Headlong announces Acts of Resistance as part of Headlong Futures

Acts of Resistance

In the not so distant future, England finds itself in the middle of yet another political earthquake. In our sitting rooms, on our streets, just off our shores, something is shifting under our feet and all across the nation communities are cracking.

Acts of Resistance is a provocative and playful new show, created by four communities across England and award-winning writer Stef Smith.  Born from Headlong Futures, Headlong’s bold and ambitious outreach initiative, the play will be performed on Sunday 7 and Monday 8 April at Bristol Old Vic.

In these politically uncertain times, our country is more divided than ever before.

Headlong Futures set out to unearth stories behind these fractures and ask how we can work together across generations, across backgrounds and across the nation.

Acts of Resistance is the culmination of this; a renewed sense of collective vision-making which looks at what we have inherited and what we are willing to leave behind.

Over eighteen months, playwright Stef Smith, and Headlong’s Outreach Associate, Rob Watt, have been working with four partner organisations and participants from their surrounding communities, many of whom do not engage with the arts and often feel their voices are not heard.

Each group worked with an Associate Director from within their community to present a locally based piece centred around their own unique stories; examining the questions and the contradictions that seemed most important to their immediate lives. Stef Smith, will take these individual works and evolve them into one larger original play, Acts of Resistance, directed by Rob Watt.

Headlong Futures has been collaborating with the following venues and groups;

  • Theatre Royal Plymouth – Headlong Futures Associate Director Lucy Hirst has been working with a group of ex-military personnel and their families.  They range in ages from 21 to 75 years.
  • Bristol Old Vic – Headlong Futures Associate Director Julia Head has been working with a group of 23 young people from in and around the Lockleaze estate
  • Brewery Arts, Kendal – Headlong Futures Associate Director Jon Randall has been working with an isolated elderly group of senior citizens from rural parts of the Lake District.
  • New Perspectives, East Midlands – Headlong Futures Associate Director Jayne Williams has been working with a community group based in a library ranging from ages 12-82 from the Mansfield area.

The cast of Acts of Resistance will be made up exclusively from members of each of the communities listed above.

Headlong Futures and Acts of Resistance is generously supported by Backstage Trust, The Buffini Chao Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Garfield Weston Foundation


Acts of Resistance

Bristol Old Vic

King Street

Bristol BS1 4ED


Performances: Sunday 7 April at 6pm and Monday 8 April at 2pm

Kwame Kwei-Armah Announces the Young Vic 2019 Season

Kwame Kwei Armah
Kwame Kwei Armah

Kwame Kwei- Armah

In the Main house:

Marianne Elliott directs Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, with Wendell PierceSharon D. Clarke and Arinzé Kene cast as Willy, Linda and Biff Loman

Tree a new music theatre production created by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah, based on Elba’s own album Mi Mandela, with Kwei-Armah to direct

Yaël Farber brings Federico García Lorca back to the Young Vic with Marina Carr’s new version of Blood Wedding

• The UK premiere of Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury, directed by Young Vic Genesis Fellow /Associate Director Nadia Latif

In the Maria:

Bronx Gothic by Okwui Okpokwasili a part theatre, part dance, and part visual art installation created in collaboration with Peter Born

The Jumper Factory conceived by Young Vic Taking Part and Justin Audibert, written by Luke Barnes and directed by Josh Parr

In the Clare:

The announcement of two Genesis Future Director Award-winners, and their productions:

Wild East by April De Angelis and directed by Lekan Lawal

Ivan & The Dogs by Hattie Naylor directed by Caitriona Shoobridge

Digital Projects:

The 8 Club a free to access video series investigating the subjects that really matter to young men, produced and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah Junior and David Weale-Cochrane

Draw Me Close dates at the Young Vic announced as 21 January – 2 February

Young Vic Unpacked:

• The second of the Young Vic Unpacked series She Ventures, And He Wins by Ariadne to be performed at community venues across Southwark and Lambeth

Further Taking Part Productions:

The Freedom Project a co-commission between the UK’s first two Theatres of Sanctuary, the Young Vic and Leeds Playhouse, exploring the ideas of social freedom

The Wonderful Way to Marbleous Town a playful non-verbal performance fusing clowning, contemporary dance and physical theatre returns for children who prefer a relaxed environment


“The stages of The Young Vic have always been a place dedicated to asking the most profound questions in artistically compelling ways. It’s not just the art we invite into these four walls but also the art and discourse we send beyond them.

In 2019 we will see Marianne Elliot dance with Arthur Miller’s Death of a SalesmenIdris Elba and I’s funky multi-disciplinary TreeYaël Farber and Marina Carr’s transformation of Lorca’s Blood WeddingJackie Sibblies Drury’s fierce and challenging new work Fairview directed by Nadia Latif; and the exquisite pain of Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic.

And that’s not forgetting our Genesis Award-Winning directors, 
Lekan Lawal and Caitriona Shoobridge both using the Young Vic stages to ask questions of us in a way I truly believe no other medium can.

