Nuffield Southampton Theatres launches new writing programmes

Barney Norris

Nuffield Southampton Theatres (NST) is launching two new and exciting writing programmes for people with ideas to influence and shape the future of culture in Southampton: NST Writers and Self-Starters.

The new writer’s group, NST Writers, in partnership with the award-winning South West theatre company Up in Arms, will help writers from the South develop their skills for writing or performance.

NST and Up in Arms will together deliver a programme of mentoring, masterclasses and script in hand readings from some of the best new playwrights to help local writers grow their ideas as well as find their writing voice.

The process will culminate in a public showcase, with the aim of finding at least one writer for NST to take forward and commission.

 Barney Norris, Co-Artistic Director at Up in Arms, said: We know from our own experience of finding a voice in the theatre how many of the south west’s stories don’t get told. Setting up this programme in collaboration with NST feels like a great way of drawing out more of the life of this region, which gives up its secrets all too guardedly.”

NST is also looking for people with ideas for new arts events in Southampton to join its Self-Starters programme, providing free training, support and guidance to get their ideas off the ground.

People from all backgrounds and levels of experience are invited to apply to take part in the programme, which will equip them with the skills to plan their own arts events, support other artists in the city and help bring their ideas to fruition.

NST is interested in hearing from people in Southampton about ideas to take place in spaces across the city, such as hosting a musician in someone’s living room or supporting a play reading at a local library, not companies pitching their own shows for NST spaces.

Depending on the idea, NST will also provide cash of up to £1,000 to help overcome some of the financial barriers of putting on events.

 Hannah Bevan, NST Studio Producer, said: “I’m really thrilled that we’ll be partnering with Up in Arms to run the writers group in the region. Their experience and skill will be invaluable and I can’t wait to see who get coming forward to join it. It feels this is the right time as we now focus on the new studio space at NST City which will become a hub of fresh, new and exciting work that has a real dialogue with audiences.

 “Self-Starters is something I’m very passionate about and feel it’s important to find people who want to kick-start their own projects. There are already loads of people working across the city to make it a vibrant place for culture so it’s fantastic we are enabling more people to realise their projects.”

For more information about either programme or to apply, please visit

Last chance to see James Graham’s This House at Birmingham Repertory Theatre

James Graham
James Graham

James Graham © Johan Persson

There are just six performances remaining for This House, James Graham’s smash-hit political drama examining the 1974 hung parliament, playing at Birmingham Repertory Theatre until Saturday 21 April.

James Graham’s critically acclaimed and prescient political drama takes on a new importance in the current political climate. Are we in the midst of a political revolution? Can the country stay united? Roll back to 1974… The corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and back biting as Britain’s political parties’ battle to change the future of the nation, whatever it takes.

 In an era of chaos, both hilarious and shocking, when votes are won or lost by one, there are fist fights in the parliamentary bars, high-stakes tricks and games are played, and sick MPs are carried through the lobby to register their crucial votes as the government hangs by a thread. This House strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes; the whips who roll up their sleeves and on occasion bend the rules to shepherd and coerce a diverse chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments.

James Graham said, ‘It’s long been an ambition to take This House to all of the places that get named in the play. It’s always felt like a national play. Even though we set in in the corridors of Westminster, it feels like a cross-section of regions, people and classes across the country who converge in this building every week and represent their constituencies. And this was the watershed parliament, leading up to 1979 when everything – for better or for worse, depending on your politics! – changed forever, no matter where you’re from…’

Jeremy Herrin said, ‘It’s brilliant to be able to tour This House around the UK, as it’s a national story with people from all across the country, with a range of accents and classes at the heart of it. The comedy in This House gives a unique experience to each city and audience it visits. We were lucky enough to connect with some of the audiences we’ll be visiting with our NT Live broadcast of This House, so 5 years on, it’s a delight now to share the production on stage’.

The cast – who play a colourful host of MPs and Whips – is Ian Barritt (Batley & Morley/Woolwich West/Belfast North/Western Isles & Ensemble), William Chubb (Humphrey Atkins), Giles Cooper (Fred Silvester), Stephen Critchlow (Bromsgrove/Abingdon/Liverpool Edge Hill/Paisley/Fermanagh & Ensemble), James Gaddas (Walter Harrison), Natalie Grady (Ann Taylor), Ian Houghton (Armagh, Ambulance Man, Ensemble), David Hounslow (Joe Harper), Marcus Hutton (Ensemble), Harry Kershaw (Paddington South/Chelmsford/South Ayrshire/Henley/Marioneth /Coventry North West/Rushcliffe/Perry Barr & Ensemble), Louise Ludgate (Rochester & Chatham/Welwyn & Hatfield/Coventry South West/Ilford North/Lady Batley & Ensemble), Geoffrey Lumb (Clockmaker/Peebles/Redditch/Stirlingshire West/Clerk & Ensemble), Nicholas Lumley (Oxshott/Belfast West/St Helens & Ensemble), Martin Marquez (Bob Mellish), Matthew Pidgeon (Jack Weatherill), Miles Richardson (Speaker Act I/Mansfield/Sergeant at Arms Act II/West Lothian & Ensemble), Tony Turner (Michael Cocks), Orlando Wells (Walsall North/Plymouth Sutton/Serjeant at Arms Act I/Speaker Act II/Caernarfon/Clerk & Ensemble) and Charlotte Worthing (Ensemble). Ian Houghton, David Hounslow, Matthew Pidgeon, Tony Turner and Orlando Wells return to This House having previously appeared in the West End production.

