Following an extended period of closure due to the Covid pandemic, staff at Darlington Hippodrome are gearing up to re-open the doors in May.
It is hard to believe that it’s been over a year since Darlington Hippodrome released a major season brochure. Like everyone else the venue was looking at 2020 with a great sense of anticipation for what promised to be one of their strongest line-up of events for some time. That sense of anticipation was turned on its head with the announcement that all theatres in the country were to close.
Over the last twelve months Darlington Hippodrome has done a tremendous amount of work to keep the theatre viable through the pandemic and to ensure the venue’s future success. Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund have supported the Hippodrome with grants totalling almost £1.5 million allowing the theatre to navigate what has been one of the most difficult periods in the venue’s 114 year history.
But now the theatre has launched a brand new season brochure and the staff are working tirelessly towards a grand re-opening on Monday 17 May.
Along with a full schedule of classic cinema screenings, West-End screenings, theatre tours, fitness and dance sessions and heritage workshops, Darlington Hippodrome’s stage will once again host live theatre with a fabulous mix of block-buster musicals, stand-up comedy, tribute acts and household names.
The return of live theatre will be marked by a Come Back Home concert presented by Darlington Operatic Society who seem to be making a habit of re-opening the venue after periods of closure. This will be followed by a diverse programme including comedians Carl Hutchinson, Jason Manford and Chris Ramsey, family shows including the Horrible Histories team with Barmy Britain, In The Night Garden, Dragons and Mythical Beasts and Milkshake Live and one-night-only tributes to the music of The Temptations, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, The Rat Pack, Queen and Tina Turner.
You can spend an evening with Sir Michael Parkinson or maybe you’ll choose Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Band? Jason Donovan will tread the boards and the theatre will also play host to Dick and Angel as they take a break from renovating their French Chateau.
Drama lovers will have plenty to choose from including Helen Forrester’s By The Waters of Liverpool, a solve-a-long-a Murder She Wrote and a new stage adaptation of the Gothic chiller The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
Fans of musical theatre will not be disappointed. The smash-hit musical Rock of Ages will raise the roof whilst Craig Revel Horwood’s Strictly Ballroom will set the stage alight. And don’t forget the fabulous, festive, family pantomime which this year is the all-time favourite, Cinderella.
With more and more shows being booked on a daily basis the theatre is slowly returning to a sense of normality.
Heather Tarran-Jones, Programming and Development Director of Darlington Hippodrome said: “We are so excited to launch a new season brochure of this nature. We are all set to welcome audiences back to enjoy the thrill of live theatre or just to pop in to soak up the atmosphere. Naturally the health and wellbeing of our audiences will be uppermost in our plans, we have introduced special ticket scanners and a brand new app so people can order food and drinks from the comfort of their seats in the auditorium. I would encourage everyone to ‘come back home’ by purchasing tickets for the fabulous selection of shows we have on offer at Darlington Hippodrome.”
For full details of all the shows on offer or to book, visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01325 405405
Tickets on sale today! Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s autumn season programme – marking 50 years of the theatre on Centenary Square
Artistic Director, Sean Foley has announced his programme for the 50th anniversary season of Birmingham Repertory Theatre in its current home on Centenary Square with tickets on sale now at birmingham-rep.co.uk.
Opening the celebratory season, the smash-hit comedy-drama East Is East (3-25 Sep) returns home for its 25th anniversary Since premiering on The REP’s stage in 1996, East Is East has sold out three London runs, been adapted into a BAFTA Award-winning film and become a modern classic of comic-drama. Rediscover this joyous play where it all began.
This hilarious comedy follows George Khan as he strives to raise his family the proper Pakistani way but hasn’t counted on the distractions of 1970’s Salford. Abdul and Tariq aren’t ready to be married off, Saleem is pushing artistic boundaries, Meenah’s skirt is too short and Sajit just wants to hide in his parka. Can mum Ella keep the family together?
What’s New Pussycat? (8 Oct-14 Nov) is a brand-new musical that invites you to experience the Swinging Sixties of London, as the thrilling iconic hit songs of the internationally celebrated singer Tom Jones are married with Henry Fielding’s classic comic novel – The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. Written by the Tony Award winning Joe DiPietro (Memphis The Musical), the show has the full backing of Sir Tom himself who has been consulting with the producers throughout the development.
This joyous, romantic and highly entertaining new musical includes Tom Jones’ greatest hit songs: Green, Green Grass of Home, It’s Not Unusual, Leave Your Hat On, Delilah, Mama Told Me Not To Come, Sex Bomb and, of course, What’s New Pussycat?.
The show will be directed by Luke Sheppard, whose most recent production – the acclaimed & Juliet – has taken the West End by storm and won 3 Olivier Awards and 6 Whatstonstage Awards. He will be joined by a top-class creative team, including the legendary choreographer and former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Arlene Philips CBE.
The REP’s Artistic Director Sean Foley will be bringing sunshine to Birmingham this Christmas as he directs his hit play, The Play What I Wrote (27 Nov-1 Jan). When the production opened in London’s West End, originally directed by Kenneth Branagh, every single review was a rave, every show a sell-out and it won every major theatre award.
‘Hamish’ has written a play, an epic set in the French Revolution called ‘A Tight Squeeze for the Scarlet Pimple’. ‘Sean’, on the other hand, wants to continue with their double act. He believes that if they perform a tribute to Morecambe and Wise, Hamish’s confidence will be restored and the double act will go on. But first Sean needs to persuade a guest star to appear in the play what Hamish wrote…
Every performance also famously features a special guest star. Previous mystery guest stars have included Ralph Fiennes, Ewan McGregor, Joanna Lumley, Daniel Radcliffe, Kylie Minogue, Nigel Havers, Jerry Hall, Sir Ian McKellen, Dawn French and Sting.
