WEST END PRODUCER (and Guests)– FREE WILLY! Outrageous new show to make Edinburgh Fringe debut

‘Prepare to be shocked, mocked and rocked…laugh out loud funny’

Michael Ball

‘Funny, informative, and more funny…the jazz hand master of showbiz’

Susan Penhaligon

5* – ‘The masked, mysterious, and above all, enigmatic presence of the Capital’s West End Producer…Bring on the movie, dear’

Jonathan Baz

 ‘So you want to be in Showbiz? Let WEP put you through your paces…go and see this, you won’t find anything else like it on the Fringe’

Paul O’Grady

Theatreland’s anonymous cult figure West End Producer will take on Edinburgh this summer with his first hilarious show – as he auditions special guests for his Free Willy musical.

Come and join WEP, as he is known in theatrical circles, as he flips theatre on its head with theatrical secrets, stories, musings and songs – he will teach you the perfect jazz hand technique, how to bow properly, and will even give one lucky person some genuine worn West End show pants. You may even get the chance to audition and become WEP’s Willy of the Day.

This is no ordinary show, in West End Producer – Free Willy! the audience are on the panel as auditionees are invited to sing such iconic whale-based hits including – My Willy Needs to be Wet, Why is there a Whale in the Hot Tub? and One Sea Mammal More.

West End Producer – Free Willy! is showing at the Edinburgh Fringe Assembly Rooms 2 July 31 – August 6 and Assembly Checkpoint 12 – 26 August. For tickets and more info go to: www.assemblyfestival.com

 Speaking about his Edinburgh debut WEP said: “Dears, I am beyond thrilled to be spending the summer in Edinburgh as I search for my perfect Free Willy.

 “You wonderfully gorgeous people will help me find my lead performer, as we decide if my guest has what it takes to be a singing sea mammal.

 “I’ll even introduce you to one of Michael’s Balls and give you some tips on how to succeed in entertainment – but be warned, I expect some of the auditionees to be dreadful. Come and help me find my willy, dear”

 West End Producer is the anonymous masked man of theatreland and author of two hugely successful books. Usually getting sloshed at West End press nights with his Jean Valjean teddy bear – Free Willy! sees WEP ball leaping into Edinburgh with his very first show.

Free Willy! will be filled with special guests, whale costumes, theatrical diatribes, WEP’s piano fingering skills, and possibly one of Michael’s Balls.

Tickets are on sale now and for more information go to: www.assemblyfestival.com

 Praise for West End Producer – Free Willy!

‘West End Producer is the invisible man of theatreland..’ – Reece Shearsmith

‘West End Producer is shaping up to the Theatres’ version of William Goldman: funny, astute, and incisive…a must for theatre-lovers (and haters)’ – Joanne Harris

‘Prepare to be shocked, mocked and rocked…laugh out loud funny’ – Michael Ball

‘Funny, informative, and more funny…the jazz hand master of showbiz’ – Susan Penhaligon

5* – ‘The masked, mysterious, and above all, enigmatic presence of the Capital’s West End Producer…Bring on the movie, dear’ – Jonathan Baz

 West End Producer (and Guests) – Free Willy! is presented by Cuffe and Taylor with Jason Haigh-Ellery.

Paines Plough announces full programme for Roundabout at Summerhall 2019

Paines Plough

Artistic Directors of Paines Plough James Grieve and George Perrin today revealed the full programme for ROUNDABOUT @ SUMMERHALL, kicking off at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe before a UK tour in Autumn 2019.

Paines Plough in co-production with Theatr Clwyd will stage three World Premieres from Daf James, Nathan Byron and Charley Miles. All three productions will be performed in rep by Charlotte Bate, Charlotte O’Leary and Toyin Omari-Kinchdirected by former Paines Plough Associate Director, and nabokov Artistic Director, Stef O’Driscoll.

Visiting company productions in ROUDABOUT will be: ISLANDER, from Helen Milne Productions, a new musical with a contemporary Scottish folk-inspired score about a mysterious stranger and island on the brink; Tim Cowbury’s absurd and quietly shattering response to stories of those seeking refuge in the UK, THE CLAIM; Dirty Protest’s HOW TO BE BRAVESiân Owen’s one-woman love story to Newport, the city that made her about keeping the magic we arrive into the world with, finding out what we’re made of and learning to be brave when your world’s falling apart; PARAKEET from Brigitte Aphrodite and Quiet Boy produced by Boundless Theatre and Boom Shakalaka Productions, a new musical about a young woman finding her voice with the help of a gang of exotic birds; Edinburgh Comedy Award Winner Richard Gadd’s chilling story about obsession, delusion, and the terrifying ramifications of a fleeting mistake in BABY REINDEER from Francesca Moody Productions in association with the Bush Theatre; Middle Child return with THE CANARY AND THE CROW, brand new gig theatre about the journey of a working class black kid who is accepted to a prestigious grammar school.

Francesca Moody Productions’ Fringe First winner SQUARE GO penned by Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair will also return to Roundabout, following acclaim in 2018.

James Grieve and George Perrin said: “We’re immensely proud to present our ROUNDABOUT @ SUMMERHALL line-up for 2019, jam-packed with outstanding new plays from around the UK.

Our Roundabout repertory features a company of shapeshifting actors in three extraordinary world premieres from three of the UK’s most exciting writers and we’re welcoming thrilling, trailblazing new writing companies, playwrights and artists to Roundabout. From the return of our Associate Company Middle Child with an all new gig theatre show to the chilling debut play from Richard Gadd, this is a programme that showcases the very best new talent in British theatre. We can’t wait to welcome audiences to Roundabout @ Summerhall for a sixth consecutive summer at the Fringe.”

Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd present

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY by Daf James – World Premiere.
DEXTER AND WINTER’S DETECTIVE AGENCY by Nathan Bryon – World Premiere.
DAUGHTERHOOD by Charley Miles – World Premiere.

Roundabout 2019 Visiting Companies

ISLANDER by Amy Draper, Stewart Melton & Finn Anderson. Helen Milne Productions.
THE CLAIM by Tim Cowbury. Tim Cowbury, Mark Maughan in association with James Quaife Productions.
HOW TO BE BRAVE by Siân Owen. A Dirty Protest production.
PARAKEET by Brigitte Aphrodite with music by Quiet Boy. A Boundless Theatre & Boom Shakalaka production.
BABY REINDEER by Richard Gadd. A Francesca Moody production.
THE CANARY AND THE CROW by Daniel Ward. A Middle Child production.
SQUARE GO by Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair. 
A Francesca Moody production.

A Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd production
By Daf James
Directed by 
Stef O’Driscoll

A single Dad meets his adopted daughter for the first time. Then he agrees to meet her birth mother. When their two worlds collide, will what they have in common outweigh their differences?

A one-off meeting. But three lives will be changed forever.

ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY is a tender, funny, hopeful play about being a mum when your name is Dad.

Daf James is an award-winning writer, composer and performer working across theatre, radio television and film in English and Welsh. Having trained in the Lecoq pedagogy at the London International School of Performing Arts he went on to earn a doctorate in Theatre Studies from the University of Warwick.  His first full-length play LLWYTH[Tribe] became a Welsh-language cultural phenomenon, ‘a water-shed play that changed the landscape of Welsh language theatre forever.’

Time: 11.20 – 12.30 / 14.15 – 15.25
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 70 mins
Dates: 01, 05, 08, 10, 12, 15, 19, 22 – 11.20am – 12.30pm
31, 02, 04, 07, 09, 10, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23 – 14.15pm – 15.25pm
Ticket prices: £9 – £17
Press performance: 14.15, 4 August, 11.20, 5 August

A Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd production
By Nathan Bryon
Directed by 
Stef O’Driscoll

When Dexter’s mum is sent to jail for getting mixed up in a jewellery robbery, it’s up to Dexter and Winter to get her out. On their journey to uncover the truth and free mum, their detective work leads them to some surprising discoveries.

A mad-cap adventure story for all the family from one of the writers behind CBeebies hits RASTAMOUSE, APPLE TREE HOUSE and SWASHBUCKLE.

Nathan is a writer and actor, who grew up eating as much Uxbridge Road Caribbean food as his bank balance would allow. He is best known to viewers for his role as regular character Jamie in SOME GIRLS and BENIDORM’s sunniest holiday maker, Joey Ellis. Nathan has written for critically acclaimed CBeebies’ animation RASTAMOUSE, BAFTA award winning SWASHBUCKLE and on all three series of BAFTA nominated APPLE TREE HOUSE (CBeebies) alongside BAFTA winning GIGGLEBIZ. Last Year Nathan’s one-man show MIXED BRAIN about his mixed heritage premiered in ROUNDABOUT at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Nathan has secured a 3 picture book deal with Penguin Random House. His first book LOOK UP! will hit shelves in the US and UK in June 2019.

