SONIA FRIEDMAN NAMED PRODUCER OF THE YEAR FOR SECOND YEAR RUNNING
Acclaimed West End and Broadway producer, Sonia Friedman, has been named Producer of the Year for the second year running at The Stage Awards 2016 held today (29 January) at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.
It has been a remarkable year for Sonia, producing 19 productions over 2015, with hits includingHamletstarring Benedict Cumberbatch at The Barbican, the award winning and critically acclaimed Bend it Like Beckham and the multi award-winning Sunny Afternoon which won 4 Oliver Awards in 2015 including Best New Musical, Farinelli and the Kingstarring Mark RylanceandKing Charles IIIin the West End, on Broadway and on tour. This year Sonia will produce the highly anticipated Funny Girl starring Sheridan Smith at the Savoy Theatre and will collaborate with J.K. Rowling on the world premiere ofHarry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II, in co-production with Colin Callender.
Speaking at The Stage Awards 2016, Sonia said, “It is a real honour to be given this award for the second year in a row. It is testament to the extraordinary hard work of all my team and the brilliance of the creative people we have worked with that this has been given to me. I want to take this opportunity to thank them all for what they do. I would also like to thank The Stage and everyone who voted for me again this year.”
FULL CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE KENNETH BRANAGH THEATRE COMPANY’S NEW COMEDY THE PAINKILLER
KENNETH BRANAGH AND ROB BRYDON WILL BE JOINED BY CLAUDIE BLAKLEY, MARCUS FRASER, MARK HADFIELD AND ALEX MACQUEEN
DIRECTED AND ADAPTED BY SEAN FOLEY, THE PAINKILLER WILL PLAY AT THE GARRICK FROM 5 MARCH UNTIL 30 APRIL 2016
It is announced today that Claudie Blakley, Marcus Fraser, Mark Hadfield and Alex Macqueenwill join previously confirmed cast members Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon in the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company’s new comedy The Painkiller. The fifth production in the Plays at the Garrick season will play from 5 March until 30 April with press night on 17 March.
Two men. Two lonely hotel rooms. An adjoining door…
One of them is a killer… one of them wants to die… What could possibly go wrong?
Sean Foley directs his darkly hilarious adaptation of Francis Veberʼs classic French farce as Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon reprise the roles they played to great acclaim at the Belfast’s Lyric Theatre inaugural season in this comic tour-de-force.
Sean Foley said: “The Painkiller proved to be a very funny evening in the theatre in its first incarnation at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast. I’m delighted to have the chance to further develop this comedy with the remarkable double act of Kenneth Branagh and Rob Brydon, who, together with the brilliant Mark Hadfield, were a joy to direct in the first production. I know that they are excited as I am to also be welcoming to our cast the extraordinary talents of Claudie Blakley, Marcus Fraser and Alex Macqueen, and we will all be working as hard as possible to bring this darkly hilarious farce to explosive life for London audiences.”
Claudie Blakley plays Michelle. Previous theatre credits include Rules for Living (National Theatre), Chimerica (Almeida / West End), Macbeth (Sheffield Crucible), Di and Viv and Rose(Hampstead Theatre), Comedy of Errors (RNT), The Cherry Orchard (National Theatre),Attempts on Her Life (National Theatre), Love and Money (Royal Exchange / Young Vic), King Lear (Sheffield Crucible), All’s Well That Ends Well (RSC), Kosher Harry (Royal Court), The Lady from the Sea (Almeida), Billy & the Crab Lady (Soho Theatre Company) and The Good Samaritan(Hampstead Theatre). In addition to her work on stage, Claudie has appeared on film in Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice, Gosford Park and Bright Star. Claudie’s television credits includeMidsomer Murders, Call the Midwife, Silent Witness, The Driver, What Remains, The Night Watch, New Tricks, Nativity, Blue Geranium, Larkrise to Candleford, Cranford Chronicles, Fallen Angel, Fear of Fanny, Vital Signs, Dirty Filthy Love and Inspector Linley Mysteries.
Marcus Fraser plays the Policeman. Marcus recently graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. The Painkiller marks Marcus’ professional debut.