YV Unpacked will once again tour with She Ventures, And He Wins and we’re bringing back The Jumper Factory by Luke Barnes, directed by Josh Parr, after starting its journey in HMP Wandsworth.

We’re continuing our commitment to channeling work into the digital world: The 8 Club will question the role of young men at this crucial moment in history.

Despina and I are very proud to be welcoming these wonderful artists, and their brilliant creative collaborators to share this space and these stories with you.

Nuff love.

Further information on upcoming productions: 

A Young Vic, Elliott & Harper and Cindy Tolan Production
Death of a Salesman
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Marianne Elliott

Main House

1 May – 29 June
Press night: 9 May

Award-winning director Marianne Elliott (Company, Angels in America) brings her unique vision to one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century, seen through the eyes of an African American family.

Wendell Pierce (The Wire, Suits, Selma) makes his UK stage debut as Willy Loman, with Olivier Award-winning Sharon D. Clarke as Linda Loman and Arinzé Kene (Misty, Been So Long) as Biff Loman.

Design will be by Anna Fleischle, light by Aideen Malone, sound by Carolyn Downing and casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG.

Young Vic, Manchester International Festival and Green Door Pictures co-production
Created by Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah

Main House

29 July – 24 August
Press night: 1 August

Tree takes you on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and the spirit of contemporary South Africa. Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, this major world-premiere production, performed in the round, is also directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Music, dance and film combine to explore the past, present and future of this country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.

Set and costume design by Jon Bausor, sound by Paul Arditti, video design by Duncan McLean, music super-visor and composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, choreographer Gregory Maqoma and casting by Pippa Ailion CDG.

Blood Wedding
By Federíco Garcia Lorca
in a new version by Marina Carr
Directed by Yaël Farber

Main House

19 September – 2 November
Press night: 25 September

Multiple award-winning director Yaël Farber (Les Blancs, Mies Julie, The Crucible), brings Federíco Garcia Lorca’s most famous tragedy Blood Wedding to the Young Vic in a new version by Marina Carr.

By Jackie Sibblies Drury
Directed by Nadia Latif  

Main House

28 November 2019 – 18 January 2020
Press night: 5 December

Following a ground breaking, sell-out run in New York, Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Fairview is an interrogation of our subtly destructive preconceptions. This radical examination of power is directed by Young Vic’s Genesis Fellow / Associate Director, Nadia Latif.  

A Young Vic and Los Angeles Performance Practice co-production
Bronx Gothic 
Writer, Performer and Sound Designer: Okwui Okpokwasili
Director, Visual and Sound Designer: Peter Born

Maria Studio 
1-29 June 
Press night: 5th June

Part theatre, part dance and part visual art installation, Okwui Okpokwasili’s Bronx Gothic delves into her memories of growing up in the Bronx, before emerging into a breathtaking exploration of girlhood.

Created in collaboration with Peter Born, in this UK premiere, Bronx Gothic draws on inspiration from West African griot storytelling and the epistolary style of the Victorian novel to ask what it means to be brown in a world that values whiteness.

Okwui Okpokwasili is a 2018 MacArthur ‘Genius Award’ recipient.

Draw Me Close

Maria Studio

21 January – 2 February 

Draw Me Close blurs the worlds of live performance, virtual reality and animation to create a vivid memoir about the relationship between a mother and her son in the wake of her terminal-cancer diagnosis.

The experience is by award-winning playwright and filmmaker Jordan Tannahill, in a co-production between the National Theatre’s Immersive Storytelling Studio and National Film Board of Canada, in collaboration with All Seeing Eye, with illustrations by Teva HarrisonDraw Me Close is a preview presented by the Young Vic.

Tickets on sale early 2019.

The Jumper Factory 
By Luke Barnes
Conceived by Young Vic Taking Part & Justin Audibert
Directed by Josh Parr 

Maria Studio 

27 February – 9 March

Originally staged by prisoners to fellow inmates, Luke Barnes collaborated with HMP Wandsworth to create a new piece of theatre with eight inmates about how they survive a life behind bars.

This new production, performed in the Maria Studio, is presented by a cast of young men aged from 18 – 25, who have all been affected by the criminal justice system.

Wild East
By April De Angelis
Directed by Lekan Lawal

Clare Studio

6 – 16 Feb

Genesis Future Directors Award winner Lekan Lawal directs April De Angelis’ surreal Wild East. This outlandish play artfully turns the most sterile of settings, a corporate job interview, into a sharp comedy about the permeation of human chaos.

Ivan & Dogs 
By Hattie Naylor
Directed by Caitriona Shoobridge

Clare Studio

10-20 July

Genesis Future Directors Award winner Caitriona Shoobridge directs this one-person show which explores the need for kindness and trust when, despite being betrayed by the people around you, family can still be forged in the face of adversity.

