The Watermill Theatre announces Autumn and Winter season for 2019

Kiss Me Kate
  • Paul Hart directs The Watermill’s summer musical Kiss Me, Kate
  • Bill Buckhurst directs Sondheim’s Assassins in a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse
  • Watermill Young Company presents Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Watermill Ensemble presents a fast-paced A Mini Summer Night’s Dream featuring a cast of three
  • Mark Twain’s classic The Prince and the Pauper reimagined in a new version by Chinonyerem Odimba

 The Watermill Theatre today announced its new season for Autumn/Winter 2019.

In keeping with the theatre’s growing reputation for producing theatrically bold and imaginatively staged musicals performed by actor-musicians, the season highlights will include the multi-award-winning classic Broadway musical Kiss Me, Kate, as well as a co-production with Nottingham Playhouse of Stephen Sondheim’s whip-smart and insightful Assassins

 Also featuring is work from the Young Company who will be performing Glyn Maxwell’s adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s epic Cyrano de Bergerac and The Watermill Ensemble return with a hilarious, high-octane version of Shakespeare’s Dream in A Mini Summer Night’s Dream which will tour to schools. Finally, the festive season unwraps with a lively adaptation by Chinonyerem Odimba of Mark Twain’s classic story of confused identities, The Prince and The Pauper for all the family.

Paul Hart, Artistic and Executive Director said ‘I am really excited about bringing this season of work to The Watermill.  Our summer musicals have become must-see shows, and I can’t wait to get working on Kiss Me, Kate in The Watermill’s unique and intimate space – Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, egos raging and gun-toting gangsters, what’s not to love?  This brilliant show-within-a-show set up and Cole Porter’s sublime score will be reimagined with actor-musicians. I am also delighted to be co-producing Assassins with Nottingham Playhouse, one of Sondheim’s most pertinent pieces, continuing our long association with the work of Sondheim. It is thrilling to see work from our fantastically committed Young Company and they will be bringing to life a very funny production of Cyrano De Bergerac. Our ever versatile Watermill Ensemble will be showcasing a fast-paced, joyous ‘Mini Summer Night’s Dream’ with three actors playing all the parts. The show will  tour to schools and run at the theatre. Finally, for the festive season we have a real treat for all the family with Chinonyerem Odimba’s new version of Mark Twain’s classic story The Prince and The Pauper.’

Continuing its commitment to making its work accessible to all, The Watermill will offer £10 tickets for 16 to 25s to all main house productions. It will stage its twelfth integrated signed performance during the run of The Prince and the Pauper on 11 and 14 December, as well as a Relaxed Performance on 7 December. There will also be a Relaxed Performance of A Mini Summer Night’s Dream on 7 November and audio described performances for Kiss Me, Kate, Assassins and The Prince and the Pauper.

The Watermill Theatre presents


Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Sam and Bella Spewack

Directed by Paul Hart

Designed by Frankie Bradshaw

Choreography by Naomi Said

Sound designed by Tom Marshall

Thursday 25 July to Saturday 21 September


Onstage romance collides with backstage drama in this musical comedy about the highs and lows of working in theatre.

When ego-centric actor-manager Fred Graham and his fiery ex-wife Lilli Vanessi find themselves starring opposite each other in a musical version of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, sparks begin to fly. Meanwhile in another corner of Ford’s Theatre, Baltimore, Fred’s current flame and rising star Lois Lane attempts to tame her gambler boyfriend only to be thwarted by the arrival of a couple of gangsters who somehow find themselves centre stage!

Despite chaos reigning on and offstage, the show must go on! Will the cast make it to curtain up or will they literally bring the house down?

Showbiz shenanigans together with Cole Porter’s jazz-inflected score form a sparkling tribute to theatre in all its greasepaint and glory.

Kiss Me, Kate’s iconic music and razor-sharp wit are catapulted into the limelight by a cast of actor-musicians performing showstopping numbers including Too Darn Hot, Another Op’nin’ Another Show, Brush Up Your Shakespeare and So in Love.

 Principal Sponsor, Saica Pack


The Watermill Theatre and

Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company present


Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Book by John Weidman

ASSASSINS is based on an idea by Charles Gilbert Jr.

Original orchestrations by Michael Starobin

Playwrights Horizons Inc., New York City, produced ASSASSINS off-Broadway in 1990

Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited
Directed by Bill Buckhurst

Musical Supervision and Orchestration by Catherine Jayes

Designed by Simon Kenny


Thursday 26 September to Saturday 26 October


 ‘Murder is a tawdry little crime. But when a president gets killed… he gets assassinated.’

