Sara Bareilles’ Waitress Tickets On General Sale Tomorrow – Tuesday 25 September


Book by Jessie Nelson
Music and lyrics by six-time Grammy Award-nominee Sara Bareilles
Based upon the motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly
Directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus

  • Playing at London’s Adelphi Theatre from 8 February 2018
  • Waitress serves up the first all-female lead creative team on a West End musical
  • Tickets on general sale from 10:00am on Tuesday 25 September via

Tickets will go on general sale for the UK premiere of the Tony Award-nominated Waitress tomorrow, Tuesday 25 September at 10:00am. The smash hit Broadway musical will begin preview performances on 8 February ahead of its official opening night on 7 March at London’s Adelphi Theatre. Currently playing its third year on Broadway, Waitress will bring with it an all-female lead creative team – a West End musical first.

Waitress opened on 24 April 2016 at Broadway’s Brooks Atkinson Theater. Based on the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne ShellyWaitress was the first Broadway musical in history to have four women in the four top creative team spots, with a book by Jessie Nelson, a score by six-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus. The production is currently touring the US and has also recently announced it will have its Australian premiere in 2020 at the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker in a small town, who dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a new life, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes to happiness. But Jenna must find the courage and strength within herself to rebuild her life. This American musical celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

On its Broadway opening, Waitress was nominated for four Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, including Outstanding New Broadway Musical; two Drama League Award Nominations, including Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Musical; six Drama Desk Nominations, including Outstanding Musical; and four Tony Award Nominations, including Best Musical.

Waitress is produced by Barry and Fran Weissler and Norton and Elayne Herrick.


The Adelphi Theatre
The Strand,
London WC2R 0NS

Performances from Friday 8 February
Opening night: Friday 7 March

Monday – Saturday evenings at 7.30pm
Wednesday & Saturday matinees at 2.30pm

24 Hour Telephone Booking line:
020 7087 7753

Twitter: @WaitressLondon
Facebook: Waitress the Musical – London
Instagram: @WaitressLondon

CAROLINE OR CHANGE full casting announced for the West End | @carolinewestend



Ambassador Theatre Group, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productions and Rupert Gavin
In association with Hampstead Theatre 
The Chichester Festival Theatre Production of

Book and lyrics by TONY KUSHNER

Playhouse Theatre, London from 20 November 2018 to 9 February 2019 following sold out engagements at Chichester Festival Theatre and Hampstead Theatre.

Full casting has been announced for Caroline, Or Change, the celebrated musical written by Tony Kushner, author of Angels in America, with a soaring score from Tony Award-winning Jeanine Tesori, which will run at the West End’s Playhouse Theatre from 20 November 2018 to 9 February 2019.

As previously announced, the cast will be led by Olivier Award-winning actress Sharon D. Clarke in a critically acclaimed virtuoso performance as Caroline Thibodeaux. She will be joined by Naana Agyei-Ampadu, Keisha Amponsa Banson, Alastair Brookshaw, Me’sha Bryan, Angela Caesar, Dujonna Gift-Simms, Sue Kelvin, Teddy Kempner, Ako Mitchell, Abiona Omonua, Vincent Pirillo, Tanisha Spring and Lauren Ward with Cassiopeia Berkeley-Agyepong, Zalika Henry, Laura Medforth, Timothy Quinlan and Teddy Wills.

Nine young performers have been cast in the roles of Noah, Jackie and Joe. Isaac Forward, Aaron Gelkoff and Jack Meredith will alternate the role of Noah, Mark MwangiKenya Sandy and Jeremiah Waysome will alternate the role of Jackie and the role of Joe will be alternated by Josiah ChotoDavid Dube and Raphael Higgins-Hume.

Directed by Michael Longhurst, this five-star production received phenomenal critical praise when it opened with sold out engagements at Chichester Festival Theatre and again at the Hampstead Theatre.

Louisiana, 1963. Revolution is in the air, though not so much for Caroline, the poorly paid maid toiling endlessly in the sweltering basement of the Gellman household. It’s a fantastical, magical place amidst the piles of laundry and singing washing machines, especially for eight-year-old Noah Gellman who sneaks downstairs to see her whenever he can. Yet a simple gesture to leave more money in Caroline’s pocket is about to test who and how far the winds of change can ever really reach…

Winner of the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Musical, Caroline, Or Change is a playful, funny, and deeply moving portrait of America at a time of momentous social upheaval, set to an uplifting and profound score of soul, blues, classical and traditional Jewish folk music.

Olivier Award-winner Sharon D. Clarke is to reprise her critically-hailed performance in the role of Caroline Thibodeaux. Clarke has enjoyed a long established stage career with credits including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and The Amen Corner (National Theatre), Ghost The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre), The Life (Southwark Playhouse), Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre),Hairspray (Shaftesbury Theatre) and We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre). On TV, Clarke is known for playing Lola Griffin in BBC’s Holby City and from 7 October 2018 will guest star in the brand new series of Doctor Who.

Naana Agyei-Ampadu’s theatre credits include Avenue Q (Noël Coward Theatre), Che Walker’s The Frontline and Measure for Measure (Shakespeare’s Globe), Been So Long (Young Vic: Evening Standard Award nomination) and Feast (Young Vic).

