Full cast announced for world première of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy The Musical

BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL
BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL

BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL

Director of Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Sam Hodges today announces the full cast for the world première stage adaptation of David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy The MusicalLuke Shepard directs Alex “Teddy” Clements (MD / Ensemble), Ryan Heenan (Joe Spud), Avita Jay (Sapphire / Raj), Eleanor Kane (Lauren), Lem Knights (Bob), Jared Leathwood (Dave Grubb), Natalie Morgan (Sue Grubb), Daisy Noir (Drummer / Ensemble),Dean Nolan (Len Spud) and Sophia Nomvete (Bobs Mum (Gwen). The production, which marks Miranda Cooper and Nick Coler’s first musical opens on 28 November, with previews from 19 November, and runs until 6 January in Southampton. Billionaire Boy The Musical then tours to Manchester, Coventry and Cardiff.

Imagine being the wealthiest child in the land!

One-day factory worker Len Spud invents a new loo roll “Bum Fresh – wet on one side, dry on the other.” The wiping-wonder is an instant hit. Len, and his son Joe, become overnight billionaires, turning their lives upside down.

Whilst Mr Spud spends, spends, spends on fast cars, 100-inch TVs, and lavish gifts for his glamorous new girlfriend, Sapphire Diamond, Joe is left to fend for himself.

In the unforgiving world of the school playground, things are about to get more complicated. With his new best friend, Bob, at his side, Joe navigates an assault course of school bullies and dangerously inedible canteen food.  To make matters worse, is the impossibly pretty new girl Lauren all that she appears to be?

But can money really buy happiness? This hilarious new musical adaptation is a triumphant treat for the whole family, based on the bestselling book by David Walliams, and presented by the NST team following their award-winning “whisker – licking treat” Fantastic Mr Fox.

David Walliams is a global phenomenon in the world of children’s literature with worldwide sales of over 19.5 million books in more than 53 languages. He is the first children’s author to spend 100 weeks in the number one position in the UK children’s book charts, beating his nearest rivals by over 20 weeks. Three of his books have been awarded Children’s Book of the Year at the National Book Awards. Additionally, The Boy in the DressRatburger,Mr Stink and Gangsta Granny have all been adapted for TV. As well as being a bestselling children’s author, Walliams is one of Britain’s most popular writers and comic actors. Along with Matt Lucas, he created the BAFTA award-winning Little Britain which also played to over 1 million people on tour across the UK, Ireland and Australia. He starred in the Agatha Christie TV series Partners in Crime and as Frankie Howerd in the biopic Rather You Than Me. He is also a judge on one of the biggest shows on TV, Britain’s Got Talent.

Jon Brittain is a playwright, comedy writer and director. His theatre credits include Rotterdam 

(Theatre503/Trafalgar Studios/59E59/Arts Theatre – winner of Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2016 and an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre in 2017.), Margaret Thatcher: Queen of Soho, Margaret Thatcher Queen of Game Shows; and A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad) which won a Fringe First Award in 2017. He directed both of John Kearns’s Fosters Award winning shows Sight Gags for Perverts and Shtick

and Tom Allen’s Both Worlds and Indeed.

 Miranda Cooper is a British songwriter. Her credits alongside Nick Coler include writing for Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, Alesha Dixon, Gabriella Cilmi, and Kylie Minogue. Cooper’s songs have spent more years on the UK chart than any other female songwriter in history, and she has penned four number one hits – Round RoundSound of the UndergroundHole in the Head and The Promise.

Nick Coler is a British songwriter. His credits alongside Miranda Cooper include 35 top 10 hits for acts such as Girls Aloud, The Sugababes, Gabriella Cilmi, Alesha Dixon and numerous other artists. In addition, he co-wrote a song with Alastair Lloyd Webber for Starlight Express as well as numerous films and TV shows including Wayne’s World where he wrote Feed my Frankenstein. He has also been nominated three times for an Ivor Novello Award and has won producer of the year.

Alex “Teddy” Clements (Performance Musical Director / Ensemble). He returns to Nuffield Southampton Theatres after his work as Assistant Musical Director on The Shadow Factory. Musical Director Credits include Fortune Lane (Union Theatre), Things We’re Learning Now (Battersea Barge), Tomorrow, Maybe (Actor’s Centre, Bridge House Theatre, C Nova, Omnibus), Blueprints (Theatre Royal Winchester), Theory of Relativity (Theatre Royal Winchester) and A Christmas Carol (Luton Library Theatre). Composer Credits include Tomorrow, Maybe (Actor’s Centre, Bridge House Theatre, C Nova, Omnibus) and Blueprints (Theatre Royal Winchester).

 Ryan Heenan plays Joe Spud. His theatre credits include Moonfleet (Salisbury Playhouse), Grease (UK tour/international tour), Peter Pan (Churchill Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Derby Theatre/Mercury Theatre Colchester), The Burnt Part Boys (Park Theatre), Variété (Riverside Studios), Mort the Musical (Rose Theatre Kingston) and The Sound of Music (London Palladium).

Avita Jay plays Sapphire / Raj. Her theatre credits include The Secret Garden (York Theatre Royal), The Jungle Book, Bring on the Bollywood,The Merry Wives of Windsor (UK tour), Bottled Up (Lyric Hammersmith), We’re Stuck (Shoreditch Town Hall/UK tour), RapunzelWarde Street (Park Theatre), Pioneer (Sheffield Theatres/UK tour), Unsung (Wilton’s Music Hall) and Sunday Morning at the Centre of the World (Southwark Playhouse). Her film credits include The RezortThe East London Story: Slap or Die, London, Paris, New York and Twenty8K.

Eleanor Kane plays Lauren. Her theatre credits include Fun Home (Young Vic – Stage debut award nomination).