A Young Vic and David Weale-Cochrane and Kwame Kwei-Armah Jr co-production
The 8 Club

The 8 Club is a pioneering, free to access, video series investigating the subjects that really matter to young men. Provocative and often unspoken topics for men, such as mental health, ‘toxic masculinity’ and personal relationships are faced head-on.

Release dates to be announced in due course.

Taking Part:

The Freedom Project

Working collaboratively as the UK’s first two Theatres of Sanctuary, The Young Vic and Leeds Playhouse will co-commission a new play exploring the idea of social freedoms.

Written in response to the words and stories of refugees and asylum seekers in London and Leeds, the project will begin at The Young Vic during Refugee Week 2019 and will culminate the following year with a co-production of a new play by Luke Barnes. The piece will be performed by local refugees and asylum seekers in both Leeds and London.

The Wonderful Way to Marbleous Town

The Wonderful Way to Marbleous Town returns in 2019 after a successful run for schools this summer. Directed by Natasha Nixon and designed by Kirsty Harris, this playful non-verbal performance fuses physical theatre, clowning and contemporary dance and is part of our work for children and young people who prefer an open and relaxed performance environment.

Free tickets will be available for schools across South London.


Death of a Salesman
Wednesday 1 May – Wednesday 29 June
Main House, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Press Night: Thursday 9 May @ 7pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm
Access Performances
Captioned Performance: Thursday 20 June @ 7.45pm
Audio Described Performance: Tuesday 11 June @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Previews 1 – 8 May £10, £20, £25| 10 May – 29 June £10, £20, £30, £40
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

Tuesday 29 July – Saturday 24 August
Main House, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Press Night: Thursday 1 August @ 7pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm
Access Performances
Captioned Performance: Thursday 8 August @ 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Thursday 15 August @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Previews 29 – 31 July £10, £25, £35 (seated) £30 (standing)| 2 – 24 August £10, £30, £40 (seated), £35 (standing)
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

Blood Wedding
Thursday 19 September – 2 November 2019
Main House, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Press Night: Wednesday 25 September @ 7pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm
Access Performances
Captioned Performance: Thursday 17 October @ 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Tuesday 22 October @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Previews 19 – 24 Sept £10, £20, £25| 26 Sept – 2 Nov £10, £20, £30, £40
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

Thursday 28 November 2019 – Saturday 18 January 2020
Main House, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Press Night: Thursday 5 December @ 7pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm
Access Performances
Captioned Performance: Thursday 9 January @ 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: Thursday 12 December @ 7.30pm
Tickets: Previews 28 Nov – 4 Dec £10, £15, £20, £25| 6 December 2019 – 18 January 2020 £10, £20, £30, £40
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

Bronx Gothic
Saturday 1 June – Saturday 29 June 2019
Maria Studio, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Press Night: Wednesday 5 June @ 7pm
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm
Access Performances:
Captioned Performance: 17 June at 7.45pm
Audio Described Performance: 24 June at 7.45pm
Tickets: Previews 1 – 4 June £20| 6 – 29 June £25
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

Wild East
Wednesday 6 February – Saturday 16 February 2019
Clare Studio, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.45pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.45pm
Tickets: 6 – 16 Feb £17
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

Ivan & The Dogs
Wednesday 10 – Saturday 20 July 2019
Clare Studio, Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ
Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7.45pm | Matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2.45pm
Tickets: 10 – 20 July £17
Concessions available.
Box Office: www.youngvic.org | 020 7922 2922

First commissions announced for Manchester International Festival 2019

Idris Elba with Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic Director of the Young Vic Theatre
© photograph by David Sandison

Yoko Ono, Idris Elba and Skepta announced as part of next year’s MIF programme, which runs from 4-21 July 2019

Manchester International Festival (MIF) today announces the first artists for its 2019 programme, with each commission set to offer a distinctive and very personal take on how we relate to today’s world. MIF19 takes place from 4-21 July 2019, with artists from across the globe creating an enormous variety of new work in spaces throughout the city.

MIF19 Opening Event

Yoko Ono

BELLS FOR PEACE – Yoko Ono invites us to gather together in Cathedral Gardens for the opening event at MIF 19 and send a message of peace to the world. Thousands of diverse voices and a people’s orchestra of bells from home and abroad will ring and sing out for peace – and welcome the world to Manchester.

Yoko Ono has been among the world’s most renowned and respected artists for more than 50 years. This new commission is the first major work she has created for the city of Manchester.

As the opening event for MIF19, BELLS FOR PEACE follows the success in 2017 of What Is the City but the People?, which was an opportunity for the people of Manchester to present a self-portrait of themselves and the place they live.

Yoko Ono said: “The beauty of this piece will break the sky and more. One of the reasons this is very different is the fact that all of us will be making the sound together. More than ever, we must come together to heal each other, and the world. PEACE is POWER! I love you all.

