McMafia author brings hit TV show to Fringe

Misha Glenny
Misha Glenny

Misha Glenny

“Glenny has become a world authority on organised crime.”

Decca Aitkenhead, The Guardian

Alternately very funny and very frightening, author and award-winning journalist Misha Glenny lifts the lid on global organised crime and its corrupt political networks.

Based on his best-selling book, McMafia, and the BBC TV drama it inspired, Misha takes his audience on a tour through the dark depths of world capitalism in a mix of performance and presentation. He explains what’s happening behind the headlines – how Russian gangsters, Latin American cartel leaders, people traffickers and dodgy hedge-funders exert their influence on our lives without us realising it.

You will laugh at the animated sketches that explain the origins of Gangster Capitalism in Russia or the criminal heroes of the Internet, Carderplanet. You will be shocked by the death toll of the drugs industry but also learn why the drugs economy is being turned upside down. Meet the bosses and the foot soldiers and brace yourself for the terrifying world of the Internet of Things.

He starts the show with the revelation that his adult life began in organised crime, smuggling books and dismembered Xerox machines into dissident groups behind the Iron Curtain.

Misha was the BBC’s Central Europe Correspondent responsible for the overall radio coverage of the revolutions in Eastern Europe and the wars in Yugoslavia. He got to know a number of key gangsters after the revolutions from Warsaw to Belgrade, from Moscow to Tirana. He then struck out to countries across the world, like a latter day Tintin, interviewing the bad guys about their business but also about their childhoods, attitudes to politics, religion and society.

Before becoming immersed in this world, Misha studied Drama at Bristol University where he appeared on stage in plays from playwrights as varied as Shakespeare and David Hare, not to mention his memorable partnership with Greg Doran, Director of the RSC, as the two Ugly Sisters in Cinderella.

McMafia is not just entertaining and theatrical, it addresses some of the most immediate and serious issues facing the world today. Book this show if you dare know the truth…

“For anyone who wants to understand the 21st century…” Emma Thompson

“A terrifying tour of the violent underworld of globalized crime” New York Post

“Eye-opening…Engrossing.” The Miami Herald


Cast and creative team announced for the world premiere of The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones

The full cast and creative team have been confirmed for the world première of The Lovely Bones, one of the best-selling novels of the 21st century. Adapted for the stage by Bryony Lavery from Alice Sebold’s story and directed by Melly Still, it will open at Royal & Derngate, Northampton on 1 September 2018 before transferring to partner theatres Everyman Liverpool, Northern Stage, Newcastle and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. The show will also tour to The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich.

Alice Sebold’s coming-of-age tale captured the hearts of readers throughout the world when it was first published in 2002. An unforgettable story about life after loss, The Lovely Bones achieved critical acclaim and became an international best-seller. It won the Indies Choice Book Award for Adult Fiction 2003.

The Lovely Bones tells the story of young Susie Salmon, who is just like any other girl. She wants to be beautiful, adores her charm bracelet and has a crush on a boy from school. There’s one big difference though – Susie is dead. Susie can only observe while her family cope with their grief in their different ways. Her father, Jack, is obsessed with identifying the killer. Her mother, Abigail, is desperate to create a different life for herself. And her sister, Lindsay, is discovering the opposite sex with experiences that Susie will never know. Susie is desperate to help them and there might be a way of reaching them.

In the 10-strong ensemble cast, the part of Susie Salmon will be played by Charlotte Beaumont, well known for her role as Chloe Latimer in TV series Broadchurch, with recent theatre credits including Three Winters at the National Theatre. Jack Salmon will be played by Jack Sandle (War Horse, National Theatre; Running Wild, UK tour), Emily Bevan (The Haunting of Hill House, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse) as Abigail Salmon, with Ayoola Smart (Othello, Unicorn Theatre; The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s Globe) as sister Lindsay. Kevin Dunphy (The Rivals, Bristol Old Vic) takes the role of Mr Harvey. The cast is completed by Pete Ashmore as Len Fenerman/Samuel, Bhawna Bhawsar as Ruana Singh/Franny, Susan Bovell as Lynn/Cop/Mrs Flanagan, Natasha Cottriall as Ruth Connors/Buckley Salmon and Karan Gill as Ray Singh/Principal Caden.

Playwright Bryony Lavery’s acclaimed work includes the Tony Award-nominated Frozen (revived in the West End in spring this year), Stockholm (Frantic Assembly), Kursk (Young Vic) and Beautiful Burnout (National Theatre of Scotland and Frantic Assembly). Her other adaptations include A Christmas Carol (Birmingham Repertory Company), Treasure Island (National Theatre), Brideshead Revisited (York Theatre Royal/ETT) and most recently Brighton Rock (Pilot Theatre).

Bringing The Lovely Bones to life on stage is director Melly Still, whose credits include the acclaimed Olivier and Tony Award-nominated production of Coram Boy (National Theatre and Broadway), My Beautiful Friend (Rose Theatre Kingston) and several recent productions for Glyndebourne, the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

The production is designed by Ana Inés Jabares-Pita whose credits include Wish List (Royal Exchange and Royal Court) and The Driver’s Seat (National Theatre of Scotland), with lighting design by Matt Haskins (Death of a Salesman, Royal & Derngate UK tour; Turn of the Screw, Opera North), sound design by Helen Skiera (Instructions for Correct AssemblyBodies, Royal Court) and movement direction by Mike Ashcroft (The Christmas TruceHenry IV parts 1 & 2, RSC). Music will be composed by Dave Price whose original scores include From Morning to Midnight(National Theatre) and Cymbeline (RSC).