Time: 11.20 – 12.10
Age guidance: 5+
Running time: 50 mins
Prices: £8- £28
Dates:  03, 04, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25 – 11.20am – 12.10pm
Press performance: 4 August

A Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd production
By Charley Miles
Directed by 
Stef O’Driscoll

One sister stayed at home to care for Dad, the other set out to ‘make a difference’,

Reunited under their childhood roof, Pauline and Rachel unearth more than the 10 years between them.

It’s a huge gap. Almost insurmountable.

And each is determined to let the other know exactly who has done things right.

DAUGHTERHOOD is a beautiful, ferocious play about the bonds that tie us, and how we sometimes need to break them.

Charley is a playwright from rural North Yorkshire. She has written plays for the Royal Court, Leeds Playhouse, and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has been attached to Paines Plough as their Playwright Fellow in 2018 and Leeds Playhouse as their Channel 4 Playwright in Residence in 2017. Her debut play, BLACKTHORN, was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn prize in New York in 2017. Her new play, THERE ARE NO BEGINNINGS, will premiere at Leeds Playhouse in Autumn 2019. She has original television dramas in development with Buccaneer Media, Mam Tor Productions and Entertainment One.

Time: 11.20 – 12.30 / 14.15 – 15.25
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 70 mins
Dates: 31, 02, 07, 09, 14, 16, 21, 23 – 11.20am – 12.30pm
01, 03, 05, 08, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 25 – 14.15pm – 15.25pm
Ticket prices: £9 – £17
Press performance: 14.15, 5 August

Helen Milne Productions present
Concept and direction by Amy Draper
Book by Stewart Melton
Music and lyrics by Finn Anderson

Eilidh stares out to sea and dreams of a new life beyond her lonely island. Myth and reality collide when the tide washes a mysterious stranger onto her beach, changing her life forever.

Epic storytelling, intimately staged with a contemporary Scottish folk-inspired score. The cast live-record and layer their voices to create an ethereal adventure for the ears and imagination.

Originally developed in association with Comar. ISLANDER: A NEW MUSICAL is part of the Made in Scotland 2019 showcase.

Time: 10.00 – 11.00
Age guidance: 8+
Running time: 60 mins
Dates: 31, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14,15,16,17,18,19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 (not Tuesdays)
Ticket prices: £8 – £15
BSL signed performance on 12 Aug
Captioned performance: 21 Aug
Press performance: 10:00, 4/5 August

Tim Cowbury, Mark Maughan in association with James Quaife Productions present
By Tim Cowbury
Directed by Mark Maughan

A comically absurd and quietly shattering journey to the heart of our tolerant and fair A comically absurd and quietly shattering journey to the heart of our tolerant and fair society.

Serge stands before us. He has a performance to give. But why is he here? What is he claiming has happened to him? And what has Willy Wonka got to do with it?

A bold, imaginative response to the stories of those seeking refuge in the UK, The Claim asks what happens when your life is at stake and all you have to save it are your words.

Part of the British Council Showcase 2019

Time:12: 50
Age guidance: 12+
Running time: 65 mins
Dates: July 31, August 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
Ticket prices: £9 – £15
Press performance: 12:50, 4/5 August

A Dirty Protest production in association with Chapter
By Siân Owen
Directed by Catherine Paskell

Produced by the award-winning Welsh company behind Fringe hit Sugar Baby, this one-woman play is about what we’re made of and learning to be brave when your world’s falling apart.

When Katie was little, she was brave: climbing trees and riding bikes too fast. Now Katie’s a mum, she must be brave in a new way.

Determined her daughter will keep the fierce magic she arrived into the world with, Katie sets off on a mission around Newport with the help of a stolen BMX, a policewoman with bad hair, and a pigeon in a bag.

Time: 15:45
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: 60 mins
Dates: 31 July, Aug 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
Captioned performances: 7, 14, 21 August
Ticket prices: £9 – £15
Press performance: 15:45 4/5 August

A Boundless Theatre & Boom Shakalaka Productions production
Words by Brigitte Aphrodite and music by Quiet Boy
Directed by Laura Keefe

In Margate, an isolated teenager forms a band and find her voice with the help of a gang of exotic birds. A new musical about finding your flock and ruffling feathers, Parakeet is a feast for the ears, eyes and heart told through irresistible song, poetry and electronic sounds where empathy is the new punk.

Time: 17:05
Running time: 60 minutes
Dates: Wednesday 31 July – Sunday 25 August 2019
Captioned performance: 7, 14, 21 August~
Age guidance:  14+
Ticket prices: £9 – £15
Press performance:  17:05, 4/5 August

Francesca Moody Productions in association with the Bush Theatre
Written and performed by Richard Gadd
Directed by Jon Brittain

‘I looked at her, wanting her to laugh. Wanting her to share in the joke. But she didn’t. She just stared. I knew then, in that moment – that she had taken it literally…’

Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd has a chilling story to tell about obsession, delusion and the terrifying ramifications of a fleeting mistake. An unmissable debut play directed by Olivier Award winner Jon Brittain and produced by 2018’s double Fringe-First winning Francesca Moody Productions in association with The Bush Theatre.

Running time: 65 Minutes
Dates: 31 July, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
Ticket prices: £9 – £14
Age Guidance: 14+
Press performance: 18.25, 4 and 5 August

A Middle Child production

By Daniel Ward
Music by Prez 96 and James Frewer
Direction by Paul Smith

The award-winning Middle Child present brand new gig theatre about the journey of a working-class black kid who is accepted to a prestigious grammar school.

This lyrical, semi-autobiographical piece from writer and performer Daniel Ward uses grime, hip hop and theatre to tell the story of the struggle between a new environment that doesn’t accept you and an old one that has no opportunity.

Time: 19:50
Running time: 65 mins
Dates: Jul 31, Aug 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
Ticket prices: £9-£15
Age Guidance: 14+
Press performance: 19:50, 4 / 5 August

Francesca Moody Productions in association with SEARED
By Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair

The unmissable, Fringe First Award-winning show from Kieran Hurley and Gary McNair. Max spends his days daydreaming and hanging out with his weird wee pal Stevie. But when Max is called for his first Square Go – a fight by the school gates – it’s his own demons he must wrestle with first. A raucous play about playground violence, myths of masculinity and the challenge to step up or run. Starring Game of Thrones’ Daniel Portman and River City’s Gavin Jon Wright and featuring an original soundtrack by members of Frightened Rabbit.

Time: 21:15
Running time: 60 Minutes
Dates: 31 July, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25
Ticket prices: £9 – £17
Age Guidance: 12+


For further information about Paines Plough please contact
Maisie Lawrence at The Corner Shop PR: [email protected] / 0207 831 7657



Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd present

Roundabout @ Summerhall
Box Office: 0131 560 1580

Press Performance for ON THE OTHER HAND, WE’RE HAPPY at 14.15 on 4 August and 11.2oon 5 August
Press Performance for DEXTER AND WINTER’S DETECTIVE AGENCY at 11.2oon 4 August
ress Performance for DAUGHTERHOOD at 14.15 on 5 August

Closed captioning available for all Paines Plough productions.


29 June – 20 July Mold with Theatr Clwyd
05-08 September Salford with The Lowry
12-15 September Ramsgate with Creative Civic Change
19-22 September Doncaster with CAST
26-29 September Bournemouth with The Lighthouse, Poole
03-06 October Lincoln with Lincoln Performing Arts Centre

2018 Follies Cast Recording now available at the NT Bookshop


Following the final performance of Follies in the Olivier on 11 May, the National Theatre announces the CD release of Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical Follies – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording this Friday, 17 May.

Following its 2018 Olivier Award wins for Best Musical Revival and Best Costume Design and a sold out run at the National Theatre, this critically acclaimed production of Follies releases its much-anticipated London Cast Recording. Including musical hits such as I’m Still HereBroadway Baby and Losing My Mind.

Follies tells the story of the former performers of Weismann’s Follies, reunited for the first time in their theatre which is to be demolished the next day. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.

Director of Follies and Associate of the National Theatre Dominic Cooke said:

“Directing Follies has been a privilege. It is a heart-breaking, universal piece and the National Theatre committed epic resources to realise it. The original company gave detailed, powerful performances and I’m delighted that we managed to record them for listeners to appreciate Stephen Sondheim’s peerless score, just as I was working with an equally brilliant cast on the Olivier revival.”