Created by Idris Elba & Kwame Kwei-Armah

Tree takes audiences on a thrilling journey in search of the soul and spirit of contemporary South Africa. Created by Idris Elba, whose album Mi Mandela provides the soundtrack, and Kwame Kwei-Armah, the dynamic newArtistic Director of London’s Young Vic, this major world-premiere production takes place in the round within Upper Campfield Market Hall, one of Manchester’s most atmospheric spaces.

Idris and Kwame’s new work features music, dance and film combined with an exciting cast to explore the past, present and future of a country at a crossroads – all through the eyes of one young man on a journey of healing.

Idris Elba said “Kwame and I have both had a strong desire to work with each other for a long time now; we’ve known each other since we were in our very early twenties and have talked about the kernel of an idea for this show for a while. Our joint ambition being to make a piece of work inspired by South Africa, using the album Mi Mandela as a starting point. We’ve both experienced personal moments of healing connected with the country and we’re starting to explore that together. For me, an interesting part of the process is looking at the next part of the story; the new universe that sprung up after Mandela. To be able to investigate that with Kwame, a writer with such tremendous vision for whom I have great respect and love, and within the artistic community of MIF, is something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time.”

Kwame Kwei-Armah said “The idea of dancing with a friend whose art and ideas have inspired me for as long as we have known each other simply thrills me. To bring this work to MIF and the Young Vic is as exciting as it gets for me.”


DYSTOPIA987  Skepta invites you to enter another world in this series of intimate and immersive experiences. Held in a secret Manchester location, Dystopia987 is a waking dream that presents Skepta’s singular vision of the future: deep, dark, radical and riveting.

Featuring a live set from Skepta, guest appearances from hand-picked performers and DJs, a wealth of new technology and a cast inhabiting a hidden netherworld, Dystopia987 is a journey into eternity – a future riven with uncertainty and fear but rich in wonder and possibility.

Since emerging as a producer and MC in 2004, Skepta has become one of the most significant British artists in music today. The Mercury Prize winner and BRIT Award nominee has built a diverse audience through both recordings and live performances, and his enduring influence is felt throughout contemporary culture.

Skepta described the project as “Real Life Magic”.

MIF Artistic Director and CEO John McGrath said: “I’m thrilled to be announcing the involvement of such extraordinary artists in Manchester International Festival 2019. Yoko Ono will be creating a very special opening event for Mancunians – and the world – in the city centre: a joyful response to our complicated times. Idris Elba is one of the most dynamic creative figures working today, and in this new collaboration with the wonderful Kwame Kwei-Armah, he brings his vision and passion to a brand-new piece of musical theatre. And Skepta, an artist known for pushing musical boundaries, is going to be surprising everyone with a vision of the future that is immersive, high tech and personal.

Tickets will go onsale to MIF Members at 10am on Monday 29th October with general onsale at 10am on Thursday 1st November.

MIF has an ambitious programme of creative engagement activity, collaborating with people from across Greater Manchester as part of MIF’s Creative Community; a year-round initiative designed to build ongoing relationships and dialogue between MIF and local people through co design, creative projects, volunteering, skills development, training and more. This programme of work includesFestival in My House and Festival in My Neighbourhood, an opportunity for the people of Manchester to curate their own mini-festivals year-round.

With MIF set to operate and create the artistic programme for The Factory, the landmark cultural space being developed in the city, the series of pre-Factory events is also continuing. The next is Special Edition, a series of music events with Bonobo, Bugzy Malone andBicep organised with Manchester promoters The Warehouse Project and 6 Music’s Mary Anne Hobbs, which take place at Mayfield from 3-10 November. More pre-Factory events will be announced as part of the full MIF19 programme which is due to be announced in March 2019.

Amelie The Musical to open in the UK in 2019

Amelie The Musical
Amelie The Musical

Amelie The Musical

Amélie The Musical, an adaptation of the much-loved 2001 award-winning film Amélie, will have its UK stage premiere at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury from 11 April to 18 May, and then embark on an extensive UK tour from 20 May. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, this new musical adaptation of the five-time Oscar®-nominated film written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, will be directed by Michael Fentiman, with star casting to be announced.

Amélie is the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind. She secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness that bring happiness to those around her. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Although times are hard for dreamers, Amélie is someone to believe in…

Michael Fentiman said, “As a theatre maker, staging Amélie as a musical is one of those exciting, terrifying challenges, that you absolutely cannot turn down. It is a gentle, magical and uncynically joyous piece – that takes its audience on a surreal flight of fancy, into the mind of an extraordinary young woman, Amélie Poulain. It’s going to be a huge pleasure to open the show at the beautiful Watermill Theatre before then taking our extremely talented actor musician cast around the UK.

The original film, Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amélie Poulain, was released in 2001, starring Audrey Tatou and Matthieu Kassovitz. Taking over $33 million in a limited theatrical release, it is to date the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States, and one of the biggest international successes for a French film. Amélie won Best Film at the European Film Awards, four César Awards in 2002 (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best foreign language film.

