Bill Kenwright Productions presents, Edgar Wallace’s The Case Of The Frightened Lady at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 July 2018.

Revered as one of the most popular and prolific crime writers of the 20th Century and the brains behind the iconic film, King Kong, Edgar Wallace’s gripping page-turners are regarded as the bedrock of the modern thriller. The Case Of The Frightened Lady remains one of his most celebrated works.

Directed by Roy Marsden, best known for his role as Commander Adam Dalgliesh in ITV’s P.D. James series, The Case Of The Frightened Lady features an all-star cast of Gray O’Brien, one of TV’s most popular actors, known for his memorable roles in The Loch, Peak Practice, Casualty and as Tony Gordon in Coronation Street; Denis Lill from long-running drama The Royal and Only Fools and Horses; and film star Oliver Phelps, who makes his stage debut having played the character of George Weasley in one of the most successful film franchises of all time, Harry Potter. Joining them is Deborah Grant from Not Going Out and Bergerac; Philip Lowrie, best known for playing Dennis Tanner in Coronation Street; April Pearson, star of award-winning drama Skins; Agatha Christie Company stalwart Ben Nealon from the popular series Soldier Soldier, and Glenn Carter, widely recognised as the definitive Jesus in the hit musical and film of Jesus Christ Superstar. The cast is completed by Callum Coates, Owen Oldroyd and Rosie Thomson.

When Inspector Tanner is called in to investigate a ruthless murder at Mark’s Priory, the grand ancestral home of the Lebanon family, he quickly discovers that nothing is quite as it seems. The household is controlled by the family physician, the footmen behave more like guests than servants and the secretary Isla is afraid for her life. As Tanner moves closer to the heart of the mystery he uncovers a shocking and closely guarded secret…

The Case Of The Frightened Lady is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 23 to Saturday 28 July 2018.

Tickets are on sale now priced from £19.50

(prices include a £3 booking fee. Postage charge £1 where applicable)

Book online at or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700


Company – Complete Casting


Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical


Directed by Marianne Elliott



JAMIE (formerly AMY) & PAUL

Gielgud Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London

Previews from 26 September 2018

Opening Night 17 October 2018


The complete cast was announced today for Marianne Elliott’s highly anticipated new production of George Furth and Stephen Sondheim’s COMPANY which opens at the Gielgud Theatre from 26 September 2018.

JONATHAN BAILEY will play Jamie (originally written as the female character, Amy) andALEX GAUMOND will play his devoted fiancée – Paul. 

Stephen Sondheim and Marianne Elliott have been working closely together on the script and have re-imagined these two characters as a gay couple for the very first time.  DirectorMarianne Elliott said: I could not be more thrilled that Stephen Sondheim agreed to turn Amy into Jamie. I hope it makes this production feel very, very now.  We are keeping the existing dialogue, and not changing the famous scene in which the character gets cold feet about their impending marriage and sings the iconic “I’m not getting married today.’  The characters of Jamie and Paul feel like a lot of the contemporary gay male friends I know.’

Jonathan Bailey’s recent television work includes: Broadchurch, WIA, Chewing Gum andDoctor Who.  His theatre credits include The York Realist, King Lear with Ian McKellen for the Chichester Festival Theatre, American Psycho at the Almeida and Othello at the National Theatre.  His films credits include The Mercy, Christ the Lord, Testament of Youth and St Trinians.

Alex Gaumond’s West End musical credits include Miss Trunchbull in the RSC’s Matilda, We Will Rock You, and Legally Blonde – The Musical.  Other theatre credits include ENO’sSweeney Todd with Emma Thompson, Taming of the Shrew at the Globe, Caroline or Changeat the Chichester Festival Theatre and A Christmas Carol at the Old Vic.  His films includeThe Hustle and Hampstead.

Also announced today is DAISY MAYWOOD as Susan.  Daisy’s theatre credits include The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk at Wilton’s Music Hall and on tour, Promises Promises at Southwark Playhouse, Wonder.Land  and Carrie Cracknell’s Medea for the National Theatre and AChorus Line at the London Palladium.  She also appeared in Rufus Norris’ film London Road.

