Casting update from Chichester Festival Theatre – The Country Girls & The House They Grew Up In

The House They Grew Up In

The House They Grew Up In

Casting is announced today for two plays premiering this summer as part of Chichester Festival Theatre’s 2017 season. Daniel Ryan and Samantha Spiro will lead the cast of Deborah Bruce’s new playTHE HOUSE THEY GREW UP IN; Genevieve Hulme-Beaman and Grace Molony play the title roles in Edna O’Brien’s THE COUNTRY GIRLS.

THE COUNTRY GIRLS plays in the Minerva Theatre from 9 June – 8 July, directed by Lisa Blair. Grace Molony makes her professional theatre debut as Kate, while Genevieve Hulme-Beaman, whose theatre work includes The Seagull at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre and The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe, plays Baba. The full company is: Romayne Andrews,  Rachel Atkins, Tom Canton, Chris Garner, Colm Gormley, Genevieve Hulme-Beaman (Baba),  Melanie McHugh, Keshini Misha, Grace Molony (Kate), Bailey Patrick, Valery Schatz (Mr Gentleman) and Jade Yourell.

THE HOUSE THEY GREW UP IN runs in the Minerva Theatre from 14 July – 5 August, directed by Jeremy Herrin in a co-production with Headlong. Samantha Spiro returns to Chichester where she played Fanny Brice in Funny Girl in 2008; her award-winning theatre roles also include Di and Viv and Rose (West End), Chicken Soup with Barley (Royal Court) and Hello, Dolly! (Regent’s Park), while her extensive television work includes Grandma’s House, The Tracey Ullman Show and Barbara Windsor in the forthcoming Babs. Daniel Ryan makes his Chichester debut; his many television series include Mount Pleasant, Home Fires and Doc Martin, and theatre includes Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse), Posh (Royal Court) and Gethsemane (National Theatre).

Booking is now open for both The Country Girls and The House They Grew Up In:   Box Office 01243 781312

Prologue: £5 tickets for 16 – 25s

£5 tickets are available for 16 to 25 year-olds for all productions throughout Festival 2017; sign up for free at  Members also have access to a range of exclusive events.

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Full cast announced for Shakespeare in the Squares’ production of Romeo and Juliet touring to London’s squares and parks this summer

Shakespeare in the Squares today announced full casting for its 2017 production of Romeo and Juliet which tours to London’s squares and parks from 21 June to 13 July, with a press night at Norland Square on 27 JuneTatty Hennessy directs Jack Brett (Mercutio), Naomi Bullock (Lady Capulet), Andrew Gallo (Prince/Paris) Indigo Griffiths (Juliet), Liz Marsh(Nurse/Lady Montague), Bruce Panday (Lord Capulet), Julia Righton (Sister Laurence), Hannah Sinclair (Benvolio), Adam Strawford (Romeo) and Roger Suubi (Tybalt).

Adam Strawford (Romeo)

Adam Strawford (Romeo)

Shakespeare in the Squares’ new production of Romeo and Juliet, the most youthful, full-blooded and sexually charged of all Shakespeare’s tragedies, is situated in 1950s Naples. Full of paeans to the speed of young love, the rashness of quick violence and the heat of the summer, it is an exploration of the generational divide between the young and old, and the devastating consequences of blindly inherited feuds.

Jack Brett plays Mercutio. For theatre, his credits include Alfie Strange: Trained Time Travellers Only (New Wolsey Theatre and tour), Underneath a Magical Moon (York Theatre Royal and UK tour), My Friend Peter (Arts Theatre and UK tour), The Crash of Elysium (Punchdrunk) and The Rising (Gecko).

Naomi Bullock plays Lady Capulet. For theatre, her credits include Aladdin (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch), News Revue (Canal Cafe/Edinburgh Festival), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Courtyard Theatre), The Great Gatsby (King’s Head/Riverside Studios),  Cartography (Soho Theatre), Starchild (King’s Head), Cyrano de Bergerac (White Bear and Tinkerbox (Brighton Fringe). Her television credits include No Point.

Indigo Griffiths (Juliet)

Indigo Griffiths (Juliet) © Michael Wharley Photography 2014

Andrew Gallo plays Prince and Paris. For theatre, his credits include Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre), Parade (Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester) David Copperfield (Pleasance Courtyard) and Saturday Night Fever (Theatre Royal Bath).

Indigo Griffiths plays Juliet. For theatre, her credits include The Interrogation of Sandra Bland (Bush Theatre) and Grimm: An Untold Tale (Edinburgh Festival).

 Liz Marsh plays the Nurse and Lady Montague. For theatre, her credits include Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Iron, Elektra, Dead Funny, Playhouse (Theatre by the Lake), Merrily We Roll Along (Watermill Theatre, Newbury), Blonde Bombshells of 1943 (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Abigail’s Party (New Vic Theatre). For television, her work includes The Falling and Filthy Cities.

Bruce Panday plays Lord Capulet. For theatre, his work includes includes The Listening Room (Old Red Lion), White Carnation (Finborough Theatre), Moonlight Serenade (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith), Pied Piper (Chichester Festival Theatre), Page 3 Girls, and Sweet Charity (tour). His work for television includes London’s Burning, Pride of Britain, and The Early Days.

