‘Left My Desk’: New play uses social worker’s testimonies to reframe perceptions

Left My Desk
Left My Desk

Left My Desk

Lost Watch will return to New Diorama Theatre with the world premiere of Left My Desk – the story of a social worker struggling to stay afloat in one of the most unforgiving professions in the country.

Becca leaves the office at 0856. Uniform is waiting. They speed across the city, blues and twos blaring, on the trail of a missing woman.
It’s like a police drama!
Except Becca is a social worker, and they never put social workers in police dramas.

Based on testimonies from social workers and research organisation Frontline, Left My Desk follows Becca – played by Lost Watch co-founder Rianna Dearden – to the brink and back again in a story told with pace, pathos, music, colour and lashings of gallows humour under the direction of Almeida Theatre Resident Director Lucy Wray.

The backdrop for Left My Desk is a Britain where budgets across councils are at breaking point, making the already-difficult job of social work increasingly impossible.

Social Care is needed in every town, city and village across the UK; it’s as integral as the police service and as oversubscribed as Accident and Emergency on a Friday night. Demand is high, wages are low, and burnout is common. Left My Desk puts a human face on this political football and gives a rare insight into life in one of the country’s harshest professional environments.

Lost Watch have gained a reputation as one of the country’s most innovative and challenging companies, with previous productions including Goodstock (2016) which explored genetic predisposition towards breast cancer, and Flew the Coop(2017) which put a darkly comic twist on a real-life Second World War love story which brought to light one of history’s great forgotten female heroes.


Left My Desk

By Lost Watch

29th May – 16th June 2018 Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm


New Diorama Theatre, London

Relaxed Performance – 7th June

STAGETEXT Captioned Performance – 14th June

Tickets: www.newdiorama.com/whats-on/left-my-desk

New Diorama Theatre

15-16 Triton Street

Regent’s Place

London NW1 3BF


For the best tickets, book online at www.newdiorama.com

To book by telephone, ring 020 7338 9034

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How bad can Strictly Ballroom be? Spectacularly.

Strictly Ballroom

Strictly Ballroom

The first in Baz Luhrmann’s “red curtain trilogy”, Strictly Ballroom became the sixth most successful film of all time in Australia. The show is based on Luhrmann’s musical film of the same name. If this sort of brainless commercialism is one of the great enemies of light entertainment then the other is definitely excessive Drew McOnie (In the Heights, Bugsy Malone, On the Town). McOnie is an accomplished choreographer – he is not a very good director, which is a shame.

Certain things happened during the jaw-droppingly messy musical version of Strictly Ballroom, at the Piccadilly Theatre that I don’t wish to dwell upon, mainly involving Will Young, wasted talent and a misjudged ode to ballroom dance, it is with deep regret that I must report that the resulting two and three-quarter hours are not ideal.

It’s the oddest thing I’ve watched this decade, though, and has been the top of my to do list ever since I saw Will Young had washed up in it. Unfortunately, his dreadful over-acting really is terrible.

Part jukebox, part movie musical then. What this means is that McOnie has taken songs such as Mambo Number 5(!), Love Is In The Air and I Wanna Dance With Somebody & stripped them of their merit. He then puts the songs in the mouth of Pop Idol winner Young, who is reduced to standing around and/or sitting on a stool.

The strange thing is, though, someone has actually planned it this way, because they think it is entertaining and therefore consider it entirely appropriate for a top price ticket to be £129.00. The wigs are dicey, the costumes don’t fit and the show has nothing to say.

One or two moments are really worth recalling for posterity, though.

The first is Will Young whizzing around the stage in roller skates like a slug; falling over during key moments of the story and the unforgivable caricatures (racist) Spanish parents. You or I, in this situation, might have asked: “what the fu**” Or suggested: “Just close your eyes and pretend it isn’t happening.”

At the end the day, it is one of the worst musicals I have seen in the last five years. Soutra Gilmour’s ghastly design made me lose sleep and the costumes bring a Worthing Rep quality to the West End – last seen in Spice Girls’ car crash musical: Viva Forever.

