National theatre announces two new productions and reveals casting for upcoming shows

National Theatre

Lyndsey Turner directs Lucy Kirkwood and Dave Malloy’s new musical version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, in a co-production with the Roald Dahl Story Company

– Jamie Lloyd directs The Effect by Lucy Prebble with a cast that includes Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell, in association with The Jamie Lloyd Company

– Hiran Abeysekera and Paul Bazely are cast in the revival of Anupama Chandrasekhar’s The Father and the Assassin, directed by Indhu Rubasingham

The National Theatre today announces two new productions, Roald Dahl’s The Witches, in a co-production with the Roald Dahl Story Company, and The Effect, in association with The Jamie Lloyd Company. The Witches will play in the Olivier theatre from November in a new musical version of the iconic story by Lucy Kirkwood and Dave Malloy, directed by Lyndsey Turner, whilst The Effect by Lucy Prebble will play in the Lyttelton theatre from August, directed by Jamie Lloyd. Also announced today is casting for the revival of The Father and the Assassin by Anupama Chandrasekhar, which will play in the Olivier theatre from September, directed by Indhu RubasinghamTickets for all three productions go on sale to the public on Thursday 27 April.

Director of the National Theatre Rufus Norris said:

‘I’m thrilled that the National Theatre and Roald Dahl Story Company are coming together for the first time to bring one of Dahl’s most enduring stories to the Olivier stage. This extraordinary, exciting production of The Witches with Lucy Kirkwood’s brilliant, witty book and Lyndsey Turner’s ambitious vision is the culmination of many years of development at the National Theatre’s exceptional New Work Department. With Dave Malloy at the musical helm, I couldn’t be more excited to be bringing this ambitious new piece of music theatre to the stage.

‘To have Jamie Lloyd returning to the National Theatre with his production of Lucy Prebble’s The Effect – a timelessly prescient play from this singular writer – is a particular joy, not least because of the two wonderful lead actors Paapa Essiedu and Taylor Russell. It’s also a great delight to welcome Hiran Abeysekera back to the NT for the first time since Behind the Beautiful Forevers, to lead a brilliant company in Indhu Rubasingham’s revival of Anupama Chandrasekhar’s hit play The Father and the Assassin.’

Roald Dahl’s The Witches

The Witches is a rip-roaring musical version of Roald Dahl’s timeless tale, filled with wit, daring and heart.

Everything you know about witches is wrong. Forget the pointy hats and broomsticks: they’re the most dangerous creatures on earth. And now they’ve come up with their most evil plan yet.

The only thing standing in their way is Luke and his Gran. But he’s ten and she’s got a dodgy heart. Time is short, danger is everywhere, and they’ve got just one chance to stop the witches from squalloping every stinking little child in England.

One of Dahl’s most loved stories, The Witches is a brilliant blend of his trademark humour and hair-raising action, featuring one of his most iconic characters, the Grand High Witch. A firm fan favourite across the generations, the book has sold over 11 million copies since it was first published.

Cast includes three-time Olivier-nominated Katherine Kingsley (The Larkins) as the Grand High Witch and BAFTA Award-winner Daniel Rigby (One Man, Two Guvnors) as Mr Stringer, alongside Julie ArmstrongChrissie Bhima, Zoe BirkettDaniele CoombeMolly-May GardinerTiffany GravesTania MathurinJacob MaynardLaura Medforth and Ben Redfern.

Directed by Lyndsey Turner (The Crucible) with book and lyrics by Olivier Award-winner Lucy Kirkwood (Mosquitoes) and music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominee Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812). The set and costume designer is Lizzie Clachan with choreographer Stephen Mear, music supervisor Nigel Lilley, music director Cat Beveridge, lighting designer Bruno Poet, co-sound designers Alexander Caplen and Ian Dickinson, video designer Ash J Woodward, illusions by Chris Fisher and Will Houstoun, casting director Bryony Jarvis-Taylor, associate director Séimí Campbell, staff director Priya Patel Appleby, associate set designer Shankho Chaudhuri, associate costume designer Johanna Coe, associate choreographer Jo Morris, associate music director Natalie Pound and children’s and assistant music director Sarah Morrison.

The Witches will play in the Olivier theatre from 7 November and is recommended for ages 8+.

The Effect

In the Lyttelton theatre from August, Jamie Lloyd (Cyrano de Bergerac) directs The EffectLucy Prebble’s (Succession) funny and intimate examination of love and ethics.

Hearts and minds racing, Connie and Tristan are falling for each other fast. But is their sudden and intoxicating chemistry real, or a side effect of a new antidepressant? As two young volunteers in a clinical drug trial, their romance poses startling dilemmas for the supervising doctors.

Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) is cast as Tristan and Taylor Russell (Bones and All) as Connie, with further casting to be announced. 

