Panto stars visit dementia unit in Darlington care home.

Panto stars visit dementia unit in Darlington care home.

Residents and staff at The Grange Care Home in Darlington received a visit from the stars of Darlington Hippodrome’s smash hit pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

Lee Ryan and Zoe Birkett took time out from their hectic performance schedule to officially open the new indoor garden in the dementia unit at The Grange.

Lee Ryan from the boyband Blue and the cast of Eastenders is currently wowing audiences as Prince Lee alongside West End leading lady Zoe Birkett as the evil Queen Sadista in the smash hit family pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Darlington Hippodrome.

Staged once again by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s biggest pantomime producer, and the team behind Darlington’s pantomimes since 1999, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs features all of the traditional pantomime ingredients Darlington audiences have come to expect in a fantastic new production of the well-loved fairy tale in the beautifully restored Darlington Hippodrome.

Audiences should book now for the fairest panto of them all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which runs until Sunday 14 January 2018. To book contact the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit

Thrilling adaptation of Turn of the Screw to tour the UK | 23 Feb – 26 May

Presented by Dermot McLaughlin with Mercury Theatre Colchester and
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
UK Tour: February – May 2018

This spring sees the world premiere of a dynamic new adaptation of Turn of the Screw embark on a UK tour. This thrilling production of Henry James’ much-loved classic ghost story is faithful to the original and captures its much-celebrated ambiguity

Set in 1840, a young governess agrees to look after two orphans, a boy and a girl, in Bly, a seemingly idyllic country house. But, shortly after her arrival, she realises that they are not alone. There are others – the ghosts of Bly’s troubled past. The Governess will risk everything to keep the children safe, even if it means giving herself up to The Others. Years later, confronted by the past she is compelled to account for what actually happened to her and those under her protection.

Henry James’ original novella ends with a cliffhanger where the boy dies in the Governess’ arms and the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. The prologue is not so puzzling; James informs the reader that the Governess wrestled with these troubling experiences for most of her life until she had to write them down shortly before her death. Tim Luscombe’s brilliant new adaptation dramatises the passage of time in a thrilling and surprising way whilst remaining completely true to James’ story.

Combining a framing of a story within another and employing one of the first uses of the unreliable narrator, Henry James created a unique sense of uncertainty and ambiguity for the reader. Consequently Turn of the Screw has been much debated since its publication in 1898, having defined the genre of psychological horror. It has been the source for many adaptations on stage and screen including the film The Others.

Dermot McLaughlin comments, I was inspired by the success of the stage adaptation of Susan Hill’s much loved novel The Woman in Black and in researching the debt that Hill’s novel owes to Henry James I got lost in the intriguing world of Bly and The Governess’s psyche. I found Turn of the Screw a compelling story with fascinating female characters. The context of this troubled woman committing to paper her terrifying and inexplicable experiences so long after the event was intriguing and moving. The why’s and wherefores of that psychology seemed very interesting dramatic territory. The tension between the past and the struggle to resign oneself to past actions presents a recognisable emotional state for us all. Tim Luscombe has realised my idea brilliantly and I’m excited to be able to bring it to audiences on tour

Turn of the Screw was conceived and commissioned by Dermot McLaughlin (a Stage One alumni and recipient of a Stage One Bursary for New Productions), adapted by Tim Luscombe (The Schuman Plan, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion) and will be directed by Daniel Buckroyd (artistic director of The Mercury Theatre, credits include Spamalot, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Clybourne Park, End of the Rainbow). Originating at The Mercury Theatre
Colchester, the production will be co-produced by Dermot McLaughlin Productions, the Mercury Theatre Colchester and Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Showstopper – The Improvised Musical!!!

They truly are the masters of longform improvisation. These guys have to be seen to be believed! The best musical improvisation group we’ve ever come across. More TALENT on stage than you can shake a stick at!
Time Out
When you come and see Showstopper! The Improvised Musical you will see a bunch of improvisers who have learned how to make up a fully-realised musical on the spot based on audience suggestions. It includes incredible, moving story-lines, amazing songs, full group harmonies, dance numbers. It’s also very funny to watch.
They’ve been working on this show since 2008, working out how to improvise in increasingly esoteric styles – musical, dance, straight theatre, film genres – whatever helps them make the show more interesting.
They also spend a lot of time trying to become better story-tellers so they can not only do your ideas justice, but so that each show is as different as it can be. It’s an all-consuming and never-ending task but they love it.
A joyous, uproarious collaboration … for sheer madcappery, refreshingly wholesome, good-natured musical slapstick, The Sticking Place’s musical high-wire act is hard to beat.
Independent on Sunday – 5/5
Just SUBLIME… Consistently funny… This bunch are sharp. Anyone with a love for musicals or comedy should see this show and help create another classic.