Mark Hadfield plays Vincent. He has previously appeared on stage in Matchbox Theatre(Hampstead Theatre), Made in Dagenham (Adelphi), Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense(Duke of York’s), Singing in the Rain (Palace), Uncle Vanya (Vaudeville), The Tempest (Bath Theatre Royal), The Painkiller (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (Bath Theatre Royal), The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Talk of the City, The Seagull, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night (all Royal Shakespeare Company). In addition to his stage credits, Mark has appeared on television in From Cradle to the Grave, Trollied, Wallander, People Like Us, Doc Martin and Foyle’s War. His film credits include A Royal Night Out, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, In the Bleak Midwinter, Felicia’s Journey, A Cock and Bull Story and Hamlet.
Alex Macqueen plays Dent. Alex’s previous stage credits include Two Bears – A Response to Two Kings (Bush Theatre) and The Laws of War (Royal Court). He has previously appeared on screen in television in productions including Peaky Blinders, Together, Trying Again, Plebs, Black Mirror, This is England 88, Rock and Chips, Lewis, Come Fly With Me, Miranda, The Inbetweeners, The IT Crowd, The Thick of It, Lead Balloon, Pulling and Peep Show. In addition to his roles on television, Alex has also appeared on film in Slow West, Youth, Cinderella, The Inbetweeners 2, One Chance, Dare to be Wild, Fear of Water, I Give It A Year, Gambit, Jack The Giant Slayer, Keeping Mum, The Inbetweeners, Anuvahood, Chalet Girl, Four Lions and In The Loop.
The Winter’s Tale, Harlequinade / All On Her Own, Red Velvet, The Painkiller, Romeo and Juliet and The Entertainer make up the inaugural seven-play season of work for the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company. For more information and to buy theatre tickets for these productions please see www.branaghtheatre.com
The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company, in partnership with Picturehouse Entertainment, will broadcast three productions of its year-long Plays at the Garrick season live to cinemas worldwide. Romeo and Juliet will be broadcast live on 7 July and a date for The Entertainer will be confirmed soon. Participating cinemas and encore screening dates for The Winter’s Tale can be found at branaghtheatrelive.com
THE PAINKILLER 5 March 2016 – 30 April 2016
Captioned Performance: 22 March 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: 29 March 7.30pm
Performances Monday – Saturday with 2.30pm matinee performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays excluding Wednesday matinees on 5 March, 6 April, 13 April, 20 April and 27 April.
No booking fees or transaction fees on any ticket booked direct through branaghtheatre.com, nimaxtheatres.com, direct telephone bookings at the Garrick Theatre and to personal callers at the Garrick Theatre.
TodayTix run a £15 Front Row Mobile Lottery via the TodayTix App for all productions of the inaugural Plays at the Garrick season. The Front Row Lottery will open from midnight for performances that day and close four hours prior to the chosen performance. Customers who share their entry via Twitter or Facebook will gain an additional entry into the Lottery. Every entrant has the potential of three entries per performance.
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PLAYS AT THE GARRICK
RED VELVET 23 January 2016 – 27 February 2016
Press performance: 1 February 7pm
Captioned performance: 9 February 7.30pm
Audio Described performance: 16 February 7.30pm
Performances Monday – Sunday with 2.30pm matinee performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
ROMEO AND JULIET 12 May 2016 – 13 August 2016
Press performance: 25 May 7pm
Captioned Performance: 31 May 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: 7 June 7.30pm
Performances Monday – Saturday with 2.30pm matinee performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays excluding 14 May and 25 May.
Romeo and Juliet will be broadcast live to cinemas worldwide on 7 July 2016.
THE ENTERTAINER 20 August 2016 – 12 November 2016
Press performance: 30 August 7pm
Captioned Performance: 6 September 7.30pm
Audio Described Performance: 13 September 7.30pm
Performances Monday – Saturday with 2.30pm matinee performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays excluding 20 August.
Casting has been announced for the Music & Lyrics Limited and West Yorkshire Playhouse production of the much-loved Sherman Brothers musical CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. The 2016-17 UK and Ireland tour begins at Mayflower Theatre, Southampton on 10 February 2016.
Caractacus Potts will be played by Jason Manford (The Producers, Sweeney Todd) from 10 February until 24 April, and he will return to the show from 5 October 2016. Lee Mead (Casualty, Legally Blonde, Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat) will play Caractacus Potts from 4 May until 18 September 2016.
