Nina – A story about me and Nina Simone Review

The Lowry, Salford Quays – until Saturday 3rd February (excl Thursday 1st February).  Reviewed by Julie Noller 


My Parents were teenagers during the 60’s, I was a mere future thought, what I know of Nina Simone comes through stories and listening to the radio. What I have learned tonight is far more powerful. I’d heard her called the Queen of Soul and tonight Nina Simone conquered mine.

Nina was originally performed at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool in 2016 before heading for a tour of Sweden and reaching London’s Young Vic in 2017. It’s Directed by Swedish Theatre Director Dritero Kasapi and stars Josette Bushell-Mingo OBE whose previous works include an Olivier nominated role as Rafiki in the production of The Lion King from 2000. It’s fresh, it’s vibrant, it’s simply superb. It carries an important lesson that is so simple, it’s complex. I expected music, I expected an account of the life of a diva from humble beginnings. What we got was explosive and quite possibly if Josette Bushell-Mingo was my teacher then I would be an A* student.

She captivated the audience as soon as she appeared on stage, striking her Nina Poses, talking about politics, Martin Luther King and JFK it was going exactly as I expected. The band began playing as Nina was introduced, she begins to sing Revolution. But wait shes stopping shes telling us ‘Nina I can’t do this’ I’m confused, I look to the audience they look confused, theres an electric buzz in the air, is she having a breakdown? Josette is quite possibly a heroine of mine now, she made me understand, feel like I lived the daily racial tensions and violence of not just 1960’s America but now in modern day Britain and how the times may have changed but the issues never really have. Questions are still questions asked again and again with no real answers. How must Nina have felt? Knowing she deserved to be free but still felt enslaved, her colour was as important as her church was. The backdrop of screen and curtain are used to show pictures mostly of freedom campaigners they come with powerful words, some quiet, some loud. Nina Simone was a truly talented artist who like many of the times wrote music with such thought provoking power it earned her a place with the Civil Rights Movement, yet she was a classically trained pianist.

The first 60 minutes are filled with Josettes parallels of 1960’s to modern day struggles felt across society. Women, Blacks, should all struggles be linked as one? No each is different and can not be talked about in the same context. I feel like I can not do enough justice trying to explain Nina for it is too great to even try. What I can explain is those 60 minutes of rants, chats, calls to arms. Well they lead to us totally understanding the meaning of each song.

Josette resumed the concert and I found I listened to each and every word as if Nina Simone herself was up on that stage performing to a small modest crowd in North West England. Songs I knew well and have often sung along too, changed in context as I heard the anxieties of struggles, a talented singer who wanted to be heard not only musically but politically.

I saw the audience sway, clap and cheer each and every song. I didn’t have enough toes to tap, hands to clap and voice to sing along. It’s not a necessity but a right of passage to join in with Josette as Nina. I can honestly say the heat of the 1960’s found it’s way to cold, damp, wintry Manchester leaving the audience shouting for an encore. An encore is what we got, a second standing ovation was our way of thanking Josette for a play so brilliant it’s left me asking more questions about how life was for Nina and her contempories. I don’t have enough words of praise except to urge fans of drama, fans of musicals, fans of history, fans of one woman shows, fans of fabulous entertainment – well go and see it, your minds will be blown by what you see and I think I may just have to download some Nina Simone to educate me some more, for she’s put a spell on me.





Manuel Puig’s


In a new adaptation by José Rivera and Allan Baker

Director: Laurie Sansom; Designer: Jon Bausor; Lighting Designer: Paul Anderson

Sound Designer: Philip Pinsky; Projection Design: Andrzej Goulding

8 March – 5 May

The Menier Chocolate Factory, in association with Darren Bagert, today announces that Samuel Barnett (Molina) and Declan Bennett (Valentin) join the company of their new production of Manuel Puig’s ground-breaking novel Kiss of the Spider Woman in a new adaptation by José Rivera and Allan BakerLaurie Sansom directs this iconic play, making his Menier debut. The production opens on 21 March, with previews from 8 March, and runs until 5 May.

A provocative tale of love, victimisation, fantasy and the friendship that develops between two strikingly different men imprisoned together in a Latin American jail.

