Felicity Kendal to star in The Argument at Theatre Royal Bath

Felicity Kendal

Felicity Kendal

Theatre Royal Bath today announced The Argument by William Boyd, its third Summer Season production, with Felicity Kendal starring in the role of Chloe. The production, directed by Christopher Luscombe, will run in the Main House from 7 to 24 August with opening night for press on 12 August.

The Argument delves into what it is to dispute with those we love and offers a biting take on human dynamics. This is an often hilarious, darkly comic and compelling exploration of how it is the tone in which words are said which has such potency.

Pip and Meredith are having a disagreement about a film they’ve just seen when Pip’s phone rings and a full-scale row about their marriage breaks out. In the course of ten arguments, we follow the repercussions, as Meredith’s parents, Chloe and Frank, her best-friend Jane, and Pip’s best-friend Tony, take sides and end up embroiled in arguments of their own. Vitriolic, razor-sharp and veracious, the arguments rake over past prejudices, expose unjust judgements and reveal difficult truths.

The Argument will run in addition to the previously announced Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward, directed by Richard Eyre and starring Jennifer Saunders as well as Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya in which Rupert Everett makes his directorial stage debut and will also play the title role in a new version by David Hare. Further casting and the full summer programme will be announced in due course.

Felicity Kendal CBE is one of the UK’s best-loved actresses, best known for her role in the BBC sitcom The Good Life. She has appeared in previous Theatre Royal Bath productions, including A Room with a View, Hay Fever and Relatively Speaking. Her roles in Much Ado About Nothing and Ivanov at the Strand Theatre won her the 1989 Evening Standard Award for Best Actress. Other stage credits also include Waste and the Seagull (Old Vic), Indian Ink (Aldwych), Heartbreak House (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Tartuffe (Playhouse) and Arcadia, The Second Mrs Tanqueray, Othello and Amadeus for the National Theatre.

Christopher Luscombe’s (Director) recent credits include The Nightingales and Nell Gwynn, winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Other productions includeLove’s Labour’s LostMuch Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night for The RSC, The Merry Wives of Windsor and Nell Gwynn for Shakespeare’s Globe and in the West End, Enjoy,When We Are Married and The Madness of George III. He is an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

William Boyd OBE (writer) is a novelist, short story writer and screenwriter. His many novels include An Ice Cream War, Restless and Sweet Caress. His works have received several awards including the Whitbread Book award and Somerset Maugham Award for his novel A Good Man in Africa. His work Any Human Heart also won the Prix Jean Monnet de Littérature Européenne and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. His stage work also includes Longing, an adaptation of two Chekhov short stories.

The Argument is presented by arrangement with Lee Dean.
LISTINGS

Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET
Box Office: 01225 448844
Website: www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Facebook: TheatreRoyalBath
Twitter: @TheatreRBath

The Argument
By William Boyd
Directed by Christopher Luscombe
Wednesday 7 August – Saturday 24 August
Press night: Wednesday 12 August, 7pm
Performance Schedule: Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm
(No matinee Thursday 8 August)
Tickets: Between £27.00 – £41.50

 

Stage One Launches First Ever UK/US Producer Exchange

Stage One

Theatre producers’ charity Stage One has announced a new programme, the Stage One & Columbia University Exchange, and is seeking applications from producers.

The unique programme offers 10 producers a grant to fly to New York in September 2019 and attend a week-long course facilitated by Columbia University and Stage One. The Producers studying at Columbia University will then fly to London for a week-long programme on the model in the UK in January 2020.

The course is designed for Stage One producers who have produced a number of shows at a mid-large scale and are looking for the next step in their career. Producers taking part in the scheme will get the chance to learn how the producing model works in the US and build networks of commercial contacts on Broadway.

Joseph Smith, Chief Executive of Stage One, said:

‘Stage One is thrilled to be launching the Producer Exchange in partnership with Columbia University to enable aspiring commercial theatre producers to create stronger ties with their counterparts in New York.  Theatre is all about collaboration and in an increasingly competitive and at times insular world we need to look across borders to discover the exciting creative and commercial ideas of the future.’

Applications for the Stage One & Columbia University Exchange open on Monday 8 April 2019. To apply or receive further information, please contact Stage One’s Programme Manager, Louise Goodman, on 0207 557 6737 / [email protected].

 

Sheffield Theatres announces new season to complete programming for 2019

As his production of Richard Hawley and Chris Bush’s Standing at the Sky’s Edge opens in the Crucible, Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, Robert Hastie, announces programming for 2019.

The new season sees two additional world premières with two adaptions of bestselling books – Matt Haig’s Reasons to Stay Alive presented in a co-production with English Touring Theatre, and Giles Foden’s The Last King of Scotland. Reasons to Stay Alive is imagined for the stage and directed by Jonathan Watkins who returns to Sheffield Theatres following the success of Kes, with text by April de Angelis. Following performances at Sheffield Theatres, the production embarks on a national tour. For The Last King of Scotland, Gbolahan Obisesan, directs Steve Waters’ adaptation. Full casting is announced for Lolita Chakrabarti’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi. Max Webster directs Hiran Abeysekera (Pi), Mina Anwar (Ma, Orange Juice), Kate Colebrook (Richard Parker), Kammy Darweish (Pi’s Father), Fred Davis (Richard Parker), Tara Divina (Rani), Tom Espiner (Father Martin, Commander Grant-Jones), Raj Ghatak (Mamaji, Pandit-Ji), Owain Gwynn (Richard Parker), Syreeta Kumar (Mrs Biology Kumar, Zaida Khan), David K.S.TSE (Mr Okamoto), Habib Nasib Nader (Cook), and Gabby Wong (Lulu Chen).

The season is completed with two major revivals – Charlotte Keatley’s My Mother Said I Never Should, in a co-production with fingersmiths, presented in British Sign Language and spoken English; and for Christmas, Guys and Dolls directed by Hastie.

