HIPPODROME LAUNCHES EXCITING SUMMER 2019 SEASON Darlington Hippodrome has lifted the lid on a selection of new shows for its Summer 2019 season.
The new season includes some thrilling new drama, a hand-picked selection of the world’s most dazzling musicals and some truly magical family shows.
For drama lovers, there are thriller spectaculars in store with powerful new productions on the horizon.
Agatha Christie lovers are in for a treat as The Mousetrap, starring Gwyneth Strong (April 29 – May 4) and the classic Miss Marple tale A Murder is Announced will keep audiences on the edge of their seats (September 10 – 14) with The Lady Vanishes hot on their tail (October 15 – 19) a new stage adaptation based on the classic Hitchcock film.
For less thrills and more laughs there is Stones in His Pockets (July 15 – 20) and Stephen Tompkinson stars in Educating Rita (August 12 – 17).
Musical fans will be delighted to hear that some major musical blockbusters are heading this way.
Jaymi Hensley (UnionJ) will be pulling on that coat of many colours as he stars in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (May 21 – 25). Celebrating 30 terrific years, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story will have you dancing in the aisles (September 17 – 21). The entire family will simply love Madagascar The Musical (October 9 – 13) and there will be chills abound when DarlingtonOS presents Jekyll & Hyde The Musical (October 23 – November 2). Jason Manford stars in the musical comedy / murder mystery Curtains (November 12 – 16).
For younger visitors and families there is a whole host of shows to entertain.
That larger-than-life dragon Zog is on his way to Darlington (May 17 – 19), you can get an hilarious history lesson with the team from Horrible Histories as they present Terrible Tudors and Awful Egyptians (June 20 – 23). A brand new stage show of In The Night Garden will enthral young visitors to the Hippodrome (September 29 & 29) and the David Walliams classic story Billionaire Boy will hit the stage later in the year (November 6 – 10).
Operetta and Song & Dance fans have a selection of productions which will appeal to all tastes and ages.
The National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company present three G&S classics – The Gondoliers, The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado (August 1 – 3). For a little more glamour and glitz Puttin’ On The Ritz will bring to life the music of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin (August 6 – 8). Celebrating the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is New Jersey Nights (August 22 – 24).
Also on sale is the festive family pantomime – Jack and the Beanstalk starring Strictly judge Shirley Ballas.
Comedy lovers will have no shortage of laughs over the coming months.
Dave Spikey will grace the stage (May 16), there is an afternoon of fun with The Good Old Days of Variety (June 6), Adam Kay is back by popular demand (June 7), La Voix offers her own unique style of entertainment (June 18) while Frank Skinner (October 6) and Alexander Armstrong (November 4) will certainly pull in the crowds.
In The Hullabaloo more intimate comedy can be found with Tom Stade (May 3), Sophie Willan & Jonny Pelham (May 12), and Jan Ravens (May 29).
There are a number of fabulous ‘one night only’ productions including Sing-A-Long-A The Greatest Showman (May 11), Elkie Brooks (May 29), Rhythm of the Dance (July 23), The Best of Wham! (September 1), T.Rextacy (October 2) and many, many more.
Additional shows are regularly being added to the Darlington Hippodrome schedule. To ensure you keep up to date please visit the website.
For further information and to book contact the box office on 01325 405405, or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk to choose your own seats online. Follow the theatre on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Two actors (John Shedden and Finlay McLean) and a skeleton take us through an exploration of a variety of characters, some all too recognisable in everyday life, and others more obscure. Although advertised as a series of sketches, the show plays out more like a collection of interlinked monologues and duologues, with smatterings of comedy, drama and philosophical musings, written and directed by David Henry Wilson.
As is the danger with sketch shows, or, perhaps more accurately in this case ‘compilation’ shows, some scenes will succeed better than others. Particular highlights are the ‘Old Critics’, two luvvies bemoaning the state of modern-day theatre and the world whilst remaining completely oblivious to their lack of relevance, and ‘The Wordsmith’, a comment on the evolution of words and how they have changed over the years. Other scenes suffer due to a tendency to pull out a point to its extremes. Potentially interesting segments, such as the interviews with Shylock and Hamlet, bordered on overstaying their welcome, while ‘The Eye Test’, despite being played with a mischievous twinkle in the eye of Mr Shedden, lacks the spontaneity of some of the late Ronnie Barker’s ‘instructional’ videos (‘How To Speak Swedish’ sprung to mind), and labours the message for too long. ‘Brevity is the soul of wit’, indeed.
But the performers themselves are at their best when playing off each other, particularly in ‘Prime Minister meets President’, a thinly veiled imagining of the Bush/Blair eras, although, in this current political climate, could just as easily be a toned-down vision of the future, and whomever takes over the unenviable position of Theresa May and the deluded Trump. Both actors slip into various characters with ease, showcasing their chameleonic abilities, even if some of the pacing could have been tighter. And, as the ‘Old Critics’ might have mentioned, in an age of mumbling stage and screen actors, the old school of diction and clarity won out, as every word was crystal clear in whichever accent was being deployed.
Hair the Musical has landed at Wimbledon theatre packed with all the peace, love, freedom and happiness possible as the show continues in celebration of its 50th anniversary. A true festival of colour, psychedelic trips aplenty, and an unforgettable score, it’s easy to see why Hair has stood the test of time and is still as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.
Set in late 1960’s America, Hair is a culmination of rebellion against the Vietnam War, breaking racial and sexual prejudice and freedom. The show introduces us to a tribe of hippies who in turn speak to the crowds and share their stories of how they came to be in this drug fuelled, free loving clan. Each tribe member appears to be far removed from the real world from an outsider’s perspective but when you get to the heart of the matter, they are probably more grounded than most of the top flying politicians of the decade whose decisions were leading a nation into crisis.
The stage is an explosion of colourful ribbons, banners and green fields which the displaced hairy ensemble meander onto from the stalls as the show begins setting the tone for the duration of the evening, no forth wall and as immersive as it can be for a theatre of that size and we kick off with the infamous Aquarius.
This show has been a favourite of mine for quite some time and I am always excited by the ways in which it can be reinvented with a score that has always been a standout, with each song offering something special and unique in its style and lyrics but one thing always the remains, the cast vocals have to be on point, this cast excelled in vocal ability. The strength of each performer is evident and each role is clearly defined from the outset. Each number was bursting with gusto and the tight choreography was given real attack from the cast which elevated the show.