Directed by Jeremy Herrin with Jonathan O’Boyle, the production is designed by Rae Smith with lighting design by Paule Constable and Ben Pickersgill on tour, music by Stephen Warbeck, choreography by Scott Ambler and sound by Ian Dickinson.

This House is produced on tour by Jonathan Church Productions and Headlong.

James Graham is also taking part in The Big Arts and Education Debate, a symposium for teachers, practitioners, educators and young people to debate the urgent issue of creative arts provision in schools on Friday 20 April at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Joining James on the panel will be Ammo Talwar MBE, CEO of Punch Records, Christine Quinn, West Midlands Regional Schools Commissioner, Cassie Chadderton, Head of UK Theatre, Indu Rubasingham, Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre (formerly the Tricycle Theatre), Pauline Tambling CBE, CEO of Creative & Cultural Skills, Sam Cairns, Co-Director of Cultural Learning Alliance and Tim Boyes CEO of Birmingham Education Partnership. The Big Arts and Education Debate will be chaired by Steve Ball, Associate Director at The REP, and theatre practitioner, Carl Woodward. Book online or call the box office 0121 236 4455.

West End Production of Tina extends booking to February 2019

Tina Turner
Tina Turner

Tina Turner

TINA, a new musical based on the life of legendary artist Tina Turner, has confirmed that 140,000 new tickets will go on sale today (Wednesday 18 April 2018) at 12noon BST.  The production which officially opened at the Aldwych Theatre last night, is now booking to 16 February 2019.

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd and written by Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins, choreography is by Anthony van Laast, with set and costume designs by Mark Thompson, musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, lighting by Bruno Poet, sound by Nevin Steinberg, projection design by Jeff Sugg and orchestrations by Ethan Popp.

The cast comprises Adrienne Warren, who plays the title role, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Ike Turner, Madeline Appiah as Tina’s mother Zelma Bullock, Jenny Fitzpatrick who plays the role of Tina at some performances each week, Lorna Gayle as Tina’s Grandmother GG, Tom Godwin as Record Producer Phil Spector and Lyricist Terry Britten, Francesca Jackson as Ike and Tina’s manager Rhonda Graam,Aisha Jawando as Tina’s sister Alline Bullock, Natey Jones as Tina’s father Richard Bullock and Tina’s first love Raymond Hill, Gerard McCarthy as record company Marketing Manager Erwin Bach and Ryan O’Donnell as Tina’s Manager Roger Davies.

They are joined by ensemble members Tsemaye Bob-Egbe, Keisher Downie, Kit Esuruoso who also plays Tina’s son Craig Hill, Jammy Kasongo, Sia Kiwa, Jason Langley, Kayleigh McKnight, Baker Mukasa and Tanisha Spring and swings Derek Aidoo, Gavin Alex, Edward Bourne, Candace Furbert, Hannah Jay-Allan and Rodney Vubya.

The children’s cast are Reya-Nyomi Brown, ten years old from Greenwich, Claudia Elie, ten years old from Brent and Serena Mukuna, 10 years old from Camden who share the role of Young Anna Mae;  Athea Andi, nine years old from Richmond, Nicole Dube, thirteen years old from Essex and Arianna Duffus, twelve years old from Harrow, who share the role of Young Alline; Rohan Beckford, nine years old from Enfield, Caelan Edie, 8 years old from Lewisham and Khylan St Paul Mark, seven years old from Brent, who share the role of Young Craig.

From humble beginnings in Nutbush, Tennessee, to her transformation into the global Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Tina Turner didn’t just break the rules, she rewrote them. This new stage musical, presented in association with Tina Turner herself, reveals the untold story of a woman who dared to defy the bounds of her age, gender and race. 

 TINA is produced by Stage EntertainmentJoop van den Ende and Tali Pelman, in association with Tina Turner.  Adrienne Warrenis appearing with the support of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity.


Theatre:                               Aldwych Theatre, Aldwych, London WC2B 4DF

Dates:                                  now booking to 16 February 2019

Performances:                      Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm

                                           Christmas schedule to be announced

Box Office:                           0845 200 7981


Facebook:                            TinaTheMusical

Twitter:                                TinaTheMusical

Instagram:                           TinaTheMusical

UK Theatre and Education Industries Debate Urgent Issue of Creative Arts Provision – Friday 20 April, Birmingham

Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Roxana Silbert

Roxana Silbert

The full line up for the Big Arts and Education Debate has been confirmed. On Friday 20 April, leading figures from the worlds of theatre and education will meet to debate the urgent issue regarding the reduction in creative arts provision in schools across the UK.

The Big Arts and Education Debate will welcome teachers, practitioners, educators and young people and will be opened by Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Artistic Director, Roxana Silbert.

Representing the arts will be Olivier Award-winning playwright, James Graham; Head of UK Theatre, Cassie Chadderton, Artistic Director of Kiln Theatre, Indhu Rubasingham and Punch Record’s CEO, Ammo Talwar. Representatives from the education sector include Pauline Tamblin, Chief Executive of Creative and Cultural Skills, Christine Quinn, West Midlands Regional Schools Commissioner, Sam Cairns, Cultural Learning Alliance and Tim Boyes, CEO of Birmingham Education Partnership.   Chairing the debate will be Steve Ball, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, alongside Carl Woodward, Media and Learning Specialist.