 

Also announced today, is the return of Sheffield Theatres’ award-winning musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Currently also running in the West End – at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, Dan Gillespie Sells and Tom MacRae’s musical, directed by Jonathan Butterell, will start a new UK tour at Sheffield Theatres, running from 8 to 29 February 2020.

 

Robert Hastie said today, “This year at Sheffield Theatres shows the scale of our ambition and the strength of our commitment to home-grown, far-reaching new work. Standing at the Sky’s Edge is followed by Lolita Chakribati’s adaptation of Life of Pi, and by a new season that brings together some of the country’s most exciting theatre artists to tell stories from all over the world. I’m thrilled that Sheffield-born Matt Haig’s inspirational story – Reasons to Stay Alive, will be told with searing physicality in a première by Jonathan Watkins and April de Angelis, and it’s fantastic to be working with ETT to take this ground-breaking piece to audiences around the country. Gbolahan Obisesan and Steve Waters have both made memorable theatre out of modern history, and their take on the Idi Amin story in The Last King of Scotland promises to deliver a powerful dramatic punch. And Charlotte Keatley’s reimagining of her contemporary classic My Mother Said I Never Should to focus on the experience of a family of deaf women is perfect material for the pioneering work of Jeni Draper and fingersmiths. Rounding off the season, I am looking forward to bringing the timeless joy of Guys and Dolls to the stage, and the return of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie to its Sheffield birth place, completing a season that gives Sheffield audiences a world of theatre on our three iconic stages.”

 CRUCIBLE

A Sheffield Theatres Production

LIFE OF PI

Based on the novel by Yann Martel

Adapted by Lolita Chakrabarti

Director Max Webster; Designer: Tim Hatley; Puppetry and Movement Director: Finn Caldwell Puppetry Designers: Nick Barnes and Finn Caldwell; Lighting Designer: Tim Lutkin

Composer: Andrew Mackay; Sound Designer: Carolyn Downing; Video Designer: Andrzej Goulding Casting Director: Polly Jerrold; Associate Designer: Ross Edwards

28 June – 20 July 2019

Press night: 8 July at 7.15pm

 After a cargo ship sinks in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, there are five survivors stranded on a single lifeboat – a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, a sixteen-year-old boy and a hungry Bengal tiger. Time is against them, nature is harsh, who will survive?

Based on one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction – winner of the Man Booker Prize, selling over fifteen million copies worldwide – Life of Pi is a dazzling new theatrical adaptation of an epic journey of endurance and hope. A film of the book, adapted by Ang Lee, was released in 2012.

Award winning writer Yann Martel’s works include The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios (1993), Self (1996), We Ate the Children Last (2004), Beatrice and Virgil (2010) – a New York Times Bestseller and a Financial Times Best Book, 101 Letters to a Prime Minister (2012) – a collection of letters to the prime minister of Canada; and The High Mountains of Portugal (2016).

Lolita Chakrabarti is an award-winning actress and playwright. Her writing credits include Red Velvet which opened at the Tricycle Theatre in London in 2012 before returning there in 2014, transferring to New York and the West End. Red Velvet was nominated for nine major awards including two Oliviers. She won the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright and the AWA Award for Arts and Culture. She has adapted Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino for Manchester International Festival 2019 working alongside digital projection company 59 Productions, Ballet Rambert and Sidi Larbi Cherkhaoui. She recently curated and wrote for The Greatest Wealth, a salute to the NHS on its 70th birthday, at The Old Vic.  She produced Of Mary, a short film directed by Adrian Lester which won Best Short Film at PAFF, Los Angeles in 2012. As an actress she has worked on stage and screen for the last thirty years.  Recent credits include Fanny and Alexander at The Old Vic, Hamlet at RADA directed by Kenneth Branagh, Born to Kill (Channel 4), The Casual Vacancy (BBC/HBO), and she is soon to be seen on Riviera (Sky Atlantic) and Defending the Guilty (BBC).

Hiran Abeysekera plays Pi. His theatre work includes The Prisoner (Théâtre Des Bouffes Du Nord), Cymbeline, Hamlet (Royal Shakespeare Company), Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), and Behind The Beautiful Forevers, War Horse Prom (National Theatre). For television his work includes Find Me in Paris and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

 Mina Anwar returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Ma, Orange Juice – she previously appeared in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (also West End) and King Lear.  Her other theatre work includes Oats (RSC), Birth International Theatre Festival (Royal Exchange), The Infidel – The Musical (Theatre Royal Stratford East) and The Iron Man (Young Vic). Her work for television includes Damned, The A Word, In the Club, Upstart Crow, Cuffs, Marley’s Ghosts, Scott and Bailey, Moving On, Happy Valley, House of Anubis, A Passionate Woman, Scoop, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Shameless and Love Soup; and for film, The Infidel and Maybe Baby.

Kate Colebrook plays Richard Parker. For theatre, her work includes La Princesse Légère (Opera Comique Paris), Don Q (Flintlock Theatre Company), Ariodante (Festival D’Aix-en Provence), War Horse (National Theatre) and Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket). For television, her work includes Call My Agent and Versailles; and for film, Retour à Bollène.

Kammy Darweish plays Pi’s Father. His theatre credits include Approaching Empty (Kiln Theatre and national tour), All My Sons (Nottingham Playhouse), East is East (Nottingham Playhouse/Northern Stage/UK tour), Wild Honey (Hampstead Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra, Holy Warriors (Shakespeare’s Globe), City Madam, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marat Sade (RSC), Blood and Gifts, Conduct Unbecoming, Romeo and Juliet, Hiawatha, Peer Gynt (National Theatre), Mirror for Princes, The Bottle, Pericles, Midnight’s Children (Cardboard Citizens/RSC), Dance Like a Man (Tara Arts), The Merchant of Venice (Phoenix Theatre), The Snow Queen, Don’t Drink the Water, Julius Caesar, Woyzeck (Bristol Old Vic). His television credits include Ackley Bridge, Saddam’s Tribe: Bound by Blood, White Teeth; and for film Skyfall, 31 North 62 East, The Omen and Colour Me Kubrick.

