Theatres Trust director Jon Morgan responds to the 2021 Budget and comments on how it affects the arts:
Theatres Trust welcomes not only the Chancellor’s announcement of additional funding for the arts, but also his recognition for the important role culture will play in the country’s social and economic recovery. £408m is a significant increase, more than quarter on top of the initial £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund. This is much needed as the pandemic’s impacts have continued longer than originally anticipated and it is unlikely that many theatres will be able to reopen viably before fuller audiences are permitted from 21 June at the earliest.
The extension of the Job Retention Scheme until the end of September is also welcome news for theatres. Together with the Culture Recovery Fund, this scheme has kept theatres afloat during the turbulence of the past year. This will provide a welcome cushion to further protect theatres until they can return to viable operation.
Theatres have continued to play active roles in their communities throughout the pandemic, whether providing digital entertainment and creative inspiration or acting as food banks or vaccine centres. As the country begins to recover, theatres can make a major contribution, promoting wellbeing and a sense of place, animating the high street and contributing significantly to the wider economy, and today’s support shows that this valuable role is recognised.
We welcome the additional funding for the devolved nations and would hope that this budget will be allocated to the arts. With no reopening dates announced yet in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, theatres in these nations need further financial security.
As the national charity that champions theatres in communities and supports community groups to save their local theatre, Theatres Trust is pleased to see the new Community Ownership Fund and are interested to hear more details. There are already hundreds of small community theatres across the country that are real assets to their local areas and are an important part of the theatre ecology. Any programme that supports more communities to own and run their local theatre is to be welcomed and should be flexible enough to support both purchase and repair works alongside vital skills development to equip voluntary groups to successfully restore and operate the buildings.
A host of top performers and theatre makers have lent their support to a campaign for the Theatre Artists Fund, in the lead-up to the 16 March anniversary of UK theatres closing due to the pandemic.
Stars including Michaela Coel, Eddie Redmayne, Maxine Peake, Harriet Walter and Ruth Madeley are revealing their ‘turning point’ – a moment in their career when they were almost forced to give up but received a vital helping hand – to encourage public donations for the Theatre Artists Fund, which provides emergency financial aid to struggling freelance theatre workers. The latest video, from Bridgerton’s Luke Thompson, has been released today.
On 16 March, they will be joined by more famous faces, theatre lovers and people across the industry sharing selfies in support, using the hashtags #16March, #TheatreArtistsFund and #FirstInLastOut – referencing the fact that theatre workers were first into lockdown and will be among the last to return.
Despite the provisional timetable offered by the Government roadmap, thousands in the theatre industry have been unemployed for a year, and will continue to face months of career uncertainty and financial instability. Freelancers, who make up an estimated 70% of the sector, have largely been overlooked by Government support schemes. Many are in urgent need of financial aid to pay bills and put food on the table.
The Theatre Artists Fund was set up in July 2020 by director Sam Mendes, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre. It has since given out £5.5m across 5,359 individual grants, made possible by donations from a range of organisations and individuals. Most recently, previous benefactor the Backstage Trust has made a substantial new contribution.
The demand for emergency aid is still so high, however, that the Fund must raise at least £750,000 a month, with every penny going directly to those in need. Public donations are more crucial than ever to keep the Fund going.
Texts cost £5, £10 or £20 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £5, £10 or £20 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text THEATREFUNDNOINFO 5, 10 or 20 to 70470.
Magic Mike Live will be returning to its London home of The Theatre at the Hippodrome Casino on Friday 21 May 2021. Patrons will experience a revamped production featuring new songs and new dance sequences in a Covid-secure environment with a socially distanced audience.
“The team behind Magic Mike Live has been enthusiastically planning the show’s return to the London stage,” said Executive Producer Vincent Marini. “We have been working to develop a show that prioritises the safety of our employees and guests but also manages to be as fun, electric and unexpected as ever. While it has been a creative challenge to make changes to the show we all love so much, we believe that the finished product, which has already been successfully launched in Sydney, will bring a great deal of joy to London at a time when it is sorely needed. We’re going to make the show’s return to the Hippodrome – after 14 long months away – absolutely epic.”
As part of Magic Mike Live’s return to the London stage, the show has a new “Too Good To Be True” ticketing policy, which gives patrons unprecedented booking flexibility. “We wanted our guests to know that they can book with confidence knowing they will never lose the value of their ticket,” continued Marini. “If they cannot attend the show for any reason, even on the day of the performance, all they need to do is contact us and we’ll rebook them or give them a refund… no questions asked.”
From 21 May 2021, all tickets will be priced at £79.00 and £96.00 and will include complimentary Prosecco during the show for the first 10 weeks only, until 1 August 2021. Patrons are encouraged to book early to get the best seats. New VIP packages are also available at the time of booking that allow guests to extend their stay and take advantage of everything the Hippodrome Casino has to offer.
Conceived and co-directed by Channing Tatum, Magic Mike Live, which has already wowed over 200,000 people in London alone and almost 750,000 worldwide, is a large-scale, live production show based on the hit films Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL, which opened at The Theatre at the Hippodrome Casino in London’s Leicester Square in November 2018.
From the bespoke entrance off Cranbourn Street, to the specially curated lounge and bar experience, to the cast of world-class performers, Magic Mike Live is a complete evening of unparalleled entertainment for guests aged 18 and up. Audience members enter Magic Mike’s mythical club and marvel as a group of extraordinary artists from around the world perform a 360-degree dance and acrobatic spectacular in front of, behind, and above them. Sexy dance routines intertwined with one-of-a-kind acts, are presented by a diverse cast of performers from around the world.
Magic Mike Live in London is co-directed by Channing Tatum and Alison Faulk, with Luke Broadlick as associate director, and choreography by Alison Faulk, Teresa Espinosa and Luke Broadlick.The Executive Producer is Vincent Marini with General Management by David Ian Productions. The production designer is Rachel O’Toole, with scenic design by Rob Bissinger and Anita LaScala (Arda Studio), costume design by Marina Toybina, lighting design by Philip Gladwell and video design by Luke Halls. Musical supervisor is Jack Rayner, with sound design by Nick Kourtides. Dreya Weber is aerial choreographer & aerial apparatus designer.
