The Lady In The Van review

Theatre Royal, Windsor – until 31st October 2020

Reviewed by Liberty Noke


The Lady In The Van is the mostly true story of playwright Alan Bennett allowing
Mary Shepherd to park the van that she lived in on his driveway, and the unlikely
friendship that ensues. After being moved on from several other houses on the
street Bennett allows Shepherd to park there for 3 months but she remains
there for 15 years.

This adaptation of one of Alan Bennett’s most famous plays was performed as a radio
show with 7 actors seated in chairs on the stage each holding a script and stepping
up to the microphone to speak their lines. Martin Carroll played the Foley Artist who
provided sounds to the show including opening and closing the large yellow van that
set the scene on the stage.

Jenny Seagrove’s performance as the eccentric Mary Shepherd was fantastic. She made a character who had been described as ‘smelling of urine’ who quite easily could have been unpleasant seem very charming and likeable.

As the play went along the audience became more endeared to her as did
Alan Bennett played by David Horovitch and Matthew Cottle. It was lovely to watch
their relationship develop on stage. Having 2 actors play Bennett, one who acted as
the narrator and a second who played Alan Bennett in each scene, allowed for the
audience to hear his inner thoughts and see him argue with himself at times.

This production was very entertaining and had the whole audience chuckling with its
witty lines and quirky characters.

Creative industries crowdfunder aims to help 1,000 creatives who’ve been hit hard to get back on their feet

Creative industries crowdfunder aims to help 1,000 creatives who’ve been hit hard to get back on their feet

The Creative Industries Federation and Creative England have announced that their crowdfund will be dedicated to helping those facing real hardship – for every £ raised, they’re aiming to give the creatives who need it most the tools they need to get back on their feet.

They have set a target to raise over £30,000 to enable them to distribute 1,000 free memberships to the Creative Industries Federation and tickets to their 3 day flagship festival, Creative Coalition, through their partner networks including the Creative Mentor Network and the Film + TV Charity.

This will provide those struggling in the sector with:

  • Extensive networking opportunities to ensure they get their work in front of the right people
  • Free business and personal growth resources
  • Access to weekly events and workshops
  • The chance to shape government opinion through advocacy consultations
  • The opportunity to join the largest online creative community via our Federation Workplace
  • Attendance to our three-day festival, Creative Coalition which is designed to be packed with help and information, as well as enable them to

Both Creative England and the Creative Industries Federation are independent, not-for-profit organisations that connect, support and champion all of the UK’s world-leading creative industries. Together they form the UK’s biggest creative network, spanning across all of the creative industries – across film, fashion, art, architecture, design, music and all that’s in between.

Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO, Creative England and Creative Industries Federation, said:

The creative industries employ over 2 million people in the UK and every one of those people has been impacted by the pandemic in some way. Theatres are still empty, music venues are closed, galleries are operating at a loss, film & TV productions are navigating COVID rules to try to keep going, the fashion industry is still recovering from being ground to a halt, to name but a few of the issues facing our sector. We’ve talked to our members and know first-hand that thousands of creatives are still in crisis, particularly those freelancers who have fallen through the gaps of government support and young people trying to start their careers during the most impossible of circumstances.

What people in the creative industries need now is connection – to each other, to opportunities, to inspiration for a brighter future. As a not-for-profit organisation, we connect, support and champion all of the UK’s creative industries, and we believe that connection changes everything. That’s why we have launched our crowdfund to enable our community to come together to reach out and help those in our industry facing the worst of times and give them the chance to connect, and access the support, education and job opportunities and advice – with a little bit of inspiration – to help them get back on their feet.

“No-one who works in creative industries should be left feeling alone and isolated from the support they need to get through. We know everyone is feeling stretched but we’re asking those who can to pledge whatever they can. Every £1 raised will go to helping freelancers and young people who have been knocked by this crisis.”

The crowdfunder includes “Buy One, Give One” rewards, where for every festival pass selected as a reward, they will give the equivalent to someone on creative industries who needs it. For every £30 raised the Creative Industries Federation will also give membership and a pass to a creative practitioner impacted by the crisis.