Cast announced for The Moor | Old Red Lion | 6th February – 3rd March 2018

Cast announced for The Moor
Old Red Lion Theatre, 418 St John Street, London EC1V 4NJ
Tuesday 6th February – Saturday 3rd March 2018

Jill McAusland (Call the Midwife, BBC1; Pygmalion, English Speaking Theatre Frankfurt; Arms and the Man, Watford Palace Theatre), Oliver Britten (Walrus, The Vaults; Alice Adventures Underground, VAULT Festival; Back to the Future, Secret Cinema) and Jonny Magnanti (Three Winters, National Theatre; The Hound of the Baskervilles, Stables Theatre Hastings; Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mercatoria Theatre Company) will form the cast for the world premiere of Catherine Lucie’s The Moor, a tense psychological thriller set in a place where nothing is as it seems

Bronagh has lived at the heart of the moor for as long as she can remember, but recently she has started having the same troubling dream. Are the voices trying to tell her something? When a boy vanishes, Bronagh has to tell someone what she suspects, entangling herself and her boyfriend in a murder investigation.

Haunting and touching in equal parts, The Moor pits Bronagh against her own past and present, dragging her, her baby daughter and those closest to them into something deeper than the marsh on the moor.

Presenting a female character with nuance, depth and agency who is emotionally and intelligently charged, Lucie explores what people are capable of when isolated and under pressure, ensnaring and unsettling the audience.

Part domestic tale, part folk tale, the play will use inventive design to create an ever-changing landscape reflecting Bronagh’s shifting mental state and the shifting ground of the moor. Directed by Blythe Stewart (Skin a Cat), the play will also be supported by an all-female creative team, demonstrating the impact of women when they take the responsibility of representation into their own hands.

Director Blythe Stewart comments, I am delighted to be bringing Catherine Lucie’s thrilling and unnerving play to life – it’s an ambitious and bold work. At the heart of this play is a woman trying to make a difference in her life. I’m thrilled people will have the chance to see more than just a ‘strong female character’. Bronagh is nuanced: acute, reserved, ordinary, distinct, and changeable, and her fight is for herself. We are passionate about making work that gives a space for people usually on the edge of society and of our stories.

Barry Steele in The Roy Orbison Story




Featuring chart busting hits originally performed made famous by George Harrison, Jerry lee Lewis, The Spencer Davis Group, Jeff Lynne, Jerry Lee Lewis & The Traveling Wilburys, all backed by phenomenally talented musicians culminating in an incredible fusion of ‘60s solid gold classics and ‘80s contemporary musical genius all on one stage.

Barry has toured across the globe in his role as Roy Orbison, but it is a far cry from his time in the RAF when he was stationed at RAF Waddington, Scampton and RAF Tongeren in Belgium.  Whilst in the Forces Barry has refuelled both Vulcan Bombers  (The Ladies of the Sky) and The Red Arrows, he also drove the green goddesses during the fireman’s strike in 1977.

When Barry left the RAF he moved back to the West Midlands with his young family. He  became a long distance lorry driver, and it was during those long lonely hours out on the road that be began singing to artistes as diverse as Michael Jackson, Wet Wet Wet, and Chris Rhea.

It was on a family holiday in Cornwall that Barry took the first steps on the  road to becoming a professional singer, when his wife Lynne and their daughter Leonie entered him into a singing  competition. It was there that a fellow competitor said to him, “you know you sound just like Roy Orbison singing Robbie Williams!” so with the help of family and friends a tribute to  The Big ‘O’ was born.

Barry quickly became totally enveloped in the music and sheer magic that  was Roy Orbison, his aim was simple, his vision clear, to deliver the songs to Roy Orbison fans in the same manner in which they were originally performed.  Barry has toured across New Zealand, Holland, Germany,  Austria, Denmark and Ireland. Whilst in the United States of America Barry sang in front of Roy’s son Wesley, as well as duetting with Bill Dees the co-writer of many of Roy’s songs.