Floella Benjamin’s book about her own experiences coming to the UK, Coming to England (19 Feb-6 Mar) bursts onto the stage with music, storytelling, humour and pathos in a world premiere production.
10-year-old Floella is strong and brave. When her parents leave Trinidad for England her young life is turned upside down when she’s placed with a cruel foster ‘auntie’. Eventually sailing to join her parents, Floella’s excitement for her new life in England is short-lived, with the family subjected to racism and intolerance in 1960s’ London. Guided by her inspirational mother, and working twice as hard as her classmates, young Floella strives to overcome adversity and learns to love and accept herself.
Adapted by David Wood, ‘the national children’s dramatist’ (The Times), this thoughtful stage version of Floella’s inspirational true story follows her difficult and courageous journey towards becoming a TV icon, successful businesswoman and eventually Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham.
Tickets are on sale now at birmingham-rep.co.uk.
Artistic Director, Sean Foley said: “I’m thrilled to be able to announce what has become, in effect, my first season of work at this iconic and beloved theatre. All theatres have undergone tremendous challenges over the past year, and very many tough decisions have had to be made to get us to this point. We are tremendously excited by the shows and proud of the amazing array of creative talent from our freelance community that will be at The REP for this very special 50th Anniversary Season of the company on Centenary Square. The programme is testament to the whole company’s determination and desire to share the amazing event of live theatre with our audiences again, and we can’t wait to welcome everyone back – back to entertainment, to debate, to laughter, and to the sheer joy of experiencing the excitement that being part of a great night out brings.”
Fourth Wall Live is delighted to announce a trio of one-night-only solo concerts to be performed at the Cadogan Hall by three of musical theatre’s biggest stars. The award-winning Jenna Russell, Shoshana Bean and Jessica Vosk will each headline their own solo concert event, delighting audiences with their renowned talent and varied repertoire. Tickets go on sale on Friday 30 April at 10.00am. www.fw-live.com
Concert dates and times are as follows:
Jenna Russell with Musical Direction by Nigel Lilley – Sunday 7th November 2021- 6:30pm
Shoshana Bean “Sing Your Hallelujah” – Saturday 4th December 2021 – 7.30pm
Jessica Vosk – Sunday 27th February 2022 – 6.30pm
Jenna Russell is an Olivier-Award-winning and Tony-Award-nominated actress. Her recent theatre credits include ‘Piaf’ in “Piaf” at the Nottingham Playhouse and Leeds Playhouse and “Celebrating Sondheim” at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Jenna’s other notable theatrical performances include ‘Sarah Brown’ in “Guys and Dolls” at the Piccadilly Theatre, ‘Dot’ in “Sunday In The Park With George” at the Wyndham’s Theatre and ‘Helen’ in “Fun Home” at the Young Vic. Her television appearances include the BBC’s “Born and Bred”, “Call the Midwife”, “Death in Paradise” and “EastEnders” and ITV’s “Midsomer Murders” and “Home To Roost” as well as being the performer of the theme tune to the sit-com “Red Dwarf”.
Shoshana Bean’s three solo albums have all topped the iTunes R&B and Blues charts in the US and UK, with her fourth and most recent project, “Spectrum” debuting at number one on the Billboard Jazz charts. She has sold out solo concerts around the globe and performed alongside the likes of Ariana Grande, David Foster, Postmodern Jukebox, Brian McKnight and Michael Jackson. She is a veteran of the Broadway stage and is perhaps best known for her portrayal of ‘Elphaba’ in the Broadway production of “Wicked”. Other prominent performances include ‘Shelley’ in the Tony-Award-winning production of “Hairspray” and ‘Jenna’ in the Broadway production of “Waitress. She won a IRNE Award for her performance as “Fanny Brice” in Funny Girl and earned a Jeff Award nomination for her portrayal of “CeeCee Bloom” in the pre-Broadway musical production of Beaches. This solo show, “Sing Your Hallelujah” is produced by For The Record Live and presented by Fourth Wall Live. David Cook serves as Music Director.
Jessica Vosk made her Broadway debut in the 2014 production of “The Bridges of Madison County” before going on to appear in the original Broadway cast of “Finding Neverland”. Her other notable credits include playing ‘Elphaba’ in the Broadway and United States touring productions of “Wicked” as well as playing ‘Fruma Sarah’ in the 2015 Broadway revival of “Fiddler on the Roof”. In 2018 Jessica released her widely acclaimed debut album titled “Wild and Free” with a follow up EP released in December 2020.
Fourth Wall Live is an exciting new collaboration between boutique concert producer Club 11 London and theatrical producers DLAP Entertainment. Having previously successfully produced Chita Rivera at Cadogan Hall together, the teams have now combined to bring audiences a plethora of international artists in concert at leading venues. Their most recent production, EUROBEAT – THE PRIDE OF EUROPE, begins streaming via stream.theatre from Friday 30 April 2021.
Incredible cast announced for the premiere of The Global Playground by Theatre-Rites Manchester International Festival 2021 Friday 2nd July – Sunday 18th July 2021
Casting has been announced for the return to the stage of Theatre-Rites, the highly acclaimed children’s theatre company who celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. Amplifying diverse voices from a team of international collaborators, The Global Playground will premiere at the Manchester International Festival and online this July.
The cast is comprised of acclaimed dancers Jahmarley Bachelor (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, ZooNation; Mariposa: A Transgender Tragedy, Denada Dance), Annie Edwards (A Kate Prince Company; ZooNation), Kennedy Junior Muntanga (Phoenix Dance Theatre; Chotto Xenos, Akram Khan Company) and Charmene Pang (Iceland Dance Company; Isadora Now: A Triple Bill, The Barbican). They are joined by puppeteer and actor Sean Garratt (A Christmas Carol, National Theatre of Scotland; The Table, Blind Summit Theatre) and renowned percussionist Merlin Jones (Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Opera North).