A man sits in a storeroom on the sixth floor of a Book Depository in Texas waiting for John F. Kennedy’s motorcade to pass below. He rests his finger on the trigger, ready to join a line of men and women who have shot their way into the history books.

Assassins is a satirical and stylish look at why individuals reach for a gun when they feel their voice can’t be heard. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, writers Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, bend the rules of time and space, taking us on a roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to perform harrowing acts. Clever, funny and thought-provoking, this is a musical about the power of the President, the lure of celebrity and the failure of the American Dream.

This multiple Tony award-winning vaudeville style show is a modern classic. Following the success of A Little Night Music and Sweeney Todd, The Watermill returns to Sondheim with a multi-talented cast of actor-musicians.

 The Watermill Young Company presents


Adapted by Glyn Maxwell
From the play by Edmond Rostand

Directed by Seamus Allen

Designed by Cory Shipp

This amateur production is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD a Concord Theatricals Company.

Wednesday 30 October to Saturday 2 November


 ‘Does it seem strange: a hundred cutthroats against one poor poet?’

Cyrano is the greatest swordsman in all of France whose prowess in battle is only equalled by the beauty of his poetry. Fierce with a pen and notorious in combat, the gifted nobleman appears to have it all. If only he could capture the heart of his one true love Roxanne. The Watermill Young Company return with a swashbuckling tale of adventure and romance.

The Sackler Trust, Principal Supporter of The Watermill Young Company

The Watermill Ensemble presents

Shakespeare Unlocked

By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Danielle Pearson

Directed by Robert Kirby

Monday 4 to Friday 8 November


‘If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumbered here. While these visions did appear…’

Three actors unlock Shakespeare’s enchanting play in a fast-paced 75 minute production with live music.

Midsummer’s night. The costume store backstage at a theatre. Things begin to come alive… Sprites, fairies and young lovers collide in Shakespeare’s beguiling comedy of magic and mischief. Over the course of a single night, hearts are broken, vows are made and dreams are chased.

There will be a free post-show Q&A following performances from Tuesday to Friday.

This production will also tour to schools. For more information about the tour call 01635 570927.

The Sackler Trust, Principal Supporter of The Watermill Schools Touring Programme.

 The Watermill Theatre presents

By Mark Twain

Adaptation and Lyrics by Chinonyerem Odimba

Music and Lyrics by Tarek Merchant

Directed by Abigail Pickard Price

Thursday 14 November to Saturday 4 January 2020

A magical, musical tale of dreams, ambition and friendship.

Two young dreamers with very different lives long for change. The Prince is bored of royal life, of endless parties and rules and grown-ups. Most of all, he hates the grown-ups and wishes he had friends his own age to play with. Outside the palace walls in the bustling streets of London, a young girl who loves to play music and dance, dreams of escaping her humble life to perform for the finest people in the city.

When their two worlds collide, the Prince and the Pauper embark on a thrilling adventure beyond their wildest imaginations. Switching places to live each other’s lives, will they ever be the same again?

Suitable for age 4+. We regret that we are unable to admit children under 3 or babes in arms into the auditorium except for the Relaxed Performance.

Principal Sponsor, Horsey Lightly Solicitors

One-off events

The Watermill Theatre and Paines Plough present

Saturday 9 November at 6.30pm
This celebrated nationwide project visits Newbury inviting the finest local playwrights to write and perform mini plays about their home towns.

Since 2010, more than 160 writers from across the UK have returned home to pen plays about the places that shaped them. Together these plays make up a theatrical tapestry of the nation – a playwrights’ guide to Great Britain. At theatres from Bristol to Belfast, Cardiff to Coventry and Nottingham to Newcastle, these plays have been performed by the playwrights themselves, coming home to tell their tale.

Now, Come To Where I’m From visits The Watermill for a special evening of new short plays about Newbury performed by the playwrights themselves on the stage of their home town theatre.

Download the Come To Where I’m From app to listen to plays from around the UK for free. Available from the App Store and Google Play.


The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury RG20 8AE

Tickets: Online:
Box Office: 01635 46044

Booking opens on Tuesday 23 April at 10am.
Friends of The Watermill Priority Booking opens Friday 12 April at 10am.