Lem Knights plays Bob. His theatre credits include Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch), The Hundred and One Dalmatians,One Love: The Bob Marley Musical (Birmingham Rep), Boxed (The Vaults), Ragtime (Charing Cross Theatre), Below the Breadline and Different Windows (Edinburgh Festival Fringe).

Jared Leathwood plays Dave Grubb. This marks his professional stage debut.

 Natalie Morgan plays Sue Grubb. Her theatre credits include Gala (Arcola), Mountains of Madness (Old Red Lion Theatre, Etcetera Theatre), A Christmas CarolThe Musical (LOST Theatre), One More Time (Tristan Bates Theatre) and The Thing On the Doorstep: Asenath’s Tale (Etcetera Theatre).

 Daisy Noir (Drummer / Ensemble). This production marks her professional stage debut.

Dean Nolan plays Len Spud. His theatre credits include Brief Encounter (Birmingham Rep/Empire Cinema, Haymarket), Big Fish (The Other Palace), Fiddler on the RoofConquest of the South PoleRomeo and JulietA Midsummer Night’s Dream (Liverpool Everyman), The OresteiaMeasure For Measure‘Tis A Pity She’s A WhoreThe Knight Of The Burning Pestle (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Winter’s Tale (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Steptoe and Son (UK tour). His film credits include Pan and London Road.

 Sophia Nomvete plays Bobs Mum (Gwen). Her theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s DreamThe Wizard of Oz (Sheffield Theatres), Miss LittlewoodVice Versa (RSC), Wind in the Willows the Musical (Theatre Royal Plymouth/ The Lowry/Mayflower Theatre), Noises Off (Nottingham Playhouse/Northern Stage/Nuffield Southampton Theatres), The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe (Birmingham Rep), The Heresy of LoveAs You Like It (Shakespeare’s Globe), Much Ado About Nothing (Royal Exchange Theatre), Tuxedo Junction (The Watermill Theatre), The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Pyjama Game (Chichester Festival Theatre), Ragtime and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Antony and Cleopatra (Nuffield Southampton Theatre), Grimm Tales (Library Theatre), England People Very Nice (National Theatre), Our House(Cambridge Theatre), The Drowsy Chaperone (The Gatehouse), Footloose (Novello Theatre) and Fame (UK tour).

 Luke Sheppard directs. His credits include In The Heights (Southwark Playhouse/ King Cross Theatre – winner of 3 Olivier Awards), Murder for Two(The Other Palace / UK tour), Spring Awakening (Hope Mill, Manchester), The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Age 13 ¾ (Menier Chocolate Factory / Leicester Curve), Working, Casa Valentina (Southwark Playhouse), Jersey Boys (international tour), Oliver! (The Watermill Theatre), Peter and the Starcatcher (Theatre Royal Northampton), Night Must Fall (Salisbury Playhouse) and Stig of the Dump (Arts Theatre).

Listings                                                                                                             Nuffield Southampton Theatres

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So obviously ‘The Inheritance’ is fairly incredible

The Inheritance

Right – so I’ve seen The Inheritance (again) and it’s a pretty astonishing piece of work. The Young Vic’s show of the year: The Inheritance, written by Matthew Lopez and directed by Stephen Daldry, is as close to theatre perfection as it gets.

Is the hype real? Yes, folks.

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

Theatrically, tonally, politically and conceptually it’s right up there with Tony Kushner’s sprawling Angels in America, and with a brilliant cast including Vanessa Redgrave – the only woman in the play.

This, in a nutshell, is where we begin:

A cosy room. A handful of YOUNG MEN sitting around writing.’

Paul Hilton kicks off Part 1 as Morgan, an embodiment of novelist E.M. Forster educating a group of contemporary privileged gay men in New York, lost in the millennial haze of a generation after the AIDS crisis.

Having a production like this at the Noel Coward Theatre (Broadway next – certainly) is more significant than ever. We are living in a divided world; more than two-thirds of same-sex couples avoid holding hands in public and hate crimes against LGBT people has more than doubled since EU referendum.

These are challenging times.

But this is a play of a lifetime – for the time. Release the doves, it’s finally happened. The Inheritance is a thrilling seven-hour, two-parter E.M. Forster inspired epic of New York gay life. Oh, and it is extremely special. Its theatre in all the right ways, it’s noisy in all the right ways, it’s brash and bombastic and funny and audacious and playful in all the right ways, and it’s smart in all the right ways, too.

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

Along with the world-class sound by Paul Arditti and Christopher Reid, one of the best things about The Inheritance is Jon Clark’s lighting. It illuminates the stage; the naturalistic suddenly becomes impressionistic. Falling shadows make the darkness itself visible. Light is used not just to show detail, but to hide it.

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

Part 1, though, has possibly my favourite moments ever spent sat in a theatre. Bob Crowley’s excellent bare wooden set enables the exceptional cast to display constant movement and focussed performances, his minimal design of a moving platform creates a striking azure.

‘We need our community, we need our history. How else can we teach the next generation who they are and how they got here?’ asks the beating heart of the story: Eric Glass– played exquisitely by Kyle Soller – on the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration, while scene-stealing Andrew Burnap as Toby swaggers as his narcissistic partner. He flutters around gayly in a tight vest and speedos like an exotic bird. He’s also very funny and has cheek bones that could cut glass. Deftly conjoining these two central performances are the breathtakingly simple sequences between them that encapsulates Lopez’s jaggedly tender script; harrowing, heart-breaking, nasty and joyful.

Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

Part 2 is a drama littered with characters living an unfulfilled existence, trapped by the great silence and snappy dialogue that is the true villain of the piece. Having been swept along by Daldry’s vision for a day and night of entertainment, heartbreak and inspiration, Vanessa Redgrave appears as a woman who has lost her son to AIDS. Redgrave, 81, puts on a majestic display of stagecraft full of hypnotic pregnant pauses. By the end of the night, you feel that silence deserves to be broken by tumultuous applause. Which it is.

Everything that I have written about The Inheritance seriously understates the level of theatre sorcery going on here; this is a decadent, astute theatre triumph.

It is addictively binge-worthy and I can’t wait to go back.

N.B. Please note that the amazingness of this cast is indeed dangerous and anybody with an aversion to INCREDIBLE THEATRE should avoid.

The Inheritance is at Noel Coward Theatre until 19 January 2019. Wednesday and Saturday matinee performances. 

Top Show: London – The Inheritance (Pt. 1)

Time to listen: Study reveals concern over impact of declining provision of arts & culture in schools

Royal Shakespeare Company

A landmark research project commissioned by Arts Council England – and involving schools and teachers who work with either the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) or Tate – outlines the overwhelmingly positive benefits of arts and cultural education on the lives of young people. The research, undertaken by the School of Education at the University of Nottingham, has led to calls for urgent change, as thousands of young people and teachers express concern over the impact that declining arts and cultural provision in schools will have on future generations.

Time to Listen, the first and most comprehensive survey of its kind, shows what students themselves say about the value of arts and cultural education. Researchers gathered 6,000 responses from students aged 11-18 and their teachers over three years.

The findings show the ways in which arts and cultural learning in the classroom opens doors to creative activities outside school hours. More than a third of the students said school is the only opportunity they have to engage in arts activities.

The survey was carried out against a background of funding cuts and a rapid decline in the number of arts teachers and hours spent on arts subjects in state-funded schools. There is now a growing gap in arts provision between state-maintained schools and the independent sector.

One clear and consistent message comes from the thousands of students who took part: arts and cultural learning taps into their imagination, creative instincts and self-worth in ways that other lessons do not. With no definitive right or wrong answers, arts subjects are shown to significantly help young people develop their own opinions as rounded individuals ready to contribute to their community and the wider world. The research focusses on the positive impact that arts-rich schools have on fostering independent thinking and creativity, confidence, well-being and empathy.

Talking about Time to Listen, Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, said:

“The strong, consistent and thoughtful message from the young people in this study is that arts and cultural subjects are uniquely important in equipping them for both academic and employment success.

“If we want this generation to have the key skills required to thrive in the workplace of the future, we need to listen to them now.”

Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate added:

“We cannot overstate the case for an arts and cultural education for all. Arts subjects must be at the core of education provision in the UK in our schools, be they state-funded or independent, and in our universities. We must listen to the reverberating sound of the 6,000 voices that are part of this important piece of research and act now. Otherwise, we will be failing the children and students who are the creative future of the UK.”

Researchers Professor Christine Hall and Professor Pat Thomson, School of Education, the University of Nottingham, said:

“We researched in thirty schools across England where, despite a hostile policy environment, students were engaged in a rich and exciting arts and cultural education. Students told us that their arts subjects helped them to understand themselves, their everyday lives, and the world around them.

“The evidence from our study shows the importance of schools and teachers in making sure that all young people have the opportunity to experience what the arts have to offer.  The publicly funded school system in England has some way to go to make this a reality.”

In response to the research Anthony Seldon, Vice Chancellor, Buckingham University added:

“We all have a role to play in securing high quality access to the arts and culture for young people. This research tells us how valuable arts subjects and experiences are for students in schools – but it also tells us they are under significant threat. I call on Vice Chancellors across the country to play our part in securing the future of arts subjects in schools and universities by ensuring they are appropriately valued in our institutions. I ask Russell Group universities to review their approach to facilitating subjects and ensure we aren’t inadvertently telling young people that choosing arts subjects at A Level will close down their options.”

As a result of the research, and the growing body of evidence, the RSC and Tate are calling for five changes to support schools and ensure that arts and culture education features in all young people’s education:

1. All secondary schools should be able to:

  1. ensure that at key stage 3 the arts have parity with other subjects
  2. Offer a full range of arts subjects at key stage 4 (GSCE)
  3. Confidently talk to students and their families about the value of studying arts subjects

2. The Ofsted process should ensure the breadth and balance of the school curriculum by specifying in the inspection framework the minimum proportion of curriculum time to be spent studying arts subjects at key stage 3, and the range of arts subjects offered at key stage 4.1

3. There should be an Arts and Culture Premium for all children in schools2.

4. Russell Group universities should review their approach to Facilitating Subjects recognising that studying arts subjects can provide young people with an essential foundation for further study.

5. There should be acknowledgement and appropriate reward in both pay scale and job title for the work of teachers who take on the role of ‘arts broker’.

One teacher who participated in the study said,

“The biggest value of creative work for the students is working independently and solving problems and being given responsibility, because ultimately that is what life is about…”

Students’ comments included,

“In arts subjects there’s no such thing as perfection……It’s interpretation. Everyone will have a different opinion and you have to take it on board and reflect upon it”.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt this motivated to want to do work.”

Students and teachers highlighted the key benefits of studying arts and culture subjects including:

  • building self-belief, risk taking, and confidence
  • providing an important release valve amidst growing pressure on young people at school
  • developing empathy and tolerance; appreciating difference and diversity

To coincide with the launch of the research, Tate has released a film Why Study Art? in which a wide range of cultural figures give their views on why an arts and cultural education is vital. To view the film visithttp://www.tate.org.uk/art/videos/tateshots/why-study-art. The film can also be viewed on YouTube:https://youtu.be/vKjkx6PzajE

Adam Penford announces second Spring Season at Nottingham Playhouse

Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse photo credit Creative by Wren - low res
Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse photo credit Creative by Wren - low res

Adam Penford, Artistic Director at Nottingham Playhouse photo credit Creative by Wren – low res

Nottingham Playhouse has announced Adam Penford’s second season as artistic director, including the return of the hugely popular Wonderland.