Fred Davis plays Richard Parker. His work with Gyre & Gimble includes puppeteer of Napoleon the chimpanzee in The Hartlepool Monkey (UK Tour), Mani and Tonk the orangutans in Running Wild (Chichester Festival Theatre, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and UK Tour).

Other work as a performer includes Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Pass It On and Rattigan’s Nijinsky (Chichester Festival Theatre), Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, The Hundred and One Dalmatians, The Witches and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe (Chichester Festival Youth Theatre), The Tempest (Petersfield Shakespeare Festival) and Experiment (Nuffield Southampton Theatres).

Tara Divina plays Rani. She recently graduated from Mountview. Her stage work includes Not Such Quiet Girls (Opera North); and for film, the forthcoming Blinded by Light.

Tom Espiner plays Father Martin, Commander Grant-Jones. His theatre work includes Berberian Sound Studio (Donmar Warehouse), Peggy For You (Hampstead Theatre and West End), Tombstone Tales (Arcola Theatre), The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Unicorn Theatre), Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and Barbican Pit), Anything Goes, Love’s Labour’s Lost (National Theatre), The Firework-Maker’s Daughter (Told By An Idiot / Lyric Hammersmith), Jason and the Argonauts (BAC), and for Sound&Fury, Kursk (also Young Vic and Sydney Opera House), War Music, The Watery Part of the World, and Ether Frolics. His television work includes Anybody’s Nightmare and The Jewish Revolt; and for film, Stoned.

Raj Ghatak returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Mamaji, Pandit-Ji – he previously appeared in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. His other theatre work includes The Kite Runner, Miss Meena and the Masala Queens (UK tours), Drones Baby Drones (Arcola Theatre), The Low Road, The Spiral, Free Outgoing, Shades/Unheard Voices (Royal Court Theatre), Free Outgoing (Traverse Theatre), The Bad, Sad and Broken Hearted, Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre), The Secret Garden (Edinburgh Festival Theatre/Toronto), and Bombay Dreams (West End). His television work includes Hetty Feather, Taboo, Dead Set, The 7:39 and Synchronicity; and for film, Christopher Robin, Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie, Starter for 10, and Birthday Girl.

Owain Gwynn plays Richard Parker. His theatre credits include War Horse, The Light Princess (National Theatre), The Lorax (The Old Vic), Peter Pan, Porgy & Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Deffro’r Gwanwyn (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), and Hamlet, Not About Heroes, Ghosts, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (Theatr Clwyd). Television credits include Britannia; and for film, Apostle.

Syreeta Kumar plays Mrs Biology Kumar, Zaida Khan. Her theatre credits include Equus (Theatre Royal Stratford East and national tour), The Breakfast Plays (Traverse Theatre), Made in India, The Husbands (Soho Theatre), Twelfth Night, Midnight’s Children, Hamlet, Camino Real, Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Shakespeare Company) and Little Red Riding Hood (Theatre Royal Stratford East). Television credits include Coronation Street as series regular D.C. Leslie

David K.S.TSE plays Mr Okamoto. For theatre, his work includes From Shore to Shore (On the Wire/UK tour), Chimerica (Almeida Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre), The Arrest of Ai Wei Wei (Hampstead Theatre), Yellow Gentlemen (Oval House), Cross-mopolitan (Chung Ying), Play Stars (Soho Theatre), and Rashomon (Riverside Studios). For television, his work includes Tokyo Trial, Chimerica, Devs, DCI Banks and Cracker; and for film, Deus in Machina, Paradise War, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Spy Game and Bhaji on the Beach.

Habib Nasib Nader plays Cook. His theatre work includes Secret Cinema: Star Wars (The Empire Strikes Back), Downtown Paradise (Welsh Fargo Theatre Company), The Grouch (West Yorkshire Playhouse), and White Open Spaces (Sweden National Touring/Pentabus Theatre and Soho Theatre). Television work includes Zapped, Law and Order UK, Come Fly With Me, Beehive, Mistresses and Little Britain; and for film, Four Warriors, Under Milk Wood, The Golden Compass, Revolver and The Libertine.

Gabby Wong plays Lulu Chen. For theatre, her work includes Pah La (Royal Court Theatre), Dear Elizabeth (Gate Theatre), ManCoin (Vault Festival), Troilus & Cressida, The Jew of Malta, Love’s Sacrifice, Volpone (RSC), The Winter’s Tale, Macbeth (National Theatre), and Doctor Faustus (Duke of York’s/ Jamie Lloyd Company). For television, her work includes Strangers; and for film, Rogue One – A Star Wars Story.

Max Webster was the inaugural Baylis Director at the Old Vic and is now an Associate Director at the theatre where his work includes Fanny and Alexander, Cover My Tracks and Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. His other stage work includes the forthcoming The Merry Widow (ENO), The Jungle Book (Northampton/Fiery Angel UK tour), The Winter’s Tale (Lyceum, Edinburgh), King Lear (Royal & Derngate, Northampton/UK tour), Mary Stuart (PARCO Productions, Tokyo), The Twits (Leicester Curve/UK tour), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe/International Tour), Orlando, To Kill a Mockingbird, My Young and Foolish Heart (Royal Exchange Manchester), Shostakovich’s Hamlet

(City of London Symphonia), James and the Giant Peach, My Generation (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Twelfth Night (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Anna Karenina (Arcola Theatre), The Chalk Circle (Aarohan Theatre, Nepal), Carnival Under the Rainbow and Feast Kakulu (Hilton Arts Festival, South Africa).