Dates: Thursday 25 July to Saturday 21 September

Press Night: Monday 29 July, 7.30pm
Evening performances at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinées at 2.30pm. Final performances on Saturday 21 September at 1.30pm and 6.30pm.
Audio Described performance on Saturday 17 August at 2.30pm, Touch Tour at 1pm.

Ticket prices: Monday evenings and Thursday matinées: £22 and £18.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday matinées: £31, £28, £20.

Friday and Saturday evenings: £33, £30, £22.


Dates: Thursday 26 September to Saturday 26 October

Press Night: Monday 30 September, 7.30pm
Times: Evening performances at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinées at 2.30pm. Final performances on Saturday 26 October at 1.30pm and 6.30pm. Audio Described performance on Saturday 26 October at 1.30pm, Touch Tour at 12 noon.

Ticket prices: Monday evenings and Thursday matinées: £22 and £16.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings and Saturday matinées: £31, £28, £16.

Friday and Saturday evenings: £33, £30, £19.



Dates: Wednesday 30 October to Saturday 2 November

Press Night: Thursday 31 October, 7.30pm.

Times: Wednesday to Friday evening performances at 7.30pm, Saturday at 6.30pm.

Ticket prices: £12 and £11.50, concessions £7 and £6.50.


Dates: Monday 4 to Friday 8 November

Press Night: Tuesday 5 November, 7.30pm

Times: Evening performances at 7.30pm. Wednesday and Thursday matinées at 2.30pm. There will be a Relaxed Performance on Thursday 7 November at 2.30pm.

Ticket prices: Monday to Friday evenings: £14 and £13. Wednesday and Thursday matinées: £8 and £7.50.


Dates: Thursday 14 November to Saturday 4 January. Performance times vary so please go to

Press Night: Saturday 16 November, 2.30pm and 7pm

Accessible performances:
BSL integrated performances on Wednesday 11 December at 2.30pm and Saturday 14 December at 2.30pm.
Audio Described performance on Saturday 21 December at 2.30pm, Touch Tour at 1pm.
Relaxed Performance on Saturday 7 December at 2.30pm. Tickets for the Relaxed Performance are £20 and £18.
Ticket prices: From Thursday 14 November to Thursday 12 December £23, £17, £12.
From Saturday 14 December to Saturday 4 January £25, £18, £13.
Schools’ tickets are £9. Please call the box office to book on 01635 46044.



Date: Saturday 9 November 

Ticket prices: £12 and £8.

Full cast announced for Sheffield Theatres’ Christmas Musical, Kiss Me, Kate

Kiss Me Kate
Kiss Me Kate

Kiss Me Kate

Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, Robert Hastie, today announced the full cast for Paul Foster’s major revival of Kiss Me, Kate. Foster directs Delroy Atkinson (Gangster 1), Edward Baker-Duly (Fred), Cindy Belliot (Hattie), John Conroy (Baptista), Dafydd Emyr (Harrison Howell), Dex Lee (Bill), Rebecca Lock (Lilli), Ross McLaren (Gremio), Joel Montague (Gangster 2), Adam Rhys-Charles (Hortensio), Amy Ellen Richardson (Lois), Matthew Whennell-Clark(Ralph) and Layton Williams (Paul), with Jessica BuckbyRonan BurnsLouis GauntRuby Greenwood,  Tash Holway (also Assistant Choreographer and Dance Captain), Jennifer Louise Jones,  Bobbie LittleEmmanuele N’ZuziSimon Oskarsson and Clancy Ryan. The production opens on 12 December, with previews from 7 December, and runs until 12 January 2019.

From the Golden Age, a riotous, romantic musical comedy to make your heart soar. It’s opening night for feuding divorcees Fred and Lilli as they star in The Taming of the Shrew. But as the curtain rises, gambling, gangsters and mistaken identity conspire to create chaos.

Paul Foster directs this lavish and sensational celebration of theatre featuring some of Cole Porter’s finest songs: So In LoveBrush Up Your Shakespeare and Too Darn Hot.

Delroy Atkinson plays Gangster 1. His theatre work includes Sylvia (The Old Vic), Present Laughter (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Firm (Hampstead Theatre), Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre), Albion (Bush Theatre), All My Sons (Royal Exchange Manchester) and The Amen Corner (National Theatre). For television, his work includes The Morgana Show, Sherlock, Small Island, My Family, After You’ve Gone and No Heroics; and for film, Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Men Tell No Tales, Still Crazy, Rivers of Blood and Fish Out of Water.