The Global Playground follows a group of dancers who meet to make a film with their nervous and chaotic director but things get wonderfully weird when the camera takes on a life of its own. Mixing dance, music, theatre and puppetry, The Global Playground examines how a camera’s gaze often reveals more than we bargained for. It will be presented both in person and online – digital viewers will gain a unique insight as the camera itself becomes a character on stage.
Throughout lockdown, human relationships have both grown and become more disjointed through digital connections. We can now connect with anyone in person and on screen – but is the camera our friend, our playmate, or something else entirely? The Global Playground explores the magic of our first encounters and is perfect for children and families. Audiences are invited to celebrate who we are and who we cherish, reflecting on a society where our digital and real selves coexist in discord or cohesion.
Following the sell-out success of The Welcoming Party at Manchester International Festival 2017, The Global Playground will be directed by Theatre-Rites’ Artistic Director, Sue Buckmaster (The Welcoming Party; Chotto Desh, Akram Khan Company) with choreography from acclaimed South African dancer Gregory Maqoma (Vuyani Dance Theatre). Designing the production is renowned scenographer and artist Ingrid Hu (A Slightly Annoying Elephant, Little Angel Theatre; Curiouser, Flexer & Sandiland with dybwikdanss, UK and Norway tour).
Composer Ayanna Witter-Johnson (London Symphony Orchestra; The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company) will be joined by sound designer Nick Sagar (Palace of Light, Noor Festival; Horrible Histories ‘Tudors & Egyptians’, UK tour) to bring the musical elements of this exciting production to life. Completing the production team are renowned lighting designer Guy Hoare(Sea Wall/A Life, Broadway; Chotto Xenos, Akram Khan Company) and Martin Riley (The Great Staycation – Dot’s Farm, BBC One; Emmeline Pankhurst: The Making of a Militant, BBC One) who will manage the digital film and production. The Global Playground is co-produced with Manchester International Festival.
Director Sue Buckmaster comments, As Theatre-Rites turns 25 I have been reflecting on the importance of the connections we have developed with artists and our audiences, how it is our responsibility to nurture and empower both. As a company we have always been driven by the child’s needs and we know that young people’s futures will be a fluid experience of online and real adventures. The Global Playground, with its exceptional cast, is our gift to our audience of young people and to their carers; a chance to reflect on how they can be fully present, wherever they are and however they are connecting. A truly fitting way to celebrate our exciting return to Manchester International Festival and to live theatre.
To mark their 25th anniversary, Theatre-Rites will be publishing a book celebrating the company and the incredible artists they have worked with. The book will also tell the fascinating story of Artistic Director Sue Buckmaster, who lives with ME, and her puppeteer father who inspired her work. The book will be published on 29th July and has been co-written with Dr Liam Jarvis,Theatre-Rites board member and lecturer at Essex University.
Previous praise for Theatre-Rites:
Joyful and clever storytelling for audiences young and old (★★★★ The Stage, Big Up, 2019).
An astonishing piece of theatre… This is vital – in every sense of the word (★★★★★ WhatsOnStage, The Welcoming Party, 2017).
Disney’s Olivier Award-winning stage musical Beauty and the Beast today announces the cast to star in the re-imagined and re-designed new production. Staged by members of the original award-winning creative team, Beauty and the Beast will open a UK & Ireland Tour at The Bristol Hippodrome on Wednesday 25 August 2021 (National Press Night: Wednesday 29 September).
Courtney Stapleton and Emmanuel Kojo will play the iconic lead roles, Belle and her Beast, as spectacular new designs and state-of-the-art technology fuse with the classic story, bringing the beloved tale to new life.
Courtney’s credits include Dear Evan Hansen, Six, Les Misérables and Bat Out of Hell, and Emmanuel is best known for performing in Oklahoma!, Girl from the North Country, Show Boat and The Scottsboro Boys.
Also announced today are Gavin Lee (Mary Poppins, SpongeBob SquarePants, the Broadway Musical, Les Misérables) as Lumiere and Tom Senior (The Pirates of Penzance, Eugenius!) who will be Gaston.
Sam Bailey (The X-Factor winner 2013, Blood Brothers) will play the legendary role of Mrs Potts, with Nigel Richards (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Cogsworth.
Martin Ball (Les Misérables, Wicked, Top Hat) will take the role of Maurice, Samantha Bingley (Martha In The Secret Garden) will be Wardrobe, Emma Caffrey (Curtains, 42nd Street, Funny Girl) will be Babette and Louis Stockil (Miss Saigon, Mamma Mia!) will play Le Fou.
The full company is completed with Jake Bishop, Pamela Blair, Liam Buckland, Jasmine Davis, Autumn Draper, Daisy Edwards, Alyn Hawke, George Hinson, Jennifer Louise Jones, Brontë Lavine, ThomasLee Kidd, David McIntosh, Aimee Moore, Sam Murphy, Ashley-Jordon Packer, Emily Squibb, Grace Swaby, India Thornton and Rhys West.
Performances will begin in Bristol on Wednesday 25 August, with other engagements also confirmed for Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Dublin with more venues to be announced in due course. All tour dates and information at www.beautyandthebeastmusical.co.uk
Spectacularly reimagined in startling new designs which will use the latest theatrical innovations, this timeless romantic tale will be brought to life on stage like never before, with all the charm and elegance audiences expect from Belle and her Beast. Among the many new features of this 2021 Beauty and the Beast is an exuberant tap dance within the legendary production number Be Our Guest, created expressly for Gavin Lee, recognised as one of the great tappers on either side of the Atlantic.
Olivier Award nominee Matt West will direct and choreograph this new production, leading a team that includes composer Alan Menken, lyricist Tim Rice, bookwriter Linda Woolverton, scenic designer Stan Meyer, costume designer Ann Hould-Ward and lighting designer Natasha Katz. The team collectively received five Tony® nominations and a win for Hould-Ward’s costume design, when Disney first debuted Beauty and the Beast on Broadway 26 years ago.
