Barbican puts Shakespeare on screen next year

As part of their season Play On, the Barbican have announced they will be screening a series of filmed productions of Shakespeare plays in January.

To mark the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death next year, audiences will be given the chance to see highlights from 50 years of the RSC’s filmed productions. Curated by RSC director of screen productions John Wyver, Shakespeare on Screen will feature nine titles from the RSC’s back catalogue.

Trevor Nunn’s 1979 production of Macbeth, which starred Ian McKellen and Judi Dench will be shown alongside Peter Hall’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream from 1959, with Charles Laughton as Bottom. Greg Doran’s 2009 production of Hamlet, which was filmed in an abandoned seminary and released for TV, with David Tennant in the title role, will also be part of the line up.

Alongside this, there will also be Shakespeare on the Silent Screen which will include a screening of Hamlet directed by Sven Gade from 1920, with a new original score composed and performed by Robin Harris and Laura Anstee. A silent version of The Merchant of Venice from 1923 will also be shown.

Elsewhere at the theatre, the Barbican will feature their already announced Shakespeare programme, which includes Forced Entertainment’s playful Complete Works: Table Top Shakespeare where Shakespeare’s 36 plays are created through everyday objects.

Ivo van Hove’s Kings of War will open in April and the RSC brings back its heralded performances of Henry IV Part I and II,Henry V and Richard II from this year.

For more information head to

Globe announces Shakespeare short film series

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, Shakespeare’s Globe have announced The Complete Walk, a series of specially created short films of each of Shakespeare’s plays.

The films, which will run over the weekend of 23 to 24 April 2016, will be shown for free on screens along the banks of the Thames and will extend from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge.

Produced with the Mayor of London and the British Council, as part of its 2016 Shakespeare Lives programme, The Complete Walk will be filmed on location and feature well-known UK actors. The series will be directed by a selection of young filmmakers and will include new material alongside Globe on Screen titles, footage from the BFI’s Silent Shakespeare films and newly created animation.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, commented how delighted he was to support the project, adding, “Four hundred years after his death, Shakespeare is a titanic figure, whose work still resonates with people of all ages and backgrounds. That is an incredible feat and one that will be rightly celebrated across the world next year.”

The anniversary weekend will also mark the return of the award-winning two year world tour of Hamlet, which will play on the Globe stage for four final performances.

Throughout 2016, the project will be presented in cities across the UK and internationally, after which the films will be accessible on Globe Player.

Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe, said: “Shakespeare spent half his life in London, wrote all his plays there, and presented them all beside the Thames…We think it is suitable and fitting that the huge range of his work should be celebrated 400 years after his death in a big free public event, utilising the very latest technology, along a public walkway beside the same dirty old river, so rich with history.”

Kim Cattrall withdraws from Linda

The Royal Court today announced that Kim Cattrall will not be appearing in the theatre’s upcoming production of Linda.

The theatre tweeted a message confirming that Cattrall will withdraw from Linda and will be replaced by Noma Dumezweni.

According to information on the Royal Court website, the actress has pulled out of the show due to medical reasons. It said: “Yesterday evening (Wednesday) on the advice of her doctors Kim Cattrall withdrew from the Royal Court Theatre’s production of Linda.”

Dumezweni has stepped into the role, and will start in rehearsals from Friday. Cattrall made this statement: “With great sadness and at the advice of my doctors, I will not be able to continue with the Royal Court’s production of Linda. I appreciate all the support I have received from the theatre and cannot thank them enough for allowing me to put my health first.”

Dumezweni’s previous credits include Belong at the Royal Court and Carmen Disruption at the Almeida and ”’Tis Pity She’s a Whore at Shakespeare’s Globe. She won an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for her turn in A Raisin in the Sun”.

Royal Court artistic director Vicky Featherstone said: “We are all deeply sorry that Kim is unable to continue with the production and she has our warmest wishes. We are extremely grateful and also thrilled that Noma Dumezweni, one of our most brilliant actors, has agreed to take on this challenge at such short notice.”

