The Boy with Two Hearts to open at the National Theatre this October

The Boy with Two Hearts

Wales Millennium Centre’s widely acclaimed adaptation of Hamed and Hessam Amiri’s The Boy with Two Hearts will open for performances in the Dorfman theatre this October, with press night on 5 October.

Directed by Amit Sharma and adapted for the stage by Phil Porter, the play is based on the book of the same name by Hamed and Hessam Amiri. Drawing on extraordinary real-life experiences, it is a powerful story of hope, courage, and humanity – and a heartfelt tribute to the NHS.

Hamed and Hessam Amiri said: “When this production was first staged at Wales Millennium Centre, it was emotional to see our family’s journey come to life on stage and to relive those many precious moments we had along the way. We were amazed by the reaction from audiences and critics as they lived those moments with us, and are so excited to be reaching an even wider audience as the play comes to the NT.

We can’t wait to share our story again with as many as people as possible. Our hope is to simply give the audience a chance to see our family’s journey through a different lens, and the human experiences behind the word refugee.”

Herat, Afghanistan, 2000. When a young mother speaks out against the Taliban, she and her husband are forced to flee their home and country with their three sons.

Embarking on a long and terrifying journey across Russia and through Europe, they seek final refuge in the UK.

But, as their eldest son’s life-threatening heart condition worsens and requires urgent surgery, their escape soon becomes a race against time.

The cast is Shamail Ali, Houda Echouafni, Dana Haqjoo, Farshid Rokey, Ahmad Sakhi and Lisa Zahra, performing alongside the award-winning Afghan vocalist and composer, Elaha Soroor.

Set and costume designer is Hayley Grindle, lighting designer is Amy Mae, sound designer and co-composer is Tic Ashfield, movement director is Jess Williams and Hayley Egan is video designer. Casting is by Sarah Hughes CDG and associate director is Sepy Baghaei.

Tickets are on sale now and available to book via the NT website.

“MJ” breaks house record for 5th time with gross of $1.76 Mn

MJ

The unofficial final days of summer have delivered yet another record-breaking 8-perfomance week for MJ. Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre box office record for the 5th time, MJ’s receipts totaled $1,762,559 for the week ending Sunday, September 4. This brings the total cumulative gross of the smash hit musical to $49,415,323.90.

MJ is directed and choregraphed by two-time Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon, with a book written by two-time Pulitzer Prize® winner Lynn NottageMJ is the winner of four 2022 Tony Awards, including Best Leading Actor in a Musical (Myles Frost)and Best Choreography.

Tickets are available at the Neil Simon box office and at www.ticketmaster.com

MJ features scenic design by Tony Award winner Derek McLane, lighting design by Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, costume design by Tony Award winner Paul Tazewell, sound design by Olivier & Tony Award winner Gareth Owen, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair & wig design by Charles Lapointe, musical supervision / orchestration / arrangements by David Holcenberg, and musical direction / orchestrations / arrangements by Jason Michael Webb.   

The National Theatre adds King Lear and Young Marx to on-demand streaming platform

National Theatre

The National Theatre launches an exciting upcoming season on its streaming platform, with a host of productions to be made available on National Theatre at Home. Available from today is Ian McKellen’s moving portrayal of Shakespeare’s King Lear, presented by Chichester Festival Theatre and Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, captured live during its sell-out transfer at the Duke of York’s Theatre in 2014, and Richard Bean and Clive Coleman’s revolutionary comedy, Young Marx, a 2017 production from the Bridge Theatre reuniting the creative team behind One Man, Two Guvnors, starring Rory Kinnear as Marx and Oliver Chris as Engels.   

This autumn, plays straight from the NT’s stages and recent broadcasts from National Theatre Live will also be added to the platform. New productions include the Bridge Theatre’s The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage, a gripping adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s prequel to His Dark Materials trilogy, adapted by Bryony Lavery; from the NT, see Emlyn William’s The Corn is Green, starring Nicola Walker in its first London revival for 35 years – available with Welsh subtitles for the first time on NT at Home – and Francesca Martinez’s powerful new play, All of Us, inspired by the real life experiences of disabled people. At the end of the year, the iconic and multi-award-winning production of War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, will also be available on demand for a limited time only.

Audiences in the UK will receive access to brand new NT Live broadcasts, with Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt, the Olivier Award-winning drama from Sonia Friedman Productions, and David Hare’s blazing Straight Line Crazy, with Ralph Fiennes leading as the controversial New Yorker, from the Bridge Theatre. Alongside the NT’s 2011 production of Frankenstein, adapted by Nick Dear based on the novel by Mary Shelley, directed by Danny Boyle, which sees Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating between the lead roles.

