Kes Review

Leeds Playhouse – until Saturday 16th February 2019

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Barry Hines’ Kes returns to the Leeds Playhouse and marks 2019, an exciting year for the theatre amid the anticipated return to the main building later on in the year after the extensive renovation. Kes makes a return visit after its 2016 run and it is 50 years this year that Ken Loach’s popular film was released. The film and its adaptation has had a massive impact on many people since then.

Kes tells the story about Billy Casper, a teenager from a working-class background in Yorkshire, who rears a kestrel and this is viewed an escapism from the harsh and adverse reality of inequality and hopelessness as far as society and opportunities are concerned.

Robert Alan Evans adapts this production on stage and Max Johns’ staging is cleverly arranged with furniture of chairs, household appliances and buildings’ objects as a background. The stage isn’t cluttered whatsoever and this enables maximum focus and attention on the performance.

Under the direction of Martin Leonard, this production is a two cast performance with Billy (Lucas Button) and the man (Jack Lord) who plays the multiple characters and also acts as a mediator and narrator for Billy. It appears odd at the beginning why there aren’t more actors playing the story’s characters. It is a bold move for this story to be narrated in a simplest and direct way as possible and this certainly aligns the spirit of Hines’ honest writing style and personality. It proves that adaptations aren’t limited just to recreating to what has previously been created.

Button and Lord both give a thorough, emotive and powerful performance and one could feel for Billy and his unfortunate environment he lives in and that he finds hope and solace in a kestrel he loved and cared for. Kes is only a short production of just over an hour but it is packed with content and emotions and none of Hines’ text is abridged and compromised whatsoever. It is certainly a production to go and see, be moved, and be aware of what social inequalities many people face and how many yearn for a better future through imagination and creativity.

Stephen Tompkinson to star in Educating Rita






David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and Theatre by the Lake are delighted to announce that a major new stage production of Willy Russell’s EDUCATING RITA will tour the UK in 2019. Starring Stephen Tompkinson as Frank, and introducing Jessica Johnson as Rita, the play will be directed by Max Roberts.

EDUCATING RITA will open at Theatre by the Lake, Keswick on 18 April, with a national press night on Tuesday 23 April. The play will then visit The Lowry in Salford, Bradford’s Alhambra Theatre, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Theatre Clwyd in Mold, Bath Theatre Royal, Salisbury Playhouse, Exeter Northcott, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, Wolverhampton Grand, Theatre Royal Wakefield, and Sheffield Lyceum. Further venues to be announced.

EDUCATING RITA tells the story of married hairdresser Rita, who enrols on an Open University course to expand her horizons, and her encounters with university tutor Frank. Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drinker, who is less than enthusiastic about teaching Rita. However, Frank soon finds that his passion for literature is reignited by Rita, whose technical ability for the subject is limited by her lack of education, but whose enthusiasm Frank finds refreshing. The two soon realise how much they have to learn from each other.

The play was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and played at the Warehouse Theatre, London in 1980, starring Julie Walters and Mark Kingston. Julie Walters reprised her role in the BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning film opposite Michael Caine.

Born in Liverpool in 1947, Willy Russell left school at 15 and became a women’s hairdresser and part-time singer/songwriter before returning to education to retrain as a teacher. Russell’s other writing credits include the Olivier Award-winning musical Blood Brothers, and the hugely successful play Shirley Valentine, which won the Olivier Awards for Best New Comedy and Best New Actress, and a  Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play. The play was adapted for film and nominated for a host of BAFTA and Academy Awards. Willy Russell continues to be one of the most celebrated writers of his generation with works constantly in production throughout the world as well as in the UK.

Stephen Tompkinson’s television credits include ITV’s Torvill & Dean, BBC’s The Split, 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 and A Christmas Carol (Old Vic), Art and Tartuffe (National Tours). 

Jessica Johnson’s theatre credits include Call Me Mary Poppins, Goth WeekendKings and Queens, Each Piece and Anti-Gravity at the Live Theatre, Newcastle. She previously played Rita in Rebecca Frecknall’s 2017 production of Educating Rita at the Gala Theatre, Durham. Her television credits include Wire In The Blood (ITV), Coronation Street (ITV) and Cuckoo (Channel 4).

Max Roberts is Emeritus Artistic Director of Newcastle’s Live Theatre. Under his direction, the Live Theatre has become one of the country’s most successful theatre companies with an outstanding reputation for developing new work. His Olivier Award-nominated production of Lee Hall’s Cooking With Elvis transferred to the West End’s Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) before touring nationally. He also directed The Pitman Painters, which transferred to the National Theatre and won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards before opening on Broadway.

EDUCATING RITA will have set and costume designs by Patrick Connellan, lighting design by Drummond Orr and sound design by David Flynn.

EDUCATING RITA is produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers, and co-produced by Theatre by the Lake.