Samuel Barnett plays Molina – he returns to the Menier Chocolate Factory having previously appeared in Dealer’s Choice (also West End). His theatre credits for the National Theatre include The Beaux’ StratagemWomen Beware WomenThe History Boys (original cast, also Broadway – Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Play), His Dark Materials. Other theatre work includes Twelfth NightRichard III (Shakespeare’s Globe/Apollo Theatre/Belasco Theater), The Way The World (Sheffield Theatres), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Chichester Festival Theatre/Theatre Royal Haymarket), 66 BooksThe Whiskey Taster, When You Cure Me (Bush Theatre), Accrington Pals (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Notes From New York (Arts Theatre). His television credits include  the title role in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective AgencyPenny DreadfulTwenty TwelveEndeavour, and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps; and for film, The Lady in the VanJupiter Ascending, Bright Star, The History Boys and Mrs Henderson Presents.

Declan Bennett plays Valentin. His theatre credits include the title role in Jesus Christ Superstar (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Once (Phoenix Theatre – originating the role of Guy), American Idiot (St. James Theatre, Broadway/Berkeley Rep), Rent (Nederlander Theatre, Broadway/US tour), Taboo (The Venue/UK tour), It’s a Lovely Day Tomorrow and Our Day Out (Belgrade Theatre). For television his credits include as series regular Charlie Cotton in EastEnders; and for film, Inside Llewyn Davis.


Manuel Puig (1932-1990) was an Argentinian novelist, playwright and screenwriter. His other major novels include Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, Heartbreak Tango and The Buenos Aires Affair; and his plays include Under a Mantle of Stars: A Play in Two Acts.

José Rivera is a playwright and screenwriter. His work for the theatre includes Marisol, Cloud Tectonics, References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot and Sonnets for and Old Century. He has won two Obie Awards for playwriting, a Kennedy Center Fund for New American plays Grant, a Fulbright Arts Fellowship in playwriting, a Whiting Award, a McKnight Fellowship, the 2005 Norman Lear Writing Award, a 2005 Impact Award and a Berilla Kerr Playwriting Award. As a screenwriter, he is perhaps best known for The Motorcycle Diaries for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Allan Baker’s first translation was Kiss of the Spider Woman. He also did the adaptation and screenplay of Storia di una Capinera (Sparrow). His television work includes Dead EntryAliens in the FamilyJust William, and El Tránsfuga.

Laurie Sansom directs – making his Menier debut. He was previously Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. His work includes for the National Theatre: The Driver’s Seat, The James Plays, The Holy Rosenbergs, Spring Storm, Beyond the Horizon (also Royal and Derngate – TMA Award and Evening Standard nomination for Best Director); for Royal and Derngate, One for the Road, Hedda Gabler, Blood Wedding, The Bacchae, Eden End, Spring Storm, The Duchess of Malfi, My Zinc Bed, The Prime for Miss Jean Brodie and Follies; and Frankie and Tommy (West Yorkshire Playhouse and Garrick Theatre), Villette, Playing God, Inglorious Technicolour, Soap, I Ought to be in Pictures and Spittin’ Distance (Assembly Rooms).

Listings Information

Kiss of the Spider Woman

Venue:                                Menier Chocolate Factory

Address:                             53 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1RU

Dates:                                 8 March – 5 May

Times:                                Tue – Sat 8pm, matinees Sat and Sun 3.30pm (no matinee on 10 March)

Box Office:                         020 7378 1713 (£2.50 transaction fee per booking)

Website:               (£1.50 transaction fee per booking)

Recommended age: 15+

Tickets:                               Prices vary, as below from discounted preview tickets to premier seats. With the emphasis on ‘the sooner you book, the better the price’:

                                             Prices from £32.50

A meal deal ticket includes a 2-course meal from the pre-theatre menu in the Menier Restaurant as well as the theatre ticket.

Twitter: @MenChocFactory

Rothschild & Sons Review

Park Theatre – until 17 February.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Rothschild & Sons does what it says on the tin – you learn a little about Rothschild and his sons, not his wife, or his daughters – this is truly a boy’s own musical.

Reviving this 1970 show seems a strange choice. It may be written by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, but this is no Fiddler on the Roof.