FOLLIES – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording was recorded at RAK Studios in London with world-renowned producer Nigel Wright, conducted by Olivier Nominee Nigel Lilley and mixed by SMP Studios, Buckinghamshire. The soundtrack cast includes Julie Armstrong, Norma Attallah, Josephine Barstow, Jeremy Batt, Tracie Bennett, Di Botcher, Billy Boyle, Janie Dee, Anouska Eaton, Liz Ewing, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Peter Forbes, Emily Goodenough, Bruce Graham, Adrian Grove, Fred Haig, Aimee Hodnett, Dawn Hope, Liz Izen, Alison Langer, Emily Langham, Sarah-Marie Maxwell, Ian McLarnon, Leisha Mollyneux, Gemma Page, Kate Parr, Philip Quast, Edwin Ray, Gary Raymond, Adam Rhys-Charles, Jordan Shaw, Imelda Staunton, Zizi Strallen, Barnaby Thompson, Christine Tucker, Michael Vinsen and Alex Young.

FOLLIES Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. Beautiful Girls
  3. Don’t Look At Me
  4. Waiting For The Girls Upstairs
  5. Rain On The Roof / Ah, Paris! / Broadway Baby (Medley)
  6. The Road You Didn’t Take
  7. In Buddy’s Eyes
  8. Who’s That Woman?
  9. I’m Still Here
  10. Too Many Mornings
  11. The Right Girl
  12. One More Kiss
  13. Could I Leave You?
  14. Loveland
  15. You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow / Love Will See Us Through (Medley)
  16. Buddy’s Blues
  17. Losing My Mind
  18. The Story Of Lucy and Jessie
  19. Live, Laugh, Love
  20. End of Show

FOLLIES – 2018 National Theatre Cast Recording is also available across digital download and streaming accounts now. Download and streaming link can be found HERE.

11th year of Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights

Curated by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson
Produced by Ben Chamberlain
Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays, 16 June-4 July 2019
The eleventh consecutive year

Plays by Melis Aker, Albert Belz, Sharmila Chauhan, Hannah Morley, Colleen Murphy, Stewart Pringle, Athena Stevens, Palestinian Political Prisoners and Einat Weizman and the winner of The 2019 ETPEP Award

Directed by Liz Carruthers, Melissa Dunne, Claire Evans, Tommo Fowler, Matthew Iliffe, Hannah Jones, Rory McGregor, Fidelis Morgan, Georgie Staight

Now in its eleventh consecutive year, the multi-award-winning Finborough Theatre presents Vibrant 2019 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, its annual explosion of new writing, running between 16 June-4 July 2019.

This year’s highlights include the winner of this year’s ETPEP Award in association with the Finborough Theatre, an £8000 prize for a new play by a new playwright who works in another job in theatre, alongside stunning new plays from many Finborough Theatre favourites.

Concentrated solely on full length works for the stage, Vibrant 2019 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights continues to introduce you to some of the fascinating diverse vibrant voices we have discovered, developed and championed.

A unique opportunity to see behind the scenes at one of the UK’s most exciting theatres as we continue to discover and develop tomorrow’s plays today, brought to life by some of the UK’s most talented actors and directors.

Since our first festival in 2009, our Vibrant festivals have included well over one hundred new plays, twenty four of which have gone on to be produced in full productions at the Finborough Theatre including Mirror Teeth by Nick Gill, The Man by James Graham, And I And Silence by Naomi Wallace, Black Jesus by Anders Lustgarten, Carthage by Chris Thompson, Nona Shepphard and Craig Adams’ musical version of Thérèse RaquinThis Heaven by Nakkiah Lui and Booby’s Bay by Henry Darke. Plays that went on to be produced by other theatres have included Bull by Mike Bartlett at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, The Stock Da’Wa by David Eldridge, and Acceptance by Amy Ng at the Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, and Lost At Sea by Morna Young, which has just completed an acclaimed Scottish tour.

Despite remaining completely unsubsidised, the Finborough Theatre has an unparalleled track record of discovering new playwrights who go on to become leading voices in British theatre. Under Artistic Director Neil McPherson, it has discovered some of the UK’s most exciting new playwrights including Laura Wade, James Graham, Mike Bartlett, Chris Thompson, Jack Thorne, Alexandra Wood, Al Smith, Nicholas de Jongh and Anders Lustgarten; and directors including Blanche McIntyre, Robert Hastie, Kate Wasserberg and Sam Yates.

Vibrant 2019 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights is again curated by Finborough Theatre Artistic Director Neil McPherson, winner of The Writers’ Guild Award for the Encouragement of New Writing, and twice winner of the OffWestEnd Award for Best Artistic Director.


Week One – 16-20 June 2019

Sunday, 16 June 2019 at 7.30pm


by Palestinian Political Prisoners and Einat Weizman. Directed by Tommo Fowler.

Banned in Israel where it caused a huge public controversy and could not be performed, Prisoners of the Occupation focuses on the most hidden victims of the Israeli state: Palestinian political prisoners.

Narrated by sixty-year-old Ibrahim, himself an ex-prisoner who spent thirty years in Israeli prisons, Prisoners of the Occupation takes the audience on a journey into the shrouded confines of prison life including the reception process, investigations, tortures, hunger strikes, solitary confinement, the day-to-day routine, the transitions from prison to prison, and family visits.

The play is based on unprecedented access to verbatim testimonies from both current and former prisoners, who have actively contributed at every stage of the play’s creation.


Playwright Einat Weizman is based in Tel Aviv, and is an actor, director, playwright and political activist. All her plays, performances and events are focused on documentary theatre as an investigative tool into the hidden spaces of the Israeli reality. Her works include I, Dareen T. (Tmu-na Theater, Tel Aviv; Human Festival, Oslo, Norway; Materia Prima Theatre Festival, Florence, Italy), House 113: A Lesson in Political Construction (Tmu-na Theater, Tel Aviv), Palestine, Year Zero (Tokyo Theatre Festival and Kerala Theatre Festival, India), Prison Notebooks (Jaffa Theatre), Shame (Avignon Theatre Festival; MoFo festival, Oslo, Norway; ITI conference, Segovia, Spain; and Mosaic Theater, Washington DC.) Einat received the Writer’s Guild of Norway’s Solidarity Grand Award 2019 for her documentary based plays, giving voice to marginalised groups.

Director Tommo Fowler returns to the Finborough Theatre where he directed JamI Wish to Die Singing and Obama-ology, and was a Resident Assistant Director where he assisted on Harajuku Girls and Sommer 14. Direction includes The Strip, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich (Oxford School of Drama), Comet (Pleasance London), Griff Rhys Jones: Jones and Smith (UK Tour), Mumburger (Archivist’s Gallery and Old Red Lion Theatre). Assistant Direction includes Passin’ Thru(Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith) and A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (Coronet Theatre). Dramaturgy for text and production includes Inside Voices, winner of the Origins Award (Vault Festival) and Griff Rhys Jones: Where Was I? (International Tour). Tommo is co-founder of RoughHewn, a script-reading and dramaturgy service working internationally with emerging writers, and also works with Literary Departments at the Bush Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and Theatre503.

Monday, 17 June 2019 at 7.30pm


by Stewart Pringle. Directed by Fidelis Morgan.

Jim’s run this pub theatre for as long as anyone can remember. It might be held together with gaffer tape and hope, but then so is Jim. It’s got charm, anyway. It’s got history. Punters used to queue thirty deep at the box office. To watch the deaths of kings and the fall of empires in a room above a pub. Play and a pint! Magic.

But while Jim’s been keeping the lights on, the world’s rolled on beneath him. Numbers are drying up and creditors are closing in. What Jim needs is one big hit to keep the wolf from the door, but the cupboard’s bare. Well, it’s almost bare…

Playwright Stewart Pringle makes his Finborough Theatre debut with The Wooden Meadow. His plays include the Papatango Award winning Trestle (Southwark Playhouse), You Look Tasty!(Pleasance Edinburgh) and The Ghost Hunter (Old Red Lion Theatre and National Tour). Stewart is a Dramaturg at the National Theatre, and previously worked as Associate Dramaturg at the Bush Theatre, where he worked on shows including Misty (Bush Theatre and West End) and Nassim(Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and World Tour). Prior to that, he spent three years as Artistic Director of the Old Red Lion Theatre, for which he received an OffWestEnd Award for Best Artistic Director in 2015. He co-founded the London Horror Festival in 2011. He has also worked as a theatre critic for publications including The StageTime Out and Exeunt.