Jake Quickenden (Berger) and Daisy Wood Davis (Sheila) both starting new chapters in their careers, take to their roles with ease and seem to be having a ball in the process. The entire ensemble is excellent; it’s difficult to name standout performers as it really is a team effort throughout but special mentions must go to Bradley Judge as Woof, Marcus Collins as Hud and Alesha Pease as Dionne, all three gave incredible vocal performances as well as plenty of that hippy energy which is vital to a show like Hair. Tom Bales and Margaret Mead was a personal highlight for me as his interactions with the audience were hilarious and the rest of the crowd seemed to agree.
Once again this production has knocked it out of the park and has certainly set the bar high for the future of Hair The Musical, with great direction by Jonathan O’Boyal, impressive choreography by William Whelton and seamless musical direction by Gareth Bretherton you can’t help but come out of the theatre feeling good and that is something to cherish! Lovers of Hair will not be disappointed as this feels like a fresh, new and exciting interpretation with a cast that can pack a punch, so let your hair down and enjoy!
Emma Rice’s brilliantly bawdy adaptation of Angela Carter’s last novel is one of those shows that just makes you glad to be alive.
It’s 1989, and twins Dora and Nora Chance live in Brixton, in the house in which they were born. On their 75th birthday (a date they share with Shakespeare) they receive an invitation to their natural father’s 100th birthday party. Never acknowledged by Melchior Hazard as his daughters, the pair tell their life stories, beginning with the theatrical legacy of their grandparents. Taken in by Grandma Chance, and visited and showered with gifts by their Uncle Peregrine, the girls grow up to become The Lucky Chances – dancing showgirls living life to the full.
Surrounded by an ensemble that slip in and out of different characters, Nora and Dora watch gleefully as their life unfolds for the audience. The set is deliciously and deceptively ramshackle, with actors dressing stations and “stage hands” sweeping the floor or self-consciously providing props. The gloriously retro caravan that serves as an interior for various scenes is a work of art, and when it is used as a screen to project the twins’ journey North of the river, it is a truly beautiful image.
This love letter to the theatre, both the glamour and the seediness, is as theatrical as you can get. Shakespeare looms large, and there is a lot of fun to be had from lampooning the snobbery and pretentiousness of the old breed of actor/directors. Using the ensemble as different characters and presenting each with a not-so-subtle “ta-da” means that sex (LOTS of sex), murder, suicide, physical and sexual abuse all become pantomime, and this reminds us that we are watching Dora’s memories – this is how she copes with such terrible events, with a song, a dance and a laugh.
As the characters age, different actors take on the roles, regardless of gender and race. Gareth Snook is magnificent as Dora, funny, warm and full of cheeky innuendo, but heart-breaking when wandering down memory lane opens old wounds. Emma Rice takes over as Nora for the rest of the tour, and is a fine energetic foil for Snook. Omari Douglas is mesmerising as Showgirl Nora and Katy Owen is a lot of fun as foul-mouthed Grandma Chance.
Accompanied by the onstage musicians, the music is haunting and joyous in turn, and when the twins go shopping in Brixton to the beat of Electric Avenue, it takes a lot of will power not to jump up and dance. This is joyous and celebratory theatre at its best.
Motown the Musical is a heartfelt inside into the lives of the recording artists supported by the Motown record label, and Berry Gordy himself. With a fantastic set design and amazing costumes, this production is sure to make you move in your seat.
The opening of the show you are opened straight into a musical serenade by a group of young singers, then thrown into a brief whirlwind introduction in the life of Berry Gordy, played by Edward Baruwa, who starts the show with amazing vocals, which can only lead you to want more. Every member of the cast, who is slowly introduced shows an amazing vocal skill and all work together very nicely. The production cunningly uses LED screens to recreate a mixture of different settings, all in high quality and very believable, these screens move around to create the appropriate looking set. The way the acts have been chosen and the amazing vocals make you believe that all these music legends have come to meet in Cardiff and are performing a reunion for one night only, all the cast have been so accurately chosen that you wouldn’t want to change a thing.
Slowly you hear more and more of the upbeat classics we have all come to love and know and you are fully immersed into the lives of all the characters before a break into the interval.
During the second half of the musical we are introduced more heavily into the lives of Berry Gordy, (Edward Baruwa) and Diana Ross (Karis Anderson) the vocal dynamic of these two together is astonishing and the pair go on to create an amazing vibe together on stage, it is an amazing tale to unfold and is incredible to watch, I would have to say that Karis Anderson’s role of Diana Ross was the most spectacular acting and singing I have seen in a long time and brought chills to my spine, especially when the actress brought on an audience member in typical Ross fashion and maintained her role, whilst helping the chosen member to sing to the audience. It was a fantastic moment to witness and really felt like we were in Vegas watching Ms Diana Ross herself.
Followed by an amazing scene which gave us a flash run through all the top acts and hits that Motown was a part of left the audience singing along and wanting to dance.
Overall I would highly rate this performance and would absolutely love to see it again, and recommend this production to all ages, no matter how educated on the story of Motown you are you will extremely enjoy the performance by the end, especially with the big closing number the entire cast performed as the curtains dropped.
What started with a bang, certainly ended with one! The Bodyguard, starring Alexandra Burke as the pop sensation ‘Rachel Marron’ is set to be a perfect hit in the Bristol Hippodrome!
The story shows Rachel Marron’s struggle as she receives threats that endanger her life, leading to her need for a new Bodyguard (Benoît Maréchal) whom she falls head over heels in love with, much to the dismay of her sister Nikki (Micha Richardson). Known only as ‘The Stalker’, Phil Atkinson portages a desperate romantic, who will do anything to win the love of Rachel, including the death of her sister to eliminate an obstacle. This is a tale of love, lust, anger, pain and sacrifice-a true masterpiece.
Alexandra Burke is a perfect cast for Rachel Marron. Her stunning vocals and raw emotion really came through every minute she was on the stage. From the get go, during Queen of the Night, Burke had the audience pumped. The high tempo, fast paced song was no issue for Burke, as she soared through each note and gave a sterling performance. She showed empathy, passion, love and strength all in the same breath and this quality performance stayed for the duration of the show-no wonder this is her second time as Rachel Marron!! Her rendition of I Will Always Love You was a stunning finale and made most of the audience cry!
Benoît Maréchel as Frank Farmer, the new Bodyguard had perfect rapport with Burke, to create a true life love story. He was demanding but attentive and really commanded the stage. At some points, his accent slipped a bit but this was quickly forgotten when he swept Rachel and the audience off their feet.