18 April – 27 April                    Theatre by the Lake, Keswick                        017687 74411


30 April – 4 May                      The Lowry, Salford                                         0843 208 6000


6 May – 11 May                      Alhambra Theatre, Bradford                           01274 432 000


13 May – 18 May                    Nottingham Theatre Royal                             0115 989 5555


20 May – 1 June                     Theatr Clwyd, Mold                                        01352 701 521


3 June – 8 June                      Theatre Royal, Bath                                        01225 448 844


17 June – 22 June                  Salisbury Playhouse                                       01722 320 333


24 June – 29 June                  Exeter Northcott Theatre                                01392 726 363


2 July – 6 July                         Eden Court Theatre, Inverness                      01463 234 234


8 July – 13 July                       Wolverhampton Grand Theatre                      01902 429 212


15 July – 20 July                     Theatre Royal Wakefield                                01924 211 311

                                                        On sale 18 February

22 July – 27 July                     Sheffield Lyceum Theatre                              0114 249 6000

                                                                On sale soon

Further venues to be announced

Full casting announced for Theatre Royal Bath’s in-house productions for Spring 2019



Theatre Royal Bath Productions today announces full casting for its 2019 Spring Season in-house productions in the Main House, opening next month with Noël Coward’s A Song at Twilight followed by Marie Jones’ award-winning comedy Stones in His Pockets, in a co-production with Rose Theatre Productions. Simon Callow, Jane Asher, Jessica Turner and Ash Rizi will star in A Song at Twilight directed by Stephen Unwin running in Bath from 13 to 23 February with opening night for press on 20 February and then touring the UK through to mid-April. Stones in His Pockets will preview in Kingston from 28 February and open in Bath in March, ahead of a national tour running through the summer, starring Owen Sharpe and Kevin Trainor and directed byLindsay Posner.


Wednesday 13 February – Saturday 23 February

Stephen Unwin directs Noël Coward’s A Song At Twilight starring acclaimed British actorsSimon Callow, as ageing author Hugo Latymer, and Jane Asher, as his former mistress, actress Carlotta Gray. They are joined by Jessica Turner as Hilde, and Ash Rizi as Felix.

Bittersweet, hugely entertaining and full of sharp wit and repartee,  A Song at Twilight is about harbouring secrets and the regret of missed opportunities. Noël Coward himself made his farewell stage appearance playing the semi-autobiographical role of Sir Hugo in the West End production of the play in 1966.

World famous author Sir Hugo Latymer is growing old, rude and haughty. In the private suite of a lakeside hotel where he lives, he is attended to by his long-suffering wife and former secretary, Hilde, and Felix, a handsome young waiter. Here he nervously awaits the arrival of an old flame, actress Carlotta Gray, with whom he had a two-year love affair more than 40 years ago. What can she possibly want now? Revenge for his characterisation of her in his recent autobiography? Money to compensate for a second-rate acting career in the States? But Carlotta is writing her own memoir and wants something much more significant.

Jane Asher (Carlotta Gray) is highly regarded as one of the UK’s most accomplished actresses. Her recent stage credits include Great Expectations, An American in Paris, Pride and Prejudice, Charley’s Aunt and Moon Tiger. TV and films credits include Alfie, The Mistress, Dancing on the Edge, Holby City and The Old Guys.

Simon Callow (Hugo Latymer) is an acclaimed actor, writer and director, best-known for films including Amadeus, Four Weddings and Funeral, A Room With A View and Shakespeare in Love. Recent stage work includes Equus, Waiting For Godot, Shakespeare: The Man From Stratford. He returns to Bath where he previously starred in Noël Coward’s Present Laughter.

Ash Rizi’s (Felix) recent stage credits include East is East (Trafalgar Studios and UK Tour), Bifurcated (Southwark Playhouse) and Blood Wedding (Omnibus Theatre). He has been seen on screen in television series’ Luther, Drifters, Unforgotten, Silent Witness, Doctors, EastEnders and the feature film Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Jessica Turner (Hilde) most recently performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company in The Fantastic Follies of Mrs Rich. Other stage credits also include All My Sons (Rose Theatre, Watermill), The Second Mrs Tanqueray (Rose Theatre), Waste (Almeida) and King Lear (Old Vic). Jessica has also appeared on screen in Father Brown, Doctors, Midsomer Murders and Law & Order.

Stephen Unwin founded English Touring Theatre and was previously Artistic Director of Rose Theatre Kingston, Resident Director at the National Theatre Studio and Associate Director of the Traverse. Directing credits include The Real Thing, Moon Tiger and Present Laughter at Theatre Royal Bath, All Our Children, which he also wrote, at Jermyn Street Theatre, and Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Royal Opera House.

Following Bath, A Song at Twilight will tour to Guildford Yvonne Arnaud, Cambridge Arts Theatre, Windsor Theatre Royal, Rose Theatre Kingston, Malvern Theatre, Eastbourne Devonshire Park and Norwich Theatre Royal until mid-April.           

Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Rose Theatre Productions
Monday 11 – Saturday 16 March

This Spring, Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Rose Theatre Productions
present Marie Jones’ Olivier Award-winning comedy Stones in His Pockets directed by Lindsay Posner, one of the UK’s most renowned directors of comedy, who returns to Bath following the recent summer hit God of CarnageOwen Sharpe and Kevin Trainor will take on a multitude of characters in this hysterically funny, thought-provoking and witty play.

