Bristol Bus Boycott pioneers attend press night for Princess & The Hustler

Bus Boycott campaigners Roy Hackett, Paul Stephenson and Barbara Dettering chat with Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director Tom Morris and Eclipse Theatre Company’s Artistic Director and Director of Princess & The Hustler, Dawn Walton. (Photo by Harry Plowden)

Bristol Old Vic last night welcomed Bristol’s pioneering Civil Rights campaigners Paul Stephenson, Roy Hackett and Barbara Dettering at the press performance for Eclipse Theatre Company, Bristol Old Vic and Hull Truck Theatre’s co-production Princess & The Hustler.

The new play by Bristol playwright Chinonyerem Odimba is set in 1960s Bristol on the cusp of change. Set against the backdrop of the Bristol Bus Boycott, the play demonstrates the personal impact of the Civil Rights movement on Bristol’s real communities at that time, through the lives of one black Bristolian family.

Seun Shote who plays Wendell Senior with Bus Boycott pioneer Roy Hackett (Photo by Harry Plowden)

Seun Shote who plays Wendell Senior with Bus Boycott pioneer Roy Hackett (Photo by Harry Plowden)

Paul Stephenson and Roy Hackett, Bristol’s original Bus Boycott campaigners, now in their 90s, attended last night’s performance as guests of honour, staying until the small hours to talk to the cast and share their extraordinary experiences with them.

Bristol Old Vic Artistic Director Tom Morris today said,

“Chino’s beautiful play and this collaboration with Dawn Walton’s brilliant Eclipse Theatre Company is set firmly in the context of Bristol’s 2018 Year of Change. Prompted by Ujima Radio’s Roger Griffith, we determined that our newly reopened theatre would renew its welcome to every community in the city, and celebrate the stories which matter most to the people who have made our city what it is. The story of the Bristol Bus Boycott and the community of St Pauls who fought to combat employment prejudice in the city is one of those stories which is both inspiring in relation to what the city might achieve in the future, and chastening in relation to the injustices which remain unaddressed.

The night was made all the more special by the fact that Paul Stephenson and Roy Hackett, the original architects of the Bus Boycott, together with Barbara Dettering, who founded the St Pauls Carnival in its wake, were able to attend, closing an extraordinary circle of witness and celebration of their heroic achievements.”

In 1961, Bristol Evening Post exposed a ‘colour bar’ by the Bristol Omnibus company, preventing non-white people from working as bus drivers in Bristol. The prejudice was tried and tested in 1963, when Paul Stephenson, spokesman for the West Indian Development Council, sent his black student Guy Bailey to interview for a job as a bus driver. After a successful phone interview, Bailey proceeded to visit the Omnibus company, where he was promptly turned away and refused the job.

The West Indian Development Council’s founding member Roy Hackett and Paul Stephenson announced the Bristol Bus Boycott in April 1963, urging Bristol’s black communities to avoid taking the bus until the colour bar was lifted. A month later, Bristol University students held a protest march in support of the boycott. The stand-off finally came to an end in August 1963, when the Omnibus company announced that there would be no more discrimination in employing bus crews. Two years later, the British Government passed the first Race Relations Act of 1965, outlawing discrimination on the grounds of race in public places. To celebrate the unity that helped end the colour bar on Bristol’s buses, Bristolian activist and social worker Barbara Dettering put on the first St Pauls Carnival in 1968, an annual African Caribbean carnival now held every July in Bristol.

The Bristol Bus Boycott is now seen to be a pivotal moment in Black Civil Rights history, spearheading positive change across the UK.

Princess & The Hustler opened on Sat 9 Feb and will run at Bristol Old Vic until Sat 23 Feb, before heading on a UK-wide tour.

Donmar Warehouse announces further casting for Artistic Director Josie Rourke’s Farewell Production

Sweet Charity

Cast Includes Lizzy Connolly, Arthur Darvill, Lauren Drew, Anne-Marie Duff, Jo Eaton-Kent, Will Haswell, Charlotte Jaconelli, Stephen Kennedy, Debbie Kurup, Martin Marquez, Ryan Reid, Amy Ellen Richardson, Danielle Steers and Shaq Taylor

The Donmar Warehouse today announces further casting for Artistic Director Josie Rourke’s farewell production, Sweet Charity. Joining previously announced cast members Anne-Marie Duff as Charity and Arthur Darvill as Oscar will be Lizzy Connolly, Lauren Drew, Jo Eaton-Kent, Will Haswell, Charlotte Jaconelli, Stephen Kennedy, Debbie Kurup, Martin Marquez, Ryan Reid, Amy Ellen Richardson, Danielle Steers and Shaq Taylor.

Sweet Charity will be choreographed by the world-renowned Wayne McGregor, who reunites with Josie after working on her debut film Mary Queen of Scots. Josie returns to the music of Cy Coleman who wrote the score for her Olivier Award-winning production of City of Angels. The book is by

Neil Simon and lyrics by Dorothy Fields.

For Rourke’s farewell production, all tickets at every Friday performance of Sweet Charity from 26 April will be free to those aged 25 and under through SWEET FRIDAYS. Part of the Donmar’s successful YOUNG+FREE scheme, SWEET FRIDAYS free tickets will be allocated by ballot. As part of the scheme the Donmar will also invite schools from every London borough to see Sweet Charity for free. SWEET FRIDAYS are made possible with the generous support of Susie Sainsbury and the Backstage Trust.

During Rourke’s time as Artistic Director, YOUNG+FREE, has made over 15,000 free tickets available to those aged 25 and under. Enter the ballot for SWEET FRIDAYS tickets at

“The minute you walked in the joint, I could see you were a man of distinction, a real Big Spender…”

 New York, 1967. Charity Hope Valentine is a dance hall hostess who “runs her a heart like a hotel”. At the hopeless end of a long line of users and losers, she meets Oscar, a mild-mannered tax accountant, and Charity Hope Valentine once again puts her faith in love.

Members Priority Booking for Sweet Charity:

Steel members and Copper members now on sale.

Friends begins online from 9am, phone bookings begin at 10am, on Thursday 19 February 2019.

Public Booking for Sweet Charity:

Begins online at 9am, phone bookings begin at 10am on Thursday 21 February 2019.

Josie Rourke (Director) is the Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse where she has directed Measure for Measure, starring Hayley Atwell and Jack Lowden; Saint Joan, starring Gemma Arterton and broadcast live in cinemas around the world in partnership with National Theatre Live; the world premiere of Nick Payne’s new play Elegy;  Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Revival, ran at the Booth Theatre, New York and was broadcast live in cinemas with National Theatre Live; The Vote, which was broadcast live on More 4 on the night of the 2015 UK election to an audience of half a million and nominated for a BAFTA; City of Angels, which received the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival; Privacy, a new play created by James Graham and Josie Rourke, which also played at The Public Theater, New York, and starred Daniel Radcliffe;  Coriolanus, which was broadcast live in cinemas in partnership with National Theatre Live and for which Tom Hiddleston won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actor; The Weir, which transferred to Wyndham’s Theatre; The Machine at Manchester International Festival and at Park Avenue Armory, New York; Berenice; The Physicists; The Recruiting Officer; Frame 312; and World Music. Her additional theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing at Wyndham’s Theatre, nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Revival; Men Should Weep at the National Theatre; Twelfth Night at Chicago Shakespeare; Crazyblackmuthafuckin’self and Loyal Women at the Royal Court; King John at the RSC; and The Long and the Short and the Tall and Kick for Touch at Sheffield Theatres. Rourke was previously Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, which was named Theatre of the Year under her leadership. At the Bush Theatre, her credits include the premiere of If There Is I Haven’t Found it Yet by Nick Payne.  Josie’s first feature film Mary Queen of Scots, produced by Working Title a​nd Focus Features and starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, was released in the US in 2018 and in the UK in January 2019.

