production is the recurring features of audio recordings of two interviewees about what ‘hot’ means to them. The anonymity of the audio relates back to the theme that we are all one in the same, whether we be young, old, cis or trans.

Tell Me the Truth About Love

By Sue Blundell

Sun 25 Feb, 7.30pm. £12 £10 £5 under 25’s

A new play that celebrates the relationship between the composer Benjamin Britten and his long-term partner, tenor Peter Pears. Two actors, six musicians and one opera singer tell the story of a great British composer who struggled with society’s attitude to same-sex relationships in a fascinating combination of live music and dynamic physical theatre.

Learning to Swim in the Abyss

By Stella Duffy

Mon 26 – Wed 28 Feb, 7.30pm. £12 and £10. For ages 14+

Award-winning writer, queer campaigner and Omnibus Theatre associate artist, Stella Duffy closes the 96 Festival by returning with a new improv piece. An improvised solo show about life and death, grief and joy, and making some sense of the space in between. It’s not rehearsed, it’s not written, it will be very live and about process as much as product – quite a lot like life.

The North! The North!  

By Have You Lost Me

Thu 1 – Sat 3 Mar, 7.30pm. £12, £10. For ages 14+

In 1985, a fissure formed at England’s centre and split the North from the South. In the North, cut off, things began to stir. After some shocking news, a young man embarks on an extraordinary journey from the lights of the City, to the dark and bloody heart of the north. There monsters lurk and a reckoning waits. In this acclaimed solo show about Britain, highly physical storytelling and animation combine in a grotesque road trip through a world bent out of shape.


A collaboration between Created a Monster and the David Glass Ensemble

Fri 30 – Sat 31 Mar, 7.30pm. £6. For ages 14+

A horror-farce which draws on theatre of cruelty, magic and sacrifice. Mortgage has burnt down the last theatre on Earth. She must now rebuild it with the skin, bones and blood of actors. And you are invited to the casting. Burnt to a crisp, and in the care of two demonic drag-doctors, Mortgage isn’t having the best day. As we circumnavigate her short and terrible life down the corridors of the asylum (Purgatory), the healing is a hell all of its own.

The performance will be followed by a panel discussion around the themes of mental health and loneliness in the younger generation, with a focus particularly on those trying to forge their way into the arts. The panel will also discuss the form of Mortgage in terms of how physical theatre, visual theatre, mime and theatre of cruelty can hold resonance and expand the discussion on the themes involved.

The panel will include Briony O’Callaghan, David Glass, Hester Welch, Simon Gleave and Derek Elwood plus guests.

Gauhar Jaan – The Datia Incident

By Mukul and Ghetto Tigers

PRESS NIGHT – Fri 13 April

 Tues 10 – Sun 29 April, 7.30pm, 4pm (Sun). £15, £12.

India, Oct 1902. Fred Gaisberg is travelling across the country capturing the exotic sounds of the East on his miraculous new machine, the gramaphone. He hopes to record the beautiful voice of Gauhar Jaan, a young courtesan famed not only for her musical prowess but her particular demands. Meanwhile, invited to play at a royal coronation, Gauhar’s requests see the Maharajah pull a trick that leaves her refusing to perform. Unhappy being a puppet of the court, Gauhar embraces the new recording technology that other artists have feared to become India’s very first recording star.

Gauhar Jaan – The Datia Incident is a multilingual play fused with live music and dance that celebrates early 20th century musical revolution, and the remarkable story of a talented musician who only ever craved control over her own fate.

Shadwell Opera Double Bill: Diary of One Who Disappeared and The Grief of Antigone

Thu 26 & Fri 27, 7.30pm. £17, £15.

Award-winning company Shadwell Opera present their sell-out production of Janacek’s dramatic song cycle, Diary of One Who Disappeared, in a double-bill with a newly commissioned piece The Grief of Antigone by Edward Nesbit based on Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus. Directed by Shadwell Opera’s Artistic Director Jack Furness, Janaček’s countryside story of a farmer’s ‘infatuation’ with a girl has been transposed into a complex contemporary story, placing it in a modern-day asylum centre. Taken together, the double bill will form a startling exploration of themes of travel, exile and place.

My Dad the Magician

By Tom Adams

Sun 18 Mar, 11am & 2.30pm. £9 & £7 | For ages 7+

The year is 1991. Tom is 11 years old and Now 13 is in the charts. His Dad is a magician and Tom is his assistant. Using his Dad’s original handmade magic tricks, live music, comedy and loads of taking part, Tom Adams’ new show tells the story of the different jobs our parents do to help provide for their family.