Linda is a play by Penelope Skinner about a 55-year-old woman embarking on ambitious plans to save the world. The play runs from 25 November to 9 Jan.

Casting announced for Hand to God at Vaudeville Theatre

htgeditedCasting has been announced for the West End transfer of Hand to God, which opens at the Vaudeville Theatre next year.

The hit Broadway show will star Olivier Award-winning actress Janie Dee and stage and screen actor Harry Melling, who are joined in the cast by Neil Pearson, Jemima Rooper and Kevin Mains. The production will make its UK premiere at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End on 5th February 2016.

‘If Book of Mormon and Avenue Q had a baby, it would be Hand of God.’ This new American comedy play is the story of shy teenager Jason and his sock puppet named Tyrone, who comes to life and shakes a small Texas town to its core with his outrageous but truth-telling personality.

Written by playwright Robert Askins, Hand to God originally premiered Off-Broadway at the Ensemble Studio Theatre in October 2011 and was later produced at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in March 2014. It made its Broadway debut at the Booth Theatre on 7th April 2015 (previews from 14th March) to rave reviews and was subsequently nominated for five Tony Awards, including ‘Best Play’. The Broadway production is due to play its final performance on 3rd January 2016, with actor/comedian Bob Saget joining the cast as Pastor Greg for the last eight weeks of the show’s run.

Hand to God is directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. It also has scenic design by Beowulf Boritt, costume design by Sydney Maresca, lighting design by Jason Lyons, sound design by Jill BC Du Boff, puppet design by Marte Johanne Ekhougan and fight direction by Robert Westley.

Janie Dee was most recently seen in the Open Air Theatre production of The Seagull. She won the Olivier Award for ‘Best Supporting Performance in a Musical’ for her role as Carrie Pipperidge in Carousel (National Theatre), and the Olivier Award for ‘Best Actress’ for her role as Jacie Triplethree in Comic Potential (Stephen Joseph Theatre/ Lyric Theatre/Manhattan Theatre Club). Her other stage credits include Blithe Spirit (Gielgud Theatre), Hello Dolly! (The Curve, Leicester), Noises Off (Old Vic/Novello Theatre), Twelfth Night (Open Air Theatre) and My One and Only (Chichester Festival Theatre/Piccadilly Theatre)

Harry Melling is best known for playing the role of Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter film series. He made his stage debut in the National Theatre’s 2009 revival of Mother Courage and her Children. His other stage credits include Women Beware Women (National Theatre), When Did You Last See My Mother? and The Hothouse (Trafalgar Studios), I Am A Camera(Southwark Playhouse) and The Angry Brigade (National Tour).

Neil Pearson has previously appeared on stage in Noises Off (UK Tour) and Arcadia (Duke of York’s Theatre). His television credits include All the Small Things and Waterloo Road, and his film credits include Fever Pitch and Bridget Jones’ Diary.

Jemima Rooper played Elvira in Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre in 2014 and reprised the role for the US production at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles earlier this year. Her other stage credits include Breeders (St James Theatre), One Man, Two Guvnors (National Theatre), Me and My Girl (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), All My Sons (Apollo Theatre), The Power of Yes and Her Naked Skin (National Theatre). Her television credits include As If, Hex and Lost in Austen. She made her Hollywood film debut in The Black Dahlia.

Kevin Mains’ stage credits include Million Dollar Quartet (Noel Coward Theatre).

Hand to God is produced by Kevin McCollum. The West End production will run at the Vaudeville Theatre from 5th February to 11th June 2016.


Book from See Tickets

Vaudeville Theatre
From 5th February 2016 to 11th June 2016

The Great Yorkshire Fringe returns in 2016!

the-great-yorkshire-fringe280The Great Yorkshire Fringe was such a huge success last year that it’s coming back – and promising to deliver the very best comedians, music and family entertainment from all over the world to the centre of York.

The inaugural 2015 Festival, on a temporary village green in Parliament Street, proved a hit with both residents and visitors to the city, with more than 120,000 people flocking to a festival of entertainment, music, cabaret, magic and theatre.