The real star of the show, in my opinion, was Micha Richardson as Nikki, Rachel’s sister. Her unfaltering vocals were a blessing to hear and I only wish I could’ve experienced more of them. She has a beautiful voice and was able to make the audience fall completely silent when we first heard her sing. She released her inner Whitney Houston and perfected every single moment she had on stage. You could clearly see her passion for theatre during the show and she is an extremely talented lady. At one point, when the stalker had entered their home and seemed to have killed her nephew, Richardson had one of the smoothest character changes I have ever seen. She went from being a slightly tipsy aunt, wanting a cuddle from her nephew, only to realise he wasn’t in bed and a knife was placed there instead. The scream that came from her was guttural, it ripped through the theatre and completely changed the tone of the show. A spectacular performance.
As one of the most technically advanced shows I have ever seen, a special mention must go to Tim Hatley, the set designer. Fire, smoke, 3D projections and blindingly beautiful lights to name but a few, were present in this show and it was perfect. When The Bodyguard lifts Rachel to safety, a vapour screen explodes onto the stage, with a dramatic back light to show the audience a silhouette of the world recognised lift-one I was not expecting! The finale, with Burke singing the classic I Will Always Love You involved her faultlessly lifting into the air on a lift box and this was a stunning sight! Mixed with Burke’s vocal talents and the amazing technology, this was a perfect finale!!
If you want a beautiful piece, that will evoke every feeling in you and will leave you feeling loved, this is the show for you!!
Hansard, a new play by Simon Woods, directed by Simon Godwin, to premiere in the Lyttelton Theatre with Lindsay Duncan and Alex Jennings
Roy Alexander Weise returns to the National Theatre to direct ‘Master Harold’…and the boysby Athol Fugard with Lucian Msamati and Hammed Animashaun in the cast
The Sydney Theatre Company Production of The Secret River by Kate Grenville adapted for the stage by Andrew Bovell, and directed by Neil Armfield to open in the Olivier Theatre following performances at Edinburgh International Festival
Following a sell-out run last year Brian Friel’s Translations, directed by Ian Rickson returns to the Olivier stage with Ciarán Hinds reprising the role of Hugh
Andy Stanton adapts his award-winning children’s book into a musical, Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear – the Musical! with music by Jim Fortune directed by Amy Hodge, premiering in the Dorfman Theatre in July
Following its sold-out run at the Bush Theatre, Ben Weatherill’s Jellyfish plays in the Dorfman Theatre with Sarah Gordy returning to play Kelly
Full casting announced for Peter Gynt by David Hare, after Henrik Ibsen, joining James McArdle who takes on the title role
New broadcasts and outdoor activity announced to celebrate NT Live’s 10th birthday
Alongside the previously announced:
Top Girls in the Lyttelton Theatre by Caryl Churchill, directed by Lyndsey Turner with an all-female cast
Small Island, adapted by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy’s prize-winning novel to premiere in the Olivier Theatre, directed by Rufus Norris
ANNA conceived by Ella Hickson, Ben and Max Ringham directed by Natalie Abrahami to premiere in the Dorfman Theatre
Rutherford and Son by Githa Sowerby, directed by Polly Findlay opens in the Lyttelton Theatre in May
Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade directed by Tamara Harvey to tour to Bath, Salford before returning to Theatr Clwyd in Mold
THE SECRET RIVER
A Sydney Theatre Company Production
by Kate Grenville
adapted for the stage by Andrew Bovell
previews from 22 August, opening night on 27 August, in repertoire until 7 September
A moving and unflinching journey into Australia’s dark history. Adapted from Kate Grenville’s acclaimed novel, this multi-award-winning production from Sydney Theatre Company tells the story of two families divided by culture and land.
William Thornhill arrives in New South Wales a convict from the slums of London. Upon earning his pardon he discovers that this new world offers something he didn’t dare to dream of: a place to call his own. But as he plants a crop and lays claim to the soil on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, he finds that this land is not his to take. Its ancient custodians are the Dharug people.
Neil Armfield directs an ensemble cast of 22. Live music composed by Iain Grandage will play a central role in the play, which was conceived in collaboration with indigenous artists and is performed in Dharug language as well as English.
Set design is by Stephen Curtis, costume designer is Tess Schofield, lighting designer is Mark Howett and sound designer is Steve Francis.
The Secret River 2019 tour is supported by Ian Narev & Frances Allan, Gretel Packer and commissioning patrons Catriona Mordant AM & Simon Mordant AM and David Gonski AC & Orli Wargon OAM.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals Inc., Sydney Festival, Perth International Arts Festival and The Centenary of Canberra.
by Brian Friel
previews from 15 October, press night 21 October, in repertoire until 26 October with additional performances to be announced
Following a sold-out run in 2018, Ian Rickson’s exquisite production returns. Ciarán Hinds reprises his critically acclaimed role of patriarch and school master, Hugh, whose livelihood and culture are at risk. He will be re-joined by Seamus O’Hara and Judith Roddy, with further cast to be announced.
Brian Friel’s modern classic sees the turbulent relationship between England and Ireland play out in one quiet community.
Set and costume designer is Rae Smith, lighting designer is Neil Austin, music by Stephen Warbeck, sound designer is Ian Dickinson and movement is by Anna Morrissey.
a new play by Simon Woods
previews from 22 August, press night on 3 September, in repertoire until 24 October with additional performances to be announced
It’s a summer’s morning in 1988 and Tory politician Robin Hesketh has returned home to the idyllic Cotswold house he shares with his wife of 30 years, Diana. But all is not as blissful as it seems. Diana has a stinking hangover, a fox is destroying the garden, and secrets are being dug up all over the place. As the day draws on, what starts as gentle ribbing and the familiar rhythms of marital scrapping quickly turns to blood-sport.
With Alex Jennings as Robin and Lindsay Duncan as his wife, Diana.
Simon Godwin (Antony & Cleopatra) directs Simon Wood’s witty and devastating portrait of the governing class. Set and costume design by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting by Jackie Shemesh, movement direction by Shelley Maxwell, music by Michael Bruce and sound design byChristopher Shutt.
Production supported by Marcia Grand in loving memory of Richard Grand, Leila Maw Straus and Shawn M. Donnelley & Christopher M. Kelly.
‘MASTER HAROLD’…AND THE BOYS
by Athol Fugard
previews from 21 September, press night on 1 October, in repertoire until 26 October with further performances to be announced
St George’s Park Tea Room, Port Elizabeth, 1950. On a long rainy afternoon, employees Sam and Willie practise their steps for the finals of the ballroom dancing championship. Hally arrives from school to hide out in his parents’ tea room. These two men have been unlikely best friends to Hally his whole life. But it is apartheid era South Africa: he’s Master Harold, and they are the boys.
