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Competition: win a pair of tickets to The Grinnning Man

Well, it’s that time of the year when I like to run a competition and, as luck would have it, The Grinning Man’s ‘people’ have chucked a pair of tickets my way in order to draw attention to the fact that it’s a) still on and b) worth watching. 

See the source image

In order to stand a chance of winning tweet (@mrcarlwoodward) me 3 reasons why you deserve to win.

Closing date is Monday 12 March at 3pm.

Good luck!

The Grinning Man runs at Trafalgar Studios until 17 April


COMPETITION: Win 2 x tickets to three new plays (total 6 tickets) from Paines Plough’ Roundabout

Win 2 x tickets to Paines Plough Roundabout’s three new plays in repertoire, direct from critically acclaimed performances in Edinburgh and a nationwide tour at Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. 

 The three new plays for which you can win tickets:

  1. Out of Love by Elinor Cook
  2. Black Mountain by Brad Birch
  3. How To be A Kid by Sarah McDonald Hughes

2x tickets for each play to be won, therefore 3 winners.

Competition closes on Wednesday 7 February at 12 noon. 

Sign up below to enter the lucky draw.


Competition: – Win 2 x tickets to FOLLIES on Thurs 16 Nov 

Well, it’s that time of the year when I like to run a competition.

The prize in question is two tickets to the actual performance of FOLLIES at the National Theatre, London on Thursday 16 November

I repeat: the actual performance of the NT Live Broadcast of FOLLIES at our Royal National Theatre. Amazing.

New York, 1971. There’s a party on the stage of the Weismann Theatre. Tomorrow the iconic building will be demolished. Thirty years after their final performance, the Follies girls gather to have a few drinks, sing a few songs and lie about themselves.

Including such classic songs as Broadway Baby, I’m Still Here and Losing My Mind, Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical is staged for the first time at the National Theatre.

To win 2 x tickets to the performance on Thursday 16 November simply enter your name and email address in the sign up box below.

Closing date is Tuesday 14 November. And that is that.

Good luck.

Follies runs in the Olivier Theatre at the National until 3 January.

‘FYI’ Follies will be broadcast by NT Live to cinemas in the UK and internationally onThursday 16 November.

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COMPETITION: Win 2 x NT LIVE Broadcast tickets to Angels in America parts 1 & 2

Angels in America

Attention: win 2 x tickets to NT Live Broadcast of Angels in America Part One: Millenium Approaches (July 20)
& Part 2: Perestroika (July 27)

Every day’s an adventure here at mrcarlwoodward.com. *thumbs up emoji*

Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Russell Tovey and Nathan Lane star in Marianne Elliott’s sublime production, is currently enjoying a sold out run at the National Theatre.

To win: email [email protected] and state in under 100 words
a) Why you should win?
b) Your top 3 locations you’d watch it at.

Closing date is end of the day Friday (July 14).

You’re welcome!

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes is at the National Theatre, London, until 19 August.

N.B. 1 x winner – 2 x tickets to both screenings at a venue of your choice, subject to availability.

Interview with Sair Smith, winner of the competition for ‘Balancing Acts’ by Nicholas Hytner, talks about Wild Life FM, creating theatre for young audiences and upcoming shows at Unicorn theatre

Wild Life FM

Sair Smith, winner of the last competition we ran on our blog is an Events Producer at the Unicorn Theatre. As per her twitter bio, she loves cheese and sleep, which we believe is an awesome combination of things to love. We had a little tête-à-tête with her, keeping in with the tradition of featuring winner interviews on our blog. She has talked about current projects, challenges of creating work for young audiences and some exciting shows at Unicorn Theatre – a delightful read indeed.

Wild Life FM

Wild Life FM. ©Hugo Glendinning. Click on the image to know more.

Tell us about the projects you are working on currently
Recently I’ve been working on finding and casting young, London based musicians and performers to be in one of our new 17/18 season shows. It’s a collaboration we’re super excited about, between us, arts centre CAMPO (Before Your very Eyes, Next Day, Five Easy Pieces), and Norfolk & Norwich Festival. We’re still accepting applications if you know anyone suitable! Apply here
Wild Life FM  will be an honest, raw exposition of what it’s like being young today. This show is not going to be what you expect. It’s not a play. It’s not a gig. It’s also both those things.