The complete cast for COMPANY is:  Rosalie Craig as Bobbie, Patti LuPone as Joanne,Mel Giedroyc as Sarah, Jonathan Bailey as Jamie, George Blagden as PJ, Ashley Campbell as Peter, Richard Fleeshman as Andy, Alex Gaumond as Paul, Richard Henders as David, Ben Lewis as Larry, Daisy Maywood as Susan, Jennifer Saayeng as Jenny, Matthew Seadon-Young as Theo and Gavin Spokes as Harry.  Joining them are: Michael Colbourne, Francesca Ellis, Ewan Gillies, Grant Neal and Jaimie Pruden.

At Bobbie’s 35th birthday party all her friends are wondering why she isn’t married; why she can’t find the right man and why she hasn’t settled down to have a family. The multi-award winning musical comedy about life, love and marriage includes Stephen Sondheim’s iconic songs, The Ladies who Lunch, Being Alive, Side by Side and You Could Drive a Person Crazy.

Marianne Elliott, Artistic Director of Elliott & Harper Productions, a company she founded in 2016 with producer Chris Harper, was awarded an OBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List for her services to theatre. Elliott is the first woman in Broadway history to win two Tony Awards for Best Director and her recent Broadway transfer of Tony Kushner’sAngels in America received the 2018 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play.  Angels in America at the National Theatre also received the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play. Marianne’s ground-breaking production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time received 7 Olivier Awards in London, including Best New Play and Best Director and 5 Tony Awards for its run on Broadway, including Best Play and Best Director and continues to tour internationally. Her production of Saint Joan earned her the Olivier Award for Best Revival of a Play and Pillars of the Community earned her the Evening Standard Award for Best Director.  War Horse, which she co-directed, and has been seen by over 7 million people world-wide, and is on its second UK tour.

Joining director Marianne Elliott on the creative team for Company are:  choreographer Liam Steel, designer, musical supervisor and conductor Joel FramBunny Christie, lighting designer Neil Austin, sound designer Ian Dickinson (for Autograph Sound), illusions designer Chris Fisher, orchestrator David Cullen, dance arranger Sam Davis and casting directors Alastair Coomer CDG and Charlotte Sutton CDG.


The producers for Company at the Gielgud Theatre are: Elliott & Harper Productions,Catherine Schreiber, Grove Entertainment, Jujamcyn Theaters, LD Entertainment, David Mirvish, Aged in Wood Productions/Ricardo Hornos, Bob Boyett/Tom Miller, Bruno Wang Productions/Salman Al-Rashid, Across the Pond Theatricals/ Trio Theatricals andGreek Street Productions/Christopher Ketner.




Inspiring the Future of Theatre, the initiative to showcase the range of careers available in theatre to young people, officially launched yesterday (11 July) with an event at Northstead Community Primary School in Scarborough and a social media campaign which trended all day in the UK.

150 Year 6 pupils from Northstead Community Primary School and two surrounding schools (Overdale and St Peters) came together for a morning of activities, panel sessions and discussions led by staff from the nearby Stephen Joseph Theatre, as well as representatives from Hull Truck Theatre, Beach Hut Theatre, Northern Ballet and Qdos Entertainment – all based in the region.

A variety of theatre jobs were represented at the event, ranging from Chief Electrician and Theatre Designer to Producer and Box Office Manager. Children got the chance to guess the theatre employees’ jobs via a ‘What’s my Line?’ Q&A session, and learn more about the different roles during a ‘speed networking’ activity.

Stephen Freeman, Chief Executive of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, said:

‘There is a huge range of careers in theatre besides acting: engineers, electricians, marketers, designers, accountants and so many more. It’s really important to show these opportunities to young people as they’re starting to formulate ideas about the world, and events like this one in Scarborough are vital for signposting careers in the creative arts as realistic and attainable possibilities.’