Edward Baker-Duly plays Fred. His US theatre credits include the Broadway production of The King And I; and the Off-Broadway production of Peter And The Starcatcher. His West End theatre work includes The King and I, The Wizard Of OzGone With The WindSouth PacificWest Side StorySalad Days. UK: Rookery NookNoises Off, Anyone Can Whistle, The Lady Vanishes, Copacabana, The Pirates of Penzance, Singing in the Rain, The Full Monty, Twelfth Nightand The Mikado. For television, his work includes Shades Of Blue, Billions, Elementary, The Blacklist, Royal Pains, Downton Abbey, Upstairs Downstairs, Micro Men, New Tricks and Yes Prime Minister; and for film, Heidi Queen Of The Mountain, DeLovely, Botched, The Circle and Welkome Home.

 Cindy Belliot plays Hattie. Her theatre credits include Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse), Aladdin (Prince Edward Theatre), Motown (Shaftesbury Theatre), Fela (Broadway, National Theatre London and USA tour), The Hurly Burly Show (Garrick Theatre), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre) and Wicked (Apollo Victoria).

John Conroy returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Baptista – he previously appeared in Translations, Me and My Girl and Guys and Dolls. His extensive theatre work also includes Half a Sixpence (Chichester Festival Theatre and Noel Coward Theatre), Top Hat (UK tour), Dirty Dancing (Aldwych Theatre), Take Flight(Menier Chocolate Factory), Glengarry Glen Ross, Guys and Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre), Grand Hotel (Donmar Warehouse) and Two Gentlemen of Verona and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). His television work includes Women on the Verge, Atlantis, Pay and Display, The Mrs Bradley Mysteries and Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Dafydd Emyr play Harrison Howell. For theatre, his credits include Kick The Breeze (BAC), Man of Fire (Cwmni Whare Teg), Amdani (Script Cymru), andPinocchio and Danny The Champion Of The World (Sherman Theatre Co). For television, his work includes Lazarus Ladies, Old Scores, The Famous Five,  A Touch Of Love, Excalibur: The Search For Arthur, Realms Of Gold Young Dracula, Doctor Who, Da Vinci’s Demons, Bastard Executioner, The Windsors, Lleifior, Mae Gen I Gariad and Amdani; and for film, Natural Justice and Carrie’s War.

Dex Lee plays Bill. His stage work includes Oklahoma! (Grange Park Opera), Five Guys Named Moe (Marble Arch Theatre), The Wild Party (The Other Palace),Grease (Curve, Leicester), Father Comes Home From The Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3) (Royal Court Theatre), In The Heights (King’s Cross Theatre and Southwark Playhouse), Hairspray (UK tour), Carrie (Southwark Playhouse) and The Scottsboro Boys (Garrick Theatre).

Rebecca Lock returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Lilli – she previously appeared in Oliver!. Her other theatre work includes Heathers (The Other Palace),Moonfleet (Salisbury Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (Lyceum Theatre), Committee (Donmar Warehouse), Mary Poppins (UK tour), Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre),Dear World (Charing Cross Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along (Theatr Clwyd), The Tempest (Theatre Royal Bath) and The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre).

Ross McLaren play Gremio. His theatre work includes It Happened in Key West (Charing Cross Theatre), Elf (Theatre Royal Plymouth and Lowry Theatre), Top Hat, Thoroughly Modern Millie (Kilworth House Theatre), The Wiper’s Times (Arts Theatre), Big the Musical (Plymouth Theatre Royal) and Singin’ in the Rain(Théâtre du Châtelet). His film work includes Muppets Most Wanted and The Reunion.

Joel Montague plays Gangster 2. His theatre work includes Fat Friends (UK tour), School Of Rock (New London Theatre), Funny Girl (Menier Chocolate Factory and Savoy Theatre), The Producers (UK tour), Urinetown (St. James Theatre and Apollo Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show and Sister Act (both UK tours). For television, his work includes Girlfriends, Girls in Love and In Suspicious Circumstances.

Adam Rhys-Charles returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Hortensio – he previously appeared in Anything Goes (also UK tour) and Oliver!. His other theatre work incudes Follies (National Theatre), Top Hat (Aldwych Theatre and UK tour), Mrs Henderson Presents (Toronto), Mary Poppins (UK tour) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent’s Park Open Air).