Some of this might just be forgiven if the musical had any flair at all, but it is dire in vision and execution and quite inane and reductive in the way it reduces all women to being desperate to please idiotic men, succeed and portrays them as a bunch of hysterical, image-obsessed neurotics.

It’s about making money. Avoid.


First Look: SHOW performed by Shechter II

More star casting announced for UK premiere of A LITTLE PRINCESS

Rebecca Trehearn, Adam J Bernard, Alexia Khadime,
Rebecca Trehearn, Adam J Bernard, Alexia Khadime,

Rebecca Trehearn, Adam J Bernard, Alexia Khadime,

More star casting is announced for the UK premiere of the musical A Little Princess by Tony-nominated composer/lyricist Andrew Lippa (Big Fish,The Addams Family, The Wild Party).

Multi Olivier Award-winner and Tony Award nominee Arlene Phillips CBE is directing the one-off semi-staged concert performance, which also features the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on Bank Holiday, Monday 28 May at 7.30pm.

Joining the previously announced Sherlock & Mr Selfridge star Amanda Abbington in her musical debut as Miss Minchin and award-winning Sunset Boulevard leading man and Strictly’s Danny Mac as Captain Crewe are Olivier Award winners Rebecca Trehearn (Julie in ShowBoat, City of Angels) who will play Miss Amelia and Adam J. Bernard (Jimmy Early in Dreamgirls) who will play Pasko. Alexia Khadime (Elphaba in Wicked star) will join the cast as Aljana.

The ensemble includes Elias Hendricks, Joanna Goodwin, Landi Oshinowo, Mark Dugdale and Rosanna Hyland supported by the graduating students from Arts Educational.

Thousands of youngsters auditioned for the 10 child star roles, and the successful girls are: Jasmine Sakyiama (in the title role of Sara Crewe), Jasmine Nituan (Becky), with Madeline Banbury, Delilah Bennett-Cardy, Sophie Beswick, Olivia Cowley, Tia Figgett, Andie Jordan, Agatha Meehan, Natasha Raphael, Kate Woodman.

Creative team: Director Arlene Phillips CBE, Associate Director Emily Kempson, Associate Musical Staging & Assistant Director Richard Roe Musical Supervisor Alan Williams, Musical Director Alan Berry, Costume/Projection Designer PJ McEvoy, Lighting Designer Nic Farman,
Children’s Resident Joanna Goodwin. Casting by Keston & Keston. General management by ebp.

Tickets on-sale at: https://www.southbankcentre.co.uk/whats-on/128779-little-princess-2018


A Little Princess

Music by Andrew Lippa
Book and Lyrics
by Brian Crawley
Based on the novel
by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Monday 28 May 2018
at 7.30pm

Royal Festival Hall
Southbank Centre,
Belvedere Rd,
London SE1 8XX

Box office: 020 3879 9555

Ticets: £35 – £60
Booking fee: £2.50 (Members £0.00)

25% off (limited availability)
Running time: 120 mins
Age recommendation
For ages 5+
This concert performance is presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International Europe

RSC Livestreams bring Macbeth to over 200,000 young people

Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) production of Macbeth is reaching thousands of young people across the country through its free Live Lesson and Schools’ Broadcast, part of RSC Education’s online education programme.

35,000 young people registered to participate in the 45-minute Live Lesson for Macbeth, which took place on Friday 20 April. Students experienced a unique insight into the creative process and interpretive choices that directors and actors make as they prepare to stage a new production.  Actor, Niamh Cussack, who plays Lady Macbeth, explored some of the approaches to her character’s key speeches, working with the production’s Assistant Director, Peter Bradley.

On Thursday (26 April), Macbeth will be screened directly into schools around the country.  Over 260,000 students are registered to see the production, as part of the Company’s Free Schools’ Broadcasts, and they will get the opportunity to ask members of the cast and creative team questions as part of a live Q&A.

Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Education said:

“It’s fantastic that thousands of young people have registered to join us from their classrooms to experience our work in the rehearsal room, and to see our production of Macbeth.

“Rehearsals are traditionally a private space for actors and directors where they can experiment and try out different interpretations before performing their work in front of an audience. By offering this special access, schools across the UK get a unique insight into the process of bringing one of Shakespeare’s most studied plays to life.

