Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap – the longest running show in the world, which had been due to resume performances at The St Martin’s Theatre on Friday 23 October – is to have its reopening postponed.
Adam Spiegel, the producer of The Mousetrap, said:
“In view of the current uncertainty and with greater restrictions looming for London, I have had to make the difficult decision to postpone the reopening of The Mousetrap.
When we took the decision in July that the show would reopen, it was in anticipation of a gradual easing of restrictions in general. The government’s announcement last week that the situation is deteriorating, together with increased restrictions being imposed across the country, makes it impossible to proceed with confidence.”
As the custodian of the show, I am deeply saddened to have to make this decision. But The Mousetrap will be back, and a new date to reopen will be announced as soon as there is a more certain environment and subject to government guidelines.”
Ticket holders will be contacted by their point of purchase and offered a credit note or full refund.
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play. The West End production was originally adapted from Christie’s radio play, Three Blind Mice, written for the Royal family in 1947. It has been performed 28,199 times in London and sold over 10 million tickets. In 2022, The Mousetrap will celebrate 70 years in London.
The Mousetrap is produced by Adam Spiegel Productions.
ALFRED ENOCH JOINS THE CAST OF DIGITAL PRODUCTION OF WHAT A CARVE UP!
THE BARN THEATRE, LAWRENCE BATLEY THEATRE & NEW WOLSEY THEATRE CO-PRODUCE THE WORLD PREMIERE OF WHAT A CARVE UP! BY HENRY FILLOUX-BENNETT
THE PRODUCTION, BASED ON JONATHAN COE’S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED NOVEL, WILL BE DIRECTED BY THEATRE CLWYD ARTISTIC DIRECTOR TAMARA HARVEY.
THE CAST ALSO INCLUDES STEPHEN FRY, SHARON D. CLARKE AND SIR DEREK JACOBI
How To Get Away With Murder and Harry Potter star Alfred Enoch is the latest cast member to be announced for the digital world premiere of Henry Filloux-Bennett’s online play What A Carve Up!, based on Jonathan Coe’s critically acclaimed satirical novel.
Alfred Enoch will play the role of Raymond Owen, son of acclaimed writer and murder suspect Michael Owen. He said on joining the cast, “I’m delighted to be joining such an illustrious cast for Henry’s online adaptation of What a Carve Up! and happier still to be able to contribute to such a good cause.”
The digital production, directed by Tamara Harvey (Home, I’m Darling) and co-produced by The Barn Theatre in Cirencester, the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, chronicles the events leading up to the ‘Winshaw Murders’. Filled with murder, mayhem and madness, the murder mystery turns a satirical eye on what it is like to be a member of one of the most corrupt, powerful and toxic families in the country.
Alfred Enoch joins a cast that includes Fiona Button as Josephine Winshaw-Eaves, Sharon D. Clarke as Kim Bolton, Rebecca Front as Hilary Winshaw, Stephen Fry as Patrick Mills, Sir Derek Jacobi as Findlay Onyx, Griff Rhys Jones as John Stephens and Tamzin Outhwaite as The Journalist.
Tamara Harvey said of the announced casting, “There are some casts so dazzling that my job, as a director, is to not get in the way. This is one of them. My only sadness, of course, is that we don’t get to be in the rehearsal room together. But the fact that these brilliant actors have all agreed to create this piece to raise money for regional theatres is one of the ways we’re all still fighting to ensure that there will still be rehearsals rooms across the country, somewhere, somehow, in our future.”
The murder mystery is written by Henry Filloux-Bennett (Nigel Slater’s Toast), based on the award-winning novel by Jonathan Coe, and directed by Tamara Harvey (Home, I’m Darling). Produced by the Barn Theatre, Lawrence Batley Theatre and New Wolsey Theatre.
The play, which will be available internationally, will run from 31 October – 29 November 2020. Tickets can be purchased at whatacarveup.com with audience members receiving a screening link which will activate at their booked performance time for a 48-hour period. A premium option, consisting of a physical programme and pre-theatre dining recipe card, will be available for UK residents.