Directed by Jamie Lloyd with set and costume designer Soutra Gilmour, lighting designer Jon Clark, composer Michael ‘Mikey J’ Asante, sound designer George Dennis, movement directors Sarah Golding and Yukiko Masui (SAY), , fight director Kate Waters, intimacy co-ordinator Ingrid Mackinnon and casting director Alastair Coomer CDG.

The Effect will play in the Lyttelton theatre from 1 August.

The Father and the Assassin

Director Indhu Rubasingham reunites with writer Anupama Chandrasekhar for this essential exploration of oppression and extremism.

Mahatma Gandhi: lawyer, champion of non-violence, beloved leader. Nathuram Godse: journalist, nationalist – and the man who murdered Gandhi. This gripping play traces Godse’s life over 30 years during India’s fight for independence: from a devout follower of Gandhi, through to his radicalisation and their tragic final encounter in Delhi in 1948.

The cast includes Olivier Award-winner Hiran Abeysekera (Life of Pi) as Nathuram Godse with Paul Bazely reprising his role as Mahatma Gandhi. The cast also includes Azan AhmedRavi AujlaAyesha DharkerRavin J GanatraRaj GhatakHalema HussainNadeem IslamTony JayawardenaNicholas KhanRaj KheraHari MackinnonSid Sagar and Akshay Shah.

Directed by Indhu Rubasingham with set and costume designer Rajha Shakiry, lighting designer Oliver Fenwick, movement director Lucy Cullingford, composer Siddhartha Khosla, additional music by David Shrubsole, sound designer Alexander Caplen, fight directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of Rc-Annie Ltd, casting director Alastair Coomer CDG and associate set and costume designer Khadija Raza.

The Father and the Assassin will play in the Olivier theatre 8 September–14 October.

Tickets for The WitchesThe Effect and The Father and the Assassin go on sale to the public on Thursday 27 April. Also going on sale via the National Theatre website are tickets to the previously announced A Strange Loop at the Barbican.

A Strange Loop

The Broadway musical sensation, A Strange Loop, a co-production with Howard Panter for Trafalgar Theatre ProductionsBarbara Whitman and Wessex Grove in association with the Barbican, is transferring from New York to London this summer.

Having co-produced A Strange Loop on Broadway, some of the most influential names in entertainment – Alan Cumming, Ilana Glazer, Jennifer Hudson, Mindy Kaling and Billy Porter – reunite to produce the smash-hit musical in London when it opens at the Barbican Theatre on 17 June for a strictly limited, one-time-only 12-week season.

Nominated for 11 Tony Awards and winner of every Best Musical award in New York, Michael R. Jackson’s critically acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning, blisteringly funny masterwork exposes the heart and soul of Usher – a young, gay, Black writer who hates his day job, writing a musical about a young, gay, Black writer who’s writing a musical about a young, gay, Black writer…a strange loop. Usher grapples with desires, identity and instincts he both loves and loathes, all brought to life on stage by a hilarious, straight-talking ensemble. Casting is to be announced.

Michael R. Jackson is a playwright, composer, and lyricist who is a rising star in the world of contemporary writing and quickly gaining recognition as one of the most innovative voices in American theatre. His latest new musical, White Girl in Danger, is currently running, Off-Broadway, at the Tony Kiser Theatre in New York.

Directed by Stephen Brackett, choreographed by Raja Feather Kelly, with Rona Siddiqui as music supervisor, orchestrations by Charlie Rosen, scenic design by Arnulfo Maldonado, costume design by Montana Levi Blanco, lighting design by Jen Schriever and sound design by Drew Levy.

Tickets are available from £20. For further information, please visit

The Odyssey: The Underworld

Celebrating five years of Public Acts, the National Theatre’s multi-location production of The Odyssey is being told in five locations in England. This epic story of resilience and hope began its journey in Stoke-on-Trent and Doncaster, with the next episodes coming to Trowbridge Town Hall on 22–23 April and The Fire Station in Sunderland on 28–29 April.

The culmination of The Odyssey’s journey, The Underworld, will be staged as a full-scale musical production at the National Theatre on 26–28 August 2023. This fifth and final production will feature community performers from all four previous episodes, as well as members recruited through Public Acts founding community partners, founding theatre partner Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, and Trybe House Theatre in London.

The Underworld is written by Olivier-award winning playwright Chris Bush with music composed by Jim Fortune and directed by Director of Public Acts Emily Lim. Set designed by Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey, movement directed by Dan Canham, costume designed by Fly Davis, music supervised and directed by Tarek Merchant, lighting designed by Joshua Pharo, sound designed by Paul Arditti and casting by Bryony Jarvis-Taylor.

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Unchecked Ticket Hikes Are Pricing People Out Of Theatregoing

Glow sticks. We’ll come on to that in a moment.