Matt West said: “I am so excited today to announce Courtney, Emmanuel and the whole company who will bring our new production of Beauty to life later this year. We have a vibrant and exciting cast, and I look forward to working with them and our original creative team to reimagine the show for today.”
The structure and tone of the story and score – as conceived for the 1991 film by its executive producer and lyricist Howard Ashman with a continued evolution for the Broadway adaptation three years later – made Disney history. Only once before – in Menken and Ashman’s previous film musical The Little Mermaid – had a Disney film been structured like a stage musical where the songs are integral to plot and characterisation rather than only ornamental or digressions. This Menken/Ashman innovation is credited with the 1990’s Disney animation renaissance that went on to create such film classics as Aladdin, The Lion King and Hunchback of Notre Dame and helped re-introduce the book musical form to popular culture.
This new Beauty, while retaining the lush period sound of the Oscar-winning and Tony®-nominated score – which brought classics including Be Our Guest and Beauty and the Beast, as well as Change in Me, added to the musical production in 1998 and retained thereafter – will be heard afresh with new dance arrangements by David Chase, allowing original choreographer Matt Westto re-visit his work. Longtime Menken collaborators Michael Kosarin and Danny Troob are musical supervisor/vocal arranger and orchestrator, respectively.
Completing the design team, Tony®-winner John Shivers is sound designer, Darryl Maloney is the video and projections designer, and David H. Lawrence is hair designer. Jim Steinmeyer is the illusions designer, as he was on the original 1994 production. Casting for the production is by Pippa Ailion Casting.
The original West End production of Beauty and the Beast opened at the Dominion Theatre in April 1997, playing over 1100 performances to more than two million people. It won the 1998 Olivier Award for Best Musical and enjoyed a hugely successful UK & Ireland tour in 2001. Based on the 1991 film – the first animated feature ever nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture – Beauty and the Beast opened on Broadway in April 1994 and garnered nine Tony nominations and one win. It played for more than 13 years on Broadway, closing in 2007. It remains to this day – 26 years after it opened – among the top 10 longest running shows in Broadway history. The live-action retelling of the animated classic quickly became the highest grossing live action film musical of all time in 2017, a record only beaten by The Lion King live-action release in 2019.
Beauty and The Beast is produced by Disney Theatrical Productions, under the supervision of Thomas Schumacher.
After a record breaking on-sale in November, the producers of THE SHOW MUST GO ON LIVE! are delighted to announce 18 West End shows and an all-star musical theatre cast coming together for a unique one-off concert in the biggest West End celebration this summer. The show will run for seven performances only from 2 – 6 June 2021 at The Palace Theatre, full details and tickets can be purchased from www.theshowmustgoonlive.com
The concert will be hosted by musical theatre legends, Bonnie Langford (“9 to 5 the Musical”, “42nd Street”) and Trevor Dion Nicholas (“Hamilton”, “Aladdin”).
Bonnie said today, “I am delighted to be hosting this special night where all of these West End musicals will be performing together to raise money for some incredible charities. This is a once in a lifetime show, I am truly honoured to be a part of it and alongside the fabulous Trevor too! I m looking forward to getting dressed up and being in a theatre again, it’s going to be a magical night and a wonderful way to kick off the return of the West End. We can’t wait to see you all there”.
Trevor said today, “This is an opportunity for the entire theatrical community in the West End to stand together and celebrate the return of our beloved industry. Despite the struggles of the last year, we remain united and doing what we do best – creating art that provides people with an escape. We’re still here, we’re still fighting and we are stronger than ever. I cannot wait to welcome everyone back to the stage, where they belong. It’s going to be a thrilling night”.
All shows which appear on the iconic The Show Must Go On! design will be performing alongside Pretty Woman and a West End debut performance from Back To The Future. This will be the first time in history these West End musicals will come together for one night of pure joyous entertainment which celebrates the wealth of talent in London and includes a multi award winning creative team, over 50 performers and an orchestra made up of some of the finest musicians in London.
The producers are thrilled to announce the full line-up and casting for the concert which includes:
Aisha Jawando in a performance from TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL, Marcus Harman in a performance from Dear Evan Hansen, Sharan Phull in a performance from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Collette Guitartand Hana Stewart who will alternate in a performancefrom SIX, Trevor Dion Nicholas in a performance from Hamilton, Dom Simpson and Tom Xander in a performance from The Book of Mormon, Laura Pick in a performance from WICKED, Tilly-Raye Bayer, Imogen Cole, Alyssa D’Souza, Alex Munden and Carly Thoms in a performance from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical, Jordan Luke Gage in a performance from & Juliet, John Owen Jones in a performance from Les Misérables, castmembers in a performance from Disney’s The Lion King, Christine Allado and Alexia Khadime in a performance from The Prince of Egypt, Alice Fearn in a performance from Come From Away, Lucy St Louis and Rhys Whitfield in a performance from The Phantom Of The Opera, Zizi Strallen in a performance from Mary Poppins and Mazz Murray in a performance from MAMMA MIA!
In addition, Olly Dobson in a performance from Back to the Future The Musical and Aimie Atkinson in a performance from Pretty Woman The Musical. There will also be a choir of 16 which is made up of Musical Theatre 2020 graduates.
The concert will also include a brand-new opening number, written by West End musical writing duo Stiles & Drewe called ‘The Show Must Go On!’ which celebrates the theatre industry in these current times.
The multi-award winning creative team includes: Luke Sheppard (“& Juliet”, “In The Heights”) and Anna Fox (“Guess How Much I love You”), who will direct the concert, Stephen Brooker (“Mary Poppins’ and “Les Misérables”) as musical supervisor, set design by Soutra Gilmour (“Cyrano de Bergerac” and “&Juliet”), lighting design by Howard Hudson (“&Juliet”,“9 to 5 The Musical”). Sound design by Adam Fisher. (“The Last Five Years” and associate sound designer on “Miss Saigon”), video design by Fray Studio (Disney’s “Frozen” and “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”) and Stuart Morley as musical director (We Will Rock You” and “Only Fools and Horses”).