Wayne McGregor CBE (Choreographer) returns to the Donmar Warehouse after his work as Movement Director for Patrick Marber’s Closer, directed by David Leveaux, and reunites with director Josie Rourke after choreographing her debut film Mary Queen of Scots. Wayne is a multi-award-winning British choreographer and director. He is Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor, the creative engine of his life-long choreographic enquiry into thinking through and with the body. Studio Wayne McGregor encompasses his extensive creative collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science; Company Wayne McGregor, his own touring company of dancers; and highly specialized learning and research programmes. Studio Wayne McGregor, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2018, is based in its bespoke creative arts studio space at Here East in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Wayne McGregor is also Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet, the first person to hold this position from a contemporary dance background, and where his productions are acclaimed for their daring reconfiguring of classical language. He is Professor of Choreography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has an Honorary Doctor of Science from Plymouth University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from University of Leeds. He is part of the Circle of Cultural Fellows at King’s College London. McGregor is regularly commissioned by and has works in the repertories of the most important ballet companies around the world, including Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, Bolshoi Ballet, Munich Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Royal Danish Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. He has choreographed for theatre, opera, film (Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireFantastic Beasts, Sing, Mary Queen of Scots), music videos (Radiohead, The Chemical Brothers), fashion (Gareth Pugh at London Fashion Week, 2017), campaigns (Selfridges), TV (Brit Awards, 2015 & 16), and site-specific performances (Big Dance Trafalgar Square, 2012). McGregor’s work has earned him four Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards, two Time Out Awards, two South Bank Show Awards, two Olivier Awards, a prix Benois de la Danse and two Golden Mask Awards. In 2011 McGregor was awarded a CBE for Services to Dance.

 Lizzy Connolly (Nickie) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. Her theatre credits include Present Laughter (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Twilight Zone (Almeida), Oklahoma! (BBC Proms), On The Town (Open Air Theatre), The Wild Party (The Other Palace), Once In A Lifetime (Young Vic), The Vanities (Trafalgar Studios), Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal Bath and West End) and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (West End). Her work for film and television includes The FestivalPlebs and The Windsors.

Arthur Darvill (Oscar Lindquist) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. His theatre credits include Genesis Inc. (Hampstead), Elevenses/Beginning to End/TBCTV (Somerset House Studios), Hir (Bush), Treasure Island (National Theatre), Once (Broadway/West End), Our Boys (Duchess), Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe), Is Everyone Ok? (Nabokov), Swimming with Sharks (Vaudeville), Terre Haute for which he was nominated for the 2007 Evening Standard Award for Outstanding Newcomer (UK Tour/Trafalgar), Stacey (Arcola) and Terre Haute (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh). His film credits include Sex, Drugs, Rock N Roll and Pelican Blood. Television work includes Legends of Tomorrow, Danny and the Human Zoo, Broadchurch (Series 1, 2 & 3), The White QueenThe Paradise, Doctor Who, Little Dorritt, He Kills Coppers and The Verdict. His work as a composer includes Been So Long (Young Vic/Traverse), Fantastic Mr Fox (Nuffield/Lyric/tour), I Want My Hat Back (National Theatre), The Frontline and The Lightning Child (Shakespeare’s Globe), and Stoopud Fucken Animals (Traverse). Been So Long has now been adapted into a feature film (Netflix/BFI/Film 4).

Lauren Drew (Ensemble) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. Her theatre credits include Heathers – The Musical (Theatre Royal Haymarket and The Other Palace), Kinky Boots (Adelphi Theatre) and Ghost (UK Tour). Lauren trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.

 Anne-Marie Duff (Charity Hope Valentine) returns to the Donmar Warehouse after previously starring in the productions of Berenice directed by Josie Rourke in 2012 and Days of Wine and Roses in 2005. An award-winning actress on both stage and screen, Anne-Marie is known for her roles in ShamelessThe Virgin Queen and Nowhere Boy, and is considered one of the UK’s most prolific actresses. In 2018 Anne-Marie starred in Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle and returned to the National Theatre as Lady Macbeth, a role she previously undertook on Broadway opposite Ethan Hawke. On the big screen, Anne-Marie recently appeared in On Chesil Beach, the film adaptation of Ian McEwan’s bestselling 2007 novel, and on television she lent her voice to the BBC One/Netflix series Watership Down that aired over Christmas. Anne-Marie is next going be seen in the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. Other prolific big screen credits include SuffragetteBefore I Go to SleepThe Last StationIs Anybody There?The Waiting Room, Notes on a ScandalThe Magdalene Sisters and Enigma.  On the small screen, her credits include From DarknessParade’s EndAccusedMargotWild West and The Way We Live Now. Additional theatre credits include War and Peace (West End), Cause Celebre (the Old Vic), The Daughter in Law, The Soldier’s Fortune (Young Vic), Oil (Almeida), Common, Husbands & SonsStrange InterludeCollected StoriesKing Lear and Saint Joan (National Theatre).

 Jo Eaton-Kent (Ensemble) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. Her theatre credits include Mermaids (Kings Head Theatre); Roll Over Beethoven, Three Minute Heroes (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry) and Barefoot Gen (MAYA Productions). Jo’s TV credits include Don’t Forget the Driver and The Romanoffs.

 Will Haswell (Ensemble) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. His theatre credits include The Book of Mormon (Prince of Wales Theatre), Our House (UK Tour), The Braille Legacy(Charing Cross Theatre), Jersey Boys (Piccadilly Theatre), Shrek (UK Tour), Dick Whittington (White Rock Theatre, Hastings), Anything Goes (Kilworth House), Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales and Novello Theatre), 42nd Street Gala (London Palladium), Sleeping Beauty, Aladdin (Civic Theatre, Chelmsford) and Some Like It Hot (LTA Studio Theatre).

Charlotte Jaconelli (Ensemble) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. Her theatre credits include Heathers – The Musical (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and She Loves Me (Landor Theatre). Charlotte has also released albums in 2012 and 2013, selling over 1 million copies, and has performed in venues across the globe. Charlotte trained at the Arts Educational School in London.

Stephen Kennedy (Herman) returns to the Donmar Warehouse after appearing in The Vote which was also televised on election night in 2015 on More 4.  His theatre credits include La Traviata (Theatre des Champs Elysees), Hamlet (Flute Theatre), The Velveteen Rabbit (Unicorn Theatre), King Lear (Old Vic), The Plough and the StarsThe Silver Tassie, Mother Courage, England People Very Nice, Dido Queen of Carthage, Waves, Women of Troy (National Theatre), King John (Rose Theatre), The Crucible (Royal Exchange, Manchester), The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic), To Kill a Mockingbird (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Elegy For Young Lovers (ENO), Messiah (Lyon), La Traviata (Vienna), Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me (Perth Theatre), School for Scandal (Barbican Theatre), Shoot the Crow (Waterfront Studio), The Agent (Old Red Lion/Trafalgar Studios) and Cyrano De Bergerac, The Birthday Party and Tamburlaine (Bristol Old Vic). His TV and film credits includes Dark Heart, Holby City, Silent Witness, Lucky Man, Casualty, Doctors, A Touch of Frost, The Bill, Making Waves, The Vice, Private Peaceful, The Agent, Notes on a Scandal, Braveheart and Nothing Personal.