The musical follows Mayer Rothschild from his beginnings as a peddler and rare coin collector in the Frankfurt ghetto catching the eye of Prince William of Hesse with his confidence and salesmanship, through his training his sons in commerce and banking, to their international financial dealings during the Napoleonic wars. There is a lot of financial talk, mostly framed in comedic parroting from the sons, but you’ll find out more about bonds in this production than any other musical. The quest for money and influence can be unpalatable, so the Rothschilds’ demands for the declaration of rights for the Jewish people in Europe, and the abolition of ghettos adds a moral compass to the story, with Mayer’s determination to see change in an unfair society.

The sons are pretty interchangeable (except for rebellious Nathan, cue father/son conflicts and journey towards understanding of each other), and are a great team, with their harmonies swelling gloriously, especially in Everything. Gutele, Rothschild’s wife, spends most of the musical popping out sons and then moaning about what Rothschild is doing with them, basically wasting Glory Crampton in a woefully underwritten role. Gary Trainor is full of energy, like an overexuberant puppy as young Nathan, maturing from a reckless and headstrong novice into a strong and canny financier just like his dad. Robert Cuccioli as Mayer is solid and delivers a wonderfully emotional rendition of In My Own Lifetime.

The problem is that the musical numbers are variable, with only two truly memorable songs, although the band, led by the energetic Ben van Tienen do a fine job.

Rothschild & Sons is worth a look as a companion piece to Fiddler, with another strong patriarch fighting for his family, but strong performances and musicianship aside, this show just isn’t in the same league.




Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson will star in a tour de force revival of the Olivier, Tony and Moliere award-winning comedy ART at Newcastle Theatre Royal, Mon 5 – Sat 10 March 2018.


One of the most successful comedies ever and winner of every major world theatre award, ART is a stage masterpiece and global phenomenon. Now celebrating its twentieth anniversary, ART tells the story of three old friends in Paris – Serge, Yvan and Marc, who discover they have very differing opinions about what constitutes ‘art’ when one buys a very expensive, rather peculiar painting.

Originally a French language play written by Yasmina Reza, the English version translated by Christopher Hampton opened in the West End in 1996 to critical acclaim and ran for eight years. This revival production from The Old Vic is a masterstroke in casting with Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson as Serge, Marc and Ivan respectively.


Producer David Pugh said, “It is twenty years since Dafydd (Rogers) and I first produced the comedy masterpiece ART in the West End, and the original post-London tour played for 78 weeks.  This time, we want to break our own record; in fact, we want to play as many theatres as Sir Ken Dodd has played in his wonderful career, and with this marvellous cast, we think we have every chance!”


Nigel Havers’s films include Chariots of FireA Passage to IndiaEmpire of the Sun and The Whistle Blower.  He has starred in many television productions, including The CharmerDangerfieldManchild, and, more recently, the hit US series Brothers and Sisters, Lewis Archer in Coronation StreetBenidorm and Lord Hepworth in Downton Abbey.  His numerous theatre work includes The Importance of Being Earnest and Harold Pinter’s Family Voices, both directed by Sir Peter Hall for the National Theatre, Richard II and Man and Supermanfor the RSC, the hugely successful touring productions of Rebecca and Alan Bennett’s Single Spies.


Denis Lawson is known for his roles as John Jarndyce in the BBC’s adaptation of Bleak House, for which he was nominated for an EMMY award, and as DI Steve McAndrew in BBC1’s hit series New Tricks.  In film, his notable credits include the roles of Gordon Urquhart in the film Local Hero and Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy.  On stage, he won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Jim Lancastar in Mr Cinders at the Fortune Theatre, and he was nominated for an Olivier for his performance as George in La Cages Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre.


Stockton-on-Tees born Stephen Tompkinson’s TV credits include five series of DCI Banks, four series of Trollied, seven series of Wild at Heart, six series of Drop the Dead Donkey(British Comedy Award Winner for Best TV Comedy Actor) and three series of Ballykissangel, and his films include Phil in Brassed Off.  His theatre work includes SpamalotRattle of a Simple Man and Arsenic and Old Lace in the West End, Cloaca (Old Vic) and Tartuffe (National Tour).