Grid Iron and Stellar Quines present Bingo! A new musical comedy. An unforgettable night at the bingo.



Grid Iron Theatre Company and Stellar Quines Theatre Company present Bingo!, a new musical comedy focusing on lives of six characters and one fateful night at the bingo. Bingo! tours Scotland in March and April 2018.

Every week more than 2 million women pour into local bingo halls across the UK, each one hoping that all elusive HOUSE will change their fortunes forever. Daniella’s one of those women. Except she isn’t just hopeful. She’s desperate. She needs Lady Luck to smile down on her tonight. She’s done a bad thing. No, a really bad thing and if her card doesn’t have those winning numbers, she’s going to have to resort to desperate measures to take home that prize money.

With cracking original songs, a lot of banter and cheeky humour, Bingo! is co-written by Anita Vettesse Johnny McKnight, with music by Alan Penman and directed by Stellar Quines’ Artistic Director Jemima Levick.

Cast of Bingo! includes stars of British stages and television such as Louise McCarthy (Daniella) of BBC’s Scot Squad and Two Doors DownWendy Seager (Mary) who played Susan in Killing me Softly and featured in Still GameBarbara Rafferty (Joanna), star of River CityBrave New World, Rab C Nesbitt and The Last King of Scotland film, Jo Freer (Ruth) who starred in Dundee Rep’s Sunshine on Leith as well as River CityDarren Brownlie (Donny) known from Dundee Rep’s Witness for the Prosecution and BBC Scotland’s Scot Squad as well as Tron Theatre’s pantomime and Jane McCarry (Betty), Still Game’s Isa and Scottish pantomime star who also played Dolly in Tony Roper’s The Steamie and featured in Rab C Nesbitt.

Bingo! reflects the current state of affairs for many people living in the UK, for whom a visit to a bingo hall is both a night out and a financial plan. Brought to Scottish stages by two award-winning Edinburgh-based theatre companies: site-responsive specialists Grid Iron and Stellar Quines, who celebrate the diversity of women and girls, Bingo!promises to be a show that entertains and provokes.

Bingo! receives its world premiere at Assembly Hall in Edinburgh. The show then goes on tour to venues around Scotland, including Stirling, Ayr, Musselburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

Jemima Levick, Artistic Director of Stellar Quines said: “As one of Scotland’s longest serving touring companies, Stellar Quines’ work is created to inspire women & girls, and the men that know them.  We realise that women and girls come in different shapes and sizes and with a variety of tastes and expectations, so our programme of work aims to respond with broad appeal.

Every time I read Bingo! or hear it read aloud, I am reminded of just how brilliant women are.  It’s a play about comradery, friendship, parenthood, and strength in numbers, but also about hope, and ‘that’ fantasy that we all have – of how our lives might change with that big win.  It’s a play that never fails to take me by surprise, it makes me laugh and cry.

We are particularly delighted to be co-producing alongside our long-time colleagues, Grid Iron.  It’s a collaboration that’s based on many of the qualities of this play, so we’re thrilled to be on that journey with them.”

Judith Doherty, Co-Artistic Director of Grid Iron said: “Grid Iron have been talking to Jemima about Bingo! for quite some time so, when she took over the helm at Stellar Quines, it seemed the perfect opportunity to bring together two Edinburgh companies who share a mission to provide strong roles for women on and off stage.  Anita and Johnny have written a truly cracking script and I would bet on it that we’ll hear people humming Alan’s music as they head down the street after the show.

Although Grid Iron are best known for site-responsive work, this is far from the first time we’ve toured work for the stage and indeed, isn’t our first musical either. We’re really looking forward to taking Bingo! out on the road and are delighted to be travelling with Stellar Quines.”

Sharon Burgess, Assembly Managing Director said: “Assembly are thrilled to be working with two such prestigious Scottish Theatre Companies to present work at Assembly Hall out with the month of August. We very much look forward to hosting the world premiere of Bingo! in March next year.”


Tour dates:

Assembly Hall, Edinburgh: 6-7 March 7.30pm (previews) and 8-17 March 7.30pm (not Sunday 11th), 10 & 17 March 2.30pm (matinees)

Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling: 22-23 March 7.30pm, 23 March 2.30pm (matinee)

Ayr Gaiety Theatre, Ayr: 27-28 March 7.30pm

The Brunton, Musselburgh: 31 March at 2pm and 7.30pm

Tron Theatre, Glasgow: 12-14 April at 7.45pm

Eden Court, Inverness: 19-21 April 7.30pm, 21 April 2.30pm (matinee)