Follow the story at #CreativeCoalition20 @Creative_Fed








Hampstead Theatre is delighted to announce the cast for Harold Pinter’s iconic play The Dumb Waiter.  Due to popular demand the production has been extended and will now run from 18 November 2020 until 2 January 2021. 

Acclaimed stage and screen actors Alec Newman and Shane Zaza will play the roles of Ben and Gus, respectively, in this 60th anniversary production directed by Alice Hamilton, originally programmed for spring.  She is joined by designer James Perkins, with lighting design by James Whiteside and Composition and Sound Design by Giles Thomas

The Dumb Waiter first premiered as part of Hampstead Theatre’s inaugural season in 1960 directed by Hampstead’s founder James Roose-Evans.

Alec Newman has appeared in many critically acclaimed television shows, films and stage productions over the years.  Recent TV credits include the award-winning BBC period drama Call the Midwife (2020) and psychological thriller TV series Eullenia (2020).  His credits at Hampstead Theatre include Tom Stoppard’s Hapgood (2015/16), Andrew Keatley’s Alligators (2016, 2017) and Terry Johnson’s production of Uncle Vanya (2019).

Shane Zaza is known to television audiences for his roles in BBC dramas Happy Valley (2014) and Press (2018); American drama Will (2017) and Netflix’s Black Mirror (2016).  Recent theatre credits include Europe at Donmar Warehouse (2019), Dear Elizabeth at Gate Theatre (2019) and Frankenstein at Royal Exchange Theatre (2018).  The Dumb Waiter marks Zaza’s debut at Hampstead Theatre.

Harold Pinterwrote twenty-nine plays including The Birthday Party, The CaretakerThe Homecoming and Betrayal. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005. 

Alice is co-Artistic Director of Up in Arms and and credits with Hampstead Theatre include the Olivier-nominated Every Day I Make Greatness Happen (2018) and Paradise(2019). 

Tickets for the additional performances are now on sale.

Hampstead Theatre is also delighted to relaunch its open script submissions, Inspire and youth theatre following the theatre’s COVID-19 closure.  These activities have been adapted for online.

Hampstead Theatre’s year-round open script submissions is now back open.  The theatre commits to read and respond to any writer who submits a play in the English language.  For more information please visit here.

Inspire, the theatre’s year-long writers’ group, led by the award-winning playwright, Roy Williams continues online.  This year’s writers are Georgina Burns, Isla van Tricht, Kit Sinclair, Kris Phillips, Lucy Foster, Maatin Patel, Maud Dromgoole, Ollie George Clark, Subika Anwar-Khan and Tariq Jordan.  For more information please visit here.

Hampstead Theatre and its Associate Company, Creative Multilingualism have relaunched a free multilingual youth theatre course for 13-17-year olds who speak more than one language.  Led by Creative Multilingualism artist, Daniel Tyler-McTighe and Hampstead Theatre’s Resident Assistant Director, Lizzie Manwaring, the participants will meet online and use English and elements of other languages to create work and celebrate the multilingualism of London and the UK.  For more information please visit here.

Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of Hampstead Theatre said:

“We have been very moved by the extraordinary demand for tickets for The Dumb Waiter.  It is a much-needed reminder of how important theatre is as entertainment, as a place that helps us make sense of the world and of ourselves, for our personal and social well-being, and our need for community and communal experience.

As our rehearsal room, workshops and offices start to buzz again in the united endeavour to put on a show, we are acutely aware that our industry is entirely dependent on our freelance creative workforce.  They are the life blood of the theatre.  By opening our doors, we are not only serving audiences but doing what we can to offer much needed employment.  It is, however, a drop in the ocean.  We urge the Government to offer a package to freelancers to support them through this pandemic.  We can then return even stronger and retain the UK’s position as an international cultural leader.  We will need culture more than ever as we leave the European Union, re-evaluate our national identity, and look to attract new investment.

Who knows what the future will bring.  What I do know is that there is an abundance of brilliant new theatre talent bursting to be seen and heard, so we are delighted to be re-launching activities to inspire and support the next generation of theatre makers who are so vital to our futures.”