Martin Kemp (EastEnders, The Krays) will play the Childcatcher and Amy Griffiths (Everyman, Stephen Ward, The Pajama Game) will play Truly Scrumptious, both until 24 April 2016.
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG will also feature Phill Jupitus (The Producers, Hairspray) as Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst until 24 April 2016, Michelle Collins (EastEnders, Coronation Street) as Baroness Bomburst, and Andy Hockley (The Phantom Of The Opera) as Grandpa Potts.
Ewen Cummins plays The Toymaker/Mr Coggins, with Sam Harrison as Boris and Scott Paige as Goran, and Kathryn Barnes, Rosanna Bates, Alex Louize Bird, Abigail Climer, Jade Davies, Matt Gillett, Ewan Gillies, Joanna Goodwin, Nathan Vaughan Harris, Christopher D Hunt, Paul Iveson, Nia Jermin, Kelsie-Rae Marshall, Mollie Melia-Redgrave, Perry O’Dea, Matt Overfield, Ross Russell, Craig Turner and Robert Wilkes.
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG has music and lyrics by Richard M Sherman and Robert B Sherman, who were also responsible for Mary Poppins, The Slipper and the Rose, The Aristocats and The Jungle Book. The Sherman Brothers have won two Academy Awards with a further nine nominations, two Grammy Awards and they have received 21 gold and platinum albums.
The film made from Ian Fleming’s classic story has been adapted for the stage by Jeremy Sams, based on the MGM Motion Picture Licensed Script adapted by Ray Roderick.
This new production of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG will be directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, with new choreography by Stephen Mear. There will be a live orchestra with Musical Supervision by Stephen Ridley. Set and costume design is by Simon Higlett, lighting design is by Tim Mitchell, sound design is by Ben Harrison and video design is by Simon Wainwright.
There will be sensational sets and stunning special effects and, of course, the memorable score by the Sherman Brothers, which includes such standards as Truly Scrumptious, Toot Sweets, Hushabye Mountain and the Oscar-nominated title song Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
This production is presented by permission of JOSEF WEINBERGER LIMITED on behalf of MUSIC THEATRE INTERNATIONAL of New York.
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG will open with a previously announced cast at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds on 2 December, with a national press night on Thursday 10 December, for a nine-week season finishing on 30 January 2016 prior to the new cast starting the UK and Ireland Tour. For more information, visit www.chittythemusical.co.uk
Facebook: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang The Musical
Twitter: @ChittyMusical / #chittymusical
LISTINGS INFORMATION for THE UK AND IRELAND TOUR
10–21 February Mayflower Theatre, Southampton www.mayflower.org.uk 02380 711811
24 February – 13 March Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie 0844 847 2455
16 – 27 March Grand Opera House, Belfast www.goh.co.uk/ 028 9024 1919
30 March – 9 April Regent Theatre, Stoke 0844 871 7649 www.atgtickets.com/venues/regent-theatre
Sonia Friedman crowned Producer of the Year for a second year running
44-seat theatre in Cardiff is first non-London winner of coveted Fringe Theatre of the Year
Royal Exchange, Manchester, wins Regional Theatre of the Year; Almeida’s Greeks help secure London Theatre of the Year
War Horse China rides away with International Award
The world’s oldest and best theatre publication, The Stage, has announced the winners of its annual The Stage Awards at a ceremony at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Plaudits include a second Producer of the Year win for Sonia Friedman, who continues to dominate commercial theatre production with shows such as Hamlet at the Barbican, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, and the forthcoming Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
War Horse China was given the International Award for its collaborative effort and exchange of skills between the British and Chinese national theatres, while Manchester’s Royal Exchange and London’s Almeida walked away with silverware as top theatres regionally and in the capital respectively.
For the first time in the history of The Stage Awards, the Fringe Theatre of the Year category was taken by a non-London theatre, Cardiff’s 44-seat the Other Room. At the other end of the scale, the National Theatre’s juggernaut regeneration project, NT Future, secured it Theatre Building of the Year.
Arts Educational Schools London impressed the judges with its musical theatre output and for having a student nominated for an Olivier Award, earning it School of the Year.