The recipe card included in the premium option will be curated by world-renowned chef Asma Khan. Owner of the prestigious Darjeeling Express in London’s Soho, Asma Khan was the first British chef to be profiled on Netflix’s award-winning documentary series Chef’s Table and in 2019 was named number one on Business Insider’s “100 Coolest People in Food and Drink” list.
Jonathan Coe said of the new adaptation, “I’m thrilled that What a Carve Up! is being brought to the stage by such a talented and experienced team. It’s twenty-five years since I wrote the book but unfortunately its political satire seems as relevant as ever – I’m sure the new adaptation will capture that, as well as the novel’s sense of fun and irreverence. I’m looking forward to getting to know it again!”
A portion of the proceeds raised by What A Carve Up! will be donated to a freelance fund to support the creative workforce that the theatres would not be able to survive without.
The production is kindly supported by Blackmagic Design.
Further casting and creative announcements will be released at a later date.
GREENWICH THEATRE PROUDLY PRESENTS AN EXCITING TRIPLE BILL FESTIVE LINE-UP THIS CHRISTMAS The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, A Christmas Carol & Comedy Club 4 Kids Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, Greenwich, London, SE10 8ES
After postponing our annual Christmas pantomime, The Queen of Hearts, we are delighted to announce the return of Christmas spirit to Greenwich Theatre with a triple bill line-up!
First up we have a thrilling festive adventure set in an alternative history of England. Our own, home-grown production of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, directed by our artistic director James Haddrell (The Jungle Book, Here), tells the story of two brave and determined girls as they fight against ferocious wolves and battle their way through snowy wastelands to defeat their very evil guardian, Miss Slighcarp.
This exciting, fun-filled adaptation of Joan Aiken’s classic children’s novel, adapted by Russ Tunney, sees cousins Bonnie and Sylvia and their friend Simon the Goose-boy encountering a host of unforgettable characters as they discover that the wolves roaming the forests and fields outside may not be as dangerous as the wolfish adults plotting inside.
A magical, musical, wintry treat, this socially distanced family production is the perfect way to celebrate the festive season in true theatrical style. Alongside the live performance, we are also offering audience members the opportunity to join members of the cast in an online, interactive experience set in the same wintry world, where children will be able to be part of a unique interactive adventure, all from the comfort of their own homes.
Next, we welcome the triumphant return of European Arts Company’s socially distanced production of A Christmas Carol, a heart-warming production in the presence of the author himself.
A Christmas Carol was the first public reading Dickens gave of his own work, enacting it over 150 times to a phenomenal reception. For a limited time only, join us as European Arts Company magically recreate Charles Dickens’s famous performance of his best-loved Christmas story. Enjoy a seasonal treat in the spirit of Christmas past, present and future.
Finally, in this stellar line-up we are overjoyed to present Comedy Club 4 Kids. Since 2005, the Comedy Club 4 Kids has been getting the best family friendly stand-ups and sketch acts from the international circuit to do their thing for an audience of children (aged 6+) and their families. Join us this Christmas for some festive laughs for the whole family to enjoy.
With the global pandemic closing theatres across the country, Greenwich Theatre has been overwhelmed by the support provided by its local audiences, alongside funding support from Arts Council England. Now, after mounting the ambitious six-month online programme Greenwich Connects, the team are delighted to be injecting some festive spirit into the heart of the community and welcoming audiences back to the venue. With Government guidelines changing daily, the team at Greenwich are dedicated to providing and implementing safety measures to ensure the safety of audience, staff and performers without taking away from the magic of theatre
James Haddrell, the theatre’s artistic and executive director, said: “We are delighted to have been among the first theatres to reopen our doors for live performance with shows resuming this month, and now to have found an alternative to the pantomime which sadly had to be postponed. Whilst it may not be viable to present our regular festive treat, I know that a trip to the theatre is key to so many families’ celebrations and I’m proud that at Greenwich Theatre we’ll be offering our own festive show alongside the eagerly awaited return of both European Arts Company and Comedy Club 4 Kids. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, presented in a brand new socially distanced production, is a thrilling adventure story that’s sure to delight the whole family this Christmas and fill the gap left by so many cancelled or postponed pantomimes.”