Magic Mike Live has become an international sensation since opening in Las Vegas in April 2017. In addition to breaking box office records and performing to sold-out audiences in Las Vegas and London, the show premiered in Berlin in 2020 and the Australia national tour opened in Sydney in December 2020.
Magic Mike Live is produced in London by Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin, Greg Jacobs, Peter Kiernan, Steven Soderbergh, Nick Wechsler and United Talent Agency in association with Warner Bros., Vincent Marini, The Hippodrome Casino, Bruce Robert Harris and Jack W. Batman, TSG Entertainment & Ashley DeSimone, Richard Winkler and The Creative House.
Covid Safety: Channing and the entire creative team have developed a plan to make sure the show is not only more fun than it’s ever been, but also safe for the cast, crew and the audience. To ensure they are able to provide a comfortable and safe experience for everyone, there are a few things they need ticket holders to do and know ahead of their visit. Please visit the website for more information: www.magicmikelondon.co.uk
Magic Mike Live guests must be at least 18 years to attend – appropriate photo ID will be requested on arrival at the venue – begambleaware.org
INT’L WOMEN’S DAY CONCERT EVENT, TALKS WITH LUCY MOSS, ORE ODUBA, JAMAEL WESTMAN STREAM ON THESPIE
Leading theatre artists feature in live-streamed artist talks and an International Women’s Day streamed concert event on performing arts platform Thespie
Theatre discovery platform Thespie today announces eight new online theatre and arts events during the month of March. The program spans several artist talks with theatre professionals of varying disciplines, particularly women creatives, and is headlined by an International Women’s Day streaming event.
The Reunion x GirlPower (8 March) is a double-feature of concerts filmed in October and December of 2020 and will include previously unreleased behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, along with an artist Q&A created specifically
for International Women’s Day. This special 2-hour event stars Aimie Atkinson, Alexia McIntosh, Grace Mouat, Millie O’Connell, Natalie Paris, Maiya Quansah-Breed, and Jarneia Richard-Noel, seven of the UK’s top vocal powerhouses who originally met as the original West End queens of the musical SIX.
The free-to-view informal chat series Thespie Thursdays continues throughout March, this month featuring women theatre creatives whose experiences span a variety of disciplines:
Lucy Moss (4 March) – co-creator of the musical SIX, and director of Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, developed collaboratively across the TikTok video platform
Danielle Tarento (11 March) – theatre producer and casting professional focusing mostly on musical theatre
Olissa Rogers (18 March) – casting director covering stage and screen
Hannah Hauer-King (25 March) – stage director of theatre, comedy, cabaret, and musicals, and head of the all women theatre company Damsel Productions
There are also new instalments of the In the Room series of free artist talks, which comprise conversations with performers and creators and about writing, rehearsal, and collaboration. Guests include:
Ore Oduba (3rd March) – TV & radio presenter, musical theatre artist and Strictly Come Dancing champion
Jamael Westman (10 March) – original West End Hamilton who performed the role in both London and Los Angeles
Sharon Rose (24 March) – musical theatre artist from the UK production of Hamilton, and 2020 Netflix Christmas film Jingle Jangle
Thespie’s recent concerts for charity remain available to stream on-demand through the month of March as well:
Break Free (premiered 19 Feb) is an empowering musical celebration with LGBT+ theatre artists, sharing their personal journeys and performances of musical theatre and pop songs that have inspired them. The cast includes
Natasha Agnew, Paul Baker, Allie Daniel, Eloise Davis, Andrew Derbyshire, Nick Hayes, Mark Inscoe, Eleanor Kane, Millie O’Connell, Alex Thomas-Smith, Courtney Stapleton, La Voix, Andrew Patrick-Walker, Shona White,
Layton Williams and Charlotte Yorke.
The Road to Prominence (premiered 26 Feb) celebrates Black musical theatre writers and composers, from the early twentieth century to today, including performances and interviews with leading UK theatre performers.
The filmed concert is directed by Dominic Powell whose musical Cases is featured in the concert, alongside works such as The Wiz, The Color Purple, and Ain’t Misbehavin’. The cast includes Zoe Birkett, Adrian Hansel, Waylon
Jacobs, Aisha Jawando, Bobbie Little, Andrew Patrick-Walker, Maiya Quansah-Breed, and Alex Thomas-Smith.
Thespie offers listings for theatre streaming, theatre music & audio, theatre eBooks, educational resources, live London theatre, theatre news, and more.
Audiences can use Thespie to stream its original programming of concerts and artist talks, as well as more than 400 other shows; and to discover over 1000 theatre resources available on other popular platforms and services, such as
Disney+, Amazon Prime, Spotify and Audible.
Artists, producers and arts organisations interested in adding their show listings and theatre streaming to Thespie can learn more at https://thespie.com/submissions
Selladoor Worldwide is delighted to announce that BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL will play its long-awaited London season at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall from Wednesday 8 December 2021 to Saturday 22 January 2022, following eight performances at the New Theatre, Peterborough from Tuesday 30 November to Saturday 4 December 2021. Tickets for the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall will be on general sale from Friday 5 March 2021. Further plans for the show in 2022 will be announced soon. www.bringitonthemusicaluk.com
As was originally announced, the production will be led by Amber Davies as ‘Campbell’ alongside Louis Smith as ‘Cameron’. Full casting to be announced soon.
Perhaps best known as the winner of ITV’s Love Island in 2017, Amber Davies made her professional stage debut in 2019 to critical and audience acclaim as ‘Judy Bernly’ in Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The Musical at the Savoy Theatre and subsequently on the UK tour. Whilst training at Urdang Academy, her credits included ‘Campbell’ in “Bring It On The Musical” and ‘Downing’ in “My Favourite Year”.