Shaun Hopper, Deputy Head of Northstead Community Primary School, said:

‘Inspiring young people onto career paths they might not have thought possible and providing them with access to a wide range of volunteers from the world of work helps them to see that every lesson and every day of school is a building block to success’

This was the first of 15 flagship Inspiring the Future of Theatre events, focusing on areas of the UK prioritised for social mobility and cultural development. The theatres participating in future events with schools include Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Hastings White Rock Theatre, Staffordshire’s New Vic, Cast in Doncaster, Peterborough’s Key Theatre, Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre, Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre and Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre – with more to be announced in different regions of the UK.

A social media campaign also took place on 11 July, with #InspiringFutureTheatre one of the top UK Twitter trends as many of the country’s theatres, arts organisations and industry professionals shared their own inspirations, education work and career success stories.

Inspiring the Future of Theatre is a partnership between Society of London Theatre (SOLT)UK Theatre andInspiring the Future (part of the charity Education and Employers), aiming to nurture new generations of theatre-makers and audiences from school age, and connecting schools with their local theatres to help achieve this.

Over 700 professionals from all areas of the industry have already signed up to be Inspiring the Future of Theatre ambassadors, and the drive to recruit more ambassadors continues.  Theatre professionals who would like to sign up can visit the Inspiring the Future website.


#InspiringFutureTheatre / @UK_Theatre / @SOLTNews / / /

#InspiringTheFuture / @InspiringTF / @Edu_Employers / /



On his former colleague Richard Fitzgerald John Eliot Gardiner said:
‘Richard was one of the most consistently level-headed, collegial and decent human beings you could ever wish to encounter. As stage manager of the Monteverdi Choir and its twin orchestras for fifteen years Richard gave loyal and dedicated service, always with good grace, tolerance and exemplary professionalism’

Claire Cullen, Cancer Research UK’s local fundraising manager for London said:

‘Monteverdi Choir & Orchestras is an absolutely inspiring organisation and we can’t thank them enough for their commitment to helping Cancer Research UK beat cancer sooner. It’s going to be a fantastic evening. One in two people in the UK will be diagnosed with cancer at some stage in their lives, but the good news is more people are surviving the disease now than ever before. Cancer survival in the UK has doubled since the early 1970s and Cancer Research UK’s work has been at the heart of that progress. However, we have only been able to achieve this thanks to the dedication and generosity of volunteers and supporters like MCO – without whom we would not be able to fund outstanding scientists, doctors and nurses.’

Messa da Requiem performed by Monteverdi Choir and Orchestra led by Sir John Eliot Gardner
Westminster Cathedral
42 Francis Street
Tuesday 18 September 2018
From £35 – in support of Cancer Research UK
Box Office: 0844 844 0444 /
Twitter: @mco_london




Rose Theatre Kingston announces its summer school programme for young people, offering a variety of courses including:

  • Two-Day and Three-Day short courses for 7-11 year olds packed with games, storytelling and character work
  • Play-in-a-Week for 10-15 year olds, where participants have the opportunity to create a full production
  • Rose Academy offers support and guidance for 16-25 year olds preparing to apply for drama schools

All courses are supported by experienced teachers and industry professionals. In previous years this has included practitioners from the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as Olivier Award-winning actress, Laura Michelle Kelly.

All the courses take place in Kingston, either at Rose Theatre Kingston or a local rehearsal venue.


Rose Theatre Kingston’s Two-Day Course for 7-11 year olds offers fun and games, exploring storytelling, character and literacy. In small groups with experienced teachers, children develop skills in team-work, leadership and creativity as well as building self-confidence.

Venue:                 St John’s Warehouse, Church Grove, Hampton Wick, London KT1 4AL

Time:     10am-4pm

Ages:     7-11

Fee:       £100


Monday 30 – Tuesday 31 July

Monday 6 – Tuesday 7 August

Thursday 9 – Friday 10 August

Monday 13 – Tuesday 14 August

Thursday 16 – Fri 17 August

Monday 20 – Tuesday 21 August

Thursday 23 – Friday 24 August

Tuesday 28 – Wednesday 29 August


Participants will work on developing storytelling themes and techniques in small groups with experienced teachers. The course will take a creative approach to storytelling whilst working on vocal techniques, focus and character. Children will learn team working skills and build self-confidence. On the final day there will be an invited showing for friends and family.