Pauline McLynn to play Mother Courage in Red Ladder’s 50th anniversary production

Pauline McLynn
Pauline McLynn

Pauline McLynn

This autumn Pauline McLynn will take on the titular role in MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN, Red Ladder Theatre Company’s 50th anniversary production. Artistic director Rod Dixon directs Bertolt Brecht’s timeless anti-war play, from the dark and witty translation by Lee Hall, as an immersive production taking place from 28 September – 20 October at Albion Electric warehouse in Leeds. Audiences will follow in the footsteps of Brecht’s fearless matriarch as she hauls her wagon through battlefields and bombed out villages. A live musical score is composed by Chumbawamba founder member Boff Whalley (BIG SOCIETY!/WRONG ‘UN), with musical arrangement by singer-songwriter Beccy Owen.

 The first classic play to be staged by Red Ladder in its 50 –year history, Rod Dixon’s production for the company’s landmark anniversary re-examines the relevance of Brecht’s 20th century masterpiece for today. Echoing the contemporary refugees’ universal displacement, MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN asks urgent questions surrounding the stigma and fear of immigration and the effects of war. It integrates a professional cast and community chorus, with Red Ladder supported by Leeds Playhouse as a Theatre of Sanctuary for refugee and asylum seekers in Leeds, and working with local organisations MAPS – the Leeds City Council migrant support service – Open Source Arts, and Leeds Asylum Seeker Network.

Best known for her award-winning comedy role as Mrs Doyle in the TV series Father Ted, celebrated Irish actor and author Pauline McLynn takes the lead role as Brecht’s buffoonish but ruthless Mother Courage. She’s joined by Bea Webster, making her professional debut as one of the first actors to graduate from the only UK performance degree for d/Deaf performers at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She plays Kattrin, alongside Levi Payne (Eilif) and an ensemble of actors and actor-musicians:  Becky Barry (Farmer’s Wife/Soldier/Peasant), Luke Dickson (The Cook/Recruiting Officer/Old Colonel), T.J. Holmes (The Chaplain), Matthew Lewney (Swiss Cheese), Beccy Owen (Old Soldier, Peasant, Old Woman) and Kathleen Yore (Yvette, The General).

MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN will be accessible to d/Deaf audiences via creative sign language and live captioning using app technology.

Pauline McLynn says “Mother Courage is one of the great, iconic roles and to have this opportunity to play her is a particular thrill for me. I am excited to introduce whole new audiences to Brecht, a challenging and brilliant playwright who provokes and enriches us with his work. I am an actor who has always had a leaning for the Left and therefore Red Ladder and myself are a very natural match. I can’t wait to get started on this sprawling delight.”

 Red Ladder artistic director Rod Dixon says “This is the first time in 50 years that Red Ladder will have staged a classic, and to me, it is the perfect play for our troubled times. Brecht is one of the most radical and experimental of playwrights from the last century and my ambition is to use this brilliant piece of theatre to counter the narrative of the right-wing media that refugees from ‘there’ do not need to be ‘here’. Mother Courage is a gigantic role and I am particularly excited that Pauline is to play her. Pauline brings a rich experience of many characters on stage and screen to this production, and audiences will be thrilled by her performance.

Tickets for Red Ladder’s 50th anniversary production Mother Courage and her Children are on sale through Leeds Playhouse. Book via or call Leeds Playhouse on 0113 213 7700.


Performances of Mother Courage and her Children take place at Albion Electric warehouse, South Accommodation Road, Leeds, LS10 1PR.

Evening Performances: Mon – Sat 7.30pm.

Matinees: Sat and Wed 2.00pm

Ticket Prices: Mon – Thu and Matinees £15; Fri and Sat £20.

Access: All performances use creative BSL and captioning for d/Deaf audiences.

Delfont Mackintosh Theatres’ ambitious programme of structural improvements and renovation continues

Delfont Mackintosh Theatre
Delfont Mackintosh Theatre

Delfont Mackintosh Theatre

Having recently completed the spectacular reinvention and restoration of the VICTORIA PALACE, which reopened with the smash hit musical HAMILTON, Delfont Mackintosh Theatres (DMT) are continuing the upkeep of their buildings by turning their attention to implementing a recommended programme of restorative works which will include strengthening and extending the life of the ceilings of its other theatres and completing the restoration of its auditoriums.

All but two of Delfont Mackintosh’s London theatres are now in their second century of continuous operation as public buildings and they contain some of London’s finest plaster work.  Over the past few years our theatres, along with many others in the West End, have been subjected to extensive surveys of their original fabric.  The results of our survey, undertaken by leading historic plaster and paintwork conservationist Richard Ireland and structural engineer Chris Boydell of Conisbee, have shown that work is now required to ensure these unique historic buildings will last another 100 years. This will necessitate that four of our five playhouses, all designed by the great Edwardian architect William Sprague, will each need to close for a period of two to four months to complete the necessary works within the next three years.

The first theatre to undergo these improvements will be the Wyndham’s commencing early next month. It will be followed by the Noel Coward and the Gielgud in 2019 and the Queen’s in 2019/20. At the Novello over 50% of the required work has already been completed and the remainder can be achieved without any loss of performances. The two other musical houses, the Prince of Wales and the Prince Edward, built in the 1930’s have both already had major reconstruction during the last 15 years and don’t require immediate works and will be dealt with at a later date when the hugely successful productions of THE BOOK OF MORMON and ALADDIN eventually complete their runs.

These theatre closures will take place between scheduled productions apart from the Queen’s, where LES MISERABLES, the world’s longest running musical continues to play to 95% capacity in its 33rd year. This Theatre also requires a major renovation backstage.  It has had little refurbishment since reopening in 1959 after bomb damage from the Second World War destroyed the entire Front of House and rear Auditorium.  As the extraordinary run of LES MISERABLES looks set to continue for many years to come, the closure will also allow an opportunity to restore Sprague’s original boxes and loges as well as improving other facilities.