Alice Hamilton, Director of The Dumb Waiter said: 

It is wonderful to be in the rehearsal room again getting back to the business of making live theatre.The past few months have brought a strange new resonance to this classic Pinter play and I’m excited to be exploring it now with these two brilliant actors.”

Roy Williams, Mentor of Inspire said

“When it comes to Inspire, the clue is in the title.No one can teach anyone how to write, but we can help to inspire them to find their creative voices.This year’s group of ten, the largest ever are the most diverse, group we have ever had, in terms of age, sex and ethnicity.They are really hard working with their excellent plays, all reflecting somehow with great subtlety, the challenging times we are all facing right now.A lovely group. Super talented. The future of British theatre is in safe hands.”


Curve Theatre – Leicester – Backstage


Leicester’s Curve theatre has revealed the full line-up for its Community Day taking place on Sat 14 Nov, as well as details of a Christmas show for families which will run as part of the theatre’s reopening season.

Running 10am – 4:30pm on Sat 14 Nov, the Curve Community Day will include a variety of socially distanced free events and activities to welcome members of the community back to the building.

Legendary choreographer Arlene Phillips will lead a dance workshop at 10am, taking inspiration from David Bowie’s ‘Life On Mars’ and ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman to get people of all ages and abilities moving and feeling together after months of lockdown. Later in the day, Curve Associates Mel Knott and Tasha Taylor Johnson will teach families to sing and dance the ‘Rhinos’ Rock and Roll’ number from the recent Made at Curve production of Giraffes Can’t Dance.

Local artists Rebecca Harvey-Hobbs and Kate Unwin will host design workshops for participants to create and craft their own pieces. The sessions will focus on mental health and environmental sustainability in the wake of lockdown, designing worry boxes to help manage stress and creating an installation from unused 2020 show posters.

The Showstoppers Kids Show will return to Curve, putting children in charge of the marvellous, musical, interactive adventures on stage. Taking place in Curve’s specially adapted socially distanced auditorium, the hour-long performances will run at 11:30am and 2:30pm.

Curve’s Chief Executive Chris Stafford and Artistic Director Nikolai Foster said:

We couldn’t be more overjoyed at the prospect of welcoming our communities back to Curve for this very special, socially distanced day of activities and performances.

“Lockdown has taken its toll on everyone and the extension of Leicester’s restrictions has been sharply felt in our brilliant city and across our communities. We’re proud to be able to welcome people back to our building for a safe, fun and creative day out for all of the family, focusing on positivity and mental well-being.

“We’re immensely grateful to the incredible practitioners leading these workshops and all those who will be part of creating what is sure to be an extraordinary and memorable day for all of us.”

All workshops will be free to attend, with tickets for The Showstoppers Kids Show priced at £10 each. Tickets for all activities and performances must be booked in advance. For visitors looking to enjoy a full day of fun and creativity at Curve, the theatre is also offering combined passes.

From 3 to 6 Dec, families can enjoy live, socially distanced performances of Dear Santa, adapted from author Rod Campbell’s beloved book. The showfollows Santa as he tries to find the perfect Christmas present and to help spread cheer, every child in the audience will receive a free gift as part of the show.

Perfect for families and children aged 2+, tickets for Dear Santawill be on sale to Curve Friends and Supporters Wed 28 Oct, Members and Access Register customers Thu 28 Oct and on general sale Fri 30 Oct, all from 12pm.

Curve’s Community Day will officially welcome audiences back to the theatre, ahead of a trio of Made at Curve favourites performed in Curve’s transformed 533-seat auditorium. The theatre’s reopening plans are only possible thanks to grant funding received from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund and the ongoing support of Arts Council England and Leicester City Council. Tickets for performances of The Color Purple in concert (23 Nov – 5 Dec), Sunset Boulevard in concert (14 Dec – 3 Jan) and Memoirs of an Asian Football Casual (25 Jan – 6 Feb) are on sale now.

For more information visit or call Curve’s Box Office team on 0116 242 3595.