CASTING ANNOUNCED FOR THE BARN THEATRE’S 2020 THEATRE RECOVERY SEASON
ROB HOUCHEN AND CELINDE SCHOENMAKER WILL STAR IN THE NEW REVIVAL PRODUCTION OF THE SONDHEIM MUSICAL MARRY ME A LITTLE
WAYLON JACOBS WILL STAR IN THE TITLE ROLE OF ALAN POLLOCK’S NEW ADAPTATION OF J.M. BARRIE’S PETER PAN
The Barn Theatre has announced casting for their 2020 Theatre Recovery Season productions of Marry Me A Little and Peter Pan.
The new season consists of a two-hand actor-musician production of Simon Reade’s adaptation of Private Peaceful (running until 4 October), a new revival production of Stephen Sondheim’s Marry Me A Little (16 October to 8 November), the digital world premiere of Henry Filloux-Bennett’s new adaptation of Jonathon Coe’s What a Carve Up! (31 October – 29 November) and the world stage debut of Alan Pollock’s adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan (21 November 2020 to 3 January 2021).
What a Carve Up! is a co-production with the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, directed by Tamara Harvey.
MARRY ME A LITTLE
Rob Houchen (Les Misérables, The Light in the Piazza) and Celinde Schoenmaker (Rocketman, The Phantom of the Opera) will star in the new revival production of the Stephen Sondheim musical Marry Me A Little from 16 October to 8 November.
Conceived by Craig Lucas and Norman René, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the charming and bittersweet one-act musical follows two single strangers as they explore their secret, unshared fantasies whilst they are left alone in their studio apartments on a Saturday night.
The production breathes new theatrical life and meaning to a collection of trunk songs that were culled from the original productions of some of Sondheim’s iconic musicals including Follies, Company and A Little Night Music.
Last year Rob Houchen and Celinde Schoenmaker starred alongside one another in the 2019 London premiere of the Adam Guettel musical The Light in the Piazza at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. They later reprised their roles for the production’s American transfer to the Los Angeles Opera in October 2019.
The production will be directed by Kirk Jameson (Just So, Madagascar) with musical staging by Sam Spencer-Lane (The Last Five Years, Aspects of Love), set and costume design by Gregor Donnelly (Daddy Long Legs, Aspects of Love) and musical direction by Arlene McNaught (SIX, Little Miss Sunshine).
Marry Me A Little is produced by the Barn Theatre in association with Anthology Theatre.
Waylon Jacobs (Hamilton, Memphis, The Last Five Years) will star in the title role of the world premiere of Alan Pollock’s new adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s classic story Peter Pan. The production, conceived and directed by Kirk Jameson, follows a man determined not to miss bedtime, so he recreates his daughter’s favourite bedtime story in a hotel room three thousand miles from home.
Waylon Jacobs, who most recognised for being part of the original West End cast of the Olivier and Tony award-winning musical Hamilton, was most recently seen in this Summer’s outdoor revival production of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years at Cornwall’s Minack Theatre.
This will mark the second time Waylon Jacobs has worked with the theatre following his performance in the theatre’s recent virtual concert The Barn Presents: The Music of Dominic Powell which can be watched on the theatre’s YouTube channel.
The production runs from 21 November 2020 to 3 January 2021, and features original music and arrangements by Nick Barstow (Rags, Just So), movement direction by Tosh Wanogho-Maud and set and costume design by Gregor Donnelly.
For their re-opening, the Barn Theatre have implemented numerous procedures to ensure audience safety throughout their experience. The theatre runs at a reduced capacity with Perspex screens being placed between groups in a new seating layout which ensure social distancing measures are adhered to. The theatre has also announced that they have a new and upgraded air filtration system which exceeds governing guidelines to ensure the experience is the safest the theatre can provide. The cast and creative team will also adhere to Government guidance on social distancing and temperature checks.
