Casting has been confirmed for Paul Taylor-Mills’ highly celebrated annual festival of new musical theatre, MTFestUK 2021Featuring a truly spectacular company of international stars, with a number of Tony and Olivier Awards to their names, this year’s season is set to be an unmissable event in the 2021 musical theatre calendar.  

The full line up of world class performers includes:  

Tori Allen-MartinLuke Bayer, Jenna Boyd,  Alex CardallJessica CerviChris ChungMatthew CrokeAllie Daniel, Cory EnglishAminita FrancisScott GarnhamTiffany GravesBeth Hinton-LeverAimee HodnettJazz JenkinsNadine-Rose JohnsonReuben JosephEleanor KaneCaroline Kay, Emma KingstonGemma Knight JonesMelanie La BarrieMarie LawrenceSimon LipkinAndrew LippaNathan Lorainey-Dineen, Tim MahendranAko MitchellKyran Mitchell-NantonGrace MouatPhoebe PanaretosBryce PinkhamSharon RoseRobert SaundersCleve SeptemberSharon SextonRobin Simões da SilvaNicola SloaneJodie SteeleScarlett Strallen, Sebastien Torkia and Paul Thornley.* 

The 2021 festival runs from 17-29 May at The Turbine Theatre, London, before embarking on a ‘digital’ UK Tour from the 31 May – 4 July. The full list of venues and touring dates are as follows: 

The Turbine Theatre, Battersea 

(Monday 17 May – Saturday 29 May) 

Norwich Theatre Royal, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry & Birmingham Hippodrome (Monday 31 May – Sunday 6 June) 

Mayflower Theatre, Southampton & the Mercury Theatre, Colchester 

(Monday 7 June – Sunday 13 June) 

Curve Theatre, Leicester & Dundee Repertory Theatre  

(Monday 14 June – Sunday 20 June) 

New Wolsey Theatre & Theatre Clwyd  

(Mon 21 June – Sunday 27 June) 

Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Sheffield Theatres The Lowry, Salford  

(Monday 28 June – Sunday 4 July) 

The Festival sets out to promote quality artistry, showcasing new musicals to UK audiences with a view to elevating them to full production, and giving audiences an insight into the process of creating new work and the art of collaboration. Paul Taylor-Mills launched the inaugural MTFestUK season at The Other Palace in 2019, followed by a 2020 season in February last year, at The Turbine Theatre. 

The 2021 festival line-up includes an exciting and diverse selection of eight new musicals: Far From Heaven#50daysThe Man In the CeilingMillennialsHouseFireCake, Daisy and Tony! (A Tony Blair Rock Opera)

In addition to the highly talented performers, the festival also includes a huge mix of exciting creative talent including: Tasha Taylor-Johnson, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Jack McManus, Drew McOnieCaroline Kay,Matt White, Thabo Stuck, Scott Frankel and Poppy Burton Morgan.


Book by Richard Greenberg 

Music by Scott Frankel 

Lyrics by Michael Korie 

Directed by Matthew White 

Musical Direction by Alex Parker 


Cory English (Guys & Dolls/Young Frankenstein) – Stan/Maurice  

Tiffany Graves (Chicago/We Will Rock You) – Mrs Leacock/Mona Lauder/Doreen  

Aimee Hodnett (White Christmas/Follies) – Connie/Nancy  

Melanie La Barrie (& Juliet/Wicked) – Sybil  

Ako Mitchell (Caroline, Or Change/Guys & Dolls) – Raymond 

Bryce Pinkham (A Gentleman’s Guide To Love & Murder/The Heidi Chronicles) – Frank  

Scarlett Strallen (Singin’ In The Rain/Mary Poppins) – Cathy   

Based on the Focus Features/Vulcan Productions motion picture written & directed by Todd Haynes. 

Cathy Whitaker seems to be the picture-perfect wife and mother in 1957 suburban Connecticut. But roiling beneath the surface, secret longings and forbidden desires cause her world to unravel, with incendiary consequences.  

With a score that is both jazz-inflected and hauntingly lyrical, Far From Heaven is a powerful story of romance, betrayal, and intolerance, as a woman grapples with her identity in a society on the verge of upheaval. 


Created and Written by Thabo Stuck 

Directed by Ajjaz Awad  

Musical Direction by Amiir Salem 


Aminita Francis (Frankenstein – How To Make A Monster) – Digby/Prince of Wales  

Nadine-Rose Johnson (Frankenstein) – Queen Henrietta  

Reuben Joseph (Rapunzel/Midsummer) – King Charles  

Kyran Mitchell-Nanton (Karma) – Pym  

Robert Saunders (Grandpa’s Great Escape Live) – Lillburn/Lucy Haye 

Cleve September (Hamilton/Jesus Chris Superstar) – Manchester  

#50days is a Grime Musical which tells the story of the period when the very foundations of England were shattered. It is December 1641 and King Charles is about to be formally challenged by a handful of MPs and radical commoners, who share the belief that ALL men are born equal. Many in England, now a Protestant country, are enraged by the notion that the French-born Catholic Queen Henrietta and King Charles are ruling over them. One of these critics is John Pym, a Member of Parliament and prominent opponent of Kingship, who issues a challenge to the King’s power. In a world ruled by men, who are the women in this story? What are they fighting for? Through propaganda and shrewd political manoeuvring, the nation is about to be plunged head first into a conflict that pitted neighbour against neighbour and shattered the very core of our constitution. 