NT announces original film of Romeo & Juliet with Josh O’Connor & Jessie Buckley

National Theatre announces Romeo & Juliet, starring Josh O’Connor and Jessie Buckley, to become an original film for television

– The NT’s Lyttelton theatre temporarily transformed into a studio to film this special made-for-screen production

– Directed by NT Associate Simon Godwin (Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night)

– Cast includes Fisayo Akinade, Deborah Findlay, Tamsin Greig, Lucian Msamati and Shubham Saraf

– Presented by Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, produced by the National Theatre in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures

– The original film will premiere on Sky Arts and PBS in 2021

The National Theatre has today announced it is creating a new filmed version of Romeo & Julietfor television, temporarily transforming the vast stage spaces of its Lyttelton theatre into a film studio to capture Shakespeare’s timeless play for a new generation of audiences.

The National Theatre has broadcast stage productions to cinemas for over a decade through its National Theatre Live programme, but this will be the first time an original production for screen has been created in its South Bank home.

Romeo & Julietwill be directed by NT Associate Simon Godwin (Antony and Cleopatra, Twelfth Night), adapted for screen by Emily Burns and with Jessie Buckley (Chernobyl, Judy) and Josh O’Connor (God’s Own Country, The Crown) as the star-crossed lovers.

Romeo & Juliet was originally to have played to theatre audiences in the NT’s Olivier auditorium from Summer 2020. Reconceived for the screen, this new 90-minute version will be shot over three weeks with a collaborative team of theatre and film experts, embracing the architecture of the theatre space in telling the story.  

It will premiere in 2021 on Sky Arts and PBS, in the UK and US respectively. Sky Arts went free-to-air this September and is now available for everyone on Freeview channel 11 in the UK. Sky Arts is the headline sponsor of National Theatre Live in the UK and has just renewed its partnership for a further three years. In the US, the Emmy Award-winning performing arts series Great Performances will present Romeo & Juliet on PBS.

Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “Realising the Lyttelton theatre would need to remain shut to audiences during this time has been really difficult and meant we found ourselves in a unique set of circumstances. I wanted to find a way to use that space to create something exciting and special for audiences, that utilised the exceptional skill and craft of the National Theatre’s teams, freelancers and creative associates, and that could reach as many people as we can. That’s all going to be possible with this brilliant film of Romeo & Juliet and, in collaboration with Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, it will be seen across the UK and US. I’m delighted that Simon, Jessie, Josh and the team have joined us for a National Theatre first and are going to create a truly fresh film of Shakespeare’s enduring love story.” 

Simon Godwin, director of Romeo & Juliet, NT Associate and Artistic Director at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, said: “This has been a uniquely challenging time for the industry and so I have huge respect for Rufus and the team for meeting this challenge with creativity and deciding to use the Lyttelton theatre in this way for filmed work; I think it’s a genius idea and I’m honoured to be able to create the first film. I think I speak for myself, the creative team and the cast when I say how delighted we are to be focusing all our creativity into this version of Romeo & Juliet once more. Some ideas are staying, lots of new ones are coming in – I’m very excited about this new genre, combining film and theatre, and bringing together the remarkable talents of those industries. And the world will get to see Josh as Romeo and Jessie as Juliet, it had to happen!” 

As previously announced for the Olivier production, Fisayo Akinade (The Antipodes, Barber Shop Chronicles) will play Mercutio. Also announced today as joining the cast of Romeo & Juliet is Deborah Findlay (Coriolanus, The Split) in the role of the Nurse, Tamsin Greig (Twelfth Night, Talking Heads) as Lady Capulet, Lucian Msamati (Master Harold…and the boys, His Dark Materials) as the Friar, Shubham Saraf (A Suitable Boy) as Benvolio, David Judge (My Brilliant Friend) as Tybalt, Alex Mugnaioni (The Visit) as Paris and Ellis Howard (Catherine the Great) as Sampson.

Set in modern Italy in a world where Catholic and secular values clash, two young lovers strive to transcend a world of violence and corruption. Uniting key talent from both theatre and film, the Director of Photography is Tim Sidell (I Hate Suzie), with production design by Soutra Gilmour, movement direction by Jonathan Goddard and Shelley Maxwell, fight direction by Kate Waters and composition by Michael Bruce.