Roger Miller, who almost single-handedly saved the Felixstowe Spa Pavilion Theatre using his own tools and time, was deservedly awarded the Unsung Hero award.
Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, said: “The Stage Awards are the only awards that recognise theatre at all scales and in all places, not just in the UK but across the world. Our winners come from London, Manchester, Cardiff and Felixstowe, but also China. Meanwhile, they range in scale from one of the world’s most high profile commercial producers – Sonia Friedman – to Roger Miller, a devoted stage manager who helped save his local theatre; from the National Theatre, the UK’s foremost publicly funded theatre, to Wales’s first, tiny, pub theatre, which seats only 44 people and receives no funding. It’s been another great 12 months, and another really tricky set of decisions for our judging panel, and I’d like to congratulate all our winners and shortlisted organisations.”
The Stage Awards, in association with RT Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach, were announced on January 29, 2016, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.
The full list of winners is as follows:
Regional Theatre of the Year Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
London Theatre of the Year
Fringe Theatre of the Year The Other Room, Cardiff
Producer of the Year
School of the Year
Arts Educational Schools London
Theatre building of the Year
International Award War Horse China
About The Stage Awards The Stage Awards highlights the achievements by London, regional and fringe theatres as well as international achievements. Additionally there are categories for producer, theatre building and school of the year. The Stage also presents an award to an unsung hero for which there is no shortlist.
This year’s shortlist was compiled from hundreds of nominations received through the open public nomination process. In addition, for the first year ever, an industry focus group of 50 people steered the shortlist. The final cut was selected by a panel of senior editorial figures at The Stage and aims to celebrate the finest theatre achievements of the past year.
The judging panel included The Stage print editor Alistair Smith, online editor Paddy Smith, news editor Matthew Hemley, associate editor Mark Shenton and lead critic Natasha Tripney.
International smash-hit musical Hairspray comes to the Lyceum Theatre from Monday 8 – Saturday 13 February starring actor, presenter and former Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, Benidorm’s Tony Maudsley, TV and musicals star Claire Sweeney and X Factor finalist and West End star Brenda Edwards.
It’s Baltimore 1962, where Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, is on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. Tracy’s audition makes her a local star and soon she is using her new-found fame to fight for equality, bagging local heartthrob Link Larkin along the way.
Full of feel-good fun and show-stopping songs including You Can’t Stop The Beat, Hairspray is guaranteed to have audiences dancing the night away!
Hairspray is at the Lyceum Theatre from Monday 8 – Saturday 13 February. Tickets can be purchased from Sheffield Theatres’ Box Office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk and are priced from £27.00 – £42.00 (a transaction fee of £1.50 (£1.00 online) applies to all bookings made at the Box Office, excluding cash), and discounts are available.
From Tuesday 15 March, there will be four new Seasons joining the cast of JERSEY BOYS at the Piccadilly Theatre ahead of its 8th Anniversary on 18 March. This is the first time since the show opened in London that all four Seasons have changed.
Jersey Boys is firmly established as one of the longest running and most popular shows in the West End.
The musical has now been seen by over 23 million people worldwide and celebrated its 10th anniversary on Broadway last November.
The new London cast will feature Matt Corner as Frankie Valli, Simon Bailey as Tommy De Vito, Declan Egan as Bob Gaudio and Matt Hunt as Nick Massi, with Dayle Hodge playing Frankie Valli at certain performances.
Matt Corner joins the West End cast direct from the record-breaking UK and Ireland touring production of JERSEY BOYS, where he played Frankie Valli to 5-star reviews. Previously in the West End, he played Galileo in We Will Rock You.
Simon Bailey’s extensive West End credits include I Can’t Sing! The X-Factor Musical, Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Enjolras in the 21st Anniversary cast of Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre) and Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera. Simon is also a founder member of ‘Theatreland’s First Supergroup’, Teatro. Teatro achieved gold status with their eponymous debut album after just three weeks, making them one of the fastest selling musical theatre acts of all time.
Australian-born Declan Egan played Bob Gaudio in the Australian and New Zealand tour ofJERSEY BOYS. Most recently, he appeared in the US Tour of The Book of Mormon. JERSEY BOYS at the Piccadilly Theatre marks his West End debut.