Launched during the pandemic in December 2020, the platform offers a huge selection of theatre to watch anywhere, anytime and is now the leading digital streaming service for British theatre in the UK. New plays are added to NT at Home each month, with 58 productions now streaming, all available with captions. There are 38 titles with audio-description and 2 titles with BSL on the platform. Find the full list here.

National Theatre at Home is available at ntathome.com, with single titles to rent from £5.99 – £7.99, a monthly subscription for £9.99 or a yearly subscription for £99.99. Gift membership is also available as a one/two/three month or one-year subscription. 

Bloomberg Philanthropies is Headline Sponsor of National Theatre at Home.

National Theatre at Home is also supported by The Linbury Trust.

#NationalTheatreatHome

A full list of productions announced today is below.

King Lear

Available now

by William Shakespeare

Considered by many to be the greatest tragedy ever written, Ian McKellen is King Lear in Shakespeare’s tender, violent, moving and shocking play.

King Lear sees two ageing fathers – one a King, one his courtier – reject the children who truly love them. Their blindness unleashes a tornado of pitiless ambition and treachery, as family and state are plunged into a violent power struggle with bitter ends.

Johnathan Munby directs this ‘nuanced and powerful’ (The Times) contemporary retelling.

Filmed by National Theatre Live. A production from Chichester Festival Theatre.

Available at least until 7 September 2023.

Young Marx

Available now

by Richard Bean and Clive Coleman

Rory Kinnear is Marx and Oliver Chris is Engels, in this comedy directed by Nicholas Hytner and reuniting the creative team behind the hit comedy One Man, Two Guvnors.

1850, and Europe’s most feared terrorist is hiding in Dean Street, Soho. Broke, restless and horny, the thirty-two-year-old revolutionary is a frothing combination of intellectual brilliance, invective, satiric wit, and child-like emotional illiteracy.

Creditors, spies, rival revolutionary factions and prospective seducers of his beautiful wife all circle like vultures. His writing blocked, his marriage dying, his friend Engels in despair at his wasted genius, his only hope is a job on the railway. But there’s still no one in the capital who can show you a better night on the piss than Karl Heinrich Marx.

Filmed by National Theatre Live. A production from the Bridge Theatre.

Available at least until 7 September 2023.

The Book of Dust – La Belle Sauvage

Available from October 2022

adapted by Bryony Lavery, based on the novel by Phillip Pullman

Set twelve years before his epic His Dark Materials trilogy, this gripping adaptation revisits Phillip Pullman‘s fantastical world in which waters are rising and storms are brewing.

Two young people and their dæmons, with everything at stake, find themselves at the centre of a terrifying manhunt. In their care is a tiny child called Lyra Belacqua, and in that child lies the fate of the future. And as the waters rise around them, powerful adversaries conspire for mastery of Dust: salvation to some, the source of infinite corruption to others.

Eighteen years after his ground-breaking production of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, director Nicholas Hytner returns to Pullman’s parallel universe, in a new adaptation by Bryony Lavery. Captured live from London’s Bridge Theatre.

Filmed by National Theatre Live. A production from the Bridge Theatre.

Leopoldstadt

Available from October 2022 (UK only)

by Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard’s ‘momentous new play’ (Financial Times), Leopoldstadt is a passionate drama of love, family and endurance.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Leopoldstadt was the old, crowded Jewish quarter of Vienna, Austria. But Hermann Merz, a factory owner and baptised Jew now married to Catholic Gretl, has moved up in the world.

Follow his family’s story across half a century, passing through the convulsions of war, revolution, impoverishment, annexation by Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. A company of 40 actors represent each generation of the family in this epic, but intimate play, directed by Patrick Marber.

Filmed by National Theatre Live. A production from Sonia Friedman Productions.

Frankenstein

Available to UK audiences for the first time from October 2022

by Nick Dear, based on the novel by Mary Shelley

Directed by Academy Award-winner Danny BoyleFrankenstein features Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller alternating between the roles of Victor Frankenstein and his creation.

Childlike in his innocence but grotesque in form, Frankenstein’s bewildered creature is cast out into a hostile universe by his horror-struck maker. Meeting with cruelty wherever he goes, the increasingly desperate and vengeful Creature determines to track down his creator and strike a terrifying deal.

Scientific responsibility, parental neglect, cognitive development and the nature of good and evil, are embedded within this thrilling and deeply disturbing classic tale.

Filmed by National Theatre Live. A production from the National Theatre.

The Corn is Green

Available from November 2022

by Emlyn Williams

Miss Lily Moffat arrives in rural North Wales, determined to help young local miners out of poverty by teaching them to read and write.

Lily soon spots talent in the unruly Morgan Evans, but when she faces growing resistance from the community, she does everything in her power to forge him a new future.

Emlyn Williams’ semi-autobiographical play is given a bold new staging by director Dominic Cooke, in its first London revival for 35 years. Nicola Walker plays the visionary Miss Moffat.