#50days creator Thabo Stuck, challenges the notion of how history is discoursed. 

“This is an interpretation of British history told through the eyes of underrepresented Brits today.” 



Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa 

Book by Jules Feiffer 

Directed by Annabel Mutale Reed 

Musical Direction by Richard Beadle 


Matthew Croke (Aladdin/Hair) – Father 

Jazz Jenkins (Live – A Viral Short Film) – Lisi  

Andrew Lippa (The Wild Party) – Older Jimmy  

Sharon Rose (Hamilton/Motown The Musical) – Mother  

12-year old Jimmy Jibbett would rather be a successful cartoonist than be in 7th grade. His father disapproves. His mother is busy. His uncle tries to understand but is too wrapped up trying to write a love song for his next flop musical. Where can Jimmy turn for inspiration and hope? Maybe THE MAN IN THE CEILING can lead him to his true destiny…If only Jimmy would look up! 

A collaboration between Jules Feiffer, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist and celebrated author, and Tony-nominated composer-lyricist Andrew Lippa, The Main In The Ceiling is an uplifting tale about following your creative passion against all odds. 



Music, Book and Lyrics by Elliot Clay 

Directed by Luke Sheppard 

Musical Direction by Katy Richardson 


Luke Bayer (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie/Les Misérables)

Allie Daniel (RENT)

Beth Hinton-Lever (West Side Story/Hadestown)

Nathan Lorainey-Dineen (& Juliet/Motown The Musical)

Tim Mahendran (& Juliet/The Midnight Gang

Grace Mouat (& Juliet/Six)

Jodie Steele (Six/Heathers)

MILLENNIALS turns up the microphone on the lives, the losses and the frustrations of young people in the modern world. A generation that is so often defined by tabloid headlines, tweets and of course, avocados, pick up the mic and transport us inside their extraordinarily ordinary lives. Written and composed by Elliot Clay, this powerful and uplifting collection of songs runs the gamut of modern pop-music and sends musical theatre hurtling into the 21st Century. 



Book & Lyrics/Directed by P Burton-Morgan 

Music by Felix Hagan  

Musical Direction by Mark Collins 

An Eco Rock Musical 


Alex Cardall (Evita) – Alan 

Eleanor Kane (High Fidelity/Fun Home) – Ginger  

Robin Simões da Silva (Spring Awakening) – Leo  

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

A trio of endangered animals form a rock band to protest against the climate crisis. Leo, the snow leopard lead singer, rages against the annihilation of their world, Ginger the Orangutan, on keys, has her own tale to tell about the traumas of deforestation, while Alan the elephant is keeping time on the drums. But their newly rebranded group ‘HouseFire’ is under threat from their corporate manager getting them to pander to the very capitalist system they want to destabilize. Entering Britain’s Got Talent is a great way to reach more people with their message, but it puts a strain on their already fractious relationships, and is it all just too little too late… Fierce, frenetic and fun – this gig-theatre musical will set your world on fire. 


Music and Lyrics by Jack McManus & Tasha Taylor-Johnson 

Book and Lyrics by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm 

Directed by Drew McOnie 


Tori Allen-Martin (Rock Of Ages) – Judge/Nicole  

Emma Kingston (Fiddler On The Roof/In The Heights) – Jeanne  

Phoebe Panaretos (Strictly Ballroom/Lazarus) – Marie Antoinette  

Sebastien Torkia (Matilda The Musical/The Wild Party) – The Cardinal   

Cake* combines rap and RnB with 18th century France to retell a story that sparked a revolution. When Marie Antoinette married King Louis, her reputation was already tarnished by gossip. But when she is implicated in a crime to defraud the crown jewellers of a diamond necklace, it is not just her reputation at stake, but the monarchy and France itself. 

Cake was commissioned by Paul Taylor-Mills whilst he was Artistic Director of The Other Palace where it appeared under its former title; Killer Queen. 


Book, Music and Lyrics by Caroline Kay 

Directed by Séimí Campbell   

Musical Direction by Sarah Travis 


Jessica Cervi (The Commitments) – Sister  

Chris Chung (Heathers) – Guy  

Caroline Kay (The Clockmaker’s Daughter) – Daisy  

Sharon Sexton (Bat Out Of Hell) – Woman 

This story explores several forms of loss, challenges the resilience of a family, and celebrates the healing-power of storytelling. After waking from a coma with no memory of life before her accident, a young woman must try to move on knowing little more than her name: Daisy. 

Her enduring passion for writing finds her escaping into the world of stories she creates in her notebook, but this coping mechanism still leaves Daisy feeling as though she can only move forward if she regains memories from her past. She never considers that perhaps some of the memories she’s so desperate to unlock might be even more difficult to accept than her new life without them. What begins as a story of personal struggle soon becomes a family’s shared experience of hardship, loss, and love. 


