West End & Broadway stars Jenna Russell & Judy Kuhn will join Seth Rudetsky for Broadway @ Leicester Square Theatre

Olivier Award winner & Tony Award nominee Jenna Russell (Sunday In The Park With George, Merrily We Roll Along and Fun Home at the Young Vic) and four-time Tony nominee Judy Kuhn (star of Trevor Nunn’s new Fiddler On The Roof at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Broadway’s Fun Home, Chess and Les Misérables) will join Seth Rudetsky as music director/host for two intimate concerts on Sunday, February 3 as part of the long-running Broadway @ Leicester Square Theatre series.

Broadway @ Leicester Square Theatre began in 2013 with Patti LuPone and returned with Audra McDonald in 2016 and John Barrowman and Ramin Karimlooo earlier this year. What differentiates this concert series is the seamless mix of intimate behind-the-scenes stories from Broadway’s biggest stars – prompted by Rudetsky’s
probing, funny, revealing questions – and their stellar singing of the musical theatre repertoire.

This is a spontaneous mix of of hilarity and show-stopping songs that is not to be missed.

Jenna Russell 

Jenna Russell is an award winning actress whose accolades include 2007 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a
Musical for her performance as Dot/Marie in Sunday In The Park With George at  Wyndhams Theatre. She
reprised her role on Broadway at Studio 54 where she won 2008 Theatre World Award for Broadway Debut
Performance. She also received a 2008 Tony Award nomination and 2008 Drama Desk nomination for the same role.She has received Olivier Award nominations for her performances as Mary Flynn in Merrily We Roll Along and Sarah Brown opposite Ewan McGregor in Guys and Dolls in the West End. She was also long listed for Best
Musical Performance for Evening Standard Theatre Awards for her roles as Little Edie in Grey Gardens at
Southwark Theatre and Mary Flynn in Merrily We Roll Along at The Pinter Theatre. Other recent theatre credits include Helen Bechdel  in Fun Home at The Young Vic, and Mephistopheles in Dr Faustus starring opposite Kit Harington at The Duke of Yorks Theatre.

Judy Kuhn 

Judy Kuhn is currently starring as Golde in London in the sold-out production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Menier
Chocolate Factory, a role she also played on Broadway in 2016. On Broadway, the four Tony Award nominee, starred as Helen Bechdel in Fun Home (Tony & Drama League Award nominations) a role she created in the
original Public Theater production for which she won the 2014 Lucille Lortell Award. Also on Bway she starred in the Roundabout’s hit revival of She Loves Me (Tony nomination); and the original Bway productions of Chess (Tony &  Drama Desk nomination); Les Misérables (Tony & Drama Desk nomination); Rags (Drama Desk
nomination); Two Shakespearean Actors (Lincoln Center Theatre), Alan Menken & Tim Rice’s King David; and The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Other select theater includes: The Visit by JohnKander, Fred Ebb & Terrance McNally at The Williamstown Theater Festival; Fosca in the much-lauded production of Stephen Sondheim & James Lapine’s Passion (Drama League Award nomination); the inaugural season of Encores! Off-Center in The Cradle Will Rock;  US premiere of Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. In the West End she starred in Metropolis (Olivier Award nomination). Judy sang the title role in Disney’s Pocahontas as well as the in the sequel
Pocahontas II: Journey To A New World.

Seth Rudetsky 

Seth Rudetsky has played piano in the orchestra for more than 15 Broadway shows including Ragtime, Grease and Phantom. As a comedy writer, he was nominated for three Emmy Awards for The Rosie O’Donnell Show and has written 3 volumes of Seth’s Broadway Diary filled with hilarious theatre stories, as well as two young adult books published by Random House. After the Orlando Florida nightclub shooting, his husband James spearheaded Broadway For Orlando, a star-studded recording of What The World Needs Now Is Love that Seth conducted/arranged featuring Idina Menzel, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Judy Kuhn, Rachel Tucker, Audra McDonald and 30 other Broadway stars which raised over $100,000 for the victims, their families and The Trevor Project. He loves performing in London and has been at Leicester Square Theatre opposite Patti LuPone, Audra McDonald, John Barrowman and Ramin Karimloo and, in 2016, he starred with some amazing West End talent in a one-day benefit of his Broadway musical comedy Disaster! at Charing Cross Theatre that benefitted MADTrust. His favourite thing is getting stars to tell never-before-told inside theatre stories and then making them sing tons of amazing songs…exactly what these shows at Leicester Square Theatre will be!


Mark Cortale presents
Broadway @ Leicester Square Theatre

as pianist & host

Sunday, February 3 at 4.00pm

Dublin dates added to Dance Consortium’s UK and Ireland 2019 tour of Mark Morris Dance Group in ‘Pepperland’

Pepper land dress rehearsal and press night.
Images by Gareth Jones

The Beatles’ ground-breaking 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album is the inspiration behind Mark Morris Dance Group’s (MMDG) Pepperland, presented by co-commissioner Dance Consortium and touring across the UK and Ireland between 20 March & 1 May 2019.

 Pepperland is legendary choreographer Mark Morris’ unique tribute to the 50th anniversary of the release of the iconic LP. Hailed as the first-ever ‘art rock’ album and widely regarded as the best rock and roll album of all time, it spent 27 weeks at number one on the UK Albums Chart and 15 weeks at number one in the USA. It won four Grammy Awards in 1968, including Album of the Year, the first rock LP to receive the honour.

 Mark Morris is renowned as an intensely musical choreographer and is undeviating in his devotion to music. The New York Times said Morris is the “most successful and influential choreographer alive and indisputably the most musical”. Since founding MMDG in 1980, he has created almost 150 works for the company, many of which are widely considered masterpieces.