Stones in His Pockets has won numerous awards including the Olivier and Evening Standard Award for Best New Comedy, as well as three Tony nominations on Broadway. The play ran for four years in the West End and has since been performed around the world.

A small village in rural Ireland is turned upside down when a major Hollywood film studio descends to make a historical blockbuster on location. Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn are employed as extras along with numerous other locals. As cultures clash, it becomes clear that Tinseltown’s romanticised dream of Ireland is a long, long way from reality. Just two talented actors brilliantly bring to life a multitude of extraordinary characters, ranging from the spoilt American starlet to the English director and the village old timer.

Owen Sharpe’s most recent theatre credits include The Pillowman (Gaiety) and Love and Understanding (Theatre des Capucins), and previously The Glass Supper, Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards The Somme (Hampstead Theatre), 66 Books (Bush Theatre), Piaf (Vaudeville Theatre), Oliver Twist (Lyric Theatre), The Recruiting Officer (Garrick) and She Stoops to Conquer(National Theatre). TV includes Titanic and Doctors.

Kevin Trainor recently starred in An Octoroon at the National Theatre and Orange Tree. His previous stage credits include in Dauphin, D’Estivet (Lyric, Belfast), The Lovers of Viorne (Frontier Theatre) and Doctor Faustus (West Yorkshire Playhouse). Television appearances include Houdini and Doyle, Endeavour, Utopia, Vera and London Irish.

Lindsay Posner’s (Director) many acclaimed productions include Noises Off (The Old Vic), Curtains(Rose Theatre Kingston) and Abigail’s Party, Relatively Speaking and Hay Fever (West End).  He was Associate Director of the Royal Court Theatre from 1987 – 1992, where his production of Death and the Maiden won two Olivier Awards.

Stones in his Pockets previews at Rose Theatre, Kingston from 25 February to 9 March and will run at Theatre Royal Bath from 11 to 16 March, with opening night for press on 13 March. The production will then tour to Liverpool, Southampton, Edinburgh, Dublin, Belfast, Malvern, Mold, Eastbourne, Cambridge, Cardiff, Guildford and Nottingham through to July 2019 with further venues to be announced.


Theatre Royal Bath, Sawclose, Bath, BA1 1ET
Box Office: 01225 448844
Facebook: TheatreRoyalBath
Twitter: @TheatreRBath

A Song at Twilight
By Noel Coward
Directed by Stephen Unwin

Theatre Royal Bath

Dates: Wednesday 13 February – Saturday 23 February

Performance Schedule (week one): Wed – Sat 7.30pm, Matinee Sat 2.30pm
Performance Schedule (week two): Mon – Sat 7.30pm, Matinees Thu & Sat 2.30pm
Tickets: £23.50 – £39.50 (Preview Perfs and Mondays, all seats £15)

Stones in His Pockets
Presented by Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Rose Theatre Productions
By Marie Jones
Directed by Lindsay Posner

Rose Theatre Kingston
Dates: Thursday 28 February – Saturday 9 March
Performance Schedule: Mon-Thur & Sat 7.30pm, Fri 8pm, Matinees Sat 2.30pm and Thu 7 March 2.30pm
Tickets: £20 – £35 (concessions from £15)

Theatre Royal Bath 
Dates: Monday 11 March – Saturday 16 March

Performance Schedule: Mon – Wed 7.30pm, Matinees Wed & Sat 2.30pm
Tickets: £20.50 – £36.50 (Preview Perfs and Mondays, all seats £15)




English Touring Theatre and Papatango present

The Funeral Director
By Iman Qureshi 

UK tour: 7 – 30 March 2019

Director: Hannah Hauer-King;Designer: Amy Jane Cook; Lighting Designer: Jack Weir

Sound Designer: Max Pappenheim

English Touring Theatre and Papatango today announce the full cast for the UK tour of Iman Qureshi’s The Funeral Director,an exploration of a gay Muslim woman coming to terms with her identity. Hannah Hauer-King directs Edward Stone (Tom), Assad Zaman (Zeyd) and Francesca Zoutewelle (Janey), joining returning cast member Aryana Ramkhalawon (Ayesha). Winner of Papatango’s 10th annual New Writing Prize from 1,384 entries, the original production was premièred by Papatango at Southwark Playhouse and now embarks on a UK tour in a co-production with ETT to Traverse TheatreNottingham PlayhouseThe North Wall and HOME Manchester in Spring 2019.

“I just thought it would be a secret I’d have to die with. And now – I think it’ll be what kills me.”

Life as the director of a Muslim funeral parlour isn’t always easy, but Ayesha has things pretty sorted. She and Zeyd share everything: a marriage, a business, a future.

Until Tom walks in to organise his boyfriend’s funeral. A snap moral decision, informed by the values of Ayesha’s community and faith, has profound consequences.

Forced to confront a secret she has hidden even from herself, Ayesha must decide who she is – no matter the cost.

The Funeral Director is an incisive and heartfelt story of sexuality, gender and religion in 21st-century Britain.