Amy Ellen Richardson plays Lois. Her theatre work includes Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (UK tour), Singin’ in the Rain, She Loves Me, Oklahoma! (Chichester Festival Theatre), Into the Woods (Royal Exchange Manchester), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying(Royal Festival Hall), Follies (Royal Albert Hall), Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory and Harold Pinter Theatre) and Crazy for You (Novello Theatre); and for film, Les Miserables.

Matthew Whennell-Clark returns to Sheffield Theatres to play Ralph – he previously appeared in My Fair Lady. His theatre work includes Young Frankenstein(Garrick Theatre), Carousel (ENO), 42nd Street, Singin in the Rain (Théâtre du Châtelet), Guys and Dolls (Chichester Festival Theatre, UK tour, Phoenix Theatre) and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).

Layton Williams plays Paul. Hs theatre work includes Hairspray, Rent, The Car Man, Lord of the Flies (UK tours), Thriller (Lyric Theatre) and the title role in Billy Elliot. For television, his work includes Bad Education, Postcode, Beautiful People and Benidorm; and for film, Bad Education.

Paul Foster returns to Sheffield Theatres where he previously directed Annie Get Your Gun. His other theatre credits include The Light Princess and Sweet Charity (Cadogan Hall), A Little Night Music and Laurel and Hardy (The Watermill Theatre), Tell Me on a Sunday (The Watermill Theatre and UK tour) Bette Midler and Me (St James Theatre), Flora the Red Menace (Edinburgh Festival), Bells are RingingDarling of the Day, Crimes of the Heart (Union Theatre), A State Affair (MTA),Cowardy Custard (Yvonne Arnaud and UK tour), The Vagina Monologues (UK tour) and Little One (Royal Court Young Writers Festival). His radio credits includeBritannicus.

Season at a Glance


Until 14 July



18 July – 21 July

Press night: 18 July, 7.15pm



13 September – 6 October 2018

Press night: 17 September, 7.45pm



28 September – 20 October 2018

Press night: 2 October, 7pm



25 October – 10 November 2018

Press night: 29 October, 7.45pm



7 December 2018 – 12 January 2019

Press night: 12 December, 7pm



8 – 23 February 2019

Press night: 12 February, 7pm



21 February – 9 March 2019

Press night: 25 February, 7.45pm



15 March – 6 April

Press night: 20 March, 7pm

West End:


Apollo Theatre

Booking until  April 2019

Twitter: @crucibletheatre @SheffieldLyceum


Cast Announced For Opera North’s Sizzling Production of Kiss Me, Kate

Kiss Me Kate credit Guy Farrow
Kiss Me Kate credit Guy Farrow

Kiss Me Kate credit Guy Farrow

  • 2018 tour includes dates in London, Leeds, Edinburgh and Ravenna
  • Includes many of Cole Porter’s greatest hits, including ‘ANOTHER OP’NIN, ANOTHER SHOW’, ‘SO IN LOVE’, ‘ALWAYS TRUE TO YOU (IN MY FASHION)’ and ‘TOO DARN HOT’

An outstanding cast has been announced for the return of Opera North’s award-winning production of Cole Porter’s classic musical comedy,Kiss Me, Kate, opening at Leeds Grand Theatre in May, then touring to the Ravenna Festival, to the London Coliseum for a two-week run in June, and moving to the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh in July.

Cole Porter’s riotously inventive homage to the sparkling wit of Shakespeare, Kiss Me, Kate is an irresistible celebration of the joy and madness of working in theatre.

On the opening night of a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew in 1940s Baltimore, the tempestuous love lives of actor-manager Fred Graham and his leading lady (and ex-wife) Lilli Vanessi are set to collide. Throw in Fred’s current paramour Lois Lane and her gambler boyfriend Bill – plus a couple of gun-toting gangsters who somehow get caught up in the show – and the stage is set for a funny and farcical battle of the sexes!

Stephanie Corley joins the cast of Kiss Me, Kate for the first time, in the role of Lilli Vanessi/ Kate. Stephanie has previously sung the title role in Opera North’s The Merry Widow, and has most recently played Tina in Jonathan Dove’s Flight at Scottish Opera.  In a role which he made his own in the original 2015 production, Quirijn de Lang is back as Lilli’s ex-husband and tormentor-in chief, Fred Graham/Petruchio. His many recent roles at Opera North include Sam in Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti and Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro.

