Darlington Hippodrome pop-up theatre


Darlington’s Market Square will play host to the world’s first pop-up, plug-in and play theatre – the Paines Plough Roundabout, from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 October as part of Darlington Theatre Town.

Paines Plough is the UK’s national theatre of new plays. The company commissions and produces the best playwrights and tours their plays far and wide. Paines Plough was formed in 1974 over a pint of Paines bitter in the Plough pub. Since then they have produced more than 130 new productions by world renowned playwrights like Stephen Jeffreys, Abi Morgan, Sarah Kane and Mike Bartlett.

With a seating capacity of 150 the Roundabout theatre will present a full calendar of events while in Darlington, from children’s theatre and straight plays to music and comedy. Backstage tours and meet the cast events are also available.

Darlington Theatre Town

Darlington Theatre Town is an exciting new initiative to present the most ambitious and high quality theatre in Darlington. The project brings together the expertise of partners Creative Darlington, Darlington Hippodrome, Luxi, Theatre Hullabaloo and ODDMANOUT to cement Darlington’s place in the Tees Valley as a Theatre Town and a place where theatre thrives.

The project, funded by the Arts Council and Darlington Borough Council, grew from the opportunity presented by the redevelopment of the Darlington Hippodrome, the exciting development of Theatre Hullabaloo’s new theatre for young audiences ‘The Hullabaloo’ and the momentum that has built over the last couple of years around theatre in unusual places by events such as the award-winning Jabberwocky Market.

For full details of what is on in the Roundabout visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk or to book call the box office on 01325 405405

GRAHAM NORTON returns to host WEST END BARES 2017










The Make A Difference Trust is delighted to announce that following two triumphant years, Graham Norton will return as host of this year’s WEST END BARES: RUBY STRIPPERS at the Novello Theatre on Sunday 29 October at 7.00pm and 9.30pm.

The Make A Difference Trust is also thrilled to announce the first of Graham’s star co-hosts;  Adam Garcia (The Exorcist, Murder on the Orient Express [2017], Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, Tap Dogs, Saturday Night Fever, Coyote Ugly); Summer Strallen (Young Frankenstein, Love Never Dies, The Sound of Music, Hollyoaks); Dianne Pilkington (Young Frankenstein, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Taboo); Tom Allen (Live At The Apollo, 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, Just A Minute); Celinde Schoenmaker (The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables) and Oliver Savile (Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables, Mamma Mia!).More celebrity guest hosts and West End stars to be announced soon.

They will join the previously announced Olivier Award winning Rebecca Trehearn (Showboat, City of Angels, Ghost), who will open the show with a performance of an exclusive track especially written for the occasion byMark Anderson (The Book Of Mormon, Legally Blonde) and Luke di Somma (That Bloody Woman [composer], 21 Chump Street).

Join the much-loved characters of Oz for an extraordinary night at WEST END BARES: RUBY STRIPPERS, which will see over 100 of the hottest performers from the West End stage take to the stage to combine the naughtiness of burlesque with the magic of the West End. All of the money raised will go to The Make A Difference Trust to fund HIV and AIDS projects that raise awareness, educate and provide care and support in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Click here for a look behind the scenes of the WEST END BARES: RUBY STRIPPERS photo shoothttps://youtu.be/4XYiliFar0o

Directed by David Grewcock with choreography from Fletcher Dobinson (Cats; West Side Story),  Jaye Elster(Singin’ In The Rain; Half A Sixpence),  Matt Gillett (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; Singin’ In The Rain; Jersey Boys; Top Hat), Tom Jackson Greaves (Nutcracker, Early Adventures and Sleeping Beauty with New Adventures; Secret Cinema; Kneehigh Theatre), Ashley Jordan-Packer (Cats; Thriller Live), Will Lucas (Cats; Wicked),Simone Mistry-Palmer (Motown; Dirty Dancing), Ashley Nottingham (Thoroughly Modern Millie; Dance Mums; Disaster!), Racky Plews (American Idiot; Footloose; Heaven on Earth), Aaron Renfree (X Factor; The Saturdays), Chris Whittaker (Blondel; Judy!),  and James Wilson (Strictly Come Dancing; The Voice).