Book and Lyrics by Harry Hill & Steve Brown 

Music by Steve Brown 

Directed by Peter Rowe 

Musical Direction by Sarah Travis        


Jenna Boyd (Come From Away/Wind In The Willows) – Prescott  

Scott Garnham (Nativity The Musical/Billy Elliot) – Tony  

Gemma Knight Jones (Falsettos/The Lion King) – Princess Di 

Marie Lawrence (Toast/The Understudy) – Cherie  

Simon Lipkin (Nativity The Musical/Guys & Dolls) – Mandy  

Nicola Sloane (Our Town/Love In Idleness) – Mrs Blair  

Paul Thornley (Harry Potter & The Cursed Child) – Kinnock 

A reckless reappraisal of the life of former Bad Rumours front man and Britain’s first pop Prime Minister Tony Blair

The story of how one man went from peace loving, long haired hippy and would-be pop star to warmongering multimillionaire in just a couple of decades. 

An hilarious tragedy of political intrigue, religion, power and romance that plays fast and loose with the facts, owing as much to Citizen Kane as it does to The Marx Brothers – Karl and Groucho. 

Throw in a cast of larger-than-life characters – Cherie Blair, Princess Diana, John Prescott, Peter Mandelson, Alistair Campbell, Osama Bin Laden, George W Bush, Saddam Hussein, Gordon Brown and of course that dodgy dossier.  

All set to rockin’ tunes.  

National Theatre adds the Bridge Theatre’s Julius Caesar to streaming platform

The National Theatre adds the Bridge Theatre’s Julius Caesar to streaming platform

It is now available on the National Theatre at Home platform to stream worldwide, also available with audio-description 

The National Theatre has today announced the Bridge Theatre’s Julius Caesar is the latest filmed production to be added to its streaming service National Theatre at Home.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner (One Man, Two Guvnors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream), the Bridge Theatre’s critically acclaimed 2018 production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar saw the audience surround the action in a dynamic, immersive and contemporary staging. The cast includes Ben Whishaw (Paddington, James Bond), Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones, Gangs of London), David Morrissey (The Missing, The Walking Dead), David Calder (Motherland, Rush) and Adjoa Andoh (Bridgerton, Line of Duty). 

National Theatre at Home now has 19 productions to stream on the platform available at any time, including Angels in America Parts One and Two with Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane and Russell Tovey, Medea with Helen McCrory and Michaela Coel, Mosquitoes with Olivia Colman and Olivia Williams, Phèdre with Helen Mirren and Dominic Cooper, the Young Vic’s Yerma with Billie Piper and Othello with Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear. New productions are added monthly and, in addition to Julius Caesar, one other title is also due to be added later this month.

All productions on National Theatre at Home are available with captions. Julius Caesar will also be available with audio-description to support blind and partially sighted audiences worldwide. Nine other National Theatre at Home titles are currently available with audio-description: Angels in America Parts One and Two, Othello, Donmar Warehouse’s Coriolanus, The Cherry Orchard, Amadeus, Julie, Phèdre and the Young Vic’s Yerma and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  

National Theatre at Home is available now at ntathome.com, with single titles available from £5.99 – £8.99, a monthly subscription for £9.99 or a yearly subscription for £99.99.    

National Theatre at Home is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies.    


Julius Caesar   

Caesar returns in triumph to Rome and the people pour out of their homes to celebrate his victory. Alarmed by his popularity and growing power, a small group plot to bring him down. After his assassination, civil war erupts on the streets of the capital. 

Directed by Nicholas Hytner, this immersive production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar received critical acclaim in 2018.

Ben Whishaw and Michelle Fairley play Brutus and Cassius, leaders of the coup, David Calder plays Caesar and David Morrissey is Mark Antony, who brings Rome back under control after the conspirators’ defeat.

The cast also includes Adjoa Andoh as Casca, Rosie Ede as Marullus/Artemidorus, Leila Farzad as Decius Brutus, Fred Fergus as Lucius/Cinna the Poet, Wendy Kweh as Calpurnia, Mark Penfold as Caius Ligarius, Abraham Popoola as Trebonius, Sid Sagar as Flavius/Popilius Lena, Nick Sampson as Cinna, Hannah Stokely as Metellus Cimber and Kit Young as Octavius as well as ensemble members Zachary Hart and Leaphia Darko. Other roles are played by members of the company.

Designs are by Bunny Christie, with costumes by Christina Cunningham, music by Nick Powell, lighting by Bruno Poet and sound by Paul Arditti.

The audience surrounds the action in this dynamic promenade staging of Julius Caesar.

Filmed by National Theatre Live in 2018, a production from the Bridge Theatre.

Available at least until 11 April 2022.  

Three New Shows On Sale at Birmingham Hippodrome

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Blood Brothers join the line-up
of unmissable entertainment at Birmingham Hippodrome for 2021

Singin’ in the Rain returns in 2022

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Birmingham Hippodrome have announced two new productions for autumn 2021.

Pack up your wigs, heels and all the glitter you can find, because Priscilla is back, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert drives into Birmingham from Mon 30 Aug – Sat 4 Sep. Based on the Oscar-winning movie, Priscilla is the hilarious and heart-warming adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for the Outback to put on the show of a lifetime. Two worlds collide on this fabulous journey of self-discovery and friendship, and along the way our trio discover the true power of love, acceptance, and sass!

With more glitz and glamour than ever before, this show-stopping musical features spectacular dance routines, a dazzling array of eye-popping costumes, and a scintillating, sing-a-long soundtrack full of your favourite dance-floor classics. Including, Hot StuffIt’s Raining MenI Will SurviveGirls Just Wana Have FunFinally and many more.

Seating for this production will be based on a socially-distanced model at this moment in time, subject to change depending on Government guidance closer to the performance date.