“We know the impact that Shakespeare’s work and the theatre-making process can have on the life chances, attitudes and aspirations of young people.  Creating free digital opportunities for UK schools to access our productions and rehearsals means that we can reach more young people than ever before, helping them to experience the extraordinary power of Shakespeare’s language in their school and local community.”

The RSC’s next free Schools’ Broadcast is Erica Whyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet  on 21 November as part of the Free Schools’ Broadcast series.  For more information and registration details see www.rsc.org.uk/education/schools-broadcasts/

RSC Schools’ Broadcasts and Live Lessons are generously supported by Virgin Media as part of its commitment to make good things happen through digital.

Cast Announcement for Simon Stephens’ One Minute at Barn Theatre

Simon Stephens
Simon Stephens

Simon Stephens © Alex Rumford

Following the huge success of The Secret Garden musical, The Barn Theatre has announced its second production: One Minute by the Olivier and Tony award-winning playwright, Simon Stephens. The play, which follows the stories of five characters who become united after the disappearance of a child, marks 29 year old Artistic Director, Iwan Lewis’s directorial debut.

Running from 19th May – 16th June 2018 the cast includes star of Bad Education, Sherlock and Misfits, Jack Bence; Rebecca Crankshaw, Sarah Hanly; Gary Summers and Sophie May Wake. One Minute is directed by Iwan Lewis and produced by The Barn Theatre; movement direction is by Naomi Said with an original soundtrack by Harry Smith.

One Minute is a disquieting portrait of lives that are united in the single moment it takes for a child to disappear. The play follows several connected characters through their struggles with Daisy Schults’s disappearance: the two policemen investigating the disappearance; Daisy’s mother Anne; and Marie Louise, a woman who believes she glimpsed Daisy after she had been separated from her mother. Robert is new to the police force, and his enthusiasm for the case is keener than that of his cynical colleague Gary. Mary Louise begins a strange friendship with a woman who knows Gary from the café where she works. Anne’s life has stopped: she wants to know when ‘missing’ becomes ‘presumed dead’.

Artistic Director of Barn Theatre and Director of One Minute, Iwan Lewis said: “I’m delighted to direct One Minute. We follow these stories in the media, we get totally wrapped up in the story, they become part of our lives and then suddenly you hear nothing more. Some people have to live the rest of their lives with these tragedies. I’m interested to explore how the world has changed since the play was written in 2002, with the huge influence that digital media now has on our lives, and how that might translate in terms of the characters’ experience. Simon is one of the UK’s most exciting playwrights and it’s incredible to be bringing this quality of work to the Barn Theatre.”

Simon Stephens is an Olivier award-winning playwright. His adaption of Mark Haddon’s novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won the Olivier and Tony Awards for best new play (National Theatre), 2012. Early work at the Royal Court includes Bluebird (1998); Herons (2001) and Country Music (2004). His plays Motortown and Harper Regan were staged at The National Theatre in 2006 and 2008 respectively. His play, Punk Rock won the Manchester Evening News Award for Best Production in 2009 and in 2013, his new version of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House premiered at the Young Vic, subsequently transferring to the Duke of York’s Theatre.

More recent writing includes 2015’s Song from far Away, directed by award-winning Belgian director Ivo van Hove which received its UK premiere at the Young Vic. His version of Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera opened at the National in May 2016. In 2017, Nuclear War opened at the Royal Court, Obsession at the Barbican, Fatherland at the Royal Exchange Manchester, and his adaptation of The Seagull at Lyric Hammersmith. Simon also writes for radio and film and is Artistic Associate at the Lyric Theatre and Associate Playwright at the Royal Court.  Other awards include the 2001 Pearson Award for Best Play for Port and the 2005 Olivier Award for Best New Play for On the Shore of the Wide World. Simon won the Theater Heute’s Award for Motortown in 2007, Pornography in 2008 and Wastwater in 2011.

