The Guild of Misrule’s THE GREAT GATSBY, created and directed by Alexander Wright, is currently wowing audiences in its brand-new West End venue IMMERSIVE | LDN, continuing its record as the UK’s longest running immersive production.

It’s the roaring twenties – an era of bootleg liquor, red hot jazz and hedonistic pleasures. Jay Gatsby has invited you to one of his infamous parties and that’s not an invite you want to turn down…

THE GREAT GATSBY allows audiences to fully immerse themselves into the world of Jay Gatsby and the glamour of the Roaring ‘20s. With cocktails, dancing and scandal, this heart-racing adaptation of the seminal jazz-age story puts the audience at the heart of the action.

From 13 November, audiences can opt to enjoy a bespoke fine dining experience, designed by Immersive LDN catering partnersFlavourology, who will also be designing and producing the food element for all other events in the venue going forward.

Jenny McNeill, food director of Flavourology “We are so excited for audiences to enter Jay Gatsby’s dining room and be enthralled by a menu referencing this literary classic. Hosted by Gatsby’s faithful butler, we will bring you dishes inspired by the places Jay and Daisy met and lived, truths or fables from Gatsby’s past, and ingredients popular in the roaring 1920s.”

With a menu that includes dishes inspired by The Great Gatsby including an amuse-bouche made of buttermilk fried chicken with champagne hollandaise and caviar ‘From St Louis to West Egg’, a main of bourbon cured salmon with celeriac puree and remoulade ‘Bootleg Bourbon Salmon’ and a pudding of spotted dick under a white chocolate dome with custard parfait and salted caramel source ‘Gatsby was an Oxford Man’ (all with vegan alternatives), audiences will begin their journey into the world of Jay Gatsby with an unforgettable edible adventure. 

Tickets for the dining experience will go on sale on Thursday 31 October and can be purchased via, with the first service taking place on Wednesday 13 November.

Producers Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook, who are currently co-producing the immersive production of THE WOLF OF WALL STREET – have launched a new company IMMERSIVE EVERYWHERE, entirely dedicated to developing and staging theatre-led immersive experiences, and IMMERSIVE | LDN is the newest of their network of venues, which will house cafes, bars and rehearsal and workshop spaces to help the development of new work.

IMMERSIVE | LDN is a 32,000sq ft historic building in the heart of Mayfair, which was home to the Queen Victoria’s Rifles Association until 2017. It includes three floors of immersive theatre and event spaces designated for performance, live gaming, events, escape rooms and private parties. For information about programming and venue hire visit

Directed and adapted by Alexander Wright, The Guild of Misrule’s THE GREAT GATSBY company features with cast members Oliver Towse as ‘Gatsby’, Lucinda Turner as ‘Daisy’, James Lawrence as ‘Nick’, Prince Plockey as ‘Tom’, Humphrey Sitima as ‘George’, Jessica Hern as ‘Jordan’, Hannah Edwards as ‘Myrtle’, Charlie Cassen as ‘Rosy Rosenthal’, Lizzie Grace as ‘Lucille’ and Louis Sparks as ‘Joey’.

First conceived in 2015 when director Alexander Wright and producer Brian Hook were running The Fleeting Arms – a pop arts and community pub in an abandoned building in York, the show then ran in York in 2016 with a parallel production in Sheffield in partnership with Theatre Deli. The Great Gatsby first came to London as part of VAULT Festival in 2017 and sold out before the show opened. Since then the show has run in Wales in co-production with Theatr Clwyd, at Halifax’s Square Chapel, and at Castle Howard in North Yorkshire. All the while the show has played night after night at Gatsby’s Drugstore in London SE1, inviting audiences into the hedonistic world of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s extraordinary tale, and in 2018 it became the UK’s longest running immersive production.