Keisha Amponsa Banson’s previous West End credits include Motown: The Musical (Shaftesbury Theatre), The Pajama Game (Chichester Festival Theatre/ Old Vic/ Shaftesbury Theatre), From Here to Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre) and The Lion King (Lyceum Theatre).

Alastair Brookshaw’s previous theatre credits include A Little Night Music (The Watermill), She Loves Me (Menier Chocolate Theatre), The Grand Tour (Finborough Theatre) and De Profundis (Leicester Square Theatre).

Me’sha Bryan is a singer, songwriter and actor whose recent theatre credits include As You Like It (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Desire Under The Elms (Sheffield Crucible), The Lion King (UK tour), The Little Shop of Horrors (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Ragtime (Piccadilly Theatre).

Angela Caesar’s theatre credits include Orlando and the Three GracesClown, and Into the Forest, (Theatre Peckham), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Phantom of the Opera (UK tour) Carmen Jones (Royal Festival Hall), An African Cargo (Nitro Theatre Company). Opera credits include Heart of Darkness (ROH), Knight Crew (Glyndebourne), Varjak Paw (The Old Vic) and The Silent Twins (Almeida Theatre).

Dujonna Gift-Simms made her West End debut in Motown: The Musical.

Sue Kelvin’s theatre credits include Wicked (Apollo Victoria), Private Lives (Gielgud Theatre), Travelling Light and A Streetcar Names Desire (National Theatre), Fiddler on the Roof (Savoy Theatre), Chicago (Cambridge Theatre and Adelphi Theatre),  Beau Jest (Hackney Empire), Oliver! (London Palladium), Assassins (Donmar Warehouse) and Les Misérables (Palace Theatre).

Teddy Kempner’s theatre credits include Driving Miss Daisy (Theatre Royal Bath/ UK Tour), The Trial and The Bourgeois Gentilhomme (National Theatre),  A Month in the CountryHow To Succeed in Business without Really Trying, and Six Pictures of Lee Miller (Chichester Festival Theatre), Pacific Overtures (Donmar Warehouse),  Measure for Measure and Habeas Corpus (Peter Hall Company), Nicholas Nickleby (RSC, London and New York), The Three SistersThe Merry Wives of WindsorOthelloThe Suicide (all RSC), and Snoopy in Snoopy (Duchess Theatre: Olivier Award nomination).

Ako Mitchell is an actor and filmmaker whose theatre credits include Guys and Dolls and Little Shop of Horrors (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Wild Party (The Other Palace), Ragtime(Charing Cross Theatre), Fences (Duchess Theatre) and the role of Mufasa in The Lion King(Lyceum Theatre).

Abiona Omonua’s theatre credits include Guys and Dolls (Manchester Royal Exchange),Hamlet (Tara Arts), Soul (Royal & Derngate and Hackney Empire), Dessa Rose (Trafalgar Studios), The Color Purple (Menier Chocolate Factory), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre), Parade (Southwark Playhouse), Hairspray (original UK tour), and Hot Mikado (The Watermill).

Vincent Pirillo is an actor and Opera singer whose theatre credits include She Loves Me (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Phantom of the Opera (UK Tour), Sweeney Todd (Chichester Festival Theatre), Inherit the Wind (The Old Vic) and Fiddler on the Roof (Sheffield Crucible/ Savoy Theatre).

Tanisha Spring‘s theatre credits include Tina (Aldwych Theatre), Big Fish (The Other Palace),One Love: The Bob Marley Musical (Birmingham Rep) and Beautiful (Aldwych Theatre).

Lauren Ward’s theatre credits include Matilda (Cambridge Theatre and RSC/Courtyard Theatre), The Sound of Music (London Palladium), The Philadelphia Story (The Old Vic), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Camelot (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), The Winter’s Tale and Pericles (RSC). Broadway credits include Matilda (Shubert Theatre: Tony Award nomination), Follies (Balasco Theatre) and 1776 (Gershwin Theatre: Drama League Award winner, Drama Desk Award nomination).

Ambassador Theatre Group, Gavin Kalin Productions, Glass Half Full Productionsand Rupert Gavin, in association with Hampstead Theatre, present the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Caroline, Or ChangeBook and lyrics by Tony Kushner, music byJeanine Tesori and is directed by Michael Longhurst, with designs by Fly Davis, choreography by Ann Yee, musical direction by Nigel Lilley, lighting by Jack Knowles, sound by Paul Arditti, casting by Charlotte Sutton CDG and children’s casting by Debbie O’Brien.


Book and lyrics by TONY KUSHNER

Playhouse Theatre
Northumberland Ave, London WC2N 5DE | @carolinewestend

Performance schedule:

First performance: 20 November 2018
Final performance: 9 February 2019

Monday to Saturday performances at 7.30pm
Thursday and Saturday matinee performances at 2.30pm
Running time: 2 hours and 35 minutes including one interval

Box office details:

Telephone: 0844 871 7631
Prices from £20

Pilot Theatre to stage the premiere of Sabrina Mahfouz new adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s NOUGHTS & CROSSES


Pilot Theatre present


By Malorie Blackman

Adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz
Directed by Esther Richardson


Co-production with Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Mercury Theatre Colchester and York Theatre Royal



Opening Venue: Derby Theatre 1-16 February 2019.