Following an exceptionally successful first year in post, Nottingham Playhouse’s artistic director Adam Penford has announced his spring season for 2019, which includes four main stage productions and a refreshed take on the theatre’s approach to working with associate artists.

Nottingham Playhouse’s chief executive Stephanie Sirr said: “We’ve been thrilled with the response to Adam’s fantastic first year as artistic director. A really creative and very ambitious season has truly paid off – we’ve loved audiences’ reactions to the work.

“2019 is already looking like it will have the same high-profile potential and we can’t wait to get started.”

Penford’s hugely ambitious 2018 programme brought some of the UK’s best actors, directors and playwrights to the city and has also provided a platform for Nottingham’s artists and theatre makers. Well received by audiences and theatre critics alike, his debut programme is due to culminate this year with the production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III, which will also be broadcast across the world through National Theatre Live.

Adam Penford said: “Everyone at the theatre has been delighted with the audience response to our 2018 programme. The reaction to the work has been generous and supportive.

“I’m excited our plans for the first half of next year includes four varied main stage shows; a revival, an adaptation of a family novel, a modern classic and a regional premiere.

“We’re also excited to confirm directors for all four shows too; including the return of Matthew Xia – who directed Shebeen for us earlier this year – and two of the most innovative directors in the industry at the moment; Lisa Blair and Adele Thomas.

“The intention is to build upon some of the ideas we introduced with this year, whilst continuing to explore new approaches.

“I hope to always keep the work fresh and innovative, balancing offering a great night out at the theatre, whilst challenging the artists we collaborate with to be bolder and more inventive, attracting the highest quality theatre-makers.”

In February, Adam’s first production of 2019 is the previously announced return of Wonderland by Beth Steel, a gripping play that takes a 360° look at the events of the 1984-85 miners’ strike.

Following the success of Holes in the 2018 programme, Penford continues his programming of titles aimed at schools and family audiences. Nottingham Playhouse will produce David Almond’s adaption of his own modern classic novel Skellig, which follows the story of a 12-year-old boy – Michael – whose younger sister is born prematurely. With his parents focusing much of their attention on the newborn, Michael is left to explore the new family home and discovers a creature in its crumbling garage; Skellig.

Fresh from her acclaimed revival of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, Lisa Blair is confirmed to direct Skellig, which will look to strike the perfect balance between magic and real life, and take the audience on a visually thrilling journey as the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year story is retold on stage.

Next in the 2019 season will be The Memory of Water; a comedy drama directed by highly acclaimed director and National Theatre, Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe regular, Adele Thomas. The story follows three estranged sisters who return to their childhood home on the eve of their mother’s funeral. Shelagh Stephenson’s Olivier award-winning story is a relatable drama about the complexities of family relationships.

Completing the spring line up is the regional premiere of acclaimed American play One Night in Miami…, which will see the return of director Matthew Xia to the Playhouse. The role of soul singer Sam Cooke will be played by Olivier award winner Matt Henry who won best actor for his performance in Kinky Boots.

Also new for 2019 will be Nottingham Playhouse’s approach to working with associate artists. Three exciting appointments have been made: director Matthew Xia, and playwrights James Graham and Amanda Whittington. To open up access to this important new group, the theatre is also advertising for a passionate and dedicated fourth associate artist to join the cohort.

Adam said: “I am over the moon that James, Amanda and Matthew have agreed to join us. Not only are they three of the most acclaimed theatre practitioners working in UK theatre, both James and Amanda also hail from the region.

“The associate artists bring with them a variety of skills, experiences and interests and will act as a diverse sounding board, ensuring Nottingham Playhouse’s artistic decisions are truly representative.

“In 2019 we’ll also be continuing our focus on local artist development through our programme Amplify, which will continue to act as a springboard for East Midlands theatre makers looking to develop their professional careers.”

Principal casting announced for Menier Chocolate Factory’s major revival of Fiddler On The Roof

Fiddler on the Roof
Fiddler on the Roof

Fiddler on the Roof

The Menier Chocolate Factory today announced principal company for its major revival of one of the world’s most-beloved musicals of all time, Fiddler on the Roof, in a new staging by Trevor Nunn. Joining the previously announced Andy Nyman (Tevye) is Judy Kuhn as Golde, with Harriet Bunton (Hodel), Dermot Canavan (Lazar Wolf), Stewart Clarke (Perchik), Matt Corner (Fyedka), Joshua Gannon (Motel), Louise Gold (Yente),Kirsty MacLaren (Chava) and Molly Osborne (Tzeitel).

The production opens on 5 December, with previews from 23 November, and runs until 9 March. Booking is open for supporters of the Menier with public booking opening on 5 September.

This joyous and heart-breaking story of the travails of Tevye the milkman, his wife and five daughters features such classic songs as “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and remains a heart-warming celebration To Life – L’chaim!

Fiddler on the Roof sees Trevor Nunn renew his collaboration with the Menier – he previously directed Lettice and LovageLove in Idleness (also West End), A Little Night Music (also West End and Broadway) and Aspects of Love for the company.