Plans are being finalised to ensure that this legendary musical success will continue its run in the West End during the Queens Theatre closure and an announcement with these arrangements will be made in the autumn.

Cameron Mackintosh said, “Having just completed the hugely rewarding but very expensive restoration of the Victoria Palace, news of the timing of these works which are necessary to ensure that my other theatres will be in tip top condition for actors, producers and audiences, long after the final curtain has dropped on me, was not the most welcome.   There are major financial consequences, not just the considerable cost of the capital works, but the knock on costs of closing these theatres for several months will run into many millions of pounds. However, I love these buildings and luckily my success as a Producer has given me the resources to preserve their life for another 100 years – so that the show can go on and on and on!”

Tony award-winning Director Michael Grandage to helm feature film adaptation of Jack And Lem

Jack and Lem
Jack and Lem

Jack and Lem

The Michael Grandage Company (MGC) announced today that Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage will helm the feature film Jack and Lem.  Based on the book Jack and Lem: The Untold Story of an Extraordinary Friendship by David Pitts, the film will explore the incredible thirty-year friendship between John F. Kennedy and Kirk Lemoyne Billings (aka “Lem”).  David Scearce (A Single Man) is adapting the book for the screen.

Despite growing up on opposite sides of the tracks, Kennedy and Billings met at prep school and remained best friends until the Dallas gunfire that ended Kennedy’s life.  Remarkably, Lem was a gay man at a time when homosexuality was illegal.  Kennedy maintained their close bond despite warnings that it would derail his political career.  Lem became a fixture in the Kennedy White House (he even had his own bedroom), and was the moral compass for the President during one of the most tumultuous times in American History.

Jack and Lem will be Tony Award winner Michael Grandage’s second feature film, following Genius starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.  Grandage most recently directed Disney’s smash hit musical Frozen on Broadway, and re-staged his Tony Award-winning production of John Logan’s Red in the West End starring Alfred Molina and Alfred Enoch, which runs through Saturday, July 28 at the Wyndham’s Theatre.  It was announced yesterday that Trafalgar Releasing will film the critically acclaimed production to present in selected cinemas across the UK and North America on Wednesday, November 7, 2018. Grandage’s West End production of Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore starring Aidan Turner began performances on June 23, 2018 at the Noël Coward Theatre, where it runs in a strictly limited engagement through Saturday, September 8, 2018. Grandage is the recipient of the Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Evening Standard, British Critics’ Circle and South Bank Awards. His Olivier Award-winning musicals include Merrily We Roll Along, Grand Hotel and Guys and Dolls. Grandage received a Tony Award for Best Direction for Red starring Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne and Tony nominations for Frost/Nixon starring Frank Langella and Michael Sheen and The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe. Grandage served as Artistic Director of London’s Donmar Warehouse before establishing MGC in 2012. As Artistic Director of MGC, he directedPhotograph 51 starring Nicole Kidman, Henry V starring Jude Law, The Cripple of Inishmaan starring Daniel Radcliffe, Peter and Alice starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw and the feature film Genius. For more information visit

David Scearce penned the recent Measure of a Man starring Luke Wilson, Judy Greer and Donald Sutherland.

Michael Grandage will produce under his production company MGC, alongside producers Andrew Zoppa and Alex Zoppa.

Grandage is repped by CAA, and Scearce by ICM and attorney Richard Thompson.

Brendan Coyle to star in an intimate new production of Conor Mcpherson’s chilling play St Nicholas in the Donmar Warehouse’s Dryden Street Studio Space

St Nicholas Photo Credit Helen Maybanks
St Nicholas Photo Credit Helen Maybanks

St Nicholas Photo Credit Helen Maybanks

When I was a boy, I was afraid of the dark… What was there.
And maybe one of the things I thought was there was vampires

The Donmar Warehouse presents St Nicholasa chilling one-man play by Conor McPherson, directed by Simon Evans and starring Brendan Coyle. This is the first time McPherson and Coyle have collaborated since The Weir, for which both received Olivier Awards. The performances will take place at the Donmar’s intimate studio space at 3 Dryden Street from Monday 10 September – Friday 5 October 2018, and from Tuesday 9 October – Sunday 14 October 2018 at the Smock Alley Theatre, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival, which will be the play’s Irish premiere. Tickets for London performances will be allocated via a ballot, which is open for entries by signing up to the Donmar’s Newsletter or KLAXON email lists at

Conor McPherson (Writer). Conor wrote The Weir which was performed at the Donmar in 2013 and in the same year he both wrote and directed The Night Alive. His other credits as writer include The Dance of Death (Trafalgar Studios) and Dublin Carol (Royal Court), as well as an adaptation of Kroetz’s The Nest. His other credits as writer and director include Girl from the North Country (Old Vic and Noël Coward), The Veil, The Seafarer (National Theatre), The Birds (Gate Theatre, Dublin), Shining City (Royal Court), St Nicholas, This Lime Tree Bower (Bush), Port Authority (New Ambassadors), The Good Thief (City Arts Centre Dublin), Rum & Vodka (University College Dublin). Conor’s directing credits also include Poor Beast In The Rain (Gate Theatre, Dublin). His TV credits as writer and creator include Paula, as writer Quirke. His film credits as writer include Artemis Fowl, and as writer and director The Eclipse.