Four-time gymnastic Olympic medallist Louis Smith shot to fame in 2008 when he won the first British gymnastic medal in 100 years at the Beijing Olympics. Following his success at the London 2012 Olympic Games Louis later won that year’s BBC Strictly Come Dancing, before going on to win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special in 2014. On stage he has appeared in “Rip It Up” in both the West End and on tour.
Inspired by the 2000 film of the same name, BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL features an original score by the multi award winning creator of “Hamilton”, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer Prize winning Tom Kitt, composer of “Next To Normal”. The book is written by the Tony Award winning writer of “Avenue Q”, Jeff Whitty and the lyrics are by both Lin-Manuel Miranda and writer of the stage adaptation of “High Fidelity”, Amanda Green.
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL is directed by Guy Unsworth and choreographed by Fabian Aloise, with set design by Libby Watson, costume design by Susan Kulkarni, lighting design by Matt Daw, sound design by Ross Portway, music supervision by Mark Crossland and musical direction from Sarah Burrell. They will be joined by Danny MacDonald as acrobatic director and Aundrea Fudge as dialect coach.
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL takes audiences on a high-flying, energy-fuelled journey which tackles friendship, jealousy, betrayal and forgiveness – wrapped up in explosive choreography and tricks.
Cheer-royalty and newly crowned Squad Captain, Campbell, should be embarking on her most cheertastic senior year at Truman High School. When she’s forced to move to the neighbouring hard-knock Jackson High, Campbell fears her life is over. But an unlikely friendship catapults Campbell back into contention with a powerhouse squad and the fire to achieve the impossible.
BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL is produced by Selladoor Worldwide, has a libretto by Jeff Whitty, a score by Tom Kitt and Lin-Manuel Miranda lyrics by Amanda Green and Lin-Manuel Miranda. BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL is inspired by the motion picture Bring It On written by Jessica Bendinger. Performed by arrangement with Music Theatre International (Europe) Limited.
PRESENTERS AND PERFORMERS ANNOUNCED FOR 21ST ANNUAL WHATSONSTAGE AWARDS
The 2021 WhatsOnStage Awards will be streamed live from Turbine Theatre on Sunday 14 March, in a unique ceremony celebrating theatre and its audiences. The ceremony will be presented by Jodie Prenger and Tom Read Wilson, featuring Amy Hart and Oscar Conlon-Morrey, with performances from musical theatre stars representing shows that were cut short in 2020, or are due to open in the coming years.
Sita McIntosh, Chief Operating Officer of WhatsOnStage, said today, “With no live performances at the moment, we like every Award show, have had to rethink how best to celebrate our industry and the amazing people who work in it. We are delighted to be able to bring together this stellar line-up of musical theatre talent, showcasing some of the amazing shows that were cut short by COVID-19 and highlighting those that audiences can look forward to. We are hugely grateful to everyone contributing their time and their talent. We can’t wait to “raise the curtain” on Sunday 14 March at 7pm.”
The line-up is as follows:
Cedric Neal will perform “Gotta Start Somewhere” from Back to the Future the Musical, which is gearing up for an eagerly anticipated West End opening at the Adelphi Theatre after its Manchester run was disrupted by the pandemic.
Lizzie Bea, set to lead the West End revival of Hairspray later this year at The London Coliseum, will perform “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel.
Ivano Turco will perform “Only You, Lonely You” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brand new West End musical Cinderella, opening at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
Blake Anderson, Cleve September, Danielle Fiamanya, Frances Mayli, Grace Mouat, Jodie Steele, Jordan Luke Gage, Layton Williams, Matt Croke, Millie O’Connell and Sophie Isaacs will perform “Let The Sunshine In” from Hair. The outdoor revival of the show played on a jetty outside the Turbine Theatre last year and will be returning for performances at The London Palladium and on tour later in 2021.
Stage star Siubhan Harrison will perform “Head Over Feet” from Jagged Little Pill, which was nominated for the most Tony Awards of the season (15) last autumn.
Emma Kingston will perform “I Can Do Better Than That” from The Last Five Years after appearing in socially distanced outdoor revival of Jason Robert Brown’s musical at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.
Danielle Fiamanya and Matt Croke will perform “Crazy Rolling” from Moulin Rouge!. Fiamanya recently appeared in Curve’s The Color Purple virtual production, while Croke performed another number from Moulin Rouge! on The Voice UK earlier this year, earning public acclaim.
Alexia Khadime and Christine Allado will perform “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt, which had its gargantuan West End production at the Dominion Theatre temporarily halted by the pandemic last year, but is now set to return.
Dom Hartley-Harris and Alex Thomas-Smith will perform “I’ll Cover You” from Rent, returning to the roles of Collins and Angel after a smash-hit run at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester was cut short by the pandemic.
Jamie Muscato will perform “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story, having led the show when it was mounted at Curve Leicester in winter 2019.
Oscar Conlon-Morrey and Amy Hart will make appearances to highlight some of the work being done by the theatre community on and off the stage.
Further information on performances will be released via www.whatsonstage.com ahead of the ceremony.
In lieu of nominating performers and creatives this year, the public have nominated Angels – someone in their life that has been a source of love, support, and kindness during the pandemic. From those nominations, 21 Angels will be announced during the ceremony and will receive a complimentary night at the theatre once live performances return.
LITTLE ANGEL THEATRE TURNS 60 WITH A YEAR OF CELEBRATION
SPRING – SUMMER SEASON OF THE ANNIVERSARY YEAR IS ANNOUNCED TODAY WITH HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDING:
A ‘choose your own adventure’-style live digital production of Sean Taylor’s Where the Bugaboo Lives directed by Little Angel artistic director Samantha Lane and designed by Ellie Mills. From 14 March – 2 May. Tickets on sale from 1 March (£13.50 per household).
Julia Donaldson’s The Smartest Giant in Town is brought to life in a new co-production with Fierylight. Samantha Lane directs and collaborates on the adaption with Barb Jungr. From 21 May (subject to government guidelines). Tickets on sale soon.