Barry is currently touring the U.K  in The Roy Orbison Story as he presents an upbeat and contemporary tribute to the Big “O”.

Tickets: From £24.50

Box Office: 0844 871 3024





Heretic Productions today announces an extension of the inaugural Heretic Voices – a new competition which aims to find the best new writing in monologue form, at the Arcola Theatre now running from Tuesday 9 January until Saturday 20 January. The recently announced winners, chosen by Michael BillingtonLolita ChakrabartiMonica Dolan and Mel Kenyon, will have their monologues produced by acclaimed directors and actors at the Arcola Theatre.

Award-winning director Roy Alexander Weise directs Ted Reilly in Sonya Hale’s Dean McBrideMax Gill directs Lauren Samuels in A Hundred Words for Snow by Tatty Hennessy; and Amanda Boxer performs Woman Caught Unaware by Annie Fox, directed by Jessica Edwards. The three monologues will be performed each evening from 9 January until 20 January and they will also be published as a collection ‘Heretic Voices’ by Nick Hern Books.



By Sonya Hale

Dean McBride is a vivid and poetic story of loss and redemption set on a Croydon council estate.

Sonya Hale’s other plays include Glory Whispers at Theatre503. As a writer, she has worked with The Outside Edge Theatre Company, Synergy Theatre Project and Clean Break and her plays have been performed at The Southbank Centre, Latitude Festival, E15 University and in prisons and treatment centres.

Ted Reilly is most well-known for his current role Johnny Carter in Eastenders. His theatre credits include Plaques and Tangles and Vera Vera Vera (Royal Court Theatre).

Roy Alexander Weise is the 19th annual winner of the James Menzies-Kitchin Award and is an Associate Director at Harts Theatre Company. His theatre credits include The Mountaintop (Young Vic), Jekyll and Hyde (National Youth Theatre), Dead Don’t Floss (National Theatre), The Ugly One (Park Theatre), The Dark (Ovalhouse), Primetime (Royal Court Theatre), Stone Face (Finborough Theatre). He is also directing the forthcoming productions of Nine Night (National Theatre) and Br’er Cotton (Theatre503).


By Tatty Hennessy

A Hundred Words for Snow describes a teenage girl’s solo journey to the North Pole with her father’s ashes.

Tatty Hennessy’s previous work includes an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen commissioned by Theatre N16, and All That Lives developed in association with Ovalhouse.


Lauren Samuels was previously a contestant on BBC1’s Over the Rainbow. Her theatre credits include La Ronde (Bunker Theatre), Vanities: The Musical (Trafalgar Studios), The Buskers Opera (Park Theatre), Bend It Like Beckham (Phoenix Theatre), Love Story (Octagon Theatre Bolton), Water Babies, Peter Pan A Musical! (Curve), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre, UK tour), Vampirette (Opera House Manchester), Children of Eden (Prince of Wales Theatre), The Last 5 Years (Tabard Theatre) and Grease (Piccadilly Theatre)

Max Gill directs. He is a director and writer, and the co-founder (with Ellie Keel) of Heretic Productions. He has previously assisted Kenneth Branagh on Plays at The Garrick and has directed for stage in London, Moscow and Tokyo. He was a Finalist in the Royal Theatrical Support Trust Director Award 2016 and 2017 and the Kevin Spacey Artists of Choice Award. He is a screenwriter for film and television and his plays have been published in the UK. His adaptation of Schnitzler’s La Ronde, which he directed at Bunker Theatre in March 2017 has been nominated for the WhatsOnStage award for best Off-West End Production.



By Annie Fox

Woman Caught Unaware by Annie Fox is a searing examination of the culture of body shaming. This is Fox’s debut play.


Amanda Boxer’s theatre credits include Mosquitoes (National Theatre), Relative Values (Harold Pinter Theatre), Prisoner of Second Avenue (Vaudeville Theatre), The House of Bernarda AlbaThe Graduate (Gielgud Theatre), A Touch of the Poet (Young Vic), Blue Heart (Orange Tree Theatre), Medea (Almeida Theatre), The Painter, Macbeth (Arcola Theatre), The Destiny of Me, Many Roads to Paradise (Finborough Theatre), The Arab-Israeli Cookbook (Gate Theatre, Tricycle Theatre), The Pain and the ItchThe Strip (Royal Court Theatre), The Yiddish Queen Lear (Southwark Playhouse), Come Blow Your HornThe Misanthrope and Absurd Person Singular (Royal Exchange Manchester). Her television credits include Silent WitnessTrial and Retribution and Chalk.


