The Royal Court Theatre to host four performances of Shôn Dale-Jones’ new solo show The Duke at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in November 2016.

The Royal Court Theatre will host four performances of Shôn Dale-Jones’ new solo show The Duke at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in November 2016. The Duke is produced by Hoipolloi, PBJ Management and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Save the Children. The production opens at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe today.

Written and performed by Shôn Dale-Jones, The Duke playfully mixes fantasy and reality, taking audiences on an imaginative and touching journey which gently challenges us to consider our priorities in a world full of crisis.

The Duke

The Duke

Shôn is Artistic Director of Hoipolloi, who combine original storytelling with an inventive spirit. He is also the award-winning writer/performer behind his comic creation, Hugh Hughes.

The Duke will be performed in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs before E V Crowe’s The Sewing Group Monday 28 November- Wednesday 30 November 2016 and Friday 2 December 2016.

“In 1974 my father invested £750 (£8,100 in today’s money) in a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of The Duke of Wellington on horseback – made to celebrate his victory over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. He kept the figure we affectionately called The Duke wrapped in sponge, in a big box, under his bed.

After he died in 2001, my mother decided to take the figure out and display it on the table in the bay window.

Since 2005 I’ve been working on a film script which is in the very final stages of development.

In the autumn of 2015 I sit at my desk waiting for an email that will tell me what I need to do to the script to get it onto the screen. I turn the radio on. I listen to a report about the refugee crisis. My mother calls. She tells me she’s broken The Duke.

My mother, my film script and the refugee crisis all need my attention.”

This is a free event (booking required). There will be a collection at the end of every performance. All proceeds go to Save the Children’s Child Refugee Crisis Appeal.

Gwen Taylor, Daragh O’Malley, Niamh McGrady and Will Featherstone to star in the national tour of Emlyn Williams’s psychological thriller “Night Must Fall”

The Original Theatre Company and Salisbury Playhouse in association with Eastbourne Theatres will present the national tour of Emlyn Williams’s psychological thriller, NIGHT MUST FALL, directed by Luke Sheppard and starring Gwen Taylor as Mrs Bramson, Daragh O’Malley as Inspector Belsize, Niamh McGrady as Olivia and Will Featherstone as Dan.  The tour will begin at Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne on 19 August, with a National press night on Wednesday 7 September at Salisbury Playhouse.


Gwen Taylor is best known for playing the title role in the ITV sitcom Barbara, as well as Anne Foster in Coronation Street, Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, Rita Simcock in A Bit of A Do, for which she was nominated for a BAFTA TV Best Actress Award, and Amy in Duty Free.  Her film appearances include The Lady in the Van and Monty Python’s Life of Brian.  Gwen has just finished playing Daisy Worthen in Driving Miss Daisy at Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre.  Other theatre credits include Calendar Girls (UK Tour), the title role in the national tour of Shirley Valentine, Top Girls (Royal Court and New York), and Gertrude in Sir Peter Hall’s production of Hamlet (London’s Gielgud Theatre and national tour).

Daragh O’Malley is best known for his role as Patrick Harper in the long-running television series Sharpe.  After a 12-year absence from the stage, O’Malley returned to the British stage in 2012, playing Father Jack in the Original Theatre Company’s production of Dancing at Lughnasa.  In 2014, he played Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, for which he was nominated for an MTA Best Actor Award and The Stage selected his performance as one of the Top Five Performances in UK Theatre in 2014.

Niamh McGrady is best known for playing the regular characters Mary-Claire Carter in Holby City (BBC) and PC Danielle Ferrington in three series of The Fall (BBC).  Her theatre credits include Twelfth Night (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Macbeth (Chichester Festival Theatre, West End and Broadway).

Will Featherstone’s theatre credits include Dr. Scroggy’s WarRomeo and JulietAs You Like It and Anne Boleyn for Shakespeare’s Globe, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Comedy of Errors for Propeller, and The History Boys for Sheffield Crucible.  Screen credits including Fresh Meat (Channel 4), Endeavour (ITV), Ashes to Ashes (BBC) and Midsomer Murders (ITV), as well as the forthcoming feature film A United Kingdom, starring Rosamund Pike and David Oyelowo.