National tour: 19 February – 11 May 2019. 


“Why love, if losing hurts so much?”


Following their critically acclaimed production earlier this year with Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, Pilot Theatre will premiere in February 2019 Sabrina Mahfouz’s exciting new adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s critically acclaimed young adult novel of first love in a dangerous fictional dystopia – Noughts & Crosses.


Directed by Pilot Theatre’s Artistic Director Esther Richardson (Brighton Rock), the new adaptation will premiere at Derby Theatre from the 1-16 February 2019 and will then embark on a national tour until the 11 May.


Noughts & Crosses will be the first co-production between Pilot Theatre, Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Mercury Theatre, Colchester and York Theatre Royal who have recently formed a new partnership to develop theatre for younger audiences.


Told from the perspectives of the two teenagers, Noughts & Crosses is a captivating love story set in a volatile, racially segregated society and explores the powerful themes of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world.


Sabrina Mahfouz’s new adaptation is based on Malorie Blackman’s first book in the Noughts & Crosses series for young adults, which has won the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award among other accolades. A BBC adaptation of Noughts & Crosses is due to be screened in 2019.


Noughts & Crosses’ exciting young cast will be led by Heather Agyepong and Billy Harris playing the roles of Sephy and Callum. Heather Agyepong’s theatre credits include Girls (Talawa Theatre, High Tide & Martha Rose Wilson Prod.); So Many Reasons (Fuel Theatre & Ovalhouse Theatre) and Sankara (Next Up Talent; National Theatre Studio).  Heather is an acclaimed visual artist, actor and maker. Earlier this year she was nominated for the 2018 South Bank Sky Arts Breakthrough Award. Billy Harris’ theatre credits include Boots On The Ground (Tangled Feet) and 13 (Tobacco Factory Theatre). Further casting will be announced soon.

On  the casting of the roles of Sephy and Callum director Esther Richardson said:

“We were amazed and honoured to receive over 400 audition videos from those who wanted to put themselves forward for the roles of Sephy and Callum. It was like receiving a 33-hour long digital love letter to the original book. We had videos from everyone from teenagers who had never done any performing before to established actors, and many people in between.

By working in this way, we were able to consider far more actors than would have otherwise been possible. We wanted to find fresh talent and authenticity, and we’ve been brought into contact with some extraordinary young actors who were completely unknown to us’

We are thrilled that Heather and Billy are taking on the roles of Sephy and Callum in Malorie’s much-loved novel and we can’t wait to work with both of them.”

Malorie Blackman has written over 60 books for children and young adults, including the Noughts & Crosses series, Thief and most recently her science fiction thriller Chasing the Stars. Her work has also been adapted for TV with the 6-part adaptation of Pig-Heart Boy winning a BAFTA and Noughts and Crosses currently in production for the BBC. In 2005, Malorie was honoured the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her distinguished contribution to the world of children’s books, in 2008 she received an OBE for her services to children’s literature and, between 2013 and 2015, she was the Children’s Laureate. Malorie is currently writing for the new Doctor Who series on BBC One and the fifth novel in her Noughts & Crosses sequence, Crossfire, will be published by Penguin Random House Children’s in summer 2019.

Malorie Blackman said about the production

“I’m thrilled that Noughts & Crosses is being adapted for the stage by Sabrina and produced by Pilot Theatre and a talented consortium of theatre makers whose aim it is to develop theatre for younger audiences.”

Sabrina Mahfouz is a British Egyptian poet, playwright, performer and writer from South London, England. Her recent plays have included Offside(co-written with Hollie McNish); With a little bit of luck (Paines Plough) and published work includes poetry, plays and contributions to several anthologies.


Sabrina Mahfouz said about her new adaptation

‘As a young adult, Noughts & Crosses showed me the power storytelling can have in highlighting injustice in the world, so it is a complete honour to now be adapting the legendary Malorie Blackman’s words for the stage, alongside the bold vision of Pilot Theatre and partners.’

Noughts & Crosses will be the first co-production between Pilot Theatre, Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Mercury Theatre, Colchester and York Theatre Royal. From 2019-2022 the consortium will commission and co-produce an original mid-scale production each year. Each production will play in all the consortium venues as well as touring nationally.

Schools workshops and outreach projects, along with free digital learning resources, will be available alongside each of the productions.

Noughts & Crosses will open at Derby Theatre from the 1-16 February 2019 and will then tour to Theatr Clwyd, Mold; The Lowry, Salford; Mercury Theatre Colchester; Bristol Old Vic; Brighton Theatre Royal; Belgrade Theatre Coventry; York Theatre Royal; Theatre Royal Stratford East and Northern Stage.