Fellow Australian Matt Hunt made his professional theatre debut in the Australian and New Zealand touring production of JERSEY BOYS and the London production also marked his West End debut. He originally joined the cast in 2014 as Norm Waxman.
Dayle Hodge joins the London cast straight from the UK & Ireland touring production of JERSEY BOYS, where he understudied and played Frankie Valli. His other West End credits include Les Misérables, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (original London cast) and Chip in the original London cast of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
Also joining the cast of JERSEY BOYS in London on 15 March will be Mark Dugdale, Leanne Garretty, Will Haswell, Mark Heenehan, Joe Maxwell, Nathaniel Morrison and Dan O’Brien, who
will join Nicola Brazil, Stuart Dawes, Lucinda Gill, Nicky Griffiths, Mark Isherwood, Ben Jennings, Chris Stoddart, Helen Ternent and Ben Wheeler.
JERSEY BOYS opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre in 2008 and moved to the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2014. The show completes its first, record-breaking tour of the UK and Ireland on 5 March.
JERSEY BOYS is the remarkable true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from the wrong side of the tracks. These four boys from New Jersey became one of the most successful bands in pop history, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they turned 30. The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’, Sherry, Walk Like A Man, December, 1963 (Oh What a Night), Big Girls Don’t Cry, My Eyes Adored You, Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got), Bye Bye Baby, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, Working My Way Back to You, Fallen Angel, Rag Doll and Who Loves You.
Winner of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical, JERSEY BOYS is the winner of 57 major awards worldwide. As well as still running on Broadway and in the West End, and on tour in the UK and Ireland, JERSEY BOYS can be seen in Las Vegas and across the United States on its US National Tour.
JERSEY BOYS is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. The London production is staged by the entire original Broadway creative team, led by director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, with scenic design by Klara Zieglerova, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Steve Canyon Kennedy and projection design by Michael Clark. The orchestrations are by Steve Orich and the music supervision and vocal arrangements by Ron Melrose.
JERSEY BOYS is produced in London by the Dodgers, with Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, in association with Latitude Link, Rick Steiner, and a small clutch of UK colleagues.
16 Denman Street
London W1D 7DY
Performances: Tuesdays – Saturdays at 7.30pm, Tuesday & Saturday matinees at 3.00pm, Sundays at 5.00pm
Dominic Cooper returns to the stage this year to play debauched 17th Century rake the Earl of Rochester in The Libertine. This sexually charged masterpiece by award-winning playwright Stephen Jeffreys will play a limited run as part of the 2016 summer season at Bath Theatre Royal from 31 August to 17 September prior to the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket from 22 September to 3 December with opening night for press on 27 September.
Full casting has yet to be announced for The Libertine which will be directed by the Olivier and Tony Award-winning Terry Johnson.
John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester is a charismatic poet, playwright and rake with a legendary appetite for excess. Yet this most ardent of hedonists is forced to reconsider everything he thinks and feels when a chance encounter with an actress at the Playhouse sends him reeling. With flair and wit, this wild romp through 1670s London offers an incisive critique of life in an age of excess.
Dominic Cooper has notable stage credits, particularly at the National Theatre including The History Boys, Mother Clap’s Molly House and more recently in Phedre alongside Helen Mirren. Cooper’s numerous film credits include The History Boys, The Duchess, My Week with Marilyn, Mamma Mia, Captain America: The First Avenger and he is soon to star in Preacher.
Stephen Jeffreys is the author of A Going Concern, The Clink and Valued Friends, which won him the Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award.
Terry Johnson is a dramatist and director who has won numerous theatre awards including two Oliviers as a playwright for Best Comedy and a Tony for Best Director of a Musical for La Cage Aux Folles. Other directing credits include The Graduate, Entertaining Mr Sloane and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest.
The Libertine was first performed on tour and at the Royal Court Theatre alongside the Restoration comedy, The Man of Mode, which presented another, contemporary view of Rochester. It later transferred to Chicago’s Steppenwolf starring John Malkovich and directed by Terry Johnson before Johnny Depp took the title role in the 2004 film adaptation.
The Libertine is produced by TRH Productions, Lee Dean and Theatre Royal Bath Productions with Ilene Starger as Executive Producer.