Tony Award-winning playwright Athol Fugard’s semi-autobiographical and blistering masterwork explores the nature of friendship, and the ways people are capable of hurting even those they love.
Roy Alexander Weise (Nine Night) directs Lucian Msamati (Amadeus) and Hammed Animashaun(Barber Shop Chronicles) as Sam and Willie with additional casting to be announced.
Set and costume designer is Rajha Shakiry, lighting designer is Paule Constable and movement director is Shelley Maxwell.
by Ben Weatherill
A Cartwright Productions Ltd. Production
In association with the Bush Theatre
From 5 – 16 July
Following a sold-out run at the Bush Theatre last year, Sarah Gordy returns to play Kelly for a limited run of this funny and tender new play. She performs alongside Penny Layden and Nicky Priest who also reprise their roles.
Jellyfish is the story of a first kiss, chips by the beach and coming of age with Down’s Syndrome in a seaside town. It’s a unique romance across uncharted waters which asks: does everyone really have the right to love as they choose?
Directed by Tim Hoare with design by Amy Jane Cook, lighting design by Jamie Platt and sound design by Ella Wahlström.
All performances will play in a more relaxed performance environment.
MR GUM AND THE DANCING BEAR – THE MUSICAL!
book and lyrics by Andy Stanton
music by Jim Fortune
previews from 25 July, press night 31 July, playing until 31 August
Who likes bears? Everyone likes bears! Well, not quite everyone…Mr Gum is a complete horror who hates children, animals and fun of any kind – so when a big bear called Padlock strolls into town, trouble can’t be far off. Can nine-year-old Polly and her band of misfit friends help Padlock escape the villain’s evil clutches, or will Mr Gum and his gruesome butcher sidekick prevail?
Based on the hilariously anarchic, award-winning children’s books, Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear – the Musical! promises to be an all-singing, all-dancing, occasionally-burping extravaganza for children and adults alike. Author Andy Stanton creates the book and lyrics, with music by Jim Fortune.Directed by Amy Hodge with set and costume designs by Georgia Lowe, music director is Tarek Merchant, lighting design is by Lee Curran, choreography by Fleur Darkin, sound design byCarolyn Downing and puppetry by Jimmy Grimes.
River Stage is the National Theatre’s annual free outdoor festival of arts and entertainment. Each weekend, River Stage partners’ take-over the stage and offer a full line-up of events for all ages, from family workshops and theatre, to club nights and DJs. The line-up is as follows:
The Glory (5-7 July)
East London’s cabaret mecca and drag pub The Glory celebrate Pride at the NT with a tour-de-force weekend of back-to-back shows and parties, including the best of their sensational drag queen contest LIPSYNC1000, plus their drag king battle Man Up.
Shubbak Festival (12-14 July)
Mixing family activities with bands, spoken word and DJ sets, Shubbak brings the best of the Arab cultural scene to the River Stage.
National Park City Festival (19-21 July)
A line-up dedicated to all things green and wild in celebration of London becoming the world’s first National Park City.
Frantic Assembly (26-28 July)
Celebrating their 25th Birthday Frantic Assembly kick off celebrations at the River Stage with DJ’s, live music, movement workshops, performances and much more.
National Theatre takeover (2-4 August).
A joyful party weekend to close the River Stage festival 2019. The National Theatre will throw open its doors and let the creativity spill out bringing you the very best in family theatre, dance, music and more.
Productions currently on sale
book by James Goldman
music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Playing until 11 May
After a sold-out run, Follies, winner of the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and best costume design is playing for a strictly limited season until 11 May.
Stephen Sondheim’s legendary musical includes such classic songs as ‘Broadway Baby’, ‘I’m Still Here’ and ‘Losing My Mind’.
Featuring a cast of 40 and an orchestra of 21, Follies is directed by Dominic Cooke. Janie Dee andPeter Forbes play Phyllis and Buddy, Alexander Hanson and Joanna Riding play Ben and Sally. The cast also includes Julie Armstrong, Lindsay Atherton, Josephine Barstow, Rosanna Bates, Jeremy Batt, Tracie Bennett, Billy Boyle, Kaye Brown, Anouska Eaton, Liz Ewing, Vanessa Fisher, Caroline Fitzgerald, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Bruce Graham, Adrian Grove, Alyn Hawke, Harry Hepple, Aimee Hodnett, Dawn Hope, Liz Izen, Jasmine Kerr, Alison Langer, Felicity Lott, Sarah-Marie Maxwell, Ian McIntosh, Ian McLarnon, Claire Moore, Tom Partridge, Gary Raymond, Michael Remick, Rohan Richards, Lisa Ritchie, Myra Sands, Gemma Sutton, Monica Swayne, Christine Tucker and Liam Wrate.
Designed by Vicki Mortimer, choreography by Bill Deamer, music supervisor Nicholas Skilbeck, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick with Josh Clayton, music director Nigel Lilley, lighting design byPaule Constable and sound design by Paul Groothuis.
Supported by the Follies production syndicate.
adapted by Helen Edmundson
based on the novel by Andrea Levy
Previews from 17 April, press night 1 May, in repertoire until 10 August
Andrea Levy’s epic, Orange Prize-winning novel bursts into new life on the Olivier Stage. A cast of 40 tell a story which journeys from Jamaica to Britain through the Second World War to 1948, the year the HMT Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury.
Adapted for the stage by Helen EdmundsonSmall Island follows the intricately connected stories of two couples. Hortense yearns for a new life away from rural Jamaica, Gilbert dreams of becoming a lawyer, and Queenie longs to escape her Lincolnshire roots. Hope and humanity meet stubborn reality as the play traces the tangled history of Jamaica and the UK.
Initial casting includes Leah Harvey as Hortense, Aisling Loftus as Queenie and Gershwyn Eustache Jnr as Gilbert performing alongside CJ Beckford,Paul Bentall, Jacqueline Boatswain, Phoebe Frances Brown, Chereen Buckley, Keira Chansa, Cavan Clarke, Shiloh Coke, Shaquahn Crowe, Beatie Edney, Adam Ewan, David Fielder, Amy Forrest, Aiko Foueillis-Mose, Nova Foueillis-Mose, Phoebe Francis Brown, John Hastings, Raphael Higgins-Humes, Stephanie Jacob, Sandra James-Young, CJ Johnson, Natey Jones, Trevor Laird, Rebecca Lee, Quincy Miller-Cole, Johann Myers, Daniel Norford and Andrew Rothney.