One of the country’s most beloved musicals, Blood Brothers will also return to Birmingham from Tue 2 – Sat 13 Nov 2021. Written by Willy Russell, the legendary Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving tale of twins who, separated at birth, grow up on opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with fateful consequences.

Few musicals have received quite such acclaim as the multi-award-winning Blood Brothers. Bill Kenwright’s production surpassed 10,000 performances in London’s West End, one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone.

Looking forward to 2022, Chichester Festival Theatre’s Olivier Award-nominated production of Singin’ in the Rain will bring 14,000 litres of water to the stage at every performance from Mon 6 – Sat 11 June 2022. Jonathan Church’s critically acclaimed production transports audiences back to the glamour of Hollywood during the roaring 20’s. Silent movie star Don Lockwood has it all, a string of hit films and a studio-engineered romance with the most beautiful actress in town. What Don doesn’t know is that the silver screen is about to find its voice, and a chance meeting with a talented young chorus girl set to steal his heart promises to change both Don, and Hollywood, forever.

Andrew Wright’s high-energy choreography and Simon Higlett’s sumptuous set design combine with the charm, romance and wit of one of the world’s best- loved films. Singin’ in the Rain features the glorious MGM score including Good MorningMake ‘em Laugh, Moses Supposes and thelegendary Singin’ in the Rain.

More exciting productions and events for 2021 will be announced soon – to be amongst the first to find out and benefit from priority booking become a Birmingham Hippodrome Friend today at birminghamhippodrome.com/friends.

Tickets for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Blood Brothers and Singin’ in the Rain are now on sale to Birmingham Hippodrome Friends and Patron scheme members. Tickets go on general sale 11am, Tue 13 Apr 2021 at birminghamhippodrome.com.

The Last Five Years to Transfer to the West End







After a critically acclaimed run at Southwark Playhouse last year and a highly successful worldwide stream with stream.theatre, Jason Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical, The Last Five Years, will play a limited season at the Vaudeville Theatre, previewing from 17 September, with an opening night on 23 September and running until 13 October 2021.  Directed by Jonathan O’Boyle, Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson will reprise their roles as Cathy and Jamie.  This will be the first time the musical will have had a significant run of length in the West End.

The production at Southwark Playhouse was nominated for eight Offie Awards and won two for Best Director and Best Musical Production.  Oli Higginson was nominated for a Stage Debut Award for his performance as Jamie.

The Last Five Years is an emotionally powerful and intimate story about two New Yorkers who fall in and out of love over the course of five years.  The musical’s unconventional structure unfolds as Cathy, a struggling actor, tells her story in reverse, from the end of their turbulent relationship, whilst Jamie, a literary prodigy, tells his story chronologically from the spark of their initial meeting. In the musical, the two characters meet only once, at their wedding, which falls in the middle of the show. 

Jonathan O’Boyle’s new actor-musician production has the actors on stage at all times and playing the piano to add a new narrative dimension to the story, accompanied by a four-piece band.  He said of the West End transfer, “I’m delighted that our production of The Last Five Years is transferring into the West End later this year to the gorgeous Vaudeville Theatre. Seeing the production grow, and the brilliant actors go from strength to strength, was a total joy during 2020. The fact that we now get to share it with a wider audience this autumn is tremendously exciting.”

Brown’s cult classic musical was first seen in 2001 and ran off-Broadway in 2002. It was turned into a film in 2014 starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.

Molly Lynch made her professional debut in the West End in ENO’s production of Sweeney Todd starring Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfl.  She then played the role of Chava in Grange Park Opera’s production of Fiddler on the Roof, also starring Bryn Terfl.  She played Betty in the UK Tour of Sunset Boulevard starring Ria Jones and Danny Mac and most recently appeared in The Light in The Piazza starring Renee Fleming at the Royal Festival Hall.

Oli Higginson’s previous theatre credits include The Haystack at Hampstead Theatre, Maggie & Ted at White Bear Theatre, Napoleon Blown Apart at Arcola Theatre and The Assassination of Marcus Garvey at Theatre 503.  Most recently, he has been seen in the Netflix hit series Bridgerton and will next be seen on the small screen in The Pursuit of Love.

The creative team, led by director Jonathan O’Boyle, includes choreographer Sam Spencer-Lane, set and costume designer Lee Newby, lighting designer Jamie Platt and sound designer Adam Fisher.  Musical director is Leo Munby.  Casting is by Jane Deitch.

Producer Katy Lipson said of the production, “I could never have dreamed of having the opportunity to bring this show into London’s West End this year after our off-West End and digital outings last year. It will be our company’s West End musical debut and I am incredibly proud that it is with this production.”

The Last Five Years, written and composed by Jason Robert Brown, was originally produced for the New York stage by Arielle Tepper and Marty Bell and originally produced by Northlight Theatre, Chicago.  It is produced at the Vaudeville Theatre by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group, with Dan Looney, Adam Paulden and Jason Haigh-Ellery for DLAP GROUP.  General Manager and Assistant Producer is Chris Matanlé for Aria Entertainment.  The original Southwark Playhouse production was produced by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Edward Prophet and People Entertainment Group.