THE SHOW MUST GO ON! LIVE AT THE PALACE THEATRE is produced by Chris Marcus & Damien Stanton for the Theatre Support Fund+ with Executive Producers, Jack Maple & Brian Zeilinger-Goode for MZG Theatre Productions.
Capacity at the Palace Theatre has been reduced to comply with COVID-19 Secure guidelines for social distancing plus robust risk mitigation. In addition to hand sanitation, face coverings and track and trace, other measures will include contactless tickets, temperature testing and the deep clean and sanitation of the theatre.
HAMPSTEAD THEATRE ANNOUNCES CAST FOR ALFRED FAGON’S THE DEATH OF A BLACK MAN, DIRECTED BY DAWN WALTON, 28 MAY – 10 JULY 2021
NICKCOLIA KING-N’DA, NATALIE SIMPSON AND TOYIN OMARI-KINCH WILL PERFORM IN THIS NEW PRODUCTION WHICH ORIGINALLY PREMIERED AT HAMPSTEAD THEATRE IN 1975
WITH ITS WITTY AND COMPLEX CHARACTERS, DAWN WALTON DIRECTS THIS RARE REVIVAL FROM THE BLACK BRITISH PLAYWRITING CANON, MAKING HER HAMPSTEAD DIRECTORIAL DEBUT
THE DEATH OF A BLACK MAN WILL RUN FROM 28 MAY UNTIL 10 JULY 2021
Hampstead Theatre is delighted to announce the cast for Alfred Fagon’s darkly compelling, The Death of a Black Man, directed by Dawn Walton, former Artistic Director of Eclipse Theatre Company, from 28 May until 10 July 2021.
Nickcolia King-N’da, Natalie Simpson and Toyin Omari-Kinch will perform in this new production which originally premiered at the theatre in 1975. 46 years on, this rare revival from the Black British playwriting canon, raises many of the same questions we face today surrounding identity, capitalism and sexual politics.
Nickcolia King-N’da will play the role of Shakie. King-N’da will be making his debut at Hampstead Theatre. Recent stage credits include, Venice Preserved (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2019), The Provoked Wife (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2019), Astley’s Astounding Adventures (New Vic Theatre, 2018) and the lead role in Peter Pan (Park Theatre, 2018).
Natalie Simpson will play the role of Jackie. Simpson will be making her debut at Hampstead Theatre. TV roles include Phaedre in Outlander Season 4 (Sony Pictures Television/Left Bank Pictures, 2018) and Sister Simplice in the BBC’s mini-series of Les Misérables (2019). Recent theatre roles include Nne Chukwu in Three Sisters (National Theatre/Fuel, 2020), Thea Tesman in Hedda Tesman (Headlong/Chichester Festival Theatre/The Lowry, 2019), Blodwynn in Boudica (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2017) and Ophelia in Hamlet (Royal Shakespeare Company, 2016).
Toyin Omari-Kinch will play the role of Stumpie. Omari-Kinch will also be making his debut at Hampstead Theatre. Recent stage credits include On the Other Hand, We’re Happy, Daughterhood and Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency (Paines Plough’s 2019 Roundabout Season), War Horse (National Theatre’s 10th Anniversary UK and Ireland tour, 2018-19) and Dunsinane (National Theatre of Scotland/Royal Shakespeare Company, 2015).
The Death of a Black Man will be Dawn Walton’s directorial debut at Hampstead Theatre. Her most recent productions include The Gift (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Red Dust Road (National Theatre of Scotland) and Black Men Walking (Royal Court). She will be joined by designer Simon Kenny, lighting designer Johanna Town, sound designer Richard Hammarton, composer Duramaney Kamara, Movement Director Rachael Nanyonjo, Assistant Director Nkechinyere Nwobani-Akanwo and Voice and Dialect Coach Hazel Holder.
At least I am my own boss. No regrets. I choose what I do. I am lucky.
It’s 1973 and the West Indies have spectacularly beaten England at their own game, in their own backyard.
Shakie, an 18-year old super-savvy wheeler-dealer, is in his element – and not just because of the cricket. Life is good: his furniture business is making serious money and he owns a flat on the King’s Road, the epicentre of everything that’s cool. Moreover, his best friend Stumpie has come up with a plan to crack the booming music industry together – the possibilities are endless so when Shakie’s ex-lover Jackie arrives at the Chelsea flat, the trio toast the future.
The champagne is flowing and ambition is running sky high – but how far will they go, and who will they sacrifice, in their quest to be rich beyond their wildest dreams?
The Death of a Black Man first premiered at Hampstead Theatre in 1975 directed by Roland Rees. This rarely produced play by one of Britain’s leading black voices from the 20th century remains compelling viewing 46 years on. Fagon was one of the first British black writers to have his work produced in the UK and a hugely influential playwright. He arrived in Nottingham from Jamaica, joined the army and was also a boxing champion and a welder, before becoming a very successful actor, poet and playwright. He died at the early age of 49 (1986) and was controversially buried in a pauper’s grave when police claimed they could not identify him. The Alfred Fagon Award is the leading theatre award for black British writers, set up after his sudden death in 1986, which has supported unique voices within the UK theatre industry. Other plays by Alfred Fagon include 11 Josephine House and Lonely Cowboy.
Roxana Silbert, Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of Hampstead Theatre said:
Fagon was one of the leading, black writers of his generation and Hampstead Theatre was very fortunate to have produced The Death of a Black Man during Alfred’s too short lifetime. I can’t wait to welcome this young company to Hampstead Theatre to finally see this powerful play performed.