New digital series People Behind the Puppets celebrates 60 years of ground-breaking puppetry design as Little Angel’s very own puppet ‘Angel’ interviews makers including Toby Olié and Alison Alexander. Weekly from 1 April.
Inspired by a brand-new Joseph Coelho poem, The Wishing Tree will see ‘magical trees’ appear throughout Islington this Summer designed by artists including Sam Wilde and Ingrid Hu and populated by puppets made by local children. From June 2021.
Created with young people at Great Ormond Street, Little Angel’s co-production with GOSH ‘If Not Here…Where?’ has been adapted into a digital production that can continue to tour hospitals and hospices throughout the summer transporting some of the most isolated children to a magical fantasy world.
Since March 2020 Little Angel’s free digital series Watch, Make, Share has been viewed over 757,000 times in 90 countries with more than 140 videos created. New short digital plays and puppet-making activities will continue to be released every two weeks.
The iconic Little Angel Theatre, much loved by families for generations, celebrates its 60th anniversary with an adventurous and enchanting year of work, the first half of which is announced today.
Little Angel first opened its doors on Saturday 24th November 1961 when a troupe of enthusiastic puppeteers under the leadership of John Wright found a derelict temperance hall in Islington and transformed it into a magical little theatre, specially designed for children and for the presentation of marionette shows. Now under the leadership of artistic director Samantha Lane and executive director Peta Swindall, boundary-pushing puppetry is at the heart of this unique theatre, which ignites the imaginations of the youngest minds and equips tomorrow’s puppeteers with the skills to become world-class artists.
Tucked away down a quiet Islington street, this 90-seat puppetry powerhouse has recently built a new global audience, reaching more families and young people than ever before throughout lockdown. With children starved of culture and interaction, Little Angel adapted fast to the closure of theatres last year and made their work quickly accessible through digital formats which have been watched all over the world, with productions and accompanying puppet making activities inspiring and engaging young audiences in more than 90 countries, receiving over 757,000 views. This success has enabled Little Angel to go further in supporting their large freelance theatre family, staff and community throughout the last year.
As well as being an internationally recognised theatre with productions touring throughout the UK and across the globe, Little Angel has its roots in Islington and works closely with its local, diverse community on participation events and activities throughout the year, giving away thousands of tickets so all can benefit and enjoy this remarkable art form.
Looking forward to the year ahead, artistic director Samantha Lane and executive director Peta Swindall introduce the first half the 60th Anniversary season:
“The new season kicks off with an adventure-style play for an adventurous year as we continue to find advanced and innovative ways to engage our audiences digitally with a new production of Sean Taylor and Neal Layton’s interactive story ‘Where the Bugaboo Lives’. Each performance will be different as young audiences ‘choose their own adventure’ while they watch, deciding which way the story goes. Following this, we cannot wait to welcome audiences back to our theatre, as soon as it’s safe, to see our new production of Julia Donaldson’s much-loved story about helping others in need ‘The Smartest Giant in Town’ and look forward to collaborating with Fierylight for the first time. We are also kicking off a new digital interview series ‘’People Behind the Puppets’ to celebrate 60 years of the world-class artistry at the heart of Little Angel. We hope it will inspire the next generation of puppet makers.
Created from ideas and stories from young people at Great Ormond Street, our production of ‘If Not Here…Where?’, toured hospitals and hospices throughout the UK last February. Now at a time when young people in hospital feel more isolated than ever, we are so proud to have created a digital version of the show enabling it to tour again in a Covid-safe way this summer. We also hope to brighten up the streets of Islington with a special project this June ‘The Wishing Tree’ inspired by a new poem by Joseph Coelho. Our community is at the heart of everything we do and this is a wonderful chance to celebrate our birthday with them.
We have been overwhelmed by the response from children, local and far afield, to our Watch, Make and Share free digital series created in response to lockdown. We hope it has made a difficult time a bit brighter for our young audiences and are thrilled to be able to continue to create new digital shorts and activities for families to enjoy throughout the year to come.”
THE NEW SEASON
Where the Bugaboo Lives Digital production 14 March – 2 May Transferring to Nottingham Lakeside Arts 27 & 28 March, CAST Doncaster 30 & 31 March and The Albany 6 & 7 April A Little Angel Theatre production Based on the book by Sean Taylor and Neal Layton For ages 5-11 Tickets on sale from 1 March (£13.50 per household) littleangeltheatre.com
The popular story by Sean Taylor (writer behind Little Angel Theatre’s Finding Santa) is brought to life in Little Angel’s first made-for-zoom, choose-your-own adventure style show for 5-11 year olds.
Floyd and his sister Ruby creep into the dark, shadowy valley behind their house… a valley full of all kinds of spooky, creepy creatures and the scariest of them all, the Bugaboo!
Join Floyd and Ruby at every step of their journey, as you decide which path they take and what monsters they meet.
Directed by Samantha Lane Music composed by Dominic Sales Designed by Ellie Mills Associate Designers Jessica Shead and Ruby Saide Lighting designed by Sherry Coenen Performed by Roberta Livingston and Jessica Manu
The Smartest Giant in Town From 21 May (subject to government guidelines). Based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Adapted by Barb Jungr and Samantha Lane A Little Angel Theatre and Fierylight co-production For ages 3-8 Tickets on sale soon at littleangeltheatre.com
This heart-warming tale about friendship and helping those in need is brought to life in a musical, puppet-filled adventure, following on from Little Angel Theatre’s bestselling adaptations of Julia Donaldson’s picture books including The Singing Mermaid, Paper Dolls, The Flying Bath, The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat and The Everywhere Bear.
George wishes he wasn’t the scruffiest giant in town. So when he sees a new shop selling giant-sized clothes, he decides it’s time for a new look: smart trousers, smart shirt, stripy tie, shiny shoes. Now he’s the smartest giant in town . . . until he bumps into some animals who desperately need his help – and his clothes!