This week, The iPaper’s Kasia Delgado issued an indictment of A Streetcar Named Desire’s £305 ticket prices, stating: “Theatre needs to make money. It also needs to remain valued and loved, and if only people with loads of spare cash, or a very relaxed approach to credit card debt, end up being able to see it, I worry about where that’ll leave the best form of entertainment that exists. An art form, that – after all – Shakespeare famously put on stage for anyone and everyone.”

Inflation busting premium ticket prices of £305, plus booking fee, is not only absurd, it is criminal amid the cost of living crisis.

To the West End, currently a topsy turvy combination of premium pricing, day seats and even a ‘game of chance’ involving glow sticks.
Rip off

Heck, even leading lady Patsy Ferran is uncomfortable with it all, stating in an interview recently: “The last couple of years theatre prices have reached a point that is shocking to me, but maybe I should just get used to it.”

In reality, profit thirsty ATG’s dominant market position means the company does not face any pressure to continually innovate and improve.

Of course, our old friend dynamic pricing is at play. I get it. Streetcar is a commercial show entitled to charge whatever the market can take.

But affordability equals sustainability, and sensible ticket prices are key to the theatre’s survival.

Speaking on a panel entitled Building a Better Financial Model for Theatre at The Stage’s Future of Theatre conference, Lighting designer Paule Constable said that premium tickets have generated a “wave of discontent” within the industry.

She added: “We need more transparency around how that money is spent. We, as a workforce, need to make the effort to understand that more and it needs to be talked about more.”

It’s hard not to admit that she has a point. Theatre has got to be kept accessible to everybody, because ultimately everything depends on keeping audiences excited about going.

Still, you can see A Streetcar Named Desire for a tenner. If you queue up 2.5 hours before performances for a glowstick (yes, really). Out of the 30, five glow sticks glow green when snapped. The lucky five can head to the box office and buy a pair of front row £10 tickets. There is a weekly lottery.

Send in the clowns. Ah, don’t bother. They’re here.

Phoenix Theatre Glowstick Day Seat Queue

Anyway, once I’d peeled myself off the ceiling, I went along to embrace the madness this week. Reader, my glow stick did not glow. But I was offered a £35 seat in the dress circle or a £10 standing ticket. I opted for the £10 standing ticket. Later my phone rang and I was put in a house seat. Lucky, eh.

A representative for A Streetcar Named Desire said that 83% of all its tickets have been sold at £100 or under. Hm.

Still, the average face value of top-price tickets in the West End has rocketed by a fifth since 2019, a recent survey by The Stage revealed. Glancing at a handful of West End shows £1-300 stalls seats are sadly standard now.

Of course, this fluctuates year on year and is frequently influenced by a small number of high-profile shows. Last year, Cock – starring Jonathan Bailey – saw producers disastrously try and flog £400 tickets, stating it was based on “supply and demand”

What are we to conclude from this?

As in many economic situations, there is a squeezed middle: theatre lovers who are neither wealthy enough to buy premium tickets and who don’t have a flexible work / life pattern to queue in person or online for discounted tickets. 

Seven Card Stud

Surely, extending personalised pricing to students or the unwaged, which was widespread in the 1980s, would maximise audiences. That said, personalised pricing can be progressive. In Finland, for example, speeding tickets are based on your income

All the same, I worry that we shall soon reach the point of no return, that the gap between the commercial and subsidised sector is growing ever wider and that the young will be put off by high prices. Of course, the system is broken, it’s not working for weary audiences.

But it’s not just the rising ticket prices that worry me. It’s also the sense of banality afflicting the West End. There are, as ever, 33 musicals of varying quality currently running. We should ponder both the escalating cost of tickets and the actual quality of what is on offer. 

Anyway, I’m with singer Neil Young who last week said it best: “It’s over” and that “the old days are gone” amid wider consternation at ticketing company’s pricing policies. And that is where we are. 

Paul Mescal and Patsy Ferran in A Streetcar Named Desire

Since the success of the subsidised and commercial sectors are intimately bound, it can’t just be left to subsidised theatre to take responsibility for building tomorrow’s audiences, the West End has to play – and pay – its part too.

A Streetcar Named Desire runs until 6 May


Olivier Awards 2023 announces broadcast details and show line up

Olivier Awards

Evening will include performances from all Mastercard Best New Musical nominees including The Band’s Visit, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, Sylvia and Tammy Faye 

–       The cast of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and Sister Act (Magic Radio Best Musical Revival nominees) as well as Disney’s Newsies (Best Theatre Choreography nominee) will also perform  

–       There will be a special performance from multi–Olivier Award winner The Book Of Mormon as the production celebrates 10 years in the West End  

–       Special Award winner Arlene Philips will be honoured with a tribute from the cast of Grease The Musical 

–       The Olivier Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday 2nd April and will be broadcast on ITV at 10.15pm with full live coverage on Magic Radio from 6pm     

The Olivier Awards 2023 with Mastercard have officially announced the shows performing in this year’s ceremony. The Awards will take place on Sunday 2 April at the Royal Albert Hall, hosted by Hannah Waddingham. 