STUDIO

A Sheffield Theatres and English Touring Theatre production

World Première

REASONS TO STAY ALIVE

By Matt Haig

Imagined for the stage by Jonathan Watkins

Text written by April de Angelis

Director Jonathan Watkins

 13 – 28 September

Press night: 18 September, 7.45pm

‘Life is waiting for you. Hang on in there if you can. Life is always worth it.’

At 24 Matt’s world collapsed under the weight of depression. This is the true story of his journey out of crisis; a profoundly uplifting exploration of living and loving better. The first theatrical adaptation of Matt Haig’s frank and funny bestseller. This play with music and movement, imagined for the stage by Jonathan Watkins, celebrates what it means to be alive.

Matt Haig is a British author for children and adults. His memoir Reasons to Stay Alive was a number one bestseller, staying in the British top ten for 46 weeks. His children’s book A Boy Called Christmas was a runaway hit and is translated in over 25 languages. His novels for adults include the award-winning The Radleys and The Humans. He won the TV Book Club ‘book of the series’, and has been shortlisted for a Specsavers National Book Award. The Humans was chosen as a World Book Night title. His children’s novels have won the Smarties Gold Medal, the Blue Peter Book of the Year, been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize and nominated for the Carnegie Medal three times.

April De Angelis’ work includes Wild East (Young Vic), The Village adapted from Lope de Vega’s Fuenteovejuna (Theatre Royal Stratford East), My Brilliant Friend adapted from Elena Ferrante’s novels (Rose Theatre Kingston), Rune (Old Vic Stoke), After Electra (Plymouth Theatre Royal and Tricycle Theatre), Jumpy (Royal Court and Duke of York’s), Catch (a collaboration with four other female playwrights) and Wild East (Royal Court), A Gloriously Mucky Business (Lyric Hammersmith), Calais (Paines Plough/Oran Mor), Country (Terror Season, Southwark Playhouse), an adaptation of Wuthering Heights (Birmingham Rep Theatre), A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint Theatre Company, National Theatre), The Warwickshire Testimony (RSC, The Other Place), The Positive Hour (Out of Joint Theatre/National Tour) and Playhouse Creatures (Sphinx Theatre Company, later revived by The Old Vic Theatre).

Jonathan Watkins directed and adapted KES (Sheffield Crucible Theatre, UK) a full-length dance-theatre production of the book ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines and created the first dance adaptation of George Orwell’s modern classic 1984 for Northern Ballet (UK Tour and Sadler’s Wells Theatre, May 2016). 1984 won Best New Dance Production at The Southbank Sky Arts Awards 2016 and was broadcast on the BBC with a DVD release by Opus Arte. Other credits include; Silent Vision, Stop Me When I’m Stuck, In The Presence of Others (Royal Ballet at Linbury Studio Theatre), As One (Royal Ballet), Diana and Actaeon for the production Metamorphosis: Titian (Royal Opera House/BBC Imagine film), Beyond Prejudice, Free Falling (Curve Foundation, Edinburgh Fringe Festival), NOW (New York City Ballet), Anger Fix (Sadler’s Wells), From Within and Onwards (Royal Ballet School), Push, Pull and all in-between and Osmosis (Hong Kong Performing Arts Centre), Together Alone (Ballet Black), Eventual Progress (Ekaterinburg Ballet Theatre, Russia),  Present Process (Ballet Manila, Philippines), A Northern Trilogy (Northern Ballet), and Crash (Texas Ballet Theatre). He also worked as Movement Director on Road by Jim Cartwright (Royal Court Theatre), People by Alan Bennett (National Theatre), The Machine (Manchester International Festival/Donmar Warehouse/New York Park Avenue Armoury), Aristocrats and Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse). On film Route 67 for The Slice Project. Sofa, which he also directed, and Bunker for Channel 4’s Random Acts series. He produced and directed the Iphone Dance Series, a collection of Iphone shot dance films and recently directed the Saint-Petersburg Film Festival selected short Imperfect Perfection. 

 CRUCIBLE

A Sheffield Theatres Production

World Première

THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND

Based on the novel by Giles Foden

Adapted for the stage by Steve Waters

Director Gbolahan Obisesan

27 September – 19 October

Press night: 1 October, 7pm

‘He is the sickness and you maintain that sickness’

Idi Amin is the self-declared President of Uganda. When Scottish medic Nicholas Garrigan becomes his personal physician, he is catapulted into Amin’s inner circle. A useful asset for the British Secret Service, is Garrigan the man on the inside, or does he have blood on his hands too? The first stage adaptation of the award-winning novel that inspired the Oscar-winning movie, The Last King of Scotland is an electrifying thriller about corruption and complicity.

Giles Foden was assistant editor of The Times Literary Supplement and deputy literary editor of The Guardian. His first novel, The Last King of Scotland, won the 1998 Whitbread First Novel Award, a Somerset Maugham Award, a Betty Trask prize and the Winifred Holtby Memorial Award. It was made into a feature film, starring Forest Whittaker (who won an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance) as Idi Amin, and directed by Kevin McDonald. His other books include Ladysmith, Zanzibar and Turbulence, and non-fiction book, Mimi and Toutou Go Forth.

Steve Waters’ plays include Limehouse (Donmar Warehouse, 2017), Temple (Donmar Warehouse, 2015), Why Can’t We Live Together? (Menagerie Theatre/Soho/Theatre503, 2013), Europa, as co-author (Birmingham Repertory Theatre/Dresden State Theatre/Teatr Polski Bydgoszcz/Zagreb Youth Theatre, 2013), Ignorance/Jahiliyyah (Hampstead Downstairs, 2012), Little Platoons (Bush Theatre, 2011), The Contingency Plan (Bush Theatre, 2009), Fast Labour (Hampstead, in association with West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2008), Out of Your Knowledge (Menagerie Theatre/ Pleasance, Edinburgh/East Anglian tour, 2006-8), World Music (Sheffield Crucible, 2003, and subsequent transfer to the Donmar Warehouse, 2004), The Unthinkable (Sheffield Crucible, 2004), After the Gods (Hampstead Theatre, 2002), and English Journeys (Hampstead Theatre, 1998). His writing for television and radio includes Safe House (BBC4), The Air GapThe Moderniser (BBC Radio 4), Scribblers, Bretton Woods (BBC Radio 3), and Fall of The Shah (BBC World Service 9-part series).