Iman Qureshi made her full-length debut with The Funeral Director. She has had short plays or limited runs commissioned or produced by Tamasha, Kalí Theatre, Purple Moon Drama and the BBC. As a member of Tamasha Playwrights and Soho Theatre’s Writers Lab her short play His and Hers was produced as part of Tamasha’s New Muslim Voices. Qureshi has also written for the Guardian, Independent, Time Out and the Huffington Post and been writer-in-residence at various schools. She was shortlisted for the Muslim Writer’s Award in 2011 and the Tony Craze Award in 2017.

Aryana Ramkhalawon reprises the role ofAyesha.Her other theatre credits include The TempestSwallows and Amazons and Much Ado About Nothing (Storyhouse/Grosvenor Park Rep Company), The Secret Seven(Storyhouse), The Hijabi Monologues (Bush Theatre), DevikaOde to Leeds (Leeds Playhouse), Glasgow Girls(National Theatre of Scotland/UK tour), Princess Scintilla (Nuffield Southampton Theatres), The Secret Garden(Royal Alexandra Theatre Toronto/Royal Festival Theatre Edinburgh), Twelve Kali Theatre(Watermans/Birmingham MAC/Rich Mix), Half and Half (Welsh Millennium Centre) and The Rose and Bulbul(Kaddam/Pulse Connects).Television credits include Waterloo RoadLawless – Drama MattersCrime StoriesBollywood Carmen and Jamillah and Aladdin.

Edward Stone plays Tom.His theatre credits include Outside (Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Julius Caesar (Bristol Old Vic) and All Quiet on the Western Front (Soho Playhouse, New York).

Assad Zaman plays Zeyd. His theatre credits include White Teeth (Kiln Theatre), Coriolanus (RSC/Barbican), Salome (RSC), Arms and the Man (Watford Palace Theatre), A Midsummer Night¹s Dream (New Wolsey Theatre), East is East (UK tour), Behind the Beautiful Forevers (National Theatre), Beats NorthGrimm Tales (Northern Stage) and Tyne (Live Theatre/Theatre Royal Newcastle). His television credits include VeraApple Tree Yard and Cucumber.

Francesca Zoutewelle plays Janey. Her credits for English Touring Theatre include Twelfth Night (a co-production with Flute Theatre) and Hamlet (Arcola Theatre, in a co-production with Flute Theatre). Other theatre credits include Callisto: A Queer Epic (Arcola Theatre), Into the Woods, Britannia Wave the Rules (Royal Exchange Theatre), The Last Days of Troy (Shakespeare’s Globe/Royal Exchange Theatre) and Merlin (Royal & Derngate Northampton). For film her credits include The Head Hunter and Mr Turner.

Hannah Hauer-King directs. She is the Artistic Director and co-founder of all-female theatre company Damsel Productions. Hauer-King started her London directing career acting as Resident AD at Soho Theatre in 2014. She now works as a freelance theatre director, alongside directing for Damsel Productions, and as a theatre, comedy and cabaret programmer for Fane Productions. Recent productions include Fabric (Soho Theatre), The Swell (Hightide Festival), Grotty and Breathe (Bunker Theatre), Fury and Brute (Soho Theatre), Clay (Pleasance Theatre), Dry Land (Jermyn Street Theatre), Witt ‘n Camp (Assembly Studios, Edinburgh Fringe) andHypernormal (Vaults Festival). Associate/Assistant work includes Romeo & Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Radiant Vermin (Soho Theatre) and Daytona (Theatre Royal Haymarket).

Tour Dates

Traverse Theatre 

7 – 9 March 2019

Box Office: 0131 228 1404 /

Nottingham Playhouse 

14 – 16March 2019

Box Office: 0115 941 9419 /

The North Wall 

21 March 2019

Box Office: 01865 319450 /

HOME Manchester 

27 – 30March 2019

Box Office: 0161 200 1500 /




Deafinitely Theatre and Birmingham Stage Company present

The World Première of

Horrible Histories – Dreadful Deaf – Deafinitely not for the faint-hearted!

Director: Paula Garfield; Designer: Paul Burgess; Lighting Designer: Joe Hornsby

Composer and Sound Designer: Chris Bartholomew

On tour: 29 May – 23 June 2019

Deafinitely Theatre and Birmingham Stage Company today announce the world première Horrible Histories – Dreadful Deaf – Deafinitely not for the faint-hearted!. The Birmingham Stage Company have produced Horrible Histories live on stage across the UK and throughout the world since 2005 and have now teamed up with Deafinitely Theatre to create the first dedicated production for deaf children and their families.

Artistic Director of Deafinitely Theatre, Paula Garfield, directs, re-uniting her creative team from Deafinitely’s sell-out production of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis in 2018.

Dreadful Deaf has a special school’s performance at Heathlands School in St Albans on 24 May before opening at Bristol Old Vic Theatre on Monday 29 May. The show then tours to York Theatre Royal and The North Wall in Oxford before completing its run at Derby Theatre on Saturday23 June. Further dates and casting will be announced soon.