As part of the debate, Marilyn Rice, Producer of Education, Lyric Hammersmith and Romana Flello from the Royal Court Theatre will present the findings of the London Theatre Consortium Education symposium held earlier this year.

Steve Ball, Associate Director at Birmingham Repertory Theatre said:

“We’re looking forward to bringing together the worlds of theatre and education to discuss the issues surrounding creative arts provision in schools.  Since 2010 there has been a 28% drop in the number of children taking creative GCSEs, with a similar drop in the number of creative arts teachers being trained. These diminishing opportunities for children and young people are a real concern and we hope that by the end of the debate to have established some recommendations for improvement.”

Carl Woodward also said:

“To deprive state educated children the opportunities to pursue a career in the arts is nothing short of perverse. The Big Arts and Education Debate is a prophetic and practical opportunity to come together to address this very serious situation. We very much look forward to seeing what recommendations and solutions that we can achieve together.”

The Big Arts and Education Debate takes place at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday 20 April, 2pm – 5pm.  Tickets £10 / £5 concessions are available from / 0121 236 4455.

Kwame Kwei-Armah announces first season as Artistic Director at Young Vic

Kwame Kwei Armah
Kwame Kwei Armah

Kwame Kwei Armah

  • A musical adaptation of Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s Twelfth Night
  • Black Panther’s Danai Gurira’s play The Convert
  •  Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train  by Stephen Adly Guirgis to be directed by Winner Kate Hewitt
  •  Genesis Future Director Award Winner announced as Debbie Hannan who will direct Things of Dry Hours by Naomi Wallace in the Clare
  • A new strand of work, YV Unpacked, taking the highest quality theatre to the community
  • Digital project My England, a celebration of Englishness from playwrights across the country
  • The Young Vic to host VR experience Draw Me CloseNational Theatre and National Film Board of Canada production
  • Crying in the Wilderness to join the Young Vic as new Associate Company
  • Initial casting for Twelfth Night is also announced: Gabrielle Brooks as Viola; Gbemisola Ikumelo as Maria; Jonathan Livingstone as Antonio and Silas Wyatt-Barke as Sir Andrew Aguecheek
  •  £5 First Previews announced – all Main House show first preview tickets will be sold at just £5 via a TodayTix lottery 
Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director, said:
 The Young Vic as a producing theatre has become synonymous with staging international works created by some of the world’s finest directors, performers and creatives; productions and projects that say something about the world that we live in. My first season as Artistic Director will attempt to balance on those shoulders the things that are important to me: joy, community, politics and these are deeply embedded in all that we do.

That’s why the musical reworking of Twelfth Night – that I previously directed at The Public Theater in New York – is the show that I have chosen to kick-start my tenure with. A show that stands community members shoulder to shoulder with professional artists, it’s filled with joyful, soulful music by Shaina Taub; it’s a celebration.

After this we will see Danai Gurira’s The Convert and Stephen Adly Guirgis’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Trainboth, in my opinion, modern classics one portraying Rhodesia 1896 and the other prison in Rikers Island. Both plays ripe for interpretation by some of the most interesting young directors in the country.

Alongside these productions, today we announce two projects that will develop throughout the year. My England: a series of monologues from across England created by playwrights, actors and directors telling us how they define “Englishness” in our potentially fractious society. Through this we are committing to pushing the boundaries further, taking theatre outside our four walls and performing the highest quality shows in prisons, community hubs and centres across London. The first of these shows, Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, looks at the sexually oppressive culture of Germany in the nineteenth century.”


Twelfth Night
by William Shakespeare
Conceived by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub
Music and Lyrics by Shaina Taub
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis
Tuesday 2 October – Saturday 17 November 2018
Press Night: Monday 8 October 2018

A Young Vic adaptation of Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub’s Twelfth Night, originally performed at The Public Theater in New York as part of their Public Works program in 2016, and revisited this summer as part of their free Shakespeare in the Park Delacorte season.

This musical reworking of Shakespeare’s comedy with music and lyrics by critically acclaimed songwriter Shania Taub, will be designed for the Young Vic stage by Rob Jones with Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater, co-directing with Kwame Kwei-Armah.

Initial casting includes: Gabrielle Brooks as Viola; Gbemisola Ikumelo as Maria; Jonathan Livingstoneas Antonio and Silas Wyatt-Barke as Sir Andrew Aguecheek.. These professional artists will perform alongside community members from Southwark and Lambeth in this classic tale of love and disguise.

The Convert
by Danai Gurira
Main House Friday 7 December 2018 – Saturday 19 January 2019
Press Night: Friday 14 December

Black Panther star and Tony-nominated writer Danai Gurira’s striking play explores the impact of colonialism and Catholicism on black identity.

Set in 1896 Rhodesia, a young girl is taken into the household of a black Roman Catholic missionary, escaping a forced marriage at the cost of leaving behind her family and converting to Catholicism.

Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train
by Stephen Adly Guirgis directed by Kate Hewitt
Thursday 14 February – Saturday 30 March 2019
Press Night: Wednesday 20 February 2019

From Pulitzer Prize-winner Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Motherfucker with the Hat) Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train takes places in a prison in Rikers Island New York. A frightened young man accused of murdering a cult leader is confronted with a charismatic born-again serial killer and a sadistic guard. Will one man’s redemption lead to another’s damnation?