Based on the original production by Matthew Warchus, ART will be directed by Ellie Jones, with design by Mark Thompson, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound design by Mic Pool, original music by Gary Yershon, fight direction by Terry King and casting by Sarah Bird CDG.  The 2018 UK & Ireland Tour is produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers.


ART is at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Mon 5 to Sat 10 March 2018, playing evenings at 7.30pm, matinees on Thu 2pm and Sat 2.30pm. Tickets from £14.50 can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at


Interactive show about technology addiction on UK tour in Spring 2018

I’d Be Lost Without It

February 23rd – March 16th, UK Tour

Renowned theatre company Wet Picnic present their new production I’d Be Lost Without It. Created with funding from Wellcome Trust, and working with a researcher into technology addictions, the company create an experience that uses binaural headphones, and immersive, movement-led theatre to examine how technology is affecting our minds, our lives, our happiness and our brains.

sardonic, vengeful, revolutionary & brooding, but very funny in a pitch black way” Rebel Culture on The Ball

We all exist somewhere online, whether we know it or not: a virtual trace, an online persona, a trail of clicks and searches laying claim to who we are. I’d Be Lost Without It explores our 21st century addiction to technology, where our hunger for likes and shares is distancing us from ourselves and one another, in an age when at least 27 hours each week are spent online.

Using headphones, binaural sound and immersive theatre, Wet Picnic create an interactive experience which explores the utopia and dystopia of our tech-driven existence. Working in collaboration with a psychologist to extract real life experiences, the show shines a light on our modern world and question what keeps us human in an age increasingly lived online.

I grinned my way throughout (the show) delighted by its perfectly contained manic wit and air of silly-smart invention” The Times on The Lift

Wet Picnic are South West based company from Winchester. They are known for creating highly successful, funny and darkly humorous street shows, such as The Ball, The Birthday Party, The Lift and Time for Tea. The company also makes work for indoor spaces, which is immersive and promenade. You can currently catch their Crime Scene Live event at the Natural History Museum. Wet Picnic are a company that delights in the absurd, playing with the notion of British eccentricity, mixing bouffon, clown, slapstick and physicality to create work that reflects life in all its forms.

It almost doesn’t matter what they’re doing because they do it so well” Total Theatre

Touring Dates

Feb 23rd, Salisbury Playhouse – Theatre Fest West, 7.45pm

(Tickets: 01722 320 333,, £13.50/£9 concessions)

Feb 25th, Brighton Old Market, 7pm

(Tickets: 01273 201 801,, £12.50/£10 concessions)

Mar 7th, South Street Reading, 8pm

(Tickets: 0118 960 60 60,, £13/£12/£10)

Mar 15th, Stratford Circus, 2pm & 7pm

(Tickets: 0208 279 10 80,, £8 – £10)

Mar 16th, Old Fire Station, Oxford, 7.30pm

(Tickets: 01865 263 990,, £12/£10)

Full cast announced for the first UK tour of This House.

Full cast announced for the first UK tour of This House

This House
Tue 24 April – Sat 28 April

From real life to the stage: Former Stockton South parliamentary candidate, James Gaddass, takes on the role of Walter Harrison in political theatre piece This House coming to The Lowry Tue 24 – Sat 28 April.

Gaddas will star alongside Lancashire born Ian Barritt who take on the role of four different MPs throughout the play.

James Graham’s smash-hit political drama examining the 1974 hung parliament takes on a new importance in the current political climate. Are we in the midst of a political revolution? Can the country stay united? Roll back to 1974… The corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and back biting as Britain’s political parties’ battle to change the future of the nation, whatever it takes.

Portraying the Labour whips are: Martin MarquezTony TurnerJames GaddasNatalie Grady and David Hounslow. On the Conservative benches meanwhile are: William ChubbMatthew Pidgeon and Giles Cooper.

In an era of chaos, both hilarious and shocking, when votes are won or lost by one, there are fist fights in the parliamentary bars, high-stakes tricks and games are played, and sick MPs are carried through the lobby to register their crucial votes as the government hangs by a thread. This House strips politics down to the practical realities of those behind the scenes; the whips who roll up their sleeves and on occasion bend the rules to shepherd and coerce a diverse chorus of MPs within the Mother of all Parliaments.