Andy Nyman is an award-winning actor, director and writer who has earned acclaim from both critics and audiences for his work in theatre, film and television. He returns to the Menier Chocolate Factory having previously performed in Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins and Abigail’s Party (also Wyndham’s Theatre). Other theatre work includes Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen (Wyndham’s Theatre), and the original production of Ghost Stories(Duke of York’s Theatre/Arts Theatre) which he starred in, co-wrote and co-directed with Jeremy Dyson. His extensive television credits includeWanderlust, The Eichmann ShowCampus, Crooked HouseDead Set as well as his highly acclaimed performance as Winston Churchill in Peaky Blinders. This year he will be seen in the up and coming series Hanna. Nyman’s extensive film credits include The CommuterDeath at a FuneralKick-Ass 2Black DeathThe Brother’s BloomSeverance and Shut Up & Shoot Me, for which he won the ‘Best Actor’ award at the Cherbourg Film Festival in 2006. Upcoming films include Jungle Cruise and playing opposite Renee Zellweger in Judy. This year saw the release of the film version of Ghost Stories. Based on their own play, the film was written and directed by Nyman and Jeremy Dyson. Nyman also stars alongside Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse. In addition, he has collaborated with Derren Brown for almost 20 years, co-writing and co-creating much of Brown’s early TV work, he has also co-written and directed six of Brown’s stage shows winning the ‘Best Entertainment’ Olivier Award for Derren Brown – Something Wicked This Way Comes and recently a New York Drama Desk Award for ‘Best Unique Theatrical Event 2017’ for Derren Brown – Secret.

Judy Kuhn plays Golde. A four-time Tony Award nominee, she has released four studio albums, and sang the title role in the 1995 film Pocahontas, including her rendition of the song “Colors of the Wind”, which won its composers the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Her theatre credits include Fun Home (Public Theater/Circle In The Square Theatre), She Loves Me (Brooks Atkinson Theater), ChessThe Mystery of Edwin Drood (The Imperial Theatre), Les Miserables (Broadhurst Theatre), Rags (Mark Hellinger Theatre),Two Shakespearean Actors (Lincoln Center Theatre), KingDavid (New Amsterdam Theater) and Metropolis (Piccadilly Theatre – Olivier Award Nomination), The Visit (The Williamstown Theater Festival), PassionThe Cradle Will Rock (City Center), Three Sisters (Intiman Theatre), Passion (Kennedy Center), Sunset BoulevardEli’s Comin’ , Dream True (Vineyard Theatre), The Ballad of Little Jo (Steppenwolf Theater), The Glass Menagerie (McCarter Theatre), Martin Guerre (Hartford Stage) andEndangered Species (BAM). Her film credits include EnchantedDay on FirePocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World.

Harriet Bunton plays Hodel. Her theatre credits include Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre), Sunny Afternoon (Harold Pinter Theatre), The Rocky Horror Show (European tour) and We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre).

Dermot Canavan plays Lazar Wolf. His theatre credits include Oklahoma! (Gordon Craig Theatre), Rehab (Union Theatre), The Last Tango (Phoenix Theatre), West Side Story (Kilworth House), The Ladykillers (The Watermill Theatre), Annie Get Your Gun (UK tour), The Tempest, The Taming Of The ShrewThe 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre), Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre), and In The Club (Hampstead Theatre); and for film Like Crazy.

Stewart Clarke plays Perchik. He returns to the Menier Chocolate Factory having previously performed in Assassins. Other theatre credits include The Rink (Southwark Playhouse), A Streetcar Named Desire (Curve), The Return of the Soldier (Jermyn Street Theatre), Godspell in Concert (Lyric Theatre), Cool Rider Live (Duchess Theatre), Ghost the Musical (UK tour) and Loserville (Garrick Theatre). His television credits include The Moonstone; and for film Easy Virtue.

Matt Corner plays Fyedka. His theatre credits include Jersey Boys (Piccadilly Theatre/UK tour), A Day at the Races/A Night at the Opera (Ireland), Jim Caruso’s Cast Party (Birdland Jazz Club, New York). His film credits include Les Miserables and You’re A Musical Star.

Joshua Gannon plays Motel. He graduated from Guildford School of Acting 2017. Since graduating, his credits include Oklahoma! (Gordon Craig Theatre), Cilla – The Musical (UK tour) and The Wind in The Willows (London Palladium).

Louise Gold plays Yente. Her theatre credits include Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (London Palladium), Follies (Royal Festival Hall), Mamma Mia!Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre), Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Gypsy (Chichester Festival Theatre/Savoy Theatre), Our Country’s GoodThe Caucasian Chalk Circle (Royal Lyceum Theatre), The Cherry Orchard (RSC), Noises Off (Piccadilly Theatre), The Good Person of Szechwan (Young Vic) and The Nap (Sheffield Theatres). Her television credits include Strike Back, The Alan Clarke DiariesSpitting Image and The Muppet Show; and for film, Muppets Most Wanted, The Muppet Christmas CarolThe Great Muppet CaperThe Dark Crystal, Muppet Treasure Island, The Pirates of PenzanceBilly the Kid and the Green Baize VampireTopsy Turvey and Crush.

Kirsty MacLaren plays Chava. Her theatre credits include the Olivier Award-winning Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (international tour/National Theatre/Duke of York’s Theatre), The Crucible (Royal Lyceum Theatre), Rapunzel (Platform Theatre), Miracle on 34th St, The Admirable Crichton, Mr Bolfry, Yellow on the Broom (Pitlochry Festival Theatre) and Freak Show (Noisemaker Productions).

Molly Osborne plays Tzeitel. She recently graduated from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. This marks her professional stage debut.