The safety measures that were successfully utilised during the theatre’s outdoor theatre festival, BarnFest, including temperature checks on arrival, mandatory masks for all patrons over 11 years old, staggered arrival times, sanitisation of public areas and hand sanitiser at entrance and exit points continue for indoor theatrical performances.
As previously announced earlier this month, BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical will transfer to the Adelphi Theatre in London’s West End following an out-of-town opening at Manchester Opera House in March 2020, where it was enthusiastically received by critics and the public alike. Previews will begin on 14 May.
Roger Bart and Olly Dobson will reprise the roles of ‘Dr Emmett Brown’ and ‘Marty McFly’ respectively. Also returning are Hugh Coles as ‘George McFly’, Rosanna Hyland as ‘Lorraine Baines’, Cedric Neal as ‘Goldie Wilson’, Aidan Cutler as ‘Biff Tannen’ and Courtney-Mae Briggs as ‘Jennifer Parker’. Further casting to be announced.
Based on the Universal Pictures/Amblin Entertainment film, BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical has a book by Bob Gale and new music and lyrics by Emmy and Grammy Award-winning Alan Silvestri and six-time Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard, with additional songs from the film including The Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.
BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical is directed by Tony Award-winning director John Rando (Urinetown, On The Town), alongside the multi Tony and Olivier Award-winning design team of Tim Hatley (set and costume design), lighting design by Tim Lutkin, lighting consultant Hugh Vanstone, Gareth Owen (sound) and Finn Ross (video), with choreography by Chris Bailey, musical supervision and arrangements by Nick Finlow and Illusions by Chris Fisher. Orchestrations are by Ethan Popp and Bryan Crook, with dance arrangements by David Chase. Casting is by David Grindrod Associates.
Back to the Future the movie was released in 1985, starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd as Dr Emmett Brown. The film grossed $360.6 million (£279 million) at the box office worldwide and the total box office for all three films in the Back to the Future franchise was $936.6 million (over $1.8 billion in today’s money).
Marty McFly is a rock ‘n’ roll teenager who is accidentally transported back to 1955 in a time-travelling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr Emmett Brown. But before he can return to 1985, Marty must make sure his high school-aged parents fall in love in order to save his own existence.
BACK TO THE FUTURE The Musical is produced by Colin Ingram, Donovan Mannato, Frankel/Viertel/Baruch/Routh Group, Gavin Kalin Productions, Hunter Arnold, Crush Music, CJ ENM, Playing Field, Teresa Tsai, Ivy Herman/Hallee Adelman, Ricardo Marques, Augury, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, in association with, Kimberly Magarro, Robert L. Hutt, Stage Entertainment, Glass Half Full Productions/ Neil Gooding Productions.
Darren Day ‘walks over water’ to join the cast of Godspell at West End Musical Drive In and launches ‘Drive Out To Help Out’ Troubadour Meridian Water, Harbet Road, London, N18 3QQ Sunday 4th October, 2.30pm Chris Steward & Shanay Holmes for West End Musical Drive In and Thomas Hopkins & Michael Quinn for Ginger Quiff Media
Darren Day (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) joins the West End Musical Drive in Godspell cast and brings a heavenly offer with him; with ‘Drive Out To Help Out’ cars are now being sold on a special buy one get one free basis (for this event only) to help raise money for selected charities. Every car purchased will admit 2 cars meaning your friends can gain entry too, joining your musical afternoon out whilst remaining socially distanced.
Thomas Hopkins of Ginger Quiff Media says, In these challenging times, we want to ensure everyone can experience some music and theatre to free them from the every-day. We hope our ‘Drive Out To Help Out’ scheme for the Godspell West End Musical Drive In will offer the opportunity for more people to hear the amazing music of Godspell.
Godspell is the acclaimed work of renowned composer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked; Pippin; The Prince of Egypt) which tells a series of parables leading up to the Passion of Christ. Directed by award-winning Michael Strassen (Billy; Assassins) the drive in will also feature live performances from Jodie Steele (SIX; Heathers), Danyl Johnson (The X Factor finalist), Jenny Fitzpatrick (Tina, The Musical; Our House), John Barr (The Story of Bart; Tommy), Sally Ann Triplett (Mamma Mia!; Viva Forever), Matthew Croke (Aladdin), and Alison Jiear (Jerry Springer: The Opera).