 By request of the City of Liverpool, Morris created Pepperland to pay homage to The Beatles, the album and its landmark anniversary. Its world premiere performances kicked off Liverpool’s Sgt. Pepper at 50 Festival in May 2017 and received critical and audience acclaim for both its dance and music.

 Now, set to tour across the UK and Ireland in 2019 – London, Birmingham, Salford Quays, Bradford, Edinburgh, Canterbury, Cardiff, Plymouth, Southampton, Norwich, Newcastle and Dublin – Pepperland features an original score by composer Ethan Iverson, inspired by some of the album’s most enduring hits: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandWith a Little Help From My FriendsA Day in the LifeWhen I’m Sixty-FourWithin You Without You; and Penny Lane. Iverson’s fresh arrangements of the original tracks will be performed live by MMDG Music Ensemble – Pepperland‘s unique chamber music group – and is interspersed with six original Pepper-inspired pieces that complement Morris’ profound understanding of classical music styles of allegro, scherzo, adagio, and the blues.

 The septet music ensemble is led by Iverson on piano. Best known as long-time pianist with the trio Bad Plus, which he left last year, Iverson was selected by Time Out New York as one of 25 essential New York jazz icons, “perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable sort of artist/scholar.” For Pepperland he is joined by New York City’s finest musicians specializing in voice (Clinton Curtis), theremin (Rob Schwimmer), soprano sax (Sam Newsome), trombone (Jacob Garchik), organ/harpsichord (Colin Fowler) and percussion (Vincent Sperrazza).

 Costume designer Elizabeth Kurtzman has designed numerous pieces for MMDG, including Dancing HoneymoonSang-FroidThe ArgumentGreek to MeFour Saints in Three ActsEmpire GardenVisitationCrosswalkPetrichor and Pure Dance Items. Her bright, candy-coloured costumes, often splayed in geometric patterns, recall the swinging sixties as Morris’ dancers evoke the freedom and energy of a time that revolutionised social and political norms.

 Artistic director and choreographer Mark Morris, said: “The music for Pepperland, arranged and extrapolating from tracks on The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is important to me because of the enormous impact the album caused in popular culture at large. Beatlemania in the UK and particularly in the US was a pivotal event in the turbulent social/political semi-revolution of the late 1960s. As a very young person, I was dazzled and confused by the music. I loved it and I loved The Beatles. Then, over the years, I lost touch and lost interest partly because of overexposure. When I was approached to participate in the commemorative project in Liverpool, I re-examined the recording and found so much of interest in it that I eagerly took on the big project of turning these very familiar songs into an evening length music and dance show. Pepperland is the exciting result.”

 Composer Ethan Iverson, added: “The Pepperland score is a suite of chamber music performed by some of New York City’s finest iconoclasts. Half the piece is arrangements of the songs we all know, half is new danceable pieces responding to the strong undercurrent of classical music present on the original album.

 Community engagement is a vital component MMDG’s work. The group integrates opportunities for dance, music, talks, and education at its Brooklyn home, the Mark Morris Dance Center, as well as on tour around the world.

 Pepperland’s UK and Ireland Tour 2019 will feature talks and participation events including MMDG’s renowned Dance for PD® workshops – born from the idea that people with Parkinson’s could benefit from the insight and specific techniques and methods used by dancers to guide their own bodies and minds. The workshops strive to increase coordination, balance, flexibility, and strength through music and movement from a broad range of dance styles.



Full cast announced for FOLLIES at National Theatre

After a sold-out run, Follies returns to the NT in 2019. Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical includes such classic songs as ‘Broadway Baby’, ‘I’m Still Here’ and ‘Losing My Mind’. Featuring a cast of 40 and an orchestra of 21, Follies is directed by Dominic CookeTracie Bennett, Janie Dee and Peter Forbes return to reprise their roles, with Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding joining the cast as Ben and Sally.

The Follies 2019 cast includes Julie Armstrong (Christine Donovan), Lindsay Atherton (Young Carlotta), Josephine Barstow (Heidi Schiller from mid-April until the end of the run), Rosanna Bates (Young Emily), Jeremy Batt (Young Theodore), Tracie Bennett (Carlotta Campion), Billy Boyle (Theodore Whitman), Kaye Brown (Ensemble), Janie Dee (Phyllis Rogers Stone), Anouska Eaton (Young Deedee), Liz Ewing (Ensemble), Vanessa Fisher (Young Stella), Caroline Fitzgerald (Sandra Crane), Geraldine Fitzgerald (Solange LaFitte), Peter Forbes (Buddy Plummer), Bruce Graham (Roscoe), Adrian Grove (Sam Deems), Alexander Hanson (Ben Stone), Alyn Hawke (Ensemble), Harry Hepple (Young Buddy), Aimee Hodnett (Young Sandra), Dawn Hope (Stella Deems), Liz Izen (Deedee West), Jasmine Kerr (Ensemble), Alison Langer (Young Heidi), Felicity Lott (Heidi Schiller from 22 February until mid-April), Sarah-Marie Maxwell (Young Solange), Ian McIntosh (Young Ben), Ian McLarnon (Ensemble), Claire Moore (Hattie Walker), Tom Partridge(Ensemble), Gary Raymond (Dimitri Weismann), Michael Remick (Ensemble), Rohan Richards (Kevin), Joanna Riding (Sally Durant Plummer), Lisa Ritchie (Young Hattie), Myra Sands (Emily Whitman), Gemma Sutton (Young Sally), Monica Swayne (Young Christine), Christine Tucker (Young Phyllis) and Liam Wrate (Chorus/Swing).