Directed by Rufus Norris, set and costume design by Katrina Lindsay, projection design by Jon Driscoll, lighting design by Paul Anderson, composer Benjamin Kwasi Burrell, sound design byIan Dickinson, movement direction by Coral Messam and fight direction by Kate Waters.
Production supported by Areté Foundation / Betsy & Ed Cohen.
Hundreds of £15 tickets available for every performance.
Broadcast as part of the NT Live Season on 27 June.
by David Hare
after Henrik Ibsen
a co-production with Edinburgh International Festival
Previews from Thursday 27 June, press night 9 July, playing until 8 October with additional performance to be announced
Peter Gynt has always set his heart on being special, on being a unique individual, on being unlike anyone else. When he steals the bride from a local wedding, he sets off on a lifetime journey which will take him to Florida, to Egypt, to a mountain of trolls, and finally, only when death approaches, back to his home in Scotland.
In this radical new version David Hare kidnaps Ibsen’s most famous hero and runs away with him into the 21st century. James McArdle takes the title role in this epic story of transformation, following his acclaimed performances in Platonov and Angels in America. He is reunited with David Hare and Jonathan Kent, the partnership behind the triumphant Young Chekhov at Chichester Festival Theatre and the National Theatre.
The cast also includes Tamsin Carroll, Jonathan Coy, Anya Chalotra, Caroline Deyga, Lauren Ellis-Steele, Oliver Ford Davies, Andrew Fraser, Guy Henry, Dani Heron, Ryan Hunter, Isabelle Joss, Lorne MacFadyen, Adam McNamara, Martin Quinn, Ann Louise Ross, Nabil Shaban andJatinder Singh Randhawa.
Directed by Jonathan Kent, set and costume design by Richard Hudson, lighting design by Mark Henderson, composition by Paul Englishby, sound design by Christopher Shutt, movement direction by Polly Bennett and video design by Dick Straker.
by Caryl Churchill
Press night 3 April, playing until 20 July
Marlene is the first woman to head the Top Girls employment agency. But she has no plans to stop there. With Maggie in at Number 10 and a spirit of optimism consuming the country, Marlene knows that the future belongs to women like her.
For the first time, the National Theatre stages Caryl Churchill’s (Far Away,A Number and Escaped Alone) wildly innovative play about a country divided by its own ambitions. Lyndsey Turner (Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, Chimerica) directs.
Cast is: Lucy Black, Jessica Brindle, Lucy Ellinson, Amanda Hadingue, Liv Hill, Ebony Jonelle, Katherine Kingsley, Wendy Kweh, Amanda Lawrence, Marcia Lecky, Charlotte Lucas, Ashley McGuire, Siobhán Redmond, Ashna Rabheru, Roisin Rae, Kate Tydman, Nadia Williams andNaomi Yang.
With set design by Ian MacNeil, costume design by Merle Hensel, lighting design by Jack Knowlesand sound design by Christopher Shutt and composition by Cassie Kinoshi.
RUTHERFORD AND SON
by Githa Sowerby
Previews from 16 May, press night 28 May, performances until 3 August.
In a Northern industrial town, John Rutherford rules both factory and family with an iron will. But even as the furnaces burn relentlessly at the Glassworks, at home his children begin to turn against him.
Githa Sowerby’s astonishing play was inspired by her own experience of growing up in a family-run factory in Gateshead. Writing in 1912, when female voices were seldom heard on British stages, she now claims her place alongside Ibsen and Bernard Shaw with this searing depiction of class, gender and generational warfare.
Roger Allam (Les Miserables, The Thick of It) returns to the National for the first time in a decade to play Rutherford in this new production directed by Polly Findlay (Beginning). Justine Mitchell joins Roger Allam in the role of Janet Rutherford.
Further casting includes: Joe Armstrong, Harry Hepple, Barbara Marten, Sally Rogers, Sam Troughton and Anjana Vasan.
Set and costume design by Lizzie Clachan, lighting design by Charles Balfour, movement direction by Polly Bennett, sound design by Paul Arditti and music by Kerry Andrew.
created by Ella Hickson, Ben and Max Ringham
Previews from May 11, press night 21 May, playing until 15 June
Anna and Hans are married, in love and moving up in the world – but it is a world ruled by suspicion. Who can be trusted when everyone is listening? Can we ever escape our past?
Phoebe Fox (Twelfth Night, A View from the Bridge) performs the role of Anna and is cast alongsideNathalie Armin, Paul Bazely, Max Bennett, Jamie Bradley, Michael Gould, Georgia Landers, Diana Quick, Lara Rossi and Dwane Walcott.
Created by Ella Hickson (The Writer), Ben and Max Ringham with story by Ella Hickson and composition and sound design by Ben and Max Ringham,Natalie Abrahami (Machinal) directs this tense new thriller which uses individual audio headsets to give the audience intimate access to events as they unfold over one evening.
Set and costume design by Vicki Mortimer, lighting design by Jon Clark and movement direction byAnna Morrissey.
In the West End
HOME, I’M DARLING
by Laura Wade
A National Theatre, Theatr Clwyd and Fiery Angel co-production
The National Theatre and Theatr Clwyd’s critically acclaimed co-production of Home, I’m Darling, a new play by Laura Wade directed by Theatr Clwyd Artistic Director Tamara Harvey featuring Katherine Parkinson, is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End. Home, I’m Darlingwill then tour to the Theatre RoyalBath (16 – 20 April), and The Lowry, Salford (23 – 27 April), before returning to Theatr Clwyd from (30 April – 4 May), following a sold out run there in July 2018.
Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd, Humans) reprises her acclaimed role as Judy, in Laura Wade’s fizzing comedy about one woman’s quest to be the perfect 1950’s housewife. Theatr Clwyd Artistic Director Tamara Harvey directs, with design by Anna Fleischle. Further casting to be announced.
How happily married are the happily married? Every couple needs a little fantasy to keep their marriage sparkling. But behind the gingham curtains, things start to unravel, and being a domestic goddess is not as easy as it seems.
National Theatre UK Touring is supported by The Thompson Family Charitable Trust, The Royal National Theatre Foundation and Jacqueline and Richard Worswick.
THE LEHMAN TRILOGY
by Stefano Massini
adapted by Ben Power
a co-production with Neal Street Productions
From 11 May, opening night 22 May, playing until 3 August
Following a sold-out run at the National Theatre, this acclaimed co-production with Neal Street Productions transfers to the Piccadilly Theatre in May, following a sold out run at the Park Avenue Armory in New York.
The story of a family and a company that changed the world, told in three parts on a single evening.Sam Mendes directs Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles who play the Lehman brothers, their sons and grandsons.