Director Fidelis Morgan returns to the Finborough Theatre where she directed Drama At InishBut It Still Goes On, and The Piper as part of Vibrant 2011, and wrote the sell-out adaptation of Hangover Square.

Fidelis has played leading roles in classics from Massinger to Coward, Goldoni to Brecht, at theatres such as the Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Nottingham Playhouse, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Everyman Theatre, Liverpool. She was both player and assistant director at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre and has directed classic plays at the major drama schools and the King’s Head Theatre, and St James Theatre. In 2014, she was Artist-in-Residence at the University of California where she directed The Gambling Lady. Television as an actor includes Jeeves and WoosterAs Time Goes By and Goodbye to Love. Film includes A Little Chaos. Her twenty published books include the ground-breaking The Female Wits: Women Playwrights on the London Stage and the Countess Ashby de la Zouche crime novels.

Thursday, 20 June 2019 at 3.00pm


by Melis Aker. Directed by Rory McGregor.

After ten years of self-imposed estrangement from her country, Turkey, Rana reunites with three of her old friends on a soccer field in Istanbul on 15 July 2016 (the eve of the attempted coup d’etat in Turkey), only to realize what it was that really drove them apart. Spanning across the surreal events of one evening, Field, Awakening is an anti-homecoming: a tale of a stranger in a strange land, searching in vain for a home that is lost in a landscape of fleeting familiarity and heightened political surveillance.

Playwright Melis Aker is a writer, actor, and musician from Turkey. She is a 2050 Playwriting fellow at New York Theatre Workshop, and a member of Ars Nova’s Play Group. She was recently commissioned by the Atlantic Theatre Company in New York to develop her one-act Scraps and Things for their Middle Eastern Mixfest, which included the work of Hannah Khalil, Heather Raffo, Mona Mansour and Kareem Fahmy. Melis’ plays include Field, Awakening (2018 Sundance Theatre Lab final-round, 2018 Berkeley Rep Ground Floor final-round and Lark’s 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship finalist) which was workshopped at Golden Thread’s New Threads series and Corkscrew Festival; Manar (2017 [email protected] finalist) which was at The New Group’s New Works series; LaMaMa (Golden Thread’s 2017 ReOrient Festival, LPAC’s 2017 Rough Draft Festival); 330 Pegasus: A Love Letter (Lark’s 2018 Jerome NY Fellowship finalist); Azul, Otra Vez, a play with music which was workshopped at the BRICLab Residency; Dragonflies (2019 Sundance Theatre Lab finalist); When My Mama was a Hittite (2018 [email protected] finalist, forthcoming readings at the Park Theatre in September 2019) and Gilded Isle (which received readings at New York Theatre Workshop). Acting includes The Blacklist: Redemption (NBC), Love in Afghanistan (Arena Stage and Roundabout), Daybreak (Pan Asian Rep), We Live in Cairo (New World Stages) and Proof(Edinburgh Festival). Melis’ screenplay ARI (Bee) will be taking production meetings at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival as part of Maison des Scenaristes, and her television pilot of Manar will be developed at Transatlantic Partners and the Orchard Project’s Episodic Lab. Melis also gave a TEDx talk in Ankara for youth empowerment in performance, and works as Ayad Akhtar’s assistant. Training includes MFA Playwriting (Columbia), Acting (RADA) and BA Drama/Philosophy (Tufts).

Director Rory McGregor returns to the Finborough Theatre where he directed The Great Divide.

He is currently based in New York City, where recent direction includes NEW HERE (Dixon Place), Building Pain (Origin Theatre) and Macbeth (Connelly Theatre). He has developed work at New York Theatre Workshop, Target Margin, 59E59 Theaters, Rising Sun Theatre Company, La MaMa E.T.C and The Tank. Associate Direction includes Ink (Broadway), Sea Wall/A Life (Public Theater and forthcoming Broadway transfer) and M. Butterfly (Broadway). He has taught at Columbia University, mentors undergraduate directing students at NYU/Playwright’s Horizons Theatre School and has been a guest director at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He is currently a Directing Fellow at Manhattan Theatre Club, a script reader at Roundabout Theatre Company and was previously the Artistic Associate of Classic Stage Company and Artistic Apprentice at Roundabout. He holds an MFA in Theatre Directing from Columbia University.

Week Two – 23-27 June 2019

Sunday, 23 June 2019 at 7.30pm


by Colleen Murphy. Directed by Matthew Iliffe.

Part One of Geography of Fire / La Furie et sa géographie takes place in 2019 and dramatises the collision of British and French during the Battle on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec during the Seven Years War.

On 13 September 1759, world history changed in twenty-five minutes. Though often portrayed as nothing more than a dust-up between two generals – James Wolfe and Louis-Joseph de Montcalm – the Battle on the Plains of Abraham is actually a magnificent, tragic resistance against the land-grabbing, corporate idea of empire that changed the face of North America for all time.

Summoned by the call of a red-throated loon, 33 fictional and non-fictional characters emerge from their graves with bits of clothing from 1759 still clinging to their burial shrouds. For the next two hours, they relive their experience in an effort to challenge history’s interpretation of this tumultuous time.

The full play is in two full-length parts. We present Part One which stands alone in its own right.

Playwright Colleen Murphy is the former Canadian Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theatre where her previous productions have included The December Man (L’homme de decembre)The Goodnight BirdThe Piper, Beating Heart CadaverPig Girl and Armstrong’s War.

Murphy’s recent works are The Society Of The Destitute Presents Titus Bouffonius (Rumble Theatre), The Breathing Hole (Stratford Festival), I Hope My Heart Burns First (University of Alberta) and an opera, Oksana G., with composer Aaron Gervais (Tapestry Opera). Since 2010, Murphy has been guest playwright at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Canada, Playwright-in-Residence at The Factory Theatre in Toronto in 2011-2012, the Lee Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Alberta in 2014-2017 and, most recently, Writer-in-Residence at the University of New Brunswick. Murphy’s play, Pig Girl won the 2016 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama and The December Man (L’homme de décembre), won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award. Both plays were awarded the Carol Bolt Award for Outstanding Play. Murphy is also an award-winning filmmaker. Forthcoming work includes two new plays (Bloodsucker Waltz and To Grieve Is To Be An Animal), a new play with Itai Erdal, a libretto with composer Ian Cusson for the Canadian Opera Company, a feature film of Armstrong’s War (Solo Productions – Canada) and revised productions of The Breathing Hole.

Director Matthew Iliffe returns to the Finborough Theatre following his acclaimed production of Lionel Bart and Alun Owen’s musical Maggie May this spring.

Direction includes the European premiere of The Burnt Part Boys which was nominated for the OffWestEnd Award for Best Director and Best Musical Production (Park Theatre), Side By Side By Sondheim (The Piano Bar, Bristol Hippodrome),Thoroughly Modern Millie (Landor Theatre), Precious Little Talent (The Albany), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Alma Tavern Theatre, Bristol) and The Way Things Weren’t (The Room Above, Bristol). Assistant Direction includes Brass(National Youth Music Theatre at the Hackney Empire) and Romeo and Juliet (Eastville Park, Bristol). Matthew graduated from the University of Bristol with a first class honours degree in Theatre and Performance Studies, and trained on the StoneCrabs Young Directors Programme, in association with The Albany.

Monday, 24 June 2019 at 7.30pm


by Sharmila Chauhan. Directed by Hannah Jones.

Focused and always ready for a challenge: Layla, doctor-married-three kids, is trying to ‘fix’ her relationship. Signing up to a ‘Be Better in Bed’ women’s sex workshop, she meets three women each with widely different lifestyles.

Exploring polyamory, Shibari and pornography, these four women must navigate together what sexuality means to them. They are led by the enigmatic Sapphire, who tells them there isn’t anything they can’t learn about sex, if they just pay attention and practice, practice, practice…

Physical, brutally honest and funny, Better In Bed explores contemporary sexuality and intersectional feminism: asking bold questions around female empowerment, desire and the male gaze.