Follies is designed by Vicki Mortimer, with choreography by Bill Deamer, musical supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, additional orchestrations by Josh Clayton, musical director Nigel Lilley, lighting design by Paule Constable and sound designer by Paul Groothuis.

Watch Tracie Bennett’s performance of ‘I’m Still Here’ from Follies at the 2018 Olivier Awards ceremony, captured live at the Royal Albert Hall in the video below:

Supported by the Follies production syndicate.

Exclusive crystal provider for Follies

Talks and Events

A Short History of Stephen Sondheim’s work – 26 February, 6pm

Developing Musical Theatre (in partnership with the Genesis Foundation) – 7 March, 6pm

Making Follies: Wigs, Hair and Makeup – 14 March, 6pm

Follies actors in conversation – 15 March, 3pm

The Making of Follies – 19 March, 10am

Making Follies – costumes and headdresses – 25 March, 6pm

Designing Follies with Vicki Mortimer – 29 March, 5pm

Eleventh Annual Papatango new writing prize opens for 2019 submissions

The Papatango New Writing Prize, now in its eleventh year, opens for submissions today, 6 December 2018, until 9pm on 17 February 2019.

The Papatango New Writing Prize was the UK’s first – and remains the only annual – opportunity guaranteeing a new writer a full production, publication by Nick Hern Books, a royalty of 10% of the gross box office, and a £6000 commission with full developmental support for a follow-up play.

In addition, every entrant receives feedback on their script – a commitment made by no other company, especially significant as the Prize averages more submissions on a yearly basis than any other playwriting award.

The winner will be announced in June 2019, after which the play will be developed with Papatango, ahead of a production at Southwark Playhouse from 30 October to 23 November 2019. This marks the fifth year the prize-winning play will be showcased at this venue following the world premières of the 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 Papatango New Writing Prize winners: The Funeral Director by Iman Qureshi, Trestle by Stewart Pringle, Orca by Matt Grinter and Tomcat by James Rushbrooke. These productions have received 9 nominations for Off West End Awards including Best New Play and Most Promising Playwright. Papatango’s production of Iman Qureshi’s The Funeral Director will tour in spring 2019 to Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham and Oxford in a co-production with English Touring Theatre.

Other writers produced under the Prize include Dawn King, Dominic Mitchell, Tom Morton-Smith, Fiona Doyle, Luke Owen and Louise Monaghan. Collectively, writers launched through the Prize have won BAFTAs, OffWestEnd, and RNT Foundation Awards, been nominated for the James Tait Black Drama Prize and twice nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, premièred in over twenty countries worldwide, and gone on to work with the National Theatre, RSC, Hampstead Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Royal Bath, Royal and Derngate, Bush Theatre, Headlong, English Touring Theatre and The Old Vic, as well as in the West End and for the BBC and HBO.

Artistic Director of Papatango, George Turvey, said today, “We are delighted to be opening the Prize again, after the success of our tenth year which saw a record number of entries, more playwrights than ever given support, and new box-office records set, proving the need for new voices and new stories on our stages. As literary departments tighten their belts and commissioning of early-stage writers declines, the Prize feels more vital than ever as a pathway for playwrights.”

2018 winner Iman Qureshi describes her experience, “As a playwright, you get used to throwing your work out into an abyss and never hearing back. So, when I submitted to the Papatango Prize, which commits to feedback on every entry, that promise alone exceeded my expectations. The call to say I’d been shortlisted, and later that I’d won, was wilder than I ever dared to dream. The process has been extraordinarily wonderful and career-defining. Not only has Papatango enabled me to share my story but as a direct result, I’ve had several commissions.

“Papatango’s support throughout has been unparalleled, and I feel inordinately lucky not just to have won, but also to be able to write another full-length play under their judicious guidance. I can’t wait to get started all over again.”

All entries must be anonymous, have a running time of at least 60 minutes, be original and previously unproduced, and sent in Microsoft Word or PDF formats with a contact telephone number on the front page. Entries should be made by 9pm, 17th February 2019, via the online submission form on Papatango’s website. Full details are available atwww.papatango.co.uk.

 Further information on the winning show and listings will be announced in summer 2019.

Southbank Centre announces full line-up for the eighteenth Imagine Children’s Festival, coming February Half Term 2019

Story Museum Oxford’s Time For Bed ©️ Andrew Walmsey; Peppa Pig in the Royal Festival Hall ©️ Dan Tsantilis; Heart n Soul Do Your Own Thing ©️ Tim Mitchell.
Story Museum Oxford’s Time For Bed ©️ Andrew Walmsey; Peppa Pig in the Royal Festival Hall ©️ Dan Tsantilis; Heart n Soul Do Your Own Thing ©️ Tim Mitchell.

Story Museum Oxford’s Time For Bed ©️ Andrew Walmsey; Peppa Pig in the Royal Festival Hall ©️ Dan Tsantilis; Heart n Soul Do Your
Own Thing ©️ Tim Mitchell.

Southbank Centre’s Imagine Children’s Festival turns eighteen in 2019 – but it’s nowhere near growing up! The annual festival returns 13-24 February 2019 for a half-term week of the best in children’s theatre, comedy, family parties, hands-on activities, DJs, dance, immersive experiences and full-on fun for children and their grownups. With more than 180 events jam-packed into twelve days and fifty percent of the festival completely free,Imagine is the biggest festival of its kind in London. It is dedicated to families experiencing and enjoying all kinds of art and culture together.