Turning Fred’s head, Zoë Rainey comes to the role of Lois Lane/Bianca flushed with the success of An American in Paris at the Dominion. As well as knowing her way around the Great American Songbook, Zoë is an accomplished dramatic actor, and was a member of the stellar company assembled by Sir Kenneth Branagh for his 2015 residency at the Garrick.

Dancer, singer and actor Alan Burkitt returns as Bill Calhoun/Lucentio, having played the role during Welsh National Opera’s run of Kiss Me, Kate in 2016 – which he followed with another trip to Tin Pan Alley in the lead role of Top Hat. Also returning from previous runs, Joseph Shovelton and John Savournin will reprise their scene-stealing turn as the dopey mobsters gifted one of Cole Porter’s most brilliant works, ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’.

Recently seen in the UK tour of Sister ActAiesha Pease exchanges her habit for Hattie’s apron and ‘Another Op’nin’, Another Show’. Talented singer and dancer Stephane Anelli, recently Dandini in Hackney Empire’s celebrated Cinderella, will lead the ensemble in ‘Too Darn Hot’ as Paul. His other West End roles have included Cosmo in Singin’ in the Rain and Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever.

A veteran of stage and screen, James Hayes has the distinction of having appeared in more National Theatre productions than any other living actor. He returns as Harry Trevor/Baptista, after making his first foray into musicals in Opera North’s original production. Another An American in Paris alumnus, Jack Wilcox, plays Hortensio, while Malcolm Ridley, who has previously worked with the National Theatre (War Horse, West End) and Donmar (Ivanov) plays Harrison Howell.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North comments:

 Kiss Me, Kate is a real treat of a show, boasting what is probably Cole Porter’s richest, most accomplished theatrical score. It’s serious fun, and Opera North’s landmark production approaches it with the respect it demands, benefiting from David Charles Abell’s critical edition of the score and recognizing the huge range of musical and dramatic skills that it calls for.

 “It’s with this in mind that we have brought together a formidably gifted cast from the worlds of opera and musical theatre, to join the internationally-acclaimed forces of the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North. We’re thrilled to be bringing this stunning production back to the stage in 2018, and to perform for audiences in Leeds, Ravenna, London and Edinburgh.”

 Kiss Me, Kate is conducted by James Holmes (Carousel, 2012/2015), a former Head of Music at Opera North and a leading exponent of musical theatre, and directed by Jo Davies, who is responsible for a string of five-star successes for Opera North, including RuddigoreCarouselThe Marriage of Figaro and of course, Kiss Me, Kate itself. Sets and costumes are designed by Colin Richmond, while the “sizzling” choreography is by Will Tuckett (Royal Ballet, English National Ballet) whose recent shows include West Side Story (Sage Gateshead), The Wind in the Willows (ROH and West End transfer) and Elizabeth (ROH and Barbican Theatre).


Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter

Book by Bella and Samuel Spewack

Critical edition by David Charles Abell and Seann Alderking

Performance dates:

 Leeds Grand Theatre

Box office: 0844 848 2720 or

Wed       23 May 2018                       Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Thu        24 May 2018                       Kiss Me, Kate                     2.15pm

Thu        24 May 2018                       Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Fri           25 May 2018                       Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Sat          26 May 2018                       Kiss Me, Kate                     2.15pm

Sat          26 May 2018                       Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Teatro Alighieri, Ravenna, Italy

Box office:

Thu        7 Jun 2018                           Kiss Me, Kate                     8.30pm

Fri           8 Jun 2018                           Kiss Me, Kate                     8.30pm

Sat          9 Jun 2018                           Kiss Me, Kate                     3.30pm

Sat          9 Jun 2018                           Kiss Me, Kate                     8.30pm

London Coliseum

Box office: 020 7845 9300 or

Wed       20 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Thu        21 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     2.30pm

Thu        21 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Fri           22 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Sat          23 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     2.30pm

Sat          23 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Tues       26 Jun 2018                        Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Wed      27 Jun 2018                        Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Thu        28 Jun 2018                        Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Fri           29 Jun 2018                        Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

Sat          30 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     2.30pm

Sat          30 Jun 2018                         Kiss Me, Kate                     7.30pm

 Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Box office: 0131 529 6000 or

Wed       4 July 2018                          Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Thu        5 July 2018                          Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Fri           6 July 2018                          Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Sat          7 July 2018                          Kiss Me, Kate                     2.15pm

Sat          7 July 2018                          Kiss Me, Kate                     7.15pm

Kiss Me, Kate is a co-production with Welsh National Opera.