Originally directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, this adaption will be directed by Kate Hewitt, winner of the JMK Award 2014.


Things of Dry Hours
by Naomi Wallace and directed by 2018 Genesis Future Director Award Winner Debbie Hannan
Wednesday 15 August – Saturday 25 August 2018

2018 Genesis Award winner Debbie Hannan directs this tantalizing, poetic play. Weaving the spiritual into the political, Things of Dry Hours interrogates the idea that humans cannot change; are we really all that black and white?

Due to the nature of the Genesis Future Director Award, there will be no press night performance. 


 YV Unpacked is a new strand of work, taking the highest quality theatre to people who do not normally think that theatre is for them. We will be taking shows to refugee centres, prisons, community hubs and homeless shelters as part of this work. The first work to be taken out to the community is: Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind, directed Caroline Byrne.
My England is a celebration of playwrights from across regions of England. The works look at what it means to be English. Monologues will be recorded and shown on the Young Vic social media channels.

Confirmed commissions include work from: Lucy J Skilbeck, Omar El-Khairy, Polly Stenham, Barrie Rutter, Jack Thorne and May Sumbqanyambe.

Draw Me Close by Jordan Tannahill is a preview of the National Theatre and National Film Board of Canada production, presented by Young Vic. Draw Me Close blurs the worlds of live performance, virtual reality and animation to create a vivid memoir about the relationship between a mother and her son in the wake of her terminal-cancer diagnosis.
 Crying in the Wilderness Productions join the Young Vic as an Associate Company. Crying in the Wilderness Productions is dedicated to producing groundbreaking productions which are anchored to an intercultural philosophical practice. They have produced work in collaboration with the Bush Theatre, Arcola Theatre and at Stratford Circus Theatre.

West End performer Peter Caulfield will join Joan VáZquez in Paquito Forever – A New Musical at London’s Live at Zédel 

Paquito Forever
Peter Caulfield

Peter Caulfield

Peter Caulfield, who starred as King Herod in the multi award-winning production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, will join Joan Vázquez in the London presentation of  PAQUITO FOREVER, the one-man musical of this season in Barcelona.

PAQUITO FOREVER is a new musical written by Fran Arráez and Gerard Alonso and directed by Victor AlvaroPAQUITO FOREVER will make its London premiere at Live at Zédel on Wednesday2nd May 20187.00pm. The show will be performed in English.

Meet Paquito Alonso, flamenco dancer, comedian, transvestite… artist! From his childhood in post-war Spain –wandering the Paralelo cabarets wishing to be a Star– to a career in the States getting to perform at the best venues in New York and Vegas, the true story of Paquito Alonso is one of relentless determination, in a quest to find a place in the world where he could be who he truly was in times of repression.

Vázquez –accompanied on the piano by Gerard Alonso, and joined by West End performer Peter Caulfield– brings an evening of stand-up comedy, flamenco, blues, jazz, dancing and a tiny little bit of cross-dressing. Don’t miss the chance to meet the endearing Paquito and discover this awesome true story of big dreams and courage. Cabaret at its best.

Regarding the opening of PAQUITO FOREVER in London Joan says: ‘Paco passed away shortly after I was cast in the role of Paquito in the revival of FLOR DE NIT. He had created that role in the 90s and the news came as a shock right in the middle of rehearsals. I began enquiring about his life and, to my surprise, he had had an amazing artistic career audiences didn’t know about. His story had to be told. I had to do a show about him.
I can’t believe we’re taking the show to London right after our Barcelona run! We have been getting such good feedback for the show and we feel very grateful for that. People are feeling very moved by the story of Paco. I can’t wait for Londoners to see it

PAQUITO FOREVER has received nominations for Barcelona Critic’s Awards for Best MusicalSpain Music Theatre Awards for Best Actor(Joan Vázquez) and Spain Max Theatre Awards for Best Musical.

Joan’s credits include Claude in Hair, Frank in Merrily We Roll Along, Sky in Mamma Mia! and Lockwood in The History Boys, in the recent Barcelona and Madrid productions. Other credits include Abdullah in the world première of Bagdad Café directed by Percy Adlon, My Fair Lady, and the first Spanish production of Rent, directed by Abby Epstein and Michael Greif.
Joan has regularly worked with repertory companies in Barcelona such as Gataro, The Zombie Company, La Barni or El Musical Més Petit, in revues, cabaret and fringe productions such as Flor de Nit, Le Llaman Copla and Off- Broadway. His writing credits include Se Fue En Un Barco (The Ship that got away), a play about Spanish post-war refugees.