It will be produced by David Sabel, who created the National Theatre Live programme at the NT, at Sabel Productions. Executive Producers are Rufus Norris, Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre; Dixie Linder, Cuba Pictures (London Road, McMafia); David Horn, Great Performances; Christine Schwarzman & Darren Johnston, No Guarantees; and Philip Edgar Jones, Sky Arts.

Rehearsals for Romeo & Juliet start in November at the National Theatre, with filming from December and the premiere expected to air in spring 2021. 

Presented by Sky Arts, PBS and No Guarantees, Romeo & Juliet will be produced by the National Theatre, in association with Sabel Productions and Cuba Pictures.  

Romeo & Juliet is supported by Leila Maw Straus.

A Brief History of Struggle Review

The Place I Call Home Digital Festival – Monday 19th October to Saturday 25th October 

Reviewed By Sally Richmond 


It was extremely thrilling to receive a series of WhatsApp messages every evening for six days; each containing a cryptic and intriguing voice mail – followed by a short and profound film.  Each vignette, spanning from the years 1928 – 2020, brought social and emotional issues to the surface, via the talented cast and crew of the Paines Plough team.  

The fundamental concepts of an individual’s rights, duties and responsibilities in life were all explored through the exchanges and monologues of various ‘everyday’ characters.  All set in parks, sat on benches in England and Germany, these everyday people, facing everyday challenges (brought about by national and international issues) are given a voice and we hear their inner thoughts, dreams, hopes and fears.  

Beautifully crafted by writers Dipo Baruwa-Etti and Calle Fuhr and smartly directed by Charlotte Bennett, Katie Posner and the joint artistic directors of Paines Plough, A Brief History of Struggle was collaborated during the lockdown period and something that is entirely different, intimate and makes you question life has been created.  How have world events shaped so many of our ancestors and our own lives?  This couldn’t be more thought provoking and current now in today’s pandemic; as we are all reflecting, evaluating and simply enduring whatever is thrown at us.  

Acted out by a strong and talented cast: Bella Maclean, Cosima Shaw, Daniel Adeosun, Jan Pohl, Kristin Atherton, Markus Von Lingen, Martyn Hodge, Nenda Neururer, Peter Stark, Phia Saban and Sophie Doyle, with both passion and sensitivity, various themes ranging from unemployment, women’s rights to the fear of terrorism are raised and questioned.   Some of  the situations are dark with shocking revelations and expose fragmented and frail relationships; with frustrations that may potentially lead to breakdowns and highly charged emotions.  

In the final story, we are uplifted and reminded that we all need to ‘find peace, find a place and keep going’.  This couldn’t be more apt for the struggles we all face today in 2020 and that we need to ‘keep moving forward’.  Since receiving my last WhatsApp media clips, I’ve really missed the anticipation of opening the messages and watching what unfolds from it.  All six mini chapters of time made me think and that’s what art does – to quote George Bernard Shaw, ‘without art the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable’.  

Thank you Paines Plough for giving me ‘food for thought’.




Following the success of the live broadcast of Romantics Anonymous, watched by more than 20,000 people worldwide, Wise Children today announce their plan to offer live broadcast events as part of all future programming. The online format that they trailblazed for Romantics Anonymous was so successful that the company believe they will continue working in this way, long into the future.

A revival of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk will be directed by Emma Ricein a co-production with Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic, with further details to be announced soon. 

Last month, following theatre closures and the cancellation of the US tour of Romantics Anonymous as a result of Covid-19, Wise Children adapted to the new world by broadcasting Romantics Anonymous live from the Bristol Old Vic. Implementing a Covid-secure procedure borrowed from the TV and Film industry, the company formed a bubble and were able to perform the show in its original form – singing, dancing and even kissing!

Using a radical new live broadcast system, and collaborating with 34 theatres across the world, Wise Children were able to offer affordable tickets and reach a global audience, selling almost 12,000 tickets for the production’s limited 5-day run. In addition, the project provided work for 38 freelance theatre makers, a group that represent 70% of the theatre industry.