Gbolahan Obisesan directed four plays as part of The Bush Theatre’s 66 BOOKS project which ran at the Bush and Westminster Abbey. Other directing credits include SUS (Young Vic and UK tour – Jerwood Award for directing) and he was Director in Residence at the National Theatre Studio and resident director for the Fela! (National Theatre). Associate Director credits include The Way of The World, and Julius Caesar (RSC). He is Genesis Fellow of the Young Vic Theatre and is under commission to Eclipse Theatre Company. Previous credits include SS Mendi: Dancing the Death Drill (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), How Nigeria Became: A Story, And A Spear That Didn’t Work (Unicorn Theatre), We Are Proud To Present… (Bush Theatre), Pigeon English (Bristol Old Vic / Edinburgh Festival) and Mad About The Boy (Edinburgh Festival and UK tour). He was one of the six writers and the only British writer on Rufus Norris’ Feast, commissioned by the Royal Court and The Young Vic for their World Stages London which was produced at The Young Vic.

STUDIO

A Sheffield Theatres and fingersmiths Production

MY MOTHER SAID I NEVER SHOULD

By Charlotte Keatley

8 – 23 November

Press night: 12 November, 7.45pm

Director Jeni Draper

‘You are always your Mother’s child, my Mother used to say’

 A moving and funny exploration of the lives of four generations of women in one family. Shifting back and forth in time, we see their loves, expectations and choices play out against the huge social changes of the past century.

A contemporary classic, Sheffield Theatres is delighted to work with fingersmiths (Up ’n’ Under) to present this multi-award-winning play in British Sign Language and spoken English. Featuring a cast of d/Deaf and hearing actors, this production’s visual, physical storytelling style captures the power of a timeless story which shows it’s never too late to change.

All performances are in spoken English and British Sign Language (BSL) and are accessible for hearing and Deaf audiences.

Charlotte Keatley is an award-winning playwright and My Mother Said I Never Should is the most widely performed play ever written by a woman, having now been translated or produced in 31 countries from Japan to Peru. in 2000 the National Theatre named it one of the Significant Plays of the Twentieth Century, and it is a GCSE set text. Other credits include The Iron Serpent, An Armenian ChildhoodWaiting for MartinFears and Miseries in the Third TermThe Ringing Singing Tree, The Sleep of ReasonI am Janet, and Our Father (published by Methuen). Keatley has also written for radio, television and film. She was co-winner of an EMMY for filming in children’s prisons in Georgia, East Europe, for a the C4 documentary Kids Behind Bars. She has run playwriting workshops from Burnley to Shanghai, and continues to run workshops in theatres, schools, universities and for community groups of all ages.

Jeni Draper directs. For fingersmiths, Jeni Draper has directed War Crimes for the Home (R&D commission Pulse Festival), Frozen (Birmingham Rep co-pro and national tour), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (R&D) and In Praise of Fallen Women (co-creator with Kaite O’Reilly and Jean St Clair). Her other directing credits include Invisible Women (Writer: Nicky Werenowska in development 2018), Don’t Leave Me Now (rehearsed readings ongoing), War Crimes for the Home (tour), Inheritance (R&D), Merry Wives of Waltham (London fringe), Silence (R&D Mercury Colchester) and Counting the Ways (Face Front Theatre, national tour). Jeni also works as a consultant for individual artists and companies. fingersmiths is an Associate company at New Wolsey Theatre and Jeni is an Associate Artist at Prime Youth Theatre Swindon. She is a qualified sign language interpreter and trainer.

A Sheffield Theatres Production

CRUCIBLE

GUYS AND DOLLS

A Musical Fable of Broadway Based on a story and characters of Damon Runyon

Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows

Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) LTD

Director: Robert Hastie

7 December 2019 – 18 January 2020

Press night: 12 December, 7pm

‘Luck be a lady tonight!’

It’s time to roll the dice and fall in love under the bright lights of New York city! To settle a bet, high roller Sky Masterson pursues straight-laced Sergeant Sarah Brown, only to fall head over heels for his unlikely love. This spectacular musical comedy is a high energy riot of breathtaking dance and features all-time favourites Luck be a Lady, Guys and Dolls and the irresistible Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat.

Robert Hastie’s recent productions as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres include Standing at the Sky’s Edge, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The York Realist (co-production with the Donmar Warehouse – Evening Standard Theatre Award nomination for Best Director), The Wizard of Oz, Of Kith and Kin (co-production with Bush Theatre) and Julius Caesar. Previous directing credits include Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe), Breaking the Code (Royal Exchange Manchester), Henry V (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Theatr Clwyd). As an Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse, his work includes My Night with Reg by Kevin Elyot (Donmar Warehouse/West End – Best Newcomer nomination at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, and Best Revival nomination at the Olivier Awards) and Splendour by Abi Morgan. His other directing credits include Carthage and Events While Guarding The Bofors Gun (Finborough Theatre), Sunburst (Holborn Grange Hotel), Sixty-Six Books (Bush Theatre) and A Breakfast of Eels (Print Room).

 

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First Look: The Show in Which Hopefully Nothing Happens

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Rachel Tucker: ‘Come From Away will soothe your soul and lift your heart.’

‘My favourite start to my working day and I’m only allowed one of them – is a triple shot americano,’ grins Rachel Tucker.

I follow her lead and order one for myself at the Pret on Shaftesbury Avenue – just off Cambridge Circus where we meet.