Adapted by Barb Jungr and Samantha Lane Directed by Samantha Lane Music composed by Barb Jungr Set and costumes designed by Kate Bunce Puppets designed by Judith Hope Lighting designed by Sherry Coenen
Over the past 60 years, a huge range of designers have brought their unique puppet designs to life on the Little Angel Theatre stage – from marionettes in Angelo to light-up foxes in Wow! It’s Night-Time and cardboard creations in the online adaptation of I Want My Hat Back. In this new online series, Little Angel’s very own puppet ‘Angel’ will meet and interview these designers, finding out more about their experiences of puppetry design and why they love working in the field. Each designer will also bring along an easy puppet make that children can follow along at home. One interview will be released every week from 1 April at youtube.com/thelittleatheatre.
The Wishing Tree June 2021 Community project and puppetry festival
Inspired by a brand-new poem written by Joseph Coelho (Werewolf Club Rules, The Girl Who Became a Tree, Overheard in a Tower Block), six magical trees will pop-up in community locations across Islington designed by artists Alison Alexander, Maia Kirkman-Richards, Ingrid Hu, Seb Mayer, Emma Tompkins and Sam Wilde. Exploring themes such as friendship, freedom and kindness, each tree will be populated by puppets made by local children. Residents and passers-by will be able to watch as each tree grows and becomes more colourful over time, and the project will culminate in a two-week festival of outdoor public performances in June.
If Not Here… Where? Digital production June 2021 Tour of UK hospices and hospitals
Sometimes extraordinary worlds can appear in the most ordinary of places…
Produced in partnership with GOSH Arts and inspired by stories and ideas from young people at Great Ormond Street Hospital, this puppetry and digital hybrid production toured the UK in February 2020, visiting 19 hospitals and hospices from Bath to Edinburgh and beyond.
In a year when so many people have felt isolated, but no more so than young people in long-term hospital care, Little Angel have now adapted the production to make it purely digital, enabling it to tour in a COVID-safe way this summer.
If a portal opened up at the end of your bed, would you be brave enough to step through? Join an adventure into a fantasy landscape where you will be transported through mysterious tunnels and emerge into a cacophony of colour. Will you climb an enormous tree, sail away in a boat or lie back and look at the stars?
Little Angel Theatre’s popular Watch, Make, Share series of digital shorts and puppetry-making activities will continue into 2021, with a new short and craft activity released every two weeks. The upcoming programme:
From 28 February – The World of Sound Scribbles by Little Bean Theatre (as part of Chinese Arts Now Festival) Babies are always curious about sound, they make a lot of sound in their daily lives too! Have you ever thought that these sounds they make are actually music? Let Little Bean bring you to the sensory world of Sound Scribbles – babies’ explorations of sound, accompanied with original music. Part of the Chinese Arts Now Festival 2021 chineseartsnow.org.uk
From 21 March – Envis and Outo by Sam Sutherland Productions Envis and Outo are snowflakes. Every year their community undertakes an incredible journey from ice to water to air to water to ice again. But the extraordinary thing is, they can never return looking the same. Envis refuses to join in The Journey because she doesn’t like change. Can Outo persuade her that there is so much more to see?
Written by Samantha Sutherland Puppetry by Jess Mabel Jones Music by David Hewson
From 28 March – Suitcase Circus by Folded Feather Suitcase Circus is a live globetrotting theatre performance which has graced the stage in pretty much every place you can imagine a show going on. This extraordinary menagerie is a who’s who of the world’s most talented objects.
For your viewing pleasure this special online edition of our fantastic circus of discarded things will showcase; a virtuosic dancing milkshake straw, the world’s only acrobatic potato sack, the magical hat-frog Timrek the Fantastico and much much more! All of this is cleverly tangled together by the anarchic, ringmaster-sock, Wobulous Discombobulous.
Puppetry, Music and Sounds – Oliver Smart (Folded Feather) Film Production – Alexander Michaelis & Kimberley Mirren (Studio Kix, London)
Folded Feather is an innovative puppet company with an established reputation for the creation of outstanding theatre productions, socially-focused communications design, and high-quality on-screen content.
From 11 April – The Stone Soup, by Bronia Evers and One Moment in Time Storytelling A new retelling of the classic European folktale. Three travellers arrive in a village and claim they will make soup from a stone, which sparks the curiosity of the locals…
This short film features puppetry, storytelling, original music, and a specially designed ‘crankie theatre’ with scrolling paper scenery.
The first recorded publication of Stone Soup appeared 300 years ago, yet this enduring folktale has never felt more relevant, with its themes of community, resilience, generosity and cooperative spirit.
Storytelling and puppetry by Bronia Evers Music and lyrics composed and performed by Martina Schwarz Co-devised by Bronia Evers and Martina Schwarz Crankie theatre and shadow puppets designed by Bronia Evers 3D puppet designed by Tinka Slavicek Filmed and edited by Inti Rowland www.broniaevers.com
LEEDS GRAND THEATRE OFFERS FREE MASTERCLASSES TO ASPIRING ACTORS
Leeds Actors in Training (LAIT), a practical skills-building course for young adults (18-25) serious about an acting career, run in collaboration with Leeds Grand Theatre, is offering free online masterclasses throughout March 2021.
In anticipation of theatres reopening, LAIT Intensive is a series of five evening sessions run over three weeks by professional artists and overseen by LAIT and Leeds Grand Youth Theatre Director, Lizi Patch.
Running from 6-8pm on Tue 16, Wed 17, Tue 23, Wed 24 and Tue 30 March, the sessions will cover everything from physical and vocal health and flexibility, to clowning and presenting yourself at an audition. Guest artists include Dawn Holgate (Course Leader Foundation Dance Degree, Leeds City College), Sam Kenyon (writer, composer, teacher), James Lewis-Knight (Clown Space) and Dermot Daly (actor, writer, filmmaker).
Lizi says: “It has been widely publicised that our sector has suffered exponentially because of the pandemic; it is no exaggeration to suggest that 1000s of artists across the country have been affected professionally, and personally. What was an already competitive industry, will be increasingly more so as the arts tentatively make small steps to getting back on their feet. By delivering LAIT Intensive and creating a vibrant online space in which to learn, we aim to give participants the tools to unlock their potential, develop skills and engage with likeminded people, as well as highly regarded industry professionals. Passion and a good publicity photo will only get you so far in this industry; in my experience, to truly succeed, an actor must be skilled and committed, with a strong grip on reality!