Mayflower Theatre exciting autumn season to include Mandela Trilogy, Mamma Mia! UK tour, The Shawshank Redemption, Beauty and the Beast, Sunny Afternoon and more

Mayflower Theatre’s autumn season opens with the return of Cape Town Opera and their stunning production of Mandela Trilogy, playing from 7-10 September 2016. The amazing life of Nelson Mandela is brought vividly to the stage in a large-scale celebration and tribute to the man who touched hearts and minds around the world.

Mandela Trilogy

Mandela Trilogy

Following this will be the first ever MAMMA MIA! UK Tour from 13 September to 8 October 2016. MAMMA MIA! is Judy Craymer’s ingenious vision of staging the story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs with an enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolding on a Greek island paradise.

One of the world’s best dance companies makes their Southampton debut on 11 and 12 October 2016 bringing their breath-taking talent and technique to Mayflower Theatre’s stage with a dazzling array of dance pieces including the world renowned Revelations. Direct from New York, under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Battle, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre continues to wow audiences and critics around the world.

In Peppa Pig’s Surprise (15 – 16 October) audiences will enjoy interactive fun, games and, of course, surprises. This charming, colourful new show features new songs and new life-size puppets. Peppa Pig’s Surprise promises to be the perfect theatre show for all pre-schoolers.

Paul Nicholls, Jack Ellis and Ben Onwukwe will star in The Shawshank Redemption when it arrives from 17-22 October 2016. Inspired by the classic film and based on the short novel by Stephen King, the play follows Andy Dufresne, a banker handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover, who finds himself incarcerated in the notorious Shawshank penitentiary.

English Nation Ballet present a world premiere production of Giselle from 26-29 October. Giselle is a timeless tale of love, heartbreak and redemption. Akram Khan, one of the most sought after choreographers working today is part of the creative force behind the greatest romantic ballet.

Three productions inspired by William Shakespeare make up Welsh National Opera’s autumn season, which will comprise of a British premiere and two new productions.  The season is part of the official Shakespeare 400 celebrations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the great bard’s death. This WNO season will be visiting in November 2016 with Merchant of Venice (1 November 2016), Macbeth (2 November 2016) and Kiss Me, Kate (3-5 November 2016).

Comedian, actor and presenter Rufus Hound will star as the lovable menace Mr Toad when The Wind in the Willows arrives from 10-20 November. This new stage musical penned by Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes and Oliver Award winning composer and lyricist team George Stiles and Anthony Drewe follows Ratty, Badger and Mole and Toad who embark on a series of adventures and misadventures caused by his insatiable need for speed!

From November 22-26 Jason Donovan stars as legendary record producer Sam Phillips in Million Dollar Quartet. This worldwide smash-hit musical is inspired by the famous recording session that brought together rock ‘n’ roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for the first and only time. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including Blue Suede Shoes, Fever, That’s All Right, Sixteen Tons, Great Balls of Fire, Walk the Line, Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On, Who Do You Love?, Matchbox, Folsom Prison Blues, Hound Dog and many more.

Northern Ballet’s Beauty & the Beast (30 November – 3 December) brings one of the world’s most famous fairytales to life in a kaleidoscope of colour, set to an infectious score, including music by Saint-Säens, Bizet, Debussy, Poulenc and Glazunov, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia.

 Sunny Afternoon (6 – 10 December) is an irresistible musical with slick theatricality and ingenious storytelling at its heart. It tells the captivating tale of how one of Britain’s greatest bands, The Kinks, rose to stardom. Featuring the iconic hits You Really Got Me, Waterloo Sunset, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, All Day and All of the Night, Lola, Sunny Afternoon and many more, this production fizzes with energy, and is a fresh new ‘Great British Musical’ (The Times) that will make your spirits soar.

Finally, Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace will star in the South Coast’s biggest family panto, Robin Hood from 17 December for a four week run. Having established themselves as one of the nation’s favourite partnerships during their time playing Alfie and Kat in EastEnders, Robin Hood marks their first pantomime appearance together with Shane in the title role and Jessie his beautiful Maid Marion. Southampton audiences can look forward to an unmissable production packed full of action, adventure and comedy. This is pantomime at its best!