Dawn Walton, Director of The Death of a Black Man said:
I am very much looking forward to getting back to work and into rehearsals with this talented group of artists. The 1970s was the inception of Black British Theatre and Alfred Fagon was instrumental in this movement, giving voice to Black people’s stories. We can’t wait to explore The Death of a Black Man and introduce Fagon to a 21st century audience.
Hampstead Downstairs will also reopen this summer with the world premiere of Raya, a funny and tender new play by Deborah Bruce from 11 June until 24 July. Directed by Roxana Silbert, Raya will be Silbert’s second production at Hampstead Theatre since joining as its Artistic-Director in 2019, following the critically-acclaimed espionage thriller The Haystack by Al Blyth in 2020.
Both productions will be staged with social distancing in place for the duration of their runs. In the event of the productions being postponed due to UK Government advice, full refunds or credit vouchers will be offered.
FEATURING NEW INTRODUCTION FROM SAMANTHA BOND AND ROBERT LINDSAY
Following the success of the live Q&A in November 2020 which raised over £300,000 for Acting for Others, Lockdown Theatre today announces they will be rescreening For One Knight Only in aid of the Royal Theatrical Fund and partner organisation, the Fleabag Support Fund.Featuring an introduction from the RTF Chairwoman Samantha Bond and RTF President Robert Lindsay, the intimate Q&A stars British acting legends Dame Judi Dench, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Maggie Smith hosted by Sir Kenneth Branagh.
The special evening of intimate conversation sees the acting stars discuss their careers, inspirations, and share tales about their time in the business.
The Q&A will be streamed 21 – 23 May at 7pm, and is available for on demand viewing from 28 – 31 May. Tickets are £25 and can be purchased via www.stream.theatre/season/116
In addition, there will be one, For One Knight Only poster, signed by the cast, auctioned via The Royal Theatrical Fund’s eBay: www.ebay.co.uk/usr/theroyal1853. Auction ends 31 May 2021.
All proceeds will be donated to theatrical charity The Royal Theatrical Fund, providing financial support to all those who work in the entertainment business that are ill, injured, or unable to work in their later years, as well as to help those affected by the pandemic through partner organisation, the Fleabag Support Fund.
Lockdown Theatre is a quarantine initiative set up to present exclusive live table reads with all-star casts, raising money to support the Royal Theatrical Fund. In addition to For One Knight Only,previous events have included Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, NoëI Coward’s Private Lives and Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound, with actors including Sanjeev Bhaskar, Emilia Clarke, Robert Lindsay, Joanna Lumley, Michael Palin, Jennifer Saunders and Emma Thompson, raising over £112,000 for those in need.
Sir Kenneth Branagh is an Oscar and Golden-Globe nominated actor, producer, writer and director. For the Kenneth Branagh Theatre company, founded in 2015, his credits include The Entertainer, Romeo and Juliet, The Painkiller, The Winter’s Tale, All On Her Own and Harlequinade (Garrick Theatre). Further theatre credits include Ivanov (Wyndham’s Theatre), Edmond (National Theatre) and Henry V (Barbican); and for TV his credits include Wallander, Shackleton and Conspiracy. His credits as a film director include adaptations of Shakespeare’s Henry V (Academy Award-nomination for Best Actor and Best Director), Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Love’s Labour’s Lost, As You Like it and Hamlet (Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay). Further film credits as a director include Thor, Cinderella, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Murder on the Orient Express; and film credits as an actor includes as Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, My Week with Marilyn, Dunkirk and Tenet.
Dame Judi Dench is an Oscar and Golden-Globe award-winning British actor. With a career spanning 63 years, her most recent theatre credits include The Winter’s Tale (Garrick Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose Theatre), Filumena (Piccadilly Theatre) and The Seagull (National Theatre). Having made her professional stage debut in 1957 with the Old Vic company, she went on to become a leading Shakespearean performer, eight times Olivier Award-winner, working frequently with the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company in a host of leading roles including Ophelia in Hamlet, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. Her TV credits include Cranford, Angelina Ballerina and As Time Goes By.Her film credits include Notes on a Scandal (Academy Award nomination for Best Actress), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Chocolat (Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Shakespeare in Love (Academy Award Winner for Best Supporting Actress), Mrs Brown (Academy Award nomination for Best Actress) and she played the role of M in the Bond films between 1995 and 2015.
Sir Derek Jacobi is a BAFTA award-winning, and Golden Globe-nominated British actor. He made his 1986 West End debut as Alan Turing in Hugh Whitemore’s Breaking the Code, his other theatre credits include Don Carlos (Sheffield Theatres/Gielgud Theatre), King Lear (Donmar Warehouse/National Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (Garrick Theatre), The Tempest (Old Vic), Cyrano de Bergerac (Barbican – Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Revival), Voyage Round My Father (Donmar Warehouse), Twelfth Night (Wyndham’s Theatre/Apollo Theatre – Oliver Award for Best Actor) and Much Ado About Nothing (Gershwin Theatre – Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play). His film credits include Gladiator, Gosford Park, Last Tango in Halifax, Dead Again and The Tenth Man (Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Special) while his extensive television credits include I, Claudius,Doctor Who, Inside Number 9 and The Crown.
Sir Ian McKellen is a Golden Globe award-winning British actor with a career spanning a wide variety of theatre and screen roles. He spent 2019 travelling across the UK with his one-man show Ian McKellen On Stage (Olivier Award for Special Recognition), other theatre credits include Macbeth (National Theatre), The Seagull (Royal Shakespeare Company), Waiting for Godot (Haymarket Theatre) and King Lear (Chichester Festival Theatre/Duke of York’s). For TV his credits include, as himself in Extras and The Simpsons, Doctor Who, Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny and The Prisoner. His film roles include as Gandalf in Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit, The Golden Compass, Cats, Richard III, Gods and Monsters (Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role), and the X-Men franchise.
