Birmingham Hippodrome have announced today (Tuesday 5 January) a new pilot programme especially for young people, to shape the future of the Hippodrome’s work.

The Young Advocates programme will initially run until March 2021, and is open to anyone aged 14-22 from Birmingham and the West Midlands who have an interest in the arts and a passion to make change.

The final group will be involved in a range of workshops and will have the opportunity to work with Hippodrome Associate Companies, Artists and staff. At the end of the pilot programme the Young Advocates will be asked to share their vision for Birmingham Hippodrome’s future with the organisations senior team and Trustees. The Young Advocates will also get to present their response at the [email protected] digital conference in March.

Alongside this, the successful applicants will receive training, mentoring and access to a range of different areas within the arts industry.

Zaylie-Dawn Wilson, Head of Learning and Participation at Birmingham Hippodrome commented: “The Young Advocates programme will offer young people a platform to have their voices heard and opinions valued. This programme will help to ensure young people see a career in the arts industry as a viable option, which in turn will drive change for Birmingham Hippodrome and young people in the West Midlands.”

Zaylie added: “This programme is part of our mission and pledge as a member of More Than A Moment to ensure that our offer is inclusive, accessible, whilst supporting and developing diverse and talented young people as part of our future workforce.”

The programme is completely free and sessions will run weekly on a Wednesday evening with some weekend sessions. An open online information session to takes place on Wednesday 13 January at 6pm, with the deadline for applications Sunday 17 January 8pm. Applicants will then be invited to attend a workshop session on Wednesday 20 January with the final group members selected on Thursday 21 January.

 To find out more, visit

Cancellation of the remaining run of Hampstead Theatre’s 60th anniversary production of ‘The Dumb Waiter’ (18 – 30 January 2021)

Hampstead Theatre Update – 5 January 2021

In light of the recently announced lockdown, Hampstead Theatre regretfully confirms that the rest of the programmed run of The Dumb Waiter has been cancelled (18 – 30 January 2021). 
The theatre will review its programming options as it moves forward but at the current time the building remains closed.


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Previously announced to run until 17th February, the Olivier nominated creators of Alice’s Adventures Underground, Les Enfant Terribles are delighted to announce a further three weeks for their innovative and immersive online adventure that blurs the lines between theatre, gaming, escape room and board game. Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure. “The Case of the Hung Parliament” will now run from 27th January to 10th March 2021. Public or private shows are available to purchase here.

Sherlock Holmes:  An Online Adventure.

“The Case of the Hung Parliament”

The Home Secretary, The Foreign Secretary and the Lord Chamberlain, have all been found hanging, in their own chambers. Each victim died on their birthday, and on that day had received a card with a mysterious quote written in it. But what does this mean? Where’s Sherlock? And what will you do next with 75 minutes left to solve the case before the murderer strikes again?

In collaboration with virtual reality company LIVR and suitable for 12+, Les Enfants Terribles are utilising the last 15 years’ experience of creating live immersive shows and expanding their repertoire with this online ‘whodunnit’ which will invite audiences alongside live actors to follow in the footsteps of the great detective himself as they encounter live performances, immersive 360 technology and more than 100 clues to discover and solve.

Don the deerstalker and become Baker Street’s finest detective. Travel back to Victorian London and delve into the world of Sherlock Holmes where powers of deduction will be required to solve the case before time runs out. As the newest recruits of Scotland Yard, audiences will have to make their own conclusions and decisions by interviewing suspects, reading reports, searching for hidden clues and researching old facts.  

Written by Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo with inspiration taken from the 2016 live show The Games’ Afoot, this online, multi-sensory and intricate world will premiere on 27th January with tickets on sale now.



Theatr Clwyd and Flintshire County Council, today announce that the theatre is moving into an independent trust, after 44 years as a department of a Local Authority. The move comes as part of an organisational change at Flintshire County Council and allows Theatr Clwyd to align itself with all other major UK producing theatres and establish itself as a charitable trust with supporting trading subsidiaries.   

Theatr Clwyd’s alternative governance model has been a shared objective with Flintshire County Council during the past five years and will come into force from 1 April 2021. The transition will provide the theatre with greater control of funding agreements allowing for better long-term planning, and the ability to create processes and governance structures specific to theatre operations. For Flintshire County Council, the move reduces the council’s infrastructural burden, whilst allowing them to continue funding the services provided by Theatr Clwyd including the delivery of world class cultural product, the county’s music service, and wider community wellbeing and resilience work. 