We all want to meet people from history. The trouble is everyone is deaf dead!

So it’s time to prepare yourselves for Horrible Histories live on stage as it delves into the dreadful, dangerous and deluded stories of the deaf! From groovy Greeks to gorgeous Georgians, ruthless Romans to vile Victorians, come with us into this incredible world to discover the extraordinary people and amazing stories you simply won’t believe!

Deaf or hearing, this bilingual production – in spoken English and British Sign Language – is a truly frightful treat for all the family!

Director, Paula Garfield said today, “A few years ago I watched my deaf children reading and enjoying Horrible Histories and I was struck by the thought that it would be wonderful for them to have a ‘Deaf Horrible Histories’, showcasing the stories, culture and communities of deaf people throughout history. I also wanted to ensure that deaf children today, whether signing or non-signing, can understand the history of their community and feel a sense of belonging and legacy. Horrible Histories is a fun, exciting way to learn and our bilingual production is designed for all to enjoy. I am delighted to be collaborating with Birmingham Stage Company to create this world-first production: Horrible Histories – Dreadful Deaf!”

Actor/Manager Neal Foster said today, “When Deafinitely Theatre approached me with their idea of creating a new show specifically for deaf children I jumped at the chance. One of the joys of creating Horrible Histories stage shows is going through the learning experience yourself, so not only did I think this was a fantastic idea for a show, but I was also excited to learn the history of deaf people through the lens of Horrible Histories. It’s proved to be as exciting as I first imagined and we can’t wait to share the show with deaf and hearing people – it’s a fascinating subject for theatre.”

About Deafinitely Theatre

Deafinitely Theatre is the UK’s first professional deaf-launched and led theatre company, creating bilingual productions of classic and contemporary plays for deaf and hearing audiences that combine the visual storytelling of British Sign Language with the immediacy of spoken English.

Established in 2002, the company’s vision is a world where deaf people are a valued part of the national theatre landscape, recognised for the excellence of their work. Deafinitely challenges barriers to training and opportunities, working hard to nurture the next generation of deaf theatre makers and audiences through its continuing programme of productions, consultancy work and education and training activities for young people and adults.

The company’s most recent productions include 2018’s sold-out run of 4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane at New Diorama Theatre and Derby Theatre and 2017’s award-winning production of Contractions by Mike Bartlett at ND2 (New Diorama Theatre) – winner of the 2018 Off West End Award for Best Production.

About Birmingham Stage Company

Birmingham Stage Company is the award-winning producers of David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie. The company produce all the Horrible Histories shows live on stage including the West End productions of Barmy Britain. The company also performs internationally, including David Almond’s Skellig on Broadway, and Horrible Histories at The Sydney Opera House.

Neal Foster is Actor/Manager of Birmingham Stage Company which since its foundation in 1992 has staged over eighty productions. The company has become one of the world’s leading producers of theatre for children and their families, including Horrible Histories Live on Stage for thirteen years in the UK, Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia. Foster has written and directed all of the most recentHorrible Histories shows including Barmy Britain – Parts One, Two, Three & Four (Garrick Theatre, Apollo Theatre and Sydney Opera House); Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders for a national tour and Wicked Warwick at Warwick Castle. His first fictional adaptation was David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny,which transferred to the Garrick Theatre and then the Harold Pinter Theatre and was nominated for a Best Entertainment and Family Olivier Award.  His adaptation of David Walliams’ Awful Auntie enjoyed an 18 month national tour and his next David Walliams’ show will be Billionaire Boy in autumn 2019.

This production is made possible by the generous support of:

Arts Council Strategic Touring Fund, Autograph Sound Recording, Edwardian Hotels London, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Old Diorama Arts Centre and White Light Ltd.

Dreadful Deaf – Deafinitely not for the faint-hearted                                                                     Listings

On tour: 29 May – 23 June 2019      

Twitter:                @DeafinitelyT

Facebook:           deafinitelytheatre

Dreadful Deaf – Deafinitely not for the faint-hearted is suitable for ages 5+

Tour Dates

Bristol Old Vic

29 May – 1 June

Box Office: 0117 987 7877

Tickets go on sale to priority members on 30 January and general sale on 31 January

York Theatre Royal

7 June – 8 June

Box Office: 01904 623 568

The North Wall

18 June

Box Office: 01865 319 450

Derby Theatre

22 June – 23 June

Box Office: 01332 59 39 39






Winner of Best Fringe Theatre in the 2019 Stage Awards, The Barn Theatre is delighted to present its line-up of five in-house productions for the upcoming 2019 Season, including one of Michael Morpurgo’s finest works, The Butterfly LionWilliam Shakespeare’s classic history, Henry V, a brand new production of the comic thriller, The 39 Steps, the award-winning musical Daddy Long Legs and a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ festive masterpiece, A Christmas Carol.

Following an amazingly successful inaugural year when Artistic Director, Iwan Lewis, was nominated for the 2018 Stage Debut Award before the theatre’s win for Best Fringe Theatre Award, The Barn is looking to build on that success by once again providing its audience with a mix of challenging, entertaining and topical themes.