 Tickets for all shows are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833

Welsh National Opera’s Autumn Shakespeare Season at MayFlower Theatre coming in November 2016

Three productions inspired by William Shakespeare make up Welsh National Opera’s Autumn season, which will comprise of a British premiere and two new productions.  The season is part of the official Shakespeare 400 celebrations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the great bard’s death whilst continuing WNO Artistic Director David Pountney’s creative approach to themed seasons. This WNO season will be visiting Mayflower Theatre in November 2016.

The Shakespeare 400 season will include the British premiere of André Tchaikowsky’s The Merchant of Venice alongside new productions of Verdi’s Macbeth and Cole Porter’s classic musical Kiss Me, Kate.

Keith Warner returns to WNO following Peter Pan in 2015 to direct another British premiere, The Merchant of Venice, which was first performed at the Bregenz Festival in 2013. Composed by André Tchaikowsky, a Polish-Jewish composer and pianist who died very shortly after creating this opera, The Merchant of Venice is a powerful and serious attack on prejudice with themes closely felt by Tchaikowsky himself who was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto with false identity papers and survived the Holocaust in hiding with his grandmother.

American baritone Lester Lynch makes his debut with WNO to sing the role of Shylock.  He is joined by soprano Lauren Michelle who makes her UK debut with WNO in the role of Jessica, following her appearance at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2015 where she was a prize winner representing the USA.  The Duke of Venice will be sung by Miklós Sebestyén who performed with WNO in Moses in Egypt during the 2014/15 season.  The Merchant of Venice will be conducted by Lionel Friend.

Macbeth. Northern Ireland Opera Cast 2014.

Macbeth. Northern Ireland Opera Cast 2014. © Patrick Redmon

Macbeth in a co-production with Northern Ireland Opera (NIO) is a new production that places Verdi’s classic opera in a contemporary setting, allowing for a new exploration of the tale of state violence, corruption and superstition.

Macbeth will be directed by NIO Artistic Director Oliver Mears and conducted by Andriy Yurkevych.  Spanish baritone Luis Cansino sings the title role in his debut performance with WNO.   Mary Elizabeth Williams returns to WNO following her highly-acclaimed performances with the Company in Nabucco and Tosca to sing the role of Lady Macbeth in Cardiff and Bristol, with Miriam Murphy singing Lady Macbeth for the remainder of the tour.

The season is completed with Cole Porter’s classic musical Kiss Me, Kate in a co-production with Opera North which sits perfectly within the operatic repertoire and pays homage to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.  Jam-packed with hit tunes including ‘Too Darn Hot’, ‘Another Op’nin’ Another Show’, and ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’, this new production will feature operatic and West End singers alongside the renowned WNO Chorus and Orchestra.

With show-stopping numbers and a story full of wit, humour and farce, Kiss Me, Kate is sure to leave audiences with a smile.  The cast is led by Jeni Bern as Lilli Vanessi/Katharine and Quirijn de Lang as her ex-husband Fred Graham/Petruchio, both of whom starred in this production in 2015 at Opera North. The story is set around their tempestuous relationship as they prepare to stage a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew.

Jo Davies will direct Kiss Me, Kate having directed the production at Opera North, and James Holmes returns to WNO to conduct following his performances in Autumn 2015 with Sweeney Todd.  Featuring spectacular costumes, dazzling choreography and hit after hit, the show will be a feast for the eyes and the ears.

WNO Artistic Director David Pountney says: “For our autumn season we join in the nationwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Music is everywhere in Shakespeare, from the fools and clowns whose songs pepper his works, to the sublime musicality of his use of language. It is hardly surprising that he has inspired so much music, and in this wonderfully diverse season you can enjoy him as tragedian, psychologist and witty entertainer.”

Professor Gordon McMullan, Director, London Shakespeare Centre and Academic Director of Shakespeare400 says: “It’s a real privilege to be able to include WNO within Shakespeare400. When the team at King’s College London were putting together the Shakespeare400 initiative, we were keen to ensure that all art forms had equal representation so as to reflect the extraordinary impact of Shakespeare’s’ life and works right across the creative range. Theatre is of course the mainstay of any Shakespeare enthusiast, but the influence of Shakespeare goes far beyond this, reaching into every area of arts and culture, both in the UK and across the world, and opera offers an astonishingly rich array of creative reimaginings of Shakespeare’s plays. I very much look forward to the productions from WNO and am especially excited about the British premiere of André Tchaikovsky’s, The Merchant of Venice.”

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

Tickets for WNO’s Merchant of Venice (1 November 2016), Macbeth (2 November 2016) and Kiss Me, Kate (3-5 November 2016) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833