Amie Burns Walker and Oliver Tilney are Associate Directors and Fiona Kingwill is Resident Director. Choreography is by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, design by Casey Jay Andrews, sound design by Phil Grainger and lighting design by Rachel Sampley. The original production was created by Holly Beasley-Garrigan, Amie Burns Walker, Hannah Davies, Phil Grainger, Michael Lambourne, Thomas Maller and Oliver Tilney. This new production of The Guild of Misrule’s THE GREAT GATSBY is produced by Immersive Everywhere, with co-producers Gavin Kalin Productions and Glynis Henderson Productions, with Theatr Clwyd and We Culture Connects as Associate Producers.

VENUE SOCIAL @ldn_immersive

SHOW SOCIAL @immersivegatsby

Northern Ballet’s Cinderella


Northern Ballet makes a highly-anticipated return to Newcastle with its enchanting adaptation of Cinderella, the world’s most famous rags to riches fairytale (Tue 12 – Sat 16 Nov 2019).

In Northern Ballet’s Cinderella, a tragic end to a perfect summer’s day sees Cinderella with no choice but to accept a desolate life of servitude. At the mercy of her wicked Stepmother, Cinderella seeks joy where she can but after encountering the handsome carefree Prince skating on a glistening lake of ice, she yearns for another life. Despite her sadness, Cinderella never forgets to be kind and her generosity is repaid when a chance encounter with a mysterious magician changes her destiny forever.

Combining thrilling dance with magic and circus skills, Cinderella is choreographed and directed by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director David Nixon OBE, who has also designed the opulent costumes. It is performed to an original score by Philip Feeney, which will be played live at every performance by Northern Ballet Sinfonia. The magnificent transformative sets have been designed by Duncan Hayler, with lighting designed by Tim Mitchell.

David Nixon OBE, Artistic Director of Northern Ballet, said: “This production of Cinderella, whilst being immediately recognisable as the famous fairytale, offers something different to other traditional ballet adaptations. We have staged our ballet in the winter wonderland of Imperial Russia, opening up the possibilities of this colourful world as a new setting for Cinderella to make her journey. Audiences will see the dancers skate on a glistening lake of ice, stilt walkers entertaining in a marketplace and the fateful Ball held in a Fabergé inspired ballroom. Cinderella is ultimately the story of a young woman who must travel a challenging road to achieve happiness and our ballet is a joyful adaptation filled with action, magic and fun.”

Cinderella is at Newcastle Theatre Royal Tue 12 – Sat 16 Nov 2019 playing evenings at 7.30pm and matinees 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




Wise Children and Plush Theatricals present
Romantics Anonymous
Book by Emma Rice, Lyrics by Christopher Dimond, Music by Michael Kooman
Based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Phillippe Blasband

Directed by Emma Rice; Composer: Michael Kooman; Lyricist: Christopher Dimond

Designer: Lez Brotherston; Musical Supervisor: Nigel Lilley; Choreographer: Etta Murfitt

Orchestrator: Simon Hale;Lighting Designer: Malcolm Rippeth; Sound Designer: Simon Baker

Bristol Old Vic

18 January – 1 February 2020

Wise Children today announce further programming for 2020, with a revival of Emma Rice’s musical adaptation of Romantics Anonymous in a co-production with Plush TheatricalsMarc Antolin and Carly Bawden return to the cast to play Jean-René and Angélique respectively. The production opens at Bristol Old Vic on 23 January, with previews from 18 January and runs until 1 February, ahead of a US tour to Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in LA and Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington D.C.. Further US dates and the full cast will be announced shortly.

Tickets for Bristol Old Vic are on sale now for Friends and go on general sale on Friday 1 November at 1pm.

Emma Rice, said today, “Rarely have I made a show as beloved as Romantics Anonymous. It worked a gentle magic on all who created and saw it. Like Angélique creating her exquisite chocolates, fairy dust seems to float around this precious production and I, for one, cannot wait to bring it back. There is palpable excitement in the team and Bristol Old Vic is the perfect place to launch this new production. Beautiful, intimate and true, Romantics Anonymous will fill Bristol’s cold winter nights with soul soaring music, heart-warming humanity and heavenly chocolate. Just right!”