There will be performances from all of the Mastercard Best New Musical nominees – The Band’s Visit, Standing At The Sky’s Edge, Sylvia and Tammy Faye. There will also be performances from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! and Sister Act, both nominated for Magic Radio Best Musical Revival. 

Additionally, there will be performances from Disney’s Newsies, whose choreographer Matt Cole is nominated for the Gillian Lynne Award for Best Theatre Choreographer, multi-Olivier winner The Book Of Mormon will be celebrating with a performance marking 10 years in the West End. Special Award winner, Dame Arlene Phillips, will be honoured on the night with a special performance from Grease the Musical. 

The Olivier Awards continues its partnership with ITV, which will broadcast a highlights programme the same evening at 10:15pm on ITV1 and ITVX. The full ceremony will be broadcast live from the Royal Albert Hall on Magic Radio, the Official Radio Partner, hosted by Ruthie Henshall and Alice Arnold from 6pm. Viewers from outside the UK can tune in on Official London Theatre’s YouTube channel. 

TikTok will also be hosting a live stream on the Green Carpet, with theatre performer and content creator Hannah Lowther (Heathers, Snow White: Pantomime, SpongeBob: The Musical) as their host. 

Sunday 2 April 2023 

Normal People’s Paul Mescal, just nominated for an Oscar and BAFTA for his role in the film Aftersun, Olivier Award Winning Patsy Ferran, We are Lady Parts’ Anjana Vasan and Our Girl’s Dawn Walcott will all reprise their roles in the West End transfer

‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

Paul Mescal, just nominated for an Oscar and a BAFTA for his leading role in the film Aftersun, and best known for his BAFTA winning role in Normal People, Olivier Award winner Patsy Ferran (Summer & Smoke), Anjana Vasan (We Are Lady Parts) and Dwane Walcott (One Night in Miami, Our Girl) will continue in the roles of Stanley, Blanche, Stella and Harold ‘Mitch’ Mitchell respectively, in the transfer of the Almeida Theatre’s critically acclaimed, hot ticket & sell-out production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Directed by Rebecca Frecknall (Cabaret, Summer & Smoke), the production will run for a strictly limited 6-week run, at the Phoenix Theatre, from 20 March to 29 April 2023.


The Times, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The i

“How pretty the sky is! I ought to go there on a rocket that never comes down.”

On a street in New Orleans, in the blistering summer heat, a sister spirals.

When Blanche unexpectedly visits her estranged sister Stella, she brings with her a past that will threaten their future. As Stella’s husband Stanley stalks closer to the truth, Blanche’s fragile world begins to fracture. Reality and illusion collide and a violent conflict changes their lives forever.

Almeida Associate Director Rebecca Frecknall’s “heart-stopping” (The Telegraph)revival of Tennessee Williams’ masterpiece transfers to the West End for a limited six week run. 

Patsy Ferran (“astonishingly good” Time Out) returns as Blanche DuBois, with Paul Mescal (“tremendous” The Times)as Stanley, and Anjana Vasan (“outstanding” New York Times) as Stella in this “mesmerising” (The i) production.

Paul Mescal said “I’m incredibly excited that Streetcar is being transferred to the West End with this formidable cast and creative team, led by the exceptionally talented Rebecca Frecknall. It’s my favourite play and it’s wonderful to be able to share it with a wider audience”.

This is the first production Rebecca has directed following the multi-award-winning production of Cabaret, for which she won the Olivier Award and Critics’ Circle Theatre Award for Best Director (the production won seven Olivier Awards in total).

Rebecca Frecknall, Director, said “I’m thrilled we will have the opportunity to share this production with a wider audience. It’s a testament to this fantastic company and incredible play. It’s been moving to see how audiences have responded to our work and I’m excited to see how the piece will evolve in the West End.”

A Streetcar Named Desire’s creative team is as follows: Director: Rebecca Frecknall; Set Designer: Madeleine Girling; Costume Designer: Merle Hensel; Lighting Designer: Lee Curran; Sound Designer: Peter Rice: Composer: Angus MacRae and Casting Director: Julia Horan CDG.

A Streetcar Named Desire is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions the Almeida TheatreWessex Grove and Gavin Kalin productions.

West End performers & stage management demand 17% pay rise

Stand Up for 17%
  • Equity’s Stand Up For 17% campaign launches tomorrow, focusing on West End performers and stage management’s demand for a 17% pay rise.
  • Working in the West End is meant to represent the pinnacle of a live performance career in the UK, yet inadequate pay and difficult working hours mean many are struggling with both their finances and their work-life balance.
  • Two thirds of West End members have considered leaving the industry.
  • 45% of West End members have a second job, with almost half who say they do reporting that this is because their West End pay doesn’t cover their living expenses.