It’s a joy interviewing Tucker; a unique combination of quirkiness and elegance.

She found fame on the BBC tv talent series I’d Do Anything ten years ago and has since starred in The Last Ship alongside Sting, blown our minds as Elphaba in Wicked, in London and on Broadway, released solo albums and more.

Now Tucker is starring in Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s folksy musical Come From Away. She believes that the core of the story is ‘looking out for one another, doing what is right’ and ‘like a medicine for the soul.’ The show tells the tale of 7,000 stranded air passengers amid the chaos of 9/11 and the tiny town in Newfoundland that took them in.

In a 12-strong ensemble, Tucker plays Beverley Bass – the first female captain for American Airlines. Through slick staging and manoeuvring the show recreates a plane full of passengers using limited props; including a rubber cod, a mop and rearranged chairs. Come From Away’s greatest triumph is to set complex lyrics drawn from tragic circumstances to a show about the citizens of Gander during 9/11, where all domestic flights were grounded across the US following a terrorist attack.

The show opened in January in Dublin ahead of its West End transfer and is in great shape. ‘They knew what they were doing – they knew the process in Dublin was the start of the maturity point of the show,’ she says. ‘Dublin was so helpful to find the groove and learn the moves. It takes time to embed it in our body and our minds and souls. It’s taken me 3 months to learn how to sing ‘Me and The Sky’ like that! Our rehearsal process was very intense – we had to get the chair choreography into our brains – at first, we didn’t feel very artistic doing it. But there is a method to the madness – and they’d been through it a few times before in previous productions. The pressure was immense, though.’

It makes sense, then, that Come from Away recently received nine nominations for the 2019 Olivier awards, and Tucker has been nominated in the best actress in a supporting role in a musical category. Up against her, in a ridiculously strong category, are Patti LuPone for Company; Ruthie Ann Miles for The King and I; and the six ‘queens’ for their turn as Henry VIII’s wives.

Where was she when she found out? ‘Do you know what?’ she says. ‘I was in my bed, at home alone and watching Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes Netflix series on my laptop and my phone went berserk,’ Tucker smiles.

‘Honestly, Carl, just receiving this nomination, I feel like I’ve accomplished something that I’ve always dreamed about. This – for where I’m at in my life, in my career and alongside my ambitions – I could cry now thinking about it.’

We discuss the recent controversy surrounding Seyi Omooba, the performer who said that homosexuality was not ‘right’ in a Facebook post and is no longer part of the upcoming Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s production of The Color Purple.

‘Oh dear’, Tucker begins.

‘If you have strong opinions that might offend other people – keep them to yourself,’ she says. ‘Go home and tell your mum or your church. It’s up to you if you have those beliefs and you choose to do a job that represents the exact opposite. I’m really not sure how you reconcile that morally… Especially in this climate – it’s a tricky playing field and in the arts, which is a place that presents itself as inclusive and liberal. It’s really unfortunate that this has happened.’

At one point, we talk about west end ticket prices. ‘When I look out to the audience every night it is a sea of white Caucasian, middle class human beings. I wish I could change it,’ she begins. ‘It upsets me that it is always a sea of white faces and that it’s not shifted any further, especially for our show,’ Tucker affirms.

She doesn’t mind being asked about the challenges of childcare and being a working parent. This topic is nothing new yet the attitudes toward parenting are slowly changing. ‘Listen, I don’t love people getting on their high horse – the young woman who does my hair at the Phoenix Theatre is thinking about starting a family – or when to- and often asks me how I managed and manage it,’ she says. ‘It’s hard. But if my experience can help somebody then that’s amazing. Therefore, talking about childcare, for me, is essential. My husband in fact, does more of the childcare – so personally it isn’t restricted to being a woman thing.’

So, what could theatre do to support parents and carers? ‘Childcare is not cheap,’ she says. ‘But what if there was something like West End Day Care during the two show days and Equity paid half and we paid half? A scheme to help men and women to mind their kids so that we can do our shows. I’d love that to happen!’

Who inspires her? ‘Shoshana Bean,’ she replies. ‘She is incredible – I listen to her album on the way in and out of work every day. Her passion for the industry and for giving back is so incredible. Plus, she’s generous. Shoshana really is a one-woman band and I admire that. Someone who went from a regular Broadway performer to establishing herself as a household name. She is the biggest inspiration right this second to me,’ she smiles.

Tucker hopes that we all get behind Come From Away. She adores the show, adding that she believes that she has ‘the privilege of telling this story night after night – a true story – I know how much of an inspiration this story is to so many and what this means to our audiences –I hold that very close to my heart. I love it.’

She ends by reiterating that this new musical really is for everyone. ‘I promise that Come From Away will soothe your soul and lift your heart. It is a reminder that there is still goodness and kindness within us all.’

‘You will leave with a full heart and you will want to speak to your neighbour and you will want to be a better person,’ Tucker insists.

What a woman.

Come From Away is at Phoenix theatre, London, until March 2020.

#WeAllComeFromAway

Cast & Creative Team Announced for Signature Theatre’s OCTET by Dave Malloy

Octet
Octet

Octet

The cast and creative team have been announced for the Signature Theatre (Paige Evans, Artistic Director; Harold Wolpert, Executive Director; James Houghton, Founder) production of Octet, a world premiere musical by three-time Tony Award nominee Dave Malloy and directed by Annie Tippe. Octet is the first production in Malloy’s Signature Residency, which will include three productions over the course of five years.

Octet runs April 30 to June 9, 2019 with a Sunday, May 19 opening night in The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center (480 West 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenues).

Tickets, priced at $35 thanks to the Signature Ticket Initiative, are on sale now for the production. To purchase tickets for all Signature productions, call Ticket Services at 212-244-7529 (Tues. – Sun., 11am – 6pm) or visit www.SignatureTheatre.org.