On a cold September morning in 1844 a young man from Bavaria stands on a New York dockside. Dreaming of a new life in the new world. He is joined by his two brothers and an American epic begins.163 years later, the firm they establish – Lehman Brothers – spectacularly collapses into bankruptcy, and triggers the largest financial crisis in history.
The set designer is Es Devlin, video designer is Luke Halls, costume designer is Katrina Lindsay, lighting designer is Jon Clark, composer and sound designer is Nick Powell, music director isCandida Caldicot, with movement by Polly Bennett. The Associate Director is Zoe Ford Burnett.
Media Sponsors of The Lehman Trilogy: Wall Street Journal and Financial News.
National Theatre on tour
BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES
by Inua Ellams
a National Theatre, Fuel and Leeds Playhouse co-production in association with the Roundhouse 18 July – 24 August, with an opening night on 24 July
Following two sell-out runs at the National Theatre and a world tour, Inua Ellams’ acclaimed Barber Shop Chronicles returns to London this summer for strictly-limited season at the Roundhouse, London’s most iconic in-the-round performance space.
Newsroom, political platform, local hotspot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.
Directed by Bijan Sheibani, designed by Rae Smith, lighting designer Jack Knowles, sound designer Gareth Fry, movement director Aline David, fight director Kev McCurdy, music directorMichael Henry. Barber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful new play, that leaps from barber shop in Peckham to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, and Accra over the course of a single day.
Barber Shop Chronicles also visited the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester in March and will tour to Curve, Leicester (3 – 6 April); Bristol Old Vic (2 – 18 May); and Sheffield Crucible (22 May – 1 June); Oxford Playhouse (9-12 October) and Nuffield Southampton Theatres (13-16 November) with additional dates for the Autumn to be announced.
Co-commissioned by Fuel and the National Theatre. Development funded by Arts Council England with the support of Fuel, National Theatre, Leeds Playhouse, The Binks Trust, British Council ZA, Òran Mór and A Play, a Pie and a Pint.
The tour has received National Lottery funding through Arts Council England’s Project Grants programme.
Barbershop Chronicles at the Roundhouse is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s preferred Card Partner.
based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford
presented in association with the award-winning Handspring Puppet Company
Having visited 11 countries around the world and playing to nearly 8 million people over the past 11 years, including a recent sold-out return to the National Theatre, the NT’s acclaimed play War Horseis now on a UK and international tour throughout 2019.
As part of the tour, War Horse will return to London for a strictly limited run at an exciting new venueTroubadour Wembley Park Theatre, located steps away from Wembley Stadium from 18 October – 23 November.
Troubadour Theatres, who specialise in the creation of temporary and semi-permanent theatre venues including Kings Cross Theatre, will open Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre this summer. The six week run of War Horse will include a programme of activity which engages with schools and the local community in Brent in the lead up to the yearlong Brent Borough of Culture collaborative project in 2020.
War Horse will also tour to Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent (until 6 April), Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin (10 – 27 April), Lyric Theatre, Hong Kong (from 10 May), Civic Theatre, Auckland(from 21 June), Liverpool Empire Theatre (31 July – 17 August), New Theatre, Oxford (22 August – 7 September), Curve, Leicester (18 September – 12 October), La Seine Musical, Paris (29 November – 29 December), with further international dates to be announced.
War Horse is directed by Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris, designed by Rae Smith, with puppet direction, design and fabrication by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler for Handspring Puppet Company, lighting by Paule Constable, and movement and horse choreography by Toby Sedgwick, with video design by Leo Warner and Mark Grimmer for 59 Productions, songmaker John Tams, music byAdrian Sutton and sound by Christopher Shutt.
Katie Henry is the UK & International Tour Director and Craig Leo is the Associate Puppetry Director.CharlottePeters is the Associate Director and Matthew Forbes is the Associate Puppetry Director. They are joined by Resident Director, Charlie Kenber and Resident Puppetry Director, Gareth Aled.
War Horse is produced on tour by the National Theatre.
War Horse at Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre is supported by American Express, the National Theatre’s preferred Card Partner.
A TASTE OF HONEY
by Shelagh Delaney
The National Theatre will tour Bijan Sheibani’s production of A Taste of Honey, Shelagh Delaney’s remarkable taboo-breaking 1950s play, which was first produced in the Lyttelton Theatre in 2014, from September. Designed by Hildegard Bechtler, A Taste of Honey will be reconceived in an exciting new production.
Jodie Prenger (Oliver!, One Man, Two Guvnors, Abigail’s Party UK tour) plays Helen, Gemma Dobson plays Jo, with further casting to be announced.
Written by Shelagh Delaney when she was nineteen, A Taste of Honey offers an explosive celebration of the vulnerabilities and strengths of the female spirit in a deprived and restless world.
When her mother Helen runs off with a car salesman, feisty teenager Jo takes up with Jimmy, a sailor who promises to marry her, before he heads for the seas leaving her pregnant and alone. Art student Geoff moves in and assumes the role of surrogate parent until, misguidedly, he sends for Helen and their unconventional setup unravels.
An exhilarating depiction of working-class life in post-war Salford, A Taste of Honey will open there at The Lowry from 13 – 21 September, with a press night on Friday 20 September. The tour will also visit the Kings Theatre, Edinburgh (24 – 28 September); the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury (1 – 5 October); Richmond Theatre (7 – 12 October); Grand Opera House, Belfast (15 – 19 October);Leicester Curve (22 – 26 October); Theatre Royal, Bath (28 October – 2 November); Grand Theatre,Wolverhampton (5 – 9 November); and the Norwich Theatre Royal (12 – 16 November).
The sound designer will be Ian Dickinson for Autograph, the movement director will be Aline David.
Shelagh Delaney wrote her first play, A Taste of Honey in ten days after seeing Rattigan’s Variation of a Theme in Manchester. She sent the script to Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop and the play opened at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East in 1958 before transferring to the West End. It was later made into a feature film with Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan and Murray Melvin and the Broadway transfer featured Joan Plowright and Angela Landsury. Delaney’s other work includes The Lion in Love. For television she wrote The House That Jack Built and was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
A Taste of Honey is produced on tour by the National Theatre.
National Theatre UK Touring is supported by The Thompson Family Charitable Trust, The Royal National Theatre Foundation and Jacqueline and Richard Worswick.
Following its sold-out run at the National Theatre, Network continues its run on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre, now extended due to demand until 8 June. Based on the Paddy ChayefskyAcademy Award-winning film, writer Lee Hall and director Ivo van Hove bring his masterwork to Broadway with Olivier Award-winning Bryan Cranston as Howard Beale. Production supported by Northern Trust and by Marcia Grand in memory of Richard Grand.