 Jack Bence is from East London and is best known or playing Grayson in the last three series of BBC 3’s Bad Education. His numerous additional television credits include Raz in Sherlock; Darren in Misfits;  Freddy in Midsomer Murders – Death in the Slow Lane and Tony in Armstrong and Miller. He has also featured in Peep Show, Primeaval, Waking the Dead and Ahead of the Class. Theatre credits include: Rough Cuts for The Royal Court and Swimming for Soho Theatre. Film credits include: Hereafter (Warner Brothers) and Blitz (Lionsgate).

Garry Summers trained at the Royal School of Speech and Drama. His theatre credits include: Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (Park Theatre); Milan Kane in The Superhero (Lyric Hammersmith); Ben in Passing; (Pint Sized Theatre); Bram Stoker in The Knight from Nowhere; (Park Theatre); Christian in The Bells (Park Theatre). Film credits include: Bohemian Rhapsody (20th Century Fox); The Laura Marlin Mysteries – Dead Man’s Cove (Mrs E Film Partners); Armchair Detectives (Tiger Aspect); The End of the F**king World (Clerkenwell Films/E4/Netflix); Emmerdale (ITV): Outlander (Sony/Starz); The Royals (Privileged Productions / E!); River City (BBC Scotland) and Casualty (BBC).

Rebecca Crankshaw trained with The Actors’ Company at London Centre for Theatre Studies, and studied Meisner technique with The Impulse Company under Scott Williams. She made her debut at The New Players and has appeared regularly on the London fringe. Most recently, Rebecca performed in Christopher Green’s Prurience at the Southbank Centre, an OFFIES Finalist production 2018. She has also played Hieronimo in The Spanish Tragedy at The Old Red Lion, performed in Outbox Theatre’s multi-starred show, Affection, and appeared in Sarah Kosar’s debut play Hot Dog. She was the supporting lead in the award-winning short Barren (Barcelona Short Film Festival) and has appeared in the BBC drama Doctors. Rebecca is also a voice artist, and has an ongoing role as Zeera Voss in Big Finish’s iconic Blake’s 7 series. She has recorded numerous audiobooks for Amazon Audible and has recently re-voiced a main character in a Disney production at Pinewood. She is looking forward to returning to Pinewood to make her video game debut later this year, as well as to the UK tour of Prurience in the Autumn.

Sarah Hanly trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and Performers College. Theatre credits include starring in her own, self-penned one woman show, Purple Snowflakes and Titty Wanks (Southwark Playhouse/Leicester Square Theatre/Above the Arts Theatre/Theatre N16 (Maiden Speech Festival)); Greek Dancer in the BBC’s – Charlie Gillett Stage (WOMAD Festival). Film credits include: Lil Ryan in The Hole in the Ground (Savage Productions). Short Film credits include: Miss Shawcroft in There, They’re, Their (Channel 4 Random Acts); Surreal Woman in Rebirth (Channel 4 Random Acts and Calpurnia in Dogs of War.

Sophie May Wake trained at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre credits include: U/S Sheila Birling in An Inspector Calls (Playhouse Theatre); Young Phyllis in Follies (Toulon Opera House); The Fox in The Little Prince (Lamplighter Productions/Lyric Theatre Belfast); Rudolfi/Nurse in Black Snow (Moscow Arts Theatre). Television credits include: Eve Unwin in Doctors (BBC1) and Mabel in Mr Selfridge ITV). Film credits include: Precious Little Things (Nightpiece Film); Neon (Joker’s Pack Production) and White Paint (Albi Films).

Iwan Lewis is the Artistic Director of the Barn Theatre, having co-conceived the project and seen through to its completion. It’s a deep passion for storytelling passion that drives his ambition for The Barn Theatre to become a respected professional regional producing house. Brought up in Llandeilo in West Wales, Iwan has made Cirencester his home and is committed to sharing innovative theatre in the South West, and is one of a new breed of directors reaching the next generation of theatre-lovers. Since training at The Guildford School of Acting, he has played a number of lead roles: Emmett in Legally Blonde in the national UK tour; Lemar in Godspell at the Union Theatre; Private Augenti in the award-winning Passion at The Donmar Warehouse, London; Bahorel in the academy award-winning Les Miserables feature film directed by Tom Hooper; and The Oarsman in Therese Raquin at The Park Theatre, London.