The cast who play a colourful host of MPs and Whips includes;

Stephen Critchlow (playing MP’s for Bromsgrove/Abingdon/Liverpool Edge Hill/Paisley/Fermanagh)
Ian Houghton (playing MP’s for Armagh, Ambulance Man, Ensemble)
Marcus Hutton (Ensemble)
Harry Kershaw (playing MP’s for Paddington South/Chelmsford/South Ayrshire/Henley/Marioneth /Coventry North West/Rushcliffe/Perry Barr)
Louise Ludgate (playing MP’s for Rochester & Chatham/Welwyn & Hatfield/Coventry South West/Ilford North/Lady Batley)
Geoffrey Lumb (playing MP’s for Clockmaker/Peebles/Redditch/Stirlingshire West/Clerk)
Nicholas Lumley (playing MP’s for Oxshott/Belfast West/St Helens)
Miles Richardson (Speaker Act I/Mansfield/Sergeant at Arms Act II/West Lothian & Ensemble)
Orlando Wells (Walsall North/Plymouth Sutton/Serjeant at Arms Act I/Speaker Act II/Caernarfon/Clerk & Ensemble)
Charlotte Worthing (Ensemble)

Ian Houghton, David Hounslow, Matthew Pidgeon, Tony Turner and Orlando Wells return to This House having previously appeared in the West End production.

Directed by Jeremy Herrin with Jonathan O’Boyle, the production is designed by Rae Smith with lighting design by Paule Constable and Ben Pickersgill on tour, music by Stephen Warbeck, choreography by Scott Ambler and sound by Ian Dickinson.

This House is produced on tour by Jonathan Church Productions and Headlong.


The great and glittering from the literary world will descend on Newcastle Theatre Royal for one day only on Saturday 3 March for The Biggest Bookshow on Earth, an exciting new event to celebrate World Book Day 2018.


World Book Day marks the world’s biggest celebration of reading, where the UK and Ireland’s entire book industry works proactively together to address falling literacy levels and create readers of the future. Over the past 20 years, World Book Day UK has distributed over 290 million £1 book tokens to children and young people across the country.


On Saturday 3 March, an all-star line-up of famous authors and illustrators including Julian Clary and Clare Balding will be inspiring young people with readings and live drawing sessions at the North East’s favourite theatre.  In attendance will be David Almond (Skellig), Clare Balding (The Racehorse Who Disappeared), Julian Clary & David Roberts (The Bolds), Tom Fletcher (The Creakers), Francesca Simon (Horrid Henry),  and Alex T. Smith (Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure). Steven Butler (The Nothing To See Here Hotel) will be hosting the event and there will be surprise guests from Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach! Signed copies will be available to buy and the authors and illustrators will be signing after the event. It will be open to family public audiences for the first time, as well as local schools, and tickets are available to buy from the Theatre Royal website.


World Book Day was first marked in the UK in 1997, in response to an increasing concern over poor reading and writing standards in children. It is now a global phenomenon. For 2018, titles chosen will offer a message of inclusivity, through the authors, illustrations, stories and a wide assortment of characters, enabling young readers to see the world in which they live reflected between the pages.


Research by the National Literacy Trust* has indicated that of the nation’s 8-11-year-olds, 89.5% are aware of World Book Day and in 2016, 60% were inspired to read more by the celebration of reading. Last year, over £670,000 was raised for charity in association with World Book Day and over 1.2 million £1 book tokens were redeemed, enabling 1 in 4 children (1 in 3 for those receiving free school meals) to ‘purchase’ their first ever book*


The one-off Book Show event is part of a series of activities the charity are running in 2018.  Others include targeting teenagers and young adults in their own online spaces and BOOKCLUBBING, an exciting new movement encouraging teenagers to spread the word about their favourite stories and make a noise about books online and in real life.  There will also be two 30-minute exclusive online ‘specials’, including an Illustrator Extravaganza, available for schools, bookshops and libraries to stream from the World Book Day website. Furthermore, the charity are also bringing back the incredibly successful World Book Day Award (WoBoD), which gives schools the opportunity to win life-changing libraries of books.