Also in the cast are Alasdair Buchan as Hubert, Anne Odeke as Nurse Libby, Mandi Symonds as Mrs Terence and Melissa Vaughan as Dora.

When charming, smooth-talking Dan arrives at old Mrs Bramson’s remote woodland home, he soon ingratiates his way into her life and that of her niece, Olivia.  But when a local woman goes missing and is later found murdered, Olivia begins to suspect her aunt’s new private assistant.  She resolves to find out the truth.

Emlyn Williams wrote NIGHT MUST FALL in 1935 and played the lead role in the first stage production.  The play was noted for its exploration of the killer’s complex psychological state, a step forward for its genre.  Robert Montgomery starred in the film version in 1937 and Albert Finney in the 1964 re-make.

NIGHT MUST FALL will be designed by David Woodhead, with sound and music by Harry Blake and lighting by Howard Hudson.  The national tour is produced by Alastair Whatley and Tom Hackney for The Original Theatre Company and Sebastian Warrack for Salisbury Playhouse, in association with Eastbourne Theatres.

Website: www.originaltheatre.com

Facebook: TheOriginalTheatre

Twitter: @OriginalTheatre



Charlotte Wakefield and Jos Vantyler to join the 2016-17 UK Tour of The Sherman Brothers’ Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from 5 October 2016

Music & Lyrics and West Yorkshire Playhouse are delighted to announce Charlotte Wakefield in the role of Truly Scrumptious and Jos Vantyler in the role of the Childcatcher in the much-loved Sherman Brothers musical CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, when the production arrives in Edinburgh this October. The tour continues until 4 February 2017.

Charlotte Wakefield

Charlotte Wakefield

The producers are thrilled to be working with Charlotte again after Music & Lyrics’ highly acclaimed 2015 tour ofOklahoma! where Charlotte starred as Laurey. She made her West End debut at 18 starring as Wendla Bergman inSpring Awakening, receiving an Olivier Award nomination, and has gone on to play Maria in The Sound of Music at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, receiving critical acclaim and a second Olivier Award nomination. She has alsoplayed Sophie in the West End and International Tour productions of Mamma Mia!. Charlotte’s previous television credits include, Waterloo RoadThe Royal and Holby City.