Peter Caulfield trained at LIPA in Liverpool and since graduating he has worked across the board in Theatre, TV, Film, Animation and Radio. Peter’s TV credits include ‘Cucumber’ (Channel 4), ‘Banana’ (E4), ‘Doctor Who’ (BBC) and the international Nordic crime thriller ‘Modus’ where he played opposite Kim Cattrall. He is also well known for various West End Theatre performances including smash hit’s such as ‘Enron’, ‘Obamaology’, and ‘One Man Two Guvnors’.
Peter is an accomplished vocalist, starring as King Herod in the multi award-winning production of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Regent’s Park Open Air theatre and in a number of Stephen Sondheim productions including: ‘Into The Woods’ (Royal Opera House), ‘Follies’ and ‘A ‘Funny Thing Happened on The Way To the Forum’ (National Theatre). Peter most recently starred as Mr Tumnus in the Sally Cookson reimagining of ‘Lion Witch and the Wardrobe’.
This year he will also see the release of British feature film ‘Strangeways Here We Come’, set on a Salford high rise estate starring Michele Keegan and BAFTA winner Chan Cresswell. Peter plays an American Morman, called Charlie. In the summer he will also be appearing as Edgar Alan Poe at the the Royal Festival Hall in the Tiger Lillies new show ‘Edgar Alan Poe and the Haunted Palace’.

The Original Cast Recording of PAQUITO FOREVER is available digitally on iTunes and Spotify.

, , , ,

Salisbury Playhouse’s boss Gareth Machin: ‘There is a desire to demonstrate that the city is open for business, that it’s moving on & that it doesn’t want to be defined by what’s happened here.’

Gareth Machin is the artistic director of Salisbury Playhouse in Wiltshire. He is also the director and writer of Moonfleet, a new British musical based on the well-loved novel by J Meade Faulkner. Set amongst the cliffs and caves of 18th century Dorset and is the story of a young man’s search for adventure and fulfilment. Haunted by the ghost of the marauding pirate Blackbeard, Moonfleet is a village of intrigue and drama where shadowy smugglers lurk. “Writing musicals is clearly very complicated because so many elements come into play,” he explains. “Also, generally they are very expensive to produce. Russell (Hepplewhite) and I have been working on it for an awfully long time and there have been a lot of challenges to adapt it for the stage.”


Gareth Machin


During rehearsals for Moonfleet an international espionage drama has played out in the narrow lanes and shopping precincts of the small cathedral city, after the recent poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia. It must have been unsettling; how would he describe the mood of the city? “It has been a challenging few weeks and there has been a lot of uncertainty,” he says. “But there has also been incredible resilience and we have been able to continue the work that we are doing here. Our audiences have remained very loyal, for which we are very grateful. There is a mood in the city that although this isn’t over by any stretch of the imagination, there is a desire to keep demonstrating that the city is open for business, that it’s moving on and that it doesn’t want to be defined by what’s happened here.”


The cordon around the bench in Salisbury where the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, collapsed.

Following a successful bid for joint national portfolio funding from Arts Council England (ACE) the merger of the three arts organisations in the same postcode: Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre and Salisbury International Arts Festival have collectively become ‘Wiltshire Creative’, and will commission, develop and produce cross-artform. What does this mean for the identity of the three – very different – organisations? “It’s a huge opportunity for the arts in Salisbury,” he says. “With public funding inevitably being very challenging, it is an incredible vote of confidence from the Arts Council, in the quality of the artistic offer, in what is a relatively small city like Salisbury. The level of investment that had been going to three organisations has been retained and consolidated in one large pan-arts organisation. It feels like we now have a more sustainable model, in terms of finance. But it also means artistically we will be a far more resilient company, artistically in so far as we will be working across different art forms, commissioning artists across different art forms. We will create a much more coherent and straightforward offer for Salisbury and the wider region.”

Unsurprisingly, at the 2011 census the population of the civil parish was 95.73% white. To his credit, he doesn’t subscribe to 50/50 gender quotas; when it comes to selling tickets, choosing suitable artists must continue to matter more than gender? “Sometimes the most obvious ways of defining diversity are not necessarily the most interesting way to define diversity, in a city like Salisbury,” he says simply. “But we want the broadest representation of voices and people within this organisation that is genuinely reflecting our wider community. We will never get this absolutely right because it will be a continual process. I think the fact that it is so high up the agenda now is incredibly useful.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On the subject of the ongoing revelations of abuses of power and sexual harassment within the industry he muses: “We have had to look at the procedures and processes that we have in place, so that if ever a situation arose here, we are confident that our systems are robust enough to be able to properly deal with a situation should it ever arise. It has been a very useful opportunity for us to review and have that conversation with our wider staff.”

What, I ask, are the qualities that make a good artistic director? “That’s the hardest question you’ve asked,” he says. A pause. “It’s not that far away from what qualities you need in a rehearsal room. You need to be comfortable bringing people in who are a lot cleverer than you, know a lot more than you and be comfortable with managing them and their ideas and be able to listen and be able to respond. Your job ultimately is to bring the best out of other people and to shape a lot of people’s different ideas and shape them into something that is coherent and strong. That’s what you do in a rehearsal room and that is how you are running a building.  In terms of vision and ego it is a balance because you have got to have a bit but if you have too much, it’s a problem.”

More than most, Machin is aware that his theatre can’t live on past glories. “I think there are a lot of lazy preconceptions about Salisbury audiences,” he says defiantly. “One of the great joys being here as long as I have, is that the audience still consistently surprise me at what they are up for. When I started here, the idea of doing new plays on the main stage was pretty scary. Whereas actually Barney Norris’s Echo’s End or Worst Wedding Ever, which we did a couple of years ago, are two of the best-selling shows in the time that I have been here. That in itself is hugely encouraging; we are allowed to swear on the main stage and people don’t walk out,” Machin says, smiling.