Simon Evans (Director). Simon directed the Donmar Warehouse revival of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui in 2017 and The Silence of the Sea for the Donmar’s season at the Trafalgar Studios in 2013. He was also Resident Assistant Director at the Donmar in 2012 where he worked on productions including Richard II, Inadmissible Evidence, Anna Christie, Schiller’s Luise Miller, Moonlight, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Simon’s other theatre credits as a director include Killer Joe (Trafalgar Studios), The Best Man (Playhouse Theatre), The Dazzle, Bug, Fool For Love (Found 111), Alligators (Hampstead Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Southwark Playhouse), The Vanishing Man, The Extinction Event – co-directed and co-written with David Aula (Edinburgh/Vaults/UK Tour), Almost, Maine (Park Theatre), Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) (Print Room), The Separation (Theatre503), Hannah (Unicorn Theatre), The Speed Twins, Apple Pie, Hours till Autumn (Riverside Studios), Madness in Valencia (Trafalgar Studios), The Shawshank RedemptionLaura Marling – Live, Miller’s Crossing (Secret Cinema), Cyrano De Bergerac, The Misanthrope (White Bear) and Skyscraper (Public Theater, NY). Simon is the Artistic Director of Myriad & Co.

Brendan Coyle. Brendan’s theatre credits include The Price (Theatre Royal Bath), Mojo (Harold Pinter), Chain Play II, The Late Henry MossThe Silver Tassie (Almeida), The Bear (Gate Theatre), Buried Child, Battle Royal (National Theatre), The Dead Eye Boy (Hampstead), The Weir, for which he won both the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor and New York Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut (Royal Court, Ambassadors and Walter Kerr Theatre, NY), The Changing Room (Duke of York’s), A Love Song For Ulster (Tricycle Theatre), Philadelphia, Here I Come! (Wyndham’s), Pygmies In The Ruins (Royal Court), The Plough And The Stars (Olympia),The Playboy Of The Western World, Over The Bridge (Lyric Theatre Belfast), Rat In The Skull (Gate Theatre) and The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (Sheffield Crucible).Brendan’s selected television credits include Requiem (BBC/Netflix), 12 Monkeys (SyFy), Spotless (Canal +/Netflix), Downton Abbey, which won three SAG Awards for Outstanding Ensemble and for which Brendan was nominated for a Primetime Emmy, BAFTA and IFTA for Best Supporting Actor (ITV), Common Ground (Sky), Starlings(Sky), Lark Rise To Candleford (BBC), Prime Suspect: The Final Act (ITV), North and South (BBC), McCready and Daughter (BBC), Paths to Freedom (RTE), Thief Takers(Carlton TV), OMAGH (Channel 4) and Conspiracy: The Meeting At Wansee (HBO). His selected film credits include Mary Queen of Scots, Unless, Me Before You, Noble, The Raven, Perrier’s Bounty, The Mark of Cain, Offside, The Jacket and Allegiance.

Bristol Old Vic and Lyceum Edinburgh announce two casts for double co-productions this Autumn

Touching The Void
Touching The Void

Touching The Void

Bristol Old Vic and Lyceum Ednburgh Join forces this autumn for two ambitious co-productions.

  • Two of modern theatre’s greatest storytellers – Bristol Old Vic’s Artistic Director Tom Morris and Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh’s Artistic Director David Greig – work together for the first time on world premiere Touching the Void.     
  • In September, Twelfth Night, opens The Lyceum’s 2018/19 season before transferring to Bristol Old Vic as the second autumn co-production between the two theatres. 
  • Also in September, Touching the Void opens Bristol Old Vic’s 2018/19 season, heralding the completion of its 10-year, multi-million pound redevelopment project.
  • Full cast of both productions announced today.

Casting for both Touching the Void and Twelfth Night was announced today, heralding the first two-production partnership between leading regional theatrical powerhouses, Bristol Old Vic and The Lyceum, Edinburgh.

In September, Tom Morris (The Grinning Man, Swallows & Amazons, War Horse) will direct the first stage version of Touching the Void, adapted by David Greig (The Events, The Suppliant Women, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). This production marks the first time the two Artistic Directors have creatively collaborated and will run at Bristol Old Vic from 8 Sep – 6 Octbefore going onto Royal & Derngate, Northampton (9–20 Oct), reaching The Lyceum (24 Jan until 16 Feb 2019) and subsequent national and international tour dates.

This production marks the 30th anniversary of the publication of Joe Simpson’s best-selling memoir, charting his battle back from the brink of death on the treacherous Siula Grande Mountain. Alongside this struggle is the appalling dilemma of his climbing partner Simon Yates, perched on an unstable snow-cliff, clinging onto the rope tying him to the severely injured Joe. Unable to recover Joe from the void, Simon is faced with the agonising decision to cut the rope that binds them…

Tom Morris said: “After 12 years of dreaming, I’m thrilled to finally be able to direct this quintessential story of survival which has become a classic in its own lifetime. This next chapter in Bristol Old Vic’s Year of Change season looks at the life-changing decisions of two extraordinary men whose story has transcended mountaineering history. They are individuals who faced agonising choices and triumphed in a battle for life itself.”

Touching the Void Cast:
Rising stars Josh Williams and Edward Hayter will play climbers Joe Simpson and Simon Yates respectively in this world premiere.  Josh Williams has been taking the UK theatre by storm since his professional debut aged 17 in Our Private Life (Royal Court Theatre), closely followed by Lord of the Flies (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). He has gone on to star in Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information (Royal Court Theatre), New Views: Is there a WIFI in heaven? (National Theatre),  Shivered (Southwark Playhouseand RSC’s Wendy and Peter Pan. He recently appeared in the Olivier-nominated new play One Night in Miami (Donmar) directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah. Edward Hayter makes his professional stage debut in Touching the Void. He trained at The Poor School before taking the lead role in films Burning Men and To Dream (both due for release later this year) as well as playing the role of Walsingham in the 2017 TV series Will.

They are joined by Fiona Hampton in the role of ‘Sarah’. Fiona works extensively in theatre, television and film. Recent stage work includes the role of ‘Beatrice’ in Shakespeare’s Globe’s Much Ado About Nothing, ‘Amanda’ inPrivate Lives (Octagon Theatre/Young Vic) and ‘Titania/Hippolyta’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (New Wolsey Theatre). She is best-known on screen for playing ‘Amelia’ in Kingsman: The Secret Service.