Jessica Edwards directs and is Artistic Director of Flipping the Bird. Recent credits include Denim: World Tour (Soho Theatre/Underbelly), Punts (Theatre503), Revolutions (Arcola/Old Vic Lab), The Gulf (Old Vic Lab), Torch (Latitude/Edinburgh Festival 2016), Haters Make You Famous (Almeida Theatre), Queering Marlowe (Duke of York’s Theatre), White Hot & Weak (Old Vic New Voices Festival), The Box (Latitude/Theatre Delicatessen), The Itinerant Music Hall (Lyric Hammersmith/Watford Palace/GDIF/Latitude), Jekyll & Hyde (Southwark Playhouse/Assembly Edinburgh) and  the forthcoming Berlin Non Stop (The Vaults) and Hedi Mohr (BKA Theater Berlin, Spring 2018).


Heretic Voices Listings

Arcola Theatre

Tuesday 9 – Saturday 20 January 2018

Tuesday – Saturday 7.30pm

Saturday matinees at 3pm

Tickets: £22 / £19

Box Office: 020 7503 1646 /

Heretic Productions is run by Artistic Directors Max Gill and Jordan Waller and Producer Ellie Keel.  Its previous production was an adaptation of Schnitzler’s La Ronde, directed by Gill, which ran at the Bunker Theatre in early 2017.  The company works across stage and screen with a number of short film productions also in development.

Arcola Theatre 

Arcola Theatre is one of London’s leading off-West End theatres. Locally engaged and internationally minded, Arcola stages a diverse programme of plays, operas and musicals. World-class productions from major artists appear alongside cutting-edge work from the most exciting emerging companies. Arcola delivers one of London’s most extensive community engagement programmes, creating over 11,000 opportunities every year. By providing research and development space to diverse artists, Arcola champions theatre that’s more engaging and representative. Its pioneering environmental initiatives are internationally renowned, and aim to make Arcola the world’s first carbon-neutral theatre.

Darlington Hippodrome – New Jersey Nights


The international hit show New Jersey Nights comes to Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 16 to Saturday 20 January.

The show is a spectacular celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, and takes the audience on a nostalgic musical journey through the career of one of the biggest selling groups of all time.

From the back-street studio in New Jersey where it all began, this vibrant production includes all of The Four Seasons’ greatest hits including Sherry, Rag Doll, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man and many more.

Featuring four great singers, perfect harmonies, stylized costumes, a rockin’ live band and amazing dancers, New Jersey Nights has smashed box-office records across the USA and UK and is proving to be one of the most successful touring shows of all time.

If you like the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, you’ll love this show.

New Jersey Nights is at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 16 to Saturday 20 January at 7.30pm with a 2pm matinee on Thursday and a 2.30pm matinee on the Saturday

Tickets* are priced from £22, discounts available.

*All prices include a £2 restoration levy

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 405405 or visit



Ballet British Columbia 13-14 March ‘18

Sherlock Holmes 8-12 May ‘18

Dusty the Musical 17-21 July ‘18

Kinky Boots 29 Oct–10 Nov ‘18


Newcastle Theatre Royal’s 2018 Spring/Summer season opens a theatrical treasure chest of riches featuring breath-taking dance, thought-provoking drama, feel-good musicals and family shows aplenty.  So resolve to make 2018 your year of theatre!


The Grade 1 listed Theatre will be bursting at the seams this year as it welcomes no less than five big musicals, including  Evita (22-26 May), Hairspray (25-30 June), Dusty the Musical (17-21 July), Calendar Girls (18-29 Sep) and Kinky Boots (29 Oct – 10 Nov).


Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s hit show Evita returns to Newcastle in May, starring Madalena Alberto (Les Misérables) and Gian Marco Schiaretti (Tarzan). Telling the story of Eva Peron – wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron – Evita follows Eva’s journey from humble beginnings through to extraordinary iconic status and features some of the most famous songs in musical theatre.


Returning for one week only after a sell-out visit in Spring 2016West End and Broadway hit Hairspray lands 25-30 June. Set in 1962, Hairspray tells the story of Tracy Turnblad, a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart, who’s on a mission to follow her dreams and dance her way onto national TV. This is a feel-good show with the ultimate dance-in-your-seat and singalong soundtrack.