Amélie The Musical was first staged in California in 2015 and was described as an ‘enchanting act of theatrical reinvention’ (The Los Angeles Times).

When the UK tour concludes in August 2019, Amélie The Musical will tour internationally, with dates to be announced.

Amélie The Musical, is produced by Hartshorn – Hook Productions, Selladoor Productions, The Watermill Theatre and Broadway Asia.

NST: Five-star Musical Phenomenon SIX comes to Southampton



“The most uplifting piece of new British musical theatre” (***** The Evening Standard), SIX is set to wow Southampton audiences at Nuffield Southampton Theatres Campus 13 – 17 Nov.

Following a sold out Edinburgh season and an extended London run, SIX is the critically- acclaimed musical phenomenon everyone is losing their heads over!

From Tudor queens to pop princesses, the SIX wives of Henry VIII finally take to the mic to tell their tales, remixing five hundred years of her-storical heartbreak into a 75-minute celebration of 21st century sisterly sass-itude fuelled by an all-female band.

With the show soundtrack storming up the UK charts, this new home-grown histo-remixed pop-concert musical comes direct from the West End and is sure to be the hottest thing on the block since Anne Boleyn’s neck!

Tickets for SIX are available from the Box Office on 023 8067 1771 or online at nstheatres.co.uk.

CAROLINE, OR CHANGE starts rehearsals and offers unique ticket scheme

Sharon D. Clarke in Caroline, Or Change Credit Marc Brenner
Sharon D. Clarke in Caroline, Or Change Credit Marc Brenner

Sharon D. Clarke in Caroline, Or Change Credit Marc Brenner

It is announced today that the highly anticipated West End production Caroline, Or Change will extend its booking period due to popular demand and will now run in the West End at the Playhouse Theatre from 20 November 2018 to 6 April 2019. Chichester Festival Theatre’s critically acclaimed production also enjoyed a sell-out engagement at Hampstead Theatre, and has been nominated today for Best Musical and Best Musical Performance for Sharon D. Clarke in this year’s Evening Standard Awards.

The celebrated musical is written by Tony Kushner, author of Angels in America and recent recipient of the Arthur Miller Foundation Humanitarian Award. The soaring score is by Tony Award-winning Fun Home composer, Jeanine Tesori.

A truly welcoming and joyous musical, Caroline, Or Change opens its doors to new audiences with two unique ticketing initiatives:

Chichester Festival Theatre’s highly successful Prologue scheme, which enables 16-25 year olds to purchase £5 tickets across all productions in the theatre’s Festival season has now also been applied to Caroline, Or Change in the West End. The limited number of £5 Prologue tickets can be purchased by 16-25 year olds, on the day of performance and in person from the Playhouse Theatre Box Office, where proof of age ID will be required.

‘Carolines Go Free’ is an exclusive offer to anyone named Caroline. Carolines will receive a complimentary ticket when purchasing one or more accompanying tickets. The 2 for 1 initiative will be available in person at the box office or via the telephone on 0844 871 7631.

Rehearsals are now underway for the company which is led by Olivier Award-winning actress Sharon D. Clarke in a critically acclaimed virtuoso performance as Caroline Thibodeaux. The full cast will include Naana Agyei-Ampadu, Keisha Amponsa Banson, Alastair Brookshaw, Me’sha Bryan, Angela Caesar, Dujonna Gift-Simms, Sue Kelvin, Teddy Kempner, Ako Mitchell, Abiona Omonua, Vincent Pirillo, Tanisha Spring and Lauren Ward with Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Zalika Henry, Laura Medforth, Timothy Quinlan and Teddy Wills.

Nine young performers have been cast in the roles of Noah, Jackie and Joe. Isaac Forward, Aaron Gelkoff and Jack Meredith will alternate the role of Noah, Mark MwangiKenya Sandy and Jeremiah Waysome will alternate the role of Jackie and the role of Joe will be alternated byJosiah ChotoDavid Dube and Raphael Higgins-Hume.

Directed by Michael Longhurst, this five-star production received phenomenal critical praise when it opened with sold out engagements at Chichester Festival Theatre and again at the Hampstead Theatre.

Louisiana, 1963. Revolution is in the air, though not so much for Caroline, the poorly paid maid toiling endlessly in the sweltering basement of the Gellman household. It’s a fantastical, magical place amidst the piles of laundry and singing washing machines, especially for eight-year-old Noah Gellman who sneaks downstairs to see her whenever he can. Yet a simple gesture to leave more money in Caroline’s pocket is about to test who and how far the winds of change can ever really reach…

Winner of the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Caroline, Or Change is a playful, funny, and deeply moving portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval, set to an uplifting and profound score of soul, blues, classical and traditional Jewish folk music.