Website: last5yearsUK.com

Facebook: @L5YearsUK

Twitter: @L5YearsUK

Instagram: @L5YearsUK



17 September – 13 October 2021

Vaudeville Theatre

404 The Strand

London WC2R 0NH

Performances: Tuesday – Saturday at 8pm, Thursday, Saturday & Sunday at 3pm*

*4pm matinee on Saturday 18 September and 6pm matinee on Sunday 19 September

Running time: 90 minutes

Tickets: from £20

Box Office: 0330 333 4814


Whilst we are delighted to be able to open our doors and welcome audiences to

THE LAST FIVE YEARS, we also acknowledge that many across the industry,

in particular large-scale touring productions, will struggle to return to full operating without a Government-backed theatre insurance scheme.

See It Safely: The Vaudeville Theatre has been granted the use of Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre’s See It Safely mark. The mark certifies that the venue is complying with the latest Government and industry COVID-19 guidelines, to ensure the safety of staff and audiences. You can find out more about the measures in place ready for your visit, and what you will need to know beforehand https://www.nimaxtheatres.com/covid-19-secure/ or https://officiallondontheatre.com/see-it-safely

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh – statement from the Royal Shakespeare Company

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh – statement from the Royal Shakespeare Company

“We are saddened to hear the news of the death of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and our thoughts are with his family, and particularly our Patron, Her Majesty the Queen and our President, HRH The Prince of Wales. The Duke last visited the Royal Shakespeare Company on 4 March 2011 when he accompanied Her Majesty the Queen for the formal opening of the transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre, a memorable day in the history of the Company that we were all so pleased to share with him.  

“In these challenging times, when so many of us are living through difficult circumstances and suffering bereavement, sad news feels particularly acute.  Family to family we share that sadness.”

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, and Catherine Mallyon, RSC Executive Director

Capital Theatres announces the shows which will reopen the Festival Theatre and King’s Theatre to their first audiences in 16 months

Capital Theatres announces the shows which will reopen the Festival Theatre and King’s Theatre to their first audiences in 16 months.

  • Festival Theatre Edinburgh to reopen with The Donmar Warehouse production of Blindness on Tuesday 29 June, tickets now on sale.
  • King’s Theatre Edinburgh to reopen with Original Theatre Company’s A Splinter of Ice on 13 July, tickets now on sale.
Blindness, credit Helen Maybanks

Capital Theatres is delighted to announce the first shows to appear on its stages in more than a year, opening this summer.

Both The Donmar Warehouse’s Blindness and Original Theatre Company’s A Splinter of Ice will play to limited capacity audiences maintaining 2m social distancing.

Capital Theatres has carried out careful and detailed planning to ensure its operations are Covid-secure with the safety of audiences, artists and staff its top priority.

Gary Smith, Director of Marketing and Communications at Capital Theatres said: “We are very excited that after months of nail-biting challenges and waiting we are now on the point of reopening the theatres and welcoming back our audiences. This moment means so much to the whole team here at Capital Theatres and we have been planning meticulously to ensure that we do it as thoughtfully and as safely as possible.

“Of course, instead of 1,900 people in the Festival Theatre auditorium we will have 44 on stage for this performance and challenges will remain firmly in place around sustaining the operation until we can welcome back full auditoriums, nonetheless it is a landmark that we are delighted to make.”

Blindness (Tue 29 June to Sat 3 July) is award-winning playwright Simon Stephens adaptation of Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago’s dystopian novel Blindness created as a sound installation, directed by Walter Meierjohann with immersive binaural sound design by Ben and Max Ringham.
Juliet Stevenson voices the Storyteller/Doctor’s wife in this gripping story of the rise and, ultimately, profoundly hopeful end of an unimaginable global pandemic.

This ticketed installation for a limited number of visitors will run four times a day, with seating arranged 2m apart in accordance with social distancing guidelines on the stage of Festival Theatre. Visitors will listen on headphones as the narrative unfolds around them.

Following a highly productive and successful season of online productions, Original Theatre Company returns to its first live stage production since March 2020.  The UK Tour of Ben Brown’s new political drama, A Splinter of Ice, will run at the King’s Theatre from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 July. Set in Moscow in 1987 novelist Graham Greene travels into the heart of the Soviet Union to meet with his old MI6 boss, Kim Philby. With a new world order breaking out around them, how much did the writer of The Third Man know about Philby’s secret life as a spy and did Philby betray his friend as well as his country?

A Splinter of Ice stars Oliver Ford Davies as Graham Greene and Stephen Boxer as Kim Philby and is directed by Alan Strachan with Alastair Whatley

For tickets, further information and to see what else is happening at Capital Theatres visit www.capitaltheatres.com

DEAD LIES – Cast Announcement


The World Premiere of Hilary Bonner’s psychological thriller Dead Lies will embark on a
national UK tour in Autumn this year. Boasting a star-studded cast headed by Clive Mantle,
Harriet Thorpe and John Lyons, the production will be directed by Joe Harmston and
produced by Red Entertainment.

Expect the unexpected! Bonner leads us into a world of political intrigue, sexual indiscretions, scandal and murder as we delve into the past where skeletons are buried and secrets are revealed. Can anyone be trusted? Is anyone safe? Only time will tell!