Building on that success and expanding with a weird, wise and wonderful 10-day festival by an extra week – so there will be 17 days of comedy, variety and family entertainment, again centred on Parliament Street, from Friday 15th to Sunday 31st July, 2016

Festival founder Martin Witts said today: “We’ll be announcing the first acts very shortly and tickets will be going on sale – to be the first to hear, sign up to our online mailing list at We have some of the biggest names in comedy signed up and others that will be new to the region. We promise to deliver a non-stop cavalcade of laughs over the summer.”
The competition judges will include professionals currently working in the comedy industry. Past judges have included comedy critics from the Guardian, Independent, Time Out and Chortle, plus industry agents and promoters.New Comedian of the Year 2016: At the heart of the Festival we’re thrilled to announce the return of The Great Yorkshire Fringe New Comedian of the Year competition. Following in the footsteps of our highly successful, sold out 2015 competition, the search is now on for our 2016 champion. We’re looking for the best up and coming comedians from Yorkshire and beyond to compete in daily heats throughout the Fringe, with a grand final on Sunday 31 July. Last year, Tom Taylor, aged 23 from Harrogate, was crowned the very first Great Yorkshire Fringe New Comedian of the Year. Tom beat 74 other aspiring comedians, who took part over eight daily heats, to win the competition.

The 2016 winner will receive The Golden Pudding Award, £750, and the opportunity to perform at Leicester Square Theatre. Second place prize will be £500 and third place £250.

The competition is open to any non-professional act who’s been performing for five years or less and entries from character acts, musical acts, and sketch groups are welcome. The only restriction is that all contestants must stick to 5 minutes of original material or risk disqualification.

Entries will open on Monday 11 January 2016 and are on a first come first serve basis. Entrants must be available for a heat between Friday 15 and Saturday 30 July 2016 (excluding Mondays 18 & 25), and the final on Sunday 31 July.


ALL OR NOTHING The Mod Musical about The Small Faces

all-or-nothing280ALL OR NOTHING, a Mod Musical about the legendary English band The Small Faces, will play in London at The Vaults Theatre, Waterloo from 31st March to 30th April 2016.

sf-1966ALL OR NOTHING tells the exciting, poignant, and bittersweet tale of Kenney Jones, Ian McLagan, Ronnie Lane and Steve Marriott; four charismatic young kids from East London with humour, attitude, passion and above all talent. The Small Faces were rocketed into the big time only to discover the path to fantastic success is heaving with exploitation, corruption, betrayal and ultimately tragedy.
Their journey in the music business is as vivid and colourful as their music. And theirs is a legacy which lives on – raw and soulful music which inspired a whole new generation of stars including Paul Weller and The Jam, Oasis, Blur, The Verve, Ocean Colour Scene, and The Arctic Monkeys. Not to mention millions of fans.Telling the rollercoaster story of The Small Faces, ALL OR NOTHING celebrates the unique sound of the iconic Mod band. The musical is packed full of all the timeless hits, including the brilliant Whatcha Gonna Do About It, Tin Soldier, Lazy Sunday, Here Comes the Nice, Itchycoo Park and of course All or Nothing.

In 1964, a new phenomenon exploded on to the dingy British streets. It was the essence of all that was cool. It was Mod. Mods stuck two fingers up at the class-ridden society and its dull redundant culture. They were working-class free spirits who rode sexy streamlined Italian Vespas or Lambrettas.

The sharpest Mod of all was known as a ‘face’. The Small Faces encapsulated all that is Mod, a unique blend of taste and testosterone, neat, clothes obsessed, and streetwise. But these cult sophisticates shared another passion, their dedication to ‘Rhythm and Blues.’

ALL OR NOTHING was tried out in 2013 in Brighton to critical acclaim featuring PP Arnold, Mollie Marriott, Chris Farlowe and Danny Dyer, who said, “All Or Nothing’ has got it all; Drama, pathos, humour and style. Not to mention brilliant music!