Iwan LewisArtistic Director said, “We have been absolutely thrilled by the audience response to our inaugural year and our Built By Barn productions. We did not expect to have had such positive industry recognition so soon after opening our doors to the public. It was humbling to have been nominated as Best Director at the Stage Debut Awards but winning The Stage Award for Best Fringe Theatre is truly unbelievable and has made all the hard work worthwhile. This is still the start of our journey and we are determined to use these achievements to catapult us into our 2019 season.

Our mission to produce challenging and inspiring professional theatre of the highest standards has been clear from the start and our 2019 programme will again reflect that commitment and provide a theatre that sits at the heart of our community sharing all the thrills and gifts that live entertainment can bring. Our new ticketing strategy mirrors this desire for inclusion and with prices starting from as little as £8 per ticket, The Barn really is a Theatre For All.”

Opening the new season in April is The Butterfly Lion by the acclaimed writer and former Children’s Laureate Michael Morpurgo (War HorsePrivate PeacefulRunning Wild). This heart-warming yet bittersweet story of faithfulness, destiny and love tells the tale of a lonely boy in South Africa who adopts an orphaned white lion cub.

In May, The Barn Theatre takes on a Shakespeare classic, Henry VSet in modern surroundings, this timeless tale is cleverly brought up to date and explores the conflict between tradition and modernity in Britain through the lens of a nation at war.

A cast of four deftly take on a Hitchcock classic, The 39 Steps, in a wonderfully inventive comic thriller parody adaptation of John Buchan‘s 1915 novel for their Summer production in July. 139 roles are played out in a fast-paced, fun and thrilling action hitting show full of British gung-ho characters and dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women.

The Autumn season opens with the theatre’s first stage musical for 2019, the award winning Daddy Long LegsThe show is based on the classic novel by Jean Webster that inspired the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire. The musical, with music and lyrics by Paul Gordon and a book by John Caird, is set in turn-of-the-century New England and tells the story of orphan Jerusha Abbott and her mysterious benefactor who agrees to send her to college, who she dubs ‘Daddy Long Legs’ after seeing his elongated shadow.

A Christmas Carol closes the year with a magical new interpretation of Dickens’ timeless classic by Alan Pollock that will get everyone, including Scrooge, in the festive mood. Set to an original score, the familiar tale is reworked into a spellbinding tale that stays true to the general moral thread of the original story.

Box Office (Phone): 01285 648 255 (10am-5.30pm, Mon to Sat)

Box Office (Online): [email protected]


Twitter: @thebarntheatre

Facebook: @thebarntheatrecirencester

Instagram: @thebarntheatrecirencester

The Butterfly Lion

Tuesday 2 April – Saturday 4 May 2019

Written by Michael Morpurgo

Adapted by Daniel Buckroyd

Directed by Jessica Daniels

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30

Henry V

Wednesday 22 May – Saturday 22June 2019

Written by William Shakespeare

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30

The 39 Steps

Wednesday 10 July – Saturday 10 August 2019

Written by John Buchan

Adapted by Patrick Barlow

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30

Daddy Long Legs – The Musical

Wednesday 2 October – Saturday 2 November 2019

Book by John Caird

Music & Lyrics by Paul Gordon

Directed by Kirstie Davies

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30

A Christmas Carol

Wednesday 27 November – Saturday 4 January 2020

Written by Charles Dickens

Adapted by Alan Pollock

Directed by Iwan Lewis

Performance Times: 10.30/13.00/14.30/17.30/

(See full Christmas schedule for variety of performance times)

Lesley Joseph to play ‘Miss Hannigan’ in ANNIE







Michael Harrison and David Ian are delighted to announce that Lesley Joseph will star as ‘Miss Hannigan’ in their smash hit production of the musical “ANNIE” at His Majesty’s Theatre Aberdeen (24 – 28 September 2019),Edinburgh Playhouse (30 September – 5 October 2019), Sunderland Empire (7 – 12 October 2019), Marlowe Theatre Canterbury (14 – 19 October 2019), The Hawth Crawley (22 – 26 October 2019) Grand Opera House Belfast (29 October – 2 November 2019), Ipswich Regent’s Theatre (4 – 9 November 2019) New Wimbledon Theatre (11 – 16 November 2019) and Regent’s Theatre Stoke on Trent (18 – 23 November 2019).

Lesley joins Alex Bourne as ‘Oliver Warbucks’, Richard Meek as ‘Rooster’, Jenny Gayner as ‘Lily’ and Carolyn Maitland as ‘Grace Farrell’. The title role of ‘Annie’ is shared by Faye KatsandeAva Smith and Freya Yates. They are joined by three teams of young performers who play the girls in Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. 

Completing the cast will be Michael Anderson, Thomas Audibert, Andy Barke, Caroline Bateson, Daisy Boyles, Blaise Colangelo, Gary Davis, Ashleigh Graham, George Rae, Anne Smith, India Thornton, Matt Trevorrow, Amy West and Samuel Wilson Freeman

This production recently ran for an extended season in the West End following a sell-out tour of the UK and Ireland in 2015/16 as well as a recent sell-out season in Toronto.