The Make A Difference Trust is a UK based charity with a vision of a world free from HIV and AIDS. Building on the legacy of 25 years of fundraising by the Theatre industry, they continue to make the vision a reality having distributed over £1.6million in grants to support individuals experiencing hardship across the UK as well as over £1million to support projects with their UK and international partners. For further information about the Make A Difference Trust please visit  www.madtrust.org.uk

Tickets for WEST END BARES are now on sale and are priced at £15 – £100.

Tickets are available from www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk or the DMT WEST END BARES booking line 0844 482 5172 and in person at the Novello Theatre Box Office. Booking fees apply and calls to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres 0844 numbers cost 7 pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

WEST END BARES are proud to be partnering with 100 Wardour St for this year’s exclusive After Party where you can continue to celebrate with the cast of the show. Tickets cost £10 and are only available when you buy a ticket for the 7pm or 9.30pm show.  Once again, there is limited availability for the After Party and when the tickets are gone, they’re gone – so don’t miss out! 100 Wardour St is split between a laid-back Bar & Lounge and chic Restaurant & Club, offering great food from midday right through until 2am with classic and contemporary cocktails. As befits the venues history as the site of London’s iconic Marquee Club where artists like David Bowie and The Rolling Stones performed, there are DJ’s and live music five nights a week.


Please note: All artists appear subject to availability.

Leeds Legend to be Celebrated



When two of Leeds’ greatest dance companies come together next week, the West Yorkshire Playhouse stage is set to be alight with a passion and energy that this city’s dance scene has become renowned for – thanks to one woman.

Nadine Senior MBE was deputy headmistress of Harehills Middle School when she began introducing the students to dance. Her revolutionary approach harnessed the children’s natural ability and recognised their talents in movement.

Three young men in particular would have their passion for dance ignited and go on to form Phoenix Dance Theatre in 1981 – David Hamilton, founding Artistic Director, Donald Edwards and Vilmore James.

Sharon Watson, Phoenix Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director acknowledges Nadine’s crucial role in her own career ‘Like so many others, I would not be doing what I do today if it wasn’t for the inspiring leadership Nadine gave. I’m delighted that we can pay tribute to such a motivating and influential woman with an evening of amazing dance talent, all of whom she inspired.’


Nadine lobbied to prove the need for professional dance education in Leeds and in 1985 founded Northern School of Contemporary Dance; it remains the only provider of conservatoire-level professional training in contemporary dance outside of London.


Janet Smith MBE, Principal of Northern School of Contemporary Dance said ‘I am delighted that Northern School of Contemporary Dance is collaborating with dance partners across the city and artists from the UK, Europe and the US in celebrating the visionary leadership of our founding Principal, Nadine Senior, and the continually resounding impact of her work. This will be a very special event for us in paying tribute to an extraordinary woman who championed the value of arts education from a young age in achieving the highest aspirations for all.’


Nadine Senior died in January 2016 but on Sunday October 8th Phoenix Dance Theatre and Northern School of Contemporary Dance will together lead a tribute to her life and her loves.


The Gala will include performances from Leeds-born, New York-based Darshan Singh-Bhuller who in a recent interview with Broadway World said of Nadine:

Her main thing was to get boys to dance somehow. I was the captain of the football team, so she got me involved, and the rest of the kids followed. The area was predominantly Indian, West Indian, Chinese – some white working class people. It was rare that anybody was teaching any kind of art form in a state run school. We were lucky.”


With live music, film, poetry, and guest speakers the life and work of this extraordinary woman will be honoured in style.


The Celebration Gala for Nadine Senior is at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Sunday 8 October at 7pm

Tickets are priced from £15

Book online at wyp.org.uk or call the Box Office on 0113 213 7700

Rambert – Ghost Dances plus other works Review

Lyric Theatre, The Lowry, Manchester – September 28th 2017.  Reviewed by Julie Noller


I knew before the nights performance that Rambert Ghost Dance choreographed by Christopher Bruce is quite possibly the most popular work in their history. One look around the waiting group of expectant young faces waiting to take up their seats, told me that there was more than one dance group/drama group in attendance. The actual performance would be split into three separate acts with two twenty minute intervals.