Dusty the Musical (17-21 July) is a landmark new show based on the authorised biography of Dusty Springfield, featuring many of her blazingly soulful pop hits, including I Only Want

to Be with YouSon of a Preacher Man and You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me.  With a fiercely funny and emotionally charged script from BAFTA and Olivier nominated writer

Jonathan Harvey, Dusty celebrates the extraordinary and vivacious woman with the iconic voice.


Calendar Girls the Musical (18-29 Sep), by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, is the award winning musical comedy based on the true story of a group of ordinary ladies who achieved something extraordinary. Straight from the West End, this is a glorious new production with an all-star cast.


But perhaps the most anticipated of the season is Kinky Boots (29 Oct – 10 Nov), winner of every major Best Musical award, including the 2016 Olivier Award for Best New Musical.  Featuring songs by Grammy and Tony winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper and a book by Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein this dazzling show is a joyous story of Brit grit, taking audiences from the factory floor of Northampton to the catwalks of Milan!


Dance fans will delight in three big names this season, starting with the breathtaking Ballet British Columbia (13-14 Mar).  Making its Theatre Royal debut, Canada’s leading national dance company present an exhilarating evening of dance by three internationally celebrated female choreographers. Recognised for their fresh creativity, this 18-strong company of dancers will astound UK audiences with their unique blend of cool, classical elegance, contemporary flair and extraordinary skill.


Returning in May due to phenomenal demand is international Irish dance sensation Spirit of the Dance (16-19) on its record-breaking 20 year anniversary tour. One of the world’s most successful dance shows, Spirit of the Dance showcases the heart-pounding rhythms of Irish dance as well as sensual Flamenco and red hot salsa.  Not one dancer steps out of line as their thunderous feet perform in this thrilling and explosive production.


Another big name to return this season is Stomp (13-18 Aug), the unstoppable smash-hit but fresher, faster and funnier than ever! Combining dance, comedy and music into a theatrical experience like no other Stomp takes familiar objects like newspapers, bins, plastics bags and even the kitchen sink and uses them to create a universal language of rhythm and movement that’s playful, thrilling and exploding with energy.


For drama lovers we are proud to present one riveting new show and one old favourite.   Sherlock Holmes – The Final Curtain (8-12 May) is a gripping new stage show with an all-star cast including Robert Powell and Liza Goddard in celebration of the world’s greatest detective. Holmes lives in retirement on the South Coast and is concerned in his advancing years he may be an easy target for his enemies. So when a new case presents itself Holmes is determined to kill two birds with one stone – solve the mystery and confront his own demons.


Following its sell-out success in January, the multi award-winning West End smash hit comedy drama The Play that Goes Wrong returns 2-7 July.  The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society are putting on a 1920s murder mystery, but as the title suggests, everything that can go wrong… does! As the accident prone thesps battle on against all the odds to reach their final curtain

call, hilarious results ensue!  Now playing on Broadway and enjoying its 4th year in the West End, the show has secured rave reviews and won a host of celebrity endorsements along the way.


Another comedy treat, back once again to warm the hearts of their loyal fans are the incorrigibly Grumpy Old Women (20 May).  Fed up with flogging their guts out and always having to be in charge, the GOW have put their knobbly old feet up in glorious retirement.  Free at last to practise their extreme colouring-in, ukulele orchestra and novelty fudge-making!  But, with the world in a bigger mess than ever before, they will need to unleash their superpowers as only three old Grumpies know how!  Stars Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane and Lizzie Roper.


Also sure to be a sell-out is the official world premiere of ITV’s smash hit comedy Benidorm (7-15 Sep), which opens at Newcastle Theatre Royal prior to a major national tour.  Produced by iconic Newcastle born West End producer Michael Harrison (The Bodyguard; Young Frankenstein) the show features the much loved TV cast and will bring a heady dose of sangria-soaked Solana sunshine to the stage for the very first time!


Two great new shows for our smaller customers complete the new season – a brand new live stage show from the Youtube sensation Little Baby Bum (10-11 July) invites pre-schoolers to step into the magical and colourful world of Nursery Rhymes, while August sees the return of everyone’s favourite piggy in Peppa Pig’s Adventure (22-23 Aug) where we welcome back Peppa and friends as they embark on a camping trip full of games, laughter and live music!


Tickets for all new shows in the Spring / Summer ‘18 season can be purchased online at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).