“Previous experience is absolutely not essential, what matters is that participants are hungry to learn. We will provide a supportive and professional environment”
Founded in 2018, LAIT was developed in response to a call from young people interested in an acting career looking for alternative high-quality training and skills development opportunities to the traditional (and prohibitively expensive) drama school route. The year-long course, run by professional, working artists, was designed to develop participants vocally, physically, and imaginatively, encouraging an independent and in-depth approach to a career within the theatre industry.
WOW UK’S 21 DAY DIGITAL FESTIVAL MARKING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021 STARTS TODAY
11TH EDITION OF WOW’S FLAGSHIP FESTIVAL WILL TAKE PLACE ONLINE THIS MONTH WITH OVER 30 TALKS, WORKSHOPS AND DISCUSSIONS
ACCOMPANYING WOW SOUNDS MUSIC PROGRAMME PRESENTS SOME OF THE MOST EXCITING WOMEN, GIRLS AND NON-BINARY ARTISTS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE: ANOUSHKA SHANKAR, FATOUMATA DIAWARA, NUBYA GARCIA, MISS BABY SOL, ANAIIS AND MORE
PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHTS: JUDE KELLY ON WOMEN AND MONEY, LUCY ANNE-HOLMES AND GLOBAL SEXPERTS ON SEX AND SOCIAL DISTANCING, KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW ON INTERSECTIONALITY AND #SAYHERNAME, AN HOUR OF OPTIMISM WITH RUBY WAX AND FEARNE COTTON, AVNI DOSHI AND SHEILA HETI ON MOTHERHOOD AND AMBIVALENCE, ARUNDHATI ROY, WITH V (FORMERLY EVE ENSLER), MOTHER AND DAUGHTER CATHERINE AND ANNE MAYER ON GRIEF IN COVID, GREEK MYTHS WITH NATALIE HAYNES AND BETTANY HUGHES, CREATIVITY WITH BRYONY KIMMINGS
WORKSHOPS ON REIMAGINING CHILDCARE, PERSONAL FINANCE, AFROFUNK DANCE, PLUMBING, UNDER 10’S FEMINISTS CORNER AND NETWORKING FOR GRANDMOTHERS
FESTIVAL WILL TACKLE THEMES AS DIVERSE AS GENDER BIAS IN TECH, THE IMPORTANCE OF OPTIMISM, WORKING CLASS WOMEN WRITER’S REPRESENTATION AND DECOLONISING SONGWRITING
BRITISH VOGUE’S FORCES FOR CHANGE EVENT SEES EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EDWARD ENNINFUL OBE AND CHRISTY TURLINGTON IN CONVERSATION FOLLOWED BY A PANEL WITH HEAD OF YOUTUBE CECILE FROT-COUTAZ, 27TH PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIAJULIA GILLARD; JOURNALIST EMILY MAITLIS, AND ACTIVIST AMIKA GEORGE
FURTHER NEW ADDITIONS TO THE LINE-UP INCLUDE A SPECIAL INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EVENT WITH JULIA GILLARD AND MANDU REID; A BLACK FEMINISM WORKSHOP LED BY JADE BENTIL; A CONVERSATION ABOUT FEMALE FRIENDSHIP WITH SEYI AKIWOWO, BECCA BUNCE AND GABBY EDLIN AND A CELEBRATION OF BLACK GIRLHOOD WITH MILK HONEY BEES
WOW’S INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY MAP SHOWS EVENTS AROUND UK
WOW – Women of the World’s UK March flagship Festival will, for the first time, take place online. Starting today, the festival celebrating women and girls, which is usually held at the Southbank Centre, will run for three weeks (1st – 21st March) with a line-up of over 30 ticketed talks, discussions and workshops featuring some of the world’s most exciting performers, activists and voices.
With the support of WOW’s global founding partner Bloomberg, alongside the UK, WOW Festivals and events will take place across the world in partnership with The WOW Foundation in regions including Australia, Bangladesh, Istanbul, Nepal, New York, Pakistan and Taiwan.
Recognising recent global events, this year’s WOW UK Festival programme will take a frank look at new obstacles women, girls and non-binary people now face; discussing creative solutions for change whilst celebrating amazing stories of resistance and progress. Available worldwide, the festival will bring together global audiences for challenging conversations, interactive workshops but also moments of joy, spontaneity, laughter and optimism.
WOW UK Festival 2021 events will be accompanied by a series of specially filmed musical performances curated by WOW Sounds, which will showcase women, girls and non-binary artists from around the world that use their music as a form of activism.
Jude Kelly, Founder of WOW, will launch the UK festival this evening with US based entrepreneur and long-term WOW collaborator India Gary-Martin, exploring what the pandemic has meant for women and girls around the world. WOW Sounds performances from soul singer and all round force of nature Miss Baby Sol and teenage Indonesian metal band Voice of Baceprot will follow the event.
To mark International Women’s Day 2021, former Australian Prime Minister the Hon Julia Gillard AC and Mandu Reid, the first Black leader of the Women’s Equality Party will join Jude Kelly to discuss political leadership at this pivotal time in our history atWomen, Power and Change: International Women’s Day at WOW, a ticketed evening event also featuring performances from sitarist shredder, composer, producer and seven-time Grammy nominee Anoushka Shankar and international superstar Fatoumata Diawara.