The Touching the Void cast is completed by recent LAMDA graduate Patrick McNamee as Richard. He is currently series regular ‘Ruby’ in the latest series of Our Girl on BBC1.

Touching the Void is a co-production from Bristol Old Vic, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Fuel.

Twelfth Night Cast:
The second co-production between the award-winning theatres will be Shakespeare’s perfect comedy Twelfth Nightwill be directed by The Lyceum’s Associate Artist Wils Wilson (The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, Cockpit, The Lyceum; The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, National Theatre of Scotland; Scuttlers, Manchester Royal Exchange). It will run at the Lyceum from 14 Sep – 6 Oct before transferring to Bristol Old Vic from 17 Oct – 17 Nov.

This gender-bending interpretation, widely considered to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies, stars award-winning comedy and cabaret performance artist Christopher Green as ‘Malvolio’. Christopher is best-known for his enduring and endearing characters Tina C and Ida Barr, and experimental theatre works such asOffice Party, VIP, The Razzle and This Show Has No Name.

He is joined by Jade Ogugua as ‘Viola’ (How to Act, National Theatre of Scotland; The Barnbow Canaries, West Yorkshire Playhouse; The Tempest, Northern Stage and Oxford Playhouse) and Colette Dalal Tchantcho as ‘Orsino’ (Eddie and the Slumber Sisters, National Theatre of Scotland and Catherine Wheels; In My Own Words, Complicité).

The cast also includes Dawn Sievewright as ‘Toby’ (Pinocchio, National Theatre; Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre; Glasgow Girls, National Theatre of Scotland, Citizens Theatre, Theatre Royal Stratford East), Guy Hughes as ‘Andrew Aguecheek’ (The Little Matchgirl, Bristol Old Vic and Shakespeare’s Globe; The Winter’s Tale, Cheek By Jowl), Sophia Kolinas as ‘Maria’ (Cockpit, The Lyceum; The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Grey Bruce Arts Collective; A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Canadian Stage).

They are joined by Brian James O’Sullivan as ‘Antonio’ (The Arabian Nights and The Winter’s Tale, The Lyceum; The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui, Dundee Rep; The James Plays, National Theatre of Scotland) andDylan Read as ‘Feste’ (Cockpit, The Lyceum; The Letter, Bouffon Scratchings).

Speaking of the production, Wils Wilson said: I’m very excited and a little humbled to be directing this wonderful play. It’s Shakespeare’s play of celebration and revelry – and like all good parties there are moments of joyful abandon, friendship, flirtation, and great live music – but also, confusion, thoughtless cruelty and embarrassment.  I love the play for its warmth and wit, and also for its brilliant and fearless exploration of human frailty.”

The creative team includes Musical Director Alasdair Macrae, (Cockpit and The Winter’s Tale, The Lyceum; The Cheviot, The Stag and the Black, Black Oil, Dundee Rep; The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart, National Theatre of Scotland; and The James Plays, National Theatre of Scotland and National Theatre) and award-winning composer Meilyr Jones, whose original compositions for the production will be performed live on stage. Previously of the band Race Horses, Meilyr’s debut solo album ‘2013’ was met with huge critical acclaim and he has worked with Gruff Rhys, Stealing Sheep, Aldeburgh Festival and Tate Britain.

Bristol Old Vic’s Executive Producer Chloe Naldrett Elwood said: “Collaborating with other organisations is one of the joys of making work at Bristol Old Vic and we are thrilled to be working for the first time with our friends in Edinburgh – not only on the glorious comedy Twelfth Night, but the boundary-breaking new workTouching the Void. We can’t wait to welcome the Lyceum team to Bristol and our brand-new building and are looking forward to the adventures and opportunities this ‘theatrical exchange programme’ will bring.”

Speaking today, David Greig said: “It is a real pleasure to be working with Bristol Old Vic on these two very different plays, and a joy to be in partnership with a theatre that absolutely shares both our delight in adventure and our love of classic theatre.”

Bush Theatre announces its Emerging Writers Group for 2018

The Bush Theatre today announced the fourth year of its Emerging Writers Group (EWG) with a new intake of writers. The 2018 cohort will be Zia Ahmed, Sophia Chetin-Leuner, Urielle Klein-Mekongo, Ambreen Razia, Ella Road and Patrick Russell.

The EWG is an opportunity for the Bush to develop relationships with new playwrights encountered through unsolicited submissions process and further afield – all of whom are at early stages in their careers.  It aims to support writers over a sustained period of time and help encourage work on a new full length play.

Zia Ahmed is a writer from North-West London. He is part of the London Laureates, having been shortlisted to be the Young Poet Laureate for London 2015/16. He is also a former Roundhouse Slam champion and was in residency at Paines Plough as part of Channel 4’s Playwright Scheme 2017.  Earlier this year Paines Plough toured his show 7 Wanna Be Yours.

Sophia Chetin-Leuner is a writer from London. In 2015 her play Save+Quit won the London Student Drama Festival and went on to be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, The Oxford Playhouse, The Vault Festival and The New Theatre in Dublin. It was published by Nick Hern Books in 2017. She was selected to be part of the HighTide Academy in 2016 and has recently completed an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch where she was the recipient of the Dalio Family Foundation Scholarship.

Urielle Klein-Mekongo is a singer writer, actress, playwright from north west London. Her recently published play Yvette has toured the UK, including a sell-out run at Bush Theatre, and won the Pulse Award and the Harts audience award for its raw message and use of music and spoken word.

She is a graduate of East 15 acting school and is a member of the National Youth Theatre.