For more information on Noughts & Crosses please visit https://www.pilot-theatre.comand




1-16 February 2019 –Derby Theatre

Box Office: 01332 593939 //

Performance times: 7pm (1,2,4,5,8,9,12,15 & 16 February) & 6pm (6,7,13 & 14 February)

Matinee performances: 6,9,13 & 16 February at 1.30pm

Ticket prices: 1, 2 & 4 February £8-£28 and 5-16 February £10-£30



19-23 February – Theatr Clwyd (tickets on sale soon)

Box Office: 01325 701521 //

26 February-2 March –The Lowry, Salford

Box Office: 0843 208 6000

5- 9 March -Mercury Theatre Colchester (tickets on sale soon)

Box Office: 01206 573948 //

12 – 16 March – Bristol Old Vic (tickets on sale soon)

Box Office: 0117 9877877

19-23 March – Brighton Theatre Royal

Box Office: 08448717650 //

26-30 March – Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Box Office: 02476553055 /

2-6 April – York Theatre Royal

Box Office: 01904 623568

24 April – 4 May -Theatre Royal Stratford East

Box Office: 020 8534 0310

7-11 May -Northern Stage (tickets on sale soon)

Box Office: 0191 2305151 //


Murder She Didn’t Write Review

Leicester Square Theatre – 23 September 2018 

Reviewed by Meghan Smith


Murder she didn’t write is an innovative show where the entire cast and audience are completely clueless as to what the story line is other than a murder occurs and a detective solves the case. Initially, I was slightly sceptical about the title of this performance and it’s synopsis. This is due to the fact that I had never been a fan of improvised theatre and preferred to sit back and watch someone else show me a story on the stage without me having to get involved. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this afternoon’s show at the Leicester Square Theatre.

Today’s show was decided by the audience to be based on a murder that takes place in a plastic surgery. The murder weapon was decided to be a syringe which is strangely made out of ice. This proved a slight challenge for the performers as their characters were made to be set in the 1920’s when plastic surgery wasn’t as popular as it is in today’s society. This issue was highlighted throughout the show as all of the cast struggled with their ideas at times as they sometimes slipped to and from the 1920’s due to being on the spot in an awkward situation. However, they should have had not acknowledge on the era to aid themselves in their improvisation which is what I felt was lacking in the overall performance.

This was also seen with the inspector who was fashioning a silver, eye-catching nose ring which was slightly off putting due to the fact that it caught the light a lot as well as not being from the era they were setting the piece in.

On the other hand, I believe the actors performed extremely well under the circumstances they had been given as they managed to put on a thoroughly enjoyable show for both themselves and the audience.

One slight issue I did notice is that although their improvisation skills were immaculate at times, they were all concentrating a little too much on trying to be the most comedic on the stage and this sometimes led to their lingo becoming a little taboo for this audience and the time of day. On the advertisements for this show and the information I had been given on it, it never mentioned anything about an age limit which I then imagined meant it was child friendly. Contrary to this, the performers sometimes forgot that there were children in the audience who weren’t yet mature enough for this kind of language.

Other than this slight mishap and overlooking from the cast, they managed to perform a hilarious and hit show which I would recommend to everyone who wants a good laugh and a fun night whilst still being involved with the show and feeling like a part of the cast.








The Stage Debut Awards, in association with Access Entertainment, are thrilled to announce the 2018 winners, following the ceremony which took place at 8 Northumberland Avenue on Sunday 23 September, which was also streamed live on The Stage’s Facebook Page.

Poldark actor Aidan Turner won the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award for his performance in The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre beating Tina: The Tina Turner Musical star Adrienne Warren, Diversity’s Ashley Banjo and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston.

Performers and creatives taking home the prestigious awards this year also include: Amara Okereke for her iconic performance in Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London, where she made history as the first actress of colour to play the role of Cosette; Katy Rudd for her direction of The Almighty Something at Manchester Royal Exchange; Akshay Sharan for his detailed performance in The Reluctant Fundamentalist and The Yard; Gus Gowland for composing a warm and evocative score for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester; Louis Gaunt for his impressive supporting role in Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera; Gemma Dobson for her vivacious performance in Rita, Sue and Bob Too which started life at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton; Andrew Thompson for his ambitious script for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre 503; and Khadija Raza for, among other work, her stark staging and costumes for Hijabi Monologues at Bush Theatre.

Upon winning the Joe Allen Best West End Debut award, Aidan Turner said: “Thank you to The Stage for this award and thank you to everyone who voted”.

He offered “a special thank you to Michael Grandage, our director, you made it one of the most incredible jobs I’ve ever worked on and to have you at the helm of the ship was a pretty incredible experience”.

Alistair Smith, Editor, The Stage said: “The Stage is delighted to recognise another great roll call of emerging theatrical talent. The winner of the Joe Allen Best West End Debut Award, Aidan Turner, is already known to many for his work on the BBC’s Poldark, but I have no doubt that our other superb winners will go on to achieve great things in theatre and beyond. They are the West End stars, groundbreaking artists and household names of tomorrow and we can’t wait to see what they all do next”.

The Stage Debut Awards celebrate the very best breakthrough talent in theatre, from actors and directors to designers, writers, composers and lyricists, all of whom have made their professional debuts in the past year. These awards are the first of their kind to recognise outstanding emerging talent.

