Get into the Christmas spirit at the Grand Opera House York




Thursday 26 November at 7:30pm


Join the best yuletide party in town, full of festive cheer, glitter, magic and sparkle!

Derek Nicol and Paul Walden in association with Hal Carter Organisation are proud to bring you SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS!

Performed by a talented cast and fully live band, SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS features two hours of seasonal classics such as White Christmas, Let It Snow, The Christmas Song, Jingle Bell Rock, Last Christmas, Merry Christmas Everybody, All I Want for Christmas Is Youand Fairytale of New York.


Seasonal fun for all the family, this collection of festive favourites will make the most dedicated Scrooge Wish It Could be Christmas Every Day and end up Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree!

Tickets: From £16.00

Box Office: 0844 871 3024

Online Booking:



Sheffield Theatres today announces the appointment of Lord Bob Kerslake as Chair of their Board of Trustees.

Lord Bob Kerslake said today “I am thrilled to be joining such a vibrant and vital organisation in the city that I love. Sheffield Theatres has produced some of the best work I have seen in the country, over the last few years, all of which has been achieved against a background of reduced public funding. I am excited by the opportunities that the future holds for the organisation and I’m looking forward to working with my fellow Trustees and the leadership team to build on their strong track record of success.”

Dan Bates, Chief Executive of Sheffield Theatres said today I am delighted that Lord Kerslake will join Sheffield Theatres as its new Chair. Lord Kerslake is a long-standing supporter of our work and a passionate advocate of the arts. We are honoured to welcome him to the Board to lead the Trustees, myself and Daniel Evans into a new chapter. I’d also like to take the opportunity to thank Neil Adleman, our outgoing Chair, for his committed support during his time with us.”

Lord Bob Kerslake is Chair of London’s King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and of Peabody. He is also an ambassador for St Luke’s Hospice in Sheffield. He was announced as the new Chair of the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS) and officially appointed as President-Elect of the Local Government Association in June this year. A former Head of the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake led the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) from 2010 to 2015.

Prior to his DCLG role, Lord Kerslake was the first Chief Executive of the Homes and Communities Agency. Before joining the Civil Service, Lord Kerslake received a knighthood for his services to local government, spending eight years serving the London Borough of Hounslow and then a further 11 years leading Sheffield City Council. In early 2015, he was made a life peer, taking the title Baron Kerslake of Endcliffe in the City of Sheffield.


This is a public safety announcement!




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Monday 23 November


Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, please keep your head firmly on your shoulders and your arms and legs inside the ride at all times – Ministry of Science Live explodes onto a stage near you soon!

This is not your ordinary science show – it comes jam packed with fun, laughter and plenty of amazing science and history which includes a fully operational hovercraft,  massive cannons with lots of bangs, a push bike that makes the best smoothie ever and look out for Darth Vader playing with plasma! Investigating the inventors and engineers who have shaped the modern world we live in, the audience experience everything from liquid nitrogen flowers to hydrogen bottle rockets, Buzz Aldrin to Virgin Galactic, cat food tins to hovercraft and methane to the invention of the battery. Expect loud explosions and more!

Ministry of Science Live is a fully engaging interactive experience that explores energy and engineering using brilliantly designed demonstrations and historical references as a narrative. Combining stimulating live entertainment with the world of education the show’s primary aim is to inspire and educate young people through the medium of live theatre.

Ministry of Science Live was launched at Northern Ireland’s CultureTech festival in 2014 where it played to critical acclaim to over 7,500 people in a week.  Since then the show has been embarking on a 60 date UK national theatre tour.

Produced and created by Mark Thompson with creative credits including Writer and Director of Brainiac Live, which made its West End debut in 2013, and Writer and Director of the national tours of Science Museum Live, Guinness World Records OA Science Live, Science Museum Live – The Highlights Show andBBC Hidden World Live!


For further information see

Twitter @MinistryScience  Facebook

Performances: 11am & 6:30pm

Tickets: From £15.50

Box Office: 0844 871 3024

Online Booking:

Twice Nightly for One Night


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City Varieties Swan Street Today (1)

Leeds is a city rich in entertainment; its roots may well be in textiles and industry but the people that worked hard to build it always enjoyed a good time, and to this end the city has been home to many theatres and cinemas, so it is perhaps fitting that a show about the history of the city’s cinemas and theatres is hitting Leeds’ oldest stage in next month.