Ambreen Razia is an actress & writer from South London. Her critically acclaimed debut play Diary of a Hounslow Girl, commissioned by Ovalhouse, toured nationally with Black Theatre Live and House Theatre, featured at Alchemy Festival, Southbank and has been commissioned as a TV pilot for BBC Three. Her second play POT is set to go on national tour this Autumn. Awards include Best Newcomer, Asian Media Awards 2016 and Eastern Eye Emerging artist award, 2017. Ambreen was nominated for the Outstanding Achievement Award at the ‘Women of the World’ festival earlier this year. Credits include: On the Middle Day (Old Vic Theatre); Words and Women (Edinburgh Fringe); Diary of a Hounslow Girl (Black Theatre Live National UK Tour); Mind the Gap (National Theatre); No Guts, No Heart, No Glory (Perth International Arts Festival Australia / BBC 4); Random Acts (Channel 4);Murdered by my Father (BBC Three); Finding Fatimah (British Muslim TV); Ladies Day (Sky), Ilford Lane (BFI), Killed by my Debt (BBC); The Harry Hill Sitcom (BBC).

Ella Road graduated from the Oxford School of Drama and Oxford University. Her first play The Phlebotomist went on at the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs April-May 2018. She was on the 2017 script accelerator programme at the Park Theatre and is a Soho Theatre Young Writer. Ella is currently under commission to write new plays for Theatre Royal Plymouth and the Hampstead Theatre Upstairs, and is in development on several projects for TV & Film. Other creative credits include Stand Up 2 Cancer’s video campaign for RSA Films (Autumn 2018, Channel 4), short film The Wyrd and radio play Road to Oxford (BBC R4). Ella also works as an actor, and writes and performs poetry.

Patrick Russell is a Midlands based playwright originally from Yorkshire. He has graduated from the Birmingham REP Foundry group and the SOHO Theatre Young Company. His play Antlers was shortlisted for the Verity Bargate Award in 2017 and won the Tony Craze Award.

Previous alumni of the EWG include Josh Azouz, Lily Bevan, Sevan K. Greene, Nabihah Islam, Gemma Rogers, Sophie Wu (who developed her Bush Theatre hit Ramona Tells Jim whilst at in the group), Tristan Bernays, Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, Kamal Kaan, Jessian Sian, A.C. Smith, Camilla Whitehill, Robyn Addison, Afsaneh Gray, Kelly Jones, Isley Lynn, Eno Mfon and Tom Wentworth.

‘The best thing for me about the programme is that it didn’t try to teach me to write. I’ve been writing for nearly 5 years, I didn’t need another course on the ‘hero’s journey’ and genre. It was more sophisticated than that – it treated us and our methods individually. So it’s hard to say what I learnt, but I know I’m a better writer now.’ Playwright Camilla Whitehilly

Deirdre O’Halloran, Associate Dramaturg at the Bush Theatre said ‘I’m so excited to welcome this new cohort of emerging writers to the Bush.  The programme is now in its fourth year and has really helped us to cement lasting relationships with talented new writers, some of whom we take on to commission or attachment, or in the case of Sophie Wu, to full production with her play Ramona Tells Jim.  I am thrilled to be working with these writers who tell stories in so many different ways – through poetry and comedy, using science fiction genre and song, but always with loads of heart.  I can’t wait to see what they write for the Bush!’

Casting announced for The Village at Theatre Royal Stratford East

The Village
The Village

The Village

Theatre Royal Stratford East has announced the full cast for the world premiere of The Village, a new adaptation by April De Angelis of Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna and the first production in Nadia Fall’s inaugural season as Artistic Director. The Village stars Anya Chalotra as Jyoti and Art Malik as The Inspector, they will be joined by Harki Bhambra, Sudha Bhuchar, Ameet Chana, Neil D’Souza, Souad Faress, Rina Fatania, Naeem Hayat, Scott Karim, Arian Nik, Humera Syed and Ragevan Vasan. Musicians include Nawazish Ali-Khan (Vocals, violin and harmonium), Robinkumar R Christian (Bansuri) and Keval Joshi (Percussion).

Transported to contemporary India, The Village is a powerful story of community, solidarity and the lengths each of us are willing to go to protect ourselves from tyranny. Vega’s masterpiece is given renewed urgency and was previously performed by Joan Littlewood and the Theatre Workshop in 1955.

Village life for Jyoti is simple: the people work hard, sing and live off the earth. She would much rather devour a delicious meal than think about a suitable partner. But when the Inspector and his men arrive back in town, things quickly begin to sour. The Inspector’s reign of terror sees him commit unspeakable acts against the village with young Jyoti in his sights, pushing everyone to breaking point. Will she dare scorn his advances?

Artistic Director, Nadia Fall, said: “The Village looks at the true cost of populism, how behind a smiling facade the manipulation and oppression of everyday people is taking place the world over. But there is a line when enough is enough, and what I love about this story is that it’s a young woman, an Indian village girl, a so called nobody, that cries out against the brutality and leads the uprising.”

To celebrate the opening of the new season and continuing Theatre Royal Stratford East’s commitment to accessibility and welcoming new audiences into the building we are pleased to be announcing a new preview ticket initiative.  During previews all seats for The Village and The Wolves will be priced at £10 and £5 for Newham residents.

Harki Bhambra plays Gopi. His theatre credits include Object Love (Dissolve Theatre), Mind The Gap (Unity Theatre) and her television credits include Our Girl Series 3, Two Doors Down, Hospital People, Drifters, Doctor Who, Londongrad.