Tomorrow (Friday 20 January), Equity – the performing arts and entertainment trade union – launch their ‘Stand Up For 17%’ campaign.

The campaign focuses on Equity members’ demand that West End theatre bosses raise the minimum weekly pay for performers and stage management by 17% – with social media activity (#StandUpFor17) going live in the morning, followed by members putting up campaign posters in their greenrooms across central London in the afternoon.

Equity can reveal that two thirds (61%) of West End members have considered leaving the industry due to terms, conditions and/or pay in the last three years (surveys detailed below*) – running the serious risk of a talent drain to the UK’s renowned live entertainment sector, especially when more money can be earnt in TV and film.

Meanwhile 45% of West End members have a second job, with almost half who say they do (48%) reporting that this is because their West End pay doesn’t cover their living expenses**.

Anthony, a performer in aWest End musical, says: “I’ve been performing in the West End for just over six years now, but when Covid hit I couldn’t work and fell into debt. I took on two part-time sales jobs which I still have to do today alongside my West End work, as the one performing job alone just doesn’t pay enough to cover the cost of living in London and my outgoings. At the moment I work seven days a week non-stop and struggle to find a work-life balance, so am now at a crossroads where I’m thinking if I left the show – gave up on my dream job – and upped my hours on the other jobs that aren’t really my passion, I could earn more money and live more comfortably.”

The minimums are not enough

Working in a West End play or musical is meant to represent the pinnacle of a live performance career in the UK, with years of training needed to gain the required skills – not to mention talent and, in the case of performers, a daily dedication to maintaining performance abilities and physical fitness. Yet inadequate pay and difficult working hours mean many are struggling with their finances and work-life balance.

Ella, stage management in a West End theatre, says: “Because the property I live in with my partner has mould, we’ve both been sick and need to move out. But as we’re both self-employed and work in the performing arts, our combined salary doesn’t pass the affordability check threshold and we’ve not found a landlord that will have us. We also struggle to keep our electricity meter topped up during the winter not only because energy bills have gone up, but also because we both work unsociable hours and sometimes don’t have a chance to get to the shop.”  

What’s more, an Equity survey has shown that rather than the union minimum wages being the lowest threshold for pay, more than half of West End performers and stage management are being paid at these minimums (more details below***). The union’s research shows that the public perception of the West End as a glamourous place where high pay is the norm just isn’t true, with existing pay and conditions presenting huge challenges to talent retention and diversity in the industry.

For example, the minimum for a performer working in a Category C theatre (up to 799 seats, the smallest tier of West End theatres) is currently £629.41 a week (full minimum rates listed below). While that adds up to £2,517.64 a month, once tax (roughly 20%), agent fees (12%) and pension payments (3%) are applied, that leaves these performers with roughly £1,636.46 a month to spend on renting in London, bills, commuting, food, dependents and other living costs.

Crucially, West End show contracts are not permanent, usually lasting between a few months to a year. Yet when performers and stage management can barely cover their day-to-day expenses, they are unable to save to cover the out-of-work periods that are inevitable in a gig-economy industry – let alone save for a family, a house or their retirement.

With the average rent of a room in the capital reported to be £935 per month alongside the rising cost of living and energy bills, this puts many in the West End in a precarious position and forced to live in house shares even as they get older.

Fodhla, stage management in a West End theatre: “I’m currently planning how to leave stage management, the job I love and have done for a decade, because I want to have kids in a year or two and don’t see it being possible if I’m working in live theatre. The hours are relentless and you don’t earn enough money to be able to afford childcare, let alone shoes and books. I’ve worked so hard – I’m really proud of myself and my skills I’ve built up. But if this is the height of my career already, then that’s not sustainable.”


The Stand Up For 17% campaign coincides with the submission of Equity’s West End claim to the Society of London Theatre (SOLT, representing producers and engagers in the West End). Equity and SOLT will negotiate the terms of the collective West End Agreement that sets out the minimum pay, terms and conditions for all performers and stage management working in West End theatres.

The claim asks for a new agreement that will run for two years from April 2023 until April 2025. The changes Equity are seeking to the West End Agreement include the below, and more (get in touch if you would like to view the full claim):

  • A real terms pay increase in minimum rates of pay for Year 1 (April 2023-24) of 17%, and Year 2 (April 2024-25) of a further 10% or RPI if higher.
  • A five-day rehearsal week from Monday to Friday (apart from tech week). Currently, 6-day rehearsal and performance weeks are the norm.
  • An increase to holiday entitlement on the basis that Equity members work a 6-day week for the performance period and the current entitlement is calculated assuming a 5-day work week. This would see a rise from 28 days of holiday pay per year to 34.
  • Increases to fees to remunerate covers (understudies, swings and stage management who step into roles due to absences) for their important work. As highlighted since the Covid-19 pandemic, they have meant the difference between a show going on and producers losing thousands of pounds. Currently, an understudy who must learn their own role as well as that of a lead, only receives £35 a week on top of the normal performance fee. A swing, who must learn multiple ensemble roles – sometimes numbering more than 10 – receives £90 more a week. Equity is seeking significant increases to cover fees in recognition of the extra workload required.