This production will be available to stream with Welsh subtitles.

Captured at the National Theatre. A production from the National Theatre.

War Horse

Available from December 2022

adapted by Nick Stafford, based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo

At the outbreak of World War One, Joey, young Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the Cavalry and shipped to France. He’s soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. Albert, who remained on his parents’ Devon farm, cannot forget Joey. Though still not old enough to enlist he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home.

Based on the beloved novel by Michael Morpurgo, this powerfully moving and imaginative drama, filled with stirring music and songs, is a show of phenomenal inventiveness. At its heart are astonishing life-sized horses by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, who bring breathing, galloping, charging horses to thrilling life on stage.

War Horse is an unforgettable theatrical event which takes audiences on an extraordinary journey from the fields of rural Devon to the trenches of First World War France.

Filmed by National Theatre Live. A production from the National Theatre, in association with the Handspring Puppet Company.  

Straight Line Crazy

Available this Autumn/Winter (UK only)

by David Hare

Ralph Fiennes leads the cast in David Hare’s blazing account of the most powerful man in New York, a master manipulator whose legacy changed the city forever. Nicholas Hytner directs this exhilarating new play.

For forty uninterrupted years, Robert Moses exploited those in office through a mix of charm and intimidation. Motivated at first by a determination to improve the lives of New York City’s workers, he created parks, bridges and 627 miles of expressway to connect the people to the great outdoors.

Faced with resistance by protest groups campaigning for a very different idea of what the city should become, will the weakness of democracy be exposed in the face of his charismatic conviction?

Filmed by National Theatre Live. A production from the Bridge Theatre.

All of Us

Available this Autumn/Winter

by Francesca Martinez

From Francesca Martinez, the award-winning author, comedian and actor, comes an unmissable new play directed by Ian Rickson.

Jess has a great life: a job she loves, a sharp sense of humour and a close group of friends.

When austerity threatens the world she has worked hard to build, Jess makes a stand to protect those she holds most dear.

Inspired by real life experiences of disabled people in the UK, All of Us captures the humour, sadness and joy of everyday life, and is a passionate and timely look at the human cost of abandoning those who struggle to fit in.

Captured at the National Theatre. A production from the National Theatre.

CHICAGO Welcomes Amra-Faye Wright & Brandon Victor Dixon

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

The Broadway company of the Tony Award-winning, record-breaking hit musical Chicago welcomes back Amra-Faye Wright in the role of “Velma Kelly” and welcomes Brandon Victor Dixon in the role of “Billy Flynn” joining previously announced Angelica Ross as “Roxie Hart” starting Monday, September 12 at the Ambassador Theatre (219 W. 49th St., NYC).

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT

AMRA-FAYE WRIGHT (Velma Kelly). Broadway: Chicago (Velma Kelly) 20 years! Including runs in London’s West End, Europe, her native South Africa (Fleur du Cap and Naledi Awards), and Japan in Japanese. Other credits (London/South Africa/USA): Sheila / A Chorus Line; Sandy / Grease; Vi Moore / Footloose; Mrs. Darling / Peter Pan; Mother Superior / Nunsense (Vita Award); Lead / Elvis Las Vegas; Solange / Follies; Star / Viva Sun City. Solo Shows (London/South Africa/NYC): Sittin’ on Top of the WorldRouge Pulp (Vita Award); Drinks on Me (Vita Award); It’s Not Where I Start. Lead Artist: Cabaret du Casino de Monte Carlo (Monaco residency); Rios Productions (Europe/Japan/Korea). 

Guest artist: Sydney Olympics; Pride Concert (Royal Albert Hall); Bidvest Int; Rugby World Cup/Johannesburg Philharmonic; AquaAbba/Cape Philharmonic; Spar Int; Mabel Mercer Foundation (Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Centre); American Dance Machine (Joyce, NYC). Aside from acting, Amra-Faye’s 2nd career as a Fine Artist draws inspiration from the extraordinary people and circumstances encountered in her life in the theater. Her work can be seen at www.amra-faye.com and Artsy. 