 Harry Smith has been writing and producing music for the last decade. He initially gained a following producing electronic dance music, most recently his drum & bass project Demigroove, before venturing into music and sound for film. His 2017 feature film debut, Hakkunde, has won multiple awards from film festivals around the globe and was recently selected to be screened at the 15th Cannes Pan African Film Festival. He has since gone on to score several short films in collaboration with production company VHS and digital magazine INTO, before joining the Barn Theatre as composer and sound designer for their production of One Minute.

Naomi Said’s Movement & Choreography includes: Beginning (NT & West End), Quiz (Chichester & West End), Disco Pigs (Trafalgar Studios & Irish Rep, NYC), Myth (RSC), The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Donmar Warehouse), Forty Years On (Chichester), To Kill A Mockingbird (Regent’s Park), Kevin Spacey Gala (Old Vic), Wonderland (Nottingham Playhouse), Watership Down (Watermill) and Wasted (West Yorkshire Playhouse).

Tickets: £14 – £28

Box Office: barntheatre.org.uk / 01285 648255

Previews: 19th & 21st May (7:30pm)

Running time: 2 hours 15 mins (inc. interval)

Opening week performances: 23rd May 6:30pm (press night)


Standard week performances: Monday 7:30pm Tuesday 7:30pm Wednesday 7:30pm Thursday 2:30pm & 7:30pm Friday 7:30pm Saturday 2:30pm & 7:30pm












Michael Harrison and David Ian Announce UK Tour of ANNIE

Annie The Musical

Michael Harrison and David Ian have announced that their smash hit production of the musical “ANNIE” will embark on a UK tour opening at the Manchester Opera House on Saturday 9 February 2019. This production recently ran for an extended season in the West End following a sell out tour of the UK and Ireland in 2015/16 and will open later this month in Toronto.

Tour schedule and on sale details below with further dates and casting to be announced soon. www.anniethemusicaltour.uk

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search…

With its award-winning book and score, this stunning new production includes the unforgettable songs ‘It’s the Hard Knock Life’, ‘Easy Street’, ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’ and ‘Tomorrow’.

“ANNIE” has Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin and a Book by Thomas Meehan.

“ANNIE” is directed by Nikolai Foster with set and costume design by Colin Richmond, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Ben Cracknell and sound design by Richard Brooker.

“ANNIE” is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian.



MANCHESTER OPERA HOUSE www.atgtickets.com/venues/opera-house-manchester

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


WOLVERHAMPTON GRAND THEATRE www.grandtheatre.co.uk

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


NEW THEATRE OXFORD www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-theatre-oxford

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


BRISTOL HIPPODROME www.atgtickets.com/venues/bristol-hippodrome

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018



ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


HULL NEW THEATRE www.hulltheatres.co.uk

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


KING’S THEATRE GLASGOW  www.atgtickets.com/venues/kings-theatre

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


BRADFORD ALHAMBRA www.bradford-theatres.co.uk

ON SALE 14 MAY 2018



ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


LLANDUDNO VENUE CYMRU www.venuecymru.co.uk

ON SALE 4 MAY 2018



ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


CLIFFS PAVILION THEATRE, SOUTHEND www.southendtheatres.org.uk

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


NEW VICTORIA THEATRE, WOKING www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-victoria-theatre