Leonard Blavatnik of headline sponsor Access Entertainment, said: “Access Entertainment is thrilled to sponsor The Stage Debut Awards this year, recognising and supporting the rising stars of the theatrical world.”



Best Actress In A Play – Sponsored by Audible

·           Kitty Archer for One for Sorrow at the Royal Court, London

·           WINNER: Gemma Dobson for Rita, Sue and Bob Too at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton

·           Lorna Fitzgerald for The Shadow Factory at NST City, Southampton

·           Grainne O’Mahony for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

Best Actor In A Play – Sponsored by Audible

·           Seb Carrington for Summer and Smoke at the Almeida Theatre, London

·           WINNER: Akshay Sharan for The Reluctant Fundamentalist at Yard Theatre, London

·           Chris Walley for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre, London

·           Alex Wilson for The Elephant Man at Bristol Old Vic

Best Actor In A Musical – Sponsored by Encore Radio

·           Will Carey for It’s Only Life at the Union Theatre, London

·           WINNER: Louis Gaunt for Oklahoma! at Grange Park Opera, West Horsley

·           Toby Miles for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London

·           Simon Oskarsson for Return to the Forbidden Planet at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London

Best Actress In A Musical – Sponsored by R&H Theatricals Europe

·           Teleri Hughes for Spring Awakening at the Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester

·           Eleanor Kane for Fun Home at the Young Vic, London

·           Rebecca Mendoza for Hairspray, on tour

·           WINNER: Amara Okereke for Les Misérables at the Queen’s Theatre, London

Best Director – Sponsored by Smith & Williamson

·           Iwan Lewis for One Minute at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester

·           Alexandra Moxon for Wreck at Nottingham Playhouse

·           Oscar Pearce for Great Apes at the Arcola Theatre, London

·           WINNER: Katy Rudd for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

Best Designer – Sponsored by Robe Lighting

·           Basia Binkowska for Devil with the Blue Dress at the Bunker Theatre, London

·           WINNER: Khadija Raza for Hijabi Monologues, Spun, and Mixtape, at the Bush   Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London and the Royal Exchange, Manchester

·           Fin Redshaw for Pieces of String and Love Me Now at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester and the Tristan Bates Theatre, London

·           Jasmine Swan for HyemThe Passing of Third Floor BackHanna and The Sleeper at Theatre503, London, the Finborough Theatre, London, the Arcola Theatre, London, and Rialto Theatre, Brighton

Best Composer or Lyricist – Sponsored by Trafalgar Entertainment Group

·           WINNER: Gus Gowland for Pieces of String at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester

·           Kate Marlais for Abandon at the Lyric Hammersmith, London

·           Matt Winkworth for The Assassination of Katie Hopkins at Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Best Writer – Sponsored by InterTalent Rights Group

·           Georgia Christou for Yous Two at Hampstead Theatre, London

·           Kendall Feaver for The Almighty Sometimes at the Royal Exchange, Manchester

·           Natasha Gordon for Nine Night at the National Theatre, London

·           WINNER: Andrew Thompson for In Event of Moone Disaster at Theatre503, London

·           Joe White for Mayfly at the Orange Tree Theatre, London

The Joe Allen Best West End Debut

·           Mohammad Amiri for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre

·           Ashley Banjo for Dick Whittington at the London Palladium

·           Bryan Cranston for Network at the National Theatre

·           Michelle Greenidge for Nine Night at the National Theatre

·           John McCrea for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre

·           Kelli O’Hara for The King and I at the London Palladium

·           Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy for The Jungle at the Playhouse Theatre

·           Lucie Shorthouse for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre

·           WINNER: Aidan Turner for The Lieutenant of Inishmore at the Noël Coward Theatre

·           Adrienne Warren for Tina: The Tina Turner Musical at the Aldwych Theatre

Lifeboat Review

Jack Studio Theatre – until  6 October 2018

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


The City of Benares was hit and sunk by a German U-boat on the 17th September 1940, with an estimated loss of 258 lives. While many modern films use the targeting of the North Atlantic convoys as the driving impulse in the background as we watch intrepid code-breakers and engineers struggle in a race against time to track the German fleet, Nicola McCartney’s play is different – because City of Benares wasn’t just transporting supplies but was carrying 90 evacuee children to the safety of Canada. The tragedy meant the end of the government’s programme sending children overseas, and saw the German captain being charged, but cleared, with war crimes.

Nicola McCartney tells the story of the fateful voyage through the eyes of two teenagers, Bess Walder (Claire Bowman) and Beth Cummings (Lindsey Scott). The play opens with the girls clinging onto an overturned lifeboat, watching as the adults around them give up and let go – “Ping, ping, ping” as each finger releases its grip on their “downside up” boat. The eerie darkness lifts to sepia, sunset tones as the build-up to the sinking is revealed. The characters are straight out 1940s films: with Beth’s working-class Liverpool family keeping jolly and strong in their hardship and Bess’ middle-class family showing the stiff upper lip face of wartime Britain; even so, it is Bess’ mother’s farewell that will bring a tear to your eye. The girls bond on the ship through their love of The Wizard of Oz, and their repeated invocations of comforting lines from the film as their fear grows is a lovely touch. The innocence and wonder of childhood is captured brilliantly, with the girls’ awe at the luxurious surroundings of the ship, and their placing the alien appearance of the Indian stewards (Sinbad the Sailor) in their sheltered storybook existence. The two actors play each other’s families and the various people on board the ship, switching character rapidly and expertly, with Bowman in particular showing great comic chops with some of her characterisations.

