The Jamie Lloyd Company and Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) today launches Jamie Lloyd Company: Emerge, a talent development programme to break down barriers for those seeking creative roles and offer a first step into the industry.

The scheme offers a director, writer and sound artist with no formal training the opportunity to gain paid industry mentorship during the company’s season at the Playhouse Theatre, in association with British Airways. The successful applicants will be mentored by Jamie Lloyd (Director), Anya Reiss (Playwright) and George Dennis (Sound Designer), have the opportunity to shadow the creation of their upcoming work and collaborate to present a response piece as a pre-show performance.

This programme is part of The Jamie Lloyd Company’s continued commitment to making theatre accessible with the season also offering workshops, Q&As, uncovered learning days, teacher resources and bespoke engagement opportunities as well as 15,000 free tickets for those with limited access to the arts and 15,000 £15 tickets for under 30s, key workers and those receiving job seeker’s allowance and other government benefits, supported by British Airways.

Jamie Lloyd said today, Theatre is for everyone and should be made as open and inclusive as possible. The Playhouse Season welcomes those who have not felt permission to occupy theatre spaces before. Jamie Lloyd Company: Emerge will offer an opportunity for new voices to be heard.

Adam Speers, Executive Producer at ATG added, “ATG and our Creative Learning and Community Partnerships team are committed to nurturing the future of the creative industry. Emerge aims to find three new practitioners who will create their own response to the company’s work on the Playhouse stage. We’re looking forward to welcoming them and supporting their work.

Applications are open now and close on Thursday 13 February 2020 at 9am. The programme will run from Monday 24 February – Wednesday 1 July 2020. To apply, please complete the application form here. Applicants should not have received any formal training or be under commission by any theatre or theatre company.

The season, directed by Jamie Lloyd, opened last year with the critically acclaimed production of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, freely adapted by Martin Crimp, with James McAvoy – which runs until 29 February; followed by Emilia Clarke in Anya Reiss’ adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, opening 18 March, with previews from 11 March and runs until 30 May. Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, in a version by Frank McGuinnesswith Jessica Chastain completes the season, opening on 18 June, with previews from 10 June and running until 5 September 2020.

Twitter: @JamieLloydCo

Instagram: @jamielloydco

Ghost Stories Review

New Victoria Theatre, Woking – until 1 February 2020

Reviewed by Becky Doyle


Wow. What a brilliantly intense hour and a half. I really wasn’t certain what this show was going to be like and whether it would really be for me… but from the moment that Joshua Higgot (Professor Goodman) came on the stage to teach us about varying ghost encounters I, and the rest of the audience was hooked.

The three differing stories were diverse and kept you engaged, although you knew there were going to be shocks, jumps and screams each time the intensity increased, and the jumps got louder. Each story believable in its own right, led you into a false sense on story telling.

The stage and the formatting basic but effective and nothing more was needed. Some of the props left a little detail to be desired however, with or without detail it still created the fear and dramatics that were intended and so little matter was it that some of the props such as the doll in the first story were basic to say the least.

All characters (Gus Gordon, Paul Hawkyard and Richard Sutton) performed their parts brilliantly and again each created and added to the sense of storytelling. It wasn’t until the end that you realised exactly who and what they were, and bravo to the all involved that the big reveal was something that never crossed my mind throughout the performance. There was no interval in the performance which I think was well suited as it gave no time to think or discuss the possible outcomes or “what ifs”.

Overall this performance was one that had me on the edge of my seat and one that I would highly recommend; if you think you’re brave enough!

Breaking News! Berwick is back!




Grand Opera House are delighted to announce York legend Berwick Kaler will be bulk buying Wagon Wheels, dusting off his frocks and making his much-anticipated, triumphant return to pantomime to star in Dick Turpin Rides Again this Christmas!

The star of pantomime in York for 40 years, Berwick’s critically acclaimed performance as dame has solidified his reputation as a true York institution having delighted generations of festive theatregoers every year, winning rave reviews from critics and audiences taking him to their hearts. Dick Turpin Rides Again marks his first pantomime at the Grand Opera House.

Having made his York pantomime debut as Ugly Sister in Cinderella in 1977, Berwick has performed, written and directed panto in the city ever since, calling out his iconic catchphrase ‘me babbies, me bairns’ and met with adoration from local audiences at every performance. A star of the stage since he left his native Sunderland as a teenager, Berwick has been a mainstay in theatre ever since, appearing in London’s West End and regionally, making television appearances in iconic comedies such as The New Statesman and Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and even featuring in the Hollywood blockbuster A Knight’s Tale. In 2012 he was featured in Michael Grade’s acclaimed documentary A History of the Pantomime Dame, which was aired on BBC Four.

Dick Turpin Rides Again also reunites Berwick with his band of pantomime regulars, including omedy side-kick Martin Barrass, the villainous David Leonard, Yorkshire’s longest-serving Principal Girl Suzy Cooper and favourite funny man AJ Powell. Berwick will also write and direct the production.  This year’s Grand Opera House pantomime will be produced by Qdos Entertainment

for the very first time, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, and the Olivier Award winning team behind pantomimes across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and at the world famous London Palladium each Christmas. Dick Turpin Rides Again will feature Qdos Entertainment’s hallmark of high-quality production values and special effects, whilst staying faithful to Berwick’s renowned approach to the genre and to local York audiences.

Speaking on the partnership, Qdos Entertainment’s Managing Director Michael Harrison said: “We are absolutely delighted to be embarking on an all-new pantomime partnership with our colleagues at the Ambassador Theatre Group, Grand Opera House and, of course, Berwick and the gang. Berwick is an undeniable master in the world of pantomime, with his own inimitable style and approach and we are delighted to be working closely with him and the cast to bring back the magic for which they are best-known.”

Qdos Entertainment Chairman, Scarborough based Nick Thomas MBE, added, “I am thrilled to welcome Berwick, a true Yorkshire theatre legend, to the Qdos Family. Qdos Entertainment has had a long association with Yorkshire, it is my home county, and with our production and wardrobe teams based in Scarborough and Beverley, forming this new relationship with Berwick and the Grand Opera House is especially exciting”.

Speaking on his casting Berwick Kaler said: “Qdos Entertainment have come to the rescue of the most lauded pantomime in the country having found us a new home at the Grand Opera House in our beloved City of York. To make this a success we need you – the most articulate and loyal audience in the entire country. We can go forth with a management that believes we have enhanced the reputation of a local pantomime that has caught the imagination of young and old, from all walks of life.”

Grand Opera House York’s Theatre Director, Rachel Crocombe-Lane,adds: ‘Qdos brings both world-class expertise and also a Yorkshire heart, being based in Scarborough; the perfect combination together with this talented cast. As a venue team, Pantomime is our favourite time of year because of the friendship with the company and also the joy and devotion of our audience. We are proud of these new partnerships, excited for the future of our Pantomime and will be ready altogether to really blow your Christmas socks off!’

Dick Turpin Rides Again will play at Grand Opera House from Saturday 12 December until Sunday 10 January 2021, with tickets going on sale for ATG Theatre Card holders from Tuesday 11 February, and on sale generally from Friday 14 February. Berwick Kaler will be making a personal appearance at the theatre Box Office as it goes on sale at 10am on the 14 February, and will sell the first tickets to the show.

Grand Opera House York

Saturday 12 December until Sunday 10 January 2021

Box Office: 08441 8713024

Online Booking:

Dr Korczak’s Example Review

Leeds Playhouse – until 15 February 2020

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Dr Korczak’s Example, a Leeds Playhouse Production, opens at the intimate Bramall Rock Void and coincides the same time as the Holocaust Memorial Day. It was 75 years ago on that day when the largest Nazi death camp, Aucshwitz-Birkenau, was liberated. It is a very poignant reminder to many who suffered under the clutches of Nazi persecution.

This production is set in 1942 at the Warsaw Ghetto and tells the story of Adzio (Danny Sykes) who is invited to the orphanage, run by Dr Korczak (Robert Pickavance), in order to give him a refuge from the streets. He and Stepanie (Gemma Barnett) live with the other 200 children in the orphanage.

Written by David Greig and directed by James Brining, this story explores one extraordinary man who wrote, cared, nurtured, told stories, and broadcasted news. Dr Korczak believes that the children must have right to have a say in all matters and for them to be themselves. This testament continues during the tough times in the ghetto and amid the rumours about people being sent away to “camps in the country” with no return to the city.

This is a story of survival with many untold and unknown stories stemming from it. Rose Revitt’s staging is cleverly adapted to an eye-catching and run down ghetto and is supported with Jane Lallijee’s lighting and composed sounds by David Shrubsole. The story is told with the clever use of miniature dolls portraying the key characters and some of the orphanage children represented. It works very well with the small staging and minimises distraction with thorough focus on the main characters and the staging ambience that sets the mood and tone for the story.

There are excellent all-around performances from Pickavance, Sykes and Barnett who are supported by a talented and creative production team. This 80 minute production is tragically poignant however it serves an important tribute to a man who believed in the better good in championing children’s rights, being with them till the very end, and for them to loved and respected in freedom. His stories from the diaries starkly remind how the city’s Jewish community were unimaginably persecuted physically, mentally and emotionally. Korczak’s legendary saying is that children “are the people of today” continue to live on today and are internationally chartered today as part of children’s rights. It is profoundly a powerful and moving play which emotively affects one and all now as much as then.

Beautiful – The Carole King Musical

Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March 2020
Signed performance:
Thu 5 Mar, 7.30pm, Captioned performance: Fri 6 Mar, 7.30pm
Audio Described performance: Sat 7 Mar Feb, 2.30pm
*Tickets: £50 – £20.50
Call the Box Office on 01274 432000 or visit
*All prices shown include booking fees but are subject to postage charge if applicable.
Bradford Theatres usual terms and conditions apply

Following a highly successful West End run of two and a half years and a sell-out tour in 2017/18, Paul Blake, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Mike Bosner in association with Michael Harrison are delighted to announce full casting for the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of the Olivier, Tony and Grammy award-winning BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL coming to the Alhambra Theatre, Bradford from Tuesday 3 to Saturday 7 March 2020.

Daisy Wood-Davis will play Carole King. She will be joined by Adam Gillian as King’s husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin, Laura Baldwin as song-writer Cynthia Weil, Cameron Sharp as song-writer Barry Mann, Susie Fenwick as King’s mother Genie Klein and Oliver Boot as music publisher and producer Donnie Kirshner. At certain performances, Carole King will be played by Vicki Manser.

The cast is completed by Toyan Thomas-Browne, Reece Budin, Ronald Brian, Carly Cook, Julia Dray, Jordan Fox, Louise Francis, Chloe Gentles, Katrina May, Grant McConvey, Jacob McIntosh, Samuel Nicholas, Leah St Luce, Mica Townsend and Damien Winchester.

Daisy Wood-Davis is probably best known as Kim Butterfield in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks. Her other TV credits include Tansy Meadow in EastEnders and Phoebe Crowhurst in Holby City. Daisy’s theatre credits include Laura in Dreamboats and Petticoats in the West End and on tour, Janet in the European tour of The Rocky Horror Show and most recently Sheila in the UK tour of Hair.

Adam Gillian trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. He has appeared in Hadestown at the National Theatre and Refresh at the Underbelly Festival.

Laura Baldwin recently played Dawn in the original London company of Waitress at the Adelphi Theatre. Her other theatre credits include Janey in Eugenius! and Story Sandra in Big Fish, both at The Other Palace.

Cameron Sharp played Theo in the original London cast of School of Rock at the Gillian Lynne Theatre. His other West End credits include Drew in Rock of Ages at the Garrick Theatre. He has also appeared in Jesus Christ Superstar at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and the national tour of Avenue Q.

Susie Fenwick’s many West End credits include Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music at the London Palladium, The Woman in White at the Palace Theatre, Jennyanydots in Cats at the New London Theatre, Beauty and the Beast at the Dominion Theatre, Copacabana and Aspects of Love, both at the Prince of Wales Theatre and Les Misèrables at the Palace Theatre.

Oliver Boot’s many credits include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the National Theatre and on tour, the European premiere of Finding Neverland at Leicester Curve, Antony and Cleopatra, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and King Lear, all at Shakespeare’s Globe and the national tours of Hay Fever and Bedroom Farce.

Long before she was Carole King, the chart-topping music legend, she was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent.

BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation, including one of the best-selling albums of all time, Tapestry, and countless classics such as (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Take Good Care of My Baby, You’ve Got a Friend, So Far Away, It Might as Well Rain Until September, Up on the Roof and The Locomotion. The show also includes the Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann hit songs You’ve Lost that Lovin Feeling, On Broadway and We Gotta Get out of This Place.

BEAUTIFUL – THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL is based on the early life and career of legendary singer/ songwriter Carole King. It has a book by Douglas McGrath with words and music by Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.

Cast Album Karaoke – February 2020 dates and hosts announced


The hosts of the next Waitress London Cast Album Karaoke Night taking place on 24 February are announced to be the show’s composer and 2020 Grammy® Award winner Sara Bareilles (Love Song, Brave) and Olivier and Tony Award winner Gavin Creel (The Book of Mormon, Hello Dolly!) who are now starring in the roles of Jenna and Dr Pomatter for six weeks only until 7 March. Audience members can sign up before the show for the chance to sing one minute of any song from Waitress – live on stage at the Adelphi and accompanied by the show’s musical director Katharine Woolley.

International bestselling artist Sara Bareilles made her West End debut this week in the lead role of Waitress, reuniting with Gavin Creel following their hugely acclaimed reception in the Broadway production.

London’s brand-new smash hit musical comedy Waitresstells the story of Jenna, a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams her way out of a loveless marriage. When a hot new doctor arrives in town, life gets complicated. With the support of her workmates Becky and Dawn, Jenna overcomes the challenges she faces and finds that laughter, love and friendship can provide the perfect recipe for happiness. 

Waitress celebrated its official opening night at the Adelphi Theatre on 7 March 2019 and the Tony-nominated musical is now running in the West End through to 4 July 2020 before embarking on a major nationwide UK tour with further dates and details to be announced in due course.

Waitress currently stars Sara Bareilles as Jenna, Gavin Creel as Dr. Pomatter, Evelyn Hoskins as Dawn, Marisha Wallace as Becky, Joel Montague as Ogie, Tamlyn Henderson as Earl, Andrew Boyer as Old Joe, Richard Taylor Woods as Cal and Rosemary Nkrumah as Nurse Norma.

The full company includes Monique Ashe-Palmer, Sara Bareilles, Piers Bate, Andrew Boyer, Gavin Creel, Tamlyn Henderson, Evelyn Hoskins, Joel Montague, Olivia Moore, Ben Morris, Nathaniel Morrison, Rosemary Nkrumah, Laura Selwood, Matthew Rowland, Sarah O’Connor, Leanne Pinder, Marisha Wallace and Mark Willshire, Richard Taylor Woods.

Brought to life by a ground breaking, female-led creative team, Waitress features an original score by Sara Bareilles, a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland) and choreography by Lorin Latarro. The production recently toured across the US and Canada and has announced an Australian premiere in 2020 at the Sydney Lyric Theatre with further productions to open in the Netherland from September 2020 and in Japan for 2021.

On its Broadway opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theater where it has since become the  longest running show in the venue’s history, 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.



The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare

Directed by Erica Whyman

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Saturday 28 March – Friday 2 October 2020

Box Office: 01789 331111,

Casting details are announced for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) 2020 Summer production of The Winter’s Tale, which plays in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from 28 March 2020.  Directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director, Erica Whyman, the production will be cross-cast with The Comedy of Errors (from 25 April 2020) and Pericles (from 15 August 2020).  All three plays are sponsored by Darwin Escapes.

Set across a 16-year span from Mad Men to the moon landings, this new production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale imagines a world where the ghosts of fascist Europe collide with horrors of The Handmaid’s Tale, before washing up on a joyful seashore.

King Leontes rips his family apart with his jealousy but grief opens his heart. Will he find the child he abandoned before it is too late?

Following its run in Stratford, the production, along with The Comedy of Errors and Pericles will transfer to the Barbican in London. The Winter’s Tale will then embark on a national tour in January 2021 – details to be announced shortly.

The production’s music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge, who has previously worked with Erica Whyman on her productions of Hecuba and The Seven Acts of Mercy. Her other soundtracks include Vanity Fair (ITV/Amazon), Vita and Virginia (Protagonist Pictures), Fleabag (BBC/Amazon), Woyzeck (Old Vic) and Knives in Hens (Donmar Warehouse).

Erica Whyman said, “I am particularly excited to be directing The Winter’s Tale as it is one of my all-time favourite plays and I directed it once before at Southwark Playhouse in 1999, very happily. I think it has walked with me ever since, and become in so many ways more sharply reflective of our world than perhaps it was then.  It is a play in which a man with immense power, who abuses it in the grip of a totally consuming paranoia, comes to his senses on a very public platform and apologises – without limit or excuse. That seems to me an act of such rare humility, that to do justice to it Shakespeare conjures a true fairytale, in which grief, repentance, patience, love and common sense are all in the end rewarded. It is not a problem play, but a miracle of a play which turns and twists at lightning speed and with acute understanding of the human heart.

“I’m setting my production in the 1950s in a monarchy that has known fascism – an imagined Spain where politics, religion and power are deeply intertwined, moving later to 1969 in the North East of England in which real labour and a deep sense of community seems gloriously healthy, loving  and straightforward by comparison. I have a gift of a cast, and I’m proud to be working with two Deaf actors, William Grint and Bea Webster who, as they translate Shakespeare’s words into BSL, bring a wonderful freshness and attentiveness to the rehearsal room.”

Joseph Kloska plays Leontes. His previous RSC credits include ImperiumWritten on the Heart and Measure for Measure.  He also appeared in The Christmas Truce, the first production Erica Whyman directed for the RSC.  Joseph’s TV and film work includes The CrownFoyle’s War and Made in Dagenham.

Kemi-Bo Jacobs makes her RSC debut playing Hermione. Her previous theatre credits include All My Sons (Manchester Royal Exchange), Hedda Gabler (Salisbury Playhouse), Betrayal (Derby Theatre), and Wild East (Young Vic). TV work includes Lewis and Doctor Who. 

Ben Caplan also makes his RSC debut playing Camillo.  Well known for his role as Sergeant Peter Noakes in the BBC’s Call The Midwife, Ben’s other TV credits include Silent WitnessMidsomer Murders, and the BAFTA award winning, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jeffries.  Recent stage work includes The Exorcist (Bill Kenwright productions), Describe The Night (Hampstead Theatre) and The Knowledge (Charing Cross Theatre).

Amanda Hadingue plays Paulina.  Her previous RSC credits include Miss Littlewood (directed by Erica Whyman), The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich, The Duchess of Malfi, The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew and The Tragedy of Thomas Hobbes.  Other theatre work includes Top Girls and A Small Family Business (National Theatre).

Andrew French plays Polixenes. Andrew’s previous RSC credits include Erica Whyman’s production of Romeo and Juliet, and Julius Caesar. TV work includes A Very English ScandalEastEndersMarvin Can’t Fail and Holby City.

Further cast includes: Alice Blundell (Dorcas), Alfred Clay (Archidamus), Colm Gormley (Antigonus), William Grint (Young Shepherd), Vicky Hall (Mopsa), Avita Jay (Cleomenes), Zoe Lambert (Shepherdess),Georgia Landers (Perdita), Mogali Masuku (Dion), Dyfrig Morris (Mariner), Baker Mukasa (Lord), Anne Odeke (Autolycus), Bea Webster (Emilia) and Assad Zaman (Florizel).

The role of Mamillius will be cast with four young actors from Silhouette Youth Theatre. Based in Northampton this company was developed by Leigh Wolmarans, former Head teacher of Lings Primary School, part of the RSC Associate Schools programme.  Pupils have previously worked with the RSC on Romeo and Juliet and the RSC’s talent development programme, Next Generation ACT.

Joining Erica Whyman on the creative team are Tom Piper (Set Designer), Madeleine Girling (Costume Designer), Prema Mehta (Lighting), Isobel Waller-Bridge (Music), Jeremy Dunn (Sound) and Anna Morrissey (Movement).

The production will be broadcast live into cinemas on 10 June 2020.

The Winter’s Tale is supported by RSC Production Circle members, Mark Thompson and Jane Blumberg-Thompson.







Metta Theatre – one of the UK’s leading mid-scale touring theatre companies – has six new British musicals in progress, all being developed and showcased around the UK throughout the first half of 2020. Established in 2005 by Poppy Burton-Morgan and Motley trained Designer William Reynolds, Metta Theatre is at the forefront of new work – with a strong focus on the development of new British musicaltheatre, and a commitment to highlighting climate justice and sustainabilitydisability and deaf integration and inclusion (both from a political perspective and in order to artistically enrich the work); queering mainstream and family theatre – writing characters that represent and normalise (rather than problematise) the diverse range of queer experiences and identities; re-gendering protagonists in order to give girls strong female role models.

Artistic Director Poppy Burton-Morgan, who recently won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for musical theatre book writing for In the Willows – The Hip Hop musical (which toured the UK in 2019), is currently directing Opera Up Close’s new touring production of Madam Butterfly, for which she has also written the new English libretto. Poppy has written the book and lyrics for all six new Metta musicals.

COLD FRONT – with music by twice Tony award nominated composer Jason Carr, and starring Anna Francolini (Strictly Ballroom, West End; Wonder.Land National Theatre) and Robbie Curran, in the role of Jamie. Robbie is an actor and writer who has written about his own experience of growing up with Asperger’s in his play ‘Thomas’. Cold Front will play at the Turbine Theatre 10 – 12 February as part of MT Fest 2020. 

Rosemary and James. Every month the same park bench. The same sandwiches made by her mother washed down with the same thermos of tea. The same manual tasks to keep the park in order. But as the seasons change an unlikely romance slowly blossoms between an autistic weather analyst and a tattooed park attendant.

LITTLE PRINCE – a new circus musical with Antoine De Saint Exupery’s much loved story reimagined with cyr wheel, juggling, acrobatics, aerial hoop, and spellbinding songs, and a re-gendered protagonist, with music by Candida Caldicot – with a workshop / rehearsal room showcase on 13 March.

A WW2 pilot has crashed in the middle of the desert. If she doesn’t find water soon she’ll die. But instead of water she meets a mysterious child – the Little Prince whose acrobatic adventures and tales of far off planets quench a deeper thirst.

WASTERS / THE RHYTHMICS – to be presented on 26 & 27 March respectively at the BEAM showcase at Royal & Derngate, Northampton.

THE RHYTHMICS – a feelgood new British musical exploring the crisis of masculinity via a collection of oddballs belting their way through a thrillingly catchy Brit pop score. With music & lyrics from Stiles&Drewe award winner Ben Glasstone (Reanimator) and choreography from Mark Smith (Artistic Director or Deaf Men Dancing). A second London based workshop is planned for the end of June – specifically exploring the integration of BSL and rhythmic gymnastics – and a studio album is planned for release in August.

WASTERS – a heart-warming new musical – composed by Stiles&Drewe award winners Kit Buchan and Jim Barne (The Season) – that invites us into the lives of three very ordinary people over one extraordinary summer. 

HOUSEFIRE – a climate crisis family musical, with music by award winning American Composer Ben Toth. Part gig-theatre, part song cycle – Housefire unpacks some of the complexities around the climate crisis through a series of songs sung by a quartet of endangered animals, with a workshop showing at The Birmingham Rep on 28 May, The Other Palace on 29 May, and another workshop showing in London on 17 July.

Metta will perform songs from HouseFire at the next Extinction Rebellion uprising in April.

I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” Greta Thunberg 2019

IN THE WILLOWS – rehearsal room showing, dates TBC

The extraordinary new British Musical, with music from award winning composer Pippa Cleary (Adrian Mole) and Keiran Merrick which toured the UK in 2019 is being revamped ahead of a new production in 2021. The show also features integrated BSL, and a fusion of BSL and hip-hop choreography from Zoo Nation choreographer Rhimes Lecointe.

The Wind in the Willows is brought leaping into the twenty first century. Featuring ballads, beats and backflips this fresh new musical is fun for the whole family.