Featuring a score for an a cappella chamber choir and an original libretto inspired by internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry, Octet explores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of 21st century technology. It is the first musical Signature has produced since its founding in 1991.

The cast of Octet includes Adam Bashian (The Phantom of the Opera) as Jim, Kim Blanck (Alice by Heart) as Karly, Starr Busby (Off-Broadway debut) as Paula, Alex Gibson (SpongeBob SquarePants the Musical) as Peter, Justin Gregory Lopez (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live”) as Toby, J.D. Mollison (X: Or, Betty Shabazz v. the Nation) as Marvin, Margo Seibert (In Transit) as Jessica, and Kuhoo Verma(The Big Sick) as Velma. The cast will also include Jonathan Christopher and Nicole Weiss.

 The creative team includes Or Matias (Music Supervision and Music Direction), Amy Rubin Brittany Vasta (Scenic Design), Brenda Abbandandolo (Costume Design),Christopher Bowser (Lighting Design) and Hidenori Nakajo (Sound Design). The Production Stage Manager is Jhanaë Bonnick and Casting is by Caparelliotis Casting.

Special thanks to Time Warner Foundation, Inc., The Michael and Betty Rauch Fund for Residency 5, and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the Residency 5 Program.

All tickets for the initial run of the production are $35 as part of the Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access. For more information, please visitwww.SignatureTheatre.org.

The groundbreaking Signature Ticket Initiative: A Generation of Access is a program that guarantees affordable tickets to every Signature production through 2031. Serving as a model for theatres and performing arts organizations across the country, the Initiative was founded in 2005 and is made possible by lead partner The Pershing Square Foundation with additional support provided by the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Howard Gilman Foundation, Margot Adams, The SHS Foundation, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Unlikely Collaborators, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

2018-19 SEASON OVERVIEW

RESIDENCY 1: LYNN NOTTAGE

Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine

By Lynn Nottage

Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

Final Performance Played January 13, 2019

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Ruined) begins her Residency 1 at Signature with Fabulation, or The Re-Education of Undine, directed by Obie Award-winner Lileana Blain-Cruz. This satirical tale follows successful African-American publicist Undine as she stumbles down the social ladder after her husband steals her hard-earned fortune.

Broke and now pregnant, Undine is forced to return to her childhood home in the Brooklyn projects, where she must face the challenges of the life she left behind. Featuring “punchy social insights and the firecracker snap of unexpected humor” (The New York Times), Fabulation reveals how difficult it is to outrun where we come from.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

By Lynn Nottage

Directed by Kamilah Forbes

Final Performance Played March 10, 2019

The Irene Diamond Stage

It’s the Golden Age of Hollywood, and aspiring starlet Vera Stark works as a maid to Gloria Mitchell, an aging star grasping at her fading career. Worlds collide when Vera lands a trailblazing role in an antebellum epic starring…her boss. While Vera’s portrayal of a slave turns out to be groundbreaking, decades later scholars and film buffs still grapple with the actress’ legacy in Hollywood and the impact that race had on her controversial career.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage’s fast-paced, sly satire, directed by Kamilah Forbes, will take you on a seventy-year journey through Vera’s life and the cultural climate that originally shaped her and continues today.

A new play by Lynn Nottage will be produced during the 2019-20 Season as part of her residency.

RESIDENCY 5: DAVE MALLOY

Octet

By Dave Malloy

Directed by Annie Tippe

April 30 – June 9, 2019

The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

Three-time Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812) begins his residency as Signature’s first musical theatre writer with the world premiere musical Octet, directed by Annie Tippe (Ghost Quartet).

Featuring a score for an a cappella chamber choir and an original libretto inspired by internet comment boards, scientific debates, religious texts, and Sufi poetry, Octetexplores addiction and nihilism within the messy context of 21st century technology.

Special thanks to Time Warner Foundation, Inc., The Michael and Betty Rauch Fund for Residency 5, and The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust for supporting the Residency 5 Program.

LEGACY PROGRAM: WILL ENO

Thom Pain (based on nothing)

By Will Eno

Directed by Oliver Butler

Final Performance Played December 9, 2018

The Irene Diamond Stage

Drama Desk Award-winner Will Eno, the first writer to complete the Residency 5 program, returned to Signature for his first Legacy production with Thom Pain (based on nothing), directed by Oliver Butler (Obie and Lortel Award-winning The Open House). The production starred Golden Globe Award-winner Michael C. Hall (“Dexter,” “Six Feet Under,” The Realistic Joneses).

Called “a small masterpiece” by The New York Times and “one of the best monologues I’ve ever seen” by The Guardian, this surreal and very real one-man show follows Thom Pain as he desperately, and hilariously, tries to save his own life…or at least make it into something worth dying for.

LEGACY PROGRAM: ATHOL FUGARD

Boesman and Lena

By Athol Fugard

Directed by Yaël Farber

Now Extended Through March 24, 2019

The Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre

Legacy playwright Athol Fugard has made a home at Signature since being the inaugural Residency 1 playwright at the Center, and his South African-set stories, with themes of complex identities, racial tension, and social protest, remain as relevant as ever.

In this new production of the “prophetic and brilliant” (The New York TimesBoesman and Lena, the human need for kindness, hope and compassion is on display in the struggles of abusive Boesman and his long-suffering wife Lena, who encounter a stranger while wandering the South African wastelands.

LEGACY PROGRAM: SAM SHEPARD

Curse of the Starving Class

By Sam Shepard

Directed by Terry Kinney

April 23 – May 26, 2019

The Irene Diamond Stage

This new production of Curse of the Starving Class, directed by Terry Kinney, honors Pulitzer Prize-winning Legacy Playwright Sam Shepard, who passed away in 2017. Living a stagnant, unhappy existence in rural California, the struggling Tate family is desperate for change, but every family member has a different way of trying to improve their station in life. Last produced in NYC by Signature more than 20 years ago, Curse of the Starving Class was called a play of “eloquent intensity, whirlwind farce and resonantly poignant insight” by Time Magazine.