Clive Mantle plays Peter George, a charismatic politician with his eye on the keys to Number 10. Mantle is an established favourite with television viewers who know him as Mike Barratt in both Casualty and Holby City. More recently he was seen as Lord Greatjon Umber in Game of Thrones and as Tony Curry in the BBC’s White Van Man. He made a big impact as Simon Horton, the love interest of Geraldine Granger (Dawn French) in The Vicar of Dibley – a partnership which created comedy magic; and as Little John in the cult 80s series, Robin of Sherwood. He is also an Olivier nominated stage actor with acclaimed stage performances including the title role in Jus’ Like That! A Night Out With Tommy Cooper.

Harriet Thorpe plays former top model, Stephanie Jones, who has a rather dark secret to
share … for a price. Although her career has spanned all media including film, television, West End and UK Theatre, Harriet is probably best known to millions as the eccentric Fleur in Absolutely Fabulous. Veteran actor John Lyons, known and loved as DS George Toolan in A Touch of Frost will play the political hack, Alan Parfitt. Lyons was a member of the renowned Theatre Workshop under the direction of Joan Littlewood. He has continued to be an actor in high demand throughout his long and illustrious career. The cast also includes Jacqueline Leonard (Peak Practice, Coronation Street and Doctors), X-Factor’s Ashford Campbell (from West End productions including 9 to 5 and Dreamgirls) and Patrick Pearson (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel).

Red Entertainment, founded by producer Matt Brinkler in 2012, is established as a leading
provider of touring musicals, musical reviews, comedy and family shows. Dead Lies marks
the company’s debut as producers of week-long drama. Brinkler said “We are delighted to
have the opportunity to produce such a brilliantly written play and to have brought together
an incredible cast to work with director Joe Harmston. This production introduces Red to a
whole new audience and we can’t wait! We are immensely proud of our work so far and the
fact that our shows have encouraged audiences to support their local theatre. Dead Lies is anew and exciting journey for us.”

Hilary Bonner is a Best-Selling Crime Novelist. Although she has just celebrated the
publication of her 21st book, Dead Lies is Hilary’s first play and will have you on the edge of
your seat throughout – it is the must-see production of 2021. She said ‘I am thrilled that
Dead Lies is to be staged by one of the most dynamic and progressive production companies in British theatre, unafraid to forge forwards in these troubled times. And to have a director of Joe Harmston’s calibre on board is a wonderful bonus. To tell the truth, I’m more than a little overwhelmed.’

The tour will be a limited season this Autumn with venues announced soon.

Deva Fest Set To Return To Chester This Summer – Headliners Include Sophie Ellis-Bextor


Headline live acts include Sophie Ellis-Bextor,

Scouting For Girls and Symphonic Ibiza

Three-day post-lockdown family friendly music, food and lifestyle festival takes place in August

Organisers of the successful Deva Fest in Chester have announced the three-day event will return for Summer 2021 after lockdown has eased– and have revealed an exciting line-up of headline music acts.

Officially launched in 2019 Cheshire’s Family Friendly Music, Food and Lifestyle Extravaganza, Deva Fest proved hugely popular. Like many 2020 events the second-year festival had to be postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but the organisers promised they would not be beaten, they have stayed true to their word by doubling down and adding even more star names for their 2021 event.

Deva Fest will take place across the weekend of Friday 13 August, Saturday 14 August, and Sunday 15 August 2021, at Chester Lakes in Dodleston, just outside Chester city centre. Tickets are on sale now; they are already selling fast with a limited number of tickets left at the current price levels.

Organisers have already shown their gratitude to Pandemic workers with over £8,000 worth of tickets going out to the NHS and Key Workers.  All tickets are currently being sold with a Covid-19 guarantee with tickets rescheduled or refunded should the event not take place.

Headline music acts announced for 2021 over the three days include pop princess Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Heather Small, indie pop band Scouting For Girls, Dodgy and dance extravaganza Symphonic Ibiza and Sonique plus much much more.

The weekend programme will start on the Friday (13 August) with Old School Dance Anthems Day, headlined by Symphonic Ibiza and top hitmaker Sonique.

Returning to headline after their triumphant performance in 2019, Symphonic Ibiza will once again thrill the crowds with dance classics. DJ Andy Joyce will be joined by a full symphony orchestra conducted by Steve Etherington to ensure that Symphonic Ibiza transports fans back to the White Isle.

90s dance legend Sonique has now also been added to the line-up. The Brit award winning platinum selling singer, musician and DJ ripped up dance floors with hits like I Put a Spell on You, Sky and It Feels so Good. She brings back all the best memories of the 90s and noughties dance scene with some absolute anthems.

Also featuring Dream Frequency, Bingo Bango, Dave Graham and legendary Chester DJs Geddes & Gioia.

Deva Fest Managing Partner Phil Marston commented: “We are determined to remain focused and optimistic and bring back the festival which made such an impact in 2019, and bigger and better than before. People are still talking about just how good Symphonic Ibiza were last year. When I was stood backstage watching the crowd in our Big Top jumping to tunes from the likes of Fatboy Slim and Swedish House Mafia, I knew we had to bring them back for 2020. Many festivalgoers asked for the Old School Dance Anthems Day to move to opening day so they can enjoy a real party atmosphere – so we’ve listened and given them what they really want. We have now made Deva Fest into three full days and nights for the first time and after the year we have had, it’s going to be one big party.

“We will however continue to follow the Government guidance and act in accordance, and we do have a Covid 19 guarantee in place to give confidence in buying tickets for the event.  We are thankful that many people have already booked, so much so that we have very few tickets left at the current price level, so I would suggest people buy now to grab those last remaining lower priced tickets.”