Alongside Women, Power and Change, a free programme of events will run throughout International Women’s Day on WOW’s YouTube and Facebook page to celebrate and explore female leadership across the world. Inspired by this year’s International Women’s Day theme “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”, each event will be released hourly on WOW’s social media channels to paint a global picture, including collaborations with With and For Girls, Women’s March Global & Women in Dev, Women in Journalism, and Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. Plus there will be interviews with WOW collaborators from Brazil to Bangladesh and journalist, author, producer and lifelong advocate for women and girls Pat Mitchell. 8th March will also mark the launch of The Hope Brigade, a major online exhibition created by WOW and Google Arts and Culture featuring 100 women from 10 cities and countries around the world which tells a story of global feminisms and women’s movements. Throughout International Women’s Day, WOW will be encouraging global audiences to get counted in ‘Global Count’, the worldwide gender equality survey polling women and gender-diverse people right now on the barriers to progress.
Also announced today, British Vogue Forces for Change will return to WOW this year on 9th March to uncover raw and inspiring stories of women across the globe. Introduced by Jude Kelly, British Vogue’s Editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful OBE and Christy Turlington will be in conversation. A panel discussion will follow with guests including Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Head of YouTube, EMEA; 27th Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard; Emily Maitlis; British journalist, documentary filmmaker and newsreader for the BBC and activist Amika George. The panel will be chaired byVanessa Kingori, Publishing Director, British Vogue.The event will be followed by a performance from Nubya Garcia.
Highlights from the In Conversation programme will include; Arundhati Roy and V (formerly Eve Ensler) reflecting on the meaning of freedom in an increasingly authoritarian world with writer Preti Taneja; Founder of the Women’s Equality Party, Catherine Mayer and her mother Anne Mayer Bird discussing personal and communal grief; Intersectionality pioneer Kimberlé Crenshaw in conversation with Jude Kelly about the #SayHerName campaign and changes she wants to see in a post-pandemic world; Ruby Wax and Fearne Cotton exploring mental health and how recent developments in industry are turning our world into a better place; authors Sheila Heti and Avni Doshi on locating the complexity, trauma and joy in an ambivalence towards motherhood.
Elsewhere Lucy-Anne Holmes (Women on Top of the World) is joined by other leading sexperts Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah (The Sex Lives of African Women) and performer, playwright and poet Dr Jessi Parrott for an honest and positive conversation on how lockdown has impacted our sex lives; tech entrepreneurs Tabitha Goldstaub (CogX), Sharmadean Reid (Beautystack) and Maxine Mackintosh (One HealthTech) will discuss how to achieve gender equality in the tech industries; a special event with Working Class Writers Festival will see Artistic Director Natasha Carthew joined by acclaimed authors Sharon Duggal, Sadie Hasler and Mahsuda Snaith; and author and comedian Natalie Haynes and historian Bettany Hughes tell us what we can learn from women in Ancient Greek myths and the injustices in how their stories have been passed down through history.
Yemeni Human Rights Defender Radhya Al-Mutawakel, Sky News Special Correspondent Alex Crawford and Gulalai Ismail, a threatened women’s rights and peace activist from Pakistan, will join RAW in WAR founder Mariana Katzarova, to shine a spotlight on abuses – exacerbated by the pandemic – committed against women and girls in conflict areas, and the price of speaking truth to power.
Each In Conversation event will be paired with a WOW Sounds performance filmed at venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the Akshara Theatre – a concert hall in New Delhi – and artists’ living rooms all across the globe. The line-up includes singer-songwriter and cellist Ayanna Witter-Johnson; genre defying artist Anaiis; non-binary filipinx multi-disciplinary Kimmortal; Indian independent artist and urban ecologist Ditty; American Tik Tok star and singer Aliah Sheffield; foremost female ambassador of Gnawa music Asmaa Hamzoui and her band Bnat Timbouktou; Tunisian singer-songwriter Emel Mathlouthi; the Zimbabwean ‘Princess of Mbira’ Hope Masike; Kenyan musical and cultural firebrand Muthoni Drummer Queen and platinum-selling front woman and bassist from Noisettes Shingai.
Interactive digital workshops will take place over Zoom for those who want to actively take part. A workshop on healing, empowering and resilience from Milk & Honey will join previously announced events including; A discussion on intersectunality and Black feminism led by Jade Bentil for women and non-binary people from Black African, Caribbean, Afro-Latinx and African-American backgrounds; Performance Artist, Musician and Screenwriter Bryony Kimmings on finding daily joy in creativity. There will be discussion groups on reimagining domestic care with sessions on radical childcare and the often overlooked needs of grandmothers. Selina Flavius, founder and author of Black Girl Finance, will lay out practical steps for resetting your ‘Money Mindset’ and building financial confidence; WOW Australia will lead two sessions: Decolonising Songwriting with Emily Wurramara, an Anindilyakwa singer-songwriter, and Irish singer-songwriter Áine Tyrrell, and The Bystander Approach to Addressing Inequality, exploring ways of calling out problematic behaviour in a safe way. Other workshops will include All Cisterns Go, a WOW plumbing workshop, an Afrofunk dance workshop straight from Brazil, and a lesson in finding your personal power in a virtual environment with Sarah Blumenau.
All In Conversation events will be BSL interpreted and captioned, with tickets starting from £1 or audiences can buy a pass to watch the whole season of talks from £25.
Launched last month, WOW’s International Women’s Day Map will look beyond WOW to provide a directory of other IWD celebrations taking place across the UK in March, including inspiring events, talks, workshops, performances and more.
The previously announced WOW Live at the Royal Albert Hall, which was due to take place on 8th March, has been postponed due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions with a new date set for later this year.
The WOW Foundation is proudly supported by its Global Founding Partner Bloomberg, and Global Partner Mastercard.
WOW UK Festival 2021 is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Matchstick Group – the UK’s newest talent management agency – launches today with a roster of 26 clients spanning all forms of entertainment, making it the UK’s fastest growing talent agency in 2021 and the UK’s leading agency for digital and social media influencers with a reach of over 10million followers cross YouTube, TikTok and Instagram
Matchstick Group is reimagining the way that talent management typically operates. In addition to a deep commitment to improving diversity, accessibility and representation in the entertainment industry, Matchstick Group boldly breaks with tradition by prioritising the mental wellbeing of its staff and clients above all else, as well as offering client and staff incentives to refer new business. A new agency for talent and by talent, MatchstickGroup offers a 360-management service that can secure clients major brand deals, book and recording contracts, TV and theatre roles, as well as brokering equity deals and magazine front covers.