“ONLY THE BRAVE” TO PREMIERE AT WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE
FROM 28 MARCH TO 2 APRIL
STARRING DAVID THAXTON, CAROLINE SHEEN AND NEIL MCDERMOTT
This Easter, Wales Millennium Centre will premiere its first full-scale, original musical, ONLY THE BRAVE, produced with Soho Theatre, Daniel Sparrow Productions and Birdsong Productions. Based on the real lives of men and women caught up in the D-Day landings, this new production will star David Thaxton, Caroline Sheen and Neil McDermott, directed by Steve Marmion, Artistic Director of London’s Soho Theatre.
With a book by writer Rachel Wagstaff, music by Matthew Brind and lyrics by Steve Marmion, ONLY THE BRAVE tells the heart-breaking and inspirational true story of two couples brought together by war, Captain John (Thaxton) and Joy (Sheen) Howard and Lieutenant Denham (McDermott) and Maggie Brotheridge. This emotionally charged new musical brings to life the passion, camaraderie and courage of an incredible generation.
David Thaxton, born in Neath, South Wales, won an Olivier for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Giorgio in the Donmar Warehouse production of Passion. Other West End roles include Enjolras and Javert in Les Misérables, Raoul in Love Never Dies and Maximilian in Candide. He was also a member of Only Men Aloud!, the Welsh male voice choir which won the BBC’s Last Choir Standing, and is a founding member of the band Divisions.
Caroline Sheen, also from South Wales, made her West End debut as Marty in Grease at the Cambridge Theatre, and later played Sandy in a revival at the Victoria Palace Theatre. She was in the original casts of Mamma Mia! and The Witches of Eastwick and other West End roles include Eponine and Fantine in Les Misérables and Truly Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. She played the title role in the UK and US Tours of Mary Poppins. Most recently, she played Alaura/Carla in City of Angels at the Donmar Warehouse.
Neil McDermott is currently reprising his role as Ryan Malloy in EastEnders on BBC 1, a role he previously played between 2009 and 2011 and reprised in 2014. He also played Dr Ralph Ellis in The Royal between 2009 and 2011. His West End theatre credits include Lord Farquaad in Shrek the Musical, Jean-Michel in La Cage aux Folles, Young Buddy in Follies, Rolf in The Sound of Music and the title role inAladdin opposite Ian McKellen at the Old Vic.
Writer Rachel Wagstaff successfully adapted for the stage Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong. She is currently co-writing two screenplays with Sebastian Faulks and is under commission to write a new musical for Vicky Graham Productions/Old Vic. Rachel also adapted Sebastian Faulks’s novel, The Girl at the Lion d’Or, for BBC Radio Four (Woman’s Hour).
Composer Matthew Brind is the musical arranger and conductor for X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and America’s Got Talent. His theatre credits include composer for David Walliams’s Mr Stink, musical director for Legally Blonde, and musical supervisor for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Matthew is principal conductor and arranger for the Welsh Pops Orchestra.
Director and lyricist Steve Marmion has been Artistic Director of London’s Soho Theatre since 2010. A former associate director at the Royal Shakespeare Company and a creative associate at the Bush Theatre, he trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. His credits away from Soho Theatre include 24 Hour Plays at the Old Vic, Macbeth at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, and Faustus and Edward Gant’s Amazing Feats of Loneliness for Headlong.
ONLY THE BRAVE’s original concept was by Steve Coleman, Matthew Brind and Rachel Wagstaff.
NORFOLK & NORWICH FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FURTHER PROGRAMMING FOR 2016
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR WILLIAM GALINSKY WILL DIRECT AN EXTRAORDINARY NEW PRODUCTION OF THE TEMPEST AT THE GREAT YARMOUTH HIPPODROME
WORLD PREMIERE OF 14-18 NOW’S FIERCE LIGHT
CHRIS THORPE’S ACCLAIMED PLAYS CONFIRMATION & AM I DEAD YET?