Debbie Kurup (Helene) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. Her theatre credits include Girl from the North Country (West End and Old Vic), The Threepenny Opera (National Theatre),The Bodyguard (Adelphi Theatre), Chicago (Cambridge Theatre and Adelphi Theatre), Sister Act (London Palladium), West Side Story (Prince of Wales Theatre London), Tonight’s The Night (Victoria Palace), Rent (Prince of Wales Theatre and UK), Boogie Nights (Savoy Theatre), Anything Goes (Sheffield Theatres and UK tour), Jack and the Beanstalk (Hackney Empire), East (Leicester Curve), Fame (UK tour), Guys and Dolls (Sheffield Theatres), Pal Joey (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Poison (Tricycle Theatre). Debbie’s film credits include The Two Wolves, 28 Weeks Later and Hollow.

Martin Marquez (Vittorio Vidal) returns to the Donmar Warehouse after appearing in Fool for Love and Front Page. His theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing and Imogen (Shakespeare’s Globe), This House (UK Tour), Husbands & SonsMother Courage and Her Children and Love’s Labour’s Lost (National Theatre), Anything Goes (National Theatre and West End), From Here to Eternity (West End),  Before I Leave (National Theatre Wales), Ah, Wilderness (Young Vic),  Gondoliers, I Caught My Death in Venice and Insignificance (Chichester Festival Theatre), Blasted (Sheffield Theatres), Boeing Boeing (UK Tour), Cleansed and Identical Twins (Royal Court), Still Alice, The CrucibleDon Juan and Of Mice and Men (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Television credits include Holby City, Dead Pixels, Bounty Hunter, The Crown, Modus, Decline and Fall, Suntrap, Vera, The Job Lot, Benidorm, Twenty Twelve, New Tricks and Hotel Babylon.

Ryan Reid (Ensemble) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. His theatre credits include Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre), In The Heights (Kings Cross Theatre), Shrek (UK Tour), Puss in Boots(Hackney Empire) and Blues in the Night (Hackney Empire). Ryan has also appeared on the Original London Cast Recording of Dreamgirls and Not Forgotten Society’s 90th Anniversary Concert (Buckingham Palace). He completed his training at Arts Educational School in London.

Amy Ellen Richardson (Ursula March) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. Her theatre credits include How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Royal Festival Hall), Follies (Royal Albert Hall), Merrily We Roll Along (Menier Chocolate Factory/Harold Pinter), Crazy For You (Novello), Spamalot (Palace), Les Misérables (Queens), Into The Woods, Gigi (Regent’s Park Open Air),On The Town (London Coliseum), Aspects Of Love (Prince of Wales), Kiss Me Kate (Sheffield Crucible), Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (UK Tour), Into The Woods (Royal Exchange, Manchester), Singin In The Rain (UK Tour), Oklahoma (Chichester Festival Theatre), She Loves Me (Minerva Theatre), Vincent In Brixton (UK Tour), A Christmas Carol (Sherman Cymru) and Whistle Down The Wind (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Her film and TV credits include Les Misérables, This Morning and Les Misérables 25th Anniversary Concert.

Danielle Steers (Carmen) makes her Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. Her theatre credits include Bat Out Of Hell (Dominion Theatre, Ed Mervish Theatre Toronto, ENO and Manchester),Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Aldwych), The Bodyguard (Adelphi), We Will Rock You (International Arena Tour), Hairspray (Aberystwyth Arts Centre), Legally Blonde (Savoy) and Respect La Diva(Garrick).

Shaq Taylor (Ensemble) makes his Donmar Warehouse debut in Sweet Charity. His theatre credits include Hadestown (National Theatre), Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse) and Les Misérables(Queen’s Theatre). His film credits include The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Shaq trained at Arts Educational School in London.


Grievance culture is not unproblematic

Julian Ovenden and Gillian Anderson in All About Eve.

How seriously should theatre-goers take a reviewer that keeps using the word problematic?

Not seriously at all, obviously.

A trend that, arguably, represents everything rotten & self-destructive about the industry currently. Imposing self righteous 21st century values on the past also means work is now regularly dismissed: sight unseen.

Who needs creative expression anyway? Balance? Forget it.

It’s like Brexit it goes from bad to worse

In an industry that has only recently begun to grapple with the equality issues that have bedevilled it, progress has been made on representation & visibility.

But where does all this agenda-driven, middle class self-loathing & guilt tripping actually lead? Well, it is initially on display in the current crop or preachy ‘woke’ commentary that is entrenched in mainstream culture. See: Theatre Twitter / Exeunt & an increasing number of The Stage’s reviews.

Berkoff as Harvey Weinstein. Photograph credit: Richard Young/Rex/Shutterstock

Berkoff as Harvey Weinstein. Photograph credit: Richard Young/Rex/Shutterstock

Steven Berkoff recently directed himself in Harvey, a one-man show about Weinstein, at the Playground theatre, London. The play attempts to delve into the disgraced movie mogul.

The Guardian went and awarded it 2 stars. This was a workshop run of a new play by an 81 year old man. Press were not invited – they went anyway. Tabloid stuff innit.

Berkoff may not be to everyone’s taste and the timing is undeniably questionable (too soon etc) but he is a man with an international profile & reputation for cutting-edge theatre (East, Salome and Decadence) Berkoff is also one of the foremost actors of his generation. To write him off for having a scrotum & daring to tackle this material is churlish.

Every year a rotating number of individual voices rise above the usual noise on social media but the stupidity remains ritualised. Everyone is offended – everything is problematic. Even Mary Poppins is racistyou know.

Long term, as others are often too scared to point out, though, it’s hardly an unconnected surprise to learn that critics are being culled & informed mainstream coverage is in decline. Who wants to read this stuff? Modern life is already miserable enough as it is.

It’s always a case of fine margins, of course, with The Stage & increasingly The Guardian which are both regularly condemning patriarchy in a campaign that can best be described as annoying.

It is, though, hard to escape the sense that all concerned are going through the motions – effortlessly, sometimes brilliantly – but going through the motions, none the less. Chasing trends rather than setting them.

All About Eve

All About Eve

This week, I visited the Noel Coward to see Ivo Van Hove’s production of All About Eve. The play is based on the classic 1950 film, that sees Bette Davis as an ageing star under siege from a manipulative aspiring actress.

Gillian Anderson & Lily James are great & I found it compelling. Technical wizardry aside, the vital element in the brilliance of All About Eve is that the direction & cast are of a phenomenally high standard. Truly.

Anyway, in a review for Time OutAndrzej Łukowski commented: “Her appearance is the first sense that any women exist in this world, and she’s there to mourn, repent, and care for a suffering man, not to have her own agency.” ‘Written in a very different era, ‘All About Eve’ is not totally unproblematic in its depiction of female ambition and its relationship to female bodies. But it is still pretty potent, and apt, and you can see why it appealed to Van Hove.’

All About Eve is geared toward the #MeToo era; most of the audiences are young, smart females. I used to enjoy reading first night reviews. Now, so often, the recurring themes and language around the same complaints about ‘all male’ creative teams week-after week mean that those writing about theatre have talked themselves into an opinion.

By which I mean give me strength –  let’s not get carried away chaps, it’s just people jumping on an obvious bandwagon.

Stay strong, readers.

All About Eve is at the Noël Coward theatre, London, until 11 May.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

Moulin Rouge! The Musical based on the 2001 Twentieth Century Fox Motion Picture by Baz Luhrmann, has released a new trailer, “Love.” Moulin Rouge! The Musical will open on Broadway at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. Previews will begin June 28, 2019 prior to a July 25 opening night.