As well as celebrating the joy of reading, this year’s key ‘Share A Story’ theme encourages adults, parents and older siblings to participate by reading and sharing stories and books with family, friends and colleagues alike. The ‘Share a Story’ theme will be mobilising the nation to ‘TAKE 10’ and recognise the positive impact that reading together for only 10 minutes a day can have on a child’s outcome.

In addition the World Book Day team has launched a nationwide poll to find the nation’s favourite #storiestoshare. The search is on to find the ultimate list of the nation’s 100 favourite stories to share for children and young people of all ages.

The Greatest Bookshow on Earth, in partnership with Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, is at Newcastle Theatre Royal for one day only on Saturday 3 March2018, at 10am.  Running time is 75 mins and it is ideally suited to 7-11 year olds. Tickets are £14.50 (family tickets are available) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at

Fat Friends The Musical Review

Hull New Theatre – until 3rd February 2018. Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams


From the moment the curtain went up I was hooked – Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends The Musical had me hooting with laughter in seconds. This is a show full of life and love and it fairly sizzles along!

The story revolves around a slimming club in Headingley (Leeds) and its various members and their lives as they attempt to lose weight through diet and exercise. Kelly (Jodie Prenger) is drawn into the mix in an attempt to get into her dream wedding dress – the only one she will consider. Kay Mellor has an acute eye for the little things in life and her dialogue is accurate and true to life, who else would have Kelly tell us she loves her husband to be because he licks the germs off her chips when they fall on the floor!

I, and the rest of the packed New Theatre, quickly recognized ourselves or our friends in the characters on the stage, this is how life is in all its successes and failures. The characters felt real and importantly we laughed with them and not at them, Kay Mellor made us care for them. This is a story that is never forced and the music and songs compliment and add to the story, never feeling contrived or added for effect. Nick Lloyd Webber’s music beautifully captures the emotions and mood of the characters.

The cast is superb from start to finish their energy and zest carrying us through with them.

Jodie Prenger as Kelly is outstanding as she had us laughing and practically sobbing when things went wrong. A stand out for me was her wonderful rendition of the song “Beautiful” – haven’t we all wanted to feel beautiful for just one day.

Sam Bailey was an excellent Betty, so unsure of herself and self-effacing, she really does have a beautiful voice. Kevin Kennedy’s Fergus had just the right amount of gruffness and pathos. Rachel Wooding as Kelly’s sister oozed with sibling rivalry at one moment and sisterly love at the next. Natasha Hamilton was a suitably scheming and false Julia Fleshman, appearing so unreal and “plastic” next to the rest of the cast.

Grab yourself a ticket for this outstanding show, which will make you laugh out loud and empathise with the characters, but most importantly of all it will remind you to love who you are.

Lisa Burger appointed new Chair of Lyric Hammersmith Board

Lisa Burger appointed Chair of the
Lyric Hammersmith Board

The Lyric Hammersmith today announces that Lisa Burger, Executive Director at the National Theatre, will succeed Sir William Atkinson as Chair of its Board. Lisa will take over from Sir William Atkinson on 30 January 2018.

Lisa Burger will work closely with Lyric’s Artistic Director Sean Holmes and Executive Director Sian Alexander in achieving the organisation’s mission to produce the highest quality contemporary theatre, alongside nurturing the creativity of young people.

Sian Alexander said, ‘Lisa has been a brilliant trustee of the Lyric for the past five years and we are thrilled that she is now stepping up to become our new Chair. She shares our dual passions for bold, adventurous work and nurturing the next generation of theatre makers. We look forward to her leadership and working
alongside her to realise our joint vision for the Lyric.’

Lisa Burger said, ‘The Lyric has a bold and clear vision to produce the highest quality theatre alongside nurturing the creativity of young people and developing pathways into theatre for young talent from all backgrounds. The Lyric’s work in this area is vital and inspiring and it will be a privilege, as well as a personal pleasure, to work with Sean Holmes and Sian Alexander and the Lyric’s cracking team.’

Lisa Burger took on the role of leading the National Theatre alongside Director Rufus Norris in 2015. Lisa has previously worked at the Royal Opera House and the National Gallery Company and joined the National Theatre in 2001 as Finance Director. She worked closely with Nick Hytner and Nick Starr in their
Executive team as Chief Operating Officer and led on a range of strategic projects including the £80m NT Future refurbishment, feasibility work on NT Live and co-production of War Horse with the National Theatre of China. As a Director of National Theatre Productions she plays a key role in the NT’s commercial productions. She was formerly Treasurer of Shape Arts.