Chichester Festival Theatre is committed to providing affordable tickets to world-class theatre, and particularly in reaching and growing younger audiences with the aim of encouraging independent theatregoing and kick-starting a life-long love of theatre in young people. Under the leadership of Daniel Evans (Artistic Director) and Rachel Tackley (Executive Director), the price of Prologue tickets for 16 to 25 year olds has been brought down to £5 with tickets made available for all productions in the Festival season including talks with casts and creatives, late night cabarets and other social events for young theatregoers. For further information and to sign up to the Prologue scheme, visit the Chichester Festival Theatre website.

Ambassador Theatre Group, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions and Rupert Gavin, in association with Hampstead Theatre, present the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Caroline, Or ChangeBook and lyrics by Tony Kushner, music by Jeanine Tesori and is directed by Michael Longhurst, with designs by Fly Davis, choreography by Ann Yee, musical direction by Nigel Lilley, lighting byJack Knowles, sound by Paul Arditti, casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG and children’s casting by Debbie O’Brien.

Layton Williams to play Jamie in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Layton Williams
Layton Williams

Layton Williams

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, the award-winning feel good musical sensation, has announced that Layton Williams is to play the title role of Jamie New from 28 January 2019.

Nica Burns, Producer of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie said: “We’re delighted to welcome Layton Williams as only our second Jamie as we say goodbye to the wonderful John McCrea, who created the role and leaves the cast on 26 January 2019. Layton is a supremely talented actor, singer and dancer with a long list of credits. He is equally at home on TV in series like ‘Beautiful People’ and ‘Bad Education’ as he is on stage in roles such as Angel in ‘Rent’ and Seaweed in ‘Hairspray’. I’m sure he will make the role of Jamie very much his own.”

Layton Williams is best known for playing the character Kylie in the BBC series Beautiful People and for playing the lead, alongside Jack Whitehall, in the critically acclaimed BBC comedy Bad Education, the follow up film hit cinemas and can be seen on DVD now. He is also known as one of the boys who played the title role in Billy Elliot the Musical in London’s West End. Layton recently took his dance talent to the stage touring with Matthew Bourne’s stunning show The Car Man. Layton then performed to rave reviews as the role of Angel in the UK tour of the much-loved musical Rent. He has recently been touring the country as Seaweed in the popular musical Hairspray and is appearing in Kiss Me, Kate at Sheffield Crucible Theatre this December.

Layton Williams takes over from John McCrea who created the role of Jamie when the show first opened at Sheffield Crucible Theatre in February 2017, and who has played the role since its opening in the West End in November 2017. Everybody’s Talking About Jamie will celebrate its first birthday at the Apollo Theatre in the West End on 6 November.

Further casting for January 2019 is to be announced.

Inspired by a true story, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the hit musical for today.

Jamie New is sixteen and lives on a council estate in Sheffield. Jamie doesn’t quite fit in. Jamie is terrified about the future. Jamie is going to be a sensation.

Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight.

With songs by lead singer-songwriter of The Feeling, Dan Gillespie Sells, and book and lyrics by writer Tom MacRae, this funny, fabulous, feel-good, musical sensation has been wowing audiences and critics alike.

Sixteen: the edge of possibility. Time to make your dreams come true.

Music by Dan Gillespie Sells
Book and Lyrics by Tom MacRae
From an idea by Jonathan Butterell Directed by Jonathan Butterell
Design by Anna Fleischle
Choreography by Kate Prince
Lighting design by Lucy Carter
Sound design by Paul Groothuis
Musical direction by Theo Jamieson
Casting by Will Burton

Book your tickets here for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie opened at the Sheffield Crucible in 2017 and is now playing at the Apollo Theatre in the West End, currently booking until 6 April 2019. As well as receiving 5-star reviews, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie has won 7 major theatre awards, including the UK Theatre and What’s On Stage Awards for Best New Musical and the Attitude Culture Award 2017, and was nominated for 5 Olivier Awards.


Bridge Theatre: A Very Very Very Questionable Year

Bridge Theatre

Nicholas Hytner and Nick Starr’s year-old theatre is testing my patience. The mission statement of the two Nicks was to focus primarily on new plays.

I suppose they did do that.

One thing’s for sure, though – the 900-seat, £12.5m Bridge Theatre, has the best toilets in London. No subsidy either. 100% commercial theatre, folks, and disappointingly, when I glanced a programme, within the core staff: no education department. Poor show, guys.

There’s something a bit unnerving about anyone who isn’t London’s literati giving a damn about Bridge Theatre. The warning signs were there as early as the third production Nightfall (Barney Norris) and who can forget the terminal Young Marx (Richard Bean). Let’s not dwell on the shoddy reunion with long-term collaborator Alan Bennett (Allelujah!) either. I walked out of all three bored rigid.

The fact that Hytner has still never directed a play by a woman is an obvious concern, which, I think you’ll agree, is fairly impressive. The two Nicks have to start commissioning and involving women writers. Their worrying all-male, all-white line-up will never bring in a diverse audience.

But, hey, why bother with quality control when you can sell tickets to an Evening with Nigella Lawson for £45.00 a pop and shed-loads of Madelines during the intervals.