Tickets are now available at

The cast from the sold out, record-breaking run at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre this past summer will transfer to Broadway, including Karen Olivo (Tony Award® forWest Side StoryIn the Heights), Aaron Tveit (Catch Me If You CanNext to Normal), Danny Burstein (six-time Tony Award®-nominee, Fiddler On the RoofCabaret), Sahr Ngaujah (Tony® and Olivier award-nominee for Fela), Tam Mutu (Doctor Zhivago, Encores!’s Hey, Look Me Over! and The New Yorkers), Ricky Rojas (Burn the Floor) andRobyn Hurder (Nice Work If You Can Get It).

The ensemble and swings will include Jacqueline B. Arnold, Olutayo Bosede, Kyle Brown, Sam Cahn, Max Clayton, Yurel Echezarreta, Jennifer Florentino, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Bahiyah Hibah, Ericka Hunter, Holly James, Reed Luplau, Jeigh Madjus, Morgan Marcell, Brandt Martinez, Jodi McFadden, Kevyn Morrow, Fred Odgaard, Dylan Paul, Khori Michelle Petinaud and Benjamin Rivera.

Directed by Alex Timbers (Tony Award®-nominated for Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Peter and the StarcatcherMoulin Rouge! The Musical has a book by John Logan (Tony Award® for Red), choreography by Sonya Tayeh (Lucille Lortel Award and Obie Award for Kung Fu, and Emmy winner), and music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Justin Levine (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson).

The design team for Moulin Rouge! The Musical includes Tony Award® winner Derek McLane (sets), Tony Award® winner Catherine Zuber (costumes), two-time Tony Award® nominee Justin Townsend (lighting), Tony Award® winner Peter Hylenski (sound), Drama Desk Award winner David Brian Brown (wig and hair design) and Sarah Cimino (Make-up design). Casting is by Jim Carnahan and Stephen Kopel.

Cast Announced for Ain’t Misbehavin’! A Made in Colchester Production

Mercury Theatre Colchester and Paul Taylor-Mills in association with Tamasha Theatre Company have announced casting for their brand-new production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ – the first London revival in almost 25 years – playing at Southwark Playhouse from Friday 19 April to Saturday 1 June, following its premiere at Mercury Theatre Colchester from Friday 15 – Saturday 30 March. Tickets are on sale now.

The cast will feature Adrian Hansel as André, Renée Lamb as Armelia, Carly Mercedes-Dyer as Charlaine, Landi Oshinowo as Nell and Wayne Robinson as Ken.

Adrian Hansel originated the role of Seaweed in the West End production of Hairspray, with other credits including Five Guys Named Moe at Marble Arch Theatre. Renée Lamb played Chiffon in Little Shop of Horrors at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and Catherine of Aragon in the original London cast of Six at the Arts Theatre. Carly Mercedes-Dyer was recently seen in Dreamgirls at the Savoy Theatre, with other credits including The Lorax at The Old Vic and Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Landi Oshinowo recently appeared in Big Fish at The Other Palace, with West End credits including Shrek the Musical and Sister Act. Wayne Robinson returns to Southwark Playhouse having played Benny in In The Heights. He was most recently seen as Jagwire in Bat Out of Hell. Click here for a first look at the cast in rehearsal

The full creative team is also announced today. Joining previously announced director Tyrone Huntley and choreographer Oti Mabuse are designer Takis, lighting designer James Whiteside, sound designer Dan Samson and associate choreographer James Bennett. There will be new orchestrations by Mark Dickman, and casting is by Will Burton CDG.

Several roles on the production are supported by the Sustained Theatre Fund in association with Tamasha Theatre Company. The aim of the Sustained Theatre Fund is to support the development of established and emerging Black and minority ethnic theatre makers and to increase the representation of Black and minority ethnic theatre makers across the wider theatre sector in England. Associate Producer Dilek Latif is on a producer placement at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester supported by the Sustained Theatre Fund and will work as associate producer on Ain’t Misbehavin’ as part of this placement. Dilek has also been able to offer a bursary

to the Associate Lighting Designer Kiaran-Lee Kesby as part of the Tamasha Developing Artists fund.

Finn Kennedy, Artistic Director of Tamasha said: “It is incredibly rewarding to see the results of the scheme – and our Associate Producers’ hard work – come to the stage. Each producer has achieved a huge amount – mentored, supported and given every opportunity to learn and develop by their venue and Tamasha. They have proved themselves beyond any expectations and I am proud that Tamasha has been able to propel them in their careers, and – I hope – provide role models for other BAME producers and practitioners to break into the industry.

Celebrating the legendary jazz musician Fats Waller and his energetic, exuberant and effervescent music, Ain’t Misbehavin’ steps back into the 1920’s and the raunchy nightclubs of Manhattan. Join an extraordinary group of performers on a journey through a defining period of American musical history, the Harlem Renaissance – where musicians were free to experiment with new styles, and joints were jumpin’ with talented dancers, singers and instrumentalists jamming to a new beat known as swing.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ will mark Tyrone Huntley’s directorial debut. Tyrone is best known for his acclaimed performance as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, for which he won the Evening Standard Theatre Award and received an Olivier Award nomination. Tyrone is soon to appear in Leave to Remain at the Lyric Hammersmith with other performing crediting including Angry (Southwark Playhouse) and Dreamgirls (Savoy Theatre).

Oti Mabuse also makes her debut as a theatre choreographer. Best known as a professional dancer on BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing since 2015, Oti is also an 8-time South African Latin American Champion and one of the most successful South African dancers in the world. Oti is currently a Dance Captain and Mentor on BBC One’s new Saturday night dance and entertainment show The Greatest Dancer.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ first premiered at Manhattan Theatre Club in 1978 and transferred to Broadway the same year, where it won the Tony Award for Best Musical. The original West End production opened at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1979, and was followed by a revival at the Tricycle Theatre and Lyric Theatre in 1995. This new production will mark the first London revival in almost 25 years.

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is based on an idea by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby Jr, with orchestrations and arrangements by Luther Henderson, vocal and musical concepts by Jeffrey Gutcheon and vocal arrangements by Jeffrey Gutcheon and William Elliott. It is produced by Paul Taylor Mills and Mercury Theatre Colchester in association with Tamasha Theatre Company, with support from Arts Council England.

Twitter: Mercury Theatre Colchester @Mercury Theatre Southwark Playhouse @SwkPlay

Instagram: Mercury Theatre Colchester @MercuryTheatreColchester Southwark Playhouse @SwkPlay

Chichester Festival Theatre FESTIVAL 2019 announcement

Daniel Evans

Chichester Festival Theatre’s Festival 2019 has been announced today by Artistic Director Daniel Evans, offering the colourful variety of work for which Chichester is renowned. New for 2019 is The Spiegeltent, a unique venue for an eclectic range of events.