Challenges faced when creating theatre for young audiences
We face the same challenges as all the other brave companies out there trying to make work, host visiting companies, support new writers, provide community projects and run a building. We don’t really think of the costs, staffing or scheduling challenges unique to a theatre for young audiences. The Unicorn was founded by Caryl Jenner as a touring company in 1947 with a commitment to giving children a valuable and often first ever experience of quality theatre, and a philosophy that ‘the best of theatre for children should be judged on the same high standards of writing, directing, acting and design as the best of adult theatre’. Today, we’re the UK’s leading professional theatre for young audiences, dedicated to inspiring and invigorating young people of all ages, perspectives and abilities, and empowering them to explore the world – on their own terms – through theatre. We strive to push the boundaries of imagination in everything that we do; welcoming families, schools, and young people for unforgettable theatrical experiences that will expand horizons, change perspectives, and challenge how we all see and understand each other.

The last theatre show you watched
The last performance I watched outside of the Unicorn was Salome at the National Theatre.

What you like about Carl’s website
Great content, interesting interviews and a helpful resource.

Your favorites from the summer line up of shows at Unicorn Theatre
I’m looking forward to Double Double Act in June. We’ve teamed up with Made in China, who have been exploring the format of a comedy duo, an adult double act and child double act try to take control of the stage; they joke, mirror and test each other, they reverse roles and they subvert expectations. The production meetings have been filled with hints of slapstick humour and a lot of green slime, it sounds like it’s going to be a clever and surprising performance that will offer a chance to see the world through each others’ eyes. I’m also a firm fan of our all year round piece called Baby Show  , watching a 6 month old baby in the midst of a real belly laugh is mesmerising. I also quite enjoy watching the parents get so emotional when that happens. It’s a brilliant sensory performance that has captivating images and intriguing sounds that keep little ones rapt. We’re definitely looking after our future audience with this one!


COMPETITION: win a copy of ‘Balancing Acts’ by Nicholas Hytner.

Nicholas Hytner
Balancing Acts by Nicholas Hytner

Balancing Acts by Nicholas Hytner


Well, it’s that time of the year when I like to run a competition and, as luck would have it, Balancing Acts by Nicholas Hytner has come my way in order to draw attention to the fact that Hytner’s got a new book knocking around at the moment.

Balancing Acts is the inside story of Nicholas Hytner‘s twelve years at the helm of the National Theatre, apparently.
 To win a copy of this book all you need to do is sign up in the box below

Every day’s an adventure here at www.mrcarlwoodward.com

 And that is that.

Interview with Matthew Jenkins, winner of X Factor Live tour event ( Bournemouth International Centre) ticket contest

Matthew Jenkins

Matthew Jenkins is the winner of the ticket contest we ran for X Factor tour event at Bournemouth International Centre last month. He works as Senior Account Manager at Darren Northeast PR Ltd which is is one of the South’s leading Award winning PR agencies. Keeping in with our tradition of interviewing our contest winners -here’s a little tête-à-tête with Matt Jenkins.

Matthew Jenkins

Matthew Jenkins

 Your thoughts on Carl’s website
Carl’s website is fantastic. It’s my go-to for all things theatre-related… unfortunately, in my busy job I don’t get to see theatre as much as I’d like but Carl manages to keep me up to date with the theatre world!

How much of an X-Factor buff are you?
To be honest, I’ve not watched X-Factor in years… I think when I last watched X-Factor Rhydian was still relevant! However, my auntie and little cousin absolutely love the X-Factor and so I thought I’d enter on the off chance I’d win the tickets for them.
They were wowed by the show and my aunties favourite was Sara who she said was fantastic… oh and Honey G of course!