Brandon Victor Dixon

BRANDON VICTOR DIXON (Billy Flynn) Tony (2), Grammy (2), Olivier, and Emmy Award nominated graduate of Columbia University. Broadway: Hamilton, Shuffle Along (Tony nom.), The Color Purple (Tony nom.), Motown the Musical (Grammy nom.), Kander and Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys (Olivier, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama League, Audelco noms.). TV: Terry Silver STARZ’s hit drama “POWER,” Judas in NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Collins in “RENT on FOX”, NETFLIX’s “She’s Gotta Have it,” Peacock’s “The Best Man”, Amazon’s “Modern Love,” ABC’s “The Good Wife” & NBC’s “This is Us.” brandonvictordixon.com, @BrandonVDixon 

The current cast of Chicago features Charlotte d’Amboise as Roxie Hart, Lana Gordon as Velma Kelly, Erich Bergen as Billy Flynn, Charity Angél Dawson as Matron “Mama” Morton, Evan Harrington as Amos Hart and R. Lowe as Mary Sunshine. The cast also includes David Bushman, Jennifer Dunne, Jessica Ernest, Jeff Gorti, Arian Keddell, Mary Claire King, Joseph London, Barrett Martin, Sharon Moore, Drew Nellessen, Celina Nightengale, Brian O’Brien, Denny Paschall, Jermaine R. Rembert, Rachel Shur, Michael Scirrotto, Christine Cornish Smith and Brian Spitulnik

About CHICAGO

With a legendary book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred EbbChicago is now the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history. It recently celebrated its 25th anniversary on Broadway.

Produced by Barry and Fran Weissler, Chicago is the winner of six 1997 Tony Awards including Best Musical Revival and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Cast Recording.

Directed by Tony Award winner Walter Bobbie and choreographed by Tony Award winner Ann ReinkingChicago features set design by Tony Award winner John Lee Beatty, costume design by Tony Award winner William Ivey Long, lighting design by Tony Award winner Ken Billington, sound design by Tony Award winner Scott Lehrer and casting by Stewart/Whitley.

Set amidst the razzle-dazzle decadence of the 1920s, Chicago is the story of Roxie Hart, a housewife and nightclub dancer who murders her on-the-side lover after he threatens to walk out on her. Desperate to avoid conviction, she dupes the public, the media and her rival cellmate, Velma Kelly, by hiring Chicago’s slickest criminal lawyer to transform her malicious crime into a barrage of sensational headlines, the likes of which might just as easily be ripped from today’s tabloids.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE

Mondays at 7pm, Tuesdays at 7pm, Thursdays at 7pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm & 8pm, Sundays at 2pm & 7pm

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets are available in person at the Ambassador Theatre (219 W 49th St). Box office hours are Monday thru Saturday 10am-8:30pm, Sunday 12pm-7:30pm. Tickets are also available at ChicagoTheMusical.com.

Rarely seen Stars and Grammy Award Winners to take to The Pheasantry Stage this Autumn

Pizza Express Live
  • PizzaExpress’s The Pheasantry will welcome a diverse line-up of incredible artists this Autumn from Jazz to Musical Theatre to World Music
  • Highlights include rare appearances from New York Cabaret stars Ann Hampton Callaway, Carole Bufford and Steve Ross, Musical Theatre star Bonnie Langford taking to the stage to celebrate 50 years in showbusiness and Grammy award winner Jon Cleary
  • Tickets for all performances are available online now with several shows set to sell out

This Autumn, PizzaExpress Live’s Pheasantry Venue has a jam-packed calendar of incredible musicians set to perform.

This weekend, audiences will travel through the music of the decades with one of the most sought-after New York cabaret performers on the scene, Carole Bufford Her? show ‘Vintage Pop’ explores how style and sound has changed over the years and will feature music made famous by Judy Garland, Elvis Presley, and Louis Armstrong. The end of September will see another American star grace the stage with Tony nominated, American jazz and cabaret singer, songwriter and actress Ann Hampton Callaway performing a range of love songs from the Great American Songbook, including both contemporary love songs and originals. A few days later, Callaway will take to the stage at another PizzaExpress venue performing the hits of music icon Peggy Lee in the PizzaExpress Live Soho Jazz Club.  This is set to be an extra-special performance with Lee’s granddaughter, Holly Foster Wells, joining her on stage for a Q&A about Peggy Lee’s life and career. The third and final New York cabaret singer and pianist this Autumn, known for his interpretations of the Great American Songbook, will be Steve Ross celebrating the season with a collection of songs based around Autumn, including ballads such as ‘Autumn Leaves’ ‘September Song’ and ‘September in the Rain’. 

The Pheasantry is also proud to be hosting UK star Bonnie Langford’s celebration of 50 years in the business, having started her career at the age of seven. She has starred in the West End and on Broadway countless times, as well as in television and film. Bonnie will be sharing songs and stories from her extensive career. Accompanied by her musical director Anthony England, it’s sure to be an evening of fun, laughter, tears, and fabulous music. Another UK music legend gracing the stage is the Olivier Award nominated actress and singer, Dillie Keane, better known as a founding member of comedy cabaret trio Fascinating Aïda. With ‘Songs My Mother Would Hated’ she is back with a new(ish) collection of songs – culled from various sources – in which she continues to behave badly and sing about it. 