Angélique is a gifted chocolate maker inhibited by social anxiety and Jean-René is the boss of a failing chocolate factory.  When Angélique takes a job in Jean-René’s struggling factory, a fragile love affair unfolds. 
Funny, tender and painfully awkward, Romantics Anonymous is a delicious love story about breaking the mould and finding the courage to be happy.

Directed by Emma Rice, the world première of Romantics Anonymous was originally produced by Shakespeare’s Globe for the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse by special arrangement with Radio Mouse Entertainment.

This announcement follows recent news of Wise Children’s world première adaptation of Wuthering Heights opening at the National Theatre ahead of a UK tour next year.

Emma Rice is the proud and excited Artistic Director of her new company, Wise Children. She adapted and directed the company’s first two productions, Angela Carter’s Wise Children (The Old Vic/UK tour) and Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers (Bristol Passenger Shed/UK tour). For the ENO she directed Orpheus in the Underworld. 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). She was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre at the 2019 UK Theatre Awards.

Michael Kooman (music) and Christopher Dimond (lyrics) are a stage and screen writing team. They currently serve as songwriters for Vampirina, an animated musical TV series on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior, reaching over 100 million viewers in 115 countries. Their theatre credits include The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes (Village Theater), Orphie & The Book of Heroes (The Kennedy Center), The Enlightenment of Percival Von  Schmootz (Adirondack Theatre Festival), Judge Jackie: Disorder in the Court (Pittsburgh CLO), Dani Girl (Exit, Pursued by a Bear), Golden Gate (Williamstown Theatre Festival), Homemade Fusion (Ambassadors Theatre/Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and Junior Claus (Orlando Repertory Theatre). Kooman and Dimond have received the Fred Ebb Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award, the Samuel French Next Step Award, the Burton Lane Award and the Harold Adamson Award.

Marc Antolin plays Jean-René. His theatre credits include Hedda Gabler (Sherman Theatre), Cry Havoc (Park Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors – for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, Into the Woods, Hello Dolly! (Regent Park’s Open Air Theatre), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), Peter Pan (National Theatre), The Trial (Young Vic), Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket/Chichester Festival Theatre), Amadeus, Singin’ in the Rain, The Music Man (Chichester Festival Theatre), From Here to Eternity (Shaftsbury Theatre), Matilda (RSC/Cambridge Theatre), Billy Liar (UK tour) and Imagine This (New London Theatre). His film credits include London Road and Love Actually.

Carly Bawden plays Angélique. Her theatre credits include Ghost Quartet (Boulevard Theatre), SylviaNatives (The Old Vic), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), Wonder.Land (National Theatre), McQueen (Haymarket Theatre), Assassins, Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), Dead Dog in a SuitcaseTristan & Yseult (Kneehigh), My Fair Lady (Sheffield Theatre), The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (360 Theatre, Kensington), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Kneehigh/Curve/Gielgud Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Wakefield Theatre), Vice (Arcola Theatre), Whistle Down the Wind (UK tour), Evita (UK tour – Nominated for TMA Award for Best Supporting Actress 2009); and for television, Call the Midwife, Close to the Enemy and Doctors.

This production is made possible by the generous support of Paul and Joanna Pearson.

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS                                                                                                                         LISTINGS

Bristol Old Vic

King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED

18 January – 1 February 2020

Box Office: 0117 987 7877

Tickets for Bristol Old Vic are on sale now for Friends and go on general sale on Friday 1 November at 1pm.

Full cast announced for Godalming’s first professional family pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk at The Borough Hall, 12 – 24 December

Full cast announced for Godalming’s first professional family pantomime

Jack and the Beanstalk

at The Borough Hall, 12 – 24 December

The producers of Godalming’s first professional family pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk at The Borough Hall from 12 – 24 December, are delighted to announce the full cast for the seasonal show.  The performers will join the previously announced BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey presenter Mark Carter who stars as Fleshcreep. 