Audiences will also enjoy visuals filmed from the cast’s homes, edited together with striking visual animations, starring Ruthie Henshall (Chicago; Billy Elliot), Jenna Russell (The Bridges of Madison County; Fun Home), Sam Tutty(Dear Evan Hansen), Natalie Green (The Prince of Egypt; Hair), Shekinah McFarlane (Six; Hair), Ria Jones (Sunset Boulevard; High Society), Lucy Williamson (The Fix; Judy & Liza), Ronald Brian (Beautiful, The Carol King Musical; Newsies), Jerome Bell (The VoiceUSA; Hairspray) and an ensemble from Italia Conti.
The 4th October event follows the success of the recent 50th anniversary online production which raised money from Acting For Others, National AIDS Trust and Hope Mill Theatre (A Factory of Creativity CIO). The producers will be donating a percentage of the profits from this event to these charities.
West End Musical Drive In is an entirely contact-free concert experience adhering to government social-distancing guidelines. Live performances are projected from the stage onto a massive screen so everybody gets a great view and sound is provided via a bespoke FM frequency straight to your car radio.
The Luke Westlake Scholarship 2020 opens for submissions on 28th September
Awarded to a working class drama student to support their last year of study and first year entering the industry as a performer
Winner will receive artistic and financial support worth over £3000 including one year’s Spotlight membership, subscription to The Stage, a showreel, a voice reel, headshots, a full tax return, lunches with casting directors and agents and £500 towards rent.
This scholarship has been renamed in honour of actor Luke Westlake, who sadly took his life during lockdown
The second annual scholarship from Just Add Milk Theatre Company
The Luke Westlake Scholarship, formerly known as the JAM Scholarship, is an award designed to provide an actor with artistic and financial support worth over £3,000 in their final year and as they graduate from university or drama school, and begin to navigate their way into the industry. The scholarship was established when the team behind JAM realised many actors were being priced out of their career once they left training. After spending upwards of £30k to learn their craft, actors need to purchase union membership, database subscriptions, materials for marketing themselves, and more; they often work zero hours jobs so they can duck out at short notice to attend auditions and can lack the contacts to get their foot in the door. The acting industry frequently notes the lack of working class talent, but without support it is near impossible to get started. By reaching out to contacts and industry organisations JAM is delighted to build on last year’s inaugural scholarship with yet more partners and prizes, to alleviate the financial and artistic burden and set another graduate up on a stronger footing for their first year in the industry.
Luke Westlake was a friend of JAM, he trained with co-artistic directors Kristian Wall and Kyle Rowe at ArtsEd and had begun a good career with string of television credits including Luther and Dark Heart. Sadly in June 2020 Luke passed away. A diligent, fierce, working-class actor, he represents everything the scholarship stands for and JAM are very grateful to his parents, Bridgette and Lee, for giving their blessing to change the name of the scholarship in his honour.
Kristian said, “In an industry that we have all, at some point, felt inaccessible, this is JAM’s chance to give something back and help develop a new/the next generation of working class actors.”