Springtime Treats For All The Family At Storyhouse



Family entertainment at Storyhouse


Storyhouse has revealed its exciting programme of children’s shows for the new Spring Season 2018 – promising plenty of fun for all the family at the Chester theatre.

With four fantastic shows, written and produced specifically for children, there’s no excuse for youngsters to be bored during the half-term break or the coming months.

The first show to take to the stage this season is Captain Flinn & The Pirate Dinosaurs 2: The Magic Cutlass on Tuesday 20 February.

Based on the best-selling children’s books, Flinn, Pearl and Tom are in the middle of their school play when their old nemesis, Mr T the T-Rex, appears and kidnaps them, forcing the children to hunt for the secretive Magic Cutlass – a sword that grants the holder any wish.

Young fans of dinosaurs have a real treat to look forward to on Saturday 7 April and Sunday 8 April when Dinosaur World Live comes to Storyhouse.

Dare to experience the dangers and delights of the dinosaur world with this incredible interactive show. Youngsters are invited to join an intrepid explorer across unchartered territories to discover a pre-historic world of astonishing (and remarkably life-like) dinosaurs. Meet a host of impressive creatures, including every child’s favourite flesh-eating giant the Tyrannosaurus Rex, a Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Microraptor and Stegosaurus.

Dino fans can meet their favourites during a special meet and greet after the Dinosaur World Liveperformances.

The mischievous and hilarious Gangsta Granny takes to the Storyhouse stage during the Easter Holidays, on Wednesday 11 April and Saturday 14 April.

Based on the books by the best-selling children’s author David Walliams, Gangsta Granny and her grandson Ben are about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime together. This award-winning West End production is brought to stage by the acclaimed producers of Horrible Histories.

Fans of dance and music are also catered for. Motionhouse: Charge tells the incredible story of energy in our bodies, for one night only on Tuesday 6 February. The show sees six performers use dance and acrobatics in a multi-media show, creating a unique collaboration between art and science.

World music group Kabantu return to Storyhouse on Wednesday 21 February. After proving to be a big hit at the Chester venue last June, the quintet perform as part of their Debut Album Tour, which has been produced by Mercury Prize nominated Gerry Diver.

Storyhouse Artistic Director Alex Clifton said: “We are thrilled to present such a varied and exciting programme for families over the coming months. Following the success of our Christmas show, The Secret Seven, we want to continue to engage families and young people as much as possible. Whether that’s seeing a show in the theatre or creating something together in the children’s library.”


Storyhouse is also producing its annual WayWord half-term festival between 17 and 24 February. The week-long festival is dedicated to families and young people, and features Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, silent discos, stand-up comedy for kids, a raft of workshops, tea-time movies, and free and crafts.   

Tickets for all events are on sale now and can be booked online, over the phone, or in person in the theatre.

Storyhouse has a dynamic pricing policy on the majority of shows, ensuring the earlier you book your tickets, guarantees the best seats at the lowest price.



Twitter:           @StoryhouseLive



Tuesday 6 February
TIME: 7:30pm

TICKETS: £16.50 – £25.50



DATE: Tuesday 20 February

TIME: 1:30pm

TICKETS: Adults £11.50 / Under 16 £9.50 / Family £38

DATE: Wednesday 21 February
TIME: 7:30pm

TICKETS: £16 / Under 26 £12

DATE: Saturday 7 April – Sunday 8 April

TIME: Saturday 2pm & 4.30pm / Sunday 11am and 2pm

TICKETS: £14.50


DATE: Wednesday 11 April – Saturday 14 April

TIME: Each evening at 7pm / Matinees on Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 2pm

TICKETS: Adults £20.50 – £22.50 / Children £16.50 – £17.50


DATE: Saturday 17 February – Saturday 24 February


TICKETS: From £4


Online:            Visit

By Phone:       Call 01244 409 113

In person:       Visit the Ticket Kiosks At Storyhouse, Hunter Street, Chester, CH1 2AR

Visit Chester Visitor Information Centre.