Julia Righton plays Sister Laurence. For theatre, her work includes Elizabeth (Royal Opera House), Gasping, Lady Windermere’s Fan (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Duchess of Malfi, Woman In Mind and Hamletmachine (Edinburgh Lyceum) The Secret Life of Swift, Gulliver (Riverside Studios and tour), The Secret Garden (Tobacco Factory Theatres), A Taste of Honey, Skinned, The Wizard of Oz and The Grizzled Skipper (Nuffield Southampton Theatres). For television, her work includes Doctor Who, Home Invasion and Judge Dredd: The Death Trap and, for film Further and Particular.

Hannah Sinclair plays Benvolio. Hannah recently graduated from  East 15 Acting School

For television, her credits include Killer Cops and, for film, Urban Decay.

Adam Strawford plays Romeo. He recently graduated from the Guildford School of Acting. For television, he has appeared in Silent Witness and, for film, Faces.

Roger Suubi plays Tybalt. He recently graduated from East 15 Acting School and this marks his professional stage debut.

Tatty Hennessy recently directed The Snow Queen (Theatre N16) and Acorn (Courtyard Theatre). She has directed work for Pint Sized, Miniaturists, Theatre Renegade, Not Too Tame, and The Reversed Shakespeare Company. She is an associate director with Merely Theatre, a Shakespeare repertory company about to embark on their second UK and Ireland tour. She has been an Associate Director at the Lyric Theatre, Park Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe where her work has included The Duchess of Malfi in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and the world tour of Hamlet, which visited every country in the world over two years. She is also a playwright and graduate of the Royal Court and Lyric Young Writers’ Programmes.

Founded by Sue Fletcher and Martin Neild in 2016, Shakespeare in the Squares is a not-for-profit touring theatre company that stages a Shakespeare play across London squares every summer. The productions are tailored to the individual garden squares, and the company works with the garden committees and other local organisations to create a unique community celebration around the play. The company aims to provide a showcase for talented young theatre practitioners and to introduce audiences to the stars of the future.

Romeo and Juliet                                                                                                                                   Listings

All performances at 7pm

Wednesday 21st June                    Leinster Square, W2

Thursday 22nd June                        St James’s Gardens, W11

Friday 23rd June                               Elgin & Arundel Gardens, W11

Saturday 24th June                         Queen’s Park, NW6

Tuesday 27th June                          Norland Square, W11 (press night)

Wednesday 28th June                   Montague Street Gardens (Bedford Square Festival), WC1

Saturday 1st July                              Norfolk Square Gardens, W2

Tuesday 4th July                               St James’s Square, SW1

Wednesday 5th July                        Connaught Square, W2

Friday   7th July                                 Crescent Garden, W9

Saturday 8th July                              Little Wormwood Scrubs Park, W10

Tuesday 11th July                              Wandsworth Common (next to Windmill Nursery), SW18

Wednesday 12th July                       Ladbroke Square, W11

Thursday 13th July                                          Cleveland Square, W2

Twitter: @shakessquares

Facebook: shakespeareinthesquares


Cast Announced for Anatomy of a Suicide written by Alice Birch directed by Katie Mitchell

Gershwyn Eustache Jnr., Paul Hilton, Peter Hobday, Adelle Leonce, Sarah Malin, Jodie McNee, Hattie Morahan, Kate O’Flynn and Dickon Tyrrell have been cast in Alice Birch’s Anatomy of a Suicide directed by Katie Mitchell. It runs in the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs 3 June 2017 – 8 July 2017 with Press Night on Thursday 8 June.

With set design by Alex Eales, costume design by Sarah Blenkinsop, lighting by James Farncombe, music by Paul Clark and sound by Melanie Wilson

 “My mother always said to Live Big.
Live as much as I could.”

Three generations of women.

For each, the chaos of what has come before brings with it a painful legacy.

“I have Stayed. I have Stayed – I have Stayed for as long as I possibly can.”
Anatomy of a Suicide is part of the Royal Court’s Jerwood New Playwrights programme, supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

Alice Birch (Writer)
For the Royal Court: Ophelias Zimmer (& Schaubühne, Berlin), Revolt. She said. Revolt again (& RSC/Soho Rep).
Other theatre includes: We Want You To Watch (National); The Lone Pine Club (Pentabus); Little Light (Orange Tree); Little on the inside (Almeida/Clean Break); Salt (Comedie de Valence); Many Moons (503).
Film includes: Lady Macbeth.
Awards include: George Devine Award (Revolt. She said. Revolt again); International Critic’s Prize (FIPRESCI Prize) at San Sebastian International Film Festival, Critic’s Choice Award for Best First Feature at Zurich Film Festival (Lady Macbeth); Arts Foundation Award for Playwriting.