Hadestown, the acclaimed new musical by Anaïs Mitchell, developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin, is now previewing on Broadway opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, New York, on 17 April.
The Lehman Trilogy opened in New York at the Park Avenue Armory on 22 March and is in repertoire until 20 April, before returning to London for its run at the Piccadilly Theatre in May. Adam Godley, Ben Miles, and Simon Russell Beale reprise their critically acclaimed portrayals of the Lehman brothers, their sons, and grandsons spanning nearly two centuries and told in three parts on a single evening, directed by Sam Mendes.
After acclaimed runs in New York and London, The Jungle by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, has opened in San Francisco’s Curran, marking the West Coast premiere of this acclaimed production.
National Theatre Live
National Theatre Live will turn ten on 25th June this year – the date of the first ever NT Live broadcast which was Phédre with Helen Mirren. To mark this, there will be new broadcasts as well as encore and outdoor screenings.
Over ten years there have been over 80 theatre productions that have been shown in 3500 venues worldwide, reaching an overall audience of nearly 9 million people.
Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950’s landmark film All About Eve withGillian Anderson and Lily James will be live in cinemas on 11 April from the Noel Coward Theatre
Arthur Miller’s classic family drama All My Sons with Sally Field, Bill Pullman, Jenna Colemanand Colin Morgan, directed by Jeremy Herrin, will be broadcast live on Tuesday 14 May from the Old Vic.
Small Island, an adaptation by Helen Edmundson from Andrea Levy’s Orange Prize-winning best-selling novel, will be in cinemas on 27 June. Directed by Rufus Norris.
The Lehman Trilogy – the story of the rise and fall of the Lehman Brothers will be live in cinemas on25 July from the Piccadilly Theatre in London’s West End. Directed by Sam Mendes with Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles playing the brothers
War Horse will screen at Latitude Festival on 18 July.
This adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s remarkable story of courage, loyalty and friendship about a young boy called Albert and his horse Joey set against the backdrop of the First World War, features ground-breaking puppetry work by South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company, which brings breathing, galloping horses to live on stage. This puppetry can be seen in the flesh as well as on the screen as Joey himself will make a special appearance at the festival on the day of the screening.
One Man Two Guvnors with James Corden will screen on Brighton Beach with the Luna Cinemaon 16 August and return to UK and international venues on 27 September for a special birthday ten year screening.
Sky Arts is the sponsor of NT Live in the UK.
Connections is the National Theatre’s annual, nationwide youth theatre festival. Each year the National Theatre commissions ten new plays for young people across the UK to perform. Bringing together the work of leading playwrights, as well as exciting collaborations with top choreographers and composers, National Theatre Connections 2019 features work by brilliant artists.
10 young companies will come to perform productions of plays in the Dorfman by Ben Bailey Smithand Lajaune Lincoln, Luke Barnes, Rob Drummond, Katie Hims, Dawn King, Benjamin Kuffuor,Nell Leyshon, Laura Lomas, Katherine Soper and Tom Wells.
Connections is supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation, The Buffini Chao Foundation, Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Delta Air Lines, The Peter Cundill Foundation, Mactaggart Third Fund, The EBM Charitable Trust, Samantha and Richard Campbell-Breeden, Susan Miller and Byron Grote, The Broughton Family Charitable Trust and The Derrill Allatt Foundation
1 – 2 July
Be the first to see work by the next generation of playwrights. Hundreds of students from across the UK have followed an in-depth, online course while being mentored by professional playwrights as part of our nationwide playwright programme. In April, they will submit their short plays to the New Views competition.
Eight shortlisted plays will be shared as rehearsed readings and the winning play will be performed in the Dorfman Theatre.
Winning play announced 3 June.
New Views is supported by The Mohn Westlake Foundation and Old Possum’s Practical Trust.
The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Director Christian Patterson; Designer Amy Cook; Lighting Designer: Will Evans
Sound Designer: Matthew Williams; Composer/Musical Director Luke Potter
Movement Director: Joanne Bernard; Assistant Director: Francesca Goodridge
With Home, I’m Darling currently running in the West End, and rehearsals underway for Orpheus Descending, Theatr Clwyd today announce the full cast for the world première of Jacqueline Wilson’s Wave Me Goodbye, adapted by Emma Reeves. Christian Patterson directs Courtney George (Shirley), Victoria John(Chubby/Doris/Mrs Henshaw), Sean Jones (Kevin/Will Waverley/Male Doll), Kerry Peers (Mrs Mad/WVS Volunteer/’Charlie Chaplin’/Marilyn Henderson/Landlady) and Sam C Wilson (Shirley’s Dad (Pete Smith)/Mr Bentley/ Kevin’s Dad (Joe Moffatt), Gerald Pendleton/Uncle Mick). The production opens on 25 April, with previews from 23 April, and runs until 4 May.
September, 1939. As the Second World War begins, ten-year-old Shirley is sent away on a train for ‘a little holiday’. Shirley is billeted in the country to live in the strange, deserted Red House with the mysterious and reclusive Mrs Waverley. Here, alongside two boys from Liverpool, Kevin and Archie, Shirley’s life will change forever.
A new adaptation of bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson’s moving story, directed by Christian Patterson.
Courtney George plays Shirley. Theatre work includes Mamma Mia! (UK and international tour), 42nd Street(Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Grease (Leicester Curve) and Peter Pan, Robin Hood (Qdos Pantomimes).
Victoria John returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Chubby/Doris/Mrs Henshaw. Previous work for the company includes The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Cyrano de Bergerac, All My Sons, The Light of Heart, Aristocrats and The Winslow Boy. Other theatre work includes HIR (Bush Theatre), Play (The Other Room), The Frozen Scream(Wales Millennium Centre/Birmingham Hippodrome). Television includes: Gwaith/Cartref (Fiction Factoty/S4C), Miranda, Little Britain (BBC), Cast Offs (Channel 4).
Sean Jones plays Kevin/Will Waverley/Male Doll. His theatre work includes Blood Brothers (UK tour), Aladdin, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Cinderella, Snow White (UK Productions). Television includes Emmerdale, The Royal Today and Hollyoaks.