Transfigured Night is based upon a 19th century poem written by Richard Dehmel ‘Verklarte Nacht’ . During the interval I along with many people around me, asked Google for help on that poem; just to see how my interpretation was. We begin once the curtain rises in the pitch black, slowly the light increases almost as if the sun is rising. Slowly as our eyes become accomstomed to the light we see a group of dancers slowly swaying and gaining momentum like the trees of a forrest. Finally we see a figure on the ground dressed in orange, as she rises searching for her partner, it’s as if a conflict is occuring as they push and pull each other. Then finally after her begging he leaves, watching the main group of dancers swirling as if a group of starlings are putting on a spectacular show. Enter a younger girl dressed in yellow, perhaps in the spring of youth as oppossed to the summer nearing autumn of life. This dance reminded me of those young school gym classes, where the teacher would cry ‘freestyle, show me a story’ however this was far superior, it was strong and powerful. It was choreographed by Kim Brandstrup with music that calmed you yet reminded you of an old black and white silent movie, no words ere necessary. Finally youth drifts away back to reality and we see perhaps our older couple have reconciled and life goes on.


Is strong and powerful, full of wow moments. It draws your eye, it’s confusing in a way that life is confusing. It moves with fast pace, and is brilliantly choreographed by Andronis Foniadakis. Curtain up reveals a plain bare and empty stage except for one large screen, it has an almost 3D effect bulge and is used to change direction, inflict even more pace and energy into the performance, with colour in an otherwise blank canvas. I don’t know if I’m looking at a busy street in a hectic city during a rain storm or watching a discovery channel documentary, could it be a seed growing in fast time. Could there be basic lifeforms developing and being interpreted before my eyes? The dancers are amazing with muscular movements showing how we each collide and move on yet with such grace. Of course as with any performance you can choose to try to interpret what you are watching; or you could just sit back and enjoy a great show, full of grace and emotion. Not to mention pure talent.

Ghost Dance

Well curtain up led to some gasps and the odd cry of ‘I’m going to have nightmares’ from the young ladies sat around us. We were confronted with three figures from The day of the dead celebrations. Ghost Dance takes its influence from latin America, where the living are encouraged to celebrate life and remember the dead as still living amongst them. The costumes are magnificent, showing those perfectly ripped bodies, make up and masks were amazing. The dance is pure celebration as dead and living collide and grief takes hold, theres suffering in human misery. It was wonderful to witness the whole stage utilised with grace and energy. Music arranged by Nicholas Mojsiejenko was haunting and yet upbeat, lifted by the soulful music of panpipes. I could’ve watched Ghost Dance where power of the inevitable clashes with the emotional energy of wanting to live for a whole hour, it took my breath away. No wonder it’s the most requested work from Ramberts back catalogue and has been hugely popular since first choreographed by Christoper Bruce in 1981.

Well to be honest all the performances took my breath away, I’m always in awe of skill, energy, power and the knowledge that those young ladies watching could be heading home to practice and one day be right up there on that stage taking the lead roles. Each performer should leave the stage knowing not only have they entertained but they have inspired not only those young ladies but equally this slightly older lady and her Sister. The appreciation of every member of the audience not to mention the enthusiasm of those young ladies was uplifting and the standing ovation was more than well deserved for three fantastic, emotive, heart moving performances.

Stay Happy, Keep Smiling

A professional world premiere from Bruntwood Prize Winner, Anna Jordan. MAP Rep’s first full show proves that Manchester Actors’ Platform and 53two are continuing to tackle the bigger subjects and create innovative and groundbreaking theatre.

What has been seen cannot be unseen. Six eyewitnesses to a gruesome terrorist attack in broad daylight. Their lives are changed irrevocably, but how? Rita cannot hold her son. Tony does jigsaw puzzles and counts his wife’s breaths. Elliot must face up to who he really is. Farrah is forced to reconnect with a past long forgotten. Annie starts to feel again. And Stefan feels nothing.