Writer Alice Birch and director Katie Mitchell discuss Anatomy of a Suicide 

Katie Mitchell (Director)
For the Royal Court: Ophelias Zimmer (& Schaubühne, Berlin), 2071, Ten Billion, The City, The Country, Forty Winks, Nightsongs, Mountain Language/Ashes To Ashes.
Other theatre includes: 4.48 Psychosis (Schauspielhaus, Hamburg); The Maids (Toneelgroep, Amsterdam);Shadows (Eurydice Speaks) Lungs, The Yellow Wallpaper (Schaubühne, Berlin); Cleansed, Women of Troy, Three Sisters, Waves (National); Reisende auf einem Bein, Happy Days, The Rest Will Be Familiar To You From Cinema (Schauspielhaus, Hamburg); Brandstichter Festival (Stadschouwburg, Amsterdam); The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic); The Forbidden Zone (Salzburg Festival/Schaubühne, Berlin); A Sorrow Beyond Dreams (Vienna Burgtheater); Say it with Flowers, The Trial of Ubu (Hampstead); Night Train (Schauspiel, Köln/Avignon Festival/Theatertreffen); Rings of Saturn, Waves (Schauspiel, Köln).
Opera includes: Pelleas et Melisande (Aix en Provence Festival); Lucia di Lammermoor, Clemency (ROH); Pealleas et Melisande, Alcina, Trauernacht, The House Taken Over (Aix-en-Provence Festival); The Way Back Home (ENO/ Young Vic); Le Vin Herbe (Staatsoper, Berlin); Written on Skin (Aix-en-Provence Festival/ROH); Al Gran Sole Carico D’Amore (Staatsoper, Berlin/Salzburg Festival); Orest (De Nederlandse Opera).
Film includes: Untitled Short Film for Warp/Film4, Widowing of Mrs Holroyd, Jenufa, Rough for Theatre 2, The Turn of the Screw.
Katie has been an Associate Director at the RSC, National Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre. She was awarded an OBE in 2009 for services to Drama and has recently been appointed as the Visiting Chair in Opera Studies at Oxford University for 2016-17.

Gershwyn Eustache Jnr
For the Royal Court: a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun)
Other theatre includes: The Royale (Bush); The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth on Film (Globe); Home, nut (National); Romeo & Juliet (Custom Practice/UK tour).
Television includes: Britannia, Fortitude, Legends, Peter Pan, Run, New Worlds, Redemptions End.
Film includes: The Yellow Birds, Second Coming, Starred Up.

Paul Hilton
For the Royal Court: Terrorism, Mountain Language.
Theatre includes: Peter Pan, (& Manchester International Festival), The President of an Empty Room, Mourning Becomes Electra, Three Sisters, The Oresteia (National); The Cherry Orchard, The Daughter-In-Law (Young Vic); All New People, Riflemind, In Celebration, On The Third Day (West End); Doctor Faustus, As You Like It, A Mad World My Masters (Globe); Polar Bears, The Wild Duck (Donmar); Rosmersholm, The Storm (Almeida); The Homecoming, Les Blancs, Ghosts (Royal Exchange, Manchester); Three Sisters (Oxford Stage Company); The Mysteries: Part I – The Creation, The Mysteries: Part II – The Passion, Romeo & Juliet, The Cherry Orchard, Richard III (RSC); Twelfth Night, A Small Family Business, Stone Free (Bristol Old Vic).
Opera includes: Dr Dee (ENO).
Television includes: Grantchester, The Driver, The Crimson Field, Case Histories, Labyrinth, Silk, Twenty Twelve, The Sinking of Laconia, Room at the Top, Garrow’s Law, Casualty 1909, Robin Hood, True Dare Kiss, The Relief of Belsen, Daziel & Pascoe, Medieval Heist, Trial & Retribution, The Family Man, The Princes in the Tower, Silent Witness, The Last Dragon, The Bill.
Film includes: Lady Macbeth, Swansong, London Road, Wuthering Heights, Klimt.
Radio includes: The Hatton Garden Heist, The Master & Margarita, Hamlet, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, The Old Curiosity Shop, The Brothers Karamazov, Watership Down, St Joan, Earthsea, Pilgrim.

Peter Hobday
Theatre includes: Othello (Globe); Rudolf (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Cleansed, An Oak Tree (National); The Boy Who Never Grew Up, The Little Gardener (Lyric, Hammersmith); The Cherry Orchard, The Way Back Home (Young Vic); Written On Skin (Lincoln Center, NYC); Say It With Flowers (Hampstead).
Television includes: Episodes, The Mimic.
Film Includes: Roses in Winter.

Adelle Leonce
For the Royal Court: Torn.
Theatre includes: In the Night Time (Gate); Light Shining in Buckinghamshire (National); Tipping the Velvet, A Streetcar Named Desire, Woyzeck, Chamber Piece, Glitterland, A Series of Increasingly Impossible Acts (& Tricycle), A Stab in the Dark (Lyric, Hammersmith).
Television includes: Ordinary Lies, DCI Banks, Shameless, Vera, In the Garden.