“With Moonfleet, I feel like we are developing a piece that we are all very proud of and we want to tell everybody that it is happening.”

Moonfleet runs at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 19 April to Saturday 5 May. The production is supported by Salisbury Playhouse’s Commissioning Circle.


 Final Casting announced for West End transfer of Consent


Today (16 April 2018), rehearsals begin for the West End production of Nina Raine’s Consent which will begin previews at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 18 May with its opening night on 29 May 2018.  Directed by Roger Michell and originally co-produced and commissioned by Out of Joint, this strictly limited 12-week run is booking through to 11 August 2018 following the 2017 critically acclaimed sell-out run at the National Theatre.  A series of accompanying pre-show talks and discussions exploring ideas of justice, consent, marriage and modern parenthood will be announced at a later date.

Clare Foster, Lee Ingleby and Thusitha Jayasundera join the previously announced cast comprising Claudie Blakley, Stephen Campbell Moore, Heather Craney and Adam James.  Consent has set by Hildegard Bechtler, costumes by Dinah Collin, lighting by Rick Fisher, music by Kate Whitley, sound by John Leonard and Sarah Weltman with casting by Amy Ball CDG.

Why is Justice blind? Is she impartial? Or is she blinkered?  Friends take opposing briefs in a contentious legal case. The key witness is a woman whose life seems a world away from theirs. At home, their own lives begin to unravel as every version of the truth is challenged.  This ‘tense, entertaining modern-day tragi-comedy’ (Daily Telegraph) takes a searing look at the law whilst putting modern relationships into the dock.

Claudie Blakley’s (Kitty) theatre credits include Once in a Lifetime for the Young Vic, The Painkiller at the Garrick Theatre, Chimerica for the Almeida Theatre and the Harold Pinter Theatre, Rules for Living, The Cherry Orchard, Comedy of ErrorsAttempts on Her Life and Rosencrantz & Guildernstern are Dead for the National Theatre, Macbeth and Lear for the Sheffield Crucible, Di and Viv and Rose and The Good Samaritan for the Hampstead Theatre, Love and Money for the Young Vic and Royal Exchange, All’s Well That Ends Well for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Kosher Harry for the Royal Court, The Lady from the Sea for the Almeida Theatre and Billy & the Crab for Soho Theatre. Her television credits includeGrantchester, Silent WitnessThe Driver, What Remains, The Night Watch, New Tricks, Nativity, Blue GeraniumLark Rise to Candleford, Cranford Chronicles, Fallen Angel, Fear of Fanny, Vital Signs, Dirty Filthy Love and Inspector Lynley Mysteries. Her film credits include Bright StarLondon to Brighton, SeverancePride and PrejudiceGosford Park and The Cat’s Meow.

Stephen Campbell Moore’s (Edward) theatre credits include Photograph 51 at the Noël Coward Theatre, Chimerica for the Almeida and the Harold Pinter Theatre, Berenice for the Donmar Warehouse, Clybourne Park in the Wyndham’s Theatre, All My Sons at the Apollo Theatre, The History Boysfor the National Theatre and on Broadway, Much Ado About Nothing and Antony and Cleopatra both for the Royal Shakespeare Company, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Albery, Richard II and Coriolanus for the Almeida Theatre. His film credits include Goodbye Christopher RobinHow To Talk To Girls At PartiesThe Lady in the VanThe Ones BelowBurntMoonwalkersMan UpComplicitJohnny English RebornSeason of the Witch,Sea WolfThe ChildrenThe Bank JobAmazing GraceThe History BoysA Good Woman and Bright Young Things. His television credits include The Child in Time, The Last PostStag, The Wrong Mans, The Go Between, Our ZooHunted, Just Henry, Titanic, Sleepyhead, Pulse, Ben Hur, Lark Rise to Candleford, A Short Stay in SwitzerlandAshes to Ashes, Rough Crossings, Hustle, Wallis and Edward, He Knew He Was Right and Byron.

Heather Craney (Gayle and Laura) originated the roles of Gayle and Laura in Consent for the National Theatre. Her other theatre credits includeThe Vote and Passion Play both for the Donmar Warehouse, Made in Dagenham at the Adelphi Theatre, HandbaggedPink and You Me & Wii all for the Tricycle Theatre, I Like Mine with a Kiss at the Bush Theatre, Joe Guy at Soho Theatre, Sugar Mummies and Stoning Mary both for the Royal Court. For film, her recent credits include Child 44Dangerous ParkingMark of Cain and Vera Drake which earned her a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. On television her credits include Line of DutyLife of RileyTorchwoodIn the DarkAhead of the ClassHolby CityDoctorsSilent Witness and Eastenders.

Clare Foster’s (Zara) theatre credits include Travesties at Menier Chocolate Factory and Apollo Theatre, Guys & Dolls, Master and Margarita and Out of This World all for Chichester Festival Theatre, Merrily We Roll Along at Menier Chocolate Factory and Harold Pinter Theatre, Separation, Duet for One, Love On The Dole and A Streetcar Named Desire all at Bolton Octagon Theatre, Crazy for You at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Novello Theatre, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, Avenue Q at the Noel Coward Theatre, The Far Pavilions at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Sweet Charity at Sheffield Crucible and We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre.  Her recent film and television credits includeHolmes and Watson, Les Miserables, Black Forest, Dark Heart, Sherlock, Taboo, Galavant, Ripper Street and The Crown.

