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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

KISS ME, KATE

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

PRESS NIGHT: MONDAY 29 JULY AT 7.30PM

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

ASSASSINS

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

PRESS NIGHT: MONDAY 30 SEPTEMBER AT 7.30PM

 ‘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

CYRANO DE BERGERAC

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

PRESS NIGHT: THURSDAY 31 OCTOBER AT 7.30PM

 ‘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

A MINI SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Danielle Pearson

Directed by Robert Kirby

Monday 4 to Friday 8 November

PRESS NIGHT: TUESDAY 5 NOVEMBER AT 7.30PM

‘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

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER
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

PRESS PERFORMANCES: SATURDAY 16 NOVEMBER AT 2.30pm and 7pm.
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
COME TO WHERE I’M FROM

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.

 LISTINGS INFORMATION

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury RG20 8AE

Tickets: Online: www.watermill.org.uk
Box Office: 01635 46044

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

KISS ME, KATE

Dates: Thursday 25 July to Saturday 21 September

Press Night: Monday 29 July, 7.30pm
Times: 
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.

ASSASSINS

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.

 

CYRANO DE BERGERAC

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.

A MINI SUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

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.

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER

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

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.

 

COME TO WHERE I’M FROM

Date: Saturday 9 November 
Time: 
6.30pm

Ticket prices: £12 and £8.

Amelie The Musical to open in the UK in 2019

Amelie The Musical
Amelie The Musical

Amelie The Musical

Amélie The Musical, an adaptation of the much-loved 2001 award-winning film Amélie, will have its UK stage premiere at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury from 11 April to 18 May, and then embark on an extensive UK tour from 20 May. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, this new musical adaptation of the five-time Oscar®-nominated film written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, will be directed by Michael Fentiman, with star casting to be announced.

Amélie is the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her mind. She secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness that bring happiness to those around her. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Although times are hard for dreamers, Amélie is someone to believe in…

Michael Fentiman said, “As a theatre maker, staging Amélie as a musical is one of those exciting, terrifying challenges, that you absolutely cannot turn down. It is a gentle, magical and uncynically joyous piece – that takes its audience on a surreal flight of fancy, into the mind of an extraordinary young woman, Amélie Poulain. It’s going to be a huge pleasure to open the show at the beautiful Watermill Theatre before then taking our extremely talented actor musician cast around the UK.

The original film, Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amélie Poulain, was released in 2001, starring Audrey Tatou and Matthieu Kassovitz. Taking over $33 million in a limited theatrical release, it is to date the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States, and one of the biggest international successes for a French film. Amélie won Best Film at the European Film Awards, four César Awards in 2002 (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best foreign language film.

Amélie The Musical was first staged in California in 2015 and was described as an ‘enchanting act of theatrical reinvention’ (The Los Angeles Times).

When the UK tour concludes in August 2019, Amélie The Musical will tour internationally, with dates to be announced.

Amélie The Musical, is produced by Hartshorn – Hook Productions, Selladoor Productions, The Watermill Theatre and Broadway Asia.

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Director Adam Penford talks about Watership Down, The Boys in The Band featuring Mark Gatiss and more

Ahead of directing Mark Gatiss in ‘The Boys in the Band’ at Park Theatre, Adam Penford is taking on Watership Down at The Watermill. The talented director talks about the value of regional theatre and reveals that he is always dropping egg cups.

Adam Penworth

Adam Penford

You’re in rehearsals currently for Watership Down. How’s it looking?

We’re nearing the end of rehearsals and I’m having the best time. It’s an epic narrative for such an intimate venue, but I have a generous and talented company of actors and creative team, and we’re working together to find inventive and fun ways to tell the story. And the Watermill Theatre is so idyllic. Rona Munro (James Plays, NTS) wrote this adaptation for the Lyric Hammersmith 10 years ago, but Richard Adams, who wrote the novel, lives down the road and all the places referred to in the book are nearby – so it feels like we’re bringing the story home.

You are due to direct The Boys in The Band featuring Mark Gatiss at Park Theatre later this year. Will it be any good?

It’s a fascinating play and well overdue a British revival as most younger theatregoers don’t know it. It was one of the first overtly gay plays and was a controversial smash hit when it premiered off-Broadway in 1968. The premise is simple; a group of gay friends gather for a birthday party and after a lot of booze things unravel. A surprise visit by the host’s old college roommate – a straight man with a secret – tips things over the edge. Think WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, but camper. It was far ahead of its time so it’s dated very little, and yet it also looks back and plays tribute to the classic American voices of Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Eugene O’Neill. It always divided the gay community as some felt it reinforced gay stereotypes, whereas others adored it for being simply honest, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out with a contemporary audience. It’s very witty, dramatic and entertaining – packed full of zingy one-liners.

What was the last show that you watched and enjoyed?
Showboat was terrific. It was exciting seeing Gina Beck and Rebecca Trehearn nailing those strong female roles. I’ve admired all the musicals Daniel Evans has directed and produced at Sheffield and can’t wait to see how he programmes both spaces at Chichester. It’s a pity the show didn’t find a London audience, but it’s a tough sell.

What is the best musical of all time?
Probably a Rodgers and Hammerstein, or a Sondheim, or GYPSY, or GUYS AND DOLLS. But everyone always says that. So one of my favourite shows is LEGALLY BLONDE. I directed a production a couple of years ago and there is not an ounce of fat on the bones of that show. Every lyric, musical phrase, and line of dialogue is driving the narrative and character development. All the tunes are hummable, the music perfectly captures the world of the story, and it’s genuinely funny and moving.

What was the last item of crockery you broke?

I always drop egg cups.

As well as working extensively at the National Theatre, what opportunities have you been afforded in the regions? [DEATHTRAP]

I directed a production of Deathtrap earlier this year at Salisbury Playhouse which we’re hoping to tour next year. I’d previously directed Stepping Out there and it’s a lovely venue with a loyal audience. Gareth Machin, (the Playhouse’s Artistic Director), has always been supportive, we met when he was working at National Theatre Studio and he gave me my first staff directing opportunity there. Growing up in the East Midlands, my first theatre experiences were all regional (Nottingham Playhouse, Derby Playhouse, Leicester Haymarket) so I feel very passionate about the value of local theatre and would like to do more.

What makes a good Director?

I don’t think there’s a single approach to directing. It’s such a personal thing and attempting to imitate another director’s method leads to confused work. My own approach is combining an instinct for the material with a lot of research, and this leads to a vision of how to best serve the play/story. I think being able to clearly articulate that vision, whilst remaining open to collaboration, has led to the work that I’d deem my most successful.

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given and by whom?

When I’m worrying about whether I should take on a project or not, Nick Hytner always tells me to just do it. His advice is to do as much of your own work as possible in the early stages of your career because it’ll make you a better director, and not to worry about trying to forge a particular career path, or how your choices and the resulting productions may be judged by the industry or press. It’s very liberating.

Can you tell us something SCANDALOUS?
Well I could tell you many things, but I’m obviously not going to.

What’s your favourite emoji?
The classic smiley. Although I still type it out laboriously like a computer illiterate fool : )

BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR WATERSHIP DOWN

BOOK YOUR TICKETS FOR THE BOYS IN THE BAND