Phil Daniels and Janie Dee to star in The Happy Prince, a new musical inspired by Oscar Wilde’s classic fairytale

The Happy Prince

A new musical based on Oscar Wilde’s classic fairy tale will be presented in three showcase performances at The Place from 3 – 4 May 2019.  The Happy Prince Janiestars Janie Dee as Mrs Bentley, Phil Daniels as The Mayor, Sophia Hurdley as The Swallow and Sam Archer as The Prince. This heart-rending story about a Swallow’s faithful love for the golden statue of a Prince is told through a seamless fusion of dance and song.

The rest of the cast includes David Burt, Louis Gaunt, Sammy Graham, Jessica Pardoe, Edwin Ray, Ronald Samm, Cilla Silvia, Gemma Wardle and Alfie Wickham.

Hal Cazalet said: “The Happy Prince is a fairy tale for today and as Oscar Wilde intended, for both adults and children alike.  I can’t help but feel that the Wildean themes of greed and corruption set against the redeeming power of love and sacrifice are every bit as relevant and urgent in our present world, as when Wilde wrote the story in 1888.”

This modern musical adaptation is set in an unpleasant 1920’s Laundry House from which the potent technicolour world of the fairy tale evolves. Dark humour, greed and corruption are at work as the malevolent designs of a despot Mayor drive a town into bankruptcy and ruin. Drawing parallels to the world today, walls are being built to divide societies, so the Statue of a Prince, trapped behind the walls of his own palace, must win over the heart of a Swallow to save his people.

Although outwardly beautiful, the omniscient Prince is troubled by the poverty and suffering surrounding him. He persuades the Swallow to become his messenger and distribute his treasures to the townspeople who are most in need. In a race against time, and as the Swallow gradually removes his sapphire eyes and his gold leaf, outwardly the statue looks dull and shabby but the Prince is inwardly renewed and freed of his torment.

Phil Daniels is an iconic actor who rose to fame through his roles in Quadrophenia and Scum (1979). Acclaimed television performances include Moonfleet, Holding On, Outlaws, Eastenders, Rock and Chips and guest leads in New Tricks and Poirot. His extensive theatre credits include Anthony and Cleopatra and The Knight of the Burning Pestle at Shakespeare’s Globe, Monsieur Thénardier in Les Misérables (West End), This House (National Theatre, Garrick Theatre), Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (tour), and King Lear (Chichester Festival Theatre).  Recent credits include the feature film The Hatton Garden JobZapped (Dave) and Endeavor (ITV). Most recently Phil starred alongside Jim Broadbent in A Very Very Dark Matter (Bridge Theatre).

Janie Dee is an award-winning actress, singer and musical theatre performer characterised by her extraordinary versatility in acclaimed work on stage, film, television and radio. Best known for her performance as Jacie Triplethree in Comic Potential (1998) and as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel (1993) at the National Theatre, her most recent theatre credits include Phyllis Rogers Stone in Follies at the National Theatre (2017). Janie has won three of the most prestigious awards in British Theatre; the Olivier Award, the Evening Standard Award and Critics Circle Awards for Best Actress in a Play.

Sam Archer is best known for his performances as a principal dancer in Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, including creating the title role in Edward Scissorhands (2005). Sam has also performed in a number of musicals and plays in the West End and internationally, most recently in Emma Rice’s Wise Children.

Sophia Hurdley is in Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures company and dances leading roles in his repertoire. Her film credits include Cinderella and The Phantom of the Opera.

The creative team includes Hal Cazalet (Direction, Music and Lyrics), Michael Barry (Book and Movement Director), David Howe (Lighting), Sophia Hurdley (Choreography) and Sam Archer (Choreography). The original workshop for the production was developed alongside Maria Friedman and Drew McOnie.

LISTINGS

The Happy Prince 
Friday 3rd May 7:30pm
Saturday 4th May 3pm and 7:30pm

The Place Theatre
17 Duke’s Road
London
UK
WC1H 9PY

Box Office:
Tel. 020 7121 1100
E. [email protected]
www.theplace.org.uk

Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome statement regarding ‘The Color Purple’

The Color Purple

STATEMENT

On Friday 15 March a social media post dating from 2014, which was written by the The Color Purple cast member Seyi Omooba, was re-posted on Twitter. The comments made by Seyi in that post have caused significant and widely expressed concerns both on social media and in the wider press.

Following careful reflection it has been decided that Seyi will no longer be involved with the production. This decision was supported by the Authors and Theatrical Rights Worldwide.

The audition process, as ever, was conducted professionally and rigorously, led by an exceptional casting director with actors who are evaluated on what they present in the audition room. We do not operate a social media screening process in the casting of actors.

No further comment will be made at this time.

Chris Stafford and Nikolai Foster on behalf of Curve and Fiona Allan on behalf of Birmingham Hippodrome

COMPANY Musical CD Release on March 22nd!

COMPANY Musical CD

On Friday 22nd of March, COMPANY Musical and Warner Classics are releasing COMPANY – 2018 London Cast Recording on Physical CD!

A legendary musical comedy about life, love and marriage, with performances at the West End’s Gielgud Theatre until 30th March 2019.

The critically acclaimed hit musical of 2018 begins at Bobbie’s (Rosalie Craig) 35th birthday party with all her friends wondering why she isn’t married, why she can’t find the right man and why she can’t settle down and have a family. With a female lead, the show has been re-invented  for a 21st century audience by Marianne Elliott, in close collaboration with Stephen Sondheim.

The multi-award-winning musical comedy includes Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs, CompanyYou Could Drive a Person CrazyThe Ladies Who LunchSide by Side and Being Alive.

The CD will be available to purchase on Amazon, at HMV and at The Gielgud Theatre itself.

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Casting for ANNA announced