  • Festival 2019 includes powerful world premieres, two musicals, Shakespeare, pertinent revivals of 20th and 21st century classics and brand new family shows
  • Headline actors include Hugh Bonneville, Clare Burt, Nancy Carroll, Hadley Fraser, Sheila Hancock, Dervla Kirwan, Gerald Kyd, Josie Lawrence, James Nesbitt, Hyoie O’Grady, Amara Okereke, John Simm and Rachael Stirling
  • Directors new to the Festival are Nicole Charles, Paul Foster, Paul Miller, Daniel Hill and Holly Race Roughan, alongside Lucy Betts, Daniel Evans, Richard Eyre, Kate Hewitt, Rachel Kavanaugh, Dale Rooks and Jeremy Sams
  • Major revivals of classic and contemporary dramas:

Hugh Bonneville in SHADOWLANDS by William Nicholson, directed by

Rachel Kavanaugh Kate Hewitt directs Rachael Stirling in David Hare’s PLENTY Nancy Carroll plays Hester Collyer in Rattigan’s THE DEEP BLUE SEA,

directed by Paul Foster Paul Miller directs John Simm and Dervla Kirwan in Shakespeare’s

MACBETH An immersive staging of Roy Williams’s SING YER HEART OUT FOR

THE LADS directed by Nicole Charles

  • Four new plays:

8 HOTELS by Nicholas Wright, directed by Richard Eyre HEDDA TESMAN by Cordelia Lynn, after Henrik Ibsen, directed by

Holly Race Roughan in a co-production with Headlong and The Lowry Anna Ledwich, CFT’s new Writer-in-Residence, adapts Michael Morpurgo’s THE BUTTERFLY LION, directed by Dale Rooks Anna Ledwich also writes CROSSING LINES, a promenade production

for CFYT

  • Two musicals, one modern, one classic:

Tim Firth’s THIS IS MY FAMILY, with James Nesbitt, Sheila Hancock and

Clare Burt, directed by Daniel Evans Rodgers & Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! with Josie Lawrence, Hyoie

O’Grady and Amara Okereke, directed by Jeremy Sams

  • Chichester Festival Youth Theatre presents THE WIZARD OF OZ in the Festival Theatre for Christmas
  • 20,000 tickets at £10 in the Festival Theatre; over 10,000 £5 PROLOGUE tickets for 16 – 25 year olds

Daniel Evans said: ‘Festival 2019 continues our aim of giving audiences the breadth of work they expect and relish. We’re premiering four plays: two by our new Writer-in-Residence, Anna Ledwich, including a brand new adaptation of one of Michael Morpurgo’s own favourite books, The Butterfly Lion; Nicholas Wright’s fascinating 8 Hotels, which examines the political repercussions of private passions; and we’re delighted to be partnering with Headlong and The Lowry on Cordelia Lynn’s Hedda Tesman.

‘These, and our array of revivals and musicals, will be brought to life by an outstanding company of actors. Our directors include Nicole Charles, Kate Hewitt and Holly Race Roughan, all bright stars at the start of their careers, alongside the welcome Chichester debuts of Paul Foster and Paul Miller.

‘October will see the installation of The Spiegeltent, providing an immersive setting for Roy Williams’s Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, as well as an exciting range of events for all tastes. Chichester Festival Youth Theatre promenade a new play by Anna Ledwich through the streets of Chichester; and our ongoing Ageless campaign aims to ensure that theatre and live art remain at the heart of people’s lives, whatever their age and circumstance.

‘Our new Executive Director, Kathy Bourne, joins us in May; we both look forward to welcoming audiences to Festival 2019.’


THIS IS MY FAMILY A musical by Tim Firth Directed by Daniel Evans 20 April – 15 June, Minerva Theatre Press night: Monday 29 April

Imagine you’re a spirited 13-year-old and you’ve won – actually won – a magazine competition to describe your family. The prize is a dream holiday for the lot of you, anywhere in the world.

Except… Nicky’s family isn’t the blissfully happy bunch she’s described. More like the contestants in a gladiatorial arena, in fact. Where on earth can she take them that might make her wishful thinking a reality?

Winner of the 2013 UK Theatre Award for Best Musical, this hilarious musical comedy, which moves seamlessly between speech and song, is a celebration of the lifelong adventure that is family love.

Book, lyrics and music are by Tim Firth, the award-winning writer of many celebrated hits including Calendar Girls and Neville’s Island at Chichester. This is My Family is his first original solo musical. The production is directed by Artistic Director Daniel Evans whose previous work at Chichester includes Me and My Girl and Flowers for Mrs Harris (2018), Fiddler on the Roof and Quiz (2017).

James Nesbitt (Cold Feet, The Missing) makes his Chichester debut whilst Sheila Hancock makes a welcome return; her more recent work includes Sister Act in the West End. Clare Burt also returns to Chichester following her acclaimed performance in Flowers for Mrs Harris (2018). They are joined by Kirsty MacLaren, Rachel Lumberg and Scott Folan.

This Is My Family will be designed by Richard Kent, with musical supervision, musical direction and orchestrations by Caroline Humphris, lighting by David Plater, sound by Paul Arditti and movement by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille.

SHADOWLANDS by William Nicholson Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh 26 April – 25 May, Festival Theatre Press night: Thursday 2 May

Celebrated writer C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia, splits his time between an ordered domestic routine at home with his brother, Warnie, and the academic rigour of his dispassionate, all-male Oxford college.

His evenings are spent replying to his many correspondents. One stands out: vivid, expressive, New York poet Joy Gresham. When she arrives in England with her young son, Douglas, everything Lewis believed to be true about life and love is thrown into question. And a relationship begins which will take them both to the extremities of pain and joy.

William Nicholson’s much-loved play premiered in the West End in 1989, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and being nominated for a Tony Award on its subsequent Broadway run. Originally a 1985 television drama, it became a feature film in 1993.

Hugh Bonneville returns to Chichester to play Lewis, following his acclaimed performance in An Enemy of the People (2016). His many television and film appearances include Downton Abbey, W1A and Paddington.

Director Rachel Kavanaugh also returns to Chichester where her many productions include Single Spies and Half A Sixpence (2016) and The Winslow Boy (2017).

Shadowlands will be designed by Peter McKintosh, with lighting by Howard Harrison, music by Catherine Jayes and sound by Fergus O’Hare.

PLENTY by David Hare Directed by Kate Hewitt 7 – 29 June, Festival Theatre Press night: Thursday 13 June

Susan Traherne is a former secret agent. Her heroic work with the Special Operations Executive in Nazi-occupied France brought her extremes of danger, as well as adventures and romance.

Twenty years on she is living a very different existence in London, as the wealthy wife of a diplomat. Her strained marriage and altered circumstances have threatened her identity and trapped her in a destructive nostalgia for her wartime idealism.

In a post-war land of plenty, Susan battles for her own body and mind, as Britain loses its role in the world.

Using a non-linear structure, the drama dips backwards and forwards in time to explore how the past and present coexist.

On its first appearance at the National Theatre in 1978, David Hare’s play caused a furore and is now accepted as a modern classic. His previous plays for Chichester include South Downs (2011) and Young Chekhov (2015).

Kate Hewitt directs, following her acclaimed production of Cock (Festival 2018). Her productions also include Frost/Nixon at Sheffield and Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train at the Young Vic.

Rachael Stirling plays Susan Traherne; her recent work includes Medea (Headlong) and The Winter’s Tale (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse), and The Bletchley Circle and Detectorists on television.

Plenty will be designed by Georgia Lowe.

THE DEEP BLUE SEA by Terence Rattigan Directed by Paul Foster 21 June – 27 July, Minerva Theatre Press night: Friday 28 June

  1. In a shabby Ladbroke Grove flat, Hester Collyer’s neighbours find her unconscious; she has taken an overdose in front of the gas fire. Their only option is to notify her husband – a pillar of the establishment.

But Hester left her husband the previous year to embark upon a passionate love affair with dashing ex-RAF pilot, Freddie Page. What has happened in her life to make her want to end it? And can she bring herself to go on living?

This searing play takes place over the course of one day, in one room, and offers a devastating examination of the adverse forces of love and solitude. Rattigan based the play in part on the tragic outcome of his own clandestine love affair and created one of the twentieth century’s finest leading roles for a woman.

Paul Foster’s recent directing credits include A Little Night Music at the Watermill and Kiss Me, Kate at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

Nancy Carroll (Hester Collyer) received the Olivier and Evening Standard Awards for Best Actress for Rattigan’s After the Dance at the National Theatre; her recent work includes The Moderate Soprano (West End), Closer (Donmar Warehouse) and Father Brown on television.