Artistic Director of Wise Children, Emma Rice today said, “Over the last few months, Wise Children have learnt things we never thought we’d need to know, with the core team taking on new roles ranging from Covid Safety Officer to Camera Operator. This was our chance to ensure that ‘the show will go on’, by doing what we do best: dreaming, daring, innovating, collaborating, creating and inspiring – even in the face of a global pandemic. 

This new way of working allows us to reach people across the globe and our aim as Wise Children is now to continue to offer live broadcasts of our shows – even after we return to ‘normal’. This de-stabilising time has impacted our industry in many ways, but the accessibility and availability of dynamic and engaging theatre should, and must, continue. Not in spite of COVID but because of it, stories must continue to be shared and our diverse community celebrated. With this in mind, I can’t wait for The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk to land in the homes of our audience wherever they are on the planet. It really is a brave new world.”

Tom Morris, Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic, commented, “Like a lot of theatres, Bristol Old Vic has seen its business turned upside-down by COVID 19.  But within that turmoil there are opportunities for radical change and growth. We’ve long wanted to connect better with our national and international audiences and the technology which allows us to play simultaneously to audiences in our theatre and online gives us the chance to test that ambition. Sitting alongside other experiments we’re planning in hybrid live stream theatre, the broadcasts of Flying Lovers will unlock new possibilities for us and our audiences. Through experiments like this, the theatre industry is discovering a new ways to celebrate the unique thrill of live performance some of which will remain with us long after the pandemic has been quelled.“

Mike Shepherd and Carl Grose, Kneehigh’s Artistic Directors added, “Since March, we have been incorporating digital elements and innovation into our ideas and practice in a way we’ve never done before but when it comes to productions, we’ve always struggled with how we’d present work online while still staying faithful to the spontaneous, live element that’s so intrinsic to theatre. Seeing the digital tour of Romantics Anonymous made us realise both that it is possible, and that there is a need and demand for live theatre, even if we can’t be there in person. We’re excited about developing this through working alongside Wise Children and Bristol Old Vic: collaboration is more vital than ever and we can’t wait to learn and explore together what live streaming means for the timeless story of The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.”

Casting announced for The Show Must Go On! LIVE at The Palace Theatre






After a record breaking on-sale and due to phenomenal public demand, THE SHOW MUST GO ON! LIVE AT THE PALACE THEATRE will play a further two dates and will now run from 11th to the 15th November.

After selling out the first four performances in just 24 hours, Theatre Support Fund+ have announced two more performances on the 11th and 12th November and will now play for seven performances in total with all profits going to Acting For Others and The Fleabag Support Fund.

The producers are also thrilled to announce the initial line up and casting for the concert which includes:

Aisha Jawando in a performance from TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, Sam Tutty in a performance from Dear Evan Hansen, Layton Williams in a performance from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Collette Guitart and Hana Stewart in a performancefrom SIX, Gavin Spokes in a performance from Hamilton, Dom Simpson and Tom Xander  in a performance from The Book of Mormon, Helen Woolfe and Laura Pick in a performance from WICKED, Tilly-Raye BayerImogen ColeAlyssa D’SouzaAlex Munden and Carly Thoms in a performance from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical, Jordan Luke Gage in a performance from & Juliet, Shan Ako and Frances Ruffelle in a performance from Les Misérables, cast members in a performance from Disney’s The Lion King, Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime in a performance from The Prince of Egypt, Alice Fearn in a performance from Come From Away, Holly-Anne Hull and Rhys Whitfield in a performance from The Phantom Of The Opera, Zizi Strallen in a performance from Mary Poppins and Mazz Murray in a performance from MAMMA MIA!.  There will also be a choir of 16 which is made up of Musical Theatre 2020 graduates.

The concert will also include a brand-new opening number, written by Stiles & Drewe called ‘The Show must Go On!’ which celebrates the theatre industry in these current times.

The concert will be directed by Luke Sheppard and Anna Fox, Set Design by Soutra Gilmour Lighting Design by Neil Austin and Howard Hudson, Video Design by Fray Studio, Sound Design by Adam Fisher and Musical Supervisor and Conductor is Stephen Brooker.