Just Add Milk Theatre Company’s (JAM) mission is to make the industry more accessible for actors. They provide affordable workshops with Agents and Casting Directors, produce new writing for unheard voices and actively develop the next generation of actors through their scholarship. An ArtsEd Graduate company, JAM was originally founded by three working class actors during second year. Their first show, Year Ten, opened at Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016, transferring for a sold out run at The Tabard Theatre that autumn. In 2018 Liam McLaughlin joined as producer and developed Digging Deep, a play about male suicide and men’s mental health, which premiered at VAULT Festival 2019 in partnership with CALM, Lambeth Council and The Waterloo Barbershop, followed in February 2020, by a sellout run of Who Cares, also at VAULT Festival, in association with Muscular Dystrophy UK. In March 2020, JAM announced their first Co-Production with Klein Blue for Alice at Battersea Arts Centre. JAM are dedicated to hosting accessible, affordable workshops with renowned industry professionals for actors. As of August 2020, they have hosted over 200 workshops, seen over 2000 actors and have given away over £1,500 worth of free places to those who need it. Previous workshops have been hosted by Karishma Balani (Head of Casting at The Globe), Lucy Amos and Sacha Garrett (Nina Gold Casting) and Faye Timby (The Witcher, Netflix), writers Simon Stephens and Philip Ridley, and agencies Curtis Brown and CAM. In March 2019, JAM spoke at Lambeth Council’s Lord Mayor’s Suicide Prevention Event, talking about how to use theatre as a platform to discuss men’s mental health and male suicide. In May 2019, JAM became one of the New Diorama Theatre’s Emerging Companies for 2019/20
Actors graduating in 2021/2022 are invited to apply to the scholarship via the JAM website(https://www.justaddmilkjam.com/lukewestlakescholarship/2020) and fill out the application, including a statement on what winning the award would mean to them and a 2min self-tape monologue. The shortlist is selected from all the applicants based on their answers and performance and shortlisted applicants then work with casting director Faye Timby on a second self-tape, which is then presented to a panel of industry figures who vote on a winner
The panel includes Actor Remmie Milner, Casting Director Faye Timby, Industry Minds, Voiceover Coach Guy Michaels and JAM.
The full list of prizes are: 1 year’s membership with Spotlight, a Spotlight 1-to-1 workshop, a year’s subscription to industry newspaper The Stage, a full headshot session with Samuel Black Photography, a full showreel package with Self-Tape.co.uk, lunches with Olivia Bell Management, Casting Director Faye Timby, National Theatre Casting Assistant Naomi Downham, RSC Casting Assistant Martin Poile, a full voice reel with Guy Michaels, a £100 voucher to spend at Nick Hern Books, 6 JAM Casting Workshops and a ticket to Industry Minds’ Awards Ceremony 2021.
BAPAM, supporting the scholarship, is a specialist healthcare charity supporting individuals & organisations in the performing arts. They are offering a free online workshop about staying physically and mentally healthy in the industry to all scholarship applicants.
Applications open 28th September and close 26 October 2020. The winner will be announced in December
Twelve brand-new commissions from GURPREET KAUR BHATTI • JANICE CONNOLLY • RACHEL DE-LAHAY • DAVID EDGAR • ROBIN FRENCH • TANIKA GUPTA • BRYONY LAVERY • SABIHA MANK • AMERAH SALEH • FRANK SKINNER • LIAM STEEL • JACK THORNE & LETTIE PRECIOUS
Today, Birmingham Repertory Theatre has announced 12 new commissions titled The Park Bench Plays – a series of micro-plays that illuminate, interrogate and even celebrate today’s socially distanced world.
Brainchild of The REP’s Artistic Director Sean Foley, this series of brand-new commissions will bring together the work of some of UK theatre’s biggest writing talents and comedians alongside emerging playwrights to create a suite of new plays.
Made possible thanks to the generous support of The Sir Barry Jackson Trust, these new plays by The REP feature some of the UK’s biggest writing talents amongst emerging playwrights including; Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (A Kind of People/Khandan), Janice Connolly (Mrs Barbara Nice/Stuff), Rachel De-Lahay (The Westbridge/Circles), David Edgar (Nicholas Nickleby/Pentecost), Robin French (Cuckoo/Rebel Music), Tanika Gupta (Lions and Tigers/The Empress), Bryony Lavery (Frozen/The Lovely Bones), Sabiha Mank (The REP Discovery Artist), Amerah Saleh (Author ‘I Am Not From Here’/Commonwealth Games Handover Poet), Frank Skinner (The Frank Skinner Radio Show/Frank Skinner’s Poetry Podcast), Liam Steel (Director/Adaptor – Peter Pan/The Wizard of Oz) and Jack Thorne (His Dark Materials/Harry Potter And The Cursed Child) & Lettie Precious (This Is Us/The Break – BBC 3).
The ten-minute-long plays have been written to be performed in pop-up locations throughout Birmingham – at bus stations, community centers, parks, public squares, foyers and train stations – surprising and delighting commuters, shoppers, residents and others going about their daily business in the city and its environs.