In addition to the Cabaret and Musical Theatre highlights, this Autumn The Pheasantry has a diverse range of notable artists performing in the Autumn months. Early September brings the London Bossa Nova Quartet, comprised of the very best Brazilian jazz musicians in the UK as well as Omar Puente, a leading figure in the UK and International Latin Jazz scene who’s returning with his Charanga Orchestra. Finally, the popular PizzaExpress Live jazz divas series continues with critically acclaimed Claire Martin OBE, Jazz FM host Clare Teal, Katie Birtill who makes her debut in this series, international performer Lizzie Ball and well-established Australian jazz songstress Trudy Kerr.

Tickets for all Autumn performances are available now at www.pizzaexpresslive.com.

30th August – 1st September (8pm) – Jon Cleary

2nd – 3rd September (8pm) – Carole Bufford ‘Vintage Pop!’

6th September (8pm) – London Bossa Nova Quartet with Heidi Vogel

8th September (8pm) – Omar Puente y Su Charanga

21st – 22nd September (8pm) – Ann Hampton Calloway ‘Let’s Fall In Love’

24th September (8pm) – An Evening with Babs

1st October (8pm) – Pete Atkin Solo

9th October (8pm) – Gabrielle Ducomble ‘An Evening in Paris’

13th – 16th October (8pm) – Dillie Keane ‘Songs My Mother Would Have Hated’

21st– 22nd October (8pm) – Bonnie Langford

27th October (8pm) – The Decibelles Do Halloween

28th – 30th October (8pm) – Steve Ross ‘Autumn Serenades’

Final cast for A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare North Playhouse

A Midsummer Night's Dream

The final cast for Not Too TameShakespeare North Playhouse and Northern Stage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been announced. 

A riotous new production of A Midsummer Nights Dream directed by Matthew Dunster and Jimmy Fairhurst will be the first Shakespearean inspired production to be staged on the Cockpit Theatre at ground-breaking new venue Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot, Merseyside.

The long-awaited production has announced previously that it will feature the voice of BAFTA nominated actor David Morrissey as Oberon, and Mercury nominated singer-songwriter Nadine Shah making her theatre debut in the role of Titania. 

This anarchic production of one of Shakespeare’s best loved plays is the first collaboration between Shakespeare North Playhouse, Not Too Tame and Northern Stage, and the creators promise a show that’s to be experienced, not just watched.

The company is as follows: 

Andrew Butler

Tyler Dobbs

Tia-Bella Easton

Jimmy Fairhurst

Kelise Gordon- Harrison

William Grint

Louise Haggerty

Rebecca Hesketh Smith

Kate James

Yazmin Kayani

David Morrissey

David Nellist

Nadine Shah

A Midsummer Nights Dream will premiere at Shakespeare North Playhouse in Prescot (22 September – 22 October) before transferring to Northern Stage (29 October – 12 November).

For more information or to book tickets visit shakespearenorthplayhouse.co.uk or northernstage.co.uk 

Liz Kingman’s critically acclaimed, smash-hit one-woman show transfers to the West End

One Woman Show

Described as “the greatest breakthrough show of the past 12 months” (The Times), One-Woman Show transfers to the West End for a strictly limited run later this year. A bold, irreverent, raw, moving and triumphant celebration of adjectives, this blurb will nail down nothing.

Trigger warning: contains blinding ambition.

Liz Kingsman is an actor and writer, and creator of the Edinburgh Comedy Award nominated One-Woman Show. She can currently be seen in the second season of critically acclaimed French political satire Parlement on France 2, and Down From London, streaming on Topic (US), which she co-created and wrote with Sharon Horgan’s Merman Productions based on an award-winning short film. Previous acting credits include BAFTA-nominated ITV2 sitcom Timewasters, Borderline on Netflix, and topical Channel 4 comedies Ballot Monkeys and Power Monkeys. She is this year’s winner of the Times Breakthrough Award at the Sky Arts South Bank Awards, and was named in The Evening Standard and The Observer’s Faces to Watch in 2022.

Adam Brace directs. He is Associate Director at Soho Theatre, London where he works across Comedy, Theatre and Performance Art and in roles spanning dramaturg, director and writer. In comedy he has developed a varied range of work including 8 Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated shows, 2 Herald Angel Award-winners, 2 nominees for the Melbourne Barry Award and 2 Southbank Sky Arts Awards. Directing credits include all of Alex Edelman’s shows, most recently Just For Us (Drama Desk Nominee 2022) currently extended six times Off-Broadway; Age is a Feeling by Haley McGee (Fringe First 2022, Soho Theatre this autumn); all of Sh!t Theatre’s multi-award-winning international shows. Other credits include Ahir Shah’s HBO Max special Dots and Creative Supervisor on two series of Soho Theatre Live on Amazon Prime. Previously he was a playwright and was produced by Almeida Theatre, the National Theatre and the Donmar Warehouse; his plays are published by Faber and Faber.