Chris and Damien from Theatre Support Fund+ said today, ‘We are overjoyed with the response to the concert and delighted to announce two more performances.

We are thrilled to be bringing together all 16 West End Shows which appear on our Show Must Go On! t-shirt. We never imagined our original design would end up becoming a real-life performance at The Palace Theatre! We are so thankful to have such a wonderful team and cast who have helped make this show possible.

These concerts have united the industry by providing work to many and helping those who have lost work by giving profits to two very special industry charities. We are overwhelmed with the support and generosity we have received so far and we would like to thank everybody who has supported our cause of helping those in the industry who have been affected in these uncertain times’.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON! LIVE AT THE PALACE THEATRE is produced by Chris Marcus & Damien Stanton for the Theatre Support Fund+ with Executive Producers, Jack Maple & Brian Zeilinger-Goode for Take Two Theatricals.

Theatre Support Fund + was set up in April by theatre industry workers Chris Marcus and Damien Stanton who wanted to form an initiative to help individual workers who are no longer working due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. They created and designed ‘The Show Must Go On!’ t-shirt, the design of which is an amalgamation of the world-famous artwork of 16 of the biggest musicals in the West End. Since Theatre Support Fund’s inception the team have raised over £350,000 with all profits from merchandise sold goes to Acting for Others, Fleabag Support Fund and the NHS Covid-19 Urgent Appeal.

Capacity at the Palace Theatre has been reduced to comply with COVID-19 Secure guidelines for social distancing plus robust risk mitigation. In addition to hand sanitation, face coverings and track and trace, other measures will include contactless tickets, temperature testing and the deep clean and sanitation of the theatre.














Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café are pleased to announce further details for the forthcoming episodes of The Theatre Channel.

Episode 2 is Halloween themed episode with songs from The Rocky Horror ShowBeetlejuiceInto the WoodsDraculaCarrieYoung Frankenstein and Jekyll and HydeThe episode is available to purchase now, ahead of its release on 30 October, and Ria JonesTrevor Dion Nicholas and Jordan Shaw will complete the previously announced line up of Aimie AtkinsonLinzi HateleySophie IsaacsBradley Jaden and Josh Piterman.

Episode 3 – the Rock Episode – will be released on 27 November and will feature the following talent and performances: 

Shan Ako (Les Misérables) singing I’ll Cover You (Reprise) from Rent

Alex Gaumond (Legally Blonde, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) singing Le Monde est Stone from Starmania

Rob Houchen (Light in the Piazza, Les Misérables) singing Gethsemene from Jesus Christ Superstar

Francesca Jackson (Tina: The Musical, I’d Do Anything) singing Forgiven from Jagged Little Pill

Aisha Jawando (Tina: The Musical) singing Acid Queen from The Who’s Tommy

John Owen-Jones (Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera) singing Pity the Child from Chess

The Theatre Channel is a brand-new web series showcasingwell-known musical theatre classics – a unique hybrid of stage and screen. Performed by the cream of British and international musical theatre talent, each episode is staged and filmed with high production values on location at The Theatre Café in the heart of the West End, making full use of the whole space – from the bar seating area all the way up to the roof – and feature a mix of 5-6 standalone performances, ordinarily set in a café, bar or restaurant. Many of the performances are supported by the Café Four, a regular cast made up of other West End talents.

Episode 2 – the Halloween episode – will include the following talent and performances:

Aimie Atkinson (Pretty Woman, Six) singing Dead Mom from Beetlejuice 

Linzi Hateley (Mamma Mia!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Blood Brothers) singing When There Is No One from Carrie

Bradley Jaden (Les Misérables, Wicked) and Sophie Isaacs (Six, Heathers: The Musical) singing Life After Life from Dracula

Ria Jones (Sunset Boulevard, Evita) singing Last Midnight from Into The Woods

Trevor Dion Nicholas (Aladdin, DreamgirlssingingThe Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Show

Josh Piterman (The Phantom of the Opera) singing The Confrontation from Jekyll and Hyde

Jordan Shaw (The Scottsboro Boys, The Lion King) leading Transylvania Mania from Young Frankenstein, along with the Café Four

The first episode – starring Tarinn Callender, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Oliver Ormson, Matt Henry MBE, Lucie Jones, Jenna Russell and Jodie Steele is available to purchase and download via – once purchased, audiences are able to watch episodes unlimited times.