Venue:                 Richard Mayo Centre, Eden Street, Kingston, London KT1 1HZ

(Drop off and collection from Rose Theatre Kingston)

Time:     10am-4pm

Ages:     7-11

Fee:       £140


Monday 30 July – Wednesday 1 August

Wednesday 1 – Friday 3 August

Monday 6 – Wednesday 8 August

Wednesday 8 – Friday 10 August

Monday 13 – Wednesday 15 August

Wednesday 15 – Friday 17 August

Wednesday 22 – Friday 24 August




A cast of young people will work with a professional director, assistants and stage management on a specially-adapted sixty-minute script, learning techniques and developing the production for a full, costumed public performance at the end of the week.


The Jungle Book (SOLD OUT)

By Rudyard Kipling, adapted by Ciaran McConville

Journey through the forest with man-cub Mowgli, as he learns the law of the jungle from the wolf pack, a wise old panther and a dangerous tiger. Imaginatively designed and staged for a young ensemble.


Venue:                 Rose Theatre Kingston

Date:     Monday 30 July – Saturday 4 August

Time:     9.30am-4.30pm

Ages:     10-14

Fee:       £200

Charlotte’s Web

By E.B. White, adapted by Joseph Robinette

A gorgeous adaptation of one of America’s great children’s stories. A young pig has his bacon saved by a selfless spider with a knack for weaving words.

Venue:                 Rose Theatre Kingston

Date:     Monday 6 – Saturday 11 August

Time:     9.30am-4.30pm

Ages:     10-14

Fee:       £200

Alice in Winterland

By Ciaran McConville, based on Lewis Carroll’s books

Follow Alice on a quest to save Winterland, a place of ice and imagination, of mad hatters and cruel queens, strong-minded dodos and friendly knights, inhabited by the mysterious Bandersnatch and the terrible Jabberwock. This is your chance to take part in a studio version of the critically acclaimed play that Rose Theatre Kingston produced for its 2017 Christmas show.

Venue:                 Rose Theatre Kingston

Date:     Monday 13 – Saturday 18 August

Time:     9.30am-4.30pm

Ages:     10-14

Fee:       £200

The Railway Children

By E. Nesbit, adapted by Ciara Morris

After the sudden departure of their father, Bobby, Peter and Phyllis are uprooted to a cottage in Yorkshire with their mother. There they fall in love with the railway and become involved in the lives of people connected to it. This exciting, heartfelt story by E Nesbit is given a fresh adaptation for the stage while remaining faithful in essence to the original.

Venue:                 Rose Theatre Kingston

Date:     Monday 20 – Saturday 25 August

Time:     9.30am-4.30pm

Ages:     11-14

Fee:       £200

Much Ado About Nothing (SOLD OUT)

By William Shakespeare

One of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies. A group of soldiers returning from abroad rests at the house of Leonato, where best-laid plans seem thwarted by an embittered brother, before a test of true love leads to unexpected unions and a sparkling, hilarious resolution.

Venue:                 Rose Theatre Kingston

Date:     Monday 27 August – Saturday 1 September

Time:     9.30am-4.30pm

Ages:     11-15

Fee:       £200


The UK is home to some of the most prestigious drama schools in the world with more than 1000 applicants auditioning for each place. Rose Academy is a unique course that draws on the expertise of leading drama school facilitators, directors and actors to offer an insight into conservatoire training and techniques to support and assist participants’ with the application process. The course is now in its sixth year, with past participants going on to schools including RADA, LAMDA, Guildhall, Central, Oxford and East15.

Rose Academy is by audition only, please email to apply.

