MERCURY THEATRE MARKS REOPENING FOLLOWING 5-YEAR CAMPAIGN

MERCURY THEATRE MARKS REOPENING

FOLLOWING 5-YEAR CAMPAIGN

Mercury Theatre, led by Executive Director, Steve Mannix and Executive Producer, Tracey Childs, yesterday held a ceremony to mark the venue’s reopening following the Mercury Rising transformation, a 5-year campaign which raised over £11.3 million to reimagine the theatre’s spaces, both operationally and ecologically, and improve accessibility throughout. The building opens for the first time to the local community for a special weekend of events on 26 and 27 June.

Steve Mannix and Tracey Childs welcomed guests to the celebratory event, including Cllr Lyn Barton; Adam Bryan; Cllr Graham Butland; Cllr Mark Corey; Mayor of Colchester Cllr Robert Davidson; Cllr Paul Dundas; Dan Gascoyne, Chief Operating Officer Colchester Borough Council; Cllr Darius Laws; Dirk Paterson, Chair of Colchester Borough Homes; David Shipley and Cllr Julie Young, who were then given a tour of the new building.

Executive Director, Steve Mannix, today said, “Thank goodness – we made it! This has all been made possible thanks to the unique partnership of the management of the project that will undoubtedly be a benchmark for future collaborations. We are hugely grateful to our funding partners for their unwavering support and for the huge generosity of the public in helping us realise the scale of our ambition of Mercury Rising.

“Of the £11.3 million funding required to rebuild the Mercury, we are incredibly proud that over £10 million pounds was reinvested directly into the local economy. As an organisation we spend at least £3 million in the local economy each year and we are ready and waiting to return to our place as an essential destination for the town and its visitors.

“The vital aspect now is that we are ready to welcome the community to their theatre; a theatre that has been supported by the community, built by local people- employed by local contractors, and championing local talent across all of our activities.”

Cllr Darius Laws, Portfolio Holder for Economy, Business & Heritage, commented, “After five years of very hard work and more than a year of uncertainty, today is a wonderful moment to celebrate completion of the Mercury Rising project and to look forward to an exciting and dynamic programme of events.

“The Mercury is one of Colchester’s premier cultural institutions – critical to the vitality of our town centre and local economy, with new job and internship opportunities. Providing access to art, culture and a new social space for all to enjoy, the Mercury Theatre is a cultural asset we can all be proud of.”

Will Quince, MP, also said, “I was delighted to visit our new and improved Mercury Theatre and I was left impressed not only with the standard of the renovations but with the new and improved facilities.

“Not only is the Mercury Theatre a beacon in Colchester’s thriving cultural and arts scene, but the multi-million pound renovation reasserts the Mercury’s standing as one of our country’s finest regional theatres.”

The refurbished venue includes a transformed brighter foyer space, which is open all day, with a new café bar, redeveloped main auditorium with additional seats, new rehearsal room, revamped and extended backstage facilities, improved interval experience with increased toilet facilities, and most importantly for the first time the building will be accessible throughout. The new community space and dance studio is equipped to support the best new talent, and in addition, the company continues its commitment to sustainability, including increasing the building’s energy efficiency with the expansion of LED lighting, converting to 100% renewable electricity and the implementation of solar panels.

The building has been converted by Phelan and is designed by Colchester Borough Homes and Purcell.

Supported by Arts Council England, Colchester Borough Council, Essex Country Council, South East Local Enterprise Partnership and European Regional Development Fund, plus generous public and private donations.

Colchester Borough Council has been the lead partner in the success of the Mercury Rising project, providing £1.5 million towards the initiative, securing £4m of Arts Council Funding and working with the Design Team from Colchester Borough Homes, who also managed the delivery of the improvement works.

Additional support from other funders included – Essex County Council (£1 million), South East Local Enterprise Partnership (£1 million), the European Regional Development Fund (£978,000), NESTA (£400,000), over £600,000 from national and local Trust and Foundations and £665,000 from local residents, audience members and sponsors.

The project has also benefitted from support from the Government’s Kickstart Cultural Recovery Fund (£864,000).

The Mercury will open from Saturday 26 June at 10am for tours of the new building (bookable online in advance) and to sample the new Café Bar menu. Audiences are set to return for the inaugural performance at the theatre, a Mercury Production of BASKERVILLE!directed by Creative Director, Ryan McBryde, from 30 July.

MERCURY THEATRE

The Mercury Theatre is an artistic powerhouse in the East – a vital, vibrant, welcoming centre of culture for the people of Colchester, Essex and beyond. Since 1937, we’ve been on an ongoing mission to put theatre at the heart of the local community, reaching audiences of all kinds with productions that inform, entertain and exhilarate.

And we never stand still… Mercury Rising has been at the heart of our efforts to modernise our much-loved theatre, to keep it relevant, compelling and captivating for 21st-century audiences. This project was possible with support from Arts Council England, Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, the European Regional Development Fund and multiple trusts & foundations. And, of course, the local community.

@MercuryTheatre

#MercuryRising

Mercury Theatre Listings

Balkerne Gate, Colchester CO1 1PT

Box Office:

www.mercurytheatre.co.uk / 01206 573948

SEASON AT A GLANCE:

BASKERVILLE!