Twice Nightly , a new show that promises to take the audience on a trip down Memory Lane, is at the City Varieties Music Hall on November 7th.

Leeds-based writer Liz Coggins said, “I have written this piece based on stories that my Mother and Grandmother told me when I was growing up; we were a family that loved theatre and I have always been involved in it whether writing, performing or directing.”

Gladys and Ethel are the narrators of the piece recalling the city’s late and great cinemas, music halls and theatres in an evening of comedy, music, song and dance.

Today, if you walk from Albion Street to Leeds City Bus Station via Briggate you will pass the sites where three theatre and four cinemas once stood,” continues Liz. “Now they are department stores, office blocks and car parks but then, for the people of Leeds, they were palaces of dreams.”

Liz will take the role of Gladys with Leeds actress Rachael Bickerdyke as Ethel.  They are joined by Comedian Dale Ibbetson and Tenor Richard Hunt with support from the students of the On Stage Theatre Arts Academy to create a sparkling evening of nostalgia.


Twice Nightly is at City Varieties Music Hall on Saturday 7th November at 7.30pm


Tickets are on sale now priced £16.60 to £18.60


Book online at or call Box Office on 0113 243 08 08


Full casting announced for Faustaff at the Cockpit Theatre

Full casting details were announced today for the London production of Faustaff, with Lesley Lightfoot set to take on the main role in the play.

The play, written by Mexican playwright Diego Sosa, will run at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone, London from Wednesday 18th November to Sunday 6th December 2015. Lesley Lightfoot leads the cast as Gilly Jacoby, appearing alongside Jonson Wilkinson as Olivier Simone/Ponton/Andrew, Eddie Chamberlin (Chorus), Bernard O’Sullivan as Detective Paterson, Charles Timson as Detective Virgil/Apotecary and Alessia Gotti as Maria/Karla/Alice/Martha.

Faustaff is the story of Gilly Jacoby, a successful writer that has become world famous, thanks to a pact she made with the devil. This has granted her the ability to see the ill future of couples so that she can write the successful novels that have turned her into a best seller author. The price, however, is far too high. Her heartbreaks, ambitions and dreams turn out to be somewhat different than what she had expected. The result: a tragic twirl that will lead her into madness and the fulfilment of her own prophecies.

Faustaff (or the mockery of the soul) is a modern tragedy, filled with black humour and inspired by the Faustian myth, with the title derived from a combination of Marlowe’s and Goethe’s Dr Faustus and the character Falstaff from the William Shakespeare plays, Henry IV and The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The play is an international project that is being simultaneously produced in Mexico City and London as part of the Dual Year Mexico – United Kingdom 2015. Both cultures are celebrated through the event, which brings together British and Mexican artists: a British director directs a Mexican cast in Mexico, and a Mexican director directs a British cast in the UK.

The Mexican production opened at the Foro Shakespeare in Mexico DF on 5th October, and is directed by British director Frank Kaye.

The London production is directed by Mexican director Rodrigo Johnson, and produced here by the Mexican Theatre company La Compania Perpetua in collaboration with UK’s Artistic Productions. Set design is by UK-based Mexican artist Pablo Angel Lugo.

Faustaff runs from Wednesday 18th November to Sunday 6th December 2015 at the Cockpit Theatre, London, with a press night on Thursday 19th November 2015.


Motown The Musical Open Auditions for roles of Marvin Gaye and Young Michael Jackson

The West End production of Motown the Musical, which opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre in February 2016, is to hold open casting auditions on Saturday 7th November 2015 for the chance to portray the roles of Marvin Gaye and Young Michael Jackson in the musical.

Auditions for the role of Marvin Gaye will begin at 10:30am, with registration from 10am. Auditions for the role of Young Michael Jackson will begin at 2pm, with registration from 1:30pm. The open auditions will be at the Royal Shakespeare Company Rehearsal Rooms (35 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7TW). For further information please visit

MARVIN GAYE auditions – Registration 10.00am
Auditions commence 10.30am
Looking for charismatic male black and mixed race performers with excellent tenor soul/pop voices to portray the iconic artist MARVIN GAYE.
Must be 5’10 and over.
Please be prepared to sing a pop/soul or Motown song and bring the sheet music. No backing tracks. A pianist will be provided.
Please bring a CV and recent photograph stapled together.