Sarah Malin 
Theatre includes: The Tempest (Southwark); Measure for Measure, The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic); Buckets, Unrivalled Landscape (Orange Tree); Cuckoo (Unicorn); An Enemy of the People (Just Jones); Blue Sky (Pentabus); Say It With Flowers (Hampstead); Here Lies Mary Spindler, The Penelopiad, Macbeth (RSC); Marianne Dreams (Almeida); Iphigenia at Aulis (National); Pericles (Lyric, Hammersmith); The Cherry Orchard (ETT); The Norman Conquests (Theatr Clwyd); Ring (Soho); Dangerous Corner, Dead Wood (Watermill); The Book of David (Really Useful Group); Grimm Tales (Stephen Joseph); Twelfth Night (Imaginary Forces); The Tinderbox, World on Fire, David Copperfield (New Vic, Stoke); No Way Out (ATC); Madness in Valencia, Hecuba (Gate); The Merchant of Venice (Sherman); The Spanish Tragedy (Old Red Lion); Blavatsky’s Tower (Red Room). 
Television credits include: What Remains, EastEnders, The Children, Wire in the Blood, Silent Witness, Guardian, The Knock, Emmerdale, The Law, The Bill, Every Silver Lining.
Film credits include: Doctor Strange, Heretiks.
Short film includes: School Gates.
Radio includes: Pericles.

Jodie McNee
Theatre includes: The Night Watch, Hamlet, Orpheus Descending, A Taste of Honey (Royal Exchange, Manchester); An Oak Tree, Our Country’s Good, Three Winters (National); Game (Almeida); A Life of Galileo, Written on the Heart, Measure for Measure (RSC); Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air); Canary, When We Are Married, Twelfth Night (Liverpool Everyman Playhouse); The Empty Quarter (Hampstead); When We are Married (West End); The Frontline, King Lear (Globe); Seagull, Knives in Hens, Double Portrait, Jenufer (Arcola); Cymbeline, The Changeling (Cheek by Jowl/Barbican/International tour); Mother Courage, This Happy Breed (ETT); The Burial at Thebes (Playhouse, Nottingham).
Television includes: Little Boy Blue, Britannia, Ripper Street, Criminal Justice, Poirot, The Liverpool Nativity, Shane.
Film includes: Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Physician, Collider, One Happy Moment, A Picture of Me
Radio includes: Zola: Blood Season, With Great Pleasure.

Hattie Morahan
For the Royal Court: The City.
Theatre includes: A Doll’s House (Young Vic/West End/BAM, NYC); The Changeling (Globe); The Dark Earth & the Light Sky (Almeida); Plenty (Crucible, Sheffield); The Real Thing (Old Vic); Time & the Conways, Some Trace of Her, The Seagull, Iphigenia at Aulis, Power (National); Family Reunion (Donmar); See How They Run (ACT/UK tour); Twelfth Night (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Singer (Tricycle/Oxford Stage Company); Arsenic & Old Lace (Katherine Dore Management/West End); The Circle (TEG/UK tour); Night of the Soul, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Hamlet, Love in a Wood (RSC).
Television includes: Inside No. 9, My Mother & Other Strangers, The Outcast, Ballot Monkeys, Arthur & George, The Bletchley Circle, Law & Order, Midsomer Murders, Eternal Law, Outnumbered, Lewis, Money, Lark Rise to Candleford, Marple, Trial & Retribution, Bikesquad, Sense & Sensibility, Bodies, New Tricks, Peacock Spring.
Film includes: Beauty & the Beast, Mr Holmes, Alice through the Looking Glass, The Visit, Summer in February, Having You, The Golden Compass, Out of Time, Good Boy, Love Hate.
Radio includes: Three Sisters, Book of the Week – Charlotte Bronte: A Life, The Barchester Chronicles, Dystopia: Drowned World, Welcome to Out Village – Please Invade Carefully, The Indivisibles, The Uninvited Guests – Book At Beachtime, The Harpole Report, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Otherwise Engaged, All That I Am, Something Understood, The Comic Illusion, The Squire’s Daughter, A History of the Mind, The Artist is Thinking, Edward II, The Doll – Daphne Du Maurier Stories, Serious Money, The Tiger’s Wife, The Art of Deception, Direct Red, Miss MacKenzie, With Great Pleasure, I Claudius, A Month in the Country, Sister, My Own Private Gondolier, Words & Music, The Twyborn Affair, Chronicles of Ait, Forgiveness, Overtime, Plenty, Spellbound, Trevor’s World of Sport, What I Think of My Husband, When Greed Becomes Fear. 

Kate O’Flynn
For the Royal Court: The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, A Miracle.
Theatre includes: The Glass Menagerie (West End/Edinburgh International Festival); The Trial (Young Vic); A Taste of Honey, Port (National); Lungs, The Sound of Heavy Rain (Paines Plough/Crucible, Sheffield); Marine Parade (ETT); The Whisky Taster (Bush); House of Special Purpose (Minerva, Chichester); See How They Run, The Children’s Hour (Royal Exchange, Manchester).
Television includes: No Offence, Father Brown, Doctor Thorne, Not You Again, Ordinary Lies, New Tricks, Room at the Top, Playhouse Presents: The Snipist, Above Suspicion, The Syndicate, The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, Kingdom, The Palace, Trial & Retribution, Heartbeat.
Film includes: Bridget Jones’ Baby, Mr. Turner, Up There, Happy Go Lucky.
Awards include: Manchester Evening Standard Award for Best Newcomer (The Children’s Hour); TMA Award for Best Supporting Actress (The Children’s Hour); Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Newcomer (Port).