 Jos Vantyler will join Charlotte on tour as the Childcatcher. Jos’s previous theatre credits include Oswald in King Lear(Northern Broadsides, directed by Jonathan Miller), Dead on Her Feet (Arcola, won the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actor in a New Play and was nominated in the Best Male Performance category for the 2012 OffWestEnd Awards), Tom Sawyer in Huck (Southwark Playhouse, nominated for Best Male Performance, 2010 OffWestEnd Awards), Prophecy, Hampstead New End Theatre (nominated in the Critics’ Choice Best Actor category), A View From The Bridge, (Tower Theatre, New York, awarded Best Newcomer, 2005 NYC START Awards) and Oswald in Ghosts (Lincoln Center, New York, received a Best Supporting Actor nomination in NYC Review Awards).
 On 5 October, Charlotte and Jos will join the previously announced Jason Manford (The Producers, Sweeney Todd) as Caractacus Pott, Phill Jupitus (The Producers, Hairspray) as Lord Scrumptious and Baron Bomburst, Claire Sweeney(Hairspray, Chicago, Guys and Dolls) as Baroness Bomburst and Andy Hockley (The Phantom of the Opera) as Grandpa Potts. Lee Mead plays Caractacus Potts in the tour until 18 September, Carrie Hope Fletcher plays Truly Scrumptious until 2 October, Shaun Williamson plays Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst until 21 August, and Matt Gillett plays the Childcatcher until 2 October.
Ewen Cummins plays The Toymaker/Mr Coggins, with Sam Harrison as Boris and Scott Paige as Goran, and Kathryn Barnes, Rosanna Bates, Alex Louize Bird, Abigail Climer, Jade Davies, Ewan Gillies, Joanna Goodwin, Nathan Vaughan Harris, Christopher D Hunt, Paul Iveson, Nia Jermin, Kelsie-Rae Marshall, Mollie Melia-Redgrave, Perry O’Dea, Matt Overfield, Ross Russell, Craig Turner and Robert Wilkes.
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG has music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, who were also responsible for Mary PoppinsThe Slipper and the RoseThe Aristocats and The Jungle Book. The Sherman Brothers have won two Academy Awards with a further nine nominations, two Grammy Awards and they have received 21 gold and platinum albums.
 The film made from Ian Fleming’s classic story has been adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams, based on the MGM Motion Picture Licensed Script adapted by Ray Roderick.
This new production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, with new choreography by Stephen Mear. There is a live orchestra with Musical Supervision by Stephen Ridley. Set and costume design is by Simon Higlett, lighting design is by Tim Mitchell, sound design is by Ben Harrison and video design is by Simon Wainwright.
There are sensational sets and stunning special effects and, of course, the memorable score by the Sherman Brothers, which includes such standards as Truly ScrumptiousToot SweetsHushabye Mountain and the Oscar-nominated title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
The Music & Lyrics Limited and West Yorkshire Playhouse production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG is presented by permission of JOSEF WEINBERGER LIMITED on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of New York.   
For more information, visit www.chittythemusical.co.uk
Facebook: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang The Musical       
 Twitter:  @ChittyMusical / #chittymusical


Welsh National Opera’s Autumn Shakespeare Season at MayFlower Theatre coming in November 2016

Three productions inspired by William Shakespeare make up Welsh National Opera’s Autumn season, which will comprise of a British premiere and two new productions.  The season is part of the official Shakespeare 400 celebrations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the great bard’s death whilst continuing WNO Artistic Director David Pountney’s creative approach to themed seasons. This WNO season will be visiting Mayflower Theatre in November 2016.

The Shakespeare 400 season will include the British premiere of André Tchaikowsky’s The Merchant of Venice alongside new productions of Verdi’s Macbeth and Cole Porter’s classic musical Kiss Me, Kate.

Keith Warner returns to WNO following Peter Pan in 2015 to direct another British premiere, The Merchant of Venice, which was first performed at the Bregenz Festival in 2013. Composed by André Tchaikowsky, a Polish-Jewish composer and pianist who died very shortly after creating this opera, The Merchant of Venice is a powerful and serious attack on prejudice with themes closely felt by Tchaikowsky himself who was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto with false identity papers and survived the Holocaust in hiding with his grandmother.

American baritone Lester Lynch makes his debut with WNO to sing the role of Shylock.  He is joined by soprano Lauren Michelle who makes her UK debut with WNO in the role of Jessica, following her appearance at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2015 where she was a prize winner representing the USA.  The Duke of Venice will be sung by Miklós Sebestyén who performed with WNO in Moses in Egypt during the 2014/15 season.  The Merchant of Venice will be conducted by Lionel Friend.

Macbeth. Northern Ireland Opera Cast 2014.

Macbeth. Northern Ireland Opera Cast 2014. © Patrick Redmon

Macbeth in a co-production with Northern Ireland Opera (NIO) is a new production that places Verdi’s classic opera in a contemporary setting, allowing for a new exploration of the tale of state violence, corruption and superstition.

Macbeth will be directed by NIO Artistic Director Oliver Mears and conducted by Andriy Yurkevych.  Spanish baritone Luis Cansino sings the title role in his debut performance with WNO.   Mary Elizabeth Williams returns to WNO following her highly-acclaimed performances with the Company in Nabucco and Tosca to sing the role of Lady Macbeth in Cardiff and Bristol, with Miriam Murphy singing Lady Macbeth for the remainder of the tour.