‘Stay Happy Keep Smiling’ is a fictionalised exploration of the lives of ordinary people following an extraordinary event. Jordan’s writing is punchy and intensely truthful, asking difficult questions on how we deal with an all too common occurrence in the 21st century world: terrorism: It’s aftermath, what effects it has and the ripples beyond the event into our own worlds.

A production brought to you by newly formed MAP Repertory company.

Running 17-21 October


Tix: £7 online/£8 door www.53two.com/stayhappy

Hairspray Review

REVIEW: HAIRSPRAY (Sunderland Empire) ★★★★

September 28, 2017 

For: West End Wilma 


Hairspray arrives in Sunderland as part of its national tour. Set in Baltimore in 1962 where, against the odds, overweight teenager Tracy Turnblad, a girl with a lot of heart and great big hair is set to turn everything on its head. She lands a role dancing on her favourite TV programme The Corny Collins Show and uses her newfound fame to fight for integration of black and white dancers on the show, putting her own future at risk for what she believes in.

This current UK tour is directed by Paul Kerryson. From the opening numbers, the audience is dazzled with colour and energy from the whole cast in their bright costumes, impressive lighting and clever back projections. Full of upbeat, catchy songs, jaw-dropping dance moves it’s a real stage spectacular. Marc Shaiman (Music and Lyrics), Scott Wittman (Lyrics), and Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan (Book) took John Waters’ 1988 film and made it into a musical without losing any of the magic. The show perfectly encapsulates the feel of the period and it packed full of humour.

Tracy (Rebecca Mendoza) stands for what she believes in, not letting her size stop her crusading beliefs. Overturning the rules that black dancers are only allowed on the show on ‘Negro Day’ and landing herself in prison in the process, she is the embodiment of all American optimism and sheer determination to succeed. And she manages to find a love interest in Link Larkin (Edward Chitticks), I Can Hear the Bell’s being a wonderful moment between them.

The chemistry between Matt Rixon and Norman Pace, playing Tracy’s kindly parents allows for a delightful amount of ad-libbing and Rixon gives a larger than life performance powering his way through Welcome to the 60s. A highlight of the second half was Edna (Rixon) and Wilbur’s (Pace) duet You’re Timeless to Me, Pace having the audience laughing with just his body language every time he was on stage.

With two Killer Queens in the cast you’d expect some powerhouse performances. Gina Murray is the perfect ex beauty queen bitch as The Corny Collins Show producer Velma Von Tussle and daughter Amber (Aimee Moore) is the epitome of the pretty on the outside, poisonous on the inside teenage girl you love to hate. Brenda Edwards is Motormouth Maybelle, the strong and sassy owner of a downtown record store, host of Negro Day and mother of Seaweed (Layton Williams) and Little Inez (Monifa James).

Two special shout outs must go to Lindsay Atherton covering the role of Penny Pingleton in Sunderland last night and a huge shout out must go to the hardest working man on the stage – Graham Macduff who covered most of the male roles. He had many quick changes and played them all with aplomb. I loved his Harriman F. Spritzer (President of Ultra Clutch cosmetics, Corny Collins show sponsor), the high‐blood pressure principal, and Mr. Pinky (owner of a plus‐sized dress shop).`

The nicest kids in town and the kids from Negro Day, moved and grooved across the stage to the energetic choreography of wunderkind choreography Drew McOnie. Embracing the feel of the period, this ensemble work incredibly hard and the energy they create could light up a small city. The never seem to stop moving!

By the end of the finale, the whole auditorium were on their feet dancing and the amount of smiles in the foyer as people were leaving displayed how much everyone enjoyed this feel good show.