Dickon Tyrrell
For the Royal Court: Harvest.
Other theatre includes: Twelfth Night, The Oresteia, Measure for Measure, Othello, Doctor Scroggy’s War, Julius Caesar, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, King Lear, The Duchess of Malfi, The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Globe); Rutherford & Son (Northern Stage); The Romans in Britain (Crucible, Sheffield); Major Barbara (Peter Hall Company/West End); The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Richard II, Julius Caesar, The Devil is an Ass (RSC).
Television includes: Law & Order, The Bill, The Trial of Tony Blair, Coronation Street, Rough Crossings, Aberfan, Doctors, Peak Practice, Harry, Spender.
Film includes: The Isle.

Listings Information:

Anatomy of a Suicide
By Alice Birch
Directed by Katie Mitchell
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Saturday 3 June – Saturday 8 July 2017
Monday – Saturday
Thursday & Saturday matinees 2.30pm (from 10 June)
Captioned Performance 4 July 7.30pm
Press Night 3 June 7pm

Audio Described Performance 1 July 7:30pm

Age Guidance 14+
Standard Tickets £12 – £45 (Mondays all seats £12 available from 9am online on the day of performance)
First Look Tickets** £12, £16, £25, £35
Concessions* £5 off top two prices  (available in advance for previews and all matinees)

Under 26s £15 (available across all performances for individual bookers, Bands B and C only)
Access £15 (plus a companion at the same rate)
*ID required. All discounts subject to availability.

Royal & Derngate announces Christmas double bill of world premieres for its Made in Northampton 2017 season

The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Royal & Derngate’s Artistic Director James Dacre has confirmed two world premieres for the venue’s Christmas line up this year, augmenting its Made in Northampton season. The Royal’s Christmas Show for 2017 will be a vivid new version of The Jungle Book by acclaimed playwright Jessica Swale, directed by Max Webster, with dramaturgy by Indhu Rubasingham. A world premiere adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Lydia MonksThe Singing Mermaid will also play in the venue’s Underground Studio with original music by Barb Jungr and puppetry from Little Angel Theatre.

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rudyard Kipling’s birth, The Jungle Book is a co-production with Children’s Touring Partnership. This vibrant new musical adaptation of Kipling’s Nobel Prize-winning family classic will take to Northampton’s Royal stage from Tuesday 28 November to Sunday 31 December 2017, with a national press night on Friday 1 December. This world premiere production will then embark on a major national tour.

Jessica Swale’s first play, Blue Stockings, premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe, earning her a nomination for Most Promising Playwright in the Evening Standard Awards 2013. Her acclaimed next play Nell Gwynn transferred to the West End and won the Olivier for Best New Comedy in 2016.

An Associate Director at the Old Vic, Max Webster directed their production of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, which was nominated for Best Entertainment and Family Show at the 2016 Olivier Awards. Max returns to Royal & Derngate after directing King Lear there last year.

This well-loved tale sees Mowgli the man cub battle for survival in a heart-warming coming of age story about a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. With the help of friends like Bagheera the panther, Baloo the bear and Kaa the python, Mowgli outwits the tiger Shere Khan and learns the law of the jungle.

Dacre commented: “Featuring all its memorable characters and enduring mythology, Jessica’s anniversary adaptation promises to be a thrilling, humorous and touching re-imagining of Kipling’s timeless story.”

Furthering their commitment to making work in their Underground Studio to introduce young audiences to theatre, Royal & Derngate will also be staging another world premiere for Christmas 2017, with an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ The Singing Mermaid, in a co-production with Little Angel Theatre.

The production will feature puppetry designed by Lyndie Wright of Little Angel Theatre, and is directed by Samantha Lane, with original songs by Barb Jungr. Aimed at under 7s and their families, the show will run from Saturday 2 December 2017 to Saturday 13 January 2018.

These two festive shows take the previously announced Made in Northampton season up to a total twelve productions for the year ahead. The Made in Northampton season gets underway in April with Death of a Salesman, starring Tim Pigott-Smith. The season also includes a co-production of The Grapes of Wrath, the European premiere of An Iliad, site-specific production The Twelfth Player, a touring revival of Rules for Living, a new production of The Caretaker, and a co-commission for Royal & Derngate’s Young Company, The Blue Road.

For more information about the season or to book tickets, call Royal & Derngate’s Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit

Made in Northampton is sponsored locally by Michael Jones Jeweller.

The Jungle Book
By Rudyard Kipling
Adapted by Jessica Swale
Directed by Max Webster

A Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Children’s Touring Partnership co-production

Royal stage – Tuesday 28 November to Sunday 31 December 2017

The Singing Mermaid
By Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks
Directed by Samantha Lane, with original songs by Barb Jungr

A Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Little Angel Theatre co-production

Underground Studio – Friday 1 December 2017 to Sunday 7 January 2018

@RoyalDerngate / #MadeInNorthampton / #JungleBook17 / #SingingMermaidShow

Hampstead Theatre announces three Hampstead Downstairs Originals

Kiss Me

Kiss Me

Hampstead Theatre today announced three Hampstead Downstairs Originals which will open this spring. Following an initial development run at Hampstead Downstairs, the updated plays Deposit and Alligators will open at Hampstead Theatre and Kiss Me at Trafalgar Studios.