The show is written by Carol Harrison, who also stars, an award-winning actress and writer, well known for her theatre and TV work. Carol is probably best known as the exciting, fiery and passionate Louise Raymond in Eastenders. The storyline between her and son-in-law Grant Mitchell gripped the nation and it was for this storyline that Eastenders won the BAFTA for ”Best Soap” for the first time. For seven years she played the incorrigible Gloria in the popular series Brushstrokes, and also starred opposite Ray Winstone as sassy Loretta in the comedy series Get Back. She also starred as Dorothy in two series of London’s Burning. Her latest TV movie Martha, Jac a Sianco for S4C won six BAFTA awards.

All or nothing the Mod musical

ALL OR NOTHING is directed by BAFTA winner Tony McHale, a renowned writer and director for television, with hundreds of hours of screen credits to his name. These include Murphy’s Law, Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, Dangerfield, Eastenders, Boon as well as his own international award-winning five hour television thriller made by London Films for the BBC, Resort to Murder, winner of the Cologne Film and Television Festival. He co-created the BBC hospital drama Holby City for which he won a BAFTA for Best Continuing Drama and was until recently the programme’s Executive Producer and Series Consultant.

The show is sponsored by Ben Sherman, and is endorsed and supported by many of those who feature in its story. There will be Snap Gallery exhibition starting in March at The Vaults.

The 176 seat Vaults Theatre is part of The Vaults – a multi-disciplinary arts space buried deep in the tunnels underneath Waterloo station. The Vaults looks for new work and theatre companies which push the boundaries, are brave, exciting and challenging.

31 March to 30 April 2016
Press Night 7.30pm on Thursday 7 April
Performances: Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm
Saturday and Sunday Matinees at 3.00pm
Tickets from £20

It’s Back. Oh Yes It Is.


(LtoR)Darrell BrockPeter Manchester and Eamonn Fleming in the Roc Roll Panto at City Varieties. Photographer Tony Nanny Nellie Nightnurse, Robin Hood and the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham took time out of rehearsals at the City Varieties in Leeds to pose for a quick pic ahead of the opening of Robin Hood the Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto at the end of the month.

The City Varieties Rock ‘n’ Roll pantomime has become a necessary-date-in-the-diary throughout the festive period,” says Ian Sime, General Manager at City Varieties. “It’s fair to say it’s a bit of a Leeds traditionthe fact that we welcome people back year on year is wonderful.”

The soundtrack is played live on stage by the cast and is crammed with covers of big hit songs; this year’s treats include Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, Meatloaf and Bob Marley.

The cast are extraordinarily talented,” Ian continues. “The atmosphere is electric and has audiences, young and old, dancing in the aisles; the feedback we receive from audiences is fabulous.”

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto has everything audiences expect from a traditional family pantomime – slapstick comedy, audience interaction and outlandish costumes – with the bonus of a rocking soundtrack and the now-legendary ‘boulder fight’- if you’ve been before you’ll know exactly what the ‘boulder fight’ is; if you haven’t then there’s only one way to find out. In the words of Ian Sime:

You won’t see anything like this anywhere else in Yorkshire. It’s a real treat.”


Robin Hood the Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto is at City Varieties Music Hall from Friday November 27th to Sunday January 10th.

Tickets are on sale now priced from £15 to £22 with concessions, group discounts and school group prices available.


Book online at  or call 0113 243 08 08








download (37)On Thursday 12 November, over 300 guests joined Park Theatre Artistic Director Jez Bond, theatre staff and volunteers at a gala fundraising dinner at Stoke Newington Town Hall, hosted in inimitable style by Ian McKellen. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, MP for Islington North and a longtime supporter of Park Theatre’s work, attended with wife Laura Alvarez.


download (34)Broadcaster Clive Anderson led a lively auction for a luxurious selection of donated prizes, including money-can’t-buy experiences such as dinner with Benedict Cumberbatch and ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ evening of home cooking with Maureen Lipman. The auction alone raised £133,500, and the overall total raised from the evening was £215,000.