Claire Bowman and Lindsey Scott are tremendous as the two girls, delivering McCartney’s brilliantly realised language of childhood with energy and passion. The performances grip you from the start and do justice to the brave survivors. The moments of horror and terror are described almost matter-of-factly through the girls’ eyes, but their loss and shock are portrayed brilliantly by the talented actors.

Under Kate Bannister’s assured direction, the plot unfolds naturally and fluidly, with Tom Kitney’s lighting and Jack Elliot Barton’s sound design producing an almost mystical atmosphere at times. Karl Swinyard’s set is simple but evocative, with the actors reaching under the deck to take props out of suitcases. This design and the convincing performances create the image that the girls are simply playing dress up in their attic at times, before being brought back to the stark reality of the lifeboat with a jolt.

This moving and magical story of survival is another stellar production from the Jack Studio Theatre – grab a ticket while you can.

Still Alice Review

Richmond Theatre – until 22 September2018

Reviewed by Adam Craddock



Having personally been hurt by the awful illness that is dementia, David Grindley’s new production of the play “Still Alice” was a very exciting prospect for me when I was cruising through the theatre listings. Based around the final years of an early onset Dementia sufferer’s life, “Still Alice” follows Alice, a Harvard professor as she declines into dementia’s ugly grasp. The play is an extremely clever and truthful portrayal of this and as a book it delivers on all fronts excellently.

Martin Marquez plays Alice’s tortured husband John to perfection, with his inner turmoil on full display to the audience in one of the most heart wrenching and emotional performances I have seen in a long time. Eva Pope was splendid as “Herself”, Alice’s inner thought manifested and vocalised. She brilliantly matched all of the mannerisms of Sharon Small as Alice and gave quite a darkly comedic turn in this role that really gave the piece as a whole a bit more of a punch in the key moments. Mark Armstrong and Ruth Ollman were strong as Thomas and Lydia respectively, with a real sense of maturity in their characters and some very emotional inter play with their on stage mother. Really well done guys! However, the standout performance of the night has to go to Sharon Small as Alice, the lady going through the living hell of dementia and trying to find out how to accept, was absolutely phenomenal. Her portrayal of a character with the vicious disease was sublime and really took on all of the nuances and little quirks that come about with someone suffering from dementia. This quite frankly was one of the finest performances that I have ever seen in my year in the theatre.

“Still Alice” is an anomaly, one of those special productions where I can’t in good mind pick a fault with it. I would recommend this production in the highest regard. If you want a solid piece of gut wrenching drama then get down to the theatre and see this, because you definitely will not be disappointed!

Drama school students awarded £72,500 by Laurence Olivier Bursaries scheme


Sixteen drama school students from across the UK have been awarded a total of £72,500 worth of bursaries by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), to help them complete their training.

Established by SOLT in 1987 to mark the 80th birthday of Lord Olivier, the Laurence Olivier Bursaries aim to provide support to exceptional students entering their final year of drama school, and facing financial difficulties which might jeopardize their studies.

Previous bursary winners have included Denise Gough, Bryony Hannah, Paterson Joseph, Ewan McGregor, Daniel Rigby, Vinette Robinson, Juma Sharkah, Michaela Coel and Michael Sheen.

Nominees, put forward by drama school principals across the UK, are auditioned on a West End stage and interviewed by a panel of theatre industry figures, led by West End producer and Chair of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries Committee, Lee Menzies. This year’s auditions took place at St Martin’s Theatre. The bursaries were formally presented during a ceremony at the SOLT offices on 20 September.

Funds awarded individually through the scheme can range from £500 to a maximum of £7,500, and are given at the discretion of the judges.

Lee Menzies, Chair of the Olivier Bursaries Committee, said:

‘Each year we are astounded by the talent and dedication of the bursary recipients – individuals who, despite financial hardship, are pushing forward to realize their potential. Many have made sacrifices to continue their studies, and without assistance we risk losing gifted performers to other industries. Drama courses require a huge amount of hard work; these bursaries give performers the freedom to focus on their studies without financial pressure. We are grateful to our partners and donors, and I urge the industry to help us secure the future of UK theatre – by supporting schemes like this, and also by continuing to make theatre tickets financially accessible to students, allowing the next generation of acting talent to be inspired by our world-class stages.’

The Clothworkers’ Foundation bursary is worth a total of £37,500 over five years with £7,500 awarded to a student annually as part of the Laurence Olivier Bursaries scheme. Funds donated by The Behrens Foundation, The Casting Directors’ Guild and by leading London theatrical agent Barry Burnett are also given in conjunction with the scheme.

The annual Society of London Theatre Bursary for Musical Theatre Dancers has been awarded to four recipients over the past year. Chosen by Dancers’ Career Development, the bursary was established to provide support for professional musical theatre dancers transitioning into post-performance careers in the creative industries.