Hadley Fraser (Freddie Page) last appeared at Chichester in The Pajama Game (2013); his recent stage credits include Saint Joan (Donmar Warehouse). Gerald Kyd (Sir William Collyer) appeared at Chichester in The Meeting (2018); his National Theatre work includes Three Winters.

The Deep Blue Sea will be designed by Peter McKintosh with lighting by Natasha Chivers, music by Debbie Wiseman and sound by George Dennis.

OKLAHOMA! Music by Richard Rodgers Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs Original choreography by Agnes de Mille Directed by Jeremy Sams 15 July – 7 September, Festival Theatre Press night: Monday 22 July

Handsome cowboy Curly McLain is head over spurs for local farm owner Laurey Williams. But lonely ranch-hand Jud Fry has his sinister sights set on her too.

And Laurey’s not the only girl with cowboy problems. Ado Annie’s beau Will Parker is back from chasing steers in Kansas City, where he won the fifty dollars her father insists Will must have to marry her. But this irrepressible farm girl won’t be bought quite so easily.

Luckily for this love-struck crew of spirited ranchers and bronco busters, wise Aunt Eller is riding ahead of the herd.

With its glorious score and spirit of exuberant optimism, Oklahoma! is the American musical by which all others are judged. Rodgers and Hammerstein broke new ground in perfectly integrating music and dance to tell a story whose darker undercurrents never overwhelm its rapturous vitality. Among the unforgettable songs are Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’, The Surrey With The Fringe On Top and the show-stopper Oklahoma.

Jeremy Sams returns to Chichester to direct; his award-winning productions in London and New York include The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, Noises Off and Spend, Spend, Spend. Set designs are by Robert Jones whose extensive work at Chichester includes Mack & Mabel and Kiss Me, Kate. Choreography is by Matt Cole whose recent work includes Fiddler on the Roof at the Menier Chocolate Factory and in the West End.

Josie Lawrence, whose stage work ranges from Shakespeare at the RSC and Globe to The King and I in the West End, plays Aunt Eller. Her extensive television credits include Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Humans and Outside Edge, and she makes regular appearances at the Comedy Store.

Hyoie O’Grady plays Curly; he recently played Enroljas in Les Misérables in the West End, having graduated from London’s Mountview Academy of Arts last year.

Also making her Chichester debut, as Laurey, is Amara Okereke, winner of the 2018 Stage Debut Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Cosette in Les Misérables.

Costume designs are by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, with musical supervision, musical direction and dance arrangements by Nigel Lilley, orchestrations by David Cullen, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Paul Groothuis.

There will be a Relaxed performance of Oklahoma! on 29 August at 2.30pm, especially suitable for individuals, groups and families with children on the autism spectrum, sensory and communication disorders or anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed theatre environment.

8 HOTELS A new play by Nicholas Wright Directed by Richard Eyre 1 – 24 August, Minerva Theatre Press night: Wednesday 7 August

  1. America. Celebrated actor, singer and political campaigner Paul Robeson – forever associated with ‘Ol’ Man River’ – is touring the country as the eponymous hero in Shakespeare’s Othello. His Desdemona is the brilliant young actress Uta Hagen. Her husband, the Broadway star José Ferrer, plays Iago.

All the actors are friends. But in mid-century American society, they are not all equals.

As the tour goes on, the boundaries between the onstage passions and their offstage lives begin to blur. Soon the chemistry between Robeson and Hagen and the rivalry between Robeson and Ferrer is every bit as dangerous as that between their famous characters. Revenge takes many forms and in post-war America it isn’t always purely personal – it can be disturbingly political too.

Nicholas Wright’s new play is based on true events involving some of the twentieth century’s most influential American artists. His original plays include Rattigan’s Nijinsky (Festival 2011) and, for the National Theatre, Mrs Klein, Vincent in Brixton (Olivier Award for Best New Play) and The Reporter, both directed by Richard Eyre.

Director Richard Eyre makes a welcome return to Chichester, following The Stepmother (2017). A former Director of the National Theatre, his recent films include King Lear and The Children Act.

The production will be designed by Rob Howell, with lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by John Leonard.

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre CROSSING LINES A new play by Anna Ledwich Directed by Daniel Hill August, Promenade

  1. A West Sussex city. A celebration of a war hard won. A community dances, drinks and gives thanks for a narrow escape.
  2. Under the shadow of invasion, the city’s young are offered up once more to a conflict on foreign soil.
  3. The same city and a new threat is looming. Borders are collapsing. Communities uprooted. People are on the move. There is only one route to safety and only one means of communication, via the airwaves… but can they be trusted?

Three stories connect across time and across technologies as history haunts the present and secrets are unearthed by a community in turmoil. Using digital technology and live action, this promenade performance through the streets of Chichester asks: can an individual alter history by changing the channel?

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s renowned biennial outdoor productions include Grimm Tales (2017) and the award-winning Running Wild (2015).

CFT’s new Writer-in-Residence, Anna Ledwich adapted Beauty and the Beast for CFYT in 2017 and was co-Artistic Director of Theatre on the Fly at Chichester in 2012. Director Daniel Hill has devised and directed over 40 productions for young people, including promenade productions of Alice’s Adventures and Wind in the Willows.

Recommended for ages 7+. Performance dates will be announced in May.

Crossing Lines will be designed by Ryan Dawson Laight, with sound and music by David Lewington and movement by Zoie Golding.

HEDDA TESMAN By Cordelia Lynn After Henrik Ibsen Directed by Holly Race Roughan A co-production with Headlong and The Lowry 30 August – 28 September, Minerva Theatre Press night: Thursday 5 September

A doting husband. A troubled writer. A loaded gun. It’s 2019 and Hedda Tesman returns to a life she can’t seem to escape.

After thirty years of playing wife, Hedda is bitter and bored. When her estranged daughter, Thea, suddenly reappears asking for help, the present begins to echo the past and Hedda embarks on a path of destruction.

Cordelia Lynn’s Hedda Tesman breathes new life into Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, asking what we inherit, what we endure and how we carry our history. Holly Race Roughan directs this vital exploration of motherhood, power and sabotage.

Cordelia Lynn was the recipient of the 2017 Harold Pinter Commission. Her works includes One for Sorrow and Lela and Co for the Royal Court and the libretto for Miranda at the Opéra Comique, Paris. Her plays Best Served Cold (Vaults Festival) and Believers Anonymous (Rosemary Branch) were both directed by Holly Race Roughan.

Hedda Tesman will be designed by Anna Fleischle.

This Headlong co-production will play at The Lowry, Salford for three weeks, immediately following the Chichester run.

MACBETH by William Shakespeare Directed by Paul Miller 21 September – 26 October, Festival Theatre Press night: Friday 27 September

Much celebrated for his forthright bravery, Macbeth is a state hero. After the bloody defeat of a rebel army, he encounters a trio of strangers who predict that one day he will be King. Having delivered their ambiguous message, they vanish, leaving a mind cracked open.

Fearing that her husband lacks the vital drive to take charge of his fate, Lady Macbeth invokes her stronger nature to fulfil their destiny. The plan she hatches will trigger an uncontrollable train of events, hurtling two corrupted souls to the heart of darkness.

In this contemporary production, Shakespeare’s great tragedy shows ambition falling headlong into tyranny and chaos. As appearances increasingly deceive, the nature of reality itself comes into question.

Paul Miller is Artistic Director of the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond. He was previously Associate Director at Sheffield Theatres, where his productions included John Simm’s Hamlet.