One-Woman Show was originally produced at the Soho Theatre and Traverse Theatre by Country Mile Productions.

The first steps towards recovery as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe comes to a close

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

The 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe draws to a close today having brought together artists, international arts industry and media, and both loyal Fringe fans and new audiences.  After some of the most challenging years on record for the sector, the hard work and effort of the artists, venues, producers, promoters, arts and media industry, and staff should be recognised and celebrated.

The lead up brought with it understandable anxiety, as Fringe-makers took on the risk and uncertainty of returning in a year like no other. Audience patterns have changed, industrial action caused significant disruption to rail travel and refuse collection, and affordable accommodation in Edinburgh was at crisis point. This year’s festival has been a colossal and collective effort.

We recognise and thank the residents and businesses of Edinburgh and the Lothians, home to the Fringe for the last 75 years. Residents of our historic city accounted for 39% of all tickets issued (+4% on 2019), and their support and commitment to the festival is evident.  Overseas audience attendances also increased, accounting for 10% of all tickets issued (+2% on 2019).

While the number of tickets issued is testament to the commitment of those who put on the shows and the audiences who came to see them, far beyond what we could have imagined at the start of the year. The growing cost of Edinburgh for artists points to the need for long-term recovery, investment, and support to ensure the sustainability and longevity of one of the world’s most important cultural events. Some clear challenges have emerged, and we need a collective approach to address these, or the future of this long-running beacon for cultural connection and development will be in jeopardy.

This year’s Fringe saw an estimated 2,201,175 tickets issued across 3,334 shows which were performed by artists from 63 countries. The festival welcomed diverse work from Scotland, the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, with 13 showcases including work from Canada, Finland, Belgium, Taiwan, South Korea, Ireland – North and South, Denmark and Australia.

The 2022 programme tackled themes and issues such as mental health, gender and gender identity, neurodiversity, disability, feminism, lockdown, experience of migration, LGBTQ+, politics, race and racial identity and work for children; with upcoming talent showcased alongside well-known performers and international work.

The Street Events programme was extended into new sites, with 3,284 performances by Street Performers across the programme.  These included 650 Taster Stage slots on new sites in St Andrew Square and Cathedral Square in St James Quarter.  170 shows were represented, with five additional slots given to community groups and schools.   

Over 35 professional development events for Fringe participants were delivered in partnership with 16 external organisations in Fringe Central, our dedicated centre for artists at the heart of the Fringe, and on Fringe Connect, our online home for artists. The Arts Industry office accredited 1,354 producers, programmers, bookers, talent agencies, festivals and others from 45 countries, looking to find work, tour it and support artists beyond the festival itself. They were joined by over 770 of the world’s media, and 147 delegates who participated in Screen Fringe.

The communities, learning and access team worked on a number of key initiatives, including loaning out 150 sensory backpacks for autistic children and adults.  BSL interpretation took place in West Parliament Square on five days of the festival, and a dedicated Changing Places toilet was located beside George Square.

The Society worked with over 30 Edinburgh charities and community groups to distribute over £60,000 of Fringe vouchers and Lothian bus tickets, enabling residents from across the city to experience the festival, many for the very first time.  In addition, over 900 schoolchildren came to the Fringe as part of our schools’ outreach work.

Shona McCarthy, CEO of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: “Our enormous congratulations go out to everyone who came together to create the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  This year’s festival is the first step in what will be a long road to recovery and renewal.  The hard work of thousands of artists, and hundreds of venues, producers and staff has combined to deliver the 75th anniversary festival during one of the most challenging summers on record.

We recognise the significant amount of work that is still required to support the long-term sustainability of this phenomenal Festival.  As we review and discuss all the learnings from this year, our focus this autumn will be on planning for the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe.   Collectively we will work to advocate for greater support for those at the heart of the Fringe – our artists.  The eyes of the world look to this historic city every August, and we need to work together to ensure the Fringe is the best place for creatives to express their ideas, audiences to support them and for people across the sector to develop their skills and careers for the next 75 years.”

Benny Higgins, Chair of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, added: “I add my congratulations to those that worked tirelessly this August to deliver the 75th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  The importance of this festival cannot be underestimated.  Artists use the Fringe as a place to perform, connect and springboard onto their next career opportunity. 

Recovery takes time, and that is why in June we launched our future development goals.  The Society acts to offer anyone a stage and everyone a seat, and there is much to do in the coming months.  We need to ensure the Fringe is the best place for thriving artists, while ensuring fair work and good citizenship.  Our digital experience will be key to delivering our climate action targets, and we need to do more to ensure who you are, and where you’re from, is not a barrier to attending or participating in the Fringe.”