30 July – 22 August 2021

Relaxed: 18 August at 2.30pm

Touch Tour: 19 August at 1pm

Audio Described: 19 August at 2.30pm

Captioned Performance: 20 August at 7.30pm

ANTIGONE

1 – 16 October 2021

Relaxed: 13 October 2.30pm

Touch Tour: 14 October 1pm

Audio Described: 14 October at 2.30pm

Captioned Performance: 15 October at 7.30pm

MERCURY ORIGINALS: SIRENS

28 October – 6 November 2021

Press Night: 2 November at 7.30pm

ALADDIN

27 November 2021 – 16 January 2022

Relaxed: 12 December at 12pm & 6 January at 2pm

Captioned Performance: 7 January at 7pm

Touch Tour: 8 January at 11.30am

Audio Described: 8 January at 1pm

BSL Interpretation: 15 January at 1pm

Park Theatre reopening season

Park Theatre announces its reopening season and refurbished building

  • Bruntwood Prize-shortlisted co-production with Talawa, and a new in-house play that starts online and continues onstage are part of the Finsbury Park venue’s reopening season 
  • Other shows include a double bill celebrating women’s strength, and the premiere of a ghost story based on true events 
  • Improvements to the building include a new, improved box office with greater accessibility, a mezzanine extension and an open kitchen pizzeria 
  • Online masterclasses for underrepresented voices to be announced 

22 June – 6 November 

Twitter: @ParkTheatre | facebook: ParkTheatreLondon | Instagram: ParkTheatreLondon | www.parktheatre.co.uk 

Park Theatre is delighted to announce its reopening, starting today with a two-act drama commissioned by the venue that starts online and ends live in Park200, reopening the building on 4th August.  The season will include aBruntwood Prize- and Alfred Fagon Award-shortlisted co-production with Talawa, the premiere of a ghost story based on true events, and a double bill of shows celebrating women’s strength. Committed to nurturing new voices, Park Theatre will also be offering free masterclasses for underrepresented creatives. Audiences will enjoy a newly refurbished building, which includes better front of house facilities and an open kitchen pizzeria. 

The season starts withan in house production ofPark Bench (22 June – 14 Aug)a piece of new writing by Tori-Allen Martin commissioned over the pandemic and supported by Arts Council England. After a year apart, each other’s ‘ride-or-die’ Liv and Theo reconnect online, but they both have questions too big for small screens. Act one is a free ten-minute drama available online, and act two will see the couple meet face to face in Park200, reopening the building on 4th August. The show is followed by ghost story When Darkness Falls (18 Aug – 4 Sept) byJames Milton and Paul Morrissey. Based on a true story, the chilling tale sees a history talk on Guernsey’s paranormal past reveal horrors in the island’s more immediate present. 

Postponed from the 2020 Spring Season, Park Theatre have partnered with leading Black British theatre company Talawa to co-produce A Place for We (7 Oct – 6 Nov) by Archie Maddocks.Shortlisted in 2017 for both the Bruntwood Prize and Alfred Fagon Award, Archie Maddocks’ bittersweet comedy holds a mirror up to the ever-changing face of London’s communities in search of their common beating heart through Trinidadian funeral director Clarence and fifth generation Irish pub owner George. 

Also in the season, Oxford School of Drama students will perform new work 39 and Counting (8-11 Sept) by Shireen Mula which aims to dispel many of the myths around violence to women, and women’s strength will be celebrated in the Park90 double bill Say it, Women (12 Oct – 6 Nov). The double bill is made up of Flushed by Catherine Cranfield, which centres around two sisters grappling with the implications of a recent diagnosis of one’s rare medical condition, and Soldfrom Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective, the extraordinary journey of Mary Prince who was born into slavery in the British Colony of Bermuda and went on to become an auto-biographer and champion of freedom. 

Artistic Director Jez Bond said, “We can’t wait to reopen our doors this August – not only with a brilliant programme of shows, but with a newly refurbished building too. We’re particularly excited to be working on A Place for We with Talawa once again, after the postponement of the original run from spring 2020, and to be working with playwright Tori Allen-Martin on her new play Park Bench which takes the audience on a journey from the world of digital theatre back to the live stage. Audiences coming back to the venue will be able to enjoy the new mezzanine seating area, a more accessible box office and enjoy the theatricality of the new open plan pizza kitchen. We’re hugely grateful to everyone who has supported us so far, and I look forward to giving audiences the warm and safe welcome back they deserve.” 

Park Theatre has been refurbished during lockdown to improve the audience experience. The front of house area has been enlarged with a new mezzanine extension providing more space to eat and drink as well as improved flow of customer traffic. The downstairs bar has also been treated to an extension with an open plan pizza kitchen,  adding extra theatricality to your evening. The old kitchen has been transformed into a new, dedicated box office space with improved accessibility for staff and customers, and TV screens have been installed for both Park200 and Park90 spaces so that latecomers will miss as little as possible before being admitted at an appropriate moment. Improved accessibility has been provided with enhanced signage throughout the building and modifications to the toilets. Building staff, volunteers and visiting companies will also benefit from a new stage management office and improved backstage offices. 

Taking heart from evidence so far that shows theatre to be at low risk from Covid-19, Park Theatre will be reopening in line with government and UKTheatre guidelines, making sure audiences can See It Safely.  

Executive Director Rachael Williams said, “We’re thrilled to be reopening our venue after over a year of closure. We have always prided ourselves on being a warm and welcoming venue to visit, and that’s why we’ve ensured we have appropriate measures in place to make sure audiences are safe and comfortable. We’ve invested in hand sanitising stations, an enhanced cleaning regime and contactless ticket technology and will be requiring all audience members to wear face coverings unless exempt. We’ll be publishing all this information in our pre-show email and on our website so customers know what to expect and, as always, our friendly team will be happy to help with any additional questions. We’ll be proudly displaying the SOLT See It Safely mark and are so looking forward to having audiences back in our newly refurbished theatre.” 