Dame Maggie Smith is an Academy Award-winning British actor with an extensive stage, film and television career. Her theatre credits include Hedda Gabler (National Theatre), The Way of the World (Haymarket Theatre), Three Tall Women (Wyndham’s Theatre), Lettice and Lovage (Globe Theatre/Ethel Barrymore Theatre – Tony Award for Lead Actress) and A German Life (Bridge Theatre). Her TV credits include as Countess Violet Crawley in Downton Abbey; and for film her credits include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (Academy Award for Best Actress), California Suite (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Tea With Mussolini (BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actress), Othello (Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress), Travels with my Aunt (Academy Award nomination for Best Actress), A Room with a View (Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress) and Gosford Park (Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress),andshe played Professor McGonagall in the Harry Potter film series between 2001 to 2011.
London, April 29th: The Really Useful Group is thrilled to announce the full cast for the forthcoming, World Premiere production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella, featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, book by Academy Award winning Emerald Fennell (Best Original Screenplay Oscar at last Sunday’s ceremony) and lyrics from David Zippel . The brand new musical will open at the Gillian Lynne Theatre on Wednesday 14 July 2021, with previews from Friday 25 June 2021.
Joining the previously announced cast will be Rebecca Trehearn, who will play The Queen, Georgina Castle and Laura Baldwin, as Cinderella’s stepsisters Marie and Adele and Gloria Onitiri, who will play The Godmother.
They join Carrie Hope Fletcher, as title character Cinderella in the highly anticipated new production, as well as Ivano Turco as Prince Sebastian and Victoria Hamilton-Barritt playing The Stepmother.
The production is a complete reinvention of the classic fairytale, written by and based on an original idea from Emerald Fennell, the Oscar winning writer of the recently released, critically acclaimed film Promising Young Woman, and scriptwriter/Executive Producer of the of international smash hit Killing Eve. As an actress she is known to millions as Patsy in the BBC’s Call The Midwife and as Camilla Parker Bowles in the Netflix hit The Crown.
Cinderella has a brand new score from Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by David Zippel, a multi-award winner for Broadway productions including City of Angels, The Goodbye Girl, The Woman in White and Liza at the Palace, as well as for work on film including Disney’s Hercules and Mulan, both of which received Oscar nominations.
The full company also includes Michael Afemaré, Lydia Bannister, Michelle Bishop, William Bozier, Lauren Byrne, Sophie Camble, Tobias Charles, Vinny Coyle, Nicole Deon, Jonathan David Dudley, Dominic Adam Griffin, Michael Hamway, James Lee Harris, Leah Harris, Kate Ivory Jordan, Kelsie-Rae Marshall, Georgina Onuorah (who will play the role of Cinderella at certain performances), Andy Rees, Alexandra Waite Roberts, Sam Robinson, Giovanni Spano, Lauren Stroud, Georgia Tapp and Matthieu Vinetot.
The production reunites legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber with director Laurence Connor and choreographer JoAnn M Hunter, who previously worked on the Olivier Award winning international hit School of Rock and the recent, sold out production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at The London Palladium, which returns to the venue this Summer.
The creative team also includes Designer, Gabriela Tylesova (Sweeney Todd, Love Never Dies), Sound Designer, Gareth Owen (& Juliet, Come From Away), Lighting Designer, Bruno Poet (Tina: The Musical, Billie Eilish at Steve Jobs Theatre) and Co-Musical Supervisor, John Rigby (The King and I, The Phantom of the Opera).
Ahead of Cinderella’s arrival at the Gillian Lynne Theatre, LW Theatres has carried out internal upgrade work to the building including the addition of more toilets and refurbishment to areas of the auditorium and Front of House, as well as adopting measures to welcome back audiences safely.
FULL CAST ANNOUNCED FOR BRAND-NEW ONLINE COMEDY THE THREE MUSKETEERS
Arden and Moore today announce the full cast for The Three Musketeers – attempted by FoolHardy written by Sydney Stevenson and directed by Joseph O’Malley. Joining the previously announced Robert Lindsay (Narrator) are Dianne Pilkington (Sarah Noble), David Bedella (Josh Hemingway), Matthew Curnier (Greg Matthews), Antony Eden (David Du Lesley), Sarah Kameela Impey (Jamie Aston) and Lydea Perkins (Maisie Stephens). The production runs online 15 – 20 June.
The classic tale of The Three Musketeers is brought to you by the inconceivable, unimaginable and fantastical FoolHardy Theatre… a company with questionable theatrical training, no experience and no taste. What could possibly go wrong?
Audio and animation are brought together in this swashbuckling adventure. Expect sword fights, deception and a right royal romance as audiences are taken back to the regal splendour of 17th century France in this exciting, madcap comedy.
The Three Musketeers is partnering with venues, who will sell tickets across the UK, to help support them financially through these difficult times. Partner venues include: Theatre Royal Winchester; Epsom Playhouse; Lighthouse, Poole; Concordia Theatre, Hinckley; Mull Theatre; The Forum Theatre, Northallerton; The Savoy Theatre, Monmouth; The Beggar’s Theatre, Millom; Blue Orange Theatre, Birmingham; Hertford Theatre; The Quarry Theatre, Bedford; Stamford Arts Centre; The Holroyd, Shropshire; The Lighthouse Theatre, Kettering; Helmsley Arts Centre, York; and, Waterside, Manchester.
The additional creative team includes composer and sound designer Richard Wetherall and animator Barbara Owczarek.
