Darlington Hippodrome and ODDMANOUT launch a new community theatre company


Darlington Hippodrome is to team up with ODDMANOUT Theatre Company to create a dynamic new community theatre company called The Foundry.

Darlington Hippodrome is to strengthen links with local theatre production company ODDMANOUT to create a dynamic new community theatre company to be called The Foundry.

During the 18 month restoration of the Hippodrome the theatre and ODDMANOUT worked closely together on two major projects alongside performers from the local community creating a full-scale production of the Charles Dickens classic ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ and an immersive theatre experience titled ‘Anywhere’ which took place around the new Hippodrome building taking audiences on a 50 minute tour of the new venue and introducing characters that shaped the history of the theatre.

Following a successful bid to Arts Council England and support from Creative Darlington, The Foundry will build upon the desire shown by local performers who were involved in the two previous projects. The Foundry will open it’s doors in 2019 to regional performers to embark on a 36 week programme of professional training and workshops across a range of dynamic contemporary theatre practice developed by ODDMANOUT through it’s work across the globe over the last five years.

Scott Young from ODDMANOUT Theatre Company said “We are thrilled to be working with Darlington Hippodrome to offer a bespoke new training opportunity to local talent at The Foundry. It has always been our ambition to make the company’s work as open and accessible as possible, The Foundry is the next phase of our work in achieving this. We want to be part of emerging artists’ journey as they forge their careers and grow as theatre makers, and to be able to do this in our home town of Darlington is an exciting time in our organisations growth.”

The Foundry will meet on Tuesday evenings at the Hippodrome for three 12 week terms. To find out more about The Foundry and how to get involved please visit the Hippodrome website www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk

Mojitos and musicals | London’s hottest new sing-along musical theatre piano bar

12 Old Quebec Street, Marylebone, London, W1H 7AF

London’s hottest new sing-along musical theatre piano bar OVERTURES has now opened its doors, just fifty yards from Marble Arch. Whether you sip cocktails, savour wine or love a beer, whether you are a discerning show-tunes aficionado or just want a drink, everyone is invited to enjoy the uplifting, magical feeling of musicals in this fun-filled and unique bar.

Located in the basement of LGBTQ pub, the City of Quebec, OVERTURES is London’s answer to the renowned Marie’s Crisis Café in New York. The evenings are unplugged and spontaneous – it’s just the crowd, the piano, the pianist and the showtunes. There’s no set list, no stage, no microphone and no shooshing. Everyone’s welcome to sing their heart out – or just stand and enjoy the musical mavens. It’s riotous and rambunctious and welcomes all ages, all sexual orientations, all backgrounds and all singing levels.

Songs on offer range from popular classics – such as Les Misérables, Wicked, My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music and Grease – to the cult showtunes from Stephen Sondheim’s musicals and everything in between.

Similarly to its New York relation, walking into OVERTURES is like stepping back in time where people come together and gather nightly round the keys. Spot a musical theatre celebrity relaxing after their show. Grab a traditional New York style cocktail and take a pew. But, most importantly, sing! Be one voice in a big crowd singing in unison.

Founder Ray Rackham comments, We never anticipated the hunger of the general public of London, in needing a place to sing out loud until the wee small hours. London welcomed this very New York institution with open arms, and I am delighted the pub and its clientele have entrusted my team to establish a singalong presence permanently in the heart of London.

OVERTURES will feature regular guest appearances from the famed pianists and singing bar tenders from Marie’s Crisis Café and will also showcase homegrown talent in one, big, showtune singing family.




Adapted and directed by Emma Rice

Based on the novels by Enid Blyton

Co-produced by York Theatre Royal

In association with Bristol Old Vic

18 July – 5 October 2019

With their inaugural production currently touring the UK, Wise Children today announce their adaptation of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers, co-produced by York Theatre Royal in association with Bristol Old Vic. Adapted and directed by Emma Rice, the production opens on 25 July at The Passenger Shed in the company’s home city of Bristol, before embarking on a tour to venues across the UK including Cambridge, York, Exeter, Manchester and Oxford.

The windows shone. A green creeper climbed almost to the roof. It looked like an old-time castle. My school! thought Darrell, and a little warm feeling came into her heart. How lucky I am to be going to Malory Towers!

Nostalgic, naughty and perfect for now, Malory Towers is the original ‘Girl Power’ story. Join Wise Children for high jinks, high drama and high spirits, all set to sensational live music and breathtaking animation.

Darrell Rivers is starting school with an eager mind and fierce heart. Unfortunately she also has a quick temper! Can she learn to tolerate the infuriating Gwendoline Lacey, or value the kind hearted Sally Hope? Can she save the school play and rescue terrified Mary Lou from the grip of a raging storm? If she can do these things anywhere, she will do them at Malory Towers!