From 1968 to 1986, Trevor Nunn was the youngest ever Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, directing over thirty productions, including most of the Shakespeare canon, as well as Nicholas Nickleby and Les Misérables.  From 1997 to 2003, he was Artistic Director of the National Theatre, where his productions included Troilus and Cressida, Oklahoma!The Merchant of VeniceSummerfolkMy Fair LadyA Streetcar Named DesireAnything Goes and Love’s Labour’s Lost. He has directed the world premières of Tom Stoppard’s plays ArcadiaThe Coast of Utopia and Rock n Roll; and of CatsSunset Boulevard, Starlight Express and Aspects of Love by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Other theatre includes Timon of AthensSkellig (Young Vic); The Lady From The Sea (Almeida Theatre); HamletRichard IIInherit the Wind (The Old Vic), A Little Night Music(Menier Chocolate Factory, West End and Broadway), Cyrano de BergeracKiss Me Kate (Chichester Festival Theatre); Heartbreak HouseFlare PathRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are DeadThe Tempest (Theatre Royal, Haymarket); Scenes from a Marriage (Coventry & St James), All That Fall (Jermyn Street & New York); A Chorus of Disapproval and Relative Values (West End).  Work for television includes Antony and CleopatraThe Comedy of ErrorsMacbethThree SistersOthelloThe Merchant of Venice and King Lear, and on film, HeddaLady Jane and Twelfth Night.

Listings Information                                                                                                                     Fiddler on the Roof

Venue:                                Menier Chocolate Factory

Address:                             53 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU

Press performance:         5 December at 8pm

Dates:                                 23 November 2018 – 9 March 2019

Times:                                For the performance schedule, please see the website

Box Office:                         020 7378 1713 (£2.50 transaction fee per booking)

Website:                        www.menierchocolatefactory.com (£1.50 transaction fee per booking)

Neal Street Productions Announce West End Transfer of Its Co-Production with National Theatre, THE LEHMAN TRILOGY

The Lehman Trilogy
The Lehman Trilogy

The Lehman Trilogy

Neal Street Productions has confirmed the West End transfer of its co-production with the National Theatre of The Lehman Trilogy. Sam Mendes’s acclaimed production of Ben Power’s adaptation of Stefano Massini’s text about the rise and fall of the Lehman family’s extraordinary empire will play at the Piccadilly Theatre from May 11th 2019 for a 12 week season. Tickets for the West End season go on sale to the general public from November 2nd. Prior to appearing at the Piccadilly Theatre, The Lehman Trilogy will play a limited season from March 22nd – April 20th 2019 at the Park Avenue Armory in New York following its sell-out run at the Lyttelton Theatre.

Neal Street Productions’ theatre department is producing consistently on both sides of the Atlantic. The Ferryman, its co-production with Sonia Friedman Productions, is now in previews on Broadway ahead of its official opening on October 21st. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is breaking records on its first US national tour and  Shrek The Musical continues its second enormously successful UK tour with Laura Main (Call the Midwife) playing Princess Fiona.

Looking to the future, Caro Newling is co-producing a new musical theatre adaptation of Local Hero which will begin performances at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh in March 2019 ahead of a season at London’s Old Vic. Other adapted and original stage productions are in planning and further details will be announced soon.

On TV, Call The Midwife Season 8 is currently filming and Season 9 already commissioned. Informer, a new drama starring Paddy Considine, who is also currently appearing in The Ferryman on Broadway,  will begin on BBC 1 on October 16th and Series 2 of Jez Butterworth’s Britannia is currently in production.

Neal Street Productions’ theatre department works closely with its TV and film colleagues in developing strong relationships with acting and creative talent who then regularly work in different media under the Neal Street banner.

Caro Newling, who collected an OBE for Services to the Arts on October 11th, said: “I have a note in my diary from 28 February 2015 scribbled after chatting with Sam: 1. Find a literal translator for an Italian play 2. About Lehman banking family by Stefano Massini 3. We should all read ASAP. Two months later we had a translation, an adaptor in Ben Power with whom we had worked on two series of The Hollow Crown, and two producing partners in Pierre Audi and Rufus Norris. The generosity of spirit from our colleagues, who grasped and supported the same vision, has been beyond price. “

The Price West End transfer announced, starring David Suchet and Brendan Coyle

David Suchet and Brendan Coyle ©NOBBY CLARK
David Suchet and Brendan Coyle ©NOBBY CLARK

David Suchet and Brendan Coyle ©NOBBY CLARK

The 50th anniversary production of Arthur Miller’s riveting drama The Price is today announced for a West End transfer in February 2019 following a critical and publicly acclaimed reception in Bath earlier this summer. Eminent British actor David Suchetand Olivier Award winner and BAFTA and Emmy nominated Brendan Coyle will both reprise their star roles, as furniture dealer Gregory Solomon and New York cop Victor Franz, respectively, in Jonathan Church’s exemplary revival with Adrian Lukis and Sara StewartThe Price will run at Wyndham’s Theatre from 5 February to 27 April with opening night for press on 11 February 2019.

Two brothers, Victor and Walter Franz, one a New York cop nearing retirement, the other a successful surgeon, meet for the first time in sixteen years to sell their family furniture stored in the attic of a condemned New York brownstone. Revelation follows stunning revelation as each brother realises the price they have paid for heart breaking decisions made decades earlier. Overseeing the psychological battlefield is the wily veteran appraiser, Gregory Solomon, who has his own demons to conquer as well as securing the best possible price for the Franz family possessions.

David Suchet, revisiting the work of Arthur Miller after his legendary award-winning performance in All My Sons, plays Gregory Solomon. Brendan Coyle, well known as Mr Bates in Downton Abbey, will reprise his role as Victor Franz, and will return to the stage straight from his hit one-man show St Nicholas. Original cast member Adrian Lukis will return to play Victor’s brother, Walter Franz, with Sara Stewart as Esther Franz, Victor’s wife.

First seen on Broadway in 1968, The Price was nominated for two Tony Awards including Best Play. It was also recently revived in New York in 2017, starring Mark Ruffalo and Danny DeVito. This 50th anniversary production of Arthur Miller’s richly affecting play – which, like his better known works, mines his preoccupation with the pleasures and perils of the American Dream – transfers from a sell-out run at the Theatre Royal Bath where it was hugely acclaimed by critics and audiences alike.