Playwright Sharmila Chauhan is a playwright, screenwriter and prose writer. Her work is often a transgressive meditation on love, sex and an exploration of the diasporic experience, and she is particularly interested in the intersection of sex, power and gender. Her plays include The Husbands(Soho Theatre and UK Tour for Kali and Pentabus Theatre), Born Again/Purnajanam (Southwark Playhouse for Kali Theatre) and 10 Women (Avignon Festival). She was shortlisted for the Asian New Writer Award in both 2009 and 2012. She has had two short films produced and written two features – most recently, her short film Oysters was commissioned by Film London; and her feature Mother Land is currently being developed by Cinestan International and was long-listed for the Sundance Writers’ Lab. Sharmila’s short stories have been published widely in print and online. She is also currently working on her novel Seven Mirrorswww.sharmilathewriter.com

Director Hannah Jones returns to the Finborough Theatre where she was Resident Assistant Director in 2013 assisting on The PrecariatFishskin TrousersThe White Carnation and Carthage. Direction includes Geist and Smile (TalentLab, Luxembourg’s International Writing Festival), Numb (Barons Court Theatre) Cold CallSquare One (Little Pieces of Gold Festival) and The Ticket (Theatre 503: Rapid Writer’s Night). She recently completed her MFA in Theatre Directing at Birkbeck University, where she undertook a Residency at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre as Resident Assistant Director. During her placement, she assisted on Woyzeck (Birmingham REP), Penguins (The REP and UK Tour), Fred Jeffs: The Sweet Shop Murder (The REP and Quinton Libraries) and I Knew You (The REP and Barry Jackson Tour).

Thursday, 27 June 2019 at 3.00pm


by Albert Belz. Directed by Claire Evans.

New Zealand in 1983 and it’s on like Donkey Kong!

‘Jimmy’ Te Rehua is the king of the Whakatāne Astrocade Amusement Parlour. But while there’s no limit to his domination of the video arcade and the Pac-Man high-score charts, this Māori boy genius hasn’t yet worked out how to beat the game of life.

A touching story of family, friendship and courage filled with heart, charm and hilarity.

Playwright Albert Belz returns to the Finborough Theatre where his first play Awhi Tapu was seen in the very first Vibrant in 2009, and Te Karakia, seen in Vibrant 2015.

A multi-award-winning New Zealand playwright, his unique voice has crossed many datelines and divides having been performed internationally including London, Paris, New York, Melbourne and Sydney. Issues ranging from class, ethnicity and sexual politics, to Gothic serial killers and religion resonate through his words. Belz has held writing residencies in Les Quesnoy, France, also Waikato, Victoria (N.Z.) and Canterbury (N.Z.) Universities. Astroman has been produced by the Melbourne Theatre Company, Court Theatre and most recently Auckland Theatre Company. Belz was creator and head-writer on the Māori comedy series Tongue Tied which screened on television in 2018. Belz is currently completing his Masters while lecturing in performing arts, writing for stage and screen. He also writes for New Zealand television drama Shortland Street.

Director and Producer Claire Evans returns to the Finborough Theatre where she produced Me and Juliet and Bed and Sofa.

She read English and Drama at Royal Holloway College and has worked as director, producer and theatrical agent.

Direction includes Belle Fontaine (Vault Festival), three years for Paul Taylor Mills’ summer play festivals (Theatre Royal, Windsor, the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield and the Manor Pavilion Theatre, Sidmouth), and, most recently, a play-reading of LAZYeye by Nicholas McInerny (Above the Arts, Leicester Square). Producing includes King John and Renaissance comedy Fair Em (Union Theatre), two musical compilations, both of which she also devised and directed (Edinburgh Festival), Bette Davis On The Edge, co-producing with The Thelmas (UK Tour), Ladylogue (Tristan Bates Theatre for the Camden Fringe) and producing Brunton finalist Laura Stevens’ By My Strength(Women and War Festival, London). Earlier this year, she was Co-ordinator for the MTFestUK Festival of New Musical Theatre (The Other Palace).

Week Three – 30 June-4 July 2019

Sunday, 30 June 2019 at 7.30pm


Directed by Liz Carruthers.

The winning play will be announced shortly from the final shortlist of:

Fence by Abigail Andjel

Haste Ye Back by Conor Carroll

Dark Faces in the Night by Sid Sagar

The ETPEP Award 2019 is a playwriting prize for new UK playwrights who work in the theatre industry, run by the Finborough Theatre in association with the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust (ETPEP).

The Award’s purpose is to find and nurture a playwright who has worked in theatre for two years or more (but not in a literary department setting or as a paid script reader), who is looking to further their ambitions and skill in the art and craft of playwriting.

The winner will receive a prize of £8,000, a development relationship with the Finborough Theatre including one-to-one dramaturgy with Finborough Theatre Artistic Director and playwright Neil McPherson; a rehearsal workshop with actors and a director to develop the play; and a staged reading performance of the winning play as part of Vibrant 2019.

The judges for the 2019 Award are playwright Winsome Pinnock; Artistic Director of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Neil McPherson; Literary Manager of the Finborough Theatre and playwright Sue Healy; Actor, playwright and activist Athena Stevens; and Clive Webster of the Experienced Theatre Practitioners Early Playwriting Trust, which founded the award. The competition was judged anonymously until the shortlist stage.

Director Liz Carruthers returns to the Finborough Theatre where she directed Iain Heggie’s The Tobacco Merchant’s LawyerLost at Sea by Morna Young as part of Vibrant 2015, King David as part of Vibrant 2016 and Morningland as part of Vibrant 2017. She also directed the Scottish tour of the Olivier Award nominated It Is Easy To Be Dead which received its world premiere at the Finborough Theatre.

Born in Edinburgh, she was Scottish Arts Council Trainee Director at Perth Theatre, Staff Director at Chichester Festival Theatre and Artistic Director at Cumbernauld Theatre. She has directed plays at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, MacRobert Arts Centre, Stirling, Dundee Rep, Perth Theatre, the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, and Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, as well as middle and small-scale touring venues all over Scotland and England. In London, her work has been seen at the Purcell Rooms, Gate Theatre, Soho Theatre and the Duke’s Head Theatre, Richmond. She has directed 45 world premieres including work by Kieran Hurley, Stephen Greenhorn, Tom McGrath, Iain Heggie, Bernard MacLaverty, Jackie Kay, Louise Welsh, John McKay and Robert Llewellyn. Recent productions include Quality Street (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), Cranhill Carmen (Óran Mòr, Glasgow), The Straw Chair (Hirtle and Borderline), Talking Heads (Glasgay Festival), Perfect Days (Pitlochry Festival Theatre), MacBheatha (Made in Scotland Showcase), a one-person version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Gaelic (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), and Para Handy (Pitlochry Festival Theatre). Her previous productions have won the Guinness Pub Theatre Award, the LWT Plays on Stage Award and been nominated for the Critics’ Awards for Theatre in Scotland for Best New Play and Best Production for Children and Young People.

Monday, 1 July 2019 at 7.30pm


by Athena Stevens. Directed by Georgie Staight.

On the streets of Elephant and Castle, everyone likes to make speculations about Scrounger. She needs help, she must not be aware of the complexities of the world, she is sent from the demons to torture her mum… at least according to her Nigerian Uber driver.

Scrounger doesn’t care. A successful online personality, she’s got more power from her bedroom than anyone on the Southwark estates could dream of. She’s educated, she’s ballsy, and with a huge network of online allies, Scrounger is a woman who knows how to make change happen.

That is, until an airline destroys her wheelchair.

Inspired by real events and a lawsuit initiated by Stevens herself, Scrounger drives towards the realities of how Britain is failing its most vulnerable and the extreme cost paid by those seeking justice.

Playwright Athena Stevens returns to the Finborough Theatre where she is a Playwright on Attachment, and wrote and performed in the world premiere of Schism which has just received an Olivier Award nomination. She is an associate artist at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. She is currently writing the book for a new musical, and is under commission for BBC Radio 3 and National Youth Theatre. She was the first actor in a wheelchair nominated for an OffWestEnd Award for her performance in Schism, as well as appearing at the Barbican Theatre as Juliet last year. Stevens is also a spokesperson for the UK’s Women’s Equality Party.

Director Georgie Staight returns to the Finborough Theatre where she directed Into The Numbers and Dubailand which was nominated for an OffWestEnd Award.

Direction includes D-Day 75 (Watermill Theatre and Corn Exchange, Newbury), CHUTNEY, nominated for four OffWestEnd Awards (Bunker Theatre), Section 2 (Bunker Theatre), Dreamless Sleep (Arts Theatre), Flood (Tristan Bates Theatre), White Light (Arcola Theatre), Thank You For Your Patience (Hackney Showroom), and Roosting (script accelerator at Park Theatre). Assistant Direction includes Sweet CharityOur Town (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), and Legally Blonde: The Musical (Bernie Grant Arts Centre). Georgie is Joint Artistic Director of new writing company Flux Theatre.