The multi-arts line-up for 2019 includes former Children’s Laureates and creators of some of the best-loved characters in UK children’s literature, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman and Chris Riddell, coming together on the Royal Festival Hall stage to celebrate 20 years of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate; a London-wide storytelling game of ‘consequences’ involving more than 600 school children with poet Joseph Coelho; an interactive sensory SoundPit installation using music and motion-capture technology to explore the phenomenon of synaesthesia; Sue Perkins conducting the Orion Orchestra’s Noisy Notes; David McKee, author and illustrator of Elmer the Elephant, in an exclusive event celebrating the 30th birthday of his popular patchwork friend; and Peppa Pig’s first concert with a full-size orchestra conducted – for the first time ever – by Mummy Pig.

The Kids Takeover returns for another year, giving a group of children the chance to take the reins of the festival alongside the Southbank Centre team in all areas of the festival production, from contributing to the line-up to selling programmes, making tannoy announcements and ensuring shows start on time.

Tamsin Ace, Festival Programmer, Southbank Centre, said:

Imagine festival is for kids, by kids. This year we are bursting at the seams with activities and events to inspire, engage and entertain. With Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room reopening in April 2018, after two years’ refurbishment, we’re back to full capacity across our 17-acre site – which just means more fun for everyone! I’m particularly proud of the increase in BSL interpreted, Relaxed and accessible events. We’ll also be live-streaming the League of Laureates and Elmer’s 30th Birthday events to Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, in Newcastle, beaming top quality content to the other end of the country. All of this means that even more families will discover something incredible together at Southbank Centre’s Imagine.”

Jill Coleman, Director of Children’s Books at BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, said:

“As we look forward to celebrating 20 years of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, we are delighted to announce the launch of the nationwide League of Laureates tour at Imagine Children’s Festival 2019. The Laureateship has played such a unique and vital role in showcasing the exceptional quality of children’s literature in the UK over the past 20 years, and we are thrilled that three of the extraordinary authors and illustrators to have worn the silver medal – Jacqueline, Malorie and Chris – will be launching the celebrations at Southbank Centre in February.”

This year a giant game of ‘consequences’ has been taking place across the city led by celebrated children’s author Joseph Coelho. The Imagine Schools Writing Project involves more than 36 London primary schools, and 600 students aged 7-11. Since November, children across the city have been working together to write separate sections of one story, inspired by Joseph’s work and supported by a teaching framework. These story segments will be combined together to make one complete and truly imaginative super-story which will be performed by Joseph at Imagine for the student authors, their teachers and families. The project aims to inspire and support children as creative writers and motivate them to continue to develop their writing and reading back in school and beyond, as well as support teachers to guide creative writing in the classroom.

Free events include this year’s Book in a Day, the best selling novel, award-winning franchise and big-screen adaptation by Cressida Cowell, How To Train Your Dragon. The whole book will be read over the course of the day, with special guests and live performances to be announced, and a free book signing from Cressida Cowell herself (23 Feb, Clore Ballroom, RFH). Plus events and activities popping up all across the Southbank Centre site every day during the festival, including The Story Museum Oxford’s Time for Bed – an enormous storytelling bed complete with patchwork quilt families can cuddle up on together, Morning Music Time and Bedtime Stories to ease children in and out of the day, a giant chalkboard and a huge playground designed by Anna Bruder on the Riverside Terrace, and The Rig: a musical playground for all the family built from recycled objects (13-24 Feb, various venues, Southbank Centre).

Full festival listings including BSL and Relaxed Performance information available here.

Further highlights of the festival, per artform include:

Literature and storytelling:

  • From Elmer the Patchwork Elephant, to Mr Benn and Not Now Bernard, David McKee is one of the most recognisable and beloved children’s book creators in the world. In this special, exclusive event to celebrate the 30th Birthday Year of Elmer, David goes through his career as an illustrator and into animation and design offering a unique insight into the creative process of one of our most prolific and enduring children’s book makers (18 Feb, QEH)
  • Current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, multi-award-winning, bestselling writer and artist and the mind behind beloved children’s book characters Clarice Bean, Ruby Redfort and Charlie and Lola joins the Imagine line-up. In conversation with Alexandra Derbyshire, Executive Producer on the Paddington films, she’ll talk about her time as Laureate, as well as her best-loved characters and inspirations (21 Feb, PUR)
  • Children can hear the enchanting tales of Yokki and the Parno Gry and Polonius the Pit Pony from acclaimed Romani storyteller Richard O’Neill. Born and brought up in a large, traditional nomadic Romani Gypsy family, O’Neill tells captivating stories that reflect the oral storytelling tradition of his background (21 Feb, Level 5 Function Room, RFH)
  • Living Paintings are the only charity in the UK who design, create and publish tactile and audio books for blind and partially sighted people. This session is designed specifically for children aged 5-8 with visual impairments to introduce ‘Touch to See’ books, re-telling some of the best loved children’s books in braille or tactile painted pictures, to inspire a love of stories in all (18 Feb, Foyle Pavilion, RFH)
  • Through her beautifully illustrated storybooks, award-winning Syrian author and illustrator Nadine Kaadan helps children understand war. She brings an interactive storytelling and art workshop to Imagine to introduce her story Tomorrow. Tomorrow focuses on about the strength of family love, the rich culture and proud history of Damascus, and a courageous little boy growing up in a time of conflict (16 Feb, Foyle Pavilion, RFH)
  • Two events help young people see the power of their own self-belief: illustrator Andrea Pippins is joined by special guests to present her new book, Step Into Your Power, showing children aged 8-12 how to make their dreams a reality, by harnessing their power and using it (17 Feb, PUR); and Paralympian and TV presenter Ade Adepitan shares Ade’s Amazing Ade-ventures: Battle of the Cyborg Cat: a tale of a young boy from Nigeria learning to adjust to living in East London, conquering his doubts through friendship and self-belief (23 Feb, Level 5 Function Room, RFH)
  • Families can learn about nature, nurture and what each one of us can do to protect our planet in two engaging events: Chitra Soundar (author of the popularly acclaimed You’re Safe With Me) shares her beautifully illustrated new story You’re Snug With Me, set in the endangered home of a mother polar bear and her two newborn cubs (24 Feb, Level 5 Function Room, RFH); and authors of the best-selling Great Big Green Book, Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith share ideas and family-friendly ways to keep the planet green (23 Feb, Level 5 Function Room, RFH)
  • The National Poetry Library, the largest public collection of modern poetry in the world situated within the Royal Festival Hall building, hosts a line-up of engaging events and activities to get kids of all ages into poetry, including: a special ‘Rug Rhymes’ session of nursery rhymes and poems for under-5s and their carers inspired by the ever-popular We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen; Picture a Poem Illustration Workshop with children’s illustrator and poet Ed Boxall; and Powerfully Persuasive Poems with hip-hop poet and MC Simon Mole, and Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA) winning poets Karl Nova and Rachel Rooney (18 Feb, National Poetry Library)