Liam Evans-Ford, today said, “This is a truly positive announcement following on from 18 months of detailed discussions and negotiations – a change that will enhance our long-standing partnership with Flintshire County Council. This will allow Theatr Clwyd to be more agile and efficient as a business, whilst sharing risk with our Local Authority to ensure we remain a major employer in the area, continue to deliver the highest standard of cultural product, and increase the valuable work within our local communities.”

Colin Everett, CEO of Flintshire County Council, also commented, “This move to a new body will protect the Theatr and its future during such uncertain times. The commitment of the Council to  continue to fund and support the Theatre is absolute. We will stay close to each other and the Theatr will continue to provide great community benefit for the local area.”

The award-winning Theatr Clwyd is Wales’ biggest producing theatre. Since 1976, the theatre has created exceptional theatre from its home in Flintshire, North Wales, pushing theatrical boundaries and creating world-class productions. Theatr Clwyd is one of only four theatres in the UK to build sets and props, make costumes and paint scenery in-house – nurturing the skills vital to a vibrant theatre industry. The theatre also hosts an artist development programme, trainee technicians’ scheme and an eighteen-month traineeship for directors, to develop the Artistic Directors of the future. In addition to supporting early career theatre workers, Theatr Clwyd also works extensively with the local community with award-winning Community Engagement projects such as Arts from the Armchair, and Justice In A Day.  

This move comes as Theatr Clwyd has completed the public consultation period for a major Capital Redevelopment Project which will reimagine the theatre’s public spaces and create a greener, more efficient and sustainable building.


The award-winning Theatr Clwyd is Wales’ biggest producing theatre. Since 1976 Theatr Clwyd has created exceptional theatre from its home in Flintshire, North Wales. Driven by the vision and dynamism of award-winning Artistic Director Tamara Harvey and Executive Director Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd pushes theatrical boundaries creating world-class productions.

Theatr Clwyd’s recent partnership with the National Theatre led to the creation of Home, I’m Darling which won Best New Comedy at the Olivier Awards and was nominated in five categories including Best Set Design and Best Costume Design. Other projects of note include the UK Theatre Award-winning musical The Assassination of Katie Hopkins, the site specific, immersive Great Gatsby and the Menier Chocolate Factory co-production of Orpheus Descending.

Theatr Clwyd is one of only four theatres in the UK to build sets and props, make costumes and paint scenery in-house. Their impressive team of workshop, wardrobe and scenic artists, props makers and technicians ensure the skills vital to a vibrant theatre industry are nurtured right in the heart of Wales, developing the theatre makers of the future. In addition to this, Theatr Clwyd hosts an artist development programme, trainee technicians’ scheme and an eighteen month traineeship for directors, to develop the Artistic Directors of the future.

Theatr Clwyd works in the community across all art forms and is recognised as a cultural leader for its cross generational theatre groups, work in youth justice and diverse programme of arts, health and wellbeing. Award-winning Community Engagement projects include Arts from the Armchair, in partnership with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which uses theatrical making skills to help people with early onset memory loss and their carers, and Justice In A Day, working in schools and the law courts to help at risk children to realise the consequences of crime.

Theatr Clwyd has completed the public consultation period for a major Capital Redevelopment Project which will reimagine the theatre’s public spaces and create a greener, more efficient and sustainable building where world-class art can thrive and social action is rooted for generations to come.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the theatre has been active in helping its community, from hosting blood donation sessions and distributing food to vulnerable families to creating digital dance workshops for those with Parkinson’s and sharing creative packages and activities with those most isolated.
Twitter: @ClwydTweets  

Group 17

We Ask These Questions Of Everybody | Hera’s new verbatim opera

HERA presents:

We Ask These Questions of Everybody

New verbatim opera performed online by all-disabled ensemble shares perspectives from a marginalised community

Composed by Amble Skuse | Written and directed by Toria Banks

Friday 29th January, soundfestival, 5pm

Livestream via soundfestival

@WeAreHera | #QuestionsOfEverybody |

As a decade of austerity policies continue to bite, HERA’s online opera created remotely will share the real-life experiences of disabled people in the UK. Performed by a cross-genre, all-disabled ensemble, We Ask These Questions of Everybody draws on transcripts from an assessment for the Department of Work and Pensions to expose the emotional challenges faced by disabled human beings dealing with state power. In a year which has seen vulnerable communities facing overwhelming mental, social and financial pressures as a result of shielding, We Ask These Questions of Everybody shares a story which urgently needs to be told, and celebrates the hope and solidarity of the disabled community.