download (36)Guests and friends of the theatre present included Alex Hanson, Alison Steadman, Anita Dobson, Derek Jacobi Frances Barber, Gillian Anderson, Greg Wise, Hattie Morahan, Honeysuckle Weeks, Jane Asher, Janet Street Porter, Jemma Redgrave, Matthew Horne, Matthew Kelly, Orlando Bloom, Owen Jones, Samantha Bond, Tamzin Outhwaite, Tanya Franks, Tanya Moodie, Tim McInnerny and Tracy Ullman.

download (38)Jez Bond said, “Our gala was an immense team effort, and a culmination of months of work. As a charity, Park Theatre relies heavily on volunteers from its local neighbourhood and their support on the night was extraordinary. A big thank you also to all our sponsors, and of course the many stars of stage and screen who gave their time and support on the night, helping us to grow our reputation as a force to be reckoned with. A very special thank you to Clive Anderson for running the auction, and to our generous host Ian McKellen who presided over the night with impeccable style, wit and wizardly magic. I also would like to thank all our guests who bought tickets and contributed to the extraordinary fundraising on the night. Park Theatre doesn’t receive any public funding and all monies raised will enable us to get closer to our vision of remaining an accessible theatre for Finsbury Park – delivering more productions, engaging in more outreach locally, and gaining in operational stability to support this increased output.”

download (35)Guests at the Gala enjoyed a delicious three course dinner created by Boulevard Catering including seabass, lamb with a Meaux mustard sauce and frangipane apple tart, accompanied by Prosecco and wines provided by award-winning producers Casanova, Tenuta Cavalier Pepe and CARM.


Magician Neil Henry wowed guests at their tables with breathtaking close-up tricks, and musical entertainment was provided by City Academy Hackney Community Gospel Choir, Get Funked andDJ Annie O.







Disney’s The Lion King recently filmed its iconic opening number “Circle of Life” using immersive reality technology, marking it the first time the technology has been used inside a Broadway theatre. The 360° footage has been compiled to create the first-ever virtual reality experience of a theatrical production number captured exactly as it is seen onstage.

Unlike most virtual reality captures of landscapes, sporting events or concerts, The Lion Kingallows viewers to experience “Circle of Life” from the actors’ point of view and see activity otherwise invisible to an audience. The camera allows viewers – in a seamless 360° sweep – to experience the number from within it, completely surrounded by the 31 cast members onstage, Julie Taymor’s puppets and masks, the audience seated in the Minskoff Theatre auditorium, set pieces flying in from above and actors emerging from two floors below the stage as Pride Rock rises up to present Mufasa, Rafiki and baby Simba. The virtual reality technology enables viewers to choose where to look at every point, inviting repeat viewings of the video to take in every possible vantage point.

“In our 19th year on Broadway, The Lion King continues to be embraced to an unprecedented degree around the world, and we are humbled,” said Thomas Schumacher, President and Producer Disney Theatrical Productions. “But with that success comes the responsibility to consistently find new ways of sharing Julie Taymor’s bold artistry. What better way to do that than this cutting edge virtual reality technology that puts you right in the middle of one of the most unforgettable production numbers ever staged? For the first time ever, you can become part of the ‘Circle of Life.’”

The video debuted at on earlier today and can be viewed now in the following ways:

  • For viewing on desktop, open the link in the latest Chrome browser and use your mouse to click and drag to navigate your view.
  • For viewing on mobile or tablet, open the link in the latest YouTube app and move your device to navigate your view.
  • For viewing on headset, watch on Google Cardboard with the YouTube app (Android only).

From 6pm today, the video will be available on YouTube and Facebook and can be viewed in the following ways:

  • For viewing on desktop, visit or in the latest Chrome browser and use your mouse to click and drag to navigate your view.
  • For viewing on mobile or tablet, open the latest YouTube or Facebook app and visit the Disney On Broadway YouTube Channel or The Lion King Facebook Page. Move your device to navigate your view.
  • For viewing on headset:
    • o   Watch on the Samsung Gear VR with MilkVR.
    • o   Watch on Google Cardboard with the YouTube app (Android only) or the Littlstar app (available on the App Store and Play Store).