Saturday (14 August) is Pirate Day. The event will feature a whole host of pirate themed activities and entertainment, and the day will be headlined by Sophie Ellis-Bextor along with Heather Small.

The day will feature parades and street performers, with prizes for festivalgoers in the best Jack (or Jackie) Sparrow outfit. Chester’s Winter Watch Parade team will provide the entertainment.

Double platinum selling Sophie Ellis-Bextor will showcase her smash hits including Murder On The Dancefloor, Take Me Home, as well dance favourite If This Ain’t Love with DJ Groovejet.

Having pulled off one coup by securing Sophie the organisers have pulled off another by adding Heather Small to Saturday’s roster. Heather became one of the voices of the 1990s as lead singer of M-People. Tunes like Moving On Up, One Night In Heaven and Search For The Hero became the soundtrack to the decade. Heather has since had great successes with two solo albums and the title track of her ‘Proud’ album has gone on to become an Olympic anthem.

The fun doesn’t stop there, Chester duo Belle Voci also appear along with The Pirate Day Ball with TRIX and The Old Time Sailors.

Izzy Grey, Managing Director of We Love Good Times, headline co-sponsor, said: “We can’t wait for the colour and magic of Pirate Day. The Winter Watch Parade team always come up with something amazing, and then to get Sophie Ellis-Bextor and her band performing is a real coup – it’ll be a fantastic family day.”

Deva Fest will close on the Sunday (15 August) with a headline set from festival band, Scouting For Girls and rock band Dodgy.

Four times Brit award-winning band Scouting For Girls head to Deva Fest fresh from a sell-out UK tour. Their impressive back catalogue includes sing-along anthems She’s So Lovely and This Ain’t A Love Song, as well as new material from their recent Top 40 album, The Trouble With Boys.

Added to the bill for Sunday are Britpop royalty Dodgy with their string of anthemic tunes including Staying Out For The Summer and the massive hit Good Enough – officially one of the most played tracks on British radio in the last 20 years. Gigs and festival appearances have always been a crucial part of the Dodgy experience, and for many they are the perfect festival band.

The music doesn’t stop there with The Dunwells, Zoot Serious & the Bellyful of Bop and Mississippi Riot also performing.

Stephen Wundke, Managing Director of headline co-sponsor Taste Cheshire, who is also involved in organising the event, added: “When we asked festivalgoers in 2019 who they wanted to see play Deva Fest in the future, Scouting for Girls was a band whose name came up time and time again. So we are delighted they have agreed to come along and play this year.”

The Deva Fest attractions will also include a free to use fairground on the festival field. The main stage will once again be in a giant big top ensuring fantastic live performances, whatever the weather.

The free shuttle bus service has been expanded for this year’s event to now include Chester city centre, Chester Railway Station, Hoole, Handbridge, Westminster Park, Ellesmere Port, Wrexham, Gresford and Rossett. A full route is available on the Deva Fest website. Free parking is also available outside the festival gates.

Once again, Deva Fest will offer quality food and drink vendors, who will be hand-picked by Taste Cheshire to ensure locally produced tasty offerings and treats are available.

Tickets are on sale now. Under 5s have free entry. Weekend tickets are £59.50 for adults and £39.50 for children. Day tickets are £27.50 for adults and £18.50 for children.

You can also make a holiday weekend of it with camping, caravan or motorhome weekend tickets also available next to the festival site with toilet and shower facilities, full details are on the website.

Check out this year’s festival trailer https://vimeo.com/534403813

For more information and to book tickets visit www.devafest.co.uk

Website:         www.devafest.co.uk

Facebook:       @DevaFestUK

Twitter:           @devafestuk



DATES:             Friday 13 August – Sunday 15 August 2021

VENUE:           Chester Lakes, Church Road, Chester CH4 9LQ

TIMES:             Midday to 11pm each day.

TICKETS:          For the latest ticket prices visit the Deva Fest website at www.devafest.co.uk

Told by an Idiot’s Charlie & Stan




FROM  14 JULY 2021


David Pugh, the renowned theatre company Told by an Idiot and Theatre Royal Bath Productions present CHARLIE & STAN created by Told by an Idiot, written and directed by Paul Hunter.  It will open in Bath on 14 July and then play the Minack Theatre, Cornwall from 1 August.  Further dates prior to the West End are to be announced.

In 1910, the then unknown Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel set sail on board a tramp steamer from Liverpool to New York as part of Fred Karno’s famous music hall troupe. On the voyage, they shared a cabin, they shared comedy routines, they shared laughter, but, by the end of the journey, they had drifted apart… yet they would both go on to become two of the biggest stars of the age.

Inspired by real life events, Told by an Idiot’s acclaimed production of CHARLIE & STAN is the remarkable story of the greatest comedy double act that nearly was. With an original piano score played live at every performance, CHARLIE & STAN is a hilarious and deeply moving homage to two men who changed the world of comedy forever.

Told by an Idiot have garnered critical acclaim and devoted audiences worldwide for their wonderfully theatrical shows. With CHARLIE & STAN they have uncovered a hidden and poignant chapter of comedy history, shining an unusual light on a pair of show business legends.

Tony and Olivier Award-winning theatre producer David Pugh said that CHARLIE & STANis “one of the most exciting shows I have ever worked on. I’m looking forward to taking it to audiences all over the world, but Bath and Cornwall get to see it ­first.”