Venue:                 Rose Theatre Kingston

Date:     Tuesday 28 August – Sunday 2 September

Time:     10am-4pm

Ages:     16-25

Fee:       £250

Rose Theatre Kingston                                                                                                                           Listings

24-26 High Street, Kingston, KT1 1HL

To book a course please contact:

Box Office:  0208 174 0090

For more information about the courses, please contact Sarah Kingsford on 0208 939 4050 or email



Five-Day Combo Course: book a Two-Day and Three-Day Course and save £40.

Rose Youth Theatre Members: save £20.

Siblings: save £20 for each additional sibling.



Founded by Sir Peter Hall, and modelled on the original Elizabethan Rose Theatre on London’s Bankside (where the stage height meant groundlings could stand), Rose Theatre Kingston is the largest producing theatre in South West London.

Since opening in 2008, the Rose has collaborated with a range of directors, playwrights and producing partners to create vibrant, engaging and inspiring productions. Recent works include the first stage adaptation and world première of Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend directed by Melly Still, Zach Helm’s Good Canary directed by John Malkovich, John Barton and Peter Hall’s Shakespeare adaptation The Wars of the Roses directed by Trevor Nunn, David Hare’s The Absence of War directed by Jeremy Herrin and Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather (West End transfer and Olivier Award nominee) directed by Sally Cookson.

With over 150,000 visitors a year, the Rose enjoys artistic and critical acclaim from its own productions and co-productions as well as from hosting the work of renowned theatre companies including Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe, Headlong, English Touring Theatre, Peter Brook, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, and Sheffield Theatres. With an auditorium that lends itself to both intimate and epic scale productions, the Rose has established itself as one of the most exciting theatres in the UK.


Twitter:                @Rosetheatre

Facebook:           /RoseTheatreKingston

Instagram:          RoseTheatreKingston


Classroom for budding artists renamed in honour of #FightEB campaigner & photographer James Dunn

Classroom for budding artists renamed in honour of #FightEB campaigner & photographer James Dunn

A creative space for budding artists at The Lowry in Salford has been renamed in honour of James Dunn, a 24-year-old man from Liverpool who campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

James sadly passed away in April, just weeks after the #FightEB campaign he launched raised over £250,000 for those suffering with EB – a condition that causes constant pain due to unstoppable internal and external blistering of the skin and for which there is currently no known cure.

‘The James Dunn Classroom’ was the idea of local businessman, Ged Mason, chief executive of Morson Group, a recruitment and design consultancy who has known James and his family for a number of years.

In 2016, James appeared on Big Life Fix, a BBC 2 programme that saw leading inventors create ingenious solutions to everyday problems for people in desperate need.

In James’ case, that was a custom-built camera by award-winning design engineer, Jude Pullen, which made it possible for him to operate the camera by himself via a specially-designed app, thereby allowing him to pursue his passion for photography.

Speaking at the unveiling, Ged Mason said: “James was an inspirational young man who not only campaigned to raise awareness of EB but who also followed his creative passion for photography.

“It was a privilege to know James and it seemed a fitting tribute to name a creative space in his honour. I hope the 9,000 young people who use the classroom each year are inspired by James’ story and follow their dreams regardless of the obstacles they may have to overcome.”

The classroom will be named in his honour until July 2021.

For more information about the FightEB campaign, visit: 


Aspects of Love Review

Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester – until 9 August

Review by Angela Hazeldine


One of my favourite things about Hope Mill Theatre (which also happens to be one of my favourite theatre’s full stop) is waiting in the bar area to walk through the doors to the theatre, you just never know what’s waiting for you on the other side of those doors. It seems like a completely different place every time and this time was no exception.