Amy, a swing performer in a West End musical: “I don’t feel like swings get paid enough for the extra work we do – it’s hard to find people who are able to cope with high amounts of stress and perform well, or be able to adapt really quickly on stage. And it’s so much extra revision – I’ve mapped the entire show so I know where everything is at every given moment, and when I’m at home I’m constantly listening to different tracks as well to learn harmonies. I’ve also performed abroad and working in the West End is the worst paid in comparison because the cost of living is so high.”

Paul W Fleming, Equity General Secretary, says: “Coming out of COVID, our industry was determined to ‘build back better’, and Equity’s West End campaign on work, rest and pay is the start of making that aspiration a reality. At a time of high inflation, our members have decided to Stand Up For 17% – a sensible rise in the minimum when rents, energy, and other costs have continued to rocket for over a year. We’re looking forward to sitting down with the producers in the coming months to find a roadmap to implement our reasonable aspirations. Theatre is about people, particularly its talented and skilled workforce – and we need real focus on ensuring performers and stage management are fairly paid, and achieve a proper work-life balance.”

Hannah Plant, Equity West End Official, says: “As Equity’s West End Official I meet working members every week on big shows whose experiences of struggle and hardship don’t tally with rising ticket prices. We need greater financial transparency from producers to ensure that profits aren’t being funnelled off to line the pockets of the rich at the expense of our members. It’s high time West End workers are paid what they deserve given their hard work, expertise and the revenue they generate.”

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Breaks House Record Grossing $2,671,191 Last Week

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child

The Broadway production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has once again broken the house record at the Lyric Theatre, grossing $2,671,191 for the 8-performance week ending January 1, 2023. This is the highest weekly gross for a play in Broadway history, a record the production first set with a gross of $2,525,850 for the week ending December 30, 2018.

In March of 2020, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child had the distinction of being named the Guinness World Record holder for highest-grossing non-musical play in Broadway history, now having grossed over $250 million since opening in 2018.

The Broadway cast includes Steve Haggard as Harry Potter, with Angela Reed as Ginny Potter and Joel Meyers as their son Albus Potter. David Abeles and Rachel Leslie play Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and Maya Thomas plays their daughter Rose Granger-Weasley. Aaron Bartz plays Draco Malfoy and Erik Peterson plays his son Scorpius Malfoy. Imani Jade Powers plays Delphi Diggory. Jenny Jules returns to the role of Hermione Granger on January 17, 2023.

They are joined by Chadd Alexander, John Alix, Kevin Rico Angulo, Chelsey Arce, Quinn Blades, Ebony Blake, Darby Breedlove, Ted Deasy, Jamyl Dobson, Irving Dyson Jr., Kira Fath, Gary-Kayi Fletcher, Eleasha Gamble, Logan James Hall, Abbi Hawk, Chance Marshaun Hill, Edward James Hyland, Nick Hyland, Jax Jackson, Jack Koenig, Spencer LaRue, Samaria Nixon-Fleming, Erik Evan Olson, Alexandra Peter, Dan Piering, William Rhem Jr., Kiaya Scott, Stephen Spinella, Tom Stephens, Karen Janes Woditsch and Brittany Zeinstra.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the first Harry Potter story to be presented on stage, has sold over 5 million tickets worldwide and holds a record 60 major honors, with nine Laurence Olivier Awards including Best New Play and six Tony Awards including Best New Play.

Based on an original new story by J.K. RowlingJack Thorne and John TiffanyHarry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany.  

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child features movement by Steven Hoggett, set by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, music & arrangements by Imogen Heap, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Gareth Fry, illusions & magic by Jamie Harrison, music supervision & arrangements by Martin Lowe. US Casting by Jim Carnahan, CSA.  

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is one of the most defining pop culture events of the decade” (Forbes).

Adventure runs in the family. When Harry Potter’s head-strong son Albus befriends the son of his fiercest rival, Draco Malfoy, it sparks an unbelievable new journey for them all—with the power to change the past and future forever. Prepare for a mind-blowing race through time, spectacular spells, and an epic battle, all brought to life with the most astonishing theatrical magic ever seen on stage. “You’ll be wondering ‘how’d they do that?’ for days to come” (People Magazine).

Experience the wizarding world like never before from the moment you arrive. The entire theatre has been transformed with hidden surprises to discover around every corner. “It’s a marvel of imagination, as magical as any spell or potion” (The New York Times).

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Standing at the Sky’s Edge Cast Recording Released January 2023

Chris Bush and Richard Hawley’s magnificent across-the-decades musical Standing at the Sky’s Edge Official Cast Recording – recorded live – will be released on digital platforms and CD on 27 January 2023. Now you know.