Kerry Peers returns to Theatr Clwyd to play Mrs Mad/WVS Volunteer/’Charlie Chaplin’/Marilyn Henderson/Landlady. Previous work for the company includes Much Ado About Nothing, Jumpy, A Streetcar Named Desire and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Other theatre work includes The Words Are Coming Now(Theatre503), Pride and Prejudice (Nottingham Playhouse/ York Theatre Royal), The Father,Dead Funny – both Manchester Theatre Awards nominations, Brighton Beach Memoirs – Manchester Theatre Awards Winner (Oldham Coliseum), Peter Pan (Northcott Exeter), and Shirley Valentine (Frinton Summer Theatre). Television work includes Clink, Butterfly, Bulletproof, Hollyoaks and Shameless.
Sam C Wilson plays Shirley’s Dad (Pete Smith)/Mr Bentley/ Kevin’s Dad (Joe Moffatt), Gerald Pendleton/Uncle Mick. Theatre includes Lost Village (Zest), Mood Kill (Snippet Theatre Company), Gorillaz – Demon Dayz Live(Block 9), Romeo and Juliet (Union Theatre) and Crazy Gary’s Mobile Disco, The New World Order (Drama Centre London). Television work includes The Capture, Hanna, Don’t Forget The Driver and Stella.
Christian Patterson directs.He scripted his debut pantomime Dick Whittington for Theatr Clwyd last year, having written award-winning pantomimes at other venues across the UK. As an actor his credits for the company include The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Insignificance, All My Sons and Under Milk Wood. Other credits include The Way of the World (Donmar Warehouse), My Country (National Theatre), Blackbird (The Other Room) and Plays in a Bag – The Knowledge (Royal Court Theatre). His television credits include My Country, Ellen and Mr Selfridge; and for film, Pride and Malice in Wonderland. He won the Best Actor honour at the Wales Theatre Awards in 2016.
Recommended age 5 years+
Listings Theatr Clwyd
Venue: Theatr Clwyd, Anthony Hopkins Theatre
Address: Raikes Lane, Mold CH7 1YA
Dates: 15 – 27 April
Times: For the performance schedule, please see the website
STAGE SIGHT: new network to improve diversity of theatre workforce announced
Stage Sight showcases good practice and success in making the off stage workforce more representative of society
Stage Sight calls for organisations and individuals to commit to change
Over 30 organisations already committed including Disney Theatrical Group, the Young Vic, Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, the Royal Court, Sheffield Theatres and English Touring Theatre
Stage Sight, a new collaborative network to help create a diverse off stage theatre workforce, has been launched by theatre lighting designer Prema Mehta, supported by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre.
Stage Sight was created by Prema Mehta as a direct response to the industry’s need to widen its workforce and become more reflective of today’s society, and to include people who come from a BAME background, people from a working class background and disabled and D/deaf people.
Theatre organisations and professionals are asked to commit to practical change in one of three areas; recruitment (making hiring practices more open), reaching out (raising public awareness of off stage roles) and new pathways (developing new learning and training experiences), and to share their learning with the Stage Sight network.
The Stage Sight website acts as a showcase for inspiring projects and good practice, and an online community for sharing ideas, resources, progress and learning. Quarterly members’ forums bring Stage Sight members together to share ideas and progress, and to support each other’s projects.
Stage Sight is for those already exploring ways to improve representation who have experience to share, or those keen to start making change and in need of ideas and guidance.
Prema Mehta, lighting designer and Stage Sight founder, said:
‘Many people don’t know about theatre – we could all do more to reach out to larger pools of our community to widen our workforce and our pool of talent. It is fantastic that so many organisations have already joined Stage Sight, and I hope many more do too. Real change will only happen if the industry comes together to share ideas for opening our doors to everyone.’
Organisations that have already committed to being part of Stage Sight include the Association of British Theatre Technicians, Chichester Festival Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, English Touring Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre, Mercury Theatre Colchester, the National Theatre, Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, Sheffield Theatres and the Young Vic.
Following news that James Grieve and George Perrin are stepping down after ten years at the helm of Paines Plough, Chair Kim Grant is delighted to announce that Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner will take over as Joint Artistic Directors in August this year.
Kim Grant said ‘We are really excited about this next new phase in the company’s life. Charlotte and Katie are the perfect duo to pick up the mantle from James and George and to maintain Paines Plough’s long held position at the forefront of touring the very best new writing and creative talents to every inch of the UK. We were especially impressed by their ideas for the future and their desire to continue collaborative leadership through originality, fairness and innovation. On behalf of the board and the whole team at Paines Plough we very much look forward to welcoming them during our Roundabout Edinburgh season ahead of an extensive autumn tour.’
Charlotte Bennett and Katie Posner said ‘It is a great honour to be appointed as the next Artistic Directors of Paines Plough. We are both long admirers of the company and its commitment to making exceptional new plays which reach all the corners of the UK and beyond. We are inspired by all leaders of this company since it started in 1974; incredible role models who have left a great legacy that we are excited to embrace as we begin this next chapter. We have been artistic mentors to one another and been fierce supporters of each other’s work for the past ten years. Inspired by collaborative leadership and in particular the excellent example set by George and James, we wanted to apply to run this company together to fuse our passions for new writing and touring and our shared mission to make great new plays which champion the unheard and reach the overlooked.’
Charlotte is currently Associate Director at Soho Theatre where she leads the new writing department, developing artists and commissions and programming the upstairs studio. For Soho she has directed new work by Jack Rooke, curated a six-month off-site arts festival in Waltham Forest and led playwriting competition the Verity Bargate Award. Prior to this she was Artistic Director of Forward Theatre Project; an artists’ collective she founded. For Forward Theatre Project she made and directed new plays which toured nationally inspired by working in partnership with different communities around the UK and at venues including National Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Northern Stage, Derby Theatre, Live Theatre and The Lowry. As a freelance director she has worked extensively for Open Clasp Theatre Company, creating new plays inspired by marginalised women in the North-East. Charlotte also held the role of Creative Producer for theatre company RashDash where she toured experimental new theatre around the UK.
Katie is an award-winning director currently working freelance. Prior to this she was the Associate Director for Pilot Theatre where she directed a rich and varied amount of new plays which toured regionally, nationally and internationally including working in co-production with Northern Stage, The Tron, The Belgrade and Tamasha. Katie has also directed extensively for York Theatre Royal on a number of productions including several large-scale community shows. As a freelance director she has directed plays for Mercury Colchester, Storyhouse Chester, National Youth Theatre, New Perspectives, Live Theatre and is due to direct My Mother Said I Never Should for Theatre by the Lake this May. As a champion of new writing and discovering new voices, Katie has also established talent development programmes and most recently a large female empowerment project for Jackson’s Lane. She will be directing two new large-scale community productions this Autumn for the Kiln and Theatr Clwyd.