Thursday, 4 July 2019 at 3.00pm


by Hannah Morley. Directed by Melissa Dunne.

Vi lives in a mobile library parked on the hill beyond the ring-road of a northern market town. Apart from her young employee Isaac, the only person who visits is an eleven year old girl, come to hear Vi’s extraordinary tales. Just the three of them is how Vi likes it. But when she wakes up to see a man hanging from the hornbeam tree outside, Vi struggles to keep her past hidden between the books. In a town where public shaming has become the norm, the library becomes a refuge. But as the water levels rise and the town descends, it’s harder to see who’s worthy of saving.

Rough Music explores the power of shame and the stories that we tell about each other.

Playwright Hannah Morley is currently Channel 4 Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theatre where her first play Petrichor, written as part of the Writer’s Lab course at Soho Theatre, won the Radius Playwriting Award, and was performed as part of Vibrant 2018 – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights. Born in Doncaster, Hannah trained as an actor at Guildford School of Acting.

Director Melissa Dunne returns to the Finborough Theatre where she directed Just to Get Married, named in The Observer’s ‘Best Theatre Of 2017’ list, and Sarah Daniels’ Masterpieces. She also directed Hannah Morley’s first play Petrichor in last year’s Vibrant.

She is Artistic Director of Papercut Theatre. Theatre includes Lola and Dangerous Lenses (Vault Festival 2019). She founded and continues to creatively manage the acclaimed XY Playwriting Festival which has been produced at Hackney Showroom, Latitude Festival, Pleasance Edinburgh and Theatre503. She has worked for the Literary Departments of the National Theatre, Bush Theatre, the Verity Bargate Award and Soho Theatre. She is Visiting Lecturer at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.


Vibrant 2019  A Festival of Finborough Playwrights

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED

Book online here.

No booking fees on online, personal or postal bookings

Box Office 01223 357851. (Calls are free. There will be a 5% booking fee.) Lines are open Monday – Saturday 10.00am-6.00pm

Sunday, 16 June – Thursday, 4 July 2019

Sunday and Monday evenings at 7.30pm. Thursday matinees at 3.00pm.

Tickets £5 all seats.

Week One – 16–20 June 2019

Sunday, 16 June 2019 at 7.30pm – Prisoners of the Occupation by Palestinian political prisoners and Einat Weizman. Directed by Tommo Fowler.

Monday, 17 June 2019 at 7.30pm – The Wooden Meadow by Stewart Pringle. Directed by Fidelis Morgan.

Thursday, 20 June 2019 at 3.00pm – Field, Awakening by Melis Aker. Directed by Rory McGregor.

Week Two – 23-27 June 2019

Sunday, 23 June 2019 at 7.30pm – Geography of Fire / La furie et sa géographie by Colleen Murphy. Directed by Matthew Iliffe.

Monday, 24 June 2019 at 7.30pm – Be Better In Bed by Sharmila Chauhan. Directed by Hannah Jones.

Thursday, 27 June 2019 at 3.00pm – Astroman by Albert Belz. Directed by Claire Evans.

Week Three – 30 June–4 July 2019

Sunday, 30 June 2019 at 7.30pm – ETPEP Prize Winner. Directed by Liz Carruthers.

Monday, 1 July 2019 at 7.30pm – Scrounger by Athena Stevens. Directed by Georgie Staight.

Thursday, 4 July 2019 at 3.00pm – Rough Music by Hannah Morley. Directed by Melissa Dunne.

Lead Role Of Jerry Springer In Manchester Musical Has Been Announced

Michael Howe

The hotly anticipated lead role in the revival of JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA has been revealed.

 Renowned actor Michael Howe (Life Begins, Solo, Hollyoaks) will step into the shoes of Jerry Springer for a four-week run in Manchester this Summer – almost 15 years since the show was last performed in the UK.

JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA can be seen at Hope Mill Theatre from Thursday 8 August through to Saturday 31 August 2019. Tickets are on sale now.

Michael, who has a strong resemblance to Jerry Springer, was delighted to be cast in the lead role.

Michael commented: “I’m so excited to join the show and be part of the revival of such an iconic piece of social theatre. It is going to be a theatrical rollercoaster of a show. And I’m really looking forward to performing at Hope Mill Theatre, I’ve heard lots of great things about this fantastic venue.

 “I can’t wait to start rehearsals and meet my fellow cast members and the Jerry Choir, who just sound incredible. It’s going to be a fantastic four weeks in Manchester, and I cannot wait to meet the audiences.”

Michael is best known from his television role playing Sebastian in the BBC series Solo alongside Felicity Kendall; as well as Mr Wilson the barrister in Hollyoaks. Other TV credits include Casualty, Life Begins, New Tricks, Kings and Queens, South By South West, Cats Eyes and Mackenzie.

Stage roles have included numerous West End productions including Footloose, The Son Of A Preacher Man, A Tale of Two Cities, Chess, Othello, My Fair Lady, 42nd Street, and High Society.

Film credits include the 2016 film A United Kingdom with David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.

The casting of Michael as Jerry Springer follows the recent announcement that 14 singers from across the Greater Manchester region have been cast as the Jerry Choir, who will play an instrumental role in the show by supporting thecast of professional actors. The remaining full cast will be announced soon.

 The controversial musical is being brought to the stage by new production company Northern Ricochet, recently formed by James Baker (Parade, Yank), Tom Chester (Parade, Mamma Mia), and Bill Elms (Epstein: The Man Who Made The Beatles, The Ruby Slippers and Something About Simon).

Northern Ricochet are passionate about producing quality theatre in the North, for the North and using Northern creatives, actors and voices.

The first joint venture from Northern Ricochet will see James Baker as director; Tom Chester as musical director; and Bill Elms as co-producer of JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA.

Director James Baker commented: “Announcing Michael Howe as our Jerry is a pivotal moment in bringing this iconic show back to the stage after 15 years and especially at this very timely and poignant moment in UK chat show history, where big questions need to be asked.

 “Jerry is the glue which binds the whole production together and we are excited to see Michael’s portrayal as Jerry. Michael’s calibre and experience will enable us to have a new conversion with the work, maintaining the iconic legacy of Jerry whilst elevating the creative vision with the full cast who are equally exceptional.”

JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA caused a storm when it came to the UK stage in 2002, and in this new revival it promises the same raucous energy with a revamped and fresh production for 2019!

JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA was written by Richard Thomas, who also wrote the music and lyrics, with the book and additional lyrics by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas. It is based on The Jerry Springer Show, which was first broadcast on television in 1991 and was on the air for 27 years. It tells the story of America’s favourite talk show host who suffers the worst day in his career when faced with some of the most challenging guests he’s ever met on set.

Further cast to be announced soon for JERRY SPRINGER – THE OPERA.

 Website: hopemilltheatre.co.uk

Facebook: /Jerry Springer Manchester




Dates: Thursday 8 August – Saturday 31 August 2019

Times: Tue – Sat eves 7.30pm | Sat mat 2pm | Sunday 1pm & 5pm |Thu 29 Aug 2pm

 Hope Mill Theatre

113 Pollard Street,


M4 7JA


Tickets: Preview tickets all £20.00 | General tickets £22.50 & £25.00 (concessions available) | Premium VIP On Stage seating £23.00, £25.50 & £28.00 (limited 8 seats per show)

Online: Visit https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/jerry-springer-the-opera/


Jermyn Street Theatre announces Memories season

This autumn Jermyn Street Theatre presents a glittering season of work that celebrates the achievements of the West End studio venue over the past quarter of a century.  The MEMORIES SEASON reflects the wide-range of high quality work that the theatre has become known for since its creation in 1994.

Each of the productions takes the idea of memory as a central theme, each, in their very differrent ways, exploring situations in which influences of the past play a central role in events of the present. The season comprises a revival of Somerset Maugham’s For Services Rendered, the world premiere of Ice Cream Boys by Gail Louw,  Artistic Director Tom Littler’s production of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well and the London premiere of the acclaimed Watermill Theatre’s production of One Million Plays About Britain by Craig Taylor.

Jermyn Street Theatre’s Artistic Director Tom Littler says –

Since Penny Horner and Howard Jameson created Jermyn Street Theatre twenty-five years ago, with the support of hundreds of volunteers, playwrights, directors, designers, stage managers and actors, they have acheived the impossible: a tiny theatre, without government funding, running in the West End.