YOUNG MICHAEL JACKSON auditions – Registration 1.30pm
Auditions commence 2.00pm
Looking for black and mixed race boys aged between 8-12, with unbroken voices under 4’11.
You will be taught a short dance routine and will sing I Want You Back.
Please bring trainers and comfortable clothes to dance in.

The open auditions will be at the Royal Shakespeare Company Rehearsal Rooms (35 Clapham High Street, London, SW4 7TW). Closest station Clapham North.
With music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue and book by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Motown the Musical is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright. London previews begin on 11 February 2016, with press night on 8 March 2016 and booking until 22 October 2016.

With just $800 borrowed from his family, Motown founder Berry Gordy, goes from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul, discovering and launching the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. Motown the Musical uncovers the true story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation.

Featuring a sixteen piece orchestra playing 50 Motown tracks including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I’ll Be There, Dancing In The Street, Stop! In The Name Of Love, My Girl and I Heard It through the Grapevine, Charles Randolph-Wright’s production tells the story behind the classic hits.

Tony nominated Motown the Musical received its world premiere in April 2013 in New York at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and recouped its $18 million investment by the end of 2014. The first US National Tour opened to critical acclaim last spring in Chicago, grossing $20 million dollars during its standing room only sixteen-week run, and continues to play to packed houses across America.

Motown the Musical has music supervision, orchestrations and arrangements by Ethan Popp, co-orchestrations and additional arrangements by Bryan Cook, dance arrangements by Zane Mark and music direction by Gareth Weedon. Choreography is by Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams, scenic design by David Korins, costumes by Esosa, lighting by Natasha Katz, sound by Peter Hylenski and projections by Daniel Brodie. UK associate director is Tara Wilkinson, UK associate set designer is Andrew Edwards and UK associate lighting designer is Alistair Grant. Motown the Musical will be produced in the West End by Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris, Berry Gordy and Adam Spiegel.


Motown The Musical
Shaftesbury Theatre
Booking From: 11th February 2016
Booking Until: 22nd October 2016
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Thursday and Saturday 3.00pm

Tim Minchin among guests to star in first Old Vic variety night

Matilda writer and comedian Tim Minchin will lead the line-up for the first Old Vic Variety Night on 15 November.

Minchin – who worked with Old Vic artistic director Matthew Warchus on the stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s much-loved story – will be joined by magician Dynamo, comedian Mark Watson and the Tredegar Town Band – a brass band recently seen in Warchus’s film Pride.

Further acts to be announced.

Talking about the first variety night, Warchus said:

“Three of my favourite things are music, magic and comedy, hence my eagerness to introduce a series of Old Vic Variety Nights. We’re looking forward to seeing the Old Vic lit up on a Sunday night welcoming all kinds of audiences… to see famous faces mixed with new talent in evenings of laughter, fun and really great entertainment.’

Tickets go on general sale at 12 noon on Friday 30 October.


Double award-winning Newcastle Theatre Royal has officially unveiled its £600,000 backstage refurbishment by inviting ‘the Queen’ along to perform an official ribbon cutting ceremony.


The grand unveiling comes just as the theatre is celebrating a double national award win for its welcoming atmosphere. Newcastle Theatre Royal was named the My Theatre Matters! UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre of 2015 in the UK Theatre Awards, in association with Smooth Radio and was also presented with the Technical Theatre Awards’ ‘Receiving Venue Team of the Year’ just this month.


Staff at the theatre, decided that having ‘the Queen’ on stage all week in hit comedy Handbagged was too good an opportunity to miss and asked actress Susie Blake, who plays the role, if she would pop along in costume to officially unveil the newly refurbished facilities.


Susie Blake, posing as ‘the Queen’ said: “It is particularly lovely to be performing the official opening of the backstage refurbishment following the recent announcement that Newcastle Theatre Royal has been crowned the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre 2015. Looking at these marvellous new facilities for the visiting actors it is clear to see why that accolade has been awarded.”