Hannah needs help. She meets Lynn. Lynn works for a company that works for the Department of Work and Pensions. An assessment takes place. And then something else. This is an encounter between two women, an audience, and a riotous chorus of disabled voice, with text drawn from real conversations and combined with samples soundscapes and singing. In collaboration with designer Dylan Howells and creative captioner Laura Spark, We Ask These Questions of Everybody is an interactive and accessible digital experience, designed to reach many more people than it might have before, including home-based disabled people who are often excluded from theatre

Writer Toria Banks says “I’m so excited by Amble’s work. Her music is intimate and detailed, but hugely ambitious, and so is the show. It’s about really everyday things – preparing food, having a wash, going to the shop, and it’s about survival and joy. Because life as a disabled person is like that. I think after the year everyone’s had,  non-disabled people will be in a good place to understand that too. The show was originally going to be live (and we still hope it will be at some point) but going online makes sense for us. Even before COVID, Amble and I have never met in person because of our disabilities. I understand getting frustrated with Zoom but real, human connection doesn’t have to be about sharing physical space. It’s about listening.”

HERA was founded in 2018, by writer-director Toria Banks, singer-director-writer Simone Ibbett-Brown, and singer and contemporary music veteran and pioneer Linda Hirst, as an intergenerational, intersectional feminist opera company. HERA makes and tours accessible music theatre by women and minoritised artists.

Composer Amble Skuse (she/her) is a musician and artist, working with oral history archives, interviews, community memories, radio interviews, traditional song, found sounds, live processing, body sensor controllers and acoustic instruments. She makes compositions for instruments and electronics, improvises using a 6 string Starfish fiddle and laptop, and makes live performance pieces as well as site specific works, sound walks, and installations. She explores these ideas of identity and power through a lens of intersectional feminism. Her focus is on gender and disability, and she is currently studying for a PhD looking at ways in which a disabled composer / performer can ustilise technology as a tool for composing, improvising and performing. Her work has taken her across the world, from Edinburgh to Singapore on a 10,000 mile train journey, to Canada to develop an improvising platform with disabled musicians, to China to explore the role of ‘being’ in improvisation, to Croatia to perform with the female coding ensemble OFFAL.

Writer Toria Banks (she/her) is a director, acting teacher, dramaturg, writer, and now producer, who lives with a neurological disability. She has been Resident Director at Trinity Laban since 2009, and worked for opera companies including English Touring Opera and the Royal Opera House before forming HERA. An experienced acting teacher, she led the Foundation Acting course at Arts Ed for five years. As a theatre director and dramaturg she has worked with a combination of new writing, old writing, collaborative devising, and physical theatre. She is also a commissioned playwright.

Running Time: 50 mins| Suitable for ages 15+

We Ask These Questions of Everybody includes built-in audio description and creative captioning.

Company information

Written and directed by Toria Banks                Composed by Amble Skuse                                              

Creative Captioning by Laura Spark                 Digital design by Dylan Howells


Victoria Oruwari (singer), Steph West (singer and harpist), Dr Sonia Alloria (multi-instrumentalist), Clarence Adoo (musician)

Listings information

Friday 29th January 2021, 5pm 

Soundfestival, livestream

Pay What You Can (suggested donation £4)

A Sound Festival commission supported by Help Musicians, Mahogany Opera Group, Ignite Ticket Fund and Creative Scotland




Riverside Studios today announce Uproot Productions, founded and led by Abigail Sewell and Steven Kavuma, as their first Resident Company. Uproot Productions is a socially driven cross-arts production company that supports Black artists in developing experimental and political stories that represent the breadth of their lived experiences.

Formed in 2020, Uproot Productions aims to offer transformative solutions to the structural barriers facing Black artists, and is committed to challenging who gets to take up space and who has the right to tell which stories.

Abigail Sewell and Steven Kavuma today said, “Uproot Productions are honoured to be a Resident Company at Riverside Studios. We’re excited by the potential of this fruitful partnership and the opportunity for synergy in the formative years of our organisation.”

Rachel Tackley, Creative Director of Riverside Studios, also commented, “I am so thrilled that Uproot have agreed to be our first Associate Company. I met Abigail and Steven several months ago and was blown away by their ambition for Uproot and the contribution it can make to the development of Black Creative Artists and theatre makers in the UK. I was particularly animated by their commitment to challenging who gets to take up space and tell stories. So, I invited them to take up space and tell stories at Riverside Studios. Riverside Studios has always embraced new, experimental and political work, and I want to put that front and centre of our new Creative Vision.” 

As a Resident Company, Uproot Productions will receive ongoing mentorship and support from Riverside Studios to help build and develop as a new company, in addition to programming opportunities and office space.

The company is currently presenting its curated online experience This is Black 2.0, featuring performances from ten artists that takes audiences through artistic expressions of the joys and tensions of being Black today.