The season is completed with Cole Porter’s classic musical Kiss Me, Kate in a co-production with Opera North which sits perfectly within the operatic repertoire and pays homage to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew.  Jam-packed with hit tunes including ‘Too Darn Hot’, ‘Another Op’nin’ Another Show’, and ‘Brush Up Your Shakespeare’, this new production will feature operatic and West End singers alongside the renowned WNO Chorus and Orchestra.

With show-stopping numbers and a story full of wit, humour and farce, Kiss Me, Kate is sure to leave audiences with a smile.  The cast is led by Jeni Bern as Lilli Vanessi/Katharine and Quirijn de Lang as her ex-husband Fred Graham/Petruchio, both of whom starred in this production in 2015 at Opera North. The story is set around their tempestuous relationship as they prepare to stage a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew.

Jo Davies will direct Kiss Me, Kate having directed the production at Opera North, and James Holmes returns to WNO to conduct following his performances in Autumn 2015 with Sweeney Todd.  Featuring spectacular costumes, dazzling choreography and hit after hit, the show will be a feast for the eyes and the ears.

WNO Artistic Director David Pountney says: “For our autumn season we join in the nationwide celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Music is everywhere in Shakespeare, from the fools and clowns whose songs pepper his works, to the sublime musicality of his use of language. It is hardly surprising that he has inspired so much music, and in this wonderfully diverse season you can enjoy him as tragedian, psychologist and witty entertainer.”

Professor Gordon McMullan, Director, London Shakespeare Centre and Academic Director of Shakespeare400 says: “It’s a real privilege to be able to include WNO within Shakespeare400. When the team at King’s College London were putting together the Shakespeare400 initiative, we were keen to ensure that all art forms had equal representation so as to reflect the extraordinary impact of Shakespeare’s’ life and works right across the creative range. Theatre is of course the mainstay of any Shakespeare enthusiast, but the influence of Shakespeare goes far beyond this, reaching into every area of arts and culture, both in the UK and across the world, and opera offers an astonishingly rich array of creative reimaginings of Shakespeare’s plays. I very much look forward to the productions from WNO and am especially excited about the British premiere of André Tchaikovsky’s, The Merchant of Venice.”

More information on WNO’s Autumn 2016 season is available at wno.org.uk

Tickets for WNO’s Merchant of Venice (1 November 2016), Macbeth (2 November 2016) and Kiss Me, Kate (3-5 November 2016) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833

Sarah Harding, Girls Aloud pop sensation and Andy Moss, Hollyoaks heartthrob announced for the year’s new production of Ghost – The Musical

Singer and actress Sarah Harding will make her stage debut this autumn in Bill Kenwright’s new production of the timeless story of love, despair and hope: GHOST – THE MUSICAL. She will star as ‘Molly’ opposite Andy Moss, best known for starring as ‘Rhys Ashworth’ in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, as ‘Sam’.

Ghost The Musical

Ghost – The Musical

Taking its inspiration from the classic movie, this innovative reimagining will feature an expanded book, new music and original staging, and will tour the UK this autumn, opening at the New Wimbledon Theatre on Thursday 1 Septemberwith this year’s dates culminating on 3 December at Theatre Royal Nottingham.  

For over ten years Sarah Harding was part of one of the most successful pop acts in UK history, Girls Aloud. With 20 consecutive Top Ten singles, including 4 Number 1’s, 2 Number 1 albums and 6 Platinum Albums in the UK, Girls Aloud received 5 Brit Award Nominations and became the first girl group since the Spice Girls to achieve 6 consecutive Top 3 singles. Sarah’s acting credits include Bad DayFreefallRun For Your WifeCoronation Street and St Trinians 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.

Sarah Harding said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be making my theatre debut in Ghost – The Musical. The film is one of my all-time favourites, so to get the opportunity to play ‘Molly’ in Bill Kenwright’s new production is a huge honour for me and I can’t wait to get started!”