The backstage refurbishment has seen the theatre invest £600,000 in improved Dressing Room facilities, stripping out and renewing all the Dressing Rooms, the Band Rooms for musicians, the laundry, wardrobe and wigs rooms, and improved access and facilities for disabled performers. The ground floor has also been reconfigured with a striking new Stage Door area, and a brand new Green Room, with TV, wi-fi and a football table, and a kitchenette so visiting actors eat and relax in comfort.


Newcastle Theatre Royal’s Chief Executive, Philip Bernays, added: “It’s great fun to have ‘the Queen’ here for our official opening ceremony today, but on a serious note the investment in our backstage facilities plays an important part in being able to attract the finest companies to the Theatre Royal so that our audiences can enjoy top quality theatre.


“Visiting actors regularly comment on how wonderful the team is here at Newcastle Theatre Royal and we are very proud of that reputation as a friendly and welcoming place for them to come; this is now backed up by our recent double award win, which is wonderful. Now our first class personal welcome is matched by our facilities and we hope that all of our visiting companies will enjoy the comfort of the new surroundings we provide for them.”


‘The Queen’ was joined at the official ceremony by ‘Margaret Thatcher’ played by fellow actress Kate Fahy and the pair posed for comedy shots in the new Green Room at Newcastle Theatre Royal while putting the new facilities to the test.


The two actors, who play the lead roles in the award-winning comedy Handbagged, will be using the facilities for real all week as the hit comedy plays to Newcastle audiences. Handbagged is Moira Buffini’s celebrated new comedy, which speculates on what the Queen and Margaret Thatcher really talked about behind closed palace doors. When the stiff upper lip softened and the gloves came off, which one had the upper hand?


Handbagged plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Saturday 31 October. Tickets are from £12 (save 50p per ticket when you book online) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at


Rat - Cat - Steve Arnott - Pete Peverley- Theatre Royal pantoNewcastle Theatre Royal has today announced that Washington-born Pete Peverley will play the role of ‘Little Bobby the Cat’ in its spectacular 2015/16 pantomime Dick Whittington (24 November 2015 – 17 January 2016).


Peter made his panto debut last year in the Theatre Royal’s box office-busting Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and had audiences in stitches playing ‘Little Bobby the Dwarf’ – an ode to his Bobby Thompson comedy routine.  The role followed the huge success of his one-man show about the North East’s favourite comedian at the Theatre in 2013.


Pete will join the purr-fect pantomime team of Danny Adams, Clive Webb and Chris Hayward who have delighted Newcastle audiences for over a decade and broken box office records every year, alongside recently announced award-winning soap star Charlie Hardwick, who will play ‘Spirit of the Tyne’.


Pete is one of the region’s most celebrated entertainers.  Trained at Newcastle College, he is a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and performed for many years as part of the Northern Stage ensemble.  His TV credits are extensive and include Byker Grove, Emmerdale and Spender.


Danny Adams and Clive Webb make their eleventh consecutive pantomime appearance at the Theatre Royal in Dick Whittington. With their much-loved and hilarious slapstick, physical comedy and slosh routines, the award-winning father and son duo have become a veritable North East institution. Danny plays the title role of Dick Whittington, while Clive plays Councillor Fitzfenwick.


Making his ninth appearance in Newcastle alongside Danny and Clive, Chris Hayward also returns, complete with his glittering array of costumes and wigs, all of which he designs himself. Playing the role of Dame Rita Fitzfenwick, Chris will provide all of the glamour and sparkle Newcastle theatregoers have come to expect from the North East’s premiere pantomime.


Legendary panto villain and Whitley Bay-lad Steve Arnott is back again – this time playing the dastardly King Rat.  This will be his seventh season at the Theatre Royal and follows his triumphant turn as the evil Queen Lucretia in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs last year.


Dick Whittington is the only pantomime believed to be based on a true story, and one of the few of truly British origin. There actually was a Richard Whittington, and he did become (Lord) Mayor of London in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.  The legend says that Whittington was a poor boy who travelled to London to seek his fame and fortune, but arrived penniless, and without a friend in the world – until he was introduced to a rather amazing cat. Newcastle audiences can expect a distinctly local twist on the traditional tale!