The Bridge’s latest misfireMartin McDonagh’s objectively rubbish new play A Very Very Very Dark Matter. It might be a contender for the worst play of the year. Why? The plot. Or almost complete lack of it, to be more accurate. No matter how many illustrious writers pen something for that stage and, despite them being an Oscar winner – I still haven’t been able to find one. A Very Very Very Dark Matter never takes off; avoid it at all costs.

A Very Dark Matter, Jim Broadbent

A Very Dark Matter, Jim Broadbent

McDonagh has taken a historical figure and made him a racist idiot– imagining the life he lived at the height of his fame – in this case by portraying Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen (Jim Broadbent) being offensive to a Congolese pygmy woman (Eula’Mae Ackles) in a secret dwelling upstairs in his attic.

As maddeningly incoherent as it sounds.

What did stun me, though, was the sudden realisation that I’d seen it before. It’s a star-fucking Horrible Histories, obviously, but not just the basic grotesque spin on historical events – whether portraying Charles Dickens as a foul-mouthed misery or Christian Andersen as a cockney racist.

The difference, of course, is that Horrible Histories often delivers a powerful message with a charm, subtlety, humour, a proper story and a great script. Matthew Dunster’s production does it with a mallet over the head. The 90-minute evening is full of the F and C words and an attempt to make us laugh at genuinely offensive language, stereotypes about ‘gyppos’ and in-jokes about German directors. How wrong. How sadly, awfully, dangerously wrong.

Either Nick Hytner and Nick Starr have taken their eyes off the ball or else they are working towards better things. However, what they are missing, as yet, is a real sense of vision, inclusion and diversity. Just because it is a commercial enterprise doesn’t mean these things are not compatible.

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar

Sure, the toilets are nice and Hytner’s promenade production of Julius Caesar was smart and gripping. But with the new season containing a victory-lap of monologue My Name Is Lucy Barton and Hytner directing an immersive production of William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I’ll pass thanks.

And you can keep your signature Madeleines… For now.

Theatre Royal announces new shows as part of line-up for 2019

The Girl On The Train

The Girl On The Train starring Samantha Womack, coming to Norwich Theatre Royal from July 1-6 as part of a new season of announcements

2019 is all set to be a dramatic year for Norwich Theatre Royal with some top quality plays on the menu, plus cutting-edge dance and family entertainment, all announced for the first half of next year. The new season’s announcements include superb drama in the form of a stage adaptation of an international best-selling book and a box office movie hit; a critically-acclaimed returning production of one of the greatest novels of of the 20th century; a timeless classic which after 66 years still has audiences on the edge of their seats; and a bittersweet comedy from one of the greatest English playwrights of the last century.

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins sold 20 million copies worldwide and became a smash-hit movie starring Emily Blunt. The story about a train traveller who thinks she has witnessed a crime but whose memory is confused by alcohol has now been adapted for the stage and arrives at Norwich Theatre Royal from July 1-6. Starring Samantha Womack (EastEnders ‘ Ronnie Mitchell) and  Oliver Farnworth (Andy Carver in Coronation Street), expect a gripping psychological thriller which has you guessing to the final moment.

The stage version of another highly-regarded novel To Kill A Mockingbird makes a return visit to Norwich from March 4-9. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s critically-acclaimed production, which graced the Theatre Royal stage in September 2014, tells the story of lawyer Atticus Finch and his courageous daughter, Scout, who bring hope to a divided small town community in America’s Deep South.  Harper Lee’s 1960 novel was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and was followed by a film in 1962 which won three Oscars. It is directed by Olivier Award-winning director Timothy Sheader.

A huge favourite with theatre audiences whose enthusiasm has kept it on the stage continuously since 1952, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap also makes a return to Norwich from July 8-13. Last on the Theatre Royal stage in 2013, this spine-tingling murder mystery is set in a country house where a group of people have been cut off by the snow only to discover there is a murderer in their midst. The Mousetrap first entered the record books on April 12, 1958, when it became the longest running show of any kind in the history of British Theatre. It went on to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee on November 25, 2012.

Two of the UK’s most accomplished actors come together in Noel Coward’s A Song at Twilight from April 8-13, a tale about a renowned author who is growing old, rude and haughty, and who meets up again with an old flame after more than 40 years. Entertaining and full of sharp and witty repartee, it stars acclaimed actor, writer and director, Simon Callow who is best-known for films such as Amadeus, Four Weddings and a Funeral, A Room With A View and Shakespeare in Love. His stage work includes previous visits to the Theatre Royal in Waiting for Godot and to Norwich Playhouse in a number of one-man plays. He is joined in this new production by stage and screen actor Jane Asher, whose film and television work includes Alfie, The Mistress and Dancing on the Edge, while on stage she has appeared in Great Expectations, An American in Paris, Pride and Prejudice and Charley’s Aunt.