Masterminded by entrepreneur Max Parker – an entertainment industry rising star at only 29 years of age – the digital-first agency represents talent from musicians to models, actors to authors, and social media influencers to celebrities. Uniquely for a management agency, Matchstick Group is an agency founded by the talent themselves, with both Binky Felstead from Made In Chelsea (1.4million social media followers) and Danny Jones from McFly (629,000 social media followers)teaming up to invest in Matchstick Group.
Max has chosen to launch Matchstick Group on 1st March 2021 – International Self-Injury Awareness Day – as the inspiration to start his own agency came after he lost a close friend to suicide in August 2020. Being devastated by the loss of his friend as well as the ongoing COVID pandemic and stress at work, led to Max having a complete breakdown in summer 2020. Being diagnosed with depression and suicidal thoughts paved the way to Max leaving his job of seven years to create his own company with the support of close friends, clients, and investors Danny Jones and Binky Felstead.
Matchstick Group will be giving 2% of all its profits in support of the mental health charity Joe’s Buddy Line. The charity aims to provide a lifeline to young people who might be experiencing suicidal or other debilitating thoughts and need someone to talk to or require other help, information and assistance.
AlongsideDanny and Binky, top-tier talent launching Matchstick on the 1st March 2021 includesactress Martine McCutcheon, twin deaf modelsHermon and Heroda Berhane – the first models with a disability to front a MAC Cosmetics campaign,singer-songwriter, model Max George formerly of The Wanted, Ollie Locke from Made In Chelsea and husband Gareth Locke, wellbeing gurus Lilly Sabri and Danae Mercer,and Patrick Hutchinson, debut author of Everybody Versus Racism,who rose to fame after rescuing an injured far-right protester during the London BLM demonstrations of 2020.
A digital first agency, all of Matchstick Group’s talent are social media influencers with a combined social media reach of 10,000,000 across TikTok, YouTube and Instagram. High profile social media influencers represented by Matchstick Group include: Danae Mercer: 2.1 million followers, Jessica Olie: 882,000 Followers, Dan Tai: 718,000 Followers, Lilly Sabri: 521,000 Followers, Georgie Clarke: 331,000 Followers, Grace Mongey: 174,000 Followers, Imani Evans: 142,000 Followers, and Danielle Vanier: 119,000 Followers.
Max Parker is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most successful young talent agents of 2021. A true talent-spotter, prior to founding Matchstick Group, Parker was responsible for signing 24 clients for his previous employer, 15 of which had not previously had management, making Max’s signing rate one of the most successful in the entertainment industry over the past ten years.
Due to his commitment to promoting diversity and accessibility in the entertainment industry and his genius for launching new talent, in 2017 Parker was recognised by YouTube for Best Independent Music Release 2017, with YouTube showcasing his campaign strategy globally to Artist Managers. Parker’s achievements range from two TOP 20 independent single releases from his own record label (which both got uplifted into very favorable record deals, with Sony and Universal Music respectively), five UK music tours, two theatre productions, five UK book publishing deals, and over 3,250 brand campaigns.
Parker launches Matchstick Group with the following deals for his talent already on the table:
MAC COSMETIC Ambassadors – deaf twins Hermon and Heroda Berhane
UNIVERSAL MUSIC – First of its kind ambassadorship for Lilly Sabri
NEEDLE & THREAD – deaf twins Hermon and Heroda Berhane
TED BAKER – Ambassadors – Hermon and Heroda Berhan
Durex – Valentines Day Campaign – Ollie Locke
MAX PARKER, FOUNDER OF MATCHSTICK GROUP said: “It means a lot to me to launch Matchstick Group on Self Injury Awareness Day as announcing this company to the world is a declaration of my intent that the future will be brighter and better. At its core Matchstick is all about diversity, individuality and supporting our incredibly talented roster of clients to not only achieve great things but thrive while doing so. I owe a massive debt of thanks to both Binky and Danny for not just believing in me when I was at my lowest but for encouraging me and backing me to take this leap of faith to share my vision of the future of talent management.”
BINKY FELSTEAD said: In recent years I’ve wanted to create an investment portfolio, investing into start up businesses that I’m passionate about and truly believe in. I was given an incredible opportunity by Made In Chelsea all those years ago, which was the start of my career in Entertainment but I’m fully aware that every celebrity has a limited timeframe before the next batch of young hopefuls come through, so I’ve made it a real ambition to create longevity for me and my family by investing in some brilliant companies such as NoLo (a new coffee company launching this year) and setting a few up on my own, such the Mama Being Fit app.
I regard Max as one of the best agents in the UK. I have no doubt that it is his character, values and determination that has enabled him to become an established industry leader, in recent years.
He seems to know everyone and make anything possible. Max is a dear friend of mine and when the opportunity arose to invest into him & Matchstick Group, there wasn’t a second thought in my mind that he had to manage me and that I absolutely wanted to be an investor in his business. I knew with Max behind it, Matchstick Group would be a success but I wouldn’t of believed the growth the agency has had prior to the launch. I’m so proud to be a part of this journey and with the agency launching today with 26 clients sets the tone of our ambition to be the biggest and best agency in the UK
DANNY JONES said: I loved the idea of having ownership in a management company and investing into Max was a no-brainer. I’ve made a number of investments over the years and when Max told me what he wanted to achieve with Matchstick Group, it felt really special and totally goes against the grain of typical Management. I’m a huge believer in individuality and when we created the company ethos it was really important to myself and Max that we put a real emphasis on diversity, individuality but most importantly champion all people associated with Matchstick Group, we want to pride ourselves on elevating talent and staff. No two people are the same and we really want to showcase this at the agency.
Although I’m not involved in the business operations, I’m super proud of what Matchstick Group has achieved in such a short timeframe, it’s usually a struggle for any company launching, let alone in a pandemic and with the belief of talent we have managed to create something really exciting that will absolutely get people talking!