The award winning musical – set in Park Hill, Sheffield is running at Crucible Theatre until 21 January 2023.

Winner of the Best Musical Production at the UK Theatre Awards and the 2020 South Bank Sky Arts Award for Theatre, Standing at the Sky’s Edge is a celebration of strength and solidarity, set to the irresistible sounds of Richard Hawley.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge runs at National Theatre, London from 9 Feb until 25 Mar 2023.


Win 2 x tickets to Tammy Faye at the Almeida -Tuesday 15 November 2022

Tammy Faye

Many performances of Tammy Faye at Almeida Theatre are sold out. If you are on this page its your lucky day! Sign up for our mailing list using the form below to enter the lucky draw for two tickets to the show on 15 November. This contest is open to residents of UK only.


James Dacre to step down as Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate Theatres

James Dacre_photo by Marc Brenner

James Dacre has announced he will step down after a decade as Artistic Director at Royal & Derngate at the completion of the venue’s 2022/23 Made in Northampton season next year – its most ambitious and far reaching programme to date. 

During his years at Royal & Derngate he has premiered some of the most critically acclaimed work that the company has seen, radically diversified its repertoire and further developed the venue as a major creative and educational force in UK Theatre, described recently as an “artistic powerhouse” (The Independent) and an “essential destination” (The Observer) and celebrated for its “reputation for adventurous commissioning which few British Theatres can match” (BBC Arts).  

In his 10 years, Dacre has produced more than 120 shows of which 60 have toured both nationally and internationally and 42 have transferred to London and been recognised with Olivier, Evening Standard, WhatsOnStage and The Stage awards. During this time the venue has seen a marked development of its artistic activities, its audiences across the UK and standing within the region and sector. Royal & Derngate has welcomed over two and a half million audience members in Northampton across the decade and been twice shortlisted for Regional Theatre of the Year by The Stage (2022 and 2016) and chosen as 2020 Outstanding Theatre of the Year by Michael Billington. 

Touring Made in Northampton productions have been seen by a further 1 million audience members nationwide and made over 500 venue visits across the UK and abroad, winning three UK Theatre Awards. They have been broadcast to many more audiences on Sky Arts, BBC, On Demand and in cinemas. 

In the past decade the team at Royal & Derngate has welcomed over 165,000 children and young people through its extensive Creative Learning Programmes and been nominated for the UK Theatre Award for Excellence in Inclusivity. During this period they have delivered gender parity across all new commissions and the diversity of artists appearing across the venue’s Made in Northampton seasons has quadrupled since 2012. The venue has established a flagship training residency with the National Youth Theatre for 500 young people a year. It has led a UK wide consortium in developing and touring original musical theatre productions by over 150 artists and launched Generate as a talent development scheme which has championed original work by over 700 East Midlands artists. It has also spearheaded a region-wide Creative Education strategy for 25,000 young people per year across Northamptonshire, helped convene an East Midlands wide consortium to provide opportunities for d/Deaf and disabled artists and pioneered ensemble theatre making, enabling 16 emerging companies to make their main stage debuts. 

James Dacre, says:

“As I reach my 10th year, the culmination of several major strategic projects, the successful completion of our current funding term and the launch of our most far-reaching season yet, it seems like the right time to embark upon a new chapter in my career. Leaving next Spring also provides plenty of time to begin the careful process of handing the artistic reins of these very special theatres to a new Artistic Director. 

Our industry has been through seismic challenges and changes over the past few years but Royal & Derngate is thriving. It truly is a community venue, a centre of artistic excellence and ambition and a home for exceptional educational and social opportunities for young people. Over the past decade it has been an enormous privilege to create and champion such a wide range of work for Royal & Derngate’s three stages but also for Northampton’s civic spaces, from football stadiums, cathedrals and high streets to car parks, castles, and waterways. It has also been thrilling to see so much of this work go on to tour the country and the world. And I know Royal & Derngate will always shout from the rooftops that regional theatres do so much more than simply put on shows. They nourish civic life and serve local communities, promoting cultural exchange through creativity. 

There’s still much good work to do before I leave Northampton next Spring but, for my part, I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our Trustees for their wisdom, to our remarkable, kind, and inspiring Chief Executive Jo Gordon and all the magnificent, talented and passionate colleagues and theatre practitioners I have been lucky enough to work with. For the future, I’m looking forward to building upon my relationships across the sector by directing and producing new theatre, opera, film and music projects across the UK both as an independent artist and through my new production company – Living Theatre Productions – which launches in the New Year.”