Magical family drama is also on the menu with The Worst Witch who arrives on her broomstick from April 16-20. Mildred Hubble is an ordinary girl who finds herself in a school for witches. The Worst Witch stories have sold more than five million copies worldwide and been made into numerous films and TV series and is sure to delight.

Two other family shows are also guaranteed to please. Horrible Histories returns with two shows from May 23-25 – the Terrible Tudors and the Awful Egyptians. Using actors and ground-breaking 3D special effects, it’s an engaging and accessible way for all ages to improve their history knowledge.

And Ben & Holly are back and live on stage on June 7 & 8. From the makers of Peppa Pig, which recently delighted audiences in the city, this production brings the BAFTA award-winning television series to life.

From drama to dance and music and 10 SOLDIERS, a brand new work from the Rosie Kay Dance Company, provides a thrilling and humane portrait of army life by telling the stories of men and women serving on the front line, on stage on June 4. Following her previous critically-acclaimed piece 5 SOLDIERS, which was inspired by the time she spent with the 4th Battalion The Rifles, choreographer Rosie Kay’s new work explores how the human body with both fragility and incredible inner strength remains on the frontline of war.

English Touring Opera is all set to entertain royally with stunning music and voices with its season of Kings and Queens in a battle for love, loyalty and power, when it returns to Norwich from April 25-27. It will present Rossini’s Elizabeth 1 on April 25, Verdi’s Macbeth on April 26, and Mozart’s Idomeneo on April 27. The company will also present two children’s operas in the theatre’s Stage Two – Paradise Planet on April 26, a collection of ocean stories for children aged seven and upwards, and Waxwings on April 27, about a boy called Olly who is obsessed with birds, which is suitable for children aged 3-5.

And a change of tempo will see Thriller Live, last here in February 2017, make a return visit from May 27 to June 1. Featuring the songs of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, and direct from the West End where it’s in its record-breaking 10th year, this thrilling musical will have you tapping your feet in a breath-taking celebration of the music of a legend.

The music continues with the legendary 10CC who will be back by popular demand on March 3 with a string of hits such as Rubber Bullets and Dreadlock Holiday which made them one of the most innovative bands of their generation.

There will also be a chance to get immersed in the music of one of the biggest movie hits of 2017 with Sing-A-Long-A The Greatest Showman on March 19; and That’ll Be The Day, a popular favourite with Norwich audiences, returns on February 24 with music from the 50s through to the 70s.

Also already announced and bringing laughs-a-plenty to Norwich will be comedians Nish Kumar on March 21, Russell Kane on May 26 and Al Murray on June 16, while distinguished explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes will be talking about a life spent Living Dangerously on February 19 as he regales audiences with tales of explorations to the far flung corners of the globe.

Newly lined-up is another adventurer with a big character and a huge sense of humour. An Evening with Brian Blessed on March 18 will see the actor of screen and stage regaling everyone with entertaining tales of his life, which include scaling Everest and Kilimanjaro.

And comedy of a stranger kind comes from No Such Thing As A Fish on March 22 – a show which has developed from a podcast created by the researchers behind the long-running BBC comedy quiz QI, so prepare to learn some of the most bizarre, extraordinary, and hilarious facts known to man.

Although the forthcoming festive season is not yet on us, the theatre is looking ahead with the announcement that Cinderella will be its panto in 2019/2020, running from December 17, 2019, to January 19, 2020.  For those who like to plan ahead, tickets will be on sale shortly with a special Early Bird reduction if purchased before midnight on January 31, 2019.

Judy Foster, communications officer said: “If you like drama, you’ll love our new season announcements. We have some much-anticipated new productions heading our way, such as The Girl On The Train and A Song at Twilight, and then hugely popular favourites, such as The Mousetrap and To Kill A Mockingbird, which have previously trod our boards, making a return visit.  Families, comedy & music lovers and contemporary dance fans also have some special shows to look forward to, and there are two highly entertaining adventurers, Brain Blessed and Sir Ranulph Fiennes, both offering the chance to spend an evening in their company.”

Rehearsals begin for THE TELL-TALE HEART at the National Theatre


A young playwright rents an attic flat in Brighton, hoping it will break the writer’s block that’s preventing her from following up on her wildly successful debut. Whilst there, she forms a relationship with her landlady, a lonely young woman with a life-altering condition.

But pressure mounts on the writer, and her relationship with the landlady becomes ever-more suffocating. The Tell-Tale Heart is a twisted, graphic and darkly-comic treat.

Renowned for his ground-breaking work, Anthony Neilson (The PrudesUnreachableThe Wonderful World of Dissocia) makes his NT debut with this contemporary reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic tale of a haunted conscience. Cast includes David Carlyle,Imogen Doel and Tamara Lawrance.

Directed by Anthony Neilson, design by Francis O’Connor, lighting design by Chahine Yavrayan and music and sound by Nick Powell.

A new play by Anthony Neilson

Based on the short story by Edgar Allan Poe

Previews in the Dorfman Theatre from 5 December, press night 12 December, playing until 9 January