Philip Day, who plays the hilarious traditional panto dame, Dame Trisha Trott, has countless West End and television credits to his name. Philip has appeared in numerous pantomimes throughout the UK, either as a Dame, Baddie, King or Hero. It is the time of year he adores and he hopes that audiences will have as much fun as he does!

Rachel Warrick-Clarke, who plays Jill, trained at the London School of Musical Theatre graduating in 2018. She will be making her professional debut in Jack and the Beanstalk.  

Clark James, who plays the title character Jack Trott, trained at The MTA, London, and has many theatre credits including Bring It On (Southwark Playhouse), LazyTown Live – Dubai(Cartoon Network), A Flea In Her Ear (The Tabard) and When Santa Got Stuck Up The Chimney (Mill Hill).

Molly Jacks, who plays Fairy Liquid, trained at Masters Performing Arts College and is over the moon to be making her professional debut as the Fairy.

Ruarí Kelsey, who plays Dickie the Daft, trained at the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology and later at London School of Musical Theatre. Theatre credits include The Clockmaker’s Daughter (Original Cast), The Last Five Years and The Lightning Road

Monet Comeau, Savana Gallant, Kassie Kardos and Asella Medina-Smith, who are all currently training locally at the Guildford School of Acting, form the professional adult ensemble.

The ensemble of young local performers taking to the stage, as part of two teams, will be: Libby Ford, Naomi Cowan, Isla Woodward, Rosie Kirby, Poppy Lannoy, Madelyn Kelland, Izzy Bramsden, Thea Maplethorpe, Violet Isaacs, Emma Richmond, Maisy Griffiss, Rosalina Taylor, Amy Cox, Lateisha Wright, Lucy Grant and Poppy Morelli.

The pantomime is produced by Nick Wyschna and Charlotte Bateup, directed by Jo Kirkland, and choreographed by Charlotte Bateup, all of whom live locally. Daniel O’Brien, who wrote the show, attended Charterhouse. 

With lots of fun and laughter for panto-goers young and old, and toe-tapping song and dance, Jack and the Beanstalk will bring magic and adventure to The Borough Hall. To book tickets, or to find out more, visit or telephone the Box Office on 01483 361101. 

On Saturday 14 December at 11am there will be a relaxed performance specifically adapted for those on the autism spectrum, individuals with sensory and communication disorders, those with learning disabilities and anyone who would benefit from a more relaxed environment. Tickets for this performance have been reduced to £14 and can purchased only by calling the Box Office. The venue is fully accessible for wheelchairs.

Godalming’s professional family pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, is delighted to have the support of Matt Pereira Photography (official photographer/videographer for the show), ramsac and St Hilary’s School

The Nativity Panto Cast Announced





29 NOVEMBER 2019 – 11 JANUARY 2020

The King’s Head Theatre and Charles Court Opera are delighted to announce the full cast for The Nativity Panto – A Not-So Silent Night, starring Emily Cairns, Meriel Cunningham, Jennie Jacobs, Matthew Kellett and Catrine KirkmanThe panto runs from 29 November 2019 to 11 January 2020, with a press night on Tuesday 3 December 2019.

Emily Cairns previously made her Charles Court Opera debut in Buttons: A Cinderella Story (King’s Head Theatre). Her other theatre credits include The 56 (Bradford Alhambra and UK Tour with Lung Theatre), E15 (Edinburgh Fringe Festival / Battersea Arts Centre), News Revue (Canal Cafe Theatre), Triple Entendre: Love, Life and Other Stuff (Bradford Playhouse / Canal Cafe / Edinburgh Fringe Festival).

Meriel Cunningham graduated from Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Since graduating, her opera credits include Dorilla in Tempe (Wexford Festival Opera), The Return of Ulysses (The Roundhouse for Royal Opera), The Tales of Hoffmann (Grimeborn Opera Festival), H.M.S Pinafore and Ruddigore (Charles Court Opera). Her theatre credits include An Evening on Broadway (Milton Court Theatre), Guys and DollsCrazy For You (Silk Street Theatre for Guildhall). Meriel’s recent concert highlights include a recital of Kurt Weill Cabaret Songs at Barbican Hall and performing a selection of jazz standards with Derek Paravicini at St John Smith Square for their My Music concert series. 