To nurture creatives and to encourage a more diverse industry, Park Theatre will be offering free workshops, called Park Sessions, for underrepresented voices in July. The schedule – soon to be announced following its postponement from original dates in January – will cover a range of topics from fundraising to devising to lighting. Led by experts in their fields, these in person workshops (virtual tickets also available) are free to those who identify as working class, working class LGBTQ+, D/deaf or disabled, and those from a culturally diverse heritage. 

Park Theatre presents exceptional theatre in the heart of Finsbury Park, boasting two world-class performance spaces: Park200 for predominantly larger scale productions by established talent,  and Park90, a flexible studio space, for emerging artists. In eight years, it has enjoyed eight West End transfers (including Daytona starring Maureen Lipman, The Boys in the Band starring Mark Gatiss, Pressure starring David Haig and The Life I Lead starring Miles Jupp), two National Theatre transfers, twenty-five national tours, four Olivier Award nominations, has won Offie Awards for Best New Play and Best Foodie Experience and won a Theatre of the Year award from The Stage. Park Theatre are grateful to all those who have donated to the Park Life fund, supporting the venue through the pandemic. 

Listings information 

Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, London N4 3JP 

August – November 

www.parktheatre.co.uk | 020 7870 6876* 

*No booking fee online. Telephone booking fee applies. 

Online/Park200 

Park Bench 

By Tori Allen-Martin | Directed by Christa Harris (Act 1: Digital) | Co-directed by Sarah Henley & Timothy O’Hara (Act 2: Live)
Cast includes: Tori Allen Martin & Tim Bowie 

Presented by Park Theatre with the support of Arts Council England 

                                                                                                            Digital (Act 1): 22 June – 14 Aug 

                                                                                                            Live (Act 2): 4 – 14 Aug 

Sometimes conversations are just better had face-to-face. Liv and Theo know that. They used to be each other’s ride-or-die but that was back then…  After more than a year of distance from their situationship, it’s time to talk – so they reconnect online.  

What happened to being mates? How’s his new life working out? Why did she just vanish? These are big questions for small screens. Will meeting up in person on ‘their’ park bench reignite an old flame or finally put out the flickering embers of feelings?  

Park Bench is an innovative digital-come-live-theatre play by Tori Allen-Martin. Commissioned by Park Theatre during lockdown with the concept of creating a piece of drama that audiences follow from a digital first act online to a live second act on our Park200 stage.  

Act One: online | FREE  

Act Two: Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri 7pm & 8.30pm, Thurs & Sat matinees 3pm and evening 7.30 | £10 – £7.50 | Running time: 50 mins (approx.) 

Captioned 12 Aug 7.30pm 

www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/park-bench 

Park200  

When Darkness Falls  

By James Milton & Paul Morrissey | Directed by Paul Morrissey 

Presented by Paul Morrissey Ltd, Christopher Wheeler and Molly Morris in association with Jason Haigh-Ellery, Glynis Henderson Productions, Dawn Smalberg, Bev Ragovoy and Park Theatre 

18 Aug – 4 Sept 

When Darkness Falls is the brand new spine-chilling ghost story that delivers a twisted, terrifying and thrilling tale that will haunt you forever. 

Set on the island of Guernsey, When Darkness Falls tells the story of a teacher who runs the local Historical Society. Tonight, as part of the weekly Vlog, a young paranormal expert is giving a talk on the island’s incredible folklore and paranormal history. As the teacher films, the speaker regales horrifying stories. Stories that can only occur on a small, isolated island. Tonight, the teacher will learn exactly what happens when the wind blows, the seas swell and darkness falls. 

Based on true events, this powerful new production by James Milton and Paul Morrissey draws us into dark pasts, revealing disturbing truths and unforgettable terrors that never die. 

Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Thurs & Sat matinees 3pm | £27 – £18.50 | Running time: 90 mins (approx.) 

Captioned 28 Aug 7.30pm 
Park Up (16 – 26 yrs) £10 tickets 18 – 21 Aug 

www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/when-darkness-falls 

Park200  

39 and Counting 

By Shireen Mula | Directed by Gemma Aked-Priestley 

Cast includes Oxford School of Drama One Year Acting Course                                                                      

Presented by The Oxford School of Drama 

8 – 11 Sept 

39 and Counting features 18 characters who loved women that were killed by men. They are the brothers, sisters, best friends, nieces, nephews and cousins of the deceased whose lives have been disrupted and torn apart by violence. 18 characters navigating their way through the trauma. Wanting justice to be done, the grief to end and to reach a place of acceptance. To feel in control again. 

Written by Shireen Mula (Why is the Sky Blue? Southwark Playhouse) and directed by Gemma Aked-Priestley (My Dad’s Blind, Abbey Theatre/Irish Tour) this shattering new play aims to dispel many of the myths around violence to women and puts the violence we do not speak about absolutely centre stage. 

Performed by the Oxford School of Drama One-Year Acting Course graduates, this is a great opportunity to see emerging talent from one of the UK’s top Drama Schools. Graduates of this course include the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award winner Claire Foy; BAFTA nominee Babou Ceesay; Eastern Eye Best Actress Award winner Kiran Sonia Sawar and Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Richard Gadd

Weds – Sat 7.30pm, Thurs & Sat matinees 3pm | £15 – £10 | Running time: 90 mins (approx.) 