Theatre, performance and comedy:

  • An interactive screening of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, based on the bestselling bedtime book by Michael Rosen (poet, presenter and author of over 140 books) illustrated by the award-winning Helen Oxenbury, with a live orchestral soundtrack from the City of London Sinfonia and a fun sing-along (18 Feb, RFH)
  • Non-stop action-packed theatrical pirate adventure, Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass, with live music, puppetry and dastardly dinosaurs from award-winning children’s theatre company Les Petits, based on the book by Giles Andreae and Russell Ayto (19-23 Feb, QEH)
  • The Singing Mermaid, a magical musical based on the book written by Julia Donaldson MBE (The Gruffalo) and illustrated by best-selling Lydia Monks (What the Ladybird Heard), with puppetry from acclaimed Little Angel Theatre (16-20 Feb, PUR)
  • The Day I Fell Into A Book, using binaural sound recordings, intricate lighting technology and projection to create a three-dimensional sound and theatre experience for everyone who loves myths, legends and reading. Produced by Fuel Theatre (19-23 Feb, Blue Room, RFH)
  • I Wish I Was a Mountain, written and performed by former Glastonbury Poetry Slam Champion Toby Thompson, using rhyme, live music and a smattering of metaphysical philosophy to boldly reimagine Herman Hesse’s Faldum for ages 6+, with BSL interpretation of every show (22-23 Feb, PUR)
  • Children’s comedian Jeremy Strong, author of wacky books including My Brother’s Famous Bottom and The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog series, brings his hilarious stand-up for ages 7+ to the Purcell Room (19 Feb, PUR)
  • Created especially for parents with newborns Screaming With Laughter is a top-class afternoon comedy club created and hosted by Hatty Ashdown, co-writer of the Comedy Central sitcom Give Out Girls and starring Jessica Fosterkew co-host of The Guilty Feminist podcast and regular host of The Comedy Club on BBC R4 Extra. It promises adult stand-up where the acts won’t make fun of the audience for moving around, feeding and changing, or if their babies are having a screaming match (14 Feb, Level 5 Function Room, RFH)

Classical and contemporary music:

  • Author, comedian and connoisseur of amateur bakes, Sue Perkins joins the Orion Orchestra as guest conductor of Noisy Notes, an interactive concert bringing old favourites and familiar tunes to life with a full symphony orchestra experience for all ages (24 Feb, QEH)
  • World-record-breaking beatboxer, composer, music producer and World Loopstation Champion, Shlomo makes all kinds of music using just his mouth and a mic. He returns to Southbank Centre for Imagine festival with his sell-out show, Shlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids where everyone young and old can become one of his sonic superhero sidekicks in a world of funny sounds, brilliant noises and cool music (21 Feb, PUR)
  • Peppa Pig, along with Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and George, come to the Queen Elizabeth Hall for Peppa Pig: My First Concert, a fun, interactive introduction to a live orchestra for ages 18 months and older. Peppa and George learn all about the different sounds that instruments make together, and enjoy some of their favourite music from the show played by an orchestra as well as discovering some other exciting orchestral pieces, perfect for children. Little piggies can join in with Peppa and her family, and make music of their own! (15-17 Feb, QEH)
  • Young ones can enjoy the best introduction to classical music available,with OAE Tots, presented by Southbank Centre resident Orchestra for the Age of Enlightenment. This 45-minute concert of Handel’s Water Music, which was written for a festival on the Thames includes lots of action and activity introducing children aged 2 to 5 to the magic of classical music, including a chance to meet the players and their instruments after the performance (24 Feb, PUR)
  • Chineke! Juniors present a whole day of music making totally free, where budding musicians can explore what it is like to create music in an ensemble, and reinterpret the sounds of the orchestra through dance, art and storytelling. Chineke! Juniors is a youth orchestra of black and minority ethnic musicians aged 11-18, and the sister ensemble to the professional Chineke! Orchestra, the first black and minority ethnic orchestra in Europe (17 Feb, Clore Ballroom, RFH)
  • Children’s songwriter Al Start presents an hour of original songs about cakes, castles, gloop and slime, bears in wardrobes and aliens on roofs, featuring sing-along favourites for primary school age children and their families (15 Feb, Clore Ballroom, RFH)
  • Award-winning picture book author Ken Wilson-Max delivers his all-singing, all-dancing This Is The Drum, where kids and grown-ups can discover different drums from around the world, learn how to play a simple rhythm and create a drum to take home (20 Feb, Foyle Pavilion, RFH)
  • After its sell-out success over a decade ago, Oily Cart’s Hippity Hop is back to meet a new generation of hip young things. The first ever interactive hip hop show for young children aged 2-5, it uses graffiti-based designs, hip-hop beats and the twinkling lights of the city to create a multi-sensory hip-hopera! There will be a Relaxed Performance on Friday 15 February at 2.30pm (13-17 Feb, Spirit Level, RFH)