ONE NIGHT ONLY PERFORMANCE FROM BILLY BRAGG
NORFOLK & NORWICH FESTIVAL RUNS FROM FRIDAY 13 – SUNDAY 29 MAY
Norfolk & Norwich Festival, one of the biggest arts festivals in the UK, has today announced further events for its 2016 Festival. With the full programme still to be announced, further highlights revealed today include a brand new production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempestdirected by Artistic Director of Norfolk & Norwich Festival William Galinsky at theGreat Yarmouth Hippodrome – Britain’s only surviving purpose circus building erected in 1903 andWild Life,an extraordinary collaboration between CAMPO’s Artistic Collaborator Pol Heyvaert and young singer-songwriters from across Norfolk. Wild Life developed organically from the lives of the performers, and focuses on the songs they have written and what science tells us about how teenagers’ brains work. The Festival have also announced Fierce Light, the world premiere event and exhibition from 14-18 NOW bringing together poets of international standing with contemporary film makers and visual artists to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Chris Thorpe’s acclaimed plays Confirmation and Am I Dead Yet? about political extremism and what happens when we die respectively, an evening of French song and poetry with the powerful and unconventional ensemble troupe, I Fagiolini, a one-night only performance by the sensational singer-songwriter and political activist Billy Bragg and the English indie band Tindersticks.
The line-up join the previously announced ground-breaking UK premiere from contemporary circus cabaret troupe Race Horse Company, the world premiere of a major new commission from one of the UK’s foremost young composers – Kemal Yusuf, excerpts from electro-acoustic polymath Max Richter’s intensive investigation in the power of the human brain – SLEEP,Aurélien Bory’s industrial robot’s dance with acrobats Sans Objet, Twenty Feet From Stardom’sLisa Fischer’s first ever solo UK concert, an epic staging of Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand by Norwich Philharmonic and a revival of Rona Munro’s critically acclaimed The James Plays.
The Festival runs 13 – 29 May 2016 with full line up still to be announced.
The flagship arts organisation for the East of England, Norfolk & Norwich Festival showcases some of the world’s most renowned international artists alongside regional talent, drawing audiences from across the UK.
Award winning company Opera North are back at Newcastle Theatre Royal in March with a trio of continental masterpieces: Mozart’s playful Cosi fan tutte, Donizetti’s sunny L’Elisir D’Amore and Giordano’s passionate Andrea Chenier. Let your senses be stirred: Wed 2 – Sat 5 March 2016.
Giordano’s Andrea Chénier (Sat 5 March ’16) is presented by Opera North for the first time. Taking the life of the French poet André Chénier as its inspiration, the opera explores love and the individual at the time of the French Revolution before charting the rapid descent of hope and optimism into the Terror. Combining a dramatic storyline with compelling music, this new production looks set to become an unforgettable addition to the Company’s repertoire.
Also written at the time of the French Revolution, but with a very different focus, is Mozart’s Così fan tutte (Wed 2 and Fri 4 March ‘16). The production captivated audiences at the Theatre Royal back in 2009 and recently wowed at the Glimmerglass Opera Festival in New York. It is once again set to intrigue people with its thoughtful exploration of fidelity, deception, human motivation and the dangers of desire. It all begins innocently enough when Don Alfonso comes up with a wager: that the fiancées of two young men are far more likely to succumb to another’s amorous advances than they might choose to believe. The ensuing, often disconcerting, consequences are accompanied by some of the most beautiful music Mozart ever wrote. A vibrant young cast includes Dublin-born soprano Máire Flavin, who represented Ireland at the 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, making her Opera North debut as Fiordiligi.
A more light-hearted approach to the twists and turns of love is found in a sun drenched 1950s-style production of Donizetti’s comic opera L’elisir d’amore (Thur 3 March ‘16). Having enjoyed critical acclaim at Spain’s Ópera de Oviedo, it returns to England to charm audiences in the North with its playful tale of the ineffectual but good-hearted Nemorino and his quest to win the hand of the very self-assured Adina. Can Dr Dulcamara’s ‘love potion’ really solve all his problems?
Complete with hot-air balloon and Vespas, this stylish production is a perfect fit for Donizetti’s irrepressibly fresh comedy. Funny and moving, the opera includes one of the best-loved of all tenor arias in Nemorino’s ‘Una furtiva lagrima’ (A furtive tear).
The Spring Opera North season appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Weds 2 March until Sat 5 March 2016, playing evenings at 7.30pm (L’elisir d’amore and Andrea Chenier) and 7pm (Così fan tutte). Tickets from £18.50 (Great offers available for under 18s and school groups). Tickets can be purchased online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge)