The All-time Greatest Song from a Musical – The Countdown
As part of ‘Radio 2 Celebrates Musicals’ Elaine Paige counted down the top 20 all-time greatest songs from a musical, as voted for by the Radio 2 listeners. Some of the most loved songs from the last 100 years of musical theatre, ranging from heart-wrenching ballads and classic torch songs to flamboyant dance favourites and show-stopping chorus numbers. Its time to reveal Radio 2’s greatest show song of all time!
20. Seasons of Love from Rent
19. Send in the Clowns from A Little Night Music
18. The Room Where It Happens from Hamilton
17. You Will Be Found from Dear Evan Hansen
16. Gethsemane from Jesus Christ Superstar
15. All That Jazz from Chicago
14. Alexander Hamilton from Hamilton
13. Summertime from Porgy and Bess
12. You Can’t Stop the Beat from Hairspray
11. Memory from Cats
10. America from West Side Story
9. Somewhere from West Side Story
8. Don’t Cry For Me Argentina from Evita
7. Circle of Life from The Lion King
6. Singin’ In The Rain from Singin’ In The Rain
5. Somewhere Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz
FREE MENTORSHIP SCHEME ANNOUNCED TO SUPPORT BRITISH EAST AND SOUTH EAST ASIAN ARTISTS
A new pilot scheme (www.tidalrising.com) has been launched to provide mentoring for British East and South East Asian (BESEA) artists in the performing arts. The Tidal Rising Mentoring Scheme has been established by a new collective of BESEA artists, creative practitioners working in the performing arts. Our collective is cross-disciplinary and has worked across different media. We came together because we believe that artists, creative and technical practitioners of BESEA heritage face specific barriers and obstacles in the performing arts industry. We’re passionate about securing a better future for the next generation and building a supportive community.
The scheme is supported by Arts Council England, New Earth Theatre, the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, East 15 Acting School, the London School of Musical Theatre, Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, the Musical Theatre Academy, the Oxford School of Drama, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
Fifteen mentoring partnerships will be set up and run over six months. All participants – both mentors and those receiving mentorship – will be of BESEA heritage and will receive training to ensure they can make the most of their relationship. The scheme is open to artists, creatives and technical roles in the performing arts and will be free of charge.
The aim of the scheme is to help combat the historic and systemic prejudices that BESEA artists face in the performing arts and wider UK society. There has been a 300% increase in hate crimes towards people of East Asian and Southeast heritage in the UK since the pandemic began.
Applications are now open and will close at 23:59 on 15 February 2021.
Benedict Wong, actor and patron of Tidal Rising, said: “Throughout my early career, opportunities for guidance were limited. It’s an honour to be a patron of the Tidal Rising Mentoring Scheme where ESEA artists can share their collective experience, and together as a community we can grow, nurture and elevate.”
Kumiko Mendl, Artistic Director of New Earth Theatre, which is supporting the scheme, said: “I’m delighted that New Earth has been able to support the setting up of this vital and timely mentorship programme. Whilst performance-related activity remains severely restricted under lockdown, we have to ensure our community not only survives the current crisis but thrives on the other side of it.”
Gillian Tan, member of Tidal Rising and Head of Video at RADA, said: “Diversity in backstage and technical roles is especially unrepresented. I’m hopeful that our scheme will make steps towards improving representation amongst the off stage workforce.’
Jeremy Ang Jones, actor and a member of Tidal Rising, said: “Supporting those coming up gives me hope for a more inclusive, united and empowered community in the industry.”
Leo Wan, actor and a member of Tidal Rising, said: “I’ve benefited from mentoring in the past but I never had the opportunity of working with a mentor from my own community – someone who would understand the specific obstacles faced by artists of BESEA heritage and how to navigate our industry as a BESEA actor.”
FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL, a new musical based on the true story of the Cornish singing sensations and the hit 2019 film, will premiere at Hall for Cornwall in Truro this Autumn for a strictly limited season. The world premiere will reopen Hall for Cornwall after a period of closure for a multi-million-pound transformation.
When a group of Cornish fishermen came together to sing the traditional working songs they’d sung for generations, they hoped to raise a few quid for charity. Nobody, least of all the fishermen, expected the story to end on the Pyramid stage of Glastonbury. Packed with sea shanties, FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS is a feelgood voyage about friendship, community and music.
The real Fisherman’s Friends said of the musical, “Blimey me how did that happen! We are so proud that that Musical based on our unexpected voyage will be launched down here in the heart of Cornwall.”
Featuring hit shanties made famous by the band including Keep Haulin’, Nelson’s Blood, No Hopers Jokers & Rogues, Sweet Maid Of Madeira and many more.
Julien Boast, Chief Executive and Creative Director of Hall For Cornwall, said: “We think there’s no better way to raise the curtain on Hall for Cornwall following our major transformation. Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical is a perfect tonic to lift us from recent events which have impacted all our lives and a great celebration of people, passion and possibilities which are at the heart of our new theatre. The show will form the foundation of our inaugural launch season, with more details being announced in the spring.”
FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL is directed by James Grieve (former Joint Artistic Director of Paines Plough and former Associate Director of the Bush Theatre) and written by Brad Birch (Tremor, Black Mountain, The Brink, Gardening for the Unfulfilled and Alienated, The Endless Ocean, Tender Bolus).It is designed by Lucy Osborne with musical supervision from David White.
The hit 2019 FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS movie delighted fans across the world. The sequel to the film begins shooting later this year.
FISHERMAN’S FRIENDS: THE MUSICAL is produced by Royo, in association with Hall for Cornwall’s new in-house producing company, Cornwall Playhouse Productions.
Future Spotlight Productions today announce the UK and European première of the new musical In Pieces by Joey Contreras as a feature film, directed by Louis Rayneau. The film will be released online for a limited time only in support of LGBT Foundation, from 23 April 2021. Ticket information and casting will be announced shortly.
Our love lives are constantly in pieces. Shifting in and out of feeling fully complete. But you never know how a single spark one day can unlock a new you, so we make a choice at the crossroad, we say yes to the coffee date, and wherever that leads, we learn to embrace the journey.
Originally presented at Lincoln Center the new musical threads Contreras’ musical theatre and pop catalogue into a theatrical setting, exploring the universal search for clarity and empowerment through different kinds of relationships.
Joey Contreras said today, “This collection of stories and music has been a part of my life for many years and I’m grateful that Future Spotlight Productions will now introduce them to a whole new audience with this exciting feature film!”
In Pieces is directed by Louis Rayneau, with Assistant Director Steph Parry; choreography is by Rachel Sargent, and Edward Court is Musical Director. Special thanks to David Ashford, Nik Soro, and Brian Carey.
Joey Contreras is a musical theatre and pop songwriter originally from California. He is internationally known for his first album Love Me, Love Me Not, which featured an all-star line-up of Broadway talent and spawned performances of his music around the world. His second and more pop-focused album, Young Kind of Love, immediately debuted in the iTunes Pop Charts. Contreras wrote the music and lyrics for the Disney Junior animated short, Kiwi’s First Flight, featured in the series, Lights, Camera, Lexi!
Hailed as one of Playbill’s “Contemporary Musical Theatre Songwriters You Should Know”, Contreras is a 2018 Jonathan Larson Grant Finalist, and his musicals with bookwriter/lyricist, Kate Thomas, include All The Kids Are Doing It (Provincetown Playhouse, Tisch, IWU, O’Neill NMTC Finalist), Forget Me Not (The Dare Tactic, dir. Catie Davis) and Elements. He is working on Heartbreakers in Hell with bookwriter/lyricist Benjamin Halstead.
Contreras has served as Artist-in-Residence with Broadway Dreams Foundation and has contributed original music and arrangements to Broadway in South Africa. He regularly teaches masterclasses with The Growing Studio in New York. Contreras is an alumnus from the NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (2010 ASCAP Max Dreyfus Scholarship Recipient) and the 2017 Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. His music is regularly heard in popular New York concert venues such as 54 Below, Rockwood Music Hall, and Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre.
Louis Rayneau is a director, producer, and actor. With his production company Future Spotlight Productions, his directing and producing credits include Cinderella (KidZania Theatre), and Spotlight on the Future Live! at the Drive In (The Drive In).
In their latest series playing with form and experimenting how intimate theatre can exist in lockdown, New Perspectives are presenting a series of short telephone performances for Valentine’s weekend. The short, love-themed dramas have been created to be performed live to an audience of just one at a time. Love Down the Line is a collaboration with rural theatre maker Sophia Hatfield, who runs Stute Theatre, and will be performed live by Sophia and Nottingham based actor Ollie Smith on alternating performances.
Sophia Hatfield said, “I’m delighted to be able to work with New Perspectives on this exciting new idea. Telephone Theatre is an innovative way of bringing an immersive live experience to audiences, whilst also allowing performers to work from home. I can’t wait to spread some joy and share a bit of quality live theatre with our audiences this Valentine’s!”
Artistic Director Jack McNamara said, “In the digital swamp we find ourselves in, I feel a renewed love for older forms of communication in all their creaky beauty. Following on from touring theatre on postcards, we were soon drawn to the telephone medium as a way of creating a new intimacy with audiences across different generations. Sophia Hatfield has already broken ground with this old/new medium, telephoning audiences throughout 2020 and we are thrilled to be bringing her discoveries into our mix to offer something truly different this Valentines.”
New Perspectives is an East Midlands based company with over 40 years experience of touring high-quality productions to venues of all sizes across the UK, from mid-scale theatres to village halls. With a strong rural core, they create productions to fit spaces of any size in order to bring new work that is unexpected and thought-provoking to a wide range of audiences. Since 2012, New Perspectives has been led by Artistic Director Jack McNamara. Their series PlacePrints, ranked the UK’s 25th most popular fiction podcast (2020) is currently available and Soho On Demand is hosting their Zoom adaptation of The Boss of It All starring Josie Lawrence. The Stage Award winning The Fishermen by Gbolohan Obisesan (Trafalgar Studios, Assembly George Square Studios and UK Tour) will be available on BBC Radio 3 towards the end of February. Other recent productions have included WhatsApp drama Stay Safe, a series of Christmas cards, and their internationally successful postcard drama Love From Cleethorpes which has reached over 2,000 letterboxes in 26 countries..
Stute Theatre is a collaborative theatre company run by performer and theatre maker Sophia Hatfield. Sophia is an experienced performer, writer and facilitator and is an Artsmark Partner. Each piece of work at Stute Theatre is shaped by freelance artists, arts organisations and communities.
Running Time: approx. 5 mins
Love Down the line
Created by Sophia Hatfield and Jack McNamara
Performed by Sophia Hatfield and Ollie Smith
13& 14 February (56 performances)
13 February, every quarter hour from 2pm – 9.45pm | 14 February, every quarter hour from 11am – 8.45pm
Performed by Sophia Hatfield on the hour and half hour, performed by Ollie Smith at quarter past and quarter to
ADAM BLANSHAY PRODUCTIONS AND THE THEATRE CAFÉ PRESENT
TO ENSURE ENHANCED SAFETY MEASURES DURING FILMING
REVISED RELEASE DATE ANNOUNCED FOR
THE THEATRE CHANNEL
EPISODE 5 – THE CLASSICS OF BROADWAY EPISODE
NOW SCHEDULED FOR FRIDAY 19 FEBRUARY 2021
STARRING FREDDIE FOX, BONNIE LANGFORD, MAZZ MURRAY, MARISHA WALLACE AND GARY WILMOT.
EPISODES 1 – 4 BUNDLE ON SALE NOW FOR £40 WITH A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS GOING TO THE THEATRE ARTISTS FUND AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE HERE
Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café today confirm that the release date for the fifth episode of The Theatre Channel – The Classics of Broadway Episode – has been pushed back to Friday 19 February.
Whilst previous filming for The Theatre Channel has all been conducted under strict Covid secure conditions in and around The Theatre Café, following all relevant government guidelines, given the increased concerns due to the new variant and to reflect the conditions of the third UK lockdown, the production team have implemented extra measures in order to make the filming schedule even safer and more Covid secure – going above and beyond what is mandated, to give even further comfort and protection to all those involved.
Producer Adam Blanshay said, “Safety is paramount at The Theatre Channel. While we are very grateful that Government guidelines still allow us to film, we certainly don’t take that for granted, and the well-being of our team comes first. We also want to thank our fans for their patience and support while we adjusted and employed the further necessary measures.
2021 kicks off with an exploration of Broadway Classics, many of them game-changers that cemented the themes and trends of decades of musicals to come. We aim to pay homage to a bygone era of story-telling, but demonstrate and explore their ever-constant relevance today. Note- we didn’t forget Rodgers and Hammerstein in the line-up! We have a whole episode dedicated to them in the pipeline…”
Performer and numbers confirmed for Episode 5 are:
Freddie Fox (Channel 4’s Cucumber & Banana, ITV’s White House Farm) singing an arrangement of ‘Willkommen’ and ‘Money’ from Cabaret.
Bonnie Langford (9 to 5, 42nd Street) singing ‘I Get A Kick Out Of You’ from Anything Goes
Marisha Wallace (Hairspray, Waitress, Dreamgirls) singing ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story as a cover currently featured on her latest Album ‘Tomorrow’.
Mazz Murray (Mamma Mia!, We Will Rock You) singing ‘Everything’s Coming Up Roses’ from Gypsy
Gary Wilmot (Flowers for Mrs Harris, Prince of Egypt) singing ‘Luck Be A Lady’ from Guys and Dolls
Alyn Hawke and Emily Langham from the Café Four will be singing the duet ‘Put On A Happy Face’ from Bye Bye Birdie
The Café Four singing ‘Coffee Break’ from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
The first four episodes of The Theatre Channel– starring Tarinn Callender, Carrie Hope Fletcher, Oliver Ormson, Matt Henry MBE, Lucie Jones, Jenna Russell, Jodie Steele, Aimie Atkinson, Linzi Hateley, Bradley Jaden, Ria Jones, Trevor Dion Nicholas, Josh Piterman, Jordan Shaw, Shan Ako, Alex Gaumond, Rob Houchen, Francesca Jackson, Aisha Jawando, John Owen-Jones, Matt Croke, Tosh Wanogho-MaudSophie-Louise Dann, Cassidy Janson, Rachel John, Zizi Strallen, Manon Taris and the recent alumni and students of ArtsEd drama school, are available to purchase and download via www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/channel – once purchased, audiences are able to watch individual episodes unlimited times for up to 7 days.
Audiences will be able to purchase Episodes 1 – 4 for a new special bundle price of £40, two hours of quality musical theatre entertainment for less than the cost of a West End ticket. The producers will donate a proportion of each sale of these festive bundles to the Theatre Artists Fund, set up to support freelancer theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
The Theatre Channelis an innovative web series showcasingwell-known musical theatre classics – a unique hybrid of stage and screen. Performed by the cream of British and international musical theatre talent, each episode is staged and filmed with high production values on location at The Theatre Café in the heart of the West End, making full use of the whole space – from the bar seating area all the way up to the roof – and feature a mix of 5-6 standalone performances. Many of the performances are supported by the Café Four, a regular cast made up of other West End talents.
The Theatre Channel’s Café Four is comprised of Alyn Hawke (Oklahoma, Follies, 42nd Street), Emily Langham (The Boy Friend, Oklahoma, West Side Story), Sadie-Jean Shirley (City of Angels, Ghost: The Musical, Aladdin) and Alex Woodward (Mamma Mia, Hairspray).
The Theatre Channel is produced by Adam Blanshay Productions and The Theatre Café, with direction and choreography by Bill Deamer and musical supervision by Michael England, set and costume design by Gregor Donnelly, lighting design by Jack Weir, sound design by Keegan Curran and videography by Ben Hewis. Artist Director of the Charing Cross Theatre, Thom Southerland has also been confirmed as co-director of Episode 5.
New Adventures is thrilled to announce a new programme of free online classes, Open Company Class, offering unprecedented access to the classes attended by New Adventures dancers. During 2020, New Adventures offered free access to these classes via Instagram Live. Proving incredibly popular, the classes allowed dancers in training and professional performers alike to refine their craft under current restrictions. Moving into 2021, the company is delighted to move this access to YouTube and share their training.
From Wednesday 3 February, New Adventures will be releasing the weekly Open Company Class on their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0Syq9SlCwWGqvQbTn07Pcw at 12.00noon The classes will have a range of different styles, reflecting the variety of styles used in New Adventures’ productions, including Contemporary, Ballet and Jazz. These Open Company Classes are tailored to professional dancers and dancers in training, however they are accessible on YouTube for anyone to experience how the company’s dancers prepare.
The classes will be taught by New Adventures dancers and dance artists, including Kerry Biggin, Freya Field, Glenn Graham, Sophia Hurdley, Monique Jonas, Nicole Kabera, Ashley Shaw, Arielle Smith, Katie Webb, Neil Westmoreland and Carrie Willis. Alongside these free classes, there will be a unique chance to get to know each teacher through a live Q&A on the New Adventures Instagram (@mbnewadventures). The teachers will be “live at five” for questions about the upcoming class, their dance background and dancing for New Adventures. The first Q&A will take place on Monday 1 February at 5.00pm with New Adventures’ principal dancer Ashley Shaw.
Alongside the free Open Company Class, New Adventures has a host of free resources online to help with home-schooling and staying creative in lockdown, as well as accessibly priced bespoke workshops. For more information on these opportunities, please visit: new-adventures.net/classes
New Adventures is a national portfolio organisation supported using public funds by Arts Council England.
Barnes’ People is a series of four theatrical monologues written by Peter Barnes: Billy & Me starring Jon Culshaw (Spitting Image, Dead Ringers, Horrible Histories, Newzoids, The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson), directed by Charlotte Peters, Losing Myself starring Matthew Kelly (Benidorm, Cold Blood, Stars in Their Eyes) , directed by Philip Franks, Rosa starring Jemma Redgrave (Granchester, Holby City, Doctor Who) , directed by Philip Franks and True Born Englishman starring Adrian Scarborough (Gavin and Stacey, Killing Eve, Midsomer Murders, Miranda, 1917), directed by Philip Franks
Theatres Trust announces 2021 Theatres at Risk Register
The Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on the UK theatre industry, causing theatres across the country to close and cancel productions, risking companies and jobs. Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatres, has assisted theatres throughout the pandemic with their Theatre Reopening Fund grants, #SaveOurTheatres Crowdfunder campaign, free special advice services and assisting on the DCMS working group powerfully advocating for the needs of the sector. Alongside its Covid response programme, Theatres Trust has continued to support and advocate for theatres on its Theatres at Risk Register, which it publishes each year, highlighting buildings with significant architectural merit and strong community value or potential. Notwithstanding the pandemic, the buildings on the Register, now in its 14th year, remain at significant, and in some cases immediate, risk for other reasons.
This year, 31 theatres appear on this vitally important list with one new addition: Co-op Music Hall in Ramsbottom. Although there have been devastating job losses due to the pandemic, relatively few theatre operators have ceased trading and fortunately none of the buildings left empty look to be in imminent danger, so there are no other new additions. The Theatres at Risk Register supports theatres under threat of demolition, redevelopment or permanent closure across the UK, and calls the public’s attention to these buildings, their challenges, opportunities and those who fight for them. Protecting these theatres is an important and ongoing mission for the organisation and the local communities fighting to preserve them.
Every theatre on the list has strong architectural or cultural heritage and, crucially, the potential to be returned to performance use and be a real asset to its community. The Co-op Music Hall in Ramsbottom, near Bury, is a rare and important surviving musical hall from the 1870s. Located on the upper level of a retail and office building, the music hall has been vacant and forgotten for many years, but remains in remarkably good condition. It is now under threat of redevelopment for housing, which would see the sad loss of this remarkable theatre.
Theatres Trust has seen an emerging trend during the pandemic where vacant theatre buildings are sold off by private owners. The second part of 2020 saw Brighton Hippodrome, Garston Empire, Salford Victoria and Theatr Ardudwy all put up for sale. It is too early to draw conclusions, but fortunately in the case of Brighton Hippodrome, the Grade II listed theatre that has topped the list for a number of years, the new owner has started to carry out much needed urgent repair works on the building. Grade II-listed music hall Hulme Hippodrome is also being sold at auction next week, put up for sale by its current owner Gilbert Deya Ministries, which has sadly neglected the building, leaving it in very poor condition. A campaign group has been formed to save the building, which includes Oli Wilson, son of Factory Records founder Tony Wilson, which has ambitions to turn the building into a museum celebrating Manchester’s Musical Heritage. The auction guide price is an unrealistic £950,000, and there is a real worry the building will be sold to a developer who does not appreciate its cultural and architectural value. Theatres Trust hopes for constructive collaboration with all owners to secure a positive future for these important theatres.
Following a difficult year for the theatre sector, none of the theatres on the 2020 list will be removed, but positive steps have been made by several theatres, particularly those receiving additional support through the Theatres Trust’s Theatres at Risk Capacity Building Programme, which provides grants and in-depth advice for the crucial early stages of revival projects. Derby Hippodrome is a Grade II listed variety theatre built in 1914 and a rare surviving example from the era when buildings were constructed for both live theatre and cinema. It has the potential to be rebuilt and restored to live performance use and provide Derby with a large cultural hub suitable for staging productions, which the city currently lacks. Thanks to funding from the Capacity Building Programme, Derby Hippodrome Restoration Trust has been able to appoint consultants to undertake a viability study, an important step in the journey to renovate and reopen this important space.
Leith Theatre is further along its journey to reopening, but its future is not yet secure. While unable to open for most of 2020, Leith Theatre has built on its position as a community venue, entering into a partnership with Empty Kitchens, Full Hearts CIC, allowing the charity to use the kitchen and hall to feed those in need, and has been used as a filming location for several music videos. During lockdown it operated as a foodbank and collected materials for masks. Theatres Trust Capacity Building support has helped the organisation to develop its skills in finance, fundraising and audience development.
Grade II-listed Burnley Empire, the town’s last surviving Victorian theatre, received funding in 2019 from the Capacity Building Programme and has continued to make steady progress towards returning to community use. Building works have started and it has been included in Burnley’s High Streets Heritage Action Zone, an indicator that it is seen as a vital part of the area’s regeneration.
Musician and actor Gary Kemp, who is a Trustee for Theatres Trust, says, As a performer I know how vital theatre buildings are, adding immeasurably to the atmosphere of a show, whether it is music or drama. Every building on the Theatres at Risk list is part of the UK’s cultural and social heritage, but each also holds a special position in their community and with the right support could once more be central to a sense of local pride.
Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan says, This past year has shown that communities value places where they can come together and that audiences miss live performances. While the theatre sector still has challenging days ahead, Theatres Trust believes that theatre will come back stronger than ever and that each building on the Theatres at Risk list has real potential to be a valuable asset to its community, to bring much needed footfall to its town centre and spark regeneration of its area as part of the recovery post-Covid.
Theatres on the list such as Morecambe Winter Gardens, Swindon Mechanics’ Institute and Walthamstow Granada made progress due to a collaborative approach whereby campaign groups, key stakeholders and local authorities recognise the community and economic value and potential of their local asset. Where this is not recognised the impact is substantial – Dudley Hippodrome is included as a site for redevelopment in a council bid for building a new university hub, and Enfield Council has approved a planning application that will see the Intimate Theatre in Palmers Green demolished – the Theatres Trust has escalated the case to the Secretary of State, who has the power to overrule the local authority decision.
Theatres Trust, the national advisory body for theatres, who compile the Register, is calling for more collaborative creative partnerships between local authorities, theatre owners and operators and community groups to protect all theatres on the list. Collaboration is vital moving forwards both for saving theatres on the Theatres at Risk Register as well as helping theatres manage the continuing challenges of Covid-19.
The theatres appearing on the 2021 register are as follows:
Brighton Hippodrome Theatre Royal Margate Victoria Pavilion/Winter Gardens, Morecambe Dudley Hippodrome Victoria Theatre, Salford Spilsby Theatre Streatham Hill Theatre, London Groundlings Theatre, Portsea Theatr Ardudwy, Harlech Winter Gardens Pavilion, Blackpool Burnley Empire Plymouth Palace Hulme Hippodrome Century Theatre, Coalville Walthamstow Granada, London Leith Theatre King’s Theatre, Dundee Tottenham Palace Theatre, London Conwy Civic Hall Mechanics’ Institute, Swindon Intimate Theatre, London Co-op Music Hall, Ramsbottom – NEW Kings Theatre, Kirkcaldy Tameside Hippodrome, Ashton-under-Lyne North Pier Pavilion, Blackpool Garston Empire, Liverpool Doncaster Grand Swansea Palace Derby Hippodrome Theatre Royal, Hyde Theatre Royal, Manchester
Soho Theatre today announces the shortlisted plays and Award winners for the 2019 and 2020Tony Craze Award, announced together due to the impact of the unparalleled events of last year. A dark comedy exploring Fringe theatre politics, a folk musical with ghosts, a school friendship tested on a bus, a queer exploration of performance, a friendship at the end world, relationships on the verge of implosion, and the delicate bonds of sisterhood feature in the eclectic mix of stories shortlisted:
Tony Craze Award 2020 shortlist
All The Happy Things Naomi Denny
Allah’s Own Country Kaamil Shah
Bonhomié Liz Daramola
Dirty Dogs Farah Najib – WINNER
The Ones We Love Daniel Rusteau
The Soon Life Phoebe McIntosh – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Tony Craze Award 2019 shortlist
Black Beth Cheryl Ndione – HIGHLY COMMENDED
A Gig for Ghosts Fran Bushe – WINNER
scum Ava Wong Davies
Til Death Do Us Part Safaa Benson-Effiom
Vile Acts of Love Naomi Sheldon
When We Begin Leo J Skilbeck
Soho Theatre’s Creative Learning Producer Jules Haworth said:‘We are delighted to celebrate these shortlisted writers, who have created 12 bold and dynamic plays through the Writers’ Lab programme. The award, in honour of Soho Theatre’s former Artistic Director and playwright, Tony Craze, champions courageous new writing and early-career playwriting talent. Keep these folks on your radar.’
Award winners Fran Bushe’s A Gig for Ghosts– a big warm folk musical story of love, loss and loneliness (and ghosts) – and Farah Najib’s Dirty Dogs– two sisters stuck in a room with an unknown unconscious man question whether actions really do have consequences – will both receive a workshop at Soho Theatre later this year.
Cheryl Ndione’s dark comedy exploring Fringe theatre politics in Black Bethand Phoebe MacIntosh’s The Soon Lifea tale of a thirty-something woman’s derailed London Lockdown homebirth, both came Highly Commended.
Formerly the Soho Young Writers’ Award, the Tony Craze Award was renamed in 2017 in honour of Soho Theatre’s former Artistic Director and first ever Verity Bargate Award winner who passed away in 2016. Open each year to the 48 writers on Soho Theatre’s Writers’ Lab, previous winners include Adam Narat for Birthright (now called New Pacific), Phoebe Eclair-Powell with Fury, Charlie Josephine with Bitch Boxer, and Patrick Russell with Antlers.
SOHO THEATRE’S TONY CRAZE AWARD
SHORTLIST – 2020
ALL THE HAPPY THINGS – NAOMI DENNY
A dark comedy, All The Happy Things follows two sisters as they try and navigate the world of adulthood whilst dealing with ailing parents, grief, and new relationships, and questions whether the power of make believe can solve real life issues. Naomi is a playwright from Brighton who is interested in telling human stories about people of colour, and was inspired to write All The Happy Things through her own experiences with her sister.
Naomi Denny trained at Fourth Monkey Actor Training Company and was awarded the prestigious Stage Scholarship 2017. Towards the end of her training she wrote her first play Essentially Black, a piece about mixed race identity in elite university settings, which was then chosen to be part of Fourth Monkey’s Experimental Fringe season 2018. This was then adapted in to a full length piece and was performed to a sold out audience as a part of Pleasance Theatre LABS programme 2020. Naomi has also written for Rikki Beadle-Blair’s latest anthologies, Lit and Fierce.
ALLAH’S OWN COUNTRY – KAAMIL SHAH
Nabeel Ahmed is a British-Pakistani restaurateur who’s always dreamed of Michelin stars and Celebrity-chef status. He’s never been able to get anywhere beyond his lowly curry house but plans to change all that by opening the world’s first fully-sustainable, farm-to-table Indian restaurant in the Yorkshire countryside. However, when his daughter Saira becomes a militant vegan and locals take up against his halal meat offering – the Tandoor-on-the-Moor isn’t going to have the easiest opening night after all. Allah’s Own Country is a play about food, culture, environmentalism and racism deep in the parts of the British countryside where people of colour fear to tread.
Kaamil Shah is a writer from South-West London passionate about telling the stories of the Indian and Pakistani diaspora. Primarily working in screen, his first credit was a comedy monologue produced as part of a BBC Asian Network/BBC Writersroom scheme – Moheez Means Business and he directed a Short film set in Southall – The Colour of Milk in the same year. He went on to be selected for the Writer’s Lab at Series Mania, France in 2019, where he developed his TV series Dubai on Thames alongside other up-and-coming writers from across Europe. His comedy-drama series Count Abdulla was picked up for development by Fudge Park Productions in Summer 2019, and it has since gone on to a table read with Sky Television in January 2020 – with Nina Wadia, Sarah Hadland and Mandip Gill amongst others in the cast. He was recently a Shadow Writer for the upcoming series of Ackley Bridge on Channel 4, where he wrote a ‘shadow’ episode for the new season, working with the development team at The Forge Productions and Channel 4. His first broadcast TV credit arrived in November 2020, where his episode Shahid’s First Shave was released on BBC iPlayer as part of the Sparks collection. Allah’s Own Country is his first piece for the stage and he is excited to write many more.
BONHOMIÉ – LIZ DARAMOLA
Yinka wants to get to the party, Ola wants to get something off her chest. A cold night in North London, fueled by Barefoot White Zinfandel Rosé, exposes their true feelings about each other. As Yinka is only focused on herself and reputation, Ola just wants to survive the rest of the school year. A turbulent evening waiting for the 149 bus, proves to be the test their friendship needed. Bonhomié examines ‘why are we friends with our friends?’ and the cost of blind loyalty at 18.
Liz Daramola is a writer and producer from London. She won the 2018 Stage One Producer bursary to develop new work and has worked in a producing capacity at the Arcola Theatre, as Young Producer at Almeida Theatre, and most recently at the Young Vic Theatre where she supported shows including The Convert by Danai Gurira, starring Letitia Wright, Death of a Salesman starring Wendell Pierce, Tree by Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fairview by Jackie Sibblies Drury. She is an alumnae of the Artistic Directors Leadership Programme from 2017 – 2019 and was an Almeida Youth Board member from 2018 – 2019. In 2020, Liz was one of sixty chosen as part of Edinburgh TV Festival’s The Network. She is currently writing on Famalam series 4 for the BBC and is developing a new original TV series.
DIRTY DOGS – FARAH NAJIB – WINNER
‘Sometimes, of course, yeah. Sometimes you think about these things. Doesn’t mean I’d ever do it. Don’t be insane. Of course I wouldn’t. No. It’s just a little fantasy.’
Mandy and Mel are stuck. Stuck, in a room, with a man – an unknown, unconscious man. Why is he there? Why are they there? Who’s responsible? With a harsh and unforgiving light shining on them, and no clear way out, the sisters are forced to confront the dark and difficult corners of their relationship – and to question whether actions really do have consequences.
Farah Najib is an emerging writer and facilitator based in London. She is driven by the potential that theatre has to be a powerful form of communication and change, and is passionate about creating daring, female-led stories.
She trained in Applied Theatre and Writing for Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, and has since been part of writers’ groups at the Royal Court and Soho theatres. In 2020 she completed work on her first commission, a monologue project with Theatre of Debate and University College London exploring the ethics of artificial intelligence. Farah also works with young people, encouraging them to explore their creativity through drama and playwriting.
THE ONES WE LOVE – DANIEL RUSTEAU
Friday night while the drinks were flowing in an east London New Build, an engaged couple get the shock of their lives when they both realise they’ve been cheating on each other with the cool couple that live upstairs. Who is to blame, where do they go from here and is what they did so wrong if they are both guilty of the crime? Told in real-time over one wild night in Dalston, THE ONES WE LOVE is a fast-paced, dramatic and comical rollercoaster of a story questioning the so-called rules of love and critiquing our archaic views of sex and partnership in the 21st century.
For the stage, Daniel Rusteau has had his work performed at The Bunker, Drayton Arms, The Pleasance and The Old Red Lion. His short play Dismissed, recently optioned by Headline Pictures to be developed into a feature, about knife-crime in the state school system and the unfair treatment of black teens, recently received Arts Council funding to be developed into a full-length piece. His play Church Street was shortlisted for the Platform Presents Playwriting Prize 2019. For TV, Daniel has written one episode of Neo-noir detective series Middle West (Outlier/Point Grey/Amazon), two episodes of the multi award-winning continuing drama Hollyoaks (Lime/Ch4) and his half-hour film Superdadfor the award-winning anthology series On the Edge (BlackLight TV/Ch4) is due to shoot this year. He is currently developing original ideas with World Productions, Headline Pictures, West Road Productions, Beano Studios and BlackLight TV. He is adapting for television the detective crime novel The Divinites by Parker Bilal for See-Saw Films and his crime drama script The Borough made the 2019 Brit List. He has participated in the BBC Writersroom London Voices scheme 2019/20 and the BBC Writersroom Drama room 2020/21.
THE SOON LIFE – PHOEBE MCINTOSH– HIGHLY COMMENDED
A heavily pregnant, thirty-something woman is in labour in the middle of a global pandemic. Too scared to go to the hospital in Lockdown London, she’s decided to have the ‘perfect’ homebirth with nothing but a birthing ball and a Fleabag boxset to get her through it. Plans are derailed when her ex turns up and refuses to leave. As her labour progresses and with the midwife unreachable, the pair are forced to confront the remnants of their relationship and their breakup before everything changes forever with the arrival of their child.
Phoebe McIntosh is a writer and actor from London. She graduated from Arts Ed in 2008, but not content with the roles she was seeing, she began writing her own plays. She wrote, produced and performed in a sell-out run of her debut play, The Tea Diaries, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2013. In 2018, she co-produced her solo show Dominoes with Black Theatre Live and the Lighthouse Arts Centre Poole as an associate artist before touring London, the South East and Edinburgh, receiving 4- and 5-star reviews and calls for a multi-character adaptation. She is currently adapting the play into a novel and developing original ideas for a TV serial and feature film. She describes the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab as a game changer for her writing and the best possible antidote to Lockdown.
SOHO THEATRE’S TONY CRAZE AWARD
SHORTLIST – 2019
BLACK BETH – CHERYL NDIONE – HIGHLY COMMENDED
Black Beth is a dark comedy exploring Fringe theatre politics. It is a play about a play about colonialism… fertile ground for power play and virtue signalling. The play charts one woman’s covert vaulting ambition and her amusing and inevitable demise.
Cheryl Ndione is a writer, director, performer, producer and a graduate of both Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of Bristol. She founded and is Executive Director of Purple Moon Drama, a theatre company that creates opportunities for young people and emerging artists. She has directed various productions for Purple Moon including Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman and Side Effects by Iman Qureshi. Cheryl’s most recent play, Apple, premiered at the 2020 VAULT Festival.
A GIG FOR GHOSTS – FRAN BUSHE– WINNER
Amy has had a bad day at work. She doesn’t really get good days because her job is to trace the lives of people who have died so alone that there is no one else to say goodbye. Today she found the body of someone she used to know. It’s a lot to bring along to a first date, but Amy has a plan to not end up like the corpses she cares for. A big warm folk musical story of love, loss and loneliness (and ghosts).
Fran Bushe is a playwright, comedian and is currently writing a book. She is an Associate Artist for the Pleasance Theatre in London and an alumni of the Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab 2018/19. Her play Ad Libido had a run at VAULT Festival, Pleasance Edinburgh and was at the start of a UK tour in March. Last year she wrote The Diary of My Broken Vagina for Channel 4 and her short play Alive Day was published in 20 Short Plays with Big Roles for Women.
SCUM – AVA WONG DAVIES
It’s the end of the world. Maggie and Kathy think they’re the only ones left. After forming an alliance, they realise that they’re wrong.
Ava Wong Davies is a playwright and theatre critic based in London. She is a regular contributor to The Stage and Exeunt Magazine and in 2018 won the Sunday Times Harold Hobson award for criticism. As a playwright, her work has been performed at The Yard, The Bunker, VAULT Festival, and The North Wall.
TIL DEATH DO US PART – SAFAA BENSON-EFFIOM
As they prepare for the worst day of their lives, Daniel and Sylvia are finally forced into confrontation. With so much left unsaid for so long, they must reckon with the circumstances that brought them to this point and in fact, whether there can be a ‘them’ going forward…
Safaa Benson-Effiom is a writer and theatre maker from London. Her work has been staged at The Bunker, Theatre503, Hampstead Theatre and as part of Talawa Firsts and the RADA Festival. She is a part of the current Tamasha Playwrights cohort.
VILE ACTS OF LOVE – NAOMI SHELDON
Sam and Rose had one of those head over heels romances that made sense of all the love songs. Years later after the devastation this love wreaked on their lives, they have a chance to put their story to bed or destroy each other in the process. This sexually charged two-hander exploring who gets to be the bad guy and who walks away scot-free when toxic relationships end. Are the wounds we submit ourselves to in the name of love ever worth the scars? Would we do it all over again because although toxic, it made us feel alive?
Naomi Sheldon is a writer performer. Her debut play Good Girl transferred from the Edinburgh Fringe to Trafalgar Studios where it won Best Show in the Funny Women Awards in 2018. She joined the BBC Drama Room scheme in 2019 and in 2020 the BBC Writersroom Drama Room programme, where she is paired with Bad Wolf to develop an original drama. She is under commission at Trafalgar Studios and wrote Out Of Your Mind for BBC Radio 3 for their Summerhall radio season. Her recent play Vile Acts of Love (developed on the Soho Writer’s Lab) had a work-in-progress run at VAULT festival 2020 and was long listed for The Women’s Playwriting Award. Naomi is co-host of The Pleasure Podcast, a hit podcast about sex and intimacy.
WHEN WE BEGIN – LEO J SKILBECK
We’re all transitioning baby. A group of performers chat life and love, as they look back in order to begin again.
Leo Skilbeck is a writer, director and maker, for stage and screen. Their work includes transmasc odyssey Bullish (show and photography exhibition, Milk Presents, Camden People’s Theatre) , drag king play JOAN (Milk Presents, Derby Theatre, winner of Fringe First Award and Off West End Award) and Big Ben (short film, My England series, Young Vic). Leo’s work as director includes cabaret Chekhov (THE BEAR/ THE PROPOSAL, Young Vic as Genesis Future Director) and as Associate Director: Fun Home (Young Vic, as Jerwood Assistant Director) and The Complete Deaths (Tim Crouch and Spymonkey Comedy).