The series of plays will be directed by The REP’s Artistic Director, Sean Foley, Deputy Artistic Director, Amit Sharma and Associate Director, Madeleine Kludje.
The REP’s Artistic Director, double Olivier Award-winning Sean Foley said; “The Park Bench Plays will bring together the work of some of the UK’s biggest writing talents for an exciting and diverse collection of micro-plays.
“Considering the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our industry, we at The REP feel it is important to continue to employ artists and create work for audiences.
“From comic to serious, tragic to hysterical, this collection of two-hander plays take ordinary and everyday conversations and make them extraordinary and timeless – they all have a sense of fun and provide a living snapshot of our socially distanced, somewhat disturbed world.
“We look forward to sharing this extraordinary collection of works with audiences when the time is right to do so in the future and to continuing working with this wonderfully eclectic set of writers.”
Comedian Frank Skinner commented; “I’m really properly excited to be part of this project with The REP. I’ve had some life-changing experiences on park benches in the West Midlands but I’m hoping this one will be a bit easier on the elbows.”
Playwright Tanika Gupta added; “I am thrilled to have been asked by the The REP to write a piece for this collection of eclectic new plays. In this time of uncertainty, it is greatly welcome to see venues such as The REP actively engaging with artists to continue in efforts to make new work. I am excited to be writing for live theatre again, alongside my fellow eleven fantastic playwrights.”
The REP Discovery Artist, Sabiha Mank said; “As soon as I was approached about taking part in The Park Bench Plays, I couldn’t wait to get started. Coming out of lockdown, this project has been a dream to be a part of and a brilliant way of trying to make sense of the world.”
The Park Bench Plays were to have had their first outing during October, but local restrictions coupled with the new national restrictions have made that impossible. As soon as it is safe to resume outdoor performances, The Park Bench Plays will be put into production to then begin their pop-up tour around the city.
To find out more about The REP and their work with creatives and emerging artists visit birmingham-rep.co.uk.
Bombed Out Church hosted 12 open air productions over 9 days
Almost 3,000 festivalgoers experience inaugural live event
Calls for event to return to entertain audiences in 2021
Liverpool Theatre Festival attracted almost 3,000 live performance fans across nine days for its inaugural staging – with calls for it to become an annual event.
St Luke’s Bombed Out Church in the heart of the city centre provided the perfect backdrop for the first festival, which featured 19 showstopping performances of 12 productions.
Liverpool Theatre Festival was created by Liverpool theatre producer Bill Elms, whose mission it was to reinvigorate and boost the city’s live performance and creative arts sector after a devastating six months due to Coronavirus and lockdown, with restrictions continuing further.
The Covid-secure venue followed stringent Government guidelines to ensure patrons felt safe in their surroundings.
The festival ended with a comedy performance by acclaimed Liverpool actor Andrew Lancel in Swan Song from award-winning city playwright Jonathan Harvey, directed by BAFTA award-winning director Noreen Kershaw.
Swan Song was produced by Liverpool Theatre Festival, in association with Bill Elms Productions and Quarry Street. Originally written for a female lead, Jonathan Harvey adapted the play specially for Andrew Lancel to play the solo role at Liverpool Theatre Festival. The play is planning future productions across the UK to socially distanced audiences.
Liverpool Theatre Festival ran for nine days between 12 and 20 September, with some days hosting four live performances. The inclusive programme featured musical theatre, drama, comedy, cabaret, monologues, and children’s shows.
Liverpool Theatre Festival programme opened with A Fairy Tale Journey Across The Mersey and Laughterhouse Comedy, and was followed by The Very Best Of Tommy Cooper, Sweet Mother, Shakers by John Godber, Deathly Confessions, Matinee Musical Classics, Music Of The Night, Judy & Liza, Hurrah For The Pirate King!, Something About Simon, and Swan Song.