Metta Theatre are also committed to the fight for climate justice and sustainability takes a high priority in all their personal and professional activities. They will be curating 6 events at the Young Vic in Feb/March to engage artists with the climate and ecological crisis, are working with UK Theatre to promote sustainable practices across the sector and are part of the ACE/Julie’s Bicycles’ Accelerator Programme – working with a group of venues & companies including Lyric Hammersmith, New Adventures, Improbable, Storyhouse (Chester), and Blackpool Grand in order to make touring theatre carbon neutral and sustainable.

Previous Metta partners and collaborators include the Soho Theatre, Southbank Centre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Manchester Royal Exchange and York Theatre Royal. Metta were artists in residence at the V&A 2017-2018 and an Associate Company at Exeter Northcott Theatre 2016-2019.

Poppy Burton-Morgan said, “we’ve got an extraordinarily busy spring season and I’m delighted to be developing so many diverse and inclusive projects over the next 6 months – bring on the West End transfers!”

Jane Eyre Review

Yvonne Arnaud – until 1 February 2020

Reviewed by Heather Chalkley


Charlotte Bronte’s novel was first published in 1847. It was a controversial work even then and still provides an important commentary today. Writer Nick Lane has managed to bring the essence of the book to life, working with the creative team to weave in music from the era with Bronte’s own compositions in the songs. The result is a piece written in the first person with a clear message of female independence and strength, which is true to the original story.

Kelsey Short (Jane Eyre) portrays a palpable emotional intelligence throughout the piece, drawing the audience in from her first oration. Short delivered a constant pragmatic, solemnity, giving way to fierce, confident outbursts, using her body language to accentuate. You experienced the highs and lows with her.

Ben Warwick is a believable mid 19th century man, playing Edward Rochester showing his vulnerabilities, passion and compassion. The romantic era is upon them and the freedom to express feelings in art and literature is being explored. The desperate hope that Rochester can force a happy ending in the duplicitous world he has created is undone by the stronger character of Jane.

The ability of the cast members to effortlessly flow from one character to another is impressive. Added to that they are the musicians and singers as well! The cast, particularly Eleanor Toms as the child Adele Varens, inject much needed humour to provide a necessary contrast to the intense, earnestness. The graceful set-changes by the cast provide a rhythm to the piece. I love the way they sit on the periphery of the set waiting for their next entrance, as it adds to the eeriness of some scenes.

If Charlotte Bronte could see this play, she would not be disappointed. It has remained true to the autobiographical nature of the original novel.

Night of the Living Dead Review

Leeds Playhouse  – until 15 February 2020

Reviewed by Sally Richmond 


Night of the Living Dead (a remix of George Romero’s 1968 cinematic classic film) was a truly mind-bending and mind-blowing experience; due to its innovative and dynamic use of film and live stage action.  

This production, brought to us by Imitating the Dog and Leeds Playhouse, took on the challenge of recreating Romero’s controversial horror picture – shot by shot (making no changes, with only seven actors and few props) and they definitely succeeded in it, with outstanding results!  

What should have been pure chaos, turned out to be a master class in how to deliver a show that had perfect timing, with the most clever camera work and ‘set’ projection I’ve ever seen!  Each frame that we saw on stage was mirroring a screen playing the original movie but also running along side that, was a screen rolling the film of live action we had right before us! How it was done so smoothly is still a puzzle but obviously down to such a multi- talented team.  

The extremely gifted actors (Morgan Bailey, Laura Atherton, Luke Bigg, Will Holstead, Morven Macbeth, Matt Prendergast and Adela Rajnovic) filled the stage with energetic and vigorous performances but also then took on the role of camera crew.  That in itself was mesmerising to watch, as was Matthew Tully who was the chief operator on stage. 

This is so much more than just a crazy horror play / film but delves into race politics through poignant vintage film and radio footage of the Vietnam war and Martin Luther King’s iconic ‘I have a dream’ speech.  The fragmentation of the American dream is explored and as all great plays do, Night of the Living Dead raises questions for the audience – one being that has much changed in Trump’s new America fifty years on? 

Co-directors Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks along with projection and video designer Simon Wainwright, lighting designer Andrew Crofts and set / costumer designer Laura Hopkins have created a spectacular production that provokes your brain and takes it on an exciting adventure – you won’t be scared – you’ll be stunned and left wanting to see it all over again!