Joining Sarah on stage is Andy Moss. Andy is best-known for starring as Rhys Ashworth in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, one he played for 8 years. His credits also include Cutting ItCoronation Street and most recently he appeared as ‘Paul Cuthbert’ in the long running BBC soap opera Doctors.

The Double Academy Award winning movie is a huge success story, both critically and at the box office, where it was the highest grossing film in the year of its release. It starred the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg and was directed by Jerry Zucker. Bruce Joel Rubin’s script won the Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay and Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar® for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film’s most iconic and moving scene was famously performed to The Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody, which also features in the musical version.

Walking back to their apartment late one night a tragic encounter sees Sam murdered and his beloved girlfriend Molly alone, in despair and utterly lost. But with the help of a phony storefront psychic Sam, trapped between this world and the next, tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving her from grave danger…

Bill Kenwright said; “Ghost is a story full of hope, and is one of those films which never leaves you. The book by Bruce Joel Rubin and score by Dave Stewart and Glenn Ballad come together wonderfully in one of my favourite new musicals in years.”

 Bruce Joel Rubin said; “This is a show with such a strong emotional and musical life that it can mould to many visions and interpretations.  It can be performed on any scale, and its vibrant heart will still captivate an audience and allows the imagination to flourish. It is purely theatrical in the greatest sense.  We are very excited by the potential that the new version holds and elated it will tour the UK with Bill Kenwright”.

Further casting to be announced.


Adam Hill’s Clown Heart coming to Mayflower Theatre on 23 October 2016

Following a sold-out tour this spring, star of Channel 4’s The Last Leg and Aussie favourite Adam Hills is heading back out on the road in autumn 2016. Don’t miss Adam as he travels around the UK with his wonderful ‘Clown Heart’ show filled with spontaneity and joy, including one night only at Mayflower Theatre on 23 October 2016.

Adam Hills

Adam Hills

Adam Hills has fast become one of the most popular comedians in the UK, with 15 tours that have travelled internationally.  His combination of positive, uplifting comedy and dynamic spontaneity has seen him receive numerous awards, glowing reviews and a legion of fans around the world.

Adam’s solo shows are established highlights at several international comedy festivals. He is the only Australian comedian to have performed at the US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, and is a regular star of the Cat Laughs Kilkenny Comedy Festival in Ireland, and The Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal where he makes a welcome return in 2016.

As host of Channel 4’s groundbreaking The Last Leg, Adam won ‘Best Breakthrough Act’ and was nominated for ‘Best Entertainment Personality’ at the British Comedy Awards in 2013. This year, Adam was nominated for ‘Best Entertainment Performance’ at the 2016 Royal Television Society Awards. The show itself won ‘Best Entertainment Programme’ at the 2015 Royal Television Society Awards and received another nomination in the same category this year.

2016 has so far seen The Last Leg return with a two-part Australia special plus a 7th series of eight episodes, which aired on Channel 4 in February/March with further episodes planned for autumn/winter 2016.  Adam and co-hosts Josh Widdicombe and Alex Brooker will also be taking the show over to Brazil to coincide with the 2016 Paralympics in Rio this September.

Adam’s recent notable UK TV appearances include; host of Celebrity 15 To 1 (Channel 4), Mock The Week (BBC1), Alan Carr Chatty Man (Channel 4), Loose Women (ITV1), Never Mind The Buzzcocks (BBC2), The Jonathan Ross Show (ITV1), Channel 4’s Comedy Gala Live At The 02 (2013 & 2014) and The One Show (BBC1).

Tickets for Adam Hills Clown Heart (Sunday 23 October 2016) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833



Further casting announced for The Boys in the Band

Producers Tom O’Connell and James Seabright are pleased to announce further casting for the first class revival of Mart Crowley’s ground-breaking play, THE BOYS IN THE BAND, opening at Park Theatre in London this autumn, then touring to The LowryTheatre Royal Brighton and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Cast of The Boys in the Band

Cast of The Boys in the Band

There’s a party about to commence when nine men gather in a New York apartment for a birthday celebration. Harold, a self-confessed ‘Jew fairy’, receives a surprise birthday gift – a beautiful male hustler dubbed Cowboy. Meanwhile, party host Michael gets an unwanted surprise of his own in the shape of a figure from his past. As the booze is drunk and the dope smoked, the mood swings from hilarity to heart-break.