Arthur Miller’s plays include All My SonsDeath of a SalesmanThe CrucibleA View from the Bridge, After the FallThe Priceand Finishing the Picture. Other works include Focus, a novel, The Misfits, a screenplay, Timebends, an autobiography and the novella, Homely Girl. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949 for Death of a Salesman.

David Suchet, well known for playing Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Poirot, has credits across film, television and theatre, most recently seen in the BBC 1 drama Press and on stage in the Pinter at the Pinter season.  Theatre highlights include Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Apollo Theatre), All My Sons (Apollo Theatre), as well as The Last Confession (West End, Chichester Festival Theatre) andAmadeus (West End, London and Broadway).  Film credits include Effie, The Bank Job, Act of God, Foolproof, The In-Laws, Live From Baghdad, Sabotage, Wing Commander, A Perfect Murder and Sunday. Additional television credits include Great Expectations, Richard II, Hidden, Going Postal, Flood, Henry VIII, Victoria & Albert, RKO281, Seesaw and Solomon.

Brendan Coyle’s extensive television credits include John Bates in Downton Abbey, for which he won 3 SAG Awards for Outstanding Ensemble and received Emmy, BAFTA & IFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actor. Most recently, Brendan starred in BBC and Netflix series Requiem, and on stage in Conor McPherson’s chilling one-man show St Nicholas for the Donmar Warehouse and Dublin Theatre Festival. Other television credits include Spotless, Starlings and Lark Rise To Candleford. Brendan starred in the original production of The Weir (Royal Court, West End and Broadway); winning both the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor & New York Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Broadway Debut and has also appeared in Mojo (Harold Pinter), The Late Henry Moss(Almeida) and Buried Child (National Theatre). His film credits include upcoming Working Title epic Mary Queen of Scots and Me Before You.

Adrian Lukis has appeared in several television series, including BBC dramas Collateral, Silk, Silent Witness, Doctors and Spooks.His stage credits include The Seagull (National Theatre), Versailles (Donmar Warehouse), Taming of the Shrew (Royal Shakespeare Company), Pygmalion (Theatre Royal Bath) and Arthur and George and The Winslow Boy at Birmingham Repertory.

Sara Stewart has appeared on screen in Channel 4’s Fresh Meat, the Emmy Award Winning series Sugar Rush, and most recently in BBC dramas Doctor Foster and The Night Manager. Her film credits include Face of an Angel, Philomena, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Sightseers and the latest Transformers film. Her most recent theatre credits include The Cherry Orchard (Nottingham Playhouse) and Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties (Southwark Playhouse).

Jonathan Church is Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Bath Summer Season where his directing credits include the upcoming In Praise of Love and, recently, The Price, An Ideal Husband as seen in the West End, Racing Demon and The Lady in the Van. He was previously Artistic Director for the Salisbury Playhouse (1995-99), Birmingham Rep (2001-05) and Chichester Festival Theatre (2006-16). His directing credits include acclaimed productions such as Singin’ in the Rain (Chichester, West End), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Chichester, West End) and Taken at Midnight (Chichester, West End). He received a CBE for Services to Theatre in 2015.

The Price is presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Jonathan Church Productions, and directed by Jonathan Church with design by Simon Higlett, lighting design by Paul Pyant, sound design by Mike Walker, composition by Matthew Scott, associate direction by Emma Butler and casting by Gabrielle Dawes CDG.

LISTINGS

THE PRICE
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Jonathan Church
Designed by Simon Higlett
Lighting Design: Paul Pyant
Sound Design: Mike Walker
Composer: Matthew Scott
Associate Director: Emma Butler
Casting: Gabrielle Dawes CDG

Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Rd, London WC2H 0DA

First performance: Tuesday 5 February
Opening Night: Monday 11 February
Final performance: Saturday 27 April

Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2pm

Box Office details:
Website: www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk 
Box office number: 0844 482 5151
Prices from £20

Twitter: @TheatreRBath
Facebook: TheatreRoyalBath

 

Gecko announce Barbican debut marking next phase of UK’s leading devising physical theatre company

The Wedding
The Wedding

The Wedding

Renowned physical theatre company Gecko marks its debut at the Barbican, one of London’s biggest stages, with The Wedding as part of the line-up for prestigious London International Mime Festival 2019, the capital’s longest established international theatre season.This is the first time a UK theatre company has been programmed at the Barbican as part of the LIMF main theatre programme.

The company’s seventh creation, The Wedding features an extraordinary ensemble of nine international performers who guide audiences through a dystopian world in which we are all brides, wedded to society.

This exceptionally timely piece of physical theatre exploring the relationships between individual and state combines Gecko’s trademark style of movement and imagery in an emotionally-charged performance.

Joseph Seelig and Helen Lannaghan, directors of London International Mime Festival, said: “The Mime Festival is delighted to enable Gecko’s thrilling visual theatre work to be seen in one of London’s most prestigious theatres, in partnership with our colleagues at the Barbican. Gecko has arrived there by right.”

Toni Racklin, Head of Theatre at the Barbican, said: “We’re delighted to welcome award-winning physical theatre company Gecko to the Barbican for the first time with their acclaimed production, The Wedding. The international company has a powerful physical vocabulary, so it’s brilliant to be presenting this London premiere with our regular partners, London International Mime Festival.”