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


THE ORCHARD THEATRE, DARTFORD www.orchardtheatre.co.uk

ON SALE 31 MAY 2018


LIVERPOOL EMPIRE THEATRE  www.atgtickets.com/venues/liverpool-empire

ON SALE 1 MAY 2018


MILTON KEYNES THEATRE www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre

ON SALE 8 MAY 2018


 Donmar Warehouse Announces 2018 Programme

Josie Rourke
Josie Rourke

Josie Rourke

  • Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Josie Rourke and Executive Producer Kate Pakenham announce today two new productions as part of Josie Rourke’s penultimate season: Lyndsey Turner’s revival of Brian Friel’s haunting play, Aristocrats; and a new production of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, directed by Artistic Director Josie Rourke, starring Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden.  These join the previously announced new adaptation of Muriel Spark’s iconic novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
  • Lyndsey Turner returns to the Donmar Warehouse, following Faith Healer, Philadelphia, Here I Come! and Fathers and Sons to direct Brian Friel’s Aristocrats, with a cast that includes Elaine Cassidy, David Dawson, David Ganly, Emmet Kirwan, Aisling Loftus, Ciaran McIntyre and Eileen Walsh.
  • Artistic Director Josie Rourke will then direct William Shakespeare’s play about sex and power, Measure for Measure.  Within every performance, Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden will alternate the roles of the powerful Deputy and powerless Novice.
  • Full casting has been announced for David Harrower’s adaptation of Muriel Sparks’ The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Directed by Polly Findlay, Edward MacLiam joins the previously announced company which also includes Nicola Coughlan, Emma Hindle, Rona Morison, Grace Saif, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Lia Williams, Helena Wilson, Angus Wright and Kit Young.
  • Phyllida Lloyd’s screen versions of her ground-breaking, all-female Shakespeare Trilogy – Julius Caesar, Henry IV and The Tempest – will be made available free on BBC iPlayer following a BBC4 transmission of Julius Caesar this summer.  The Shakespeare Trilogy will also be presented on screen at St. Ann’s Warehouse, New York from 31 May – 3 June 2018, and made available for free to over 3,000 schools across the UK in partnership via the National Theatre’s On Demand in Schools platform. Extensive education materials will be made available to schools for free to support the teaching of English, Drama and PSHE.
  • The Donmar’s free ticket scheme for those aged 25 and under, YOUNG+FREE, will continue to offer seats for performances across the new season with tickets released on the final Friday of every month. YOUNG+FREE is funded through the generosity of audiences via the Donmar’s PAY IT FORWARD scheme. These donations have allowed the Donmar to allocate more than 11,000 free tickets to those aged 25 and under over the past year.
  • KLAXON tickets will also continue across the season. Starting from £10, KLAXON tickets are released for sale every Monday for performances in the following three weeks. Tickets will be available across the auditorium at every price band. Audiences can sign up to receive information about tickets on the Donmar’s website www.donmarwarehouse.com

 Artistic Director Josie Rourke said:

“I’m delighted to announce two new productions at the Donmar, joining the previously announced THE PRIME OF MISS JEAN BRODIE, for my penultimate season, with all three directed by women.

 Through her three productions of work by Brian Friel at the Donmar, director Lyndsey Turner has become the leading new interpreter of the great playwright’s canon. Following her acclaimed productions of Fathers and SonsFaith Healer and Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Turner returns to Friel’s work with a new production of his haunting drama, ARISTOCRATS.

 I’m excited to return to Shakespeare at the Donmar with MEASURE FOR MEASURE. Within every performance in this production, Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden will alternate the roles of the powerful and powerless, Angelo and Isabella. Having worked with Jack on screen, I’m thrilled to bring him back to the London stage with this production.

Executive Producer Kate Pakenham said:

“In addition to these three exciting new productions we will be staging at our Covent Garden home, I am delighted that we are able to extend the legacy of the Shakespeare Trilogy by sharing the screen versions of the productions in partnership with the BBC, with St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York and with schools across the country.  The Trilogy came out of a desire to celebrate and empower women’s voices, and it is thrilling that these films will ensure that they do that for years to come.   

 It is also wonderful to see our KLAXON and YOUNG+FREE ticket schemes continue to grow in popularity, ensuring that our venue remains accessible to new audiences, particularly young people.

 YOUNG+FREE is made possible by the generosity of the public through PAY IT FORWARD.  We have been delighted by our audiences’ ongoing support forPAY IT FORWARD and are excited to be working with them to prioritise young people’s access to the arts.  We are also grateful for the significant support we receive from corporate partners, individual philanthropists and the Arts Council which makes the Donmar’s work possible, both on our stage and beyond.” 

James Macdonald’s production of The Way of the World – Congreve’s masterpiece Restoration comedy – is currently running at the Donmar Warehouse until 26 May. The cast includes Haydn Gwynne as Lady Wishfort.

 This production of The Way of the World is dedicated to the memory of actor Alex Beckett.