Simon Antrobus, Chair of the Board of Trustees says:

“A hugely creative, hardworking and passionate artistic leader, I can think of few others across the country as committed to the importance, vitality and benefit of regional theatre as James. Together with Chief Executive Jo Gordon, he was instrumental in keeping Royal & Derngate thriving through the challenges of the pandemic and taking a leading role nationally in the championing of the value, variety and scale of theatre being made around the UK. To conclude his brilliant tenure he has now curated an exceptional last season that exemplifies all that he has achieved across the last decade – an unwavering commitment to new work, new voices and untold stories, a step change in our digital work, and an imaginative, diverse and popular range of shows that once again welcome some of the country’s most exciting artists to Northampton. Characteristic of all his work, it is a programme that deepens connections within our local communities, whilst also enriching audiences and theatres across the UK.”

Jo Gordon, Chief Executive says:

“The quality, care and integrity that James has brought to all his work for Royal & Derngate is evident both in the beautiful shows he’s created for our stages and town, and in his commitment to Northampton’s many communities. From championing the next generation of theatremakers to ensuring that unique opportunities for children and young people lie at the heart of all that we do, the investment made into the future over the last 10 years means we will continue to see their legacy on our stages and in our communities for years to come. Whoever takes up the baton will find an exciting richness in Northampton’s talent and audiences fostered through that work. James has always been so generous with his time and his expertise and will be sorely missed by his colleagues, audiences and artists alike.”

Recruitment for new Artistic Leadership at Royal & Derngate will begin later this month with more details to be announced soon. 

Donmar Warehouse announces first three shows of new season for 2022/2023

Donmar 2022-23 season artists bw

Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Executive Director Henny Finch today announce the first three shows in the Donmar’s 30th anniversary season and plans for the theatre’s birthday celebrations.

Highlights of the new season include Lillian Hellman’s masterpiece political thriller Watch on the Rhine – given its first major London revival in over 40 years by director Ellen McDougall, with a cast including Kate Duchêne, Caitlin FitzGerald and Patricia Hodge. This is followed by the world première of Diana Nneka Atuona’s Trouble in Butetown for which she received the 50th George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright and the Theatre Royal Haymarket’s Writers Award, directed by Tinuke Craig.

Also announced for Summer 2023 is Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical Next to Normaldirected by Longhurst.

Generously supported by Charles Holloway, Season Supporter

In Autumn 2022 the Donmar celebrates its 30th birthday, and to mark this special milestone, it will provide 3,000 £10 tickets for audiences aged under 30, made possible by generous support from Associate Sponsor Barclays. Beginning with Watch on the Rhine, and running throughout the year, there will be £10 tickets available for every performance.

As the centrepiece of the celebrations, the Donmar will stage a fundraiser performance in November with all three former Artistic Directors – Michael Grandage, Sam Mendes and Josie Rourke as special guests, alongside Longhurst, with performances from notable alumni reprising roles they played at the theatre; as well as a free exhibition of production images across the theatre’s public spaces later in the year. The fundraiser will be directed by Simon Evans.

Michael Longhurst said today, “It is a privilege to be co-helming the Donmar as we approach this major milestone. I am grateful for the talent, tenacity and generosity of all those who have built that history. These shows kick off our birthday celebrations in classic Donmar style with an unearthed gem, a thrilling new play and later in the year, a long-awaited Broadway musical.  Lillian and Diana’s plays offer counterpoint perspectives from across the Atlantic at a pivotal moment in our history, presenting one of the most seminal American female writers of the 20th century alongside an exciting new British female playwriting talent. And I can’t wait for us to blow the roof off the building with an extraordinary rock musical next Summer.  Here’s to the next 30!”

Speaking about supporting the Donmar to offer thousands of £10 tickets for under 30s, Richard Atkinson, Marketing Director at Barclays Payments commented, “We are incredibly proud of our long affiliation with the Donmar Warehouse. We can think of no better way to mark its thirtieth year than by supporting the Donmar by enabling thousands of people to see this remarkable season for just £10.”

Alongside the productions on stage, the Donmar continues its innovative work with the local community, platforming the voices of local young people. The theatre’s schools programme also expands, working with 2200 students to attend productions and devise work with leading theatre makers to be shared on the Donmar stage.

The Donmar’s commitment to skills development continues as the theatre welcomes the next cohort of CATALYST trainees for their year-long traineeships in arts administration roles. The Creative CATALYST programme also goes from strength to strength, with 8 assistants working with the creative teams over the next year’s productions in roles including lighting, sound and design.

Following a successful pilot, Donmar’s LOCAL Young Writers programme runs from this Autumn 2022, with 16 young writers aged 16-19 who will develop new work led by Molly Taylor and a leading team of playwrights.

Alongside the production of Next to Normal the Donmar will run a new project exploring mental health and wellbeing with young people in our home boroughs.

As part of the Donmar’s ongoing commitment to accessibility, over 1000 free tickets will be available for audiences aged under 26 as part of the Donmar’s YOUNG+FREE scheme.

Every production will have a BSL performance, alongside its captioned and audio described performance offer.