Adapted and directed by Emma Rice, this is a show for girls, boys, and all us grown up children who still dream of midnight feasts and Cornish clifftops. 

The show is officially licensed by Enid Blyton Entertainment, a division of Hachette Children’s Group (HCG). Karen Lawler, Head of Licensed Content at HCG, says “Enid Blyton created incredible female characters at Malory Towers: strong, capable and always, always kind. ‘Women the world can lean on,’ in Enid’s own words. We share Emma’s passion for these characters and we couldn’t be more excited to see Emma’s vision of Malory Towers come to life.”

Emma Rice is the proud and excited Artistic Director of her new company, Wise Children. She adapted and directed the company’s debut production, Angela Carter’s Wise Children (The Old Vic/UK tour). As Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe (2016/18), she directed Romantics AnonymousTwelfth NightA Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales). For the previous 20 years, she worked for Kneehigh as an actor, director and Artistic Director. Her productions for Kneehigh include: The Flying Lovers of VitebskTristan & Yseult946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus TipsThe Wild BrideThe Red ShoesThe Wooden FrockThe BacchaeCymbeline (in association with RSC), A Matter of Life and Death (in association with National Theatre), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre); Brief Encounter (in association with David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Productions); Don John (in association with the RSC and Bristol Old Vic); Wah! Wah! Girls (in association with Sadler’s Wells and Theatre Royal Stratford East for World Stages); and Steptoe and Son. Other work includes: the West End production of The Umbrellas of CherbourgOedipussy(Spymonkey); The Empress (RSC); and An Audience with Meow Meow (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). Brief Encounter was revived this year at the Empire Cinema Haymarket.

Emma Rice on Malory Towers…

I’ve always been drawn to the years that followed the Second World War. It’s a time that feels close enough to touch, as I vividly remember my grandparents and how the war affected their lives. My Mum’s parents – poor and largely uneducated – decided that their children would have access to all the things that they hadn’t. I don’t know how they managed it on a railway worker’s pay, but my mother was sent to a remote grammar school in Dorset: Lord Digby’s School for Girls.

Whilst not a boarding school, Lord Digby’s was an extraordinary place of learning that changed my mother’s, and by extension my own, life. The tendrils of passion and education that Lord Digby’s stood for reach out across 60 years and more. They reached out over my inner city comprehensive education and have shaped my own beliefs and choices to this day.

My adaptation of Malory Towers is dedicated to the generation of women who taught in schools in that period. With lives shaped by the savagery of two wars, these teachers devoted themselves to the education and nurture of other women. It is also for the two generations of men that died in those same wars, leaving us with the freedom to lead meaningful, safe and empowered lives. And it is for Clement Attlee and his Labour government of 1945 who looked into the face of evil and chose to do what was right. These people changed the political landscape in their focus on care, compassion and the common good.

Malory Towers was written at the heart of this political revolution, and embodies a kindness, hope and love of life that knocks my socks off. ‘Long live our appetites and may our shadows never grow less!’ the girls cry.

My mother wrote to her teachers at Lord Digby’s until they died and is still friends with many of the girls she met there. And when I see my Mum, born into the poorest of rural backgrounds, enjoying Dickens and Almodovar and speaking French to her childhood pen-friend, I am stopped in my tracks. She went on to dedicate her life to the NHS and the helping of others whilst never losing her appetite for life, culture and hope. I salute her, and I cheer the education that threw this mind and soul into the air and said, “be a woman that the world can lean on”.

So that’s why I am making Malory Towers, with gratitude, hope and sheer pleasure! I call it my ‘Happy Lord of the Flies’ and it is joyfully radical to its bones. Imagine a world where (left to their own devices), people choose kindness. Imagine a world where difference is respected and arguments resolved with thought and care. Imagine a world that chooses community, friendship and fun. Now that’s a world I want to live in and, at Malory Towers, you can!

Wise Children                                                                                                                                        Tour Listings

The Passenger Shed – Station Approach, Bristol BS1 6QH

18 July – 18 August 2019


Box Office: 0117 9877 877

Cambridge Arts Theatre

5 – 7 September 2019


Box Office: 01223 503333

Tickets on sale shortly

York Theatre Royal

10 – 14 September 2019


Box Office: 01904 623568

Exeter Northcott Theatre

17 – 21 September 2019


Box Office: 01392 726363

Tickets on sale shortly

HOME, Manchester

24 – 28 September 2019


Box Office: 0161 200 1500

Oxford Playhouse

1 – 5 October 2019


Box Office: 01865 305305

Tickets on sale Thursday 11 April

Age Recommendation: 8+