Kerry Kyriacos Michael receives FREEDOM OF THE CITY OF LONDON

Kerry Kyriacos Michael
Kerry Kyriacos Michael

Kerry Kyriacos Michael

Former Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Kerry Kyriacos Michael received The Freedom of the City of London at Guildhall on Friday 20 April. Kerry was nominated for his contribution to the arts and for his collaboration with the Barbican, by Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of The Barbican Centre. The Freedom is offered to individuals by the City of London Corporation to celebrate a significant achievement and to pay tribute to their outstanding contribution to London or public life.

Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director and Louise Jeffreys, Artistic Director, The Barbican says ‘We are delighted that Kerry Michael has been awarded the Freedom of the City of London in acknowledgement of his ground-breaking work to promote diversity in the arts. The Barbican had many collaborations with Theatre Royal Stratford East during Kerry’s time as artistic director there, including the transfers to the Barbican of his production of The Harder They Come, and Boy Blue Entertainment’s Pied Piper which won an Olivier Award. He has tirelessly supported new work and emerging artists, and this Freedom recognises his positive influence on the arts sector.’

The Freedom of the City of London is believed to have begun in 1237; today people are nominated for the Freedom because it offers a link with the historic City of London and its ancient traditions. Most of the practical reasons for obtaining the Freedom of the City have disappeared. It nevertheless remains as a unique part of London’s history. Prior to 1996, the Freedom was only open to British or Commonwealth Citizens, now it has been extended globally. The City of London is keen to maintain the Freedom as a living tradition. The Freedom is open to all who are genuinely interested and invited or born to it. The City Freemen are a very broad cross-section of the population​.

Murray Craig, Clerk of the Chamberlain’s Court, welcomed Michael and his guests and conducted the ceremony which included Michael making his declaration to The Queen.

This was followed by a toast by Mr. Craig as he highlighted Kerry Kyriacos Michael’s great achievements at Theatre Royal Stratford East and his commitment to inclusive and innovative theatre.

Murray Craig recounted stories of past recipients from the Arts and Entertainment industry that he had met – including Michael Caine, Sir Peter Hall, Morgan Freeman and J K Rowling. Those witnessing the ceremony included actor Murray Melvin, actress Toni Palmer, entertainer Peter Straker, former Artistic Director of Theatre Royal Stratford East, Philip Hedley, television producer Moira Ross, Playwright Tanika Gupta and Director Pooja Ghai.

Kerry Kyriacos Michael says ‘As a second-generation Cypriot whose parents migrated to the UK in the 60’s as part of Britain’s Empire I was proud to receive the Freedom of the City of London. I was also honoured to be nominated by Sir Nick Kenyon, in recognition of the brilliant collaborative work between Theatre Royal Stratford East and Barbican Centre. What was achieved at Stratford East during my tenure took the skills and talents of many people and I want to thank everyone who I worked with.’

 Guests then went onto Hawksmoor Guildhall for more celebrations and refreshments.

Kerry Michael was Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Theatre Royal Stratford East from September 2004 to September 2017.  For 13 years, he forged the Theatre’s commitment to develop new work and provide a platform for voices under-represented.

Kerry’s theatre directing credits includes: Cosh Omar’s The Battle of Green Lanes, John Adams’ opera, I Was Looking At The Ceiling And Then I Saw The Sky (co-produced with Barbican), The Harder They Come, (transferred to the West End and subsequently to Canada and the USA), Ray Davies’ Come Dancing (Winner What’s On Stage Best New Musical), and a new production of The Who’s Tommy – (Winner UK Theatre Awards Best Touring Production 16/17). Under Kerry’s leadership, Theatre Royal Stratford East was nominated for an Olivier Award in 2007 for ‘a powerful season of provocative work that reaches new audiences.’ Pied Piper also won an Olivier Award that year and Kerry’s production of Cinderella was nominated. Other nominations include You Me B*m B*m Train, Roadkill, Oh What A Lovely War and The Government Inspector. In March 2018 Kerry won Artistic Director of the Year at the OFF WEST END Awards.

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First Look: Production images: ABSOLUTE HELL