From September to January, we celebrate their achievement with the Memories Season. All four of this autumn’s plays are about the power of memories. From the long shadow of the First World War stretching across the manicured lawns of For Services Rendered, to the burning rage and secrecy that fires The Ice Cream Boys; from the diaries, letters and lost LPs that make up my production of All’s Well That Ends Well, to the scraps of overheard conversations that provide the dialogue for One Million Tiny Plays, this season celebrates memories: moving, absurd, and hilarious.

4 September – 5 October
Press night – Friday 6 September – 7.30pm
By Somerset Maugham
Directed by Tom Littler

A warm September afternoon in an idyllic English village. Tea is served on the terrace. Sounds of a tennis party float across the lawn. But this England has no place for the heroes of the First World War. No jobs to sustain them, no mantelpieces for their medals, and no money for their debts. Against the odds, three sisters must carve new paths in an uncertain world. This is the first major London revival of Somerset Maugham’s masterpiece since it was seen at the Old Vic in 1993, and the National Theatre in 1979.

9 October – 2 November
Press night Friday 11 October – 7.30pm
World Premiere
By Gail Louw
Directed by Vik Sivalingam

There are some enemies you’d wait a lifetime to see face-to-face. Charismatic, corrupt and dangerous, Jacob Zuma was until recently President of South Africa. But before Zuma came to power, Ronnie Kasrils masterminded the intelligence services. Now at last they’re alone together. When you’ve been betrayed, it’s never too late to settle old scores.

Funny, fascinating, and hugely enjoyable, The Ice Cream Boys is a gripping exploration of politics and power. Gail Louw’s plays include the acclaimedBlonde Poison.

6 November to 30 November
Press night Friday 8 November – 7.30pm
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Tom Littler
A co-production with Guildford Shakespeare Company

When his father dies, Bertram rejects his friends, abandons his mother, and flees his childhood home. But the orphaned Helena refuses to give up hope. Following in her father’s footsteps, she becomes a doctor, saves a monarch’s life, and crosses half of Europe in the passionate pursuit of her happiness.

One of Shakespeare’s most intensely romantic and bittersweet plays is given a magical and intimate production, drenched in the music of memory.

2 December to 11 January
Press night Friday 6 December – 7.30pm
London Premiere
By Craig Taylor
Directed by 
Laura Keefe
In association with The Watermill Theatre

A couple peer into an estate agent’s window; two sports fans have a heart-to-heart in the loo; a daughter has questions about her mother’s love life; and as a father helps his son tie his football boots, he realises they are growing apart. If you keep your eyes and ears open, there are a million tiny plays happening every day.

Originally published in The Guardian, this collage of scenes now form a hugely entertaining and addictive evening in the theatre. It will change the way you listen to the world around you, and train journeys will never be the same again.

Applications open today for first of two major new theatre commissioning programmes from HOME, Manchester

HOME has announced that it will be working with Trafalgar Entertainment Group on a major new commissioning opportunity for theatre-makers wanting to expand their practice.

The HOME 2020 Commission provides a rare opportunity for theatre makers who have been working in smaller spaces to make a step change in their careers. Through an open call out to any artist who has been producing work at a small scale for at least three years, HOME and TEG will provide a full commission and comprehensive development opportunities.

Following a bespoke residency and intensive periods of R&D, HOME will then commit to premiering the new production in its 500 seat theatre.

The first HOME 2020 Commission is specifically for theatre-makers who make musicals or plays with music. There will be a further HOME 2020 Commission announced later in the year, which will be delivered in partnership with English Touring Theatre.

HOME’s Director & CEO Dave Moutrey said:

“All too frequently some of the most pioneering artists can find themselves ghettoised in terms of scale and budget. The larger stages in our institutions often feel like the domain of a limited number of practitioners. With the HOME 2020 Commission we want to provide a critical step-change in practice for theatre-makers to create on a bigger scale, and make work for a larger audience.” 

The HOME 2020 Commission is just part of a new artistic approach which will see HOME provide opportunities for artists to take a step-up in scale. This will include a new show by acclaimed cabaret artists Bourgois and Maurice, which will form part of the programme next year. Moutrey believes presenting this as an “open call” to artists is critical:

“Speaking to artists from across the country, its not just the lack of opportunities to develop their practice that cause frustration – but that they only feel available for closed networks. We want to be clear that the HOME 2020 Commission is an open call to artists from across the country to make a show on our T1 stage. We want to meet new people, and discover new talent. Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not.”

Sir Howard Panter, Joint CEO and Creative Director for Trafalgar Entertainment, said; “We’re delighted to be supporting the HOME 2020 Commission in discovering and developing home grown productions in Manchester, a city already bursting with creativity as a result of its incredible cultural heritage. We are huge admirers of the work HOME has been doing to unearth and nurture new talent and are very excited about the projects we expect to emerge. We share HOME’s commitment to helping artists make the difficult jump to the next stage in their careers and hope, ultimately, that both projects and artists involved in the initiative will soon be playing on our stages in London’s Trafalgar Studios and further afield as well.

This spirit of open opportunity for artists is also a key feature of all HOME’s artistic opportunities. Earlier this month HOME launched a new round of Made at HOME funds, open applications for artists to access funding and support to explore and develop ideas and platform them at HOME.

Applications open today, Monday 13 May until Monday 10th June. Commissions will be announced in July.

More information on the HOME 2020 Commission, including how to apply can be found homemcr.org/opportunity/home-2020-commission

The Traverse Theatre Announces the Full Programme for Traverse Festival 2019

Traverse Theatre

A record seven Traverse Theatre Company productions, co-productions and in associations, including brand new works from Meghan Tyler and Stef Smith, and a first co-production with the innovative ThickSkin

  • The return of sell-out, smash hit productions Mouthpiece and What Girls Are Made Of
  • Writers include Travis Alabanza, Javaad Alipoor, BAC Beatbox Academy, David Edgar, Nicola McCartney and Gina Moxley
  • 13 full productions: 5 world premieres, 1 European premiere, 2 UK premieres, 3 Scottish premieres, 2 returning Traverse Theatre Company productions – and 4 new Breakfast Plays
  • Tickets on sale Thursday 16 May

Following the overwhelming success of last year’s Festival, and our recent 10 Critics’ Awards For Theatre in Scotland (CATS) nominations, the Traverse Theatre is excited to announce the full programme for Traverse Festival 2019, this year including seven works proudly bearing the Traverse Theatre Company stamp – more than any recent Traverse Festival programme. The programme presents two Traverse Theatre Company world premieres (Crocodile Fever  by Meghan Tyler, and Enough by Stef Smith) and a selection of bite-sized Traverse Theatre Company new writing world premieres presented as The Breakfast Plays: The Future Is […]. Plus, the return of Traverse Theatre Company sell-out Mouthpiece by Kieran Hurley; a Festival venue evolution for our Raw Material co-production smash hit What Girls Are Made Of by Cora Bissett; a world premiere co-production with ThickSkin (How Not To Drown, by Nicola McCartney and Dritan Kastrati), and we’ll be working in association with Javaad Alipoor on his prescient new work Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran.

Traverse Festival 2019 confidently speaks of the Traverse’s commitment to sharing Scottish new writing with as wide an audience as possible, whilst this year looking forward to, more than ever, extending the reach of our productions beyond their Festival life, as What Girls Are Made Of and Crocodile Fever travel further afield in September, following successful tours and transfers of our recent productions of Ulster AmericanMouthpiece and Locker Room Talk.

Gareth Nicholls, Interim Artistic Director, says:

To present six Traverse Theatre Company productions and co-productions – two of which have already proven themselves as critical and audience hits – as well as working in association with Javaad Alipoor, over a single Festival, is massively exciting. We’re extremely proud to be telling such varied and vital stories of Scottish origin, which in turns will make audiences laugh, cry, rage, think, debate – and above all, thoroughly enjoy themselves!

Linda Crooks, Traverse Executive Producer, says:

This year we’re delighted to welcome a number of companies to the Traverse Festival for the very first time. The productions each represent distinct and defiant realities and stories, which allow our audiences an enriching and enjoyable chance to understand the world through the experiences of those both similar to, and very different from, themselves at a time in history when this feels vital. To again be the August home for so many world and UK premieres from such innovative and important creative voices is an honour and we can’t wait for audiences to discover a whole host of stories they’ve never heard or seen before.


T’Shan Williams Cast As ‘Celie’ in Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s Production Of ‘The Color Purple’ & First Look Imagery

The first images of Leicester’s Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome’s production of Tony Award-winning Broadway production The Color Purplehave been released, with T’Shan Williams set to take the role of Celie.