  • Matt Hartley’s Deposit will be directed by Lisa Spirling and will open on Wednesday 17 May at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.
  • Andrew Keatley’s Alligators will be directed by Simon Evans and will open on Wednesday 28 June at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.
  • Richard Bean’s Kiss Me will be directed by Anna Ledwich and open on Friday 9 June at Trafalgar Studios.

Artistic Director Edward Hall comments
‘I’m extremely proud to officially open Deposit, Kiss Me and Alligators this summer. Matt Hartley, Richard Bean and Andrew Keatley present revised versions of their original drafts, which they’ve been able to develop following their respective runs Downstairs. Hampstead Downstairs has been able to provide this kind of unique support where writers can trial, adjust and refine their scripts through rehearsal and preview.’ Hampstead Downstairs’ mission is to identify and develop new plays that are entertaining, original and ambitious. Celia Atkin will be the new supporter of Hampstead Downstairs’ work for the next five years, following the innovative visionary patronage of The Peter Wolff Theatre Trust.

Edward Hall comments
‘Celia’s generosity will ensure that Hampstead Downstairs continues to grow and develop over the next five years, giving opportunity to create a whole canon of new work for new audiences. A major contribution to British new writing.’

Celia Atkin comments
‘As an admirer of the direction of Hampstead Theatre since Edward Hall’s brilliant tenure, I’m delighted to ensure that this special space, Hampstead Downstairs, continues to thrive. Developing a body of enduring new work, whilst encouraging a younger audience into the theatre is my particular passion. Hampstead Downstairs is a cauldron of creativity, providing a flexible space for writers and directors to try out new ideas and perfect their craft and I’m very pleased to support it.’

A Hampstead Downstairs Original Deposit By Matt Hartley Directed by Lisa Spirling 11 May – 10 June Press Night Wed 17 May 7pm
‘Well today is a brave day, friends are uniting. To help each other’s dreams come true.’
Rachel and Ben want to buy a flat in London. And so do their friends, Melanie and Sam. But what with rent, tax, student loans and bills, it’s impossible to save for a deposit.
So the foursome comes up with a fast-track solution to the problem: live together. Sneakily split the rent and bills on a tiny one bedroom flat for a year. But with paper thin walls and space growing sparser by the day, which will they sacrifice first – the friendship, the relationship or the dream of buying their own property?

Matt Hartley’s Deposit throws a lively and topical spotlight on ‘Generation Rent’ and the lengths they will go to in order to get that first step on the property ladder. Hartley returns to Hampstead with a new version of Deposit following a sold out run Downstairs in 2015. His theatre credits include the Bruntwood Award winning Sixty Five Miles (Paines Plough/ Hull Truck), Here I Belong (Pentabus) and Myth (Royal Shakespeare Company).

Lisa Spirling returns with Deposit to Hampstead Downstairs following Ken, Pine, Fault Lines and I Know How I Feel About Eve. Lisa is the Artistic Director of Theatre503. Other credits include Donkeys’ Years, Here (Rose Theatre, Kingston) and Jumpy (Theatr Clwyd).

A Hampstead Downstairs Original Alligators By Andrew Keatley Directed by Simon Evans 22 June – 22 July Press Night Wed 28 June 7pm
‘Are there things that you’ve done that you’re ashamed of? Things that – if they came out – would break your life in half?’
Daniel Turner has it all. A devoted wife, two beautiful children and a teaching job he loves. But when a series of allegations surface from six years earlier his world begins to crumble around him.
Can all the good he’s done be erased by one pointed finger? How can his loved ones doubt his innocence and can life ever be the same again?

Andrew Keatley’s burning new thriller asks how well we actually know those closest to us and explores how shameful secrets, that we thought long buried, can come back to bite us… Keatley returns to Hampstead with a new version of Alligators following a sold out run Downstairs last year. Keatley’s theatre credits include The Gathered Leaves (Park Theatre) and Colourings (Old Red Lion).

Simon Evans’ previous credits include the critically acclaimed Bug and The Dazzle (both Found111) and the forthcoming The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Donmar), starring Lenny Henry.

Mark Cartwright presents A Hampstead Downstairs Original Kiss Me By Richard Bean Directed by Anna Ledwich 6 June – 8 July Press Night Fri 9 June 7pm

‘I’m thirty-two and I want a baby. There are no men.’

A desperate woman. A chivalrous man. And a forbidden kiss that changes everything.

Richard Bean’s new play is a beautiful and unorthodox love story about two people struggling to escape the guilt and ghosts of the past, set against the shifting world of London post- World War I.

Following a sold out run at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs, Kiss Me opens at the Trafalgar Studios. His other plays include One Man, Two Guvnors, Great Britain, Made in Dagenham and the sell-out hit The Nap, which starred Jack O’Connell.