Lesley Joseph returns to role of ‘Miss Hannigan’ having played the part in this production in 2015/16. Lesley is best known for playing ‘Dorien Green’ in the hugely successful sitcom “Birds of a Feather” alongside Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson. They recorded over 100 episodes over a period of nine years and returned to our screens in 2014 for a further three series. Lesley most recently appeared as ‘Frau Blucher’ in the West End production of the Mel Brooks musical “Young Frankenstein” for which she received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Her other theatre credits include ‘Miss Hannigan’ in “Annie” at the West End’s Victoria Palace and also on national tour as well as the touring productions of “Calendar Girls” and “Thoroughly Modern Mille”. 

Alex Bourne reprises his performance as ‘Oliver Warbucks’ after playing the role in this  production of “Annie” in the West End, Toronto and on the 2015/16 tour. His many other West End credits include ‘Danny’ in “Grease”, ‘The Beast’ in “Beauty and the Beast”, ‘Billy Flynn’ in “Chicago”, ‘Khashoggi’ in “We Will Rock You” and ‘Fred/Petruchio’ in “Kiss Me, Kate” for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical. His other credits include ‘Daryl Van Horne’ in “The Witches of Eastwick” and the Watermill Theatre, for which he received a TMA nomination for Best Actor, ‘Sam Michael’ in the national tour of “Mamma Mia!” and ‘Lex Hogan’ in “Eugenius!” at the Other Palace.

Richard Meek’s many credits include ‘Trevor Graydon’ in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, ‘Brad’, ‘Eddie’ and ‘Dr Scott’ in “The Rocky Horror Show” and ‘Sir Galahad’ in “Spamalot”, all on national tour. He has also appeared as ‘Leo Bloom’ in the international tour of “The Producers” as well as ‘Dustin’ and ‘Greaseball’ in the 25th anniversary cast of “Starlight Express” in Bochum, Germany.

Jenny Gayner’s West End credits include ‘Miss Wilson’ in the original cast of “The Girls” at the Phoenix Theatre, ‘Hunyak’ in “Chicago” at the Adelphi, Cambridge and Garrick theatres and “Spamalot” at the Palace Theatre. Jenny has also appeared as ‘Lina Lamont’ in “Singin’ in the Rain” and ‘Brooke Windham’ in “Legally Blonde”, both at Kilworth House.

Carolyn Maitland reprises her performance as ‘Grace Farrell’ after playing the role in this production of “Annie” in Toronto. Her West End credits include ‘Ellen’ in “Miss Saigon” at the Prince Edward Theatre, ‘Marian’ in “The Woman in White” at the Charing Cross Theatre and “Groundhog Day” and “Kiss Me, Kate”, both at the Old Vic. Her other credits include ‘Molly’ in the national tour of “Ghost” and ‘Kathy Seldon’ in “Singin’ in the Rain” at Kilworth House. 

Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery and torment at Miss Hannigan’s orphanage. Determined to find her real parents, her luck changes when she is chosen to spend Christmas at the residence of famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie’s search…

With its award-winning book and score, this stunning new production includes the unforgettable songs ‘It’s the Hard Knock Life’, ‘Easy Street’, ‘I Don’t Need Anything But You’ and ‘Tomorrow’.

“ANNIE” has Music by Charles Strouse, Lyrics by Martin Charnin and a Book by Thomas Meehan. “ANNIE” is directed by Nikolai Foster with set and costume design by Colin Richmond, choreography by Nick Winston, lighting by Ben Cracknell and sound design by Richard Brooker. “ANNIE” is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian.

Rebecca Trehearn to star in Stephen Schwartz musical RAGS







Katy Lipson of Aria Entertainment and Joseph Houston and William Whelton of Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester are delighted to announce Olivier Award-winning actress Rebecca Trehearn will star as Rebecca in the UK premiere of a new version of the Stephen Schwartz musical RAGS from 2 March – 6 April, with a national press night on 5 March.

Rebecca Trehearn most recently played Charity in Sweet Charity (Nottingham Playhouse) and Julie LaVerne in Showboat (Sheffield Crucible and West End), for which she won the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical. Her other notable credits include Oolie/Donna in City of Angels(Donmar Warehouse) opposite Katherine Kelly and Samantha Barks, Molly in Ghost (UK tour, cover Molly at Piccadilly Theatre), Fantine in Les Misérables(Pimlico Opera), 1st cover Killer Queen and Meat in We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Marcy in Dogfight and Charlotte Goetze in Diary of a Teenage Girl (Southwark Playhouse).

Also in the cast are Valda Aviks as Rachel, Gavin James as Bronfman, Sam Peggs as Ben, Jane Quinn as Anna, Michael S. Siegel as Avram, Robert Tripolino as Sal, Tim Walton as Jacob (Jack) and Lydia White as Bella. Sharing the role of David are Lochlan White and George Varley. Completing the cast are James Dangerfield, Emma Fraser, James Hastings and Hanna Khogali.