John Simm makes his Chichester debut in the title role. Among his extensive screen and stage work, recent credits include Strangers, Collateral and Doctor Who on television, and Pinter at the Pinter: Six (West End).

Dervla Kirwan plays Lady Macbeth. Her stage work includes Goneril in King Lear (2017), Frankie and Johnny (2014) and Uncle Vanya (2012) at Chichester and, most recently, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Young Vic). She also appeared in Strangers alongside John Simm.

Macbeth will be designed by Simon Daw, with lighting by Mark Doubleday.

SING YER HEART OUT FOR THE LADS by Roy Williams Directed by Nicole Charles 5 October – 2 November, The Spiegeltent Press night: Thursday 10 October

Saturday 7 October. Gina, landlady of The King George pub, has a lot on her plate. The England vs Germany World Cup qualifying match is about to start, the pub football team is about to charge in and the TV’s on the blink.

Over the next few hours, national defeat looms and xenophobic tensions rise, fuelled by the inarticulate fury of the pub team captain, Lawrie, and the insidious propaganda of right-wing extremist Alan. And while policeman Lee struggles to keep the peace, disillusioned squaddie Mark and Gina’s bullied son Glen are fighting their own demons.

Premiered at the National Theatre in 2002, Roy Williams’s ferocious, funny and disturbing play takes aim at what it means to be black, white and English in twenty-first century Britain. Scoring high on foul language, threat and vulgar humour, Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads is definitely not for the faint of heart.

Roy Williams’s award-winning plays have also been staged at the RSC and the Royal Court. Nicole Charles’s recent work includes Emilia at Shakespeare’s Globe and in the West End.

Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads will be performed in The Spiegeltent, which will be transformed into a pub setting to create an immersive theatrical experience.

Please note this play contains extremely strong language that some people may find upsetting. Recommended for ages 16+


THE BUTTERFLY LION By Michael Morpurgo A new adaptation by Anna Ledwich Directed by Dale Rooks 5 October – 9 November, Minerva Theatre Press night: Monday 14 October

When Bertie is sent away from the African farm of his childhood to school in England, he leaves behind not only his beloved mother and the beautiful land, swarming with wildlife, but also his best friend – a white lion he rescued as a cub.

Bertie’s struggle to adjust to his new life in harsh, grey England is alleviated only by a chance friendship with the equally lonely Millie and his dreams of his treasured lion, now trapped in a French circus. But their remarkable journey is only just beginning, and the pair are destined to meet again.

The Butterfly Lion combines music, design and puppetry to bring a magical adventure to life: celebrating nature, friendship and the triumph of love.

Based on Michael Morpurgo’s best-selling novel, which won the Smarties Prize and the Writers’ Guild Award, this new stage adaptation is written by CFT’s Writer-in-Residence Anna Ledwich and directed by Dale Rooks whose many Chichester productions include The Midnight Gang (2018) and Running Wild (2015).

Recommended for ages 7+.

The Butterfly Lion will be designed by Simon Higlett, with music by Tom Brady, movement by Naomi Said, puppetry by Nick Barnes and additional music by Luyanda Lennox Jezile.

Chichester Festival Youth Theatre THE WIZARD OF OZ by L. Frank Baum With Music and Lyrics of the MGM motion picture score by Harold Arlen and E. Y. Harburg Background music by Herbert Stothart Dance and vocal arrangements by Peter Howard Adapted by John Kane from the motion picture screenplay Directed by Lucy Betts 14 – 29 December, Festival Theatre

When Dorothy runs away from her home in Kansas with her faithful dog Toto, she’s caught up in a terrifying cyclone and finds herself in the strange and magical land of Oz.

There she encounters a host of curious and enchanting characters. Accompanied by a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion, can Dorothy escape the Wicked Witch of the West, reach the Emerald City and find the mysterious Wizard of Oz?

Don your ruby slippers and join Chichester Festival Youth Theatre as they journey along the yellow brick road in a wonderful adventure for all the family.

This faithful adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic novel was originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and features all the beloved songs from the 1939 classic film, including Over the Rainbow, If I Only Had a Brain and We’re Off To See The Wizard.

Lucy Betts, who directed 2018’s Sleeping Beauty, takes the reins again for another stunning festive production from the remarkable CFYT.


Recommended for ages 7+. There will be a Relaxed performance of The Wizard of Oz on 27 December at 2pm.

The set will be designed by Simon Higlett, with costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight, lighting by James Whiteside and sound by Gregory Clarke.

FESTIVAL 2019 EVENTS A programme of talks and activities will offer extra insight into Festival 2019. Highlights include talks with Tim Firth, Sheila Hancock and Roy Williams; a centenary celebration of Iris Murdoch; and a literary lunch with Daniel Rosenthal discussing his collection of letters from the National Theatre archive. Sweatbox: A Prison Van in Motion is an immersive theatre experience offering a unique insight into the criminal justice system, performed by members of Clean Break.

Family friendly events range from Michael Morpurgo and Virginia McKenna reading extracts from The Butterfly Lion to community singalong Oh What A Beautiful Mornin’, and workshops for young people inspired by C.S. Lewis and Macbeth.

Kate Mosse hosts a full programme of Pre- and Post-Show Discussions on each production.

THE SPIEGELTENT In October 2019, a Spiegeltent will be installed next to the Festival Theatre on Oaklands Park – a unique venue with its own personality, style and atmosphere. As well as providing an immersive experience for Roy Williams’s Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, it will play host to an eclectic mix of cabaret, music and special events: from a comedy club and drag night, to a quiz, a Prologue scratch night and the annual Fun Palaces celebration on 6 October. The full programme will be announced in May.



Priority booking for Friends of Chichester Festival Theatre opens: Saturday 23 February (online and booking forms only) Wednesday 27 February (phone and in person)

Booking for Groups and Schools opens: Thursday 28 February

General booking opens: Saturday 2 March (online only) Tuesday 5 March (phone and in person)

Booking for Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads and Crossing Lines opens: Friends and Supporters: Friday 31 May General: Saturday 1 June Full details to be announced. Box Office 01243 781312 Tickets from £10


Prologue: £5 tickets for 16 – 25s Over 10,000 £5 tickets are available for 16 to 25 year-olds for all productions throughout Festival 2019; sign up for free at Members also have access to a range of exclusive events.

Twitter @ChichesterFT Facebook ChichesterFestivalTheatre Instagram ChichesterFT YouTube ChichesterTheatre


Festival 2019 sponsors This Is My Family is sponsored by Genesis Town Planning and Reynolds Fine Furniture Shadowlands is sponsored by Oldham Seals Group Plenty is sponsored by Lancing College The Deep Blue Sea is sponsored by ITD Consultants Oklahoma! is sponsored by Conquest Bespoke Furniture and Henry Adams 8 Hotels is sponsored by University of Chichester Crossing Lines is sponsored by Seaward Properties Hedda Tesman is sponsored by Wiley Macbeth is sponsored by Harwoods Group Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads is sponsored by Genesis Town Planning The Butterfly Lion is sponsored by Covers Timber & Builders Merchants The Wizard of Oz is sponsored by James Todd & Co

Festival 2019 press nights

This Is My Family, Minerva Theatre Monday 29 April, 7.00pm Shadowlands, Festival Theatre Thursday 2 May, 7.00pm Plenty, Festival Theatre Thursday 13 June, 7.00pm The Deep Blue Sea, Minerva Theatre Friday 28 June, 7.00pm Oklahoma!, Festival Theatre Monday 22 July, 7.00pm 8 Hotels, Minerva Theatre Wednesday 7 August, 7.00pm Hedda Tesman, Minerva Theatre Thursday 5 September, 7.00pm Macbeth, Festival Theatre Friday 27 September, 7.00pm Sing Yer Heart Out for the Lads, Spiegeltent Thursday 10 October, 7.00pm The Butterfly Lion, Minerva Theatre Monday 14 October, 7.00pm

Maggie Smith returns to stage In A German Life, a new play by Christopher Hampton, directed by Jonathan Kent

A German Life

Maggie Smith will return to the stage for the first time in twelve years in A German Life, a new play by Christopher Hampton drawn from the life and testimony of Brunhilde Pomsel (1911-2017).  Maggie Smith, alone on stage, plays Brunhilde Pomsel.