Free events:

  • Heart n Soul is an award-winning creative arts company who believe in the talents and power of people with learning disabilities, and who provide opportunities for people to discover, develop and share this talent – with lots of fun. In a free, day-long takeover, Do Your Own Thing with Heart n Soul, young participant Reuben curates a day of DJs, live music and radio for everyone to enjoy. This will be BSL interpreted (20 Feb, Clore Ballroom, RFH)
  • Budding B-girls and B-boys can throw some shapes in Big Moves for Little Groovers, a hip-hop dance workshop for children ages 5+ (with big kids encouraged to join in too), and then freestyle at FUNDMC a block party of the highest quality child-friendly hip-hop, funk and disco anthems, hosted by The Doctor’s Orders, promoters of some of the world’s best DJs and MCs (16 Feb, Clore Ballroom RFH)
  • Families can feel the thrill of the limelight and learn their favourite dance styles featured on Strictly Come Dancing in Strictly Kids, with demos from leading child ballroom dancers (21 Feb, Clore Ballroom, RFH), and celebrate all things musical theatre at Monday at the Musicals, with workshops and performances from real West End performers, and world-class musical theatre, song and dance troupe, West End Kids (18 Feb, Clore Ballroom, RFH)
  • Timberlina, the world’s premier ecologically-minded bearded drag queen, takes families on a historical exploration of Molly Spoons, one of the earliest incarnations of what might be referred to now as a drag queen or alter-ego from Victorian London (22 Feb Clore Ballroom, RFH), whilst dead-pan comedy performance troupe Figs in Wigs are joined by their cabaret friends Steve Nice, and ShayShay, one of the best known figures on London’s alternative drag scene, for a whole day on Planet Fig, encountering strange aliens, exploring how earthlings live and dancing with mysterious ocean creatures. Presented in association with The Raze Collective, who support and develop LGBTQI performance (19 Feb, Clore Ballroom, RFH)

First Look: Production images of Aladdin, Hackney Empire’s 20th anniversary pantomime

Nominations announced for 19th Annual Whatsonstage Awards

  • Hamilton leads the musical categories with 12 nominations, Company follows with 9 nominations
  • The Inheritance leads the straight play awards with 7 nominations, with The Lieutenant Of Inishmore close behind with 6 nominations

Le Gateau Chocolat today announced the nominations for the 19th annual WhatsOnStage Awards via WhatsOnStage’s social channels, the only major theatre prize-giving decided entirely by the theatregoers themselves. The announcement of the nominations marks the opening of the final voting stage (until 31 January), with winners announced at the annual Awards Concert held on 3 March 2019 at The Prince of Wales Theatre.

WhatsOnStage’s Chief Operating Officer Sita McIntosh said today, “2018 has proved an incredible year for new writing – for both musicals and plays, providing some of the strongest competition we have seen in recent years across the nominations. The calibre of work populating not just the subsidised sector, but also commercial houses across the UK, shows a shift in audience appetite for new, challenging and diverse work, and it’s thrilling to see. The WhatsOnStage Awards unashamedly celebrate the best and most popular of UK theatre; shows that our readers pay to see and vote for in their droves.”

Hamilton continues to dominate awards season, leading the way with 12 nominations including Best Actor in a Musical nominations for Jamael Westman and Giles Terera who previously went head to head for the Olivier Award, with Terera winning; Best Actress in a Musical for Rachelle Ann Go; Best Supporting Actor in a Musical nominations for Cleve September and Jason Pennycooke; and Best Supporting Actress in a Musical nominations for Christine Allado and Rachel John, as well as nominations for Best New Musical, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Lighting Design. Also performing strongly across the musical categories is Marianne Elliott’s gender swap production of Sondheim’s Company with 9 nominations, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors with 7 nominations, and Heathers the Musical and Six with six nominations each.

In the straight play categories, Stephen Daldry’s world première production of Matthew Lopez’s epic two-part masterpiece The Inheritance lead the field with 7 nominations. In addition to Best New Play, Best Director and Best Show Poster, the production dominates in the acting categories with stage veteran Vanessa Redgrave nominated for Best Supporting Actress in a Play, Andrew Burnap and Paul Hilton for Best Supporting Actor in a Play, and Kyle Soller for the Best Actor in a Play category. Soller faces stiff competition from Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore (one of an impressive six nominations for Michael Grandage’s major revival of Martin McDonagh’s play), Arinzé Kene for Misty, Colin Morgan for Translations, and previous WhatsOnStage Award winner Mark Gatiss for The Madness of George III. Both Translations and The Madness of George III secured 5 nominations apiece.

Best Actress in a Play sees Carey Mulligan (Boys and Girls), Charlie Murphy (The Lieutenant of Inishmore), Katherine Parkinson (Home, I’m Darling), Patsy Ferran (Summer and Smoke) and Sophie Okonedo (Antony and Cleopatra) vie for top honours; whilst for Best Actress in a Musical, Rachelle Ann Go faces Adrienne Warren (Tina the Musical), Carrie Hope Fletcher (Heathers the Musical), Laura Baldwin (Eugenius!) and Rosalie Craig (Company); and in Best Actor in a Musical Westman and Terera are up against Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Tina the Musical), Jamie Muscato (Heathers the Musical) and Rob Houchen (Eugenius!).