The set for Aspects of Love was the best yet, absolutely gorgeous. The front row seats set up as if in a Parisian Cafe instantly make you feel part of the action and the rest of the set somehow has both an intimate feel but also with clever lightly and stunning use of silhouette it can also feel vast. ‘Love Changes Everything’ is the shows opener and where we meet Alex Dillingham (played by Felix Mosse). I had a great big smile on my face during this song, I just thought Felix sang it beautifully, he has a real softness to his voice initially that does give way to those belting high notes but a  lovely amount of light and dark. Then we meet Rose Vibert (played by Kelly Price). She absolutely bursts onto the stage and you can’t take your eyes or ears off her from then on. An absolutely stunning performer and I could listen to her sing all day. ‘Anything but Lonely’ showed what a fabulously detailed, complicated character she builds throughout the show, you feel the desperation, sadness and regret with every note.

The ensemble performers in the show are flawless, every scene transition is fluid, balletic and feels part of the atmospheric build up rather than just getting us from one place to another. The set pieces they perform both at the Fairground and the Circus are an absolutely joy, an antidote to what is a heartbreaking story of love, too much, not enough, manipulative, dangerous, complicated love.

I don’t know whether it was a fear of maybe being too overpowering in what is perhaps a more intimate theatre but there were times where the male performers seemed to hold back or were even too quiet to hear at times, particularly during harmonies when you wanted there to be a swell of sound that didn’t quite happen.

Overall this show is wonderful, there are so many detailed, innovative moments that I haven’t seen in a musical before and don’t want to talk about too much, you need to see yourself. Excellent performances from every single person on that stage. Not just on the stage either, the musical team which I was impressed to find out was made up of just three people! (Musical Director and Piano 1 Gareth Bretherton, Piano 2 Jonathan James and Percussion Phil Steventon) were flawless and made a fullness of sound that could have come from three times that amount of musicians.

There’s too many people to mention, the Direction is wonderful (Jonathan O’Boyle), the set and costumes (Jason Denvir) couldn’t have been better I don’t think and the list goes on. It’s clear that there is an incredibly talented team behind this show and I highly recommend you go and see for yourselves .

Well done Joseph Houston and William Whelton of Hope Mill Theatre and Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment for bringing this sumptuous, engaging show to Manchester. The standing ovation at the end was a testament to everyone’s hard work and passion.


Earthquakes in London Review

Bridewell Theatre – until 14 July 2018

Reviewed by Antonia Hebbert


In a week when the government had all the togetherness of colliding tectonic plates, a tennis idol got toppled off his pedestal, and football decided not to come home after all, it seemed quite normal to be seeing a play about global catastrophe, family strife, birth, death and ethics, with a little time travel thrown in. This production is in traverse form – the audience faces each other along two sides – which felt irresistibly like some kind of theme park ride. When the lights went down and two actors came out and started talking, some irrational part of me was disappointed not to have been thrown backwards at the start of a dizzying journey.

But a dizzying journey is actually what you get with this Sedos company revival of Mike Bartlett’s 2010 Earthquakes in London. It’s fast-moving, jumping back and forth in time, swerving from comedy to solemn discussion of ethical issues, seamlessly switching and intertwining scenes, and sometimes breaking into dance (choreography by Tom Leonard). Characters transform, and the setting flips from the ‘real’ world of homes and workplaces to dream and prophecy. All the while the play follows the storyline of three contrasting sisters (Kimberly Barker, Carrie Pennifer and Izzi Richardson, all compelling) trying to work out how to live in the flawed contemporary world. Helena Bumpus encapsulates the switchback feel of the play as the comic-mystic boy-girl Peter-Emily.

Director Chris Davis worried that ‘a play about global warming could easily become preachy’, and at times it does: this is a play with big urgent messages and epic ambitions (ironically, you might think, being revived in the City of London, home of capitalism). But as a piece of theatre it is terrific, and the Sedos company (not professionals, but not at all amateurish) carry off this complicated production in grand style.


Get the Hairspray look and be a winner!

Welcome to the 60’s!

Alice Tones, Megan Conway and Lizzie MacKriell at York Grand Opera House getting in the mood for Hairspray. Picture David Harrison.

Grand Opera House York invites customers to show off their best 60’s style when they come and see Hairspray – The Musical, Mon 16th – Sat 21st July.


We will be giving away a show programme, signed by the cast, to a well-dressed winner at each performance of Hairspray.