The Wipers Times Review

Richmond Theatre – until 30 September.  Reviewed by Jess Brady

5 *****

Following a successful stint in London’s West End, The Wipers Times is hitting local theatres on a UK tour. Based on the true story during WW1 of the 24th Division Sherwood Foresters, led by Captain Fred Roberts when they find an old printing press in the bombed out ruins of Ypres, or as it was pronounced amongst the Tommie’s, Wipers. Aided by their civvy- street printer Sergeant, Roberts and his lieutenant Jack Pearson decided to use the printer to create their own newspaper from the front line.

This was not to be an ordinary account of life on the front line but more a journal of jokes relating to the life of a soldier at war, poking fun at the high command and a salute to fallen comrades as well as spoof advertisements which proved to be a huge hit amongst the troops. The Wipers Times was edited on the front line and produced a remarkable 23 issues from 1916 till the end of the war.

The Wipers Times show is a comical and at times very poignant look at the story of how the paper was created, along with all the trials and tribulations that came with fighting one of the bloodiest Wars ever known. The script is excellently written by Nick Newman and Ian Hislop and carries their sense of humour throughout whilst portraying a wonderful and important period of history we should never forget. The through line of the story and frequent sketch like moments representing articles or advertisements created a fantastic energy and uplifted your spirits amongst the severity of the real matter at hand, which of course was the desired effect for the Troops at the time.

The cast are magnificent, playing wonderfully as individuals in their roles but most impressive in their ensemble moments and break out sketches. Full of energy and humour, it’s difficult to contain laughter throughout and it is quite simply a joy to watch such a talented cast. Each scene was completely seamless with the use of song and movement that enhanced the story further.

The Wipers Times is something that needs to be seen as it recognises an important moment in British history which is forgotten. The men who fought a gruesome battle and also remained positive enough to bring a moment of joy with a Newspaper deserve to be remembered and this show highlights it beautifully. Go and see The Wipers Times at The Richmond Theatre 25th-30th September.

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Review

Hull Truck Theatre – until 14 October.  Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams


This excellent production at Hull Truck theatre fairly zipped along, taking our emotions from highs to lows, with a good sprinkling of humour.

On the surface this is a story of Nikolai, an elderly Ukrainian widower living in the East of England who marries a much younger Ukrainian woman, much to the displeasure of his daughters. It is much more though, taking us through the history of the family and Ukraine itself and making us consider those who seek a new life through immigration. Family secrets are divulged as the daughters argue with their father.

The play has been skilfully adapted by Tanika Gupta from the novel by Marina Lewycka. She has introduced the mother Ludmilla as the narrator, who provides a calm voice in the midst of madness and chaos.

The cast play a variety of roles as they tell the story and flashback to family history. We had joyful Ukrainian dancing and singing at one moment and were faced with the horror of a Nazi labour camp later. All the cast played their many roles well. Ruth Lass played Nadezdha superbly as the younger daughter who really struggled with her relationship with her father.

Geoffrey Beevers was particularly outstanding as Nikolai, who could not quite understand why his daughters might be distressed by his actions. The twinkle was there to see at times, together with his distress when things went awry. However this “poet engineer” never gave up hope.

The set mainly consisted of suitcases and a large tree, but never seemed to be just suitcases but cleverly added to the story telling.

I thoroughly enjoyed this production but was left with the question what would I do to ensure a future for my child? And as for the tractors – well go and see the play and find out for yourself!

Beautiful Review

Mayflower, Southampton – until 30 September.  Reviewed by Sharon MacDonald-Armitage 



Beautiful is one of those shows where you may have an idea about Carole King as a recording artist but probably little idea as to her prolific writing career or even her personal life.