Audiences can also expect breathtaking special effects, once again provided by The Twins FX (the award-winning company behind previous years’ looping reindeer sleigh, flying helicopter and magic carpet), hilarious comedy routines, spectacular sets and sensational music and dance.  Plus, returning again in 2015/16 due to popular demand – incredible 3D special effects!


Pete Peverley said: “I’m really excited to be playing Little Bobby the Cat – it’s a great honour and a real treat.  Theatre Royal pantomimes are like no other pantos on the planet – they are truly spectacular, and year on year keep blowing their box office targets as word travels further afield.  I loved playing Little Bobby the Dwarf last year and I have no doubt that this year’s show will be another unforgettable experience.”


Already 74,000 tickets have been sold for the panto, a full month before opening – a new record best for the region’s favourite Christmas show. Audiences are encouraged to book soon to avoid disappointment.

Dick Whittington is produced by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, which will stage 24 productions throughout the UK this Christmas. With ticket prices to suit all pockets, audiences won’t have to head to London to seek their fortune in order to enjoy spectacular pantomime at Newcastle Theatre Royal this Christmas!

Dick Whittington appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 24 November 2015 until Sunday 17 January 2016. Tickets are available from £12.50, (save 50p per ticket by booking online). Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (all calls are charged at 7p a minute plus your phone company’s access charge, calls from mobiles may vary, please contact your operator for details) or select your own seat and book online at







27 October 2015, London, UK

The Theatres Trust releases its 38th Annual Report: ‘Empowering communities to protect theatres’’ which highlights its achievements from April 2014 to March 2015.

As the National Advisory Body for Theatres we provide advice and support to secure a better and more sustainable future for the nation’s valued theatres. We champion all theatres and provide expert knowledge and an authoritative voice on the significance and value of theatres.

Mhora Samuel, Director of The Theatres Trust said “The Trust’s focus this year was our work with local communities and we worked with more theatres than ever, helped more projects with advice as well as financial resources, and developed our new workshop programme to inject new skills into organisations – helping communities and theatre owners to find innovative solutions to ensure no city, town or community is without access to a theatre.

Tim Eyles, appointed as Chair of The Theatres Trust in February 2015 said “The Trust has a vital role in protecting theatres for everyone, and I intend to continue the great work of my predecessor Rob Dickens CBE and ensure that the Trust’s role as an advisor, a champion and a resource for theatres grows. In the next three to five years you will hear the Trust’s voice more often and loudly, and we are already starting to plot a clear path.”

In 2014/15 the Trust published its annual Theatre Buildings at Risk Register 2014 at Brighton Theatre Royal, highlighting the challenges facing top theatre at risk Brighton Hippodrome. We awarded ten grants totalling £50,000 from our Small Grants Scheme supported by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and Judy Craymer MBE to theatres across the nation, helped develop guidance on plaster ceilings in theatres and celebrated initiatives that empowered communities to own and manage their theatres at Conference 14: Community Theatres.

In our unique role as a statutory consultee in the planning system we advised local authorities on 117 theatre-related planning applications and 57 theatre-related listed building consultations, and contributed to 292 local plan consultations securing stronger cultural policies to protect theatres.

Our successful Building Better Theatres Workshop programme provided specialist knowledge to 34 theatres from across the nations, and we provided bespoke one-to-one advice to a further 56 theatres on their capital project development, future viability, conservation, and maintenance.

We also helped 212 researchers access our valuable Archives and Collections to further their studies on the history, design and development of theatres.

The Theatres Trust is the National Advisory Public Body for Theatres. The Trust was established by The Theatres Trust Act 1976, ‘to promote the better protection of theatres’. It is a statutory consultee on theatre buildings in the planning system, provides expert advice on the sustainable development of theatre buildings and helps promote awareness and solutions for theatres at risk. It champions all theatres, historic, contemporary and new in theatre use, in other uses or disused. The Theatres Trust’s central London Theatreland-based Resource Centre provides access to a specialist theatre buildings Reference Library including books and architectural plans.

Download The Theatres Trust’s 38th Annual Report 14/15

The Theatres Trust
Protecting theatres for everyone
T 020 7836 8591