This announcement comes at an auspicious time for Gecko. Established by Amit Lahav in 2001, the Company has become the epitome of visceral, provocative physical theatre in the UK, with a unique language of movement, music and set design that come together to create a distinctive and unforgettable experience. Now, in its 18th year, Gecko is the UK’s leading devising physical theatre company, which, despite the more and more challenging arts funding landscape in the country, creates increasingly ambitious shows performing to audiences across the UK and internationally. The company’s work is studied by students preparing for their GCSE and A’Level exams across England and in 2019 the company will begin development of its next production.

A Gecko show always puts the audience at its heart and allows them to interpret and resonate with the performance based on their personal experiences. Amit has devised a rigorous and productive process of developing a show over a period of three years, which includes a ‘creation tour’ where the show changes and progresses whilst on tour in response to the experience of performing for an audience. This demanding method has seen 7 successful shows produced over almost two decades, including The OvercoatMissingInstituteThe Time of Your Life – a live theatre broadcast aimed at new audiences not necessarily familiar with contemporary subsidised theatre commissioned by BBC Four, ACE and Battersea Arts Centre, and more recently, The Wedding.

Gecko has taken those shows on extensive tours around the UK and internationally, and through building close relationships with venues and their audiences, has established a close-knit network of programming contemporary physical theatre on the mid-scale. In recent years, the company has expanded its touring programme to include themed engagement activity, seeking to diversify audiences encountering their work and deepen their experience.

Amit Lahav, an expert on movement, has been invited to work with multi-award winning, ground-breaking band The Chemical Brothers on imagery for the new songs on their current world tour with directors Adam Smith and Marcus Lyall He has also been working on movement for BBC 2’s documentary about Austrian painter Egon SchieleDangerous Desires: The Scandalous Life Of Egon Schieledirected by Teresa Griffiths.Released in the upcoming weeks to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Schiele’s death, the documentary tells the story of his short and dramatic life in Schiele’s own words, using original letters and writings, and uses Amit Lahav’s choreography to convey the expressiveness of his work, focusing on its physicality and humanity. The company is also extremely excited to be soon announcing its first patrons.

Amit Lahav said “I am immensely proud that Gecko has been invited to perform The Wedding at the Barbican Theatre as part of the London International Mime Festival, our biggest national platform to date, most pertinently for the message it sends to our young audiences: be courageous, daring and experimental.

The shows we create are emotionally expressive, uncompromising and boldly inventive. I feel that these are important values to harvest in the next generation and I’m very happy that the Barbican and LIMF are encouraging that message.

Having always worked with an international ensemble and toured extensively internationally, it also gives me great pleasure to know that Gecko will be the first British company to be seen in this prestigious international slot in the LIMF programme. These performances mark a turning point for Gecko as the ambition of the work continues to grow and I am excited to embark on the next phase of our journey.”

Hamilton’s King George makes important Olivier Awards announcement

Olivier Awards

A Message From The King…

Watch the dastardly King George III from Olivier Award-winning musical Hamilton (played by Michael Jibson) announce the date and venue for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard!

OLIVIER AWARDS 2019 WITH MASTERCARD

DATE: Sunday 7 April 2019

VENUE: Royal Albert Hall

OfficialLondonTheatre.com / YouTube / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Giphy

#OlivierAwards

Established in 1976, the Olivier Awards celebrate the world-class status of London theatre. For further information visit: OlivierAwards.com

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) is the not-for-profit organisation representing the London theatre industry. SOLT runs the Olivier Awards with Mastercard, Official London Theatre, West End LIVE, TKTS, Theatre Tokens, Kids Week and the New Year Sale.  For further information:SOLT.co.uk

 

 

Last chance to see The Jungle in the West End

The Jungle Photo Credit: Marc Brenner
The Jungle Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

The Jungle Photo Credit: Marc Brenner

Audiences have just three weeks left to see the critically acclaimed production of The Jungle by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson at the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End. Directed by Stephen Daldry and Justin Martin, the production has received widespread critical acclaim and won the South Bank Sky Arts Award in the 2018 Theatre category. Set in Europe’s largest unofficial refugee camp, the Calais Jungle, which in 2015, became a temporary home for more than 10,000 people, the play transferred to the West End from the Young Vic where the traditional proscenium Playhouse theatre underwent a remarkable transformation. Housing Miriam Buether’s set design, audiences are invited to sit at the benches and tables of the Afghan café in the Calais camp or in the Dress Circle.

The company is made up of actors from around the world, cast are from Iran, Sudan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, England, Zimbabwe, Syria, Armenia, Congo, Wales, Scotland, The Gambia, Morocco, Lebanon and Germany.

This is the place where people suffered and dreamed.  Meet the hopeful, resilient residents of the Jungle – just across the Channel, right on our doorstep. The Jungle tells stories of loss, fear, community and hope, of the Calais camp’s creation – and of its eventual destruction. Join the residents over freshly baked naan and sweet milky chai at the Afghan Café, and experience the intense, moving and uplifting encounters between refugees from many different countries and the volunteers who arrived from the UK.

Official charity partner, Help Refugees, which was established alongside the Good Chance Theatre in the Calais Jungle in 2015, and is now the leading UK NGO in a new movement of International humanitarian aid, has been supported by the production, with fundraising efforts taking place at the venue throughout the entire run.

Alongside The Jungle, Sounds of Refuge, the debut world music album from cast members John FalsettoMohamed Sarrar and Ammar Haj Ahmad which fuses Zimbabwean, Sudanese and Syrian music, spoken word and poetry, is now available to buy online and at the Playhouse Theatre.  Composed and performed with traditional African instruments – the mbira, darbuka and djembe -the three musicians, who met through Good Chance’s work, together with special guest Duncan Webb on piano and keys, recorded their debut album at London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios in summer 2018.

Sonia Friedman Productions and Tom Kirdahy, Hunter Arnold present A National Theatre and Young Vic Co-Production with Good Chance Theatre.