 Directed by Jonathan Kent, previews begin on 6 April 2019 with the opening night on Friday 12 April for a five-week run until 11 May.  All performances are at 7.30pm.  Booking opens today to Bridge priority members and public booking is from 10am (GMT) on 26 February.

Design is by Anna Fleischle, lighting by Jon Clark with sound by Paul Groothuis.

Brunhilde Pomsel’s life spanned the twentieth century. She struggled to make ends meet as a secretary in Berlin during the 1930s, her many employers including a Jewish insurance broker, the German Broadcasting Corporation and, eventually, Joseph Goebbels.

Christopher Hampton’s play is drawn from the testimony Pomsel gave when she finally broke her silence shortly before she died to a group of Austrian filmmakers, and from their documentary A German Life (Christian Krönes, Olaf Müller, Roland Schrotthofer and Florian Weigensamer, produced by Blackbox Film & Media Productions).

“I had no idea what was going on. Or very little. No more than most people. So you can’t make me feel guilty.”

Maggie Smith has had an extensive career in theatre, film and television. Her many awards include two Academy awards, five BAFTAs, four Emmys, nine Evening Standard awards and a Tony. She was made DBE in 1990 and a Companion of Honour in 2014.


Denise Van Outen & Katharine McPhee will host the first ever Waitress Cast Album Karaoke Night on 19 February


The hosts of the first ever Waitress London Cast Album Karaoke Night have been announced today. Smash star Katharine McPhee, who plays Jenna in the West End production, will host the post-show event alongside Denise Van Outen on Tuesday 19 February. Audience members can sign up before the show for the chance to sing one minute of any song from Waitress – live on stage at the Adelphi and accompanied by the show’s musical director Katharine Woolley.

Further details, including the host, for the next Cast Album Karaoke night on Monday 18 March will be announced next month.

It has also recently been announced that due to popular demand Waitress has extended its booking period to 19 October. Preview performances for the Tony-nominated musical bySara Bareilles began on 8 February ahead of the show’s official opening night on 7 March. A limited number of day seats are now available to purchase in person from the theatre box office for £25 (from 10am, Mon-Weds performances only, subject to availability and at the box office’s discretion).

Waitress opened on 24 April 2016 at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theater. Based on the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne ShellyWaitress is the first Broadway and West End musical in history to have four women in the four top creative team spots, featuring original music and lyrics by 7-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles (“Love Song”, “Brave”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam), direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus (PippinFinding Neverland) and choreography by Lorin Latarro. The production is currently touring the US and has also announced it will have its Australian premiere in 2020 at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Waitress stars Katharine McPhee as Jenna, Emmy-nominee Jack McBrayer (30 Rock) as Ogie, Marisha Wallace as Becky, Laura Baldwin as Dawn, Peter Hannah as Earl,David Hunter as Dr. Pomatter and Shaun Prendergast as Old Joe.

The full company includes Kelly Agbowu, Laura Baldwin, Piers Bate, Nicole Raquel Dennis, Michael Hamway, Peter Hannah, David Hunter, Stephen Leask, Jack McBrayer, Chris McGuigan, Katharine McPhee, Olivia Moore, Nathaniel Morrison, Sarah O’Connor, Leanne Pinder, Shaun Prendergast, Charlotte Riby, Marisha Wallace and Mark Willshire.

Meet Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of a way out of her small town and rocky marriage. Pouring her heart into her pies, she crafts desserts that mirror her topsy-turvy life such as “The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie” and “Betrayed By My Eggs Pie.” When a baking contest in a nearby county — and a satisfying run-in with someone new — show Jenna a chance at a fresh start, she must find the courage to seize it. Change is on the menu, as long as Jenna can write her own perfectly personal recipe for happiness.

On its Broadway opening, Waitress was nominated for four Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical; two Drama League Award Nominations, including Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical; six Drama Desk Nominations, including Outstanding Musical; and four Tony Award Nominations, including Best Musical.

MEAN GIRLS Will Welcome Krystina Alabado as “Gretchen Wieners” beginning Tuesday, March 12

Krystina Alabado
Krystina Alabado

Krystina Alabado

The producers of Mean Girls, the award-winning hit new Broadway musical comedy based on the popular film, have announced that Krystina Alabado will join the cast in the role of “Gretchen Wieners” beginning Tuesday, March 12. Tony Award nominee Ashley Park will play her final performance in the role on Sunday, March 10.

Krystina Alabado has appeared on Broadway in American Psycho (Vanden, original Broadway cast) and Green Day’s American Idiot. Her national tour credits include Evita (Mistress), American Idiot and Spring Awakening. She appeared off-Broadway in This Ain’t No Disco (Meesh, Atlantic), The Mad Ones(Samantha Brown, 59E59), David Bowie’s Lazarus (NYTW) and Camp Wanatachi (La MaMa). Regionally she’s appeared in Burn All Night (ART), Miss You Like Hell (La Jolla), Pregnancy Pact (Weston Playhouse) and Beautiful Room (Long Wharf). She appeared on TV/Film as Veronica in “Voltron Legendary Defender” (Netflix) and in “God Friended Me” (CBS), First Reformed and “Tyrant” (FX).

Produced by Lorne MichaelsStuart ThompsonSonia Friedman, and Paramount PicturesMean Girls is currently playing at the August Wilson Theatre (245 West 52nd Street). A US National Tour launches this fall.

Mean Girls features a book by nine-time Emmy Award winner Tina Fey, based on her screenplay for the film, music by three-time Emmy Award winner Jeff Richmond, and lyrics by two-time Tony Award nominee Nell Benjamin. Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw directs and choreographs.

Cady Heron may have grown up on an African savanna, but nothing prepared her for the wild and vicious ways of her strange new home: suburban Illinois. How will this naïve newbie rise to the top of the popularity pecking order? By taking on The Plastics, a trio of lionized frenemies led by the charming but ruthless Regina George. But when Cady devises a plan to end Regina’s reign, she learns the hard way that you can’t cross a Queen Bee without getting stung.

The cast is currently led by Erika Henningsen as Cady Heron, Taylor Louderman as Regina George, Ashley Park as Gretchen Wieners, Kate Rockwell as Karen Smith, Barrett Wilbert Weed as Janis Sarkisian, Grey Henson as Damian Hubbard, Jennifer Simard as Mrs. Heron / Ms. Norbury / Mrs. George, Kyle Selig as Aaron Samuels, Cheech Manohar as Kevin Gnapoor, Rick Younger as Mr. Duvall. The cast also includes Stephanie Lynn BissonnetteTee BoyichCollins ConleyBen CookDeMarius R. CopesKevin CsolakAshley De La RosaDevon HadsellCurtis HollandMyles McHaleChris MedlinBrittany NicholasBecca PetersenNikhil SabooJonalyn SaxerBrendon StimsonRiza TakahashiKamille UpshawBria Jené WilliamsGianna Yanelli, and Iain Young.