Vying with Hamilton for Best New Musical are Eugenius!, Heathers the Musical, Tina the Musical and Six; with Best New Play, between Dust, Girls and Boys, The Inheritance, The Jungle and Misty. The strongly nominated The Madness of George III features both in Best Play Revival against Summer and Smoke, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Translations and The York Realist; and also in Best Regional Production alongside Death of a Salesman, Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual, Romeo and Juliet and Spring Awakening.

Best Off-West End Production is a tight fought contest between DustEugenius!MistyThe Rink and Six; with Best West End Show, between fan favourites Bat Out of Hell Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables and Wicked.

Now in their 19th year, the WhatsOnStage Awards are the only major theatre awards decided entirely by the theatregoers themselves. Voting opens on 5 December, closing on 31 January 2019, ahead of the winners being announced at the Awards concert on 3 March 2019 at Prince of Wales Theatre.

Tickets are available via www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk from £20.00.


Twitter @WhatsOnStage #WOSAwards

Instagram @WhatsOnStage


Best Actor in a Play sponsored  by Radisson Blu Edwardian

Aidan Turner, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Arinzé Kene, Misty

Colin Morgan, Translations

Kyle Soller, The Inheritance

Mark Gatiss, The Madness of George III

Best Actress in a Play

Carey Mulligan, Girls & Boys

Charlie Murphy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Katherine Parkinson, Home, I’m Darling

Patsy Ferran, Summer and Smoke

Sophie Okonedo, Antony and Cleopatra

Best Actor in a Musical sponsored by The Umbrella Rooms

Giles Terera, Hamilton

Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Tina the Musical

Jamael Westman, Hamilton

Jamie Muscato, Heathers the Musical

Rob Houchen, Eugenius!

Best Actress in a Musical sponsored by Café de Paris

Adrienne Warren, Tina the Musical

Carrie Hope Fletcher, Heathers the Musical

Laura Baldwin, Eugenius!

Rachelle Ann Go, Hamilton

Rosalie Craig, Company

Best Supporting Actor in a Play

Adetomiwa Edun, Translations

Adrian Scarborough, The Madness of George III

Andrew Burnap, The Inheritance

Chris Walley, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Paul Hilton, The Inheritance

Best Supporting Actress in a Play sponsored by Tonic Theatre

Debra Gillett, The Madness of George III

Michelle Fairley, Julius Caesar

Michelle Fox, Translations

Sian Thomas, Home, I’m Darling

Vanessa Redgrave, The Inheritance

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

Cleve September, Hamilton

Daniel Buckley, Eugenius!

Jason Pennycooke, Hamilton

Jonathan Bailey, Company

Richard Fleeshman, Company

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical sponsored by Newman Displays

Christine Allado, Hamilton

Jodie Steele, Heathers

Patti LuPone, Company

Rachel John, Hamilton

Vicky Vox, Little Shop of Horrors

Best New Play sponsored by JHI Marketing


Girls & Boys

The Inheritance

The Jungle


Best New Musical sponsored by The Hospital Club




Tina the Musical




Best Play Revival

Summer and Smoke

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

The Madness of George III


The York Realist


Best Musical Revival sponsored by R&H Theatricals



The King & I

Little Shop of Horrors

Me and My Girl


Best Direction

Andy Fickman, Heathers

Marianne Elliott, Company

Michael Grandage, The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Stephen Daldry, The Inheritance

Thomas Kail, Hamilton

Best Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler, Hamilton

Carrie-Anne Ingrouille, Six

Drew McOnie, Strictly Ballroom

Liam Steel, Company

Lizzi Gee, Little Shop of Horrors

Best Costume Design

Catherine Martin, Strictly Ballroom

Catherine Zuber, The King & I

Gabriella Slade, Six

Paul Tazewell, Hamilton

Tom Scutt, Little Shop of Horrors

Best Set Design

Bunny Christie, Company

Es Devlin, Girls & Boys

Miriam Buether, The Jungle

Rae Smith, Translations

Tom Scutt, Little Shop of Horrors

Best Lighting Design sponsored by White Light

Ben Cracknell, Heathers

Howard Hudson, Little Shop of Horrors

Howell Binkley, Hamilton

Neil Austin, Company

Tim Deiling, Six



Best Video Design sponsored by PRG XL Video

Daniel Denton, Misty

Dick Straker, A Monster Calls

Luke Halls, The Lehman Trilogy

Nina Dunn, The Assassination of Katie Hopkins

Terry Scruby, Chess


Best Off-West End Production sponsored by Les Misérables




The Rink

Six the Musical


Best Regional Production sponsored by MTI Europe

Death of a Salesman

The Madness of George III

Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual

Romeo and Juliet

Spring Awakening

Best Original Cast Recording

Bat Out of Hell

Come From Away

Everybody’s Talking about Jamie

The Grinning Man


Best Show Poster

The Inheritance

The Jungle

The Lieutenant of Inishmore

Little Shop of Horrors

Tina the Musical

Best West End Show sponsored by Joe Allen

Bat Out of Hell

Everybody’s Talking about Jamie

Kinky Boots

Les Misérables


West End Production of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child opens booking to September 2019

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

As footage of the internationally award-winning production is released , new tickets for the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child go on sale today (4 December 2018) at 11am GMT for performances at the Palace Theatre until 29 September 2019. Tickets are priced from £15 per part and for every performance there are over 300 tickets at £20 or less per part.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, one play presented in two parts, is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.  The critically acclaimed production received its world premiere in July 2016 at the Palace Theatre in London.  It is also now playing at the Lyric Theatre on Broadway, with an Australian production beginning performances at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on 16 January 2019.  A further North American production will open at San Francisco’s Curran in Autumn 2019 and, in spring 2020, a German language version of the play – marking its first non-English language production – will open at the Mehr! Theater am Großmarkt in Hamburg, Germany.