RAGS is a heart-warming and powerful musical with book by Joseph Stein (Fiddler on the Roof), lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked) and music by Charles Strouse (Annie), which tells the story of Russian immigrant Rebecca, who, with her son David, travels to America in search of a better life. Rebecca must decide what matters more to her – staying true to her roots or adopting a new cultural identity in an attempt to ‘fit in’.  

RAGS will be directed by Bronagh Lagan with musical direction and new orchestrations by Nick Barstow, choreography by Grant Murphy, set design by Gregor Donnelly, costume design by Maggie Harwood, lighting design by Derek Anderson, sound design by James Nicholson and casting by Jane Deitch. RAGS is produced by Katy Lipson for Aria Entertainment, Hope Mill Theatre in association with Knockhardy Productions and is presented by arrangement with MTI Europe.



2 March – 6 April 2019

Hope Mill Theatre

Hope Mill
113 Pollard Street
M4 7JA

Box Office:  0333 012 4963

Tickets: £18 – £28 (Previews £16) Premium tickets available

Tue-Sat 7.30pm, Wed & Sat 2.30pm, Sun 3pm

@hopemilltheatr1 / @HopeAria2019

John Malkovich to make first West End Appearance in almost 30 years in Bitter Wheat, a new play by David Mamet








Performances begin Friday 7 June: Garrick Theatre

The multi award-winning John Malkovich returns to the West End stage after nearly 30 years to play Barney Fein, a top dog Hollywood producer in Bitter Wheata new play by the legendary author, director and playwright David Mamet.  It will preview at the Garrick Theatre on Friday 7 June 2019 with a press night on Wednesday 19 June 2019 and will be directed by Mamet. 

Malkovich, one of the world’s most revered actors, is best known for his many films including Dangerous LiaisonsBeing John MalkovichCon Air and Mulholland Drive. He recently received widespread critical acclaim playing Hercule Poirot in a new BBC TV Agatha Christie adaptation. 

The Pulitzer prize winning David Mamet has written some of the most iconic plays of the last 50 years includingSexual Perversity in Chicago, American Buffalo, Glengarry Glen Ross, Speed-the-Plow, and Oleanna.

Doon Mackichan, who is well known for her extensive TV work which includes creating and starring in the hit comedy series Smack the Pony for Channel 4, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, Plebs for ITV2 andTwo Doors Down for the BBC, will play Barney Fein’s assistant, Sondra.         

Ioanna Kimbook will make her debut theatre performance in Bitter Wheat as Yung Kim Li. Further casting is to be announced.

Hollywood is a hell hole.

Everything in Hollywood is for sale except the awards, which are for rent.

Bitter Wheat is a play about a depraved Hollywood mogul. It rips the pashmina off the suppurating wound which is show business, and leaves us better human beings, and fitter to once more confront the horror of life.

Our hero, Barney Fein, is a bloated monster- a studio head, who, like his predecessor, the minotaur, devours the young he has lured to his cave.

His fall from power to shame is a mythic journey which has been compared to The Odyssey by people who claim to have read that book.

A new play starring John Malkovich, written and directed by David Mamet in a good mood.

Funnier than The Iceman Cometh, more chaos than Richard III, and without all the stupid, so-called ‘poetry’.

Money, sex, power, you only need one of them to see Bitter Wheat – at the Garrick.

Joining Mamet on the creative team are designer Christopher Oram and lighting designer Neil Austin.

Bitter Wheat is produced by Jeffrey Richards and Smith & Brant Theatricals.

For more information, please see

Welcome to the UK

Bunker Theatre – until 16 February 2019

Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Borderline’s follow up to their satire of the Calais Jungle focuses on what happens once refugees have arrived in the UK. The labyrinthine and sometimes farcical process of applying for refugee status is portrayed as a slightly seedy end of pier funfair, overseen by a jovial announcer who answers to the accordion-playing UK (think Theresa May after a few too many gins). Director Sophie NL Besse guides the multinational cast through a series of skits and songs that are a little hit and miss, but the energy and enthusiasm of the cast make any missteps perfectly forgivable.

As a Syrian man sits staring at his phone, waiting for confirmation of his status so that he can send for his wife and child, the other inhabitants of the funfair cavort about, working hard at multiple jobs while preserving the idea that they can survive on the generous £5 a day the state gives them. A gay Iranian runs into trouble over being initially fingerprinted in Hungary, a young Gambian woman enters the country believing she will have an idyllic life with a new husband, only to be locked in the “haunted house” with exclusively male customers. Prowling the funfair is reporter “Katie” twisting facts and drumming up anti-immigrant feeling with vile words. The fact that she can’t say “Europe” without gagging is a hoot.

The cast teaching each other English through Shakespeare and dancing with the Fairground staff are joyous moments, made better by the staff feebly protesting that they can’t join in as they are supposed to provide a hostile environment. Home Office interviews, Paperwork and the queue for a blue British passport are all lampooned with biting but exuberant humour, and the repeated portrayal of each stage in the process as a game of chance and risk is inspired.

A thought provoking and irresistibly charming show that highlights the talent and spirit of the people who risk everything to come to this country.