Lee Ingleby’s (Tim) theatre credits include Our Class and The Pillowman both at the National Theatre, Furnace Four and Shoreditch Madonna both at Soho Theatre, Cressida at the Almeida Theatre, Drink, Dance, Laugh and Lie at the Bush Theatre, A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Albery,Dreaming at the Royal Exchange and About the Boy at The Royal Court. His extensive work in television includes The A Word, Line of Duty, Inspector George Gently, Nature Boy, White Heat, The Street, Luther, Our Zoo and The Five as well as the ITV series Innocent and Netflix mini-series adaptation of Watership Down. His work in film includes Master and Commander, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Ever After: A Cinderella Story.

Adam James (Jake) is an award-winning actor who has worked extensively on stage and screen. Most recently seen in Girl from the North Country at the Noël Coward Theatre, Adam originated the role of Jake in Consent for the National Theatre, where his previous credits have included 13, Gethsemane and Blood and Gifts. He is recognisable on screen for his roles in Dr Foster, King Charles III, The Crimson Field, Hustle and Extrasamongst others. Other theatre credits include An Enemy of the People for Chichester Festival Theatre, Bull for the Young Vic, Now or Later and My Child both for the Royal Court and King Charles III at the Almeida Theatre. His film credits include The Kill Team, Johnny English IIIHunter KillerA Little Chaos, Last Chance Harvey, Mother of Tears and Road To Guantanamo. His more recent television credits include Home From Home, Eric, Ernie and Me, Endeavour, Grantchester and Coalition.

Thusitha Jayasundera (Rachel) was most recently seen in The Divide at The Old Vic and King’s Theatre Edinburgh, and has previously appeared in Nina Raine’s Tiger Country at Hampstead Theatre. Her other theatre credits include My Eyes Went Dark at Finborough and Traverse Theatre, Behind the Beautiful ForeversCrime and PunishmentWar Horse and The Caucasian Chalk Circle for the National Theatre, The Vertical Hour for the Park Theatre and The Comedy of ErrorsCainPeer Gynt and Pentecost for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her extensive work in television includesMidsomer Murders, Doctor Foster, Humans, The Foreigner, Broadchurch, The C Word and Lewis.

 Nina Raine’s other plays include Tiger Country, Rabbit and Tribes as well as an adaptation of The Drunks by the Durnenkov Brothers.  She was shortlisted for the 2004 Verity Bargate Award and awarded the 2006 Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Most Promising Playwright for her debut play Rabbit.  Tribes won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Foreign Play and the Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best New Play and has been performed in eighteen different countries. Nina was nominated for a Susan Blackburn Smith Award for Consent.

Roger Michell’s many productions include WasteLandscape with Weapon, Honour, Blue/Orange, Under Milk WoodThe Homecoming and The Coupall for the National Theatre, Farewell to the Theatre and Some Sunny Day both for Hampstead Theatre, Rope for the Almeida Theatre, Tribes andBirthday both for the Royal Court, Betrayal, Old Times and My Night with Reg for the Donmar Warehouse, the latter transferring to the Apollo Theatre in the West End. Michell’s film credits include My Cousin Rachel, Le Week-End, Hyde Park on Hudson, Morning Glory, Venus, Enduring Love, The Mother, Changing Lanes, Persuasion, My Night With Reg, Titanic Town and Notting Hill.  On television his credits include The Buddha of Suburbia, Downtown Lagos, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries, Birthday, Ready When You Are, Mr Patel and Michael Redgrave – My Father.


Theatre:                           Harold Pinter Theatre, Panton St, London SW1Y 4DN

Dates:                              18 May – 11 August 2018

Press Night:                       29 May 2018 at 7pm

Running time:                    Approximately 2 hours 20 minutes including a 20 minute interval

Box Office:                         ATG Tickets 0844 871 7622

National Theatre 020 7452 3000

Performances:                    Monday – Saturday at 7.30pmWednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm

Age Guidance:                    15+

Prices:                              From £15


Twitter:                           @consentwestend

Facebook:                         @consentwestend

Further DUSTY casting released on Dusty Springfield’s Birthday

Katherine Kingsley © Dominic Nicholls
Katherine Kingsley © Dominic Nicholls

Katherine Kingsley © Dominic Nicholls

  • Further casting announced, including Rufus Hound and Roberta Taylor, for the new musical charting the life of Dusty Springfield
  • They join Katherine Kingsley, previously announced in the title role
  • Dusty will premiere in June at Theatre Royal Bath, before playing at  Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, Newcastle  Theatre Royal and The Lowry, Salford

To celebrate the birthday of Dusty Springfield (born 16 April 1939) further casting has been announced today for DUSTY, the landmark new musical about her life which will have its world premiere at Theatre Royal Bath in June 2018 before dates at The Lyceum in Sheffield, Newcastle Theatre Royal, and The Lowry in Salford.

Joining the previously announced Katherine Kingsley (Piaf, Singin’ in the Rain) in the title role will be actor, comedian and presenter Rufus Hound (Dirty Rotten ScoundrelsThe Wind in the Willows) as Dusty’s manager Billings and Roberta Taylor (The Bill, EastEnders) as Dusty’s mother Kay.