Details of all productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child can be found at www.HarryPotterthePlay.com

Since its premiere, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has won twenty-four major British theatre awards including the Evening Standard Best Play Award as well as a record-breaking nine Olivier Awards – including Best New Play and Best Director – the most awarded production in the history of the Oliviers. The Broadway production has subsequently won twenty-five major Broadway accolades, including five Drama Desk awards, six Outer Critics Circle awards and six Tony awards, also including Best Play and Best Director.

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

The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, an album of music from the internationally acclaimed stage production, is now available in stores as well as digitally.  The Music of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is written, composed, performed and recorded by Grammy and Ivor Novello Award-winner Imogen Heap It is presented as four contemporary musical suites, each showcasing one of the play’s theatrical acts.  This unique new album format from Imogen Heap chronologically features the music heard in the stage production, further reworked to transport listeners on a sonic journey through the world of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  The album is released by Sony Music Masterworks.

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

The regular performance schedule is as follows – Monday – no performance, Tuesday – no performance, Wednesday – 2pm Part One & 7.30pm Part Two, Thursday – 7.30pm Part One, Friday – 7.30pm Part Two, Saturday – 2pm Part One & 7.30pm Part Two, Sunday – 1pm Part One & 6.30pm Part Two.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has partnered with TodayTix for The Friday Forty, the production’s Lottery for Patrons to apply for some of the very best seats in the theatre priced at £40 (£20 per part) which will secure a seat for both Part One and Part Two on consecutive performances.  Patrons can now enter at any time from 12.01am every Monday, through to 1pm that Friday, when entries will close. Winners will be notified between 1pm and 5pm that day, and have the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets for both Part One and Part Two on consecutive performances the following week.  For further details and to enter The Friday Forty, visit the official website https://www.harrypottertheplay.com/uk/the-friday-forty/ or download the TodayTix for iOS or Android. The Friday Forty is operated by TodayTix on the West End and Broadway.

Returned and other late-release tickets may also become available at short notice. These are not guaranteed, but any tickets that do become available will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis, online or in person at the Palace Theatre box office at full price.

Details of any other ticket releases will continue to be listed on the official Harry Potter and the Cursed Child website, social media channels and the official newsletter.

Box Office – 0330 333 4813


@HPPlayLDN, facebook.com/HPPlayLDN



Sherman Theatre brings 12 emerging talents to Theatre503

Sherman Theatre
  • New Welsh Voices brings six new plays to Theatre503 on 13 & 14 December
  • The showcase, to be attended by London audiences and industry professionals, highlights the promising new writers of Sherman Theatre’s New Welsh Playwrights Programme
  • The shows will be directed by six Welsh and Wales-based members of the Sherman / JMK Directors Group
  • The showcase unites both of Sherman Theatre’s sector leading artist development schemes
  • Supported by The Carne Trust, it will champion the strength and diversity of Welsh theatre and is the fruit of 3 years of artist development schemes

Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre will present Wales’s best emerging talent to a London audience in its New Welsh Voices showcase at Theatre503 on 13 and 14 December. The programme, which brings together the members of both its writer and director development schemes established by the Sherman’s Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan, will also provide a platform for Welsh and Wales-based performers. Sherman Theatre hopes to share the work of the best up and coming creatives it has nurtured over the past three years with a wider audience and promote the country’s exciting new work.

Six participants of Sherman Theatre’s New Welsh Playwrights Programme will present plays spanning 17th century Vienna to the modern day, featuring reconciliations, fraught relationships and unexpected guests. Now in its second year, the theatre’s New Welsh Playwrights Programme gives participants the opportunity to develop their craft under the leadership of award-winning playwright Brad Birch, and is generously supported by The Carne Trust.

Directing their pieces are members of the Sherman  / JMK Directors Group, which is supported by the JMK Trust and The Carne Trust. The Directors Group develops the young and emerging theatre makers through workshops, discussions and paid development opportunities which have included engagements as Assistant Director on Sherman Theatre productions.

Based in the heart of Cardiff, Sherman Theatre is a leading producing house with a particular focus on the development and production of new work. In January 2018 Sherman Theatre became the first in Wales to win the Regional Theatre of the Year title at The Stage Awards, recognising Sherman as one of the most exciting theatres in the UK. In April 2018, Rachel O’Riordan’s production of Killology by Gary Owen, a co-production with London’s Royal Court Theatre, won the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre.

Rachel O’Riordan said, “One of the things of which I am most proud as Sherman’s outgoing Artistic Director is the work we have done to galvanise and structure meaningful support for emerging Welsh artists. We have developed programmes for both directors – JMK/Sherman Directors’ Group – and writers, with the New Welsh Playwrights’ Programme. I am so excited to see the work of these two groups brought together with our friends at Theatre503. It was Lisa Spirling who first introduced me to Philip Carne, without whom these initiatives would not be possible. So it is fitting we perform these bold new readings at her theatre. Developing new Welsh artists has been at the forefront of my vision here at the Sherman; over nearly five years, we have helped talented people evolve, develop and refine their craft under the guidance of excellent industry practitioners, including Brad Birch. Lack of progressive opportunities for early career writers and directors is an issue in theatre; I am delighted to be able to introduce twelve new Welsh Voices, who Sherman is honoured to have developed.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

@ShermanTheatre | #NewWelshVoices | www.shermantheatre.co.uk

Listings information

Theatre503, 503 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 3BW