Director Anna Ledwich will be returning to the Trafalgar Studios following her Olivier-award nominated Hampstead Downstairs production of Four Minutes Twelve Seconds.

Casting for the productions will be announced in due course.

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Unpolished Theatre awarded Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund

Unpolished Theatre

Unpolished Theatre

Elliot Warren and Olivia Brady’s Unpolished Theatre, established in 2016, is announced as the winner of Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund for theatre. Its first ever show Flesh & Bone will premiere at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August 2017.

At the very heart of the Pleasance’s curated programme at both the Festival Fringe and at the Pleasance in London, is the development arm of The Pleasance Theatre Trust, Pleasance Futures. The Pleasance’s enduring mission is to provide a launch pad for the very best emerging talent and the brightest new ideas. The Pleasance Theatre Trust has provided financial support to up and coming talent both on and off stage through a number of Pleasance Futures projects such as Kidzone, Young Pleasance, XYP, Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund and various co-productions.

The Charlie Hartill Special Reserve is a designated, rolling Fund towards the production costs of bringing selected projects to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and consists of two strands: comedy and theatre.

The Pleasance is delighted to announce the winners of the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund for theatre as Unpolished Theatre, selected from the largest ever number of applications.

Unpolished Theatre was created by Elliot Warren and Olivia Brady in 2016 alongside the idea of their first production Flesh & Bone which they will now premiere at the Pleasance this coming August.

Flesh & Bone was performed at the Etcetera Theatre in December in its initial version, but the company are planning extensive re-writes before the Fringe. It will be the company’s debut on the Fringe.

Elliot and Olivia studied together at Drama School in Bournemouth and forged a brilliant working relationship and friendship creating work throughout and afterwards. In early 2016, both back home in London, Elliot wrote a short film called Stick Up which Olivia produced and which garnered quite a bit of attention, going viral on the internet and gaining 2.2 million views on Facebook ( In the same year, both Elliot and Olivia were in a production of East by Steven Berkoff and remembered their shared love of his style. Once the run had finished they were afire with ideas and energies that needed put onto a stage, igniting a similar style to Berkoff but with contemporary ideas and subject matters.

And so Flesh & Bone was conceived. Flesh & Bone gives the gritty residents of an East London Tower Block a stage, through their wickedly eloquent voices and their outpourings of uberly bloated tongue, we are thrust into their stories, held by the scruff of the neck, and made to listen.

Anthony Alderson, Director of the Pleasance said: “Having received over 100 applications, we are thrilled to announce Unpolished Theatre’s Flesh & Bone as the recipient of this year’s Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund. As a company making their ambitious first show, they will benefit from not only the experience of presenting it at the Edinburgh Fringe, but also developing their company with support and mentoring from the full Pleasance team. Flesh & Bone has an electricity and eloquence rarely seen from such a young company.”

Elliot Warren, writer, co-director and performer in Flesh & Bone said: “This fund seriously means the world to us. We have never performed at Edinburgh and it is a life-long dream to be at The Pleasance. The fund allows us to create a fantastic show and dedicate our time to making it the best it can be on and off the stage. We don’t have investors and we don’t have much money, just a show that is itching to be seen!”

The purpose of the Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fund is to offer financial support to the writers, directors, technicians, producers and performers of the future to give them an opportunity to hone their talents and present a show at the world’s biggest arts festival.

The Fund was established in 2004 in memory of Charlie Hartill, a writer, performer and for eight years a Festival Fringe director, who died in January of that year.

The recipient of this prestigious Fund is awarded a prime slot at the Pleasance during Edinburgh Festival Fringe, mentoring from the Pleasance’s administration and technical team, and in-kind support up to the value of £10,000.

The winners of Charlie Hartill Special Reserve Fun for comedy will be announced soon.

International star of stage and screen Sir Ian McKellen is to perform an exclusive one man show at Park Theatre for nine performances only, from 3 – 9 July 2017

Passion and heartbreak – Welsh National Opera’s spring season of intoxicating love stories

La Bohème

La Bohème © Robert Workman

Two classic Puccini operas and a hidden opera gem make up Welsh National Opera’s Love’s Poisoned Chalice season at Mayflower Theatre from 25 to 29 April, taking audiences on a journey of love, passion, heartbreak and tragedy through some of opera’s greatest tear jerking music.

At the heart of the spring season is a new production of Swiss composer Frank Martin’s Le Vin herbé, directed by former WNO Genesis Assistant Director Polly Graham in her first main scale production for WNO.  Inspiring the season theme, Le Vin herbé (‘the spiked drink’) is based on the myth of Tristan and Isolde.  Martin’s composition investigates the very meaning and function of myths, as a group of people come together to narrate this tragic love story.  Written between 1938 and 1941, Frank Martin’s version of the lovers’ tale is more in riposte than homage to Wagner, and influenced by the imminent World War as well as his own personal crisis of losing his first wife.

Iseult will be performed by Caitlin Hulcup and Tom Randle returns to WNO to sing the role of Tristan, with Catherine Wyn-Rogers singing the role of Iseult’s Mother.  Originally conceived for 12 singers, this production will be performed with the entire WNO Chorus taking the role of narrator as in a Greek Chorus, commenting on the dramatic action as the story unfurls.  An orchestra of 7 string players and a pianist will be on stage throughout the opera, along with conductor James Southall.  