Producer and artistic director Bill Elms commented:“The festival showed the public appetite for live theatre and entertainment is strong. People used the festival as escapism from these difficult times – it was the glimmer of hope we needed. A truly unforgettable and magical experience, and we were blessed with fabulous weather throughout.I’d like to thank every festivalgoer for their support and spreading the word far and wide. They put their trust in us to provide a safe environment and comfortable experience, and totally shared our passion and vision to bring back live performance.
“The programme was packed with Liverpool talent including writers, performers, creatives and technicians. The teams behind the 12 productions were incredible for jumping on-board at such short notice and adapting to meet festival guidelines. It wasn’t easy and the changing guidelines proved testing, stacking the odds against us, but together we made it work and collectively made the inaugural Liverpool Theatre Festival a resounding success.
“St Luke’s Bombed Out Church was the perfect setting – welcoming, fun, and dramatic at times with incredible lighting. We have been asked by festivalgoers and reviewers to make the festival an annual event so this is something we are already looking into, watch this space. Theatre is back.”
Covid-secure measures at St Luke’s included temperature checks prior to entry; social distancing; hand sanitiser stations; reserved seating restricted to social bubble groups; and an app to order refreshments delivered to ticketholders at their seats.
Audience capacity was reduced to ensure socially distanced seating; shows were limited to one-act performances of no more than 75 minutes to minimise audience movement; maximum of four performers per production; cast and crew socially distanced and were temperature checked.
Kate Jones from St Luke’s Bombed Out Church added:“We were extremely proud to host the very first Liverpool Theatre Festival. St Luke’s was showcased as a stunning backdrop for audiences of all ages to enjoy live performance in the open air, it was special to see audiences settle in, take in the atmosphere and their surroundings, and lose themselves in a variety of fantastic shows.
“I’m extremely proud of our team’s hard work to ensure our venue was completely COVID-secure. Ensuring bubbles were safely distanced, sanitising chairs before and after use, and taking drinks directly to customers all hugely contributed to making customers feel they could safely return to theatre. We thoroughly enjoyed working with Bill Elms on this hugely popular festival, and look forward to seeing more productions at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church.”
West End comedy phenomenon confirmed as Christmas show for the Theatre Royal Bath
Family entertainment from Mischief Theatre with the award-winning West End production, The Play That Goes Wrong
Cinderella postponed to Christmas 2021
The Theatre Royal Bath is delighted to confirm that there will be family entertainment in the Main House this Christmas, as the international smash hit comedy THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG will now run at the Theatre Royal Bath from 17 December until 10 January. This coincides with the reopening of the London production which is now enjoying its sixth year at the Duchess Theatre.
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG replaces the previously announced pantomime, CINDERELLA which has been postponed until December 2021. As with other theatres around the country, pantomime is not possible with the reduced capacity of a socially distanced auditorium.
Theatre Royal Bath director Danny Moar says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring back the fantastic Mischief Theatre and one of the most popular shows of the last ten years, THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG, to keep families and theatregoers laughing and smiling at the end of a very difficult year. We very much look forward to the pantomime returning in 2021”.
THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG has won multiple awards internationally, including the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. It features the (fictional) Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society who are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong … does! As the accident prone thesps battle against all the odds to reach their final curtain call, hilarious results ensue!
Fast becoming a global phenomenon, performing across five continents including a long-running season on Broadway, Mischief Theatre’s unique brand of hilarious “gut-busting comedy” (New York Times) has found universal appeal. The company’s other West End successes include Peter Pan Goes Wrong, A Comedy About A Bank Robbery and Magic Goes Wrong; and last year saw a brand new six-part TV series for BBC One: The Goes Wrong Show, written and performed by the original founding Mischief Theatre members.
★★★★★ “I feared I was going to hyperventilate” Daily Mail
★★★★ “Genuinely hilarious. Boy, does it hit the funny bone” Daily Telegraph
★★★★ “Ridiculously funny”The Times
★★★★“Exquisitely choreographed mayhem”Independent
★★★★ “A triumph of split-second timing”Metro
Booking for THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG at the Theatre Royal Bath opens to priority bookers from Monday 28 September. General booking opens from Monday 5 October.
Ticketholders for CINDERELLA will be contacted by the Box Office