The video is produced for The Lion King by Total Cinema 360.

In its 17th year, THE LION KING remains ascendant as one of the most popular stage musicals in the world.  Since its Broadway premiere on November 13, 1997, 22 global productions have been seen by more than 80 million people and, cumulatively, run a staggering 112 years.  Produced by Disney Theatrical Productions (under the direction of Thomas Schumacher), THE LION KINGis only the second show in history to generate five productions worldwide running 10 or more years.  Translated into eight different languages (Japanese, German, Korean, French, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin), productions of THE LION KING can currently be seen on Broadway; London’s West End; Hamburg; Tokyo; Madrid; Melbourne, Australia; Mexico City; and on tour across North America and Japan, for a total of nine productions running concurrently across the globe. Having played 20 countries on every continent except Antarctica, THE LION KING’s worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or other entertainment title in box office history.

THE LION KING won six 1998 Tony Awards®:  Best Musical, Best Scenic Design (Richard Hudson), Best Costume Design (Julie Taymor), Best Lighting Design (Donald Holder), Best Choreography (Garth Fagan) and Best Direction of a Musical.  THE LION KING has also earned more than 70 major arts awards including the 1998 NY Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical, the 1999 Grammy® for Best Musical Show Album, the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Theatrical Event of the Year and the 1999 Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Choreography and Best Costume Design.

The show’s director, costume designer and mask co-designer Julie Taymor continues to play an integral part in the show’s ongoing success.  The first woman to win a Tony Award for Direction of a Musical, Taymor has in recent years supervised new productions of the show around the world.

The Broadway score features Elton John and Tim Rice’s music from The Lion King animated film along with three new songs by John and Rice; additional musical material by South African Lebo M, Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin, Julie Taymor and Hans Zimmer; and music from “Rhythm of the Pride Lands,” an album inspired by the original music in the film, written by Lebo M, Mark Mancina and Hans Zimmer.  The resulting sound of THE LION KING is a fusion of Western popular music and the distinctive sounds and rhythms of Africa, ranging from the Academy Award®-winning song “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” to the haunting ballad “Shadowland.”

The book has been adapted by Roger Allers, who co-directed The Lion King animated feature, and Irene Mecchi, who co-wrote the film’s screenplay.  Other members of the creative team include:  Michael Curry, who designed the masks and puppets with Taymor, Steve Canyon Kennedy (sound design), Michael Ward (hair and makeup design), John Stefaniuk (associate director), Marey Griffith (associate choreographer), Clement Ishmael (music supervisor) and Doc Zorthian (production supervisor). Anne Quart serves as associate producer.

For more information worldwide, visit


York Panto: Full Cast Photo at the National Railway Museum

York Theatre Royal Panto Cast credit Anthony RoblingA photo of this year’s cast of Dick Whittington (and his meerkat) which is taking place at the Signal Box Theatre at the National Railway Museum.

The cast met yesterday at the museum for their first site visit at their new home whilst York Theatre Royal is closed for a £4.1million redevelopment project.

The UK’s longest serving pantomime dame Berwick Kaler said of this once-in-a-lifetime pantomime:

Artistic Director Damian Cruden has gone to great lengths to try and get rid of me but his latest effort is quite ingenious. However the laugh is on him because I have found a substitute theatre just a couple of hundred yards away from my beloved Theatre Royal – the one thousand seat Signal Box Theatre at the National Railway Museum. So while Cruden is looking for his ancestors below ground, me and ‘me babbies and bairns’ will be enjoying Dick Whittington (and his meerkat) which promises to be a hilarious and unique experience.

This will be Berwick’s 37th year as York Theatre Royal’s pantomime dame.

Photo credit: Anthony Robling

The cast are (left to right):

Front: Danielle Mullan, Berwick Kaler, Suzy Cooper, David Leonard, Lauren Newton, Charleigh Webb, Martin Barrass

Back: Vincent Gray, AJ Powell, Jack Lansbury, Jake Lindsay, Harry Hughes