Olivier Award winner Mark Gatiss will star alongside his husband Ian Hallard in this eagerly anticipated production, which sees the pair playing ‘Harold’ and ‘Michael’.

West End musical theatre star Daniel Boys will star as ‘Donald’, Jack Derges, recently seen as the mysterious ‘Andy Flynn’ in EastEnders, will play ‘Cowboy’, Miranda star James Holmes will star as ‘Emory’, Midsomer Murders’ John Hopkins will play ‘Alan’, Primeval’s Ben Mansfield will play ‘Larry’, and Undercover’Nathan Nolan will play ‘Hank’. Further casting to be announced.

The production is directed by A Small Family Business One Man Two Guvnors’ director, Adam Penford, and will open at Park Theatre in London from 28 September 2016 – 30 October 2016, with a press night on Tuesday 4 October. The show will then embark on a short UK Tour visiting The Lowry, Salford from 3 – 6 November, Theatre Royal, Brighton from 8 – 12 November, and the West Yorkshire Playhouse from 14 – 19 November.


Paul Nicholls, Jack Ellis and Ben Onwukwe will star in the 2016 UK Tour of The Shawshank Redemption

Following a hugely successful 2015 tour, Bill Kenwright’s production, inspired by the classic film and based on the short novel by Stephen King, will play at Mayflower Theatre from Monday 17-Saturday 22 October 2016.

Directed by award-winning Broadway director David Esbjornson, this powerful and acclaimed production is adapted from Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, which was made into the 1994 Oscar Award winning film The Shawshank Redemption and is regularly voted as the nation’s favourite film.

Casting announcement for The Shawshank Redemption

Casting announcement for The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption follows Andy Dufresne, a banker handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover, who finds himself incarcerated in the notorious Shawshank penitentiary. Unflinching in his protests of innocence, Andy strikes up an unlikely friendship with the prison fixer Red, and things take a slight turn for the better. However, when Warden Stammas decides to bully Andy into subservience and exploit his talents for accountancy, a desperate plan is quietly hatched…

The play examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum security facility. The movie starred Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Ellis ‘Red’ Redding and was nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor for Freeman.

PAUL NICHOLLS (Andy Dufresne) is best known and loved for his role as heart throb Joe Wicks in EastEnders, and has since appeared in acclaimed television programmes Grantchester, Death in Paradise and The C Word. Paul made his West End debut in Long Day’s Journey Into Night at the Lyric Theatre before appearing in Festen (Lyric, West End) and Vincent in Brixton (National), both directed by Rufus Norris. He has also appeared in several plays at the Tricycle, Bush, Hampstead and Almeida.

BEN ONWUKWE (Red) boasts a 30 year stage career having appeared in productions at The RSC and the Royal Court Theatre. Television credits include EastEnders, Coronation Street and Doctors but his most prominent role was as Stuart ‘Recall’ McKenzie in London’s Burning, a character he played for over a decade.

Keeping them in line, JACK ELLIS will play the part of Warden Stammas. Jack is best known for his role as prison warder Jim Fenner in the hugely popular ITV television series Bad Girls, in which he appeared for seven series.  Jack’s television credits include Prime Suspect and Coronation Street. His theatre credits include Sam Mende’s production of Richard III (Old Vic, World Tour and Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York), Great Expectations (Vaudeville) and Yaël Farber’s production of The Crucible (Old Vic).

Stephen King is one of the most popular authors of contemporary literature and has written 54 published novels which have sold more than 350 million copies around the world, many of which have been adapted into feature films.