All they have to do is Tweet their ‘look’ at the Grand Opera House ‘Selfie Spot’, which is located in the Foyer Bar, to @grandoperayork with their seat location before each performance begins to be in for a chance to win the signed programme.

The winner will be announced at the interval!

Bars are open from 1pm on matinees and 6pm on evening performances.

Hairspray The Musical features the iconic music and lyrics by Academy Award, Tony and Emmy winning duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, this much-loved musical comedy currently stars Graham MacDuff as Wilbur Turnblad, Brenda Edwards as Motormouth Maybelle and Layton Williams as Seaweed. Matt Rixon returns to the role of Edna Turnblad and newcomer Rebecca Mendoza makes her professional debut as Tracy Turnblad. Choreographed by Olivier Award-winning Drew McOnie with direction from Paul Kerryson.

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.


Tickets are priced from £17.90, available from box office on 0844 871 3024 or online


Interview with Brenda Edwards – Motormouth Maybelle

Could you tell us about Motormouth Maybelle and what attracted you to the role?

I remember watching the original film and then I went to see the Musical in 2007, on Broadway and 2008, in the West End, I really enjoyed the whole show, but was particularly excited by the Motormouth character. Having a Son and Daughter of my own, I could relate to her nurturing strong protective side where she has to be in charge and then there is the entertaining side, where she plays her music and has fun with everyone, whilst having that serious side lending an ear or a shoulder if needed, but she does have her own opinions on things and doesn’t mind voicing it. Owning her own record shop I think she is the central hub where all the kids in the neighbourhood can come and hang out.– and the songs she sings are just fabulous! She has a big personality just like me, so I think it’s a perfect role.

You did the previous tour of Hairspray, what drew you back?

I wanted to come back on this tour production for the second time, because it really helped to get me through, what I was going through, when after the first half of the tour, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. The songs in the show are uplifting in so many different ways and performing in the show helped me not to focus on the chemotherapy. One of the songs that I sing and especially drew strength from, was I Know Where I Have Been, the words already had so much meaning to me, and throughout the rest of the tour helped me to stay positive and keep thinking of brighter days! So I guess to me it was very therapeutic and just what I needed. It is also very important for me to be able to do the tour again because I have got some personal demons to deal with of being able to do the whole tour this time round, there was one venue I couldn’t do at all. But we are going back to it, Venue Cymru in Llandudno. I drove there from our previous venue, Milton Keynes on the Sunday and woke up on the Monday and couldn’t walk. I was just stuck there, for a few days while everyone else was doing the show – I was so upset! So yeah I’m excited about this 2nd tour for so many reasons!

How has it been being back in rehearsals? Does it feel different to the last tour?

Oh my god, yes! It’s amazing! I thought Drew McOnie’s choreography was a lot the first-time round, (well, it was a lot the first-time round). But, this time round, it’s almost like choreography wise we are doing what we had the first time round and then add the same amount on again lol, but all in the same period of time. I also think, as I obviously haven’t been doing much exercise over the last year I’m finding it a bit harder this time round to get up to speed, but the more we run it the easier its becoming ….best all singing all dancing workout ever!! I’m absolutely loving it, the cast are so talented, I’m enjoying getting to know everyone. But it’s great – it’s so much fun and the energy! The energy levels are so high from the start, all the way through. From Good Morning Baltimore to You Can’t Stop the Beat there is just so much going on. This fantastic new cast they are all just on it. Within two weeks, we were doing act one and had staggered act two. So, by week three we were on tjust getting it into our bodies. The pace is moving so much quicker than it did last time, your brain doesn’t have time to switch off. I can’t wait! I can’t wait! We saw the new set design and it looks amazing Takis is so talented! it is going to be amazing! Its bigger and brighter and beautifuller! That’s not a word but I’m making it up!

What can audiences expect from Hairspray? If anyone is not familiar with the show, how would you describe it in three words?

Bigger, brighter and beautifuller! I love it!