Led by Bronté Barbé, an ex BBC1 Over the Rainbow contestant, this show depicts King’s journey from young, naive, Brooklyn schoolgirl with dreams of writing songs for a top recording studio through to the mature talented artist that released the iconic Tapestry album.
With writing partner and husband at the time,Gerry Goffin we see how her life is built into the fabric of her music. From marriage, motherhood and divorce we see King grow into a strong independent woman. Writing for artistes such as The Drifters and Little Eva, singing classic songs: Up on the Roof, Some Kind of Wonderful and The Locomotion it is astounding as to how hard composers had to work back it the 50’s and 60’s where hits songs were churned out with alarming regularity.
Barbé puts in a solid performance as King particularly at the start and end of the show and once in full flow singing the well known numbers: You’ve Got a Friend, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and the show title track Beautiful the audience enjoyment is evident.
With a supporting cast that includes Kane Oliver Parry as Gerry Goffin, Matthew Gonsalves as Barry Mann and Amy Ellen Richardson as Cynthia Weil – the latter whose performance is the stand out of the show – there is undoubtably talent in this touring production. Some of the humorous lines are delivered by Carol Royale who plays Genie Klein, King’s mother, whose only wish is for her daughter to teach music rather than compose pop songs, something she seems to have conveniently forgotten when her daughter is performing at Carnegie Hall.
This is an easy on the ears and eyes show, using a formula of great songs, simple but effective set (albeit a little clunky at times), glorious costumes, wigs and makeup (who wouldn’t want that ‘beautiful’ blue patterned dress King wears at the start and end of the show) and a hard working ensemble and orchestra. Without a doubt it will appeal to those of a certain age due to memories of Carole King, but the whole package will also appeal to a younger audience who may be hearing King’s songs for the first time.
The fact the show has a somewhat cyclical narrative starting and finishing at the same point; Carnegie Hall, gives a closure to the show and a closure to this part of King’s story.
This is a good solid evening out and worth taking a chance on if you are unsure

Hackney Empire announces casting for 2017 pantomime Cinderella

Hackney Empire presents
2017 Pantomime


Hackney Empire today announces casting for its highly anticipated 2017 Christmas pantomime, Cinderella, having last been staged at the venue in 2011. Established West End performer Aisha Jawando (Motown the Musical, Beautiful) will be stepping into the glass slippers of the title role. She will be joined by Hackney Empire pantomime legends Tony Whittle and Kat B as the Ugly Sisters. Peter Straker (HairTommy) will reprise the role of Baron Hardup, having last played the role in 2011, Darren Hart (Justin’s House, Gigglebiz) will play Buttons and writer and director Susie McKenna (Cats, Ragtime) will also be taking on the role of Wicked Stepmother.  Making their Hackney Empire pantomime debuts will be West End performers Stephane Anelli (Saturday Night Fever, Singing in the Rain) as Dandini and Chris Jenkins (Billy Elliot, War of the Worlds) as Prince Charming. The production will also feature Sharon D Clarke and Clarke Peters as the voices of Duchess and Duke Mouse.

The cast will also include Chloe AmesThomas AudibertAndrew CarthyRaffaella CovinoSinead Long and Dale WhiteCinderella will run from Saturday 18 November – Sunday 31 December with press night on Thursday 23 November.

Marking their 19th pantomime for Hackney Empire, Cinderella will be written and directed by Susie McKenna with original music by Steven Edis. The award-winning team has been the creative force behind London’s number one pantomime for nearly two decades and will once again be bringing a classic story bang up to date.

This Christmas, Harlem meets Hackney in the classic rags to riches tale of Cinderella. In true Hackney Empire style that brings West End value at East End prices, this magical, family pantomime will be packed with glittering sets, big song and dance numbers, slapstick comedy plus a flying horse, all played out in the beautiful Victorian Theatre.

Aisha Jawando (Cinderella) was most recently seen as Martha Reeves in the original London cast of Motown the Musical and Carmen in The Life (Southwark Playhouse). Other stage credits include Legally Blonde (Leicester Curve), Fela (National Theatre), Disney’s The Lion King (West End) and Beautiful (West End).

Tony Whittle (Ugly Sister) returns to Hackney Empire following his role as King Eric of the Undecided in last year’s production of Sleeping Beauty. Tony has starred in many previous pantomimes at Hackney Empire including Dick WhittingtonJack and the BeanstalkAladdin and Mother Goose. Other stage credits include Twelfth NightThe Merry Wives of Windsor, Kiss Me Kate, all for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, Singin’ in the Rain (UK Tour) and Les Miserables 25th Anniversary concert at the O2.