Park Up (16 – 26 yrs) £10 tickets 8 – 11 Sep 

www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/39-and-counting 

Park200 

A Place for We  

By Archie Maddocks | Directed by Michael Buffong                                                                                  

Park Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company present the World Premiere 

7 Oct – 6 Nov 

A pub. A funeral parlour. An urban-zen enoteca and conscious eatery. One building in Brixton tells the story of London’s changing communities over three very different generations. 

Trinidadian funeral director Clarence and fifth generation pub owner George don’t want things to change. But everything around them is changing. Do they adapt to survive? Or stay true to their roots and risk it all… family, tradition, business? 

In the wake of the Windrush scandal, Archie Maddocks‘ bittersweet comedy holds a mirror up to the ever-changing face of London’s communities in search of their common beating heart. 

A Place for We was shortlisted in 2017 for both the Bruntwood Prize and Alfred Fagon Award, it was first performed as a staged reading at Talawa Firsts 2018 and is directed by Talawa’s Artistic Director Michael Buffong.  

Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Thurs & Sat matinees 3pm | £32.50 – £15 | Running time: 2hr 15 (approx.) 

Audio described 20 Oct 19.30, Touch Tour 18.00 | Captioned 28 Oct 19.30
Park Up (16-26 yrs) £10 tickets 7 – 13 Oct 

www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/a-place-for-we 

Park90 

Double Bill: Say it, Women                                                                                          12 Oct – 6 Nov 

Two stories celebrating women’s strength 

Women – rejoice in our time to say it, own it, share it. In this Park Theatre first, the Say it, Women double bill features two untold stories celebrating women’s strength. Two plays that not only find an unheard female voice, but sing it from the rooftops, beaconing the listener. Book for both shows with our multi buy offer. 

Flushed 

Written and Directed by Catherine Cranfield
Cast includes: Elizabeth HammertonIona Champain                                                              

Presented by Theatre Unlocked in association with Grace Dickson Productions and Park Theatre 

12 Oct – 6 Nov 

When Marnie is diagnosed with a rare medical condition, she and younger sister Jen grapple to come to terms with its life-changing impacts. 

Flushed is a play about the everlasting bond developed between the cubicle walls. 

Theatre Unlocked are proud to present Flushed – a multi award-winning (53Two ‘FOUNDation’ Award, 2018, Voice Magazine ‘Pick of the Fringe’ Award, 2018), five-star play, set entirely in various different bathrooms. It’s a unique and important story, with a lot of humour and a lot of heart. 

Catherine Cranfield is a writer and director, who wrote Flushed after graduating from the University of Manchester in 2017. Since then, Flushed has toured venues such as the Barbican Centre, as part of Fertility Fest 2019, and Underbelly, for the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe. In 2019, Catherine completed an MA in Theatre Directing from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. 

Theatre Unlocked was founded by Elis Shotton and Catherine Cranfield in Manchester in 2017. Since then, the two have been working to create and promote exciting and essential new writing. Theatre Unlocked’s other work includes Zucchini by Elis Shotton, which premiered at Manchester’s 53Two Theatre. 

Mon – Sat 7.15pm, Thurs & Sat matinees 3.15pm | £12.50 or £20 for both shows | Running time: 60 mins (approx.) 

Captioned 4 Nov 7.15pm
Park Up (16 – 26 yrs) £10 tickets 12 – 18 Oct 

www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/flushed 

Sold      

By Amantha Edmead | Directed by Euton Daley 

Cast includes Amantha Edmead and Angie ‘Amra’ Anderson                

Presented by Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective in association with Park Theatre  

18 Oct – 6 Nov 

When one woman tells of her extraordinary journey to overcome the brutality of slavery, she becomes a beacon for the British anti-slavery movement. Born into slavery in the British colony of Bermuda, Mary Prince went on to become an auto-biographer and champion of freedom. Mary’s words of the harsh realities of enslavement and how it felt to be separated from family, loved ones and to be owned, bought and sold gave voice to those that are often silent, silenced, ignored or spoken for. Her book had an electrifying effect on the abolitionist movement helping to free many Africans in bondage. 

A forgotten true story told through theatre, song, live drumming and dance, this masterpiece of Black British theatre is inspired by the storytelling traditions of the West African griot. 

Kuumba Nia Arts and Unlock the Chains Collective share and celebrate African and Caribbean heritage, culture experience and stories.  

Mon – Sat 8.30pm, Thurs & Sat matinees 4.30pm | £12.50 or £20 for both shows | Running time: 60 mins (approx.) 

Captioned 4 Nov 8.30pm 

Park Up (16 – 26 yrs) £10 tickets 18 – 23 Oct 

www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/sold 

THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY’S ‘MATILDA THE MUSICAL’ ANNOUNCES FULL CASTING FOR ITS RETURN TO THE CAMBRIDGE THEATRE THIS AUTUMN

  • THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY’S ‘MATILDA THE MUSICAL’ ANNOUNCES FULL CASTING FOR ITS RETURN TO THE CAMBRIDGE THEATRE.
  • A NEW VERSION OF THE TRAILER IS AVAILABLE HERE.
  • AS WELL AS RETURNING TO THE WEST END FROM 16 SEPTEMBER, ‘MATILDA THE MUSICAL’ CONTINUES TO DELIGHT AUDIENCES GLOBALLY AS IT OPENS IN THE NETHERLANDS FOR THE FIRST TIME, TRANSLATED INTO DUTCH FOR A RUN AT THE OUDE LUXOR THEATER ROTTERDAM.
  • THE ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY’S MATILDA THE MUSICAL WILL RE-OPEN AT THE CAMBRIDGE THEATRE ON THURSDAY 16 SEPTEMBER WITH TICKETS NOW ON SALE FROM WWW.MATILDATHEMUSICAL.COM

Casting has been announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s West End production of Matilda The Musical which returns to the Cambridge Theatre from 16 September 2021. Celebrating 10 years since the multi award-winning show opened in London, this iconic British musical has won 99 international awards including 24 for Best Musical and has been seen by more than 10 million people across more than 90 cities worldwide. Matilda The Musical is now booking through to 13 February 2022. For further information visit www.matildathemusical.com.

Matilda The Musical is delighted to announce that the four performers in the title role of Matilda will be Imogen Cole, Alyssa D’Souza, Alex Munden and Zoe Simon, with their first performances from 16 September. 

The other young performers announced today who join the London company in the roles of Bruce, Lavender, Amanda and the rest of the pupils at Crunchem Hall are as follows: Hari Aggarwal, Thommy Bailey Vine, Kieron Bell, Tom Bonomini, Drew Edwards, Robyn Elwell, Rory Finnegan, Darcy Kelly, Ben Lee, Keanna-Skye O’Quinn, Nicholas Parris, Bella Perdoni, Chancé Quaye, Scarlett Jayne Rackham, Bren Reilly, Niamh Ritchie, Jacob Savva, Jayden Seder and Alex Stockton.

Kaspar Cahill-Ritter, Sienna Clarke, Rosie Gell-Marquez, Beth Gilmour, Louie Gray, and Gracie Hodson-Prior will continue in the roles of Bruce, Lavender, Amanda and the pupils at Crunchem Hall.

As previously announced, Carly Thoms will be taking over the role of Miss Honey, joining the adult cast which includes Elliot Harper as Miss Trunchbull, Sebastien Torkia as Mr Wormwood and Annette McLaughlin who will be returning to the company in the role of Mrs Wormwood, taking over from Marianne Benedict.

The full adult cast includes Liberty Buckland, Georgia Carling, Roger Dipper, Katrina Dix, Kate Kenrick, Ben Kerr, Matt Krzan, Connor Lewis, Tom Mather, Bryan Mottram, Kane Oliver Parry, Landi Oshinowo, Ryan Pidgen, James Revell, Gemma Scholes and Dawn Williams.

Tim Minchin said: “I’m SO excited that the West End will be reopening soon, and that Matilda will be back on stage in time for its 10th birthday. And that I’ll be able to be in my favourite city for the first time in two years! I’ve so keenly missed Matilda, my London family, and live theatre in general.”

A new trailer, gives audiences the opportunity to see a range of special highlights from the show.

A tonic for audiences of all ages, this anarchic production about a strong and determined heroine with a vivid imagination has welcomed almost 4 million audience members in London. Matilda The Musical is the 6th longest-running show in the West End and the 16th longest-running musical in West End history. Matilda The Musical will also visit the Netherlands for the first time, translated into Dutch for a run at the Oude Luxor Theater Rotterdam. The theatre hopes that the musical will bring visitors to the city as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also announced plans to work with partners in Rotterdam to develop an education programme around the show. Tickets are now on sale for Matilda De Musical in Rotterdam visit matilda-demusical.nl

Adapted from Roald Dahl’s much loved 1988 book and commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the musical premiered at the RSC’s Stratford-upon-Avon home in 2010, before transferring to the West End in October 2011, where it opened to rave reviews.

Matilda The Musical swept the board at the 2012 Olivier Awards, with a record-breaking seven awards, and won four Tony Awards and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for the four girls sharing the title role on Broadway. It has since toured North America, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, South Africa and China and played its first non-English language production in Seoul, South Korea in 2018/19.

With the upcoming film adaptation from the same core creative team as the theatre production (direction by Matthew Warchus, adapted for the screen by Dennis Kelly, with the music and lyrics of Tim Minchin), Dahl’s themes of bravery and standing up for what you believe in will continue to inspire young audiences all over the world. Produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title, Jon Finn, and Luke Kelly of The Roald Dahl Story Company. Sony Pictures U.K. and Tristar Pictures will release Matilda across the U.K. and Ireland exclusively in cinemas on 2nd December 2022 for Christmas. Netflix will release the film in the rest of the world in December 2022.

Written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and developed and directed by Matthew Warchus, the theatre production is designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Simon Baker and the special effects and illusions are by Paul Kieve.

Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Matilda The Musical is produced by Executive Producers Denise Wood and Griselda Yorke for the Royal Shakespeare Company.  The production was developed with the support of Jeanie O’Hare and the RSC Literary Department.

André Ptaszynski had worked as one of the Executive Producers of the production from 2011 until his untimely death in 2020.  He is much missed by all of his colleagues.

Blindness Review

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford -until 26 June 2021

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert

4****

You know that theme-park feeling, when you’re on a ride and you’re about to be dropped from a great height and you sort of wish you hadn’t got on board in the first place? That’s a feeling that occurred to me quite often during this show.

Usually at the YA you take a comfy seat in the auditorium and admire an elaborate stage-set from a safe distance. But things are officially odd these days, and instead we were shuffled through a side door and into a high, shadowy space, with well-spaced pairs of chairs facing different ways, and coloured tube lights hanging above. Warnings were given about bangs and flashes, and heavy-duty headsets were issued. We were told (this was beginning to feel like a flight emergency) that there was a torch under the chair in case of panic. Which was enough to make you want to run for the exit.

Then through the headset came the voice of Juliet Stevenson, clear as glass and soft as velvet. She told us about a city where people were going blind, one by one, in a mysterious plague … Lights came and went. We were plunged into darkness. We had become plague victims, with Stevenson telling us about the fear, hunger and violence around us, as the only person who could still see. We heard gunshots and explosions. Very unnervingly, footsteps ran past or crept round us, and voices whispered unexpectedly in our ears.

But it was all going on inside our heads, or at least our headsets. The show is a sound installation by Simon Stephens, originally adapted for the Donmar Warehouse theatre from the dystopian novel Blindness by Jose Saramago. It’s directed by Walter Meierjohann. No spoilers, but the light, in various senses, does return. At one point towards the end we could see the space to the side filled with rows of curved lines. Good heavens, that’s the seating in the auditorium where we usually sit. Anyone with a bit more sense that me would have worked out that the space where we were sitting was the stage.

If you want a very intense theatrical event despite social distancing, this is something quite special, well worth experiencing despite being unpleasant at times. Just like that theme park ride

JUDY FLYNN AND SARA CROWE STAR IN SHEILA’S ISLAND TOUR 2022

JUDY FLYNN AND SARA CROWE STAR IN SHEILA’S ISLAND TOUR 2022

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre to produce the premiere and national tour of Sheila’s Island by Tim Firth.

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford is delighted to announce that we will be producing and touring Sheila’s Island by Tim Firth in Spring 2022. The show will premiere in Guildford from 10 to 19 February, then tour nationally.

Starring Judy Flynn as Sheila and Sara Crowe as Fay, with more star casting to be announced, Sheila’s Island is a sparkling new version of Tim Firth’s sharp-witted comedy Neville’s Island, to be directed by Joanna Read.

Sheila, Denise, Julie, and Fay are Team C in Pennine Mineral Water Ltd.’s annual outward bound team-building weekend on Derwent water. They have an ordnance survey map, a compass and a list of clues. What could possibly go wrong?

Tim Firth is the writer of multiple award-winning films, stage and TV productions, including Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots, The Band, Our House, The Girls and All Quiet on the Preston Front. He previously worked with Joanna on The Corstorphine Road Nativity at The Edinburgh Festival Theatre.

Tim says ‘As a male writer I initially thought what happens on the island could only happen between men. It took Jo to remind me that shoddy, childish and viciously destructive behaviour is not the exclusive preserve of the male sex’.

I’ve had a very enjoyable time demonstrating to Tim quite how mean women can be.’ added Joanna

The instantly recognisable Judy Flynn is best known for her appearances in some of TVs best-loved dramas and comedies, including Dinnerladies, Call the Midwife and Shameless. Judy’s theatre credits include Chicken Soup, East is East, Emil & the Detectives, and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg.

Sara Crowe is an Olivier Award-winner known for her numerous film, TV and stage performances, including Private Lives, Calendar Girls and Acorn Antiques: the Musical, as well as the role of Laura in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Joanna Read joined the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in January 2019, as Director and Chief Executive. She was previously Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse.

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre opened its doors in 1965 and built an impressive reputation as a producer of significant work, much of which transferred to the West End and toured nationally. This new tour is at the forefront of Joanna Read’s commitment to re-establishing the theatre as a maker of great productions for Guildford, and beyond.

CBeebies favourite Twirlywoos arrives on stage in London this Summer at Leicester Square Theatre

MEI Theatrical presents

Twirlywoos Live!

The beloved TV show as seen on CBeebies

sets sail for London this Summer

for 10 performances only!

At Leicester Square Theatre

From Friday 13 to Monday 16 August

The wonderful world of Twirlywoos – as seen on CBeebies – will be brought to life on stage in London this Summer, when Toodloo, Great BigHoo, Chickedy, Chick and Peekaboo set sail for Leicester Square Theatre from Friday 13 – Monday 16 August 2021.    

Featuring all the favourite characters from the hit TV show, expect mischief, music and plenty of surprises as the Twirlywoos welcome young fans on board their Big Red Boat for a theatrical adventure. With beautifully inventive puppetry, Twirlywoos Live! promises to be a laugh-out-loud treat for little ones.

Twirlywoos was first broadcast on CBeebies in 2015, and in 2017 celebrated its 100th episode. The Twirlywoos are four small, bird-like characters who are inquisitive, enthusiastic and always looking to learn something new about the world. Ever curious, they seek adventure and fun wherever they go. Whether in the real world or on their big red boat, they love to hide, imitate and be surprised as they discover new things. Twirlywoos is co-created by Anne Wood, who has devised shows including Teletubbies, and Steve Roberts, who with Anne co-created the Bafta-winning CBeebies series Dipdap.

Twirlywoos Live! is brought to the stage by MEI Theatrical, whose recent productions include CBeebies favourite Sarah and Duck Live on Stage, and the smash-hit production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. It is written by Zoe Bourn, who has brought to life some of the world’s best-loved children’s titles including Thomas and Friends and Fireman Sam Live!.

Twirlywoos Live! is recommended for ages 1+, with babes in arms welcome. The running time is 55 minutes with no interval.

Website: www.TwirlywoosLiveOnStage.com

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL will open 8 July at the Savoy Theatre – Full Casting confirmed

FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR

THE RETURN OF

THE RECORD-BREAKING BOX OFFICE SMASH HIT

PERFORMANCES WILL BEGIN ON THURSDAY 8 JULY
IN ITS NEW HOME THE SAVOY THEATRE

STARRING AIMIE ATKINSON AND DANNY MAC

MUSIC AND LYRICS BY BRYAN ADAMS AND JIM VALLANCE

BOOK BY GARRY MARSHALL AND J.F. LAWTON

DIRECTED AND CHOREOGRAPHED BY DOUBLE

TONY AWARD WINNER JERRY MITCHELL

★★★★

“AS GLITZY AND GLAM AS THE MOVIE.

GO SEE IT NOW, YOU WON’T BE DISAPPOINTED!”

THE SUN

The producers of the smash hit feel-good PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL are delighted to announce full casting for the show, with performances beginning on Thursday 8 July 2021 in its new home the Savoy Theatre.

From Thursday 8 July PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL will play with social distancing in place until 20 July when it will play at full capacity. 

The show will star Aimie Atkinson as ‘Vivian Ward’ and Danny Mac as ‘Edward Lewis’. They are joined by are Rachael Wooding as ‘Kit De Luca’, Bob Harms as ‘Happy Man/Mr Thompson’, Neil McDermott as ‘Philip Stuckey’ and Mark Holden as ‘James Morse’. The cast is completed by Jemma Alexander, Andy Barke, Kimberly Blake, Katie Bradley, Oliver Brenin, Olivia Brookes, Alex Charles, Olly Christopher, Ben Darcy, Hannah Ducharme, Nicholas Duncan, Paige Fenlon, Damon Gould, Alex Hammond, Tom Andrew Hargreaves, Antony Hewitt, Matt Jones, Serina Mathew, Katie Monks, Joanna Woodward and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke.

Aimie Atkinson (Vivian Ward) was in the original West End cast of the hit musical Six at the Arts Theatre and was nominated for an Olivier Award for her performance. Her other credits include Daniela in In the Heights at King’s Cross Theatre, Serena in Legally Blonde at Kilworth House and Chloe in Never Forget – The Take That Musical and Luisa in Zorro The Musical, both on national tour. Aimie is also the winner of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Voice of Musical Theatre Award.  

Danny Mac (Edward Lewis) appeared as Bob Wallace in White Christmas at the Dominion Theatre in the West End. His many other theatre credits include Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard and Nino in Amelie, both on national tour, Gabey in On The Town at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and the West End productions of Wicked and Legally Blonde. Danny captured the nation’s hearts and received overwhelming support during his incredible time on BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing, making it all the way to the final.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL features original music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance, a book by Garry Marshall and the film’s screenwriter J.F. Lawton, it is directed and choreographed by the two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.

Featured in the musical is Roy Orbison and Bill Dee’s international smash hit song ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ which inspired one of the most beloved romantic comedy films of all time. PRETTY WOMAN the film (produced by Arnon Milchan – New Regency Productions) was an international smash hit when it was released in 1990.

Atlantic Records’ PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL (ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING) is produced by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and is now available on all DSP’s.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL has scenic design by David Rockwell, costumes by Tom Rogers from the original Broadway designs by Gregg Barnes, lighting design by Kenneth Posner and Philip S. Rosenberg, sound design by John Shivers, hair design by Josh Marquette, and music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Will Van Dyke101 Productions, Ltd are the Global General Management Consultant.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL had its world premiere at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre in March 2018 before transferring to Broadway where it ran at the Nederlander Theatre. The German production opened in Hamburg at the Stage Theater an der Elbe in September 2019 to rave reviews. A US tour of the show will open this Autumn.

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Paula Wagner, Nice Productions, LPO, New Regency Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions, Kilimanjaro Theatricals/Joshua Andrews, Hunter Arnold, Caiola Productions & Co., Roy Furman, Edward Walson, deRoy Kierstead and Stage Entertainment.

BAT OUT OF HELL – THE MUSICAL to tour the UK and Ireland from September 2021

BAT OUT OF HELL – THE MUSICAL

WILL BE TOURING THE UK & IRELAND

FROM SEPTEMBER 2021

GUARANTEEING THE BIGGEST FUN NIGHT OUT!

Award-winning Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, featuring Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits, will be touring the UK and Ireland in 2021 and 2022, with performances beginning on 11 September 2021 at Manchester Opera House and running through to 5 November 2022. Tickets for the tour are now on sale.

The show, which blew audiences away in the UK, Canada and USA and given Jim Steinman’s masterpiece Bat Out Of Hell is the highest selling album of all time in Australia, will be performing throughout Australia in November 2021, and the production is looking forward to working with Paul Dainty President and CEO of TEG DAINTY. 

Casting is to be announced.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre from 2017 to 2019. The musical also ran successfully in Canada, Germany and at New York’s City Centre in 2019.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and was nominated for 8 WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical.

Producer Michael Cohl said today, “We’ve all been through a lot these past 15 months and we now need a really good night out with friends and family. Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical will give you the most fun night you can have in the UK and Ireland this year (with your clothes on)! People will once again be able to dance and sing along to these great Steinman songs. This musical was Jim Steinman’s life-long dream and he was incredibly proud of the love the show received from critics and audiences alike. This tour will be in memory of Jim.”

Bat Out Of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide.  16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which contained the massive hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

For the stage musical, the legendary and award-winning Jim Steinman incorporated iconic songs from the Bat Out Of Hell albums, including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Bat Out Of Hell, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

In Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, the electrifying rock songs of Mr Steinman propel an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.

The UK & Ireland Tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell, original casting by David Grindrod CDG and UK Tour casting by Anne Vosser.

The UK & Ireland Tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is produced by David SonenbergMichael Cohl & Tony Smith, with executive producer Julian Stoneman.

Website:  www.BatOutOfHellMusical.com

Twitter & Facebook:  @BatTheMusical

2021 – 2022 TOUR LISTINGS INFORMATION

11 September – 2 October 2021              Manchester Opera House                                      0844 871 7615*

                                                                www.atgtickets.com/venues/manchester                On sale 21 June

5 – 16 October                                        New Theatre Oxford                                              0844 871 7615*                                                              

                                                        www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-theatre-oxford      On sale 21 June

19 – 30 October                                      King’s Theatre Glasgow                                         0844 871 7615*

                                                                 www.atgtickets.com/glasgow                                On sale 21 June

4 – 15 January 2022                                The Alexandra, Birmingham                                   0844 871 7615*        

                                                                  www.atgtickets.com/birmingham                            On sale 21 June

18 – 29 January                                      New Wimbledon Theatre                                        0844 8717 615*                                                             

                                                        www.atgtickets.com/new-wimbledon-theatre           On sale 21 June

1 – 5 February                                        Stockton Globe                                                    0843 904 0071

                                                                www.stocktonglobe.co.uk                                     On sale 21 June

8 – 19 February                                       Edinburgh Playhouse                                            0844 871 7615*                                                              

                                                        www.atgtickets.com/edinburgh-playhouse              On sale 21 June

12 – 16 April                                           His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen                           

                                                                www.aberdeenperformingarts.com                         On sale 29 June      

26 – 30 April                                           Stoke Regent Theatre                                            0844 871 7615*                                                                       

                                                       www.atgtickets.com/stoke                                     On sale 21 June

3 – 7 May                                               Sheffield Lyceum Theatre                                      0114 249 6000

                                                                www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk                                  On sale soon

24 – 28 May                                            Eastbourne Congress Theatre                                01323 412 000

                                                                www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk                              On sale 21 June

14 – 25 June                                           Milton Keynes Theatre                                           0844 871 7615*

                                                              www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre  On sale 21 June

28 June – 2 July                                      Mayflower Theatre Southampton                            02380 711811

                                                                www.mayflower.org.uk                                          On sale 1 July

12 – 23 July                                            Theatre Royal Plymouth                                        01752 267222

                                                                www.theatreroyal.com                                           On sale 23 July

26 July – 6 August                                  Newcastle Theatre Royal                                       0844 811 2121

                                                                www.theatreroyal.co.uk                                         On sale soon

9 – 20 August                                         Bristol Hippodrome                                               0844 871 7615*                                                             

                                                       www.atgtickets.com/bristol                                    On sale 21 June

23 – 27 August                                       Belfast Grand Opera House                                   028 9024 1919                                                                        

                                                         www.goh.co.uk                                                     On sale soon

30 August – 10 September                      Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin                        0818 719 377 (ROI)

                                                              bordgaisenergytheatre.ie                                       0844 248 5101 (UK NI)                                                                       

                                                                                                                                              On sale soon                                                                                      

13 – 24 September                                  Hull New Theatre                                                   01482 300306                                                             

                                                        www.hulltheatres.co.uk                                          On sale 22 June

27 September – 1 October                      New Theatre, Cardiff                                             07925 659065

                                                                 www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk                                 On sale soon

4 – 15 October                                        Liverpool Empire                                                  0844 871 7615*        

                                                                www.atgtickets.com/liverpool                                On sale 21 June

25 October – 5 November                       New Victoria Theatre, Woking                                0844 871 7615*

                                                                 www.atgtickets.com/woking                                  On sale 21 June

Further dates to be announced

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge

PRODUCTION IMAGES RELEASED – MY SON’S A QUEER, BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO? – THE TURBINE THEATRE

MY SON’S A QUEER, BUT WHAT CAN YOU DO? 

WRITTEN & PERFORMED BY ROB MADGE 

DIRECTED BY LUKE SHEPPARD

RUNNING AT THE TURBINE THEATRE 

FROM 17 JUNE – 03 JULY 2021 

My Son’s A Queer But What Can You Do, written by and performed by Rob Madge (Oliver!Les Misérables) and directed by Luke Sheppard (& Juliet, In The Heights) celebrates the joy and chaos of raising a queer child, and runs at the Turbine Theatre for a limited run from 17 June until 03 July. 


When Rob was 12, they attempted to stage a full-blown Disney parade in their house for their Grandma. As Rob donned a wig and played Mary Poppins, Ariel, Mickey Mouse and Belle, their Dad doubled as Stage Manager, Sound Technician and Goofy. Unfortunately, Dad missed all his cues and pushed all the floats in the wrong direction. Mum mistook Aladdin for Ursula. The costumes went awry. Ariel’s bubble gun didn’t even work properly. Grandma had a nice time though. 

Join Rob as they delve into the archives of their old home videos in attempt to recreate this parade and celebrate the joy that can be discovered when parents champion the creativity and absurdity of their child.