Sudha Bhuchar plays Ishani. Her theatre credits include Lions and Tigers (Shakespeare’s Globe), Khandan (Birmingham Rep/Royal Court Theatre), A Fine Balance (Tamasha/Hampstead Theatre) & Haroun & The Sea of Stories (National Theatre). Her television credits include Coronation StreetCasualty, Holby CityThe Living and The DeadDoctorsThe Enfield HauntingVera & three series of Stella. Film credits include Colin’s New YearMary Poppins Returns and The Magnificent Eleven. Sudha also works extensively on Radio 4 and in 2017 was in the BBC Radio Drama Company. Credits include My Son The Doctor which she also co wrote (with Saleyha Ahsan). Sudha is also a playwright, co-founder of Tamasha and recently launched her new company Bhuchar Boulevard with a revival of her play Child of the Divide. Other writing credits include Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral and Strictly Dandia (with Kristine Landon-Smith), My Name is…which she also adapted for Radio 4, The House of Bilquis Bibi (a transposition to Pakistan of Lorca’s The House of Bernada Alba) & Balti Kings (with Shaheen Khan).

Anya Chalotra plays Jyoti. Anya is a recent graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Her theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe). Her television credits include The ABC Murders, Sherwood and Wanderlust.

Ameet Chana plays Mango. His theatre credits include What Shadows (Edinburgh Lyceum/Park Theatre London), Anita & Me (Birmingham Rep/Theatre Royal Stratford East), Happy Birthday Sunita (Watford Palace Theatre/UK and International tour), The Djinns of Eidgah and Behind the Image: The Spiral (Royal Court Theatre), Papa Was a Bus Conductor Innit (Lyric Hammersmith), Crazy Horse (Paines Plough) and Voices In The Wind (National Theatre). His television credits include Doctors, Casualty, EastEnders, Holby City, The League of Gentlemen, Roger Roger and The Accused. His film credits include Trendy, The Black Prince, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Run, Fat Boy, Run, Bend It Like Beckham.

Neil D’Souza plays Ramdev. His theatre include Beginners (Unicorn Theatre), The Hypocrite, Much Ado About Nothing, Midnight’s Children (RSC), The Dishonoured (Kali Theatre), Coming Up (Watford Palace Theatre), How to Hold Your Breath, Khandan (Royal Court Theatre), Drawing the Line (Hampstead Theatre), Protozoa/Oikos (The Red Room), Herge’s Adventures of Tintin (West End), The Man of Mode (National Theatre), Twelfth Night (West End). On TV, he is a semi-regular in Humans and In The Long Run. Other TV includes Informer, Thanks for the Memories, EastEnders, Not Safe for Work, Citizen Khan, Friday Night Dinner, Doctors, Hustle and Holby City. His film credits include Filth, Still Life, Closed Circuit, Jadoo, Another Me, Wild Target.

Souad Faress plays Gina. Theatre credits include Goats and A Curse (Royal Court Theatre), Chilcot (The Lowry/BAC/NT Studios), Tiger Country and Sugar and Snow (Hampstead Theatre), The House of Bernada Alba (Almeida Theatre), The Permanent Way (Out of Joint/Sydney Theatre Company/ National Theatre Company), Homebody/Kabul (Cheek by Jowl/Young Vic. Her television credits include Game of Thrones, Apple Tree House, Brief Encounters, Berlin Station, Sense8, Cabbage & Patch, Vera, Making of a Lady, Utopia, Hunted, Silent Witness, Holby City, Law & Order. Her film credits include Christopher Robin, Bridget Jones’s Baby, Sixth Happiness, My Beautiful Launderette and Bhaji on the Beach.

Rina Fatania plays Panna. Theatre Credits include The Tin Drum (UK Tour), Oliver Twist (Regents Park, Open Air Theatre), Roller Diner (Soho Theatre), Anita & Me (UK Tour), Sinbad the Sailor, Love N Stuff (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Paradise of the Assassins (Tara Arts), Dead Dog in a Suitcase (Kneehigh Theatre Company UK & International tour), Mummyji Presents (Birmingham Rep), The Empress (RSC), Wah! Wah! Girls (Sadler’s Wells/ UK Tour), Britain’s Got Bhangra (UK Tour), The House of Bilquis Bibi (Hampstead Theatre & UK Tour) and several pantomimes. Her film credits include Raabta, Digital-Mummji Presents, Mumbai Charlie and Travel Londoner. Radio credits include Bindi Business, Baby Farming, We Are Water, Oceans Unite Us and Silver Street, all for the BBC.

Naeem Hayat plays Vihaan. His theatre credits include Sonnet Walks, The Captive Queen, Globe 2 Globe world tour of Hamlet (Shakespeare’s Globe) and Faster-Higher-Stronger-Straighter (Dominion Studio). Film includes Duperie, Undercliffe.

Scott Karim plays Farooq. His theatre credits include The Country Wife (Chichester Festival Theatre), Young Marx (The Bridge Theatre), Imogen, The Merchant of Venice (The Globe), King Lear (Royal & Derngate, and UK Tour), Brave New World (Royal & Derngate, and UK Tour), The Invisible (The Bush), Dara, Great Britain, Othello (National Theatre). His television credits include Electric Dreams, Britannia, Holby City and film includes White Girl.

Art Malik plays The Inspector. His theatre credits include A Man For All Seasons and Equus (Liverpool Playhouse), Aliens (Soho Theatre), Art (Wyndham’s Theatre), Cymbeline (Royal Exchange), Destiny and Timon of Athens (Bristol Old Vic), Great Expectations (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Heroes (UK Tour), Indian Ink (Aldwych Theatre), Othello (Royal Shakespeare Company), Romeo and Juliet, The 88 Prospect and The Government Inspector (The Old Vic), The Seagull (Royal Court Theatre / Broadway) and Trial Run (Young Vic / Oxford Playhouse). Recent television credits include The Woman in White, Bancroft, Sherlock IV, Coldfeet, Goodness Gracious Me special, Indian Summers series 2, Arthur and George, Undercover, Homeland series 4, Borgia, New Tricks, Upstairs Downstairs, Masterpiece Mystery, Poirot, The Nativity, Ben Hur and Lewis. Recent film credits include Halal Daddy, The Escape, The Infiltrator, Diana, Bhaag Mikha Bhaag, John Carter, Ghosted, Mirzya, Sex and the City 2, Wolfman, Hotel and Franklyn.