Audiences can expect energy, a lot of laughs some fantastic songs played by a phenomenal band, while at the same time listening to the message which I think is so current I know, I am sounding like I am a 1960s hippy , but I just wish everyone would just spread the love and get on with one another, put your differences aside, cause there will always be difference of opinions that what makes us individuals…..and I think that’s what this show embodies no matter what race, size opinions in the end it’s all about coming together and showing a united front. Hopefully people will come out of the show thinking, “OK, that’s given me food for thought at the same time as a great nights entertainment.

What’s your favourite moment or song in the show and why?

I just love You Can’t Stop the Beat because it goes through so many different gear changes – In rehearsals its known as Beat 1 Beat 2 and Beat 3 and as I said I like the way it just brings us all together that’s the point where everybody is together and I think its brilliant!

Is there a city on the tour you’re most looking forward to visiting and why?

I am really looking forward to going back to Belfast because that was where I auditioned for The X Factor, Originally, I was going to visit the Giants Causeway….. but I never got there in the end as the audition happened and kinda took over, my last day there, So, I’m hoping this time round I will be able to go.

Hairspray is set in the 1960s, but if you could be born in any other decade which one would it be, and why?

I love period dramas, especially the style and fashion tassles and beads etc. I am such a magpie because I love all the shiny things, sequins,beads and diamantes – that’s just me! So, that is the era I would love to be in. Fabulous costumes! Fabulous dresses! Fabulous headdresses!

What’s your all-time favourite musical?

Gosh…it’s all the ones I’ve been in! I…… but Aside from those I did enjoy Motown, The Bodyguard, Les Misérable, and I cried watching Memphis and I absolutely loved Jersey Boys! There were songs in there that I didn’t realise I knew were originated by the Jersey Boys. I was singing the whole way through. …It’s very hard!

What inspired you to go into musical theatre? What was the first musical you saw?

I was born and raised in the church. There were a lot of times when we never had microphones, so we had to project, and so I grew up singing in a lot of big spaces, I think in some way,

I’m drawn to them…. But it was Sharon who told me that she was approached by the Producers of Chicago the Musical when I was on X Factor in 2005,to come for an audition, so that was how I landed my first role in musical theatre, It’s such a pleasure, I feel so lucky to be able to perform in all these beautiful theatres. The first musical I saw was Thriller Live my friend and fellow x factor team mate Maria, was in the show.

What do you consider your greatest achievement or highlight of your career away from the stage.

I will always say my greatest achievement in life are my children, they are a real blessing.

The highlight of my career would have to be recording my Debut Album Bring It Back, I’m very proud of the songs I wrote and I feel it shows all sides of my personality.

You’ve starred in some brilliant roles in Chicago and We Will Rock You amongst many other well-known productions; are there any other musical roles you would love to play?

I really want to originate a role I would love to play Ursula if it ever came to the West End!

If you could dance on any TV show, apart from The Corny Collins Show, which one would it be? And what would be your signature dance move?

Strictly Come Dancing with the Jitterbug.

Hairspray was originally based on 1988 film by John Waters, if you could adapt any other film from the 1980s into a musical which one would it be?

Coming to America that’s a very funny film

Can you tell us a bit about your experience on The X Factor? How did it prepare you for the industry?

I really enjoyed the show, there were a lot of rehearsals before each Saturday night live show, so you always had to be on your game, it was exciting as well as challenging at the same , so It isn’t very different to the stage, the live shows were in front of a studio audience. I think it really did prepare me mentally for this industry because you have to have .

A lot of people say to me “do you not get fed up of doing the same show year after year” but it’s not the same show, it because it is a different audience every night. Te cast feed off the energy of the audience

You demonstrated what many deemed as unwavering strength in the face of adversity; touring with Hairspray while battling cancer. How important is it to you to keep inspiring and educating others through raising awareness of this cause?

It is very important if I hadn’t of spoken to somebody to feel the lump in the first place. I could be in a completely different situation right now, so it shows that talking is key, and that’, and if it makes just one person get checked out then I have succeeded.