Kat B (Ugly Sister) is a regular on the Hackney Empire stage, with previous appearances including Jack and the BeanstalkMother Goose, Puss in Boots, Dick Whittington, Cinderella, The Wiz, A Christmas Carol, Aladdin and last year’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty. Kat is best known for his antics on MTV Base where he has presented numerous shows around the world. His film and television credits include Waterland and Street Wise (BBC) and the Richard Blackwood Show (Channel 4).   Kat is also the resident host of the Real Deal Comedy Jam and a regular on the Jongleurs Circuit.

Peter Straker (Baron Hardup) first shot to fame in 1968 when he starred as Hud in the original London production of Hair. Since then Peter has starred in countless West End productions including Hot Stuff, The Rocky Horror Show, The Rat Pack and most recently Tommy, plus classical roles including Julius Caesar (Old Vic) and Measure for Measure (National Theatre). Peter is also known for his work with Freddie Mercury, including on the tracks Barcelona and The Great Pretender. He was last seen on the Hackney Empire stage in 2011’s production of Cinderella.

Darren Hart (Buttons) makes his return to Hackney Empire after starring in last year’s pantomime Sleeping Beauty. His other theatre credits include Mother Goose and Jack and the Beanstalk (Hackney Empire), Lonely Londoners (National Theatre Studio), Home, Clockwork, Cinderella and Red Riding Hood (all Theatre Royal Stratford East), That Face (Soho Theatre), Henry IV parts 1 & 2 and His Dark Materials (both National Theatre). Television credits include regular appearances in Justin’s House and Gigglebiz (both BBC).

Susie McKenna (Wicked Stepmother / Director / Writer) has written and directed critically acclaimed pantomimes since 1998, since first starting as a principle boy in Nottingham Playhouse pantomimes.  Her most recent directing credits include The Silver Sword, a musical adaptation of Ian Serraillier’s novel, written by Susie and Steve Edis. Other credits include Blues in the NightA Midsummer Night’s Madness (Hackney Empire, New York and Edinburgh Festival) and Once on this Island (Hackney Empire, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse).  She was nominated for the League of Professional Theatre Women’s Guild/Coigney International Theatre Award for developing international links.  She has also worked as an actor for over 30 years and credits include ChicagoCatsRagtime and The Witches of Eastwick in the West End, TV shows such as Mr Bean and Casualty and films such as CatsJack and Sarah and Muppets Most Wanted.

Stephane Anelli (Dandini) is an established stage performer with credits including Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (UK Tour and West End), Sinatra (London Palladium), Fiddler on the Roof (Sheffield Crucible), On the Town (London Coliseum), Never Forget (Savoy Theatre), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre), Ragtime and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (both Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Singin’ in the Rain (Palace Theatre and UK Tour).

Chris Jenkins (Prince Charming) marks his Hackney Empire pantomime debut this year, having starred in Milton Keynes’ pantomime Dick Whittington in 2016. West End theatre credits includeWar of the Worlds (Dominion), Billy Elliot (Victoria Palace), Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre) and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Gielgud Theatre).

Cinderella will have Production Design by Lotte Collett, Musical Direction by Mark Dickman, Lighting Design by Paul Anderson, Sound Design by Adam Fisher, Choreography by Richard Roe, Assistant Direction by Matt Dempsey and Creature Design by Scott Brooker.


A Hackney Empire Pantomime

Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street, E8 1EJ

First performance: Saturday 18 November
Final performance: Sunday 31 December
Opening Night: Thursday 23 November, 7pm

Signed Performances
Saturday 2 December at 2.30pm & 7pm
Thursday 7 December at 1.30pm & 7pm

Dementia Friendly Performance
Saturday 2 December at 2.30pm

Relaxed Performance
Saturday 2 December at 2.30pm (signed performance)

020 8985 2424
Please Note:  Children under 14 years need to be accompanied at all times by a paying adult
Tickets from £36.50 – £10, concessions available
Groups of 10+ discount available at certain of performances

Twitter: @hackneyempire
Facebook: /HackneyEmpire
Instagram: /HackneyEmpire