Laurence Olivier Bursary 2018

Donated by Society of London Theatre

Esme Allen – Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Rosie Clay – SLP College

Ruby Crepin-Glyne – Oxford School of Drama

Amesh Edireweera – Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Louis Ellis – Academy of Live and Recorded Arts

Jasmine Jones – Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Mirren Mack – Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Aidan Nightingale – Bodywork Company

Melissa Shirley Rose – Drama Studio London

Samuel Stafford – London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art


Laurence Olivier Bursary and Doreen Jones & Mary Selway Bursary 2018

Donated by Society of London Theatre and the Casting Directors’ Guild

Samuel Adebayo – London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art


Behrens Foundation Bursary 2018

Given in conjunction with the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by The Behrens Foundation

Ojan Genc – Drama Centre London

Aron Julius – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art

Shaofan Wilson – Oxford School of Drama


Carmen Silvera Bursary 2018

Given in conjunction with the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by the agent Barry Burnett

Beshlie Thorp – Bristol Old Vic Theatre School


The Clothworkers’ Laurence Olivier Bursary 2018

Given in conjunction with the Laurence Olivier Bursary, donated by The Clothworkers’ Foundation

Paul Kennedy – Manchester School of Theatre


Coinciding with the Armistice centenary, Charles Aitken and Oliver Beamish to star in WW1 drama Billy Bishop Goes To War

Charles Aitken and Oliver Beamish to star in
Billy Bishop Goes To War
Jermyn Street Theatre, 16b Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6ST
Wednesday 31st October – Saturday 24th November 2018

Coinciding with the centenary of the end of World War I, Proud Haddock are reviving Billy Bishop Goes To War as part of their War Season and Jermyn Street Theatre’s Rebels Season. This striking drama is based upon the true story of young Billy Bishop, a failing military college student who became Canada’s indomitable flying ace, the most successful pilot of his generation

Billy Bishop Goes To War will star Charles Aitken (The Knick, Cinemax; Happy Death Day, Universal Pictures; King Lear, Royal Shakespeare Company) as Billy Bishop – he also plays a further 17 parts as he recounts this extraordinary tale. Oliver Beamish (Coronation Street, ITV; Blood Brothers, Lyric Theatre; War Horse, The New London Theatre), as the Older Billy Bishop, will also provide the piano and musical accompaniment

In 1914, Billy Bishop, aged only 20, signed up to fight in the Great War. A failing and bullied student, he overcame intense prejudice and astonishing danger to receive his wings and become the top fighter pilot. Through a combination of bravery and sheer luck, Billy was able to find his place and prove his worth. He became a true Canadian hero

Brought to life with songs of the period, Billy Bishop Goes To War vividly transports the audience across the landscape of World War I, from the thick mud of No Man’s Land to the drawing rooms of the British aristocracy. This compelling and darkly comic drama interrogates the nature of heroism and its cost while shining a light on the often-neglected complexities of Britain’s colonial past during the War

Written by John MacLachlan Gray in collaboration with Eric Peterson, the play returns to London for the first time in over 35 years. Billy Bishop Goes To War is the deceptively moving and totally gripping account of one man’s life in World War I

Director Jimmy Walters comments, Proud Haddock’s War Season continues with Billy Bishop Goes To War. This is a true story with lots of heart. Billy wasn’t the most academic student, was bullied at school and faced prejudice when he arrived in England during the First World War yet he overcame all of this to become the greatest fighter pilot of his generation. It’s an inspiring story that is a
privilege to revive





Papatango presents

By Imam Qureshi

Southwark Playhouse

31 October – 24 November


Papatango today announce the creative team for The Funeral Director by Iman Qureshi – winner of the 10thannual New Writing Prize. The creative team includes Artistic Director and co-founder of Damsel Productions, Hannah Hauer King (Director), 2017 winner of Best Design at the Wales Theatre Awards, Amy Jane Cook (Designer), WhatsOnStage Award and two time Off West End Award nominee for Best Lighting Design, Jack Weir (Lighting Designer) and Max Pappenheim (Sound Designer) who has extensive credits across London and Broadway and is currently working on Hogarth’s Progress at Rose Theatre Kingston.

The Funeral Director, an exploration of a gay Muslim woman coming to terms with her identity, makes its world premiere in a four-week run at Southwark Playhouse opening on 2 November, with previews from 31 October; and running until 24 November.


This year’s Papatango New Writing Prize received a record-breaking number of submissions from across the UK and Ireland – 1,384. This means the Prize continues to attract more annual UK/Irish submissions than any other playwriting platform – and is unique in giving feedback to all entrants.

“I just thought it would be a secret I’d have to die with. And now – I think it’ll be what kills me.”

Life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn’t always easy, but Ayesha has things pretty sorted. She and Zeyd share everything: a marriage, a business, a future.

Until Tom walks in to organise his boyfriend’s funeral. A snap moral decision, informed by the values of Ayesha’s community and faith, has profound consequences.

Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is – no matter the cost.

The Funeral Director is an incisive and heartfelt story of sexuality, gender and religion in 21st-century Britain.

Iman Qureshi will make her full-length debut with The Funeral Director. Born in Pakistan and raised in Saudi Arabia, she has had short plays or limited runs commissioned or produced by Tamasha, Kalí Theatre, Purple Moon Drama and the BBC. As a member of Tamasha Playwrights and Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab her short playHis and Hers was produced as part of Tamasha’s New Muslim Voices. Iman has also written for the Guardian, Independent, Time Out and the Huffington Post, been writer in residence at various schools, and been shortlisted for the Muslim Writer’s Award in 2011.

Hannah Hauer-King directs. She is the Artistic Director and co-founder of all-female theatre company Damsel Productions. Hauer-King started her London directing career acting as Resident AD at Soho Theatre in 2014. She now works as a freelance theatre director alongside directing for Damsel Productions, and as a theatre, comedy and cabaret programmer for Fane Productions. Recent productions include Fabric (Soho Theatre), The Swell (Hightide Festival), Grotty and Breathe (Bunker Theatre), Fury and Brute (Soho Theatre), Clay (Pleasance Theatre), Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre), Witt ‘n Camp (Assembly Studios, Edinburgh Fringe) andHypernormal (Vaults Festival). Associate/Assistant work includes Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Radiant Vermin (Soho Theatre) and Daytona (Theatre Royal Haymarket).

Amy Jane Cook (Designer) was the winner of Best Design at the Wales Theatre Awards 2017. Theatre credits include Jellyfish (Bush Theatre), Not Talking (Arcola Theatre), Lava (Nottingham Playhouse), Our Blue Heaven (New Wolsey Theatre), The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, St Nicholas (Theatr Clwyd), Insignificance (Theatre Clwyd/Langham Place, New York), Up N Under (UK tour), The 8th (Barbican), Mydidae (Soho Theatre/Trafalgar Studios), 66 Books (Bush/Westminster Abbey),Mudlarks (Bush/HighTide Festival), Medea (Gate Theatre), 65 MilesOnce Upon a Time in Wigan (Hull Truck), Hamlet (Young Vic/Maria Theatre), The Water Engine (Old Vic Tunnels), Glory Dazed (Soho Theatre), The Mobile Phone Show (Lyric Hammersmith), Almost Maine (Park Theatre), The Separation (Project Arts Centre, Dublin/Theatre503), Where the Mangrove Grows (Theatre503), To Dream Again (Clwyd/Polka), The Giant Jam Sandwich (Trafalgar Studio/Derby Live/Polka) Thumbelina’s Great Adventure (Cambridge Arts Centre) and I (heart) Peterborough (Pleasance/Tour).

Jack Weir (Lighting Designer) trained at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and won the ETC award for Lighting Design in 2014. He is a WhatsOnStage award and two time Off West End Award nominee for Best Lighting Designer. Weir’s recent lighting design credits include Hanna (Papatango at Arcola Theatre and UK tour), Rain Man (UK tour), The Boys In The Band (Vaudeville Theatre), Dust (Trafalgar Studios), Rothschild & Sons (Park Theatre), George’s Marvellous Medicine (Leicester Curve, Rose Theatre and UK tour), Judy! (The Arts Theatre), Assata Taught Me (Gate Theatre), The Plague (Arcola Theatre), Out Of Order (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre & UK tour), Pray So Hard For You (Finborough Theatre), Laronde (The Bunker Theatre), Four Play (Theatre503),Summer In London (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Pyar Actually (Watford Palace & tour), Talk Radio (Old Red Lion), Holding The Man, Beautiful Thing, Grindr The Opera and Maurice (Above The Stag), West Side Story (Bishopsgate Institute) and Hunch/Velvet (Pleasance/Assembly Edinburgh).

Max Pappenheim (Sound Designer). He previously worked with Papatango on Coolatully (Finborough Theatre). Other theatre credits include The Habit of Art (York Theatre Royal/Original Theatre), One For Sorrow (Royal Court), The Way of the World (Donmar Warehouse), A View from the Bridge, Macbeth (Tobacco Factory), Dry PowderSex with StrangersLabyrinth (Hampstead Theatre), The Children (Royal Court/Manhattan Theatre Club), Humble Boy, The Lottery of Love, Sheppey, Blue/Heart, Little Light, The Distance (Orange Tree), Ophelias Zimmer (Schaubühne, Berlin/Royal Court), Miss Julie (Theatre by the Lake/Jermyn Street), The Gaul (Hull Truck), Cookies (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Teddy, Fabric, Invincible (UK tour), Toast (Park Theatre/59E59 Theaters, New York), Jane Wenham (Out of Joint), Waiting for Godot (Sheffield Crucible), My Eyes Went Dark (Traverse, Edinburgh), Cargo (Arcola Theatre), CommonWealth (Almeida Theatre), Creve Coeur (Print Room), Wink (Theatre503), Spamalot, The Glass Menagerie (English Theatre, Frankfurt), The Cardinal, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Fiji Land (Southwark Playhouse), Mrs Lowry and Son (Trafalgar Studios), Martine, Black Jesus, Somersaults (Finborough Theatre) and The Hotel Plays (Langham Hotel).

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