David Esbjornson is an award-winning international director and his work includes the Broadway debut and West End productions of Driving Miss Daisy starring Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones and Boyd Gaines, for which David received the Whatsonstage Award for Best Revival for the West End run. In 2005, he directed the West End premiere of Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men, produced by Bill Kenwright and starring Rob Lowe.

This powerful acclaimed production is adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns with design by Gary McCann and lighting by Chris Davey.

Tickets for The Shawshank Redemption (17 – 22 October 2016) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833

Evita – The Extraordinary Musical Returns to thrill audiences at Mayflower Theatre in 2017

Following its smash hit run at London’s Dominion Theatre, Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita is set to thrill audiences once again across the UK. Evita will be playing at Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday 17 – Saturday 21 January 2017.

Evita - image of previous West End cast

Evita – image of previous West End cast

Telling the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, Evita follows Eva’s journey from humble beginnings through to extraordinary wealth, power and iconic status which ultimately lead her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people.

With more than 20 major awards to its credit, and an Oscar winning film version starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita is iconic. Featuring some of the best loved songs in musical theatre, including Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, On This Night of a Thousand Stars, You Must Love Me, and Another Suitcase in Another Hall, this spectacular production promises once again to be the theatrical event of the year. Don’t miss the 2017 UK tour of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s extraordinary musical Evita.

Tickets for Evita (Tuesday 17 – 21 January 2017) are on sale from Mayflower Theatre Box Office tel: 02380 711811 or online at mayflower.org.uk. Ovation Restaurant bookings: 02380 711833

Bristol Old Vic writer Matt Grinter has won the prestigious 2016 Papatango New Writing Prize for his play Orca

Bristol Old Vic writer Matt Grinter has won the prestigious 2016 Papatango New Writing Prize for his play Orca, having been chosen from a staggering and record-breaking 1503 entries.

Matt Grinter in rehearsals for Under a Cardboard Sea

Matt Grinter in rehearsals for Under a Cardboard Sea (©: Jack Offord)

Matt is currently a writer on attachment at Bristol Old Vic, having entered the theatre’s writer-talent search The Open Session in 2015. The call-out became Matt’s spur to complete Orca; and on the strength of this script he became one of the 2015/16 Open Session writers, working with the theatre for a year.

During this time, Orca was workshopped with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School students, who performed extracts as part of the Scenes from the Open Session evening at Bristol Old Vic in October 2015.

Matt said: “It was Bristol Old Vic that first started my love of theatre when I joined the Young Company at 16. Since then, it has been an integral part of every major moment in my career so far. It was through the amazing Open Session scheme that I was given the space to develop Orca for the Papatango competition, and it wouldn’t be the play it is without their expertise. From my previous play The Dog and the Elephant, that was developed through Bristol Old Vic Ferment, to Under a Cardboard Sea, the wonderful Bristol Old Vic Young Company show I’m currently working on as co-directorBristol Old Vic have continually invested in me as an artist and helped me create the work I am most proud of.”

Literary Associate, James Peries said: “We are really delighted for Matt – having been introduced to his winning play Orca through our South West talent search The Open Session, it’s great to see its further success just at the moment we dive into reading this year’s entries.”

James added: “This recognition by a national competition is not only great for Matt, but acts as a standard bearer for just how vibrant the play writing scene is in Bristol and the South West. From Bea Roberts’ play And Then Come The Nightjars (focusing on the impact of foot and mouth disease on a local farmer), to Pink Mist by Owen Sheers (the story of Bristol soldiers returning home from war) and now Matt Grinter’s Orca, which is steeped in West Country traditions and lore, Bristol Old Vic is really proud to be working with these brilliant local voices.”

Orca will now undergo development, before running at Southwark Playhouse, London from 2-26 November 2016, and will be published by Nick Hern Books. Matt will also receive a commission to support a follow-up play in 2017.

Matt’s work can next be seen at Bristol Old Vic this week, having co-directed Bristol Old Vic Young Company show Under a Cardboard Sea, which runs in the Theatre 4-6 August.