The full cast will include Ishmail Aaron, Jenny Bolt, Alex Bowen, Esther Coles, Joelle Dyson, Joanna Francis, Paul Grunert, Ella Kenion, Adam Lyons, Lisa Mathieson, Katharine Pearson, Micha Richardson, Sadie-Jean Shirley, Hampus Lee Strand and Chad Wilder, with further casting still to be announced.

With a fiercely funny and emotionally charged script from BAFTA and Olivier nominated writer Jonathan Harvey (Beautiful ThingCoronation Street), DUSTY is directed by Olivier Award-winner Maria Friedman (Merrily We Roll AlongStepping Out).

DUSTY features many of the singer’s blazingly soulful pop hits, including I Only Want to Be with YouSon of a Preacher Man and You Dont Have toSay You Love Me. 

London born Dusty Springfield’s career started in the late 1950’s. She soon became known across the world for her soulful voice and iconic look with hits spanning four decades. Dusty was recently voted one of the most influential women of the last 100 years in a poll by BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today programme. Her 1969 masterpiece ‘Dusty In Memphis’ is considered one of the greatest albums of all time and Dusty has been inducted into both the US Rock and Roll and UK Music Halls of Fame.

DUSTY draws on the memories of her close friend, manager and authorised biographer Vicki Wickham, her lifelong personal assistant Pat Rhodes, and friend and record company executive Tris Penna.

Rufus Hound is a well-known actor, comedian and presenter equally at home with roles on screen including Doctor Who, Cucumber, Hounded and on the stage including What The Butler Saw (Theatre Royal Bath / Leicester Curve), Don Quixote (RSC), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre London). He returns to The Lowry following his award-winning role as Mr Toad in The Wind in the Willows. Prior to DUSTY, he will be playing opposite Katherine Kingsley in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter at Chichester Festival Theatre.

Roberta Taylor is best known as series regulars Inspector Gina Gold in The Bill and previously Irene Raymond in EastEnders. Further screen credits include Luther, Shakespeare & Hathaway, Bleak House. Alongside her television work her numerous roles onstage include an acclaimed and memorable performance as Phoebe Rice in John Osborne’s The Entertainer (Manchester Royal Exchange).

Katherine Kingsley has received widespread critical acclaim and multiple Olivier and WhatsOnStage Award nominations. Theatre credits include playing Marlene Dietrich in Piaf (Donmar Warehouse), Christine Colgate in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Savoy Theatre London)/ Manchester Opera House / Aylesbury Waterside Theatre), Helena in Michael Grandage Company’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Noël Coward Theatre), Lina Lamont in Singin’ In The Rain (Palace Theatre London / Chichester Festival Theatre) and The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre). On screen credits include the film Genius as well as appearances on The Bill, Casualty and Bad Education. 

Jonathan Harvey wrote his first play in 1987, and has since written over 15 more, including BabiesBoom Bang-A-Bang and Beautiful Thing, which was later made into an acclaimed film. He has been the recipient of the Evening Standard, George Devine and John Whiting Awards, and his work has been both Bafta- and Olivier-nominated. Jonathan’s extensive television writing includes Coronation Street, on which he has worked since 2004, Beautiful People and Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. He has also written for shows as diverse as RevShamelessAt Home With The BraithwaitesThe Catherine Tate Show and Tracey Ullman’s Show. He has also published five novels and been hailed as ‘the new theatrical voice of his generation’.

Best known as a three-time Olivier Award winning star of the musical stage, director Maria Friedman made an astonishing directorial debut in 2012 with a hugely acclaimed production of Merrily We Roll Along which won Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards 2013, the Olivier Awards 2014 (for which Maria was also nominated for Best Director of a Musical), and the Critic’s Circle Award 2013. She went on to direct High Society at The Old Vic in 2015 and recently Stepping Out at the Vaudeville Theatre.

Full cast and creative team biographies can be downloaded here.

DUSTY is produced by Eleanor Lloyd Productions in association with Tris Penna and Vicki Wickham. Set and Costume Design is by Tom Pye with Choreography by Tim Jackson, Lighting Design by Bruno Poet, Sound Design by Richard Brooker, Video Design by Finn Ross, Orchestrations and Vocal Arrangements by Steve Sidwell and Musical Supervision and Vocal Arrangements by Tim Sutton. Music Consultant is Tris Penna, Casting Director is Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG and Hair, Wigs and Make Up are by Carole Hancock.

Book by Jonathan Harvey
Directed by Maria Friedman

Designer Tom Pye
Choreographer Tim Jackson

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Saturday 23 June – Saturday 7 July 2018
THEATRE ROYAL BATH | 01225 448844
Tickets from £23.00
Evenings performances at 7.30pm
Matinee performances on Saturday 30th JuneThursday 5th July and Saturday 7th July at 2.30pm.(no performance Monday 25th June)

Wednesday10 July – Saturday 14 July 2018
Tickets from £18.00
Evening performances at 7.45pm
Matinee performances on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm

Tuesday 17 July – Saturday 21 July 2018
Tickets from £19.50
Evening performances at 7.30pm
Matinee performances on Wednesday and Thursday at 2pm and Saturday at 2.30pm

Tuesday 24 July – Saturday 28 July 2018
THE LOWRY, SALFORD | 0843 208 6000
Tickets from £14.50
Evening performances at 7.30pm
Matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm


First Look: Production Images: TINA at Aldwych Theatre