CHARLIE & STAN is directed by Paul Hunter and designed by Ioana Curelea, with lighting design by Aideen Malone, video design by Dom Baker, original piano score by Mercury Award nominee Zoe Rahman and song arrangement by Sophie Cotton.  Jos Houben is physical comedy consultant and dance choreography is by Nuna Sandy for ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company.  CHARLIE & STAN is from an idea by Irene Cotton, with additional material from the company.

CHARLIE & STAN is produced by David Pugh (ArtCalendar Girls and The Play What I Wrote), Told by an Idiot and Theatre Royal Bath.


Theatre Royal Bath

Wednesday 14 – Saturday 24 July 2021

Monday – Saturday evenings 7.30pm

Thursday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm

Box Office: 01225 448844

General booking opens on Monday 19 April                                                                                                

The Minack Theatre, Cornwall

Sunday 1 – Thursday 12 August 2021

Mondays & Wednesdays 7.30pm

Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays 3.30pm & 7.30pm

Fridays no performance

Box Office: 01736 810181


General booking opens Monday 12 April

Alexandra Burke to star as The Narrator this summer in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, at the London Palladium




JASON DONOVAN returns to the role of Pharaoh

JAC YARROW to wear the Dreamcoat again, following his

critically acclaimed professional stage debut in the iconic lead role

100% capacity audiences planned following Government’s Road Map

Performances begin Thursday 1 July 2021

Michael Harrison and the Really Useful Group are delighted to announce today that Alexandra Burke will return to the West End this summer in the new production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s legendary musical gets ready for a strictly limited season at the iconic London Palladium.

The production will begin performances on Thursday 1 July (Gala Night: Thursday 15 July) and will be one of the highlights in the return of theatre to the UK cultural landscape.

Alexandra Burke will play The Narrator in the celebrated musical. Her many West End credits include the lead roles in The BodyguardSister Act, Chess and Chicago. Alexandra first rose to fame winning The X-Factor in 2008, and has since gone on to sell over 5 million records.

Jason Donovan will return in the role of Pharaoh. He was originally in the show when he made his defining stage performance as the title character of Joseph in the 1990s, in a sold-out 18-month run which produced a No.1 single and best-selling soundtrack album. Jason raised the roof of the London Palladium in 2019 as Pharaoh, who rocks ‘Song of the King’ in the iconic musical by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Jac Yarrow caused a sensation when he made his professional stage debut playing Joseph, following in the footsteps of a line of stars who have previously played the title character. His portrayal of Joseph won him unanimous acclaim and an Olivier Award nomination, with his rendition of ‘Close Every Door To Me’ regularly stopping the show with standing ovations.

The production will begin live performances on Thursday 1 July, after the proposed “Step Four” in the Government’s roadmap to easing restrictions, and therefore is planning to accommodate full-capacity audiences in accordance with the intended lifting of all limits on social contact.

Michael Harrison said: The legendary song says “Any Dream Will Do”, but my dream for the past 12 months has been to bring our smash hit production of JOSEPH back to its spiritual home, The London Palladium. I’m thrilled that dream will soon become a reality.

There is no better show than JOSEPH to unite audiences and bring joy and happiness to the West End this summer. The London Palladium is a very special theatre and JOSEPH is a very special musical. We have a brilliant cast ready to get back on stage and an army of theatre makers ready to return to the jobs they miss so much. GO! GO! GO! JOSEPH!”

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat enjoyed a completely sold out season in 2019. Audiences and critics were unanimous in their acclaim for the legendary musical – the first major collaboration by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber – as it returned to the London Palladium.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will be directed by Laurence Connor. Laurence’s credits include the acclaimed London production of School of Rock and the Tony-Award nominated production on Broadway, the recent London productions of Miss Saigon and Chess, the international arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar and he is also the Co-Director of the new version of Les Misérables which has enjoyed worldwide success including Broadway, UK and US tours. He is the director of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production of Cinderella, which also opens this July at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.

Laurence will be joined on the creative team by Choreographer JoAnn M Hunter (who has 20 Broadway shows to her credit, including School of Rock and On A Clear Day You Can See Forever), the award-winning Morgan Large who will design the set and costumes, Lighting Designer Ben Cracknell and Sound Designer Gareth Owen.

Released as a concept album in 1969,the stage version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat has become one of the world’s most belovedfamily musicals. The multi-award-winning show, which began life as a small-scale school concert, has been performed hundreds of thousands of times including multiple runs in the West End and on Broadway, international number one tours, and productions in over 80 countries as far afield as Austria and Zimbabwe and from Israel to Peru! The show features songs that have gone on to become pop and musical theatre standards, including Any Dream Will DoClose Every Door To MeJacob and Sons, There’s One More Angel In Heaven and Go Go Go Joseph.

Told entirely through song with the help of the NarratorJoseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat follows the story of Jacob’s favourite son Joseph and his eleven brothers. After being sold into hardship by the brothers, he ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the advances of Potiphar’s wife. While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled showman, the Pharaoh. As Joseph strives to resolve Egypt’s famine, he becomes Pharaoh’s right-hand man and eventually reunites with his family.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is produced by Michael Harrison.

Michael Harrison and the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat continue to call for a government-backed insurance scheme to properly support the re-opening of the theatre industry.

For further information, please see www.josephthemusical.com