The Theatre Channel’s Café Four is comprised of Alyn Hawke (Oklahoma, Follies, 42nd Street), Emily Langham (The Boy Friend, Oklahoma, West Side Story), Sadie-Jean Shirley (City of Angels, Ghost: The Musical, Aladdin) and Alex Woodward (Mamma Mia, Hairspray). 

The Theatre Channel is produced by Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café, with direction and choreography by Bill Deamer and musical supervision by Michael England, set and costume design by Gregor Donnelly, lighting design by Jack Weir, sound design by Keegan Curran, videography by Ben Hewis and hair and makeup by Diana Hudson.




Teaser trailer released for Little Wars starring Juliet Stevenson, Linda Bassett, and Sophie Thompson | Streaming 3 – 8 November

All-star cast unite for digital revival of Steven
Carl McCasland’s Little Wars
Streaming worldwide: Tuesday 3rd – Sunday 8th November 2020
Thomas Hopkins & Michael Quinn for Ginger Quiff Media in association with
Bailey Harris Kelly and Guy Chapman

Multi award-winning stage and screen actress Juliet Stevenson (Truly, Madly, Deeply; The
, Almeida; Blindness, Donmar Warehouse) leads an all-star female cast in the online
revival of Steven Carl McCasland’s dinner party drama, Little Wars. Joining Stevenson will be Linda Bassett (Call The Midwife; East is East), Debbie Chazen (The Smoking Room; The Girls, West End), Natasha Karp (Rags, Park Theatre; The Kite Runner, West End), Catherine Russell (Holby City; What The Butler Saw, Curve Theatre), Sarah Solemani (Him & Her; Bad Education), and Sophie Thompson (Feel Good; Present Laughter, Old Vic).

Bringing together six exceptional women, Little Wars unites literary figureheads Gertrude Stein (Bassett), her girlfriend Alice Toklas (Russell), Dorothy Parker (Chazen), Lillian Hellman
(Stevenson) and Agatha Christie (Thompson), with anti-fascist freedom fighter Muriel Gardiner (Solemani), in the most fantastical what-if dinner party imaginable. Tensions are high and secrecy lingers in the air, but with libations flowing and the threat of World War II looming the guests are close to boiling point.

Directed by Hannah Chissick (Flashdance, UK & International tour; Pack of Lies, Menier
Chocolate Factory) the new production will be filmed and made available to download and
stream online, in collaboration with Southwark’s The Union Theatre. The entire cast and
creative team are raising money in aid of Women For Refugee Women, a cause that remains close to their values, and the underlying message of the play. Notwithstanding the challenges of 2020, the producers believe that it is vital, now more than ever, to support causes such as this.

Previously workshopped Off-Off Broadway, this acclaimed play makes its digital premiere,
celebrating historical women of the 20th century, through an intimate, hilarious, and witty flyon-the-wall glimpse into a nostalgic fiction based on truths. Set in 1940s France, on the evening the country crumbled to Hitler’s tyrannical rule, the play acts as a brutal reminder of the mistreatment of the Jewish people. At a time when antisemitism is rife, gender politics are divisive, and LGBTQ+ hate crime has increased, it is a stark reminder that not much has changed.

Director Hannah Chissick comments, It is such an honour to work on this wonderful play about exceptional women, with such an extraordinary cast all coming together in support of other brave and courageous women.

McCasland adds, I am thrilled to see Little Wars find its way across the pond, and with such an extraordinary team of actresses. I hope the play’s message resonates with all during this
unprecedented time.

Alongside the streaming, GingerQuiff Media will be collaborating with Drink the iNK for a new pre-show conversation series, Open Creative Process, allowing audiences full-access into the creative process of making digital theatre – from start to finish.