Arian Nik plays Mekhal. His theatre credits include The Ugly One (Park Theatre) and The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca (Hull Truck). He has recently wrapped on the feature film Artemis Fowl for Disney.

Humera Syed plays Jacinta. Her theatre credits include The Arabian Nights (Royal Lyceum Theatre) and Anita And Me (No 1 Tour).

Ragevan Vasan plays Ved. His theatre credits include Hurling Rubble At The Sun/Moon (Park Theatre), Love For Love, Queen Anne (RSC). His television credits include Save Me, Fortitude, The State, Cuffs, Doctors. Her film credits include Dumbo, Walk Like a Panther, Daphne, The Last Witness.

Lope de Vega (1562 – 1635) was a Spanish playwright, poet and novelist. In addition to Fuenteovejuna, notable works include The Dog in the Manger and Punishment Without Revenge.

April De Angelis is an acclaimed writer whose extensive theatre work includes After Electra, Rune, Gastronauts, Jumpy, an adaptation of Wuthering Heights, A Laughing Matter, A Warwickshire Testimony, The Positive Hour, Playhouse Creatures and The Life and Times of Fanny Hill. She’s currently under commission to the Royal Exchange, Manchester and the National Theatre. De Angelis has also written the libretto for Flight, music by Jonathan Dove, for Glyndebourne Opera and The Silent Twins libretto, which was set to music by Errollyn Wallen. Her work for radio includes an adaptation of Life in the Tomb, a serialisation of Peyton Place, Visitants and The Outlander which won the Writer’s Guild Award in 1992. For television her work includes Aristophanes.

Nadia Fall trained at Goldsmiths College (MA Directing) and on the NT Studio’s Directors programme. Her directing credits include The Suicide, Our Country’s Good, Dara, Chewing Gum Dreams, Home, Hymn, The Doctor’s Dilemma (National Theatre), Hir, Disgraced (Bush Theatre), R and D (Hampstead Theatre), Way Upstream (Chichester Festival Theatre), Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), How Was It For You? (Unicorn Theatre), Sticks & Stones (Polka Theatre), The Maids (Lyric Hammersmith), Miss Julie (Croydon Warehouse Theatre) and Wild Turkey (Site Specific). As Associate Director, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Gielgud Theatre), Collaborators, The Habit of Art (National Theatre); and as Staff Director, Rocket to the Moon, Really Old, Like Forty Five, Phèdre and Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre). Fall has directed at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Unicorn Theatre and led participation initiatives with partners such as the Young Vic, Clean Break, Soho Theatre and the Royal Court. She is also an acting coach, supporting professional actors for film and stage.

Writer April De Angelis

Director Nadia Fall

Designer Joanna Scotcher

Lighting Designer Paul Pyant

Movement Director Polly Bennett

Composer Niraj Chag

Sound Designer Helen Atkinson

Fight Directors RC-Annie

Casting Director Amy Ball


Nawazish Ali-Khan (Vocals, violin and harmonium), Robinkumar R Christian (Bansuri) and Keval Joshi (Percussion).

Nottingam Playhouse helps youngsters ‘shine’ with council investment



NOTTINGHAM PLAYHOUSE has been awarded a three-year grant totalling £42,000 to help more young people gain qualifications in the arts, grow in confidence and learn new skills through its SHINE community youth theatre programme.

Funds awarded from Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme will contribute to delivering four youth theatres based in Bramcote, Chilwell, Mansfield and Netherfield as well as a new youth theatre for learning disabled children that will be established in conjunction with local charity A Place to Call Our Own (APTCOO).

The SHINE appeal creates and sustains free community youth theatres for children aged eight to 16-years-old from low-income families, who otherwise would be unable to take part in performing arts activities.

Carol Burkitt, CEO of APTCOO said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with SHINE!  APTCOO young people will thoroughly enjoy the drama, learning and therapeutic value of taking part in a live theatre production; exploring and developing creative and performance skills together with building on their self-confidence and social skills.

“Thank you on behalf of all at APTCOO for the opportunity.”

Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse said: “As a charity, we rely on the generous donations from our audience members and partners and we’re very grateful to Nottinghamshire County Council for this investment in young people and the arts. We know how valuable SHINE has been to hundreds of youngsters since it was launched in 2015 in helping them develop confidence and life skills as well as make new friends.

Councillor Gordon Wheeler, Vice-Chairman of the Communities and Place Committee, at Nottinghamshire County Council, which manages the Local Improvement Scheme, said: “We are very pleased that we have been able to support such a worthwhile project.

“The Local Improvement Scheme provides targeted financial support for community organisations to deliver the Council’s priorities to make Nottinghamshire a great place to live, work, visit and relax and we were very impressed with SHINE’s objectives to help children grow and develop creatively.”

Councillor Dr John Doddy supported the application as a local member and said: “This is a very important project. SHINE will empower around 160 children and young people proving that Nottinghamshire is a great place to fulfil their ambitions through drama led intervention. It will help them to increase their confidence, develop their employability skills, reach their potential and achieve a nationally recognised qualification.”

SHINE community youth theatres were set up in 2015 and currently run in Bulwell, Sneinton and at the hospital school at the Queens Medical Centre as well as Bramcote, Chilwell, Mansfield and Netherfield.

Through donations to the SHINE appeal, £25 will cover the costs of a workshop assistant (who will be trained to become a workshop leader) for two sessions, £100 will buy the workshop materials needed for an entire year and £200 will fund one youth theatre workshop for up 30 young people.

For more information and to donate to the appeal, visit