Bournemouth theatre scene – your thoughts.
I think the Bournemouth theatre scene is great. We’re privileged to have the likes of the BIC, The Pavilion, and The Lighthouse on our doorstep for big national productions. However, I also grew up watching shows at The Regent Centre and still have soft spot for it. The Shelley Theatre is great too, it has a unique atmosphere. We also have some fantastic amateur dramatics locally – I’m a big fan of Theatre 2000!

What kind of theatre do you like?
I’m not picky! I studied Theatre as part of my degree and so I’d like to think I’ve got quite an eclectic taste. From musical theatre (love The Lion King!) to Shakespeare to Beckett!

Last play that you watched? Your views on that play.
One of the most recent plays I watched was ‘Curious Incident of the Dog In the Nighttime’, which was outstanding. The set pieces, staging and lighting to the story and actors were just superb.

Present day Theatre PR – your views
I think present day Theatre PR with the likes of social media has become much more interactive. Real communities are built around certain performances through social media as we can follow the journeys of the cast and crew and really feel part of the show before and after the curtain is called.


Sign up to win tickets to The X Factor Live Tour 2017, Bournemouth International Centre, 6th March


You’ve joined them on their journey from the judges’ room auditions to the arena, been on the edge of your sofa during the dramatic six-chair challenge and Bootcamp, travelled to Judges’ Houses, tuned in to see the starlets transform in the live studio shows…and now is your chance to see your favourite acts live in person as they embark on The X Factor 2017 Live Tour.  We’re giving you the chance to win a pair of tickets to see the show at Bournemouth International Centre. Winner will be announced on 2 March 18:00 Hrs GMT.

Sign up to be part of the luck draw for 2 tickets to The X Factor 2017 Live Tour performance at Bournemouth International Centre on 6th March’17

The top eight acts taking to the stage on this year’s live arena tour are: 5 After Midnight, Emily Middlemas, Four of Diamonds, Matt Terry, Ryan Lawrie, Saara Aalto, Sam Lavery and Honey G!

The X Factor Live Tour 2017

The X Factor Live Tour 2017

Beginning in Nottingham on February 23, The X Factor Live Tour 2017 will travel to Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Sheffield, Manchester, Bournemouth, Cardiff, Newcastle, Leeds, Belfast, Dublin and Brighton, with contestants performing classic hits and viewers’ favourites from the TV series this year.

Attended by more than three million people so far, The X Factor Live Tour has been one of the most successful annual arena tours in the UK for the last 12 years. Tickets are on sale now. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch this year’s stars live in an arena near you.

For more information to go www.itv.com/xfactor

Ts and Cs

1.The prize is non-transferable, no whole/part cash alternatives.

2. Regretfully, in the event that the event/concert is cancelled by the artist/promoter, tickets for alternative events/concerts, will not be provided to the winners.

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Winner of Curtain Call lucky draw Michael Simkins: “The book captures better than any previous book – the rackety, temporary and yet deeply tribal world of theatre life behind the curtain.”

Michael Simkins

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in our “Sign up to win a copy of CURTAIN CALL: A YEAR BACKSTAGE IN LONDON THEATRE” lucky draw. The winner of our competition is Mr Michael Simkins . He is a theatre actor and  based out of London.

Keeping in with our tradition (of interviewing the winners of contests/lucky draw on our website), here’s our Q&A with Mr Michael Simkins

Michael Simkins

Michael Simkins

Carl’s website
I like its eclectic nature. The photos are of course sublime, the interviews are often unexpected, both in their subject matter and scope, and you can often pick up some hot leads on forthcoming productions – always useful in this brutal business where a  few hours can make all the difference to getting seen or not.  I liked the piece on preparing for pantomime in Bournemouth last Christmas.

 Curtain Call: A Year Backstage In London Theatre is exquisite and exceptional
The book captures better than any previous book  – the rackety,  temporary and yet deeply tribal world of theatre life behind the curtain. There’s nothing stagey or luvvie-esque about the images, instead they reflect perfectly the odd life of the actor when they’re not onstage – indeed, often the individuals in the photos look pre-occupied, bored or just staring into space – as of course is the case, theatre life being a microcosm of life outside. But the photos also capture perfectly the glamour, the excitement, the wonderful camraderie – and the sheer love – of doing the job, for those lucky enough to have the chance to do so. In other words its a 360 degree portrait of the life of the average – and not so average actor.