The regional UK premiere will play at Curve, Leicester from 28th June – 13th July, followed by 16th – 20th July at Birmingham Hippodrome, with a national press night at Curve on Wednesday 3rd July at 7pm.

T’Shan Williams joins the cast as heroine Celie. T’Shan’s previous credits include Heather Duke in Heathers The Musical (Theatre Royal, Haymarket & The Other Palace); Caroline, or Change (Hampstead Theatre) and Queen in The Life (Southwark Playhouse) for which she won the Off-West End award for Best Female in a Musical.

She joins the previously announced cast including Joanna Francis as Shug Avery, Ako Mitchell as Mister, Simon-Anthony Rhoden as Mister’s son Harpo, Karen Mavundukure as his wife Sophia, Danielle Fiamanya as Celie’s sister Nettie and Delroy Brown as Pa.

The cast is completed by Geoff AymerOwen ChapondaPerola Congo, KM Drew Boateng, Danielle KassaratéAnelisa LamolaRosemary Annabella NkrumahJochebel Ohene MacCarthyLandi Oshinowo and Jo Servi.

Directed by Tinuke CraigThe Color Purple is filled with a soul-raising musical score of jazz, ragtime, gospel and blues. The landmark musical, from Alice Walker’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel, classic hit film and Tony Award-winning production on Broadway, follows heroine Celie as she discovers her own identity and power over the course of 40 years in 19th century southern America. 

Creative Team

Director Tinuke Craig
Set & Costume Designer Alex Lowde
Musical Supervisor and Musical Director Alex Parker
Orchestrator Martin Higgins
Choreographer Mark Smith
Lighting Designer Joshua Pharo
Sound Designer Tom Marshall
Hair & Make-up Designer Cynthia De La Rosa
Casting Director Kay Magson CDG
Co-producers Birmingham Hippodrome

 Be More Chill lands two albums from Ghostlight Records on Billboard’s “Top Broadway Albums” Chart

GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS has announced that the viral Broadway hit Be More Chill now has the rare distinction of holding two spots on the Billboard “Top Broadway Album” chart. The show’s Original Broadway Cast Recording – which was released for digital download and streaming on Friday, May 3 – hit #2 in its debut week, while the show’s Original Cast Recording from 2015 occupies the #15 spot.

Be More Chill‘s new cast recording completes a remarkable full-circle journey for the musical, as the original recording from Ghostlight – which has now been streamed over 300 million times to date – helped propel the show from Two River Theater to Broadway. Be More Chill was nominated for a 2019 Tony Award for “Best Original Score. CD and vinyl releases for the Broadway album are planned for later this year. TheBroadway album is produced by Kurt DeutschJoe Iconis, and Charlie Rosen, and co-produced by Ian Kagey and Emily Marshall. Todownload or stream it, please visit ghostlightrecords.lnk.to/bemorechillbroadway

A series of video trailers, featuring exclusive recording studio footage, is available on YouTube HERE.

Be More Chill, currently playing at the Lyceum Theatre (149 West 45th Street, NYC), is now nominated for “Best Musical” by the Drama Desk, Drama League, and Off-Broadway Alliance Awards. The show features music and lyrics by Joe Iconis and a book by Joe Tracz, based on the cult sensation novel by Ned Vizzini. Stephen Brackett directs and Chase Brock choreographs.

“It’s no secret that many of Be More Chill’s supporters first discovered the show thanks to its Two River original cast album. The thought of delivering a brand-new Broadway cast album to those same fans, who continue to support and love the musical and expand its reach to brand-new audiences every night at the Lyceum Theatre is a thrill,” said lead producer Jerry Goehring.

According to Joe Iconis, “the score of Be More Chill has mutated, deepened, gotten tons more heartfelt and a lot more explosive since our first production at Two River. I am so thrilled that our new Broadway cast recording will capture all of that growth and more. Fans of the show can expect the definitive version of the score, complete with tons of never-before-recorded musical goodies and expanded versions of songs they know and love. First time listeners can expect the most contemporary-sounding traditional musical comedy cast recording imaginable.”

Be More Chill is collaborating with Topsify on a special contest offering a trip to New York to see the show on Broadway. One Grand Prize Winner and a friend will receive roundtrip airfare for two and two nights hotel stay; two tickets to see Be More Chill on Wednesday, June 19; a VIP Backstage Tour, including a meet and greet with the cast; and a Be More Chill merch bundle. For details, terms and conditions, click HERE.

Be More Chill arrived on Broadway with the entire cast of its summer 2018 off-Broadway run intact, all of whom are all featured on the album:Will Roland as Jeremy; George Salazar as Michael; Stephanie Hsu as Christine; Gerard Canonico as Rich; Katlyn Carlson as Chloe;Tiffany Mann as Jenna; Lauren Marcus as Brooke; Britton Smith as Jake; Jason SweetTooth Williams as Mr. Heere – Mr. Reyes – Scary Stockboy; and Jason Tam as The Squip.

What if popularity came in a pill? Would you take it, no questions asked? In Be More Chill, achieving that elusive “perfect life” is now possible thanks to some mysterious new technology-but it comes at a cost that’s not as easy to swallow. What could possibly go wrong? Blending the contemporary with retro sci-fi, this thrillingly exciting, comically subversive, and deeply felt new musical takes on the competing voices in all of our heads. And ultimately proves, there’s never been a better time in history to be yourself-especially if you’re a loser…geek…or whatever.

When the musical opened on Broadway, The Wall Street Journal called it “one of the strongest new musicals of the past decadeNot since Hamiltonhas a musical opened on Broadway that is so closely in tune with contemporary pop-music style.” Rolling Stone hailed it as “a wow of a musical shaking things up on Broadway. Talk about universal! This joyful, roof-raising phenom is uplifted by the irresistible score of the mega-skilled Joe Iconis.” New York Magazine writes “It soars… witty, high octane tunes, bang-up performances and shrewd comedy. It has a welcome edge to it that’s refreshing!” AM New York calls Be More Chill “an exciting musical with an addictively catchy score and superb cast. It deserves a place in Broadway history.” NBC says Be More Chill is “the toast of Broadway. A new musical that speaks to a new generation.”

Be More Chill’s creative team features scenic design by Tony Award winner Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Bobby Frederick Tilley II; lighting design by Tony Award winner Tyler Micoleau; sound design by Ryan Rumery; projection design by Alex Basco Koch; hair and makeup design by Dave Bova; music direction by Emily Marshall; music supervision and orchestrations by Charlie Rosen; fight direction byJ. David Brimmer; production supervision by SenovvA Inc.; and casting by Telsey + Company / Adam Caldwell, CSA & Rebecca Scholl, CSA.

The work of Joe Iconis is also represented on Ghostlight Records with Be More Chill (Original Cast Recording)Two-Player Game (George Salazar and Joe Iconis), The Joe Iconis Rock & Roll Jamboree, and Things To Ruin (Original Cast Recording).

 GHOSTLIGHT RECORDS has become the leading independent force in Original Broadway Cast Recordings – building a library of over 200 records over the past 19 years, featuring some of the most successful Broadway musicals and solo albums by Broadway’s brightest stars. Founded by Grammy Award winner Kurt Deutsch, Ghostlight has won Grammy Awards for The Band’s Visit, The Book of MormonIn the Heights and Beautiful – The Carole King Musical. Ghostlight has also released solo albums from Patti LuPone, Kelli O’Hara, Sutton Foster, Billy Porter, and more. The label continues to support the new generation of musical theater composers and has developed extensive relationships with Jason Robert Brown, Michael John LaChiusa, and David Yazbek, as well as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Pasek & Paul, Tom Kitt, Joe Iconis, and Shaina Taub. Ghostlight Records is part of the Arts Music division at Warner Music Group. ghostlightrecords.com


  1. Jeremy’s Theme (Instrumental)
  2. More Than Survive
  3. I Love Play Rehearsal
  4. More Than Survive (Reprise)
  5. The Squip Song
  6. Two-Player Game
  7. The Squip Enters
  8. Be More Chill Pt. 1
  9. Do You Wanna Ride?
  10. Be More Chill Pt. 2
  11. Sync Up
  12. A Guy That I’d Kinda Be Into
  13. The Squip Stalks (Instrumental)
  14. Upgrade
  15. Loser Geek Whatever
  16. Halloween
  17. Do You Wanna Hang?
  18. Michael in the Bathroom
  19. A Guy That I’d Kinda Be Into (Reprise)
  20. The Smartphone Hour (Rich Set a Fire)
  21. The Pants Song
  22. The Pitiful Children
  23. The Play
  24. Voices in My Head