As a charity, the work of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society would not be possible without the valuable support of our partners, sponsors and funders. We are hugely grateful to the support of partners City of Edinburgh Council, EventScotland, Creative Scotland, The Scottish Government, British Council, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, St James Quarter and Nuveen.  Our thanks to sponsors TikTok, Johnnie Walker Princes Street, Edinburgh Gin and Cirrus Logic. Our continued appreciation also to our Fringe Angels, Patrons, Friends and supporters who help make the Fringe happen each year.

Next year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe will run from 04 – 28 August 2023.

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Into The Woods, Theatre Royal Bath: be careful what you wish for

“‘Horror! Shame! Disgrace!’ laughs Terry.” runs the programme note asking what co-directors Terry Gilliam and Leah Hausman want audiences to take away from Into The Woods in Bath. 

Mm. 

The cast of Into the Woods at Theatre Royal Bath. Photo: Marc Brenner

Some evenings at the theatre make an instant impact, others lurk in your unconscious and won’t go away.

As you may recall, last year the Old Vic cancelled Gilliam’s show following unrest (he’d made contentious comments about Netflix special by comedian Dave Chappelle and the #MeToo movement) about its original decision to programme the production. 

During the pandemic, Theatre Royal Bath agreed to re-home the production.

Terry Gilliam & Leah Hausman on stage with the cast of Into The Woods

In that context, this disquieting revival becomes a riposte. With a cast of 23, the macabre musical is almost too vast for Bath’s proscenium, but it wittily (and pertinently) blends the carnivalesque and the gothic.

Anyway, in the first half of co-director’s Gilliam’s and Hausman’s slippery production, a childless couple go on a quest to lift a curse placed by a witch (Nicola Hughes). We encounter as Red Ridinghood (Lauren Conroy), Cinderella (Audrey Brisson) Jack of the Beanstalk (Barney Wilkinson), Rapunzel (Maria Conneely) and of course the Baker (Rhashan Stone) and his wife (Alex Young)– all of whom seem emotionally damaged. And even The Mysterious Man (Julian Bleach) can only raise a snarl.

In the superior second half, an unforgiving giantess inflicts mayhem on the fairy-tale community, whose survivors realise self-discovery. There’s magic in the air around Young as the childless Baker’s Wife and superb Brisson as Cinderella – they are the key to what makes this evening so beguiling, I think. 

Into the Woods at Theatre Royal Bath. Photo: Marc Brenner

Interestingly, Sondheim saw the richly atmospheric designs before he died and is said to have wholly approved. This surreal staging ingeniously mashes up the vividly dark and the popular.

Ingenious use is made of designer Jon Bausor’s Victorian toy theatre creation: a sinister cuckoo sits above the curtain, a large chicken with “Made in China” on its thigh lays a golden egg, a massive pocket watch drops from the sky, counting down hours to undo the curse. 

Into the Woods at Theatre Royal Bath. Photo: Marc Brenner

Elsewhere, Will Duke’s opulent video designs compliment the storytelling effortlessly. The ensemble is drilled. The singing is good.

It’s a heady mix: political, playful and profound.

Gilliam and his co-director Hausman make us unsure if we are to care about the characters, or if it is all just for a laugh – there is a lot of mugging off – and this can occasionally be at the expense of the more melancholy numbers. 

Furthermore, too often this rollicking production mistakes the overwrought for genuine emotion. You never really emotionally connect with any of the material. Well, except for Milky White – Jack’s bug-eyed pantomime cow. 

Still, it’s a dreamlike evening defiantly served not just by its leads but the entire top-notch, shape-shifting ensemble and a small but perfectly formed 10-piece band.

Into the Woods at Theatre Royal Bath. Photo: Marc Brenner

So, transfer Into The Woods? Only if it comes with this warning out front: ‘be careful what you wish for’.  

Into The Woods runs until 10 September at Theatre Royal Bath. 

Young Vic Theatre in the West End and on Broadway fourth production announced this year

The Young Vic theatre today announced a fourth transfer in 2022 as it takes two of its world premiere productions and two critically acclaimed revivals into the West End and on Broadway. Following sell-out runs at the London, Waterloo venue, Daniel Fish’s radical revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! is the latest production staged at the Young Vic to open in the West End and follows the recently announced transfer of James Graham’s award-winning hit new play Best of Enemies due to open this November, directed by Jeremy Herrin. Further details for both productions will be revealed soon.

In New York, Wendell Pierce and Sharon D Clarke will reprise their roles as Willy and Linda Loman in the Olivier Award-winning production of Death of a Salesman, directed by Miranda Cromwell, with previews beginning from 19 September at the Hudson Theatre, Broadway. The Collaboration by four-time Oscar nominee Anthony McCarten will be the second Broadway premiere this autumn, directed by Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. First seen in February starring Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope who will return as Warhol and Basquiat, the production previews at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre from 29 November.