Robert Lindsay plays Narrator. His theatre credits include In Praise of Love (Theatre Royal Bath), Prism (Hampstead Theatre/UK tour), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Richard III (Savoy Theatre), The Lion in Winter, Cyrano De Bergerac (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Onassis (Derby Playhouse/Novello Theatre), Aristo (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Entertainer (The Old Vic), Power (National Theatre), Oliver! (London Palladium), Becket (Theatre Royal Haymarket – winner of Variety Club Best Theatre Actor, Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor), Me and My Girl (Adelphi Theatre – winner of Olivier Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical, winner of Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical), Philoctetes (Royal Exchange Theatre – winner of Manchester Evening News Theatre Award for Best Actor), Beaux Strategem, Leaping Ginger (Royal Exchange Theatre), and Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ (The Old Vic). His television credits include Bounty Hunters, Galavant, Atlantis, Spy, My Family – BAFTA Nomination for Best Comedy Performance, Oliver Twist, Jake’s Progress – BAFTA Nomination for Best Actor, Nightingales, G.B.H. – BAFTA Award for Best Actor and RTS Award Winner for Best Actor, Confessional, Give Us a Break and Get Some In!; and for film, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Grace of Monaco, Wimbledon, Divorcing Jack, Remember Me?, Fierce Creatures, Strike It Rich, Bert Rigby You’re A Fool, Adventures of a Taxi Driver, Three for All and That’ll Be the Day.
Dianne Pilkington plays Sarah Noble. Her theatre credits include Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre), Whisper House (The Other Palace), Mamma Mia! (Novello Theatre), Master Class (Vaudeville Theatre), She Loves Me (Chichester Festival Theatre), The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre), Wicked (Apollo Victoria Theatre), Cats, Beauty and the Beast (UK tour), The Far Pavilions (Shaftesbury Theatre), Tonight’s the Night, Taboo, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Victoria Palace), The Beautiful Game (Cambridge Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Bridewell Theatre), Tess of the d’Urbervilles (Savoy Theatre) and Les Misérables (Palace Theatre). Her film credits include Les Misérables.
David Bedella plays Josh Hemingway. His theatre credits include &Juliet (Shaftesbury Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor), Nell Gwynn (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Twickenham Theatre), In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre – Best Supporting Actor Olivier Award), Torch Song Trilogy, Road Show (Menier Chocolate Factory), Jerry Springer The Opera (Cambridge – Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical), The Producers (UK tour) and The Rocky Horror Show (Playhouse Theatre). His television credits include Deep State, By Any Means, Blessed, and as series regular Carlos Fashola in Holby City. His film credits include Batman Begins and Alexander.
Matthew Curnier plays Greg Matthews. His theatre credits include Betrayal (Derby Theatre), Cat in the Hat, Old MacDonald, Carrie’s War, Sweet Revenge, Amy’s View, Out of Order, Personals (UK tours), My Brother’s Country (The Lowry), Death at Dawn (Linskill Theatre), Lovers’ Vow (Chawton House/UK tour), I Found Her in a Beth of Blood (Theatre503), Follies (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Rent (Electric Theatre), Treats (Soho Theatre) and Undiscovered Country (Charing Cross Theatre).
Antony Eden plays David Du Lesley. His theatre credits include Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Palace Theatre), A Brief history of Women (Stephen Joseph Theatre/59E59, New York), Ten Times Table (The Mill at Sonning), A Passionate Woman (Cheltenham Everyman theatre/UK tour), Taking Steps (Stephen Joseph Theatre), Relatively Speaking (Theatre Royal Bath/UK tour), The Woman in Black (Fortune Theatre/UK and international tour), Three Kings (St James Theatre), Bedroom Farce (Oldham Coliseum/Harrogate Theatre Royal), Yes, Prime Minister (international tour), Springs Eternal (Orange Tree Theatre), Carrie’s War (Novel Theatre), Cider With Rosie, The Merchant of Venice (Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds), A Voyage Round My Father (New Vic Theatre), Hangover Square (Finborough Theatre), Something Wicked This Way Comes (National Theatre of Scotland), and The Glass Menagerie, Trumpets and Raspberries and Vanity Fair (Royal Lyceum Theatre).
Sarah KameelaImpey plays Jamie Aston. Her theatre credits include Much Ado About Nothing (Northern Broadsides), 306: Dusk (National Theatre Scotland/Perth Theatre), Pinocchio (National Theatre), First Encounters, The Curiosity, Arabian Nights (UK tour), Women of Hope (Richmix Theatre), World Enough and Time (Park Theatre), Cinderella: A Fairytale (Tobacco Factory Theatres) and Finding Noor (Citizens Theatre); and for film, Halcyon Heights.
Lydea Perkins plays Maisie Stephens. Her theatre credits include Private Lives (The Mill at Sonning), Sense and Sensibility (Theatre by the Lake/York Theatre Royal), Bold Girls, Rails (Theatre by the Lake), The Long Road South (King’s Head Theatre), She Stoops to Conquer, The Hypochondriac (Theatre Royal Bath), Harvey (Birmingham Rep/Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Sound of Silence (Theatre503) and Pal Street Boys (Greenwich Theatre).
Sydney Stevenson is a writer, actor and director. Her writing credits for theatre include Next Door – An Awkward Love Story (Tabard Theatre/Irish Repertory Theatre), Men and Women (The Old Red Lion Theatre – winner of the Voices from Home competition by Broken Silence Theatre), and Bubonic which was long-listed for the Papatango New Writing Prize. As an actor, her theatre credits include The Men from the Ministry (White Bear Theatre), Relatively Speaking (The Mill at Sonning), and Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin (Welywn Garden City); and for television, Resting, Me and Mrs Jones and My Family.
Joseph O’Malley is an actor, director and writer. His directing credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Scoot Theatre) Ben Hur, The 39 Steps, The Hound of the Baskervilles, One Minute (Barn Theatre, Cirencester), A Christmas Carol (Riverside Arts Centre), Ugly Duckling and Other Stories (UK tour), Seeds of Change (Lion and Unicorn), and Significant Other (The Vaults). As an actor his credits include, One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre), The Life of Galileo (RSC), Watership Down (Watermill Theatre), Billy (Union Theatre) and Princess Caraboo (Finborough Theatre).