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR COPY OF Curtain Call: A Year Backstage in London Theatre (Great offer on right now) 

What I feel strongly about when it comes to British Theatre industry…
As if life wasn’t tough enough already, the theatre industry is changing before our eyes. It’s younger, more challenging, quirky, and with far less clearly defined career path.  New ways of acting, of writing, of designing, casting and directing. Thus I often hear actors of my vintage – 50 plus , let’s say, complaining about how it’s all going to the dogs – but in fact it’s exactly how the theatre industry should be. Theatre must constantly evolve if it’s to survive, and the trick for actors of all generations is to adapt, to roll with the changes, and to celebrate the unpredictability and evolving trends. Note to self really – stop droning on about the good old days and realise that we’re still living in them – we just cant always see it that way…

Though, having said that –  there’s one hobby horse of mine that I detest and hate, one which is much more prevalent nowadays. I speak of directors / casting directors / producers etc  NOT bothering to put you out of your misery when you haven’t been chosen. Has  this trend been imported, like so much else, from hollywood and Broadway? This lack of consideration happens so much now, and it only adds unnecessarily to the brutality of the business. There’s no excuse for it – 7 digits on a  phone pad and a one word ‘I’m sorry, your client didn’t get it’ to your agent, and with this simple act of kindness  you set us FREE from worrying about whether we’re still ‘in the mix’ or not. !! Yet nowadays it so often happens that actors, having put so much effort into learning words, attending multiple recalls etc etc, are dispensed with without even this 30 second courtesy. It’s the one aspect of the business that has undoubtedly degenerated in recent years. And it does nobody any credit.

Whats weighing on my mind right now
Like many, I am profoundly unsettled by Brexit, which I think might be completely calamitous for the UK – indeed, possible its death-knell. And I worry deeply about a man so apparently lacking in human kindness as Donald Trump being in the White House. But we have to all remember that climate change and environmental degradation is a far more terrifying prospect than anything offered up by current political realignments , and its already on the horizon. As I write this even London, where I live,  is suffering a smog alert , and if the climate indeed alters as experts predict, it will make our current concerns – Brexit, Syria, international trade deals – look like a kids tea party.  Someone, somewhere , has to push this to the job of the agenda, and make all countries realise that if the worst occurs, we’re all done for – east, west, rich , poor, capitalist or socialist.


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In this beautiful and groundbreaking book the reader is invited to go backstage with photographer Matt Humphrey and actor John Schwab as they present a side to London theatre that’s never before been portrayed. It is – quite frankly – truly remarkable to get a peek behind the scenes at some of our greatest performers doing their thing at our most treasured venues.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of this exquisite book. Sign up in the form below to take part in our lucky draw to choose the winner. Winner announcement on 25 January 2017


“It’s genuinely the most captivating photography of theatre as an art form I have even seen.” – Huffington Post, UK.

“Any theatre lover, anybody that goes to the theatre would love to have this book.” – David Suchet CBE, Actor

“These photographs capture the life of a show much more than pictures of the show itself.” Juliet Stevenson, Actress

“You really get a sense of theatre in all its beauty, glamour – but all its hard work.” Noma Dumezweni, Actress

Containing exclusive photography of Nicole Kidman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Imelda Staunton, Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mark Strong and many more stars of the West End stage. There are numerous exclusive features of shows including interviews, such as Billy Elliot the MusicalHamletCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryGypsyA View From The Bridge and other award-winning productions.

With unparalleled access throughout the year, take a journey behind the scenes via Humphrey’s striking reportage-style imagery and Schwab’s revealing, insightful interviews. A visually stunning celebration of almost sixty productions, from innovative new works to time-tested family favourites, Curtain Call’s inaugural book presents a vivid record of an extraordinary year in London theatre.