The Collaboration has also been adapted for a feature film scripted by Anthony McCarten and starring Paul Bettany, Jeremy Pope and Daniel Brühl. It goes into production this autumn and will mark Kwame Kwei-Armah’s film directorial debut.

YOUNG VIC IN THE WEST END

Second Half Productions, Eleanor Lloyd Productions, Wessex Grove, Young Vic theatre and Headlong present
BEST OF ENEMIES
By James Graham
Inspired by the documentary by Morgan Neville and Robert Gordon
Directed by Jeremy Herrin
Dates November TBA

James Graham’s new play Best of Enemies will transfer to the West End from this November. The sold-out hit from the Young Vic and Headlong, which originally premiered at the Young Vic in December 2021, examines the bitter political rivalry between William F Buckley Jr. and Gore Vidal.

1968 – a year of protest that divided America. As two men fight to become the next President, all eyes are on the battle between two others: the cunningly conservative William F Buckley Jr., and the iconoclastic liberal Gore Vidal. Beliefs are challenged and slurs slung as these political idols feud nightly in a new television format, debating the moral landscape of a shattered nation. Little do they know they’re about to open up a new frontier in American politics, and transform television news forever…

Best of Enemies recently received the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Best New Theatre Production. The play was also nominated for two Olivier Awards and won the Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best New Play. 

Further information on the West End transfer will be announced shortly.

Sign up to the Young Vic mailing list to be the first to hear about Best of Enemies on sale.


Eva Price, Sonia Friedman Productions, Michael Harrison in association with the Young Vic theatre present
The Bard SummerScape production of
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s
OKLAHOMA!
Music by RICHARD RODGERS
Book and Lyrics by OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II
Based on the play “Green Grow the Lilacs” by Lynn Riggs
Original Choreography by Agnes de Mille
Directed by Daniel Fish
February 2023

Winner of the Tony Award® for Best Revival of a Musical, Daniel Fish’s bold interpretation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! will transfer to Wyndham’s Theatre from February 2023 following sold-out runs at the Young Vic, in New York and across the U.S. on tour.

Oklahoma! tells a story of a community banding together against an outsider, and the frontier life that shaped America. Eighty years after Rodgers & Hammerstein reinvented the American musical, this visionary production is funny and sexy, provocative and probing, without changing a word of the text.

Sign up to the Young Vic mailing list to be the first to hear about Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! on sale.

YOUNG VIC ON BROADWAY

Cindy Tolan, Elliott & Harper Productions and Kwame Kwei-Armah present
The Young Vic theatre production of
DEATH OF A SALESMAN
By Arthur Miller
Directed by Miranda Cromwell
17 September 2022 – 15 January 2023

The critically-acclaimed Young Vic production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman opens at Broadway’s Hudson Theatre (141 West 44th Street) for 17 weeks only from 19 September. 

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is directed by Miranda Cromwell, who co-directed the London production alongside Marianne Elliott. Together, they won the 2020 Olivier Award for Best Direction. 

Olivier Award nominee Wendell Pierce and 2022 Tony® nominee Sharon D Clarke star as Willy and Linda Loman in a revival – told for the first time on Broadway – from the perspective of an African American family. A new cast of supporting actors join the production in New York, featuring McKinley Belcher III, Khris Davis and Tony® winner André De Shields. 

Manhattan Theatre Club and the Young Vic theatre
by Special Arrangement with
Eleanor Lloyd Productions, Anthology Theatre, Stanley Buchthal and Denis O’Sullivan
present
THE COLLABORATION
Featuring Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope
By Anthony McCarten
Directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah
Previews begin 29 November 2022
Opening night 20 December 2022

The Collaboration will receive its Broadway premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre as part of MTC’s 2022/23 Season with previews from Tuesday 29 November and opening night on Tuesday 20 December.

Warhol. Basquiat. Electric, eccentric, polar opposites…together, for the first time in the most unlikely partnership the art world has ever seen. In the summer of 1984, longtime international superstar Andy Warhol and the art scene’s newest wunderkind, Jean-Michel Basquiat, agree to work together on what may be the most talked about exhibition in the history of modern art. But can these two creative giants co-exist, or even thrive? 

Written by four-time Oscar Nominee Anthony McCarten, and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, Artistic Director of the Young Vic Theatre, the world premiere of The Collaboration was originally produced by the Young Vic Theatre in January-March 2022 in partnership with Eleanor Lloyd, Anthology Theatre, Stanley Buchthal and Eilene Davidson in association with Denis O’Sullivan. 

Multi award-winning actor Paul Bettany (The Avengers, “WandaVision”) and two-time Tony Award nominee Jeremy Pope (Choir Boy, Ain’t Too Proud) reprise their roles as Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.