As WNO Genesis Assistant Director, Polly Graham received mentorship from internationally-renowned opera directors including WNO Artistic Director David Pountney, Mariusz Trelinski and Pierre Audi.  She returns to WNO following her work with WNO Youth Opera on Kommilitonen! during the summer of 2016 which received excellent reviews from the national media.  

Up next is Puccini’s much-loved La bohème in a production which WNO first staged in 2012 to high praise from both critics and audiences.  Telling the tragic love story of Mimi and Rodolfo, this production transports audiences to the streets of bohemian Paris.

Annabel Arden’s 1913 inspired pre-war production will be directed in this revival by Caroline Chaney. Jessica Muirhead returns to WNO to sing Mimi following her performance as Micaëla in Carmen in 2014 alongside tenor Matteo Lippi as Rodolfo.  La bohème will be conducted by Manlio Benzi who makes his debut at WNO. La bohème will be conducted by Manlio Benzi who makes his debut at WNO.

Former WNO Associate Artist Gary Griffiths returns to WNO to take the role of Marcello, and Australian Lauren Fagan makes her WNO main stage debut in the role of Musetta. Jihoon Kim takes the role of Colline and Gareth Brynmor John takes the role of Schaunard.

Completing the trio of spring operas is another Puccini classic: Madam Butterfly. Joachim Herz’s beautiful sepia-toned production will be directed in this revival by Sarah Crisp and conducted by Andrew Greenwood.  

Punctuated with irresistible music including the Humming Chorus and the moving Un bel dì aria, Madam Butterfly tells the heartbreaking tale of Cio-Cio-San’s love and loss at the hands of her American naval officer, Pinkerton.  This production features a double cast for the roles of Cio-Cio-San and Pinkerton.  South Korean-born soprano Karah Son will sing the role of Cio-Cio-San alongside Paul Charles Clarke who returns to WNO to sing Pinkerton following performances in Sweeney Todd during the 2015/16 season.

Former WNO Associate Artist Rebecca Afonwy-Jones returns to WNO to sing the role of Suzuki, and fellow Welsh favourites David Kempster and Richard Wiegold also return to sing the roles of Sharpless and Bonze respectively.

Talking about the season, WNO Artistic Director David Pountney says: “To bring Madame Butterfly and La Bohème together in one season is a luxurious offering for our audiences, but there is a delightful and no less passionate or moving sting in the tail: a small, intimate but deceptively powerful work by the Swiss composer Frank Martin, a very underrated musician. You may know by now that I take a particular delight in bringing such neglected gems to your notice! In the years leading up to the 2nd World War, Martin, from his safe observation post in Switzerland, reacted to the flagrant abuse of Wager’s music by the Nazis by composing an “alternative” Tristan and Isolde, which he called Le Vin herbé – literally “The spiked drink.” Martin’s work is small scale, deeply intense, personal, full of pent up emotion, rather than the Tsunami’s of sound that Wagner created. But Martin’s work is, in its very different way, just as powerful. He gathers together a group of singers, in this case our wonderful chorus, and induces them as a collective to create for us a narrative of the famous love story. As accompaniment we have a powerfully expressive string septet plus piano. It is amazing what power and what emotion Martin is able to conjure up with these apparently slender forces, but then we remember that Britten’s The Turn of the Screw, with just a few musicians in the pit, fills large theatres with its emotion and its special atmosphere. That is what Martin achieves, and every one of you who harbours that nagging bug of curiosity will want to experience this rare operatic opportunity.”

More information on WNO’s spring 2016 season is available at

Tickets for Le Vin herbé (25 April), La Boheme (26&28 April) and Madam Butterfly (27&29 April) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833


The Divide, a new play by Alan Ayckbourn, to open at The Old Vic this autumn following its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival

The Old Vic

The Old Vic © Manuel Harlan

The Old Vic today announces that The Divide, a new play by Alan Ayckbourn, will open at The Old Vic this autumn following its premiere at the Edinburgh International Festival.

 The Divide is a tale for our own turbulent times that unflinchingly explores a dystopian society of repression, insurrection and forbidden love. The show is directed by Annabel Bolton, an associate director of The Old Vic, and will be presented in two parts.

 The Divide runs at the King’s Theatre as part of the Edinburgh International Festival over a two-week run (8 August to 20 August 2017) before opening at The Old Vic. The Old Vic has a long history with the International Festival, having performed at the inaugural Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and many times in the following decade.

 Artistic Director Matthew Warchus comments,

 ‘The Old Vic was in residence at the very first Edinburgh International Festival and it’s with great pleasure and hugely fitting that we celebrate our respective milestones by collaborating again to co-produce the world premiere of Alan Ayckbourn’s ambitious and exciting new work, The Divide.’


By Alan Ayckbourn

Directed by Annabel Bolton

Design by Laura Hopkins

Music composed by Christopher Nightingale

Lighting by David Plater

Sound by Bobby Aitken

Video by Ash J Woodward

Casting by Jessica Ronane CDG