Jennie Jacobs earlier this year starred as Little Buttercup in H.M.S. Pinafore (King’s Head Theatre / National Tour). Her other performing credits include Buttons: A Cinderella Story (King’s Head Theatre) and Guilty of Love (National Tour)Jennie has also been a part of the vocal groups The Rudy Vees, Graffiti Voices, ANCORA and Opera Girls. As well as performing she is a recording artist, cabaret performer, writer and comic.

Matthew Kellett is returning for his seventh pantomime with Charles Court Opera. His previous appearances have included d’Artagnon in The Three Musketeers, Billy in Billy the Kidd, El Tabasco in Pinocchio, Lord Conniving in King Tut, Buttons in ButtonsA Cinderella Story, and all seven of Snow White’s dwarfs in Mirror Mirror. He has also made many appearances with CCO outside of panto, including most recently H.M.S. Pinafore. His other recent theatre credits include The Elixir of Love (King’s Head Theatre), The Yeomen of the Guard, The Gondoliers, The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance (UK Tour with National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company).

Catrine Kirkman most recently performed her new one-woman show, Unbreakable Bond, based on the star of original Savoy Operas, Jessica Bond. Her recent opera credits include H.M.S. Pinafore (King’s Head Theatre), Hansel and Gretel, Un ballo in maschera (Midsummer Opera), Cavalli’s JasonCoronation of Poppea (English Touring Opera) The Magic Flute (Ilford Arts Festival).

This year, Charles Court Opera has taken the story that sparked the Season and sprinkled it with a generous helping of magic, whimsy and Christmas cheer to create their most joyous show yet. A cast of well-known characters will take the audience through a respectful, yet irreverent adaptation of the Nativity story, with musical numbers, laugh-out-loud puns and – as always – the entirely unexpected. From adult-only evening performances through to family matinees, The Nativity Panto is perfect for parents and children, couples, groups of friends and office parties.

Charles Court Opera’s previous pantomimes with the King’s Head Theatre include Buttons: A Cinderella Story, King Tut: A Pyramid Panto, Pinocchio and Mirror Mirror: A Snow White Pantomime.

The Nativity Panto will be written and directed by John Savournin with original music and lyrics by David Eaton, choreography by Damian Czarnecki, and setdesign by Rachel Szmukler, with lighting design by Ben Pickersgill, and costume design by Mia Wallden and Catrin Short Thyrsson.

This production is co-produced by The King’s Head Theatre and Charles Court Opera.


The Nativity Panto – A Not-So Silent Night

29 November 2019 – 11 January 2020

King’s Head Theatre

115 Upper Street

London N1 1QN

‘All Welcome’ Performances: Tuesday & Wednesday at 7.00pm (excluding 5 December 2019 & 1 January 2020)

Adult Only Performances (Suitable for 16+): Thursday – Saturday at 7.00pm (including 5 December 2019 & 1 January 2020)

Family Matinees Performances: Saturday & Sunday at 3.00pm

Ticket Prices: £20.00 – £30.00 (Previews 29 November – 1 December: £16)

Concessions: £22.50

10 and Under: £10.00

Box Office: 0207 226 8561

Website: /

Twitter: @KingsHeadThtr / @charlescourt / #NativityPanto


Paul Whitehouse to return to Only Fools and Horses The Musical






Comedy giant Paul Whitehouse will return to star as Grandad in the West End smash hit Only Fools and Horses The Musical for four months from 6 January next year. This news comes as the show’s incredible run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket is extended for a further two months until the end of April following continued phenomenal demand for tickets. The show – which opened in February this year to an array of fantastic reviews – has sold over 300,000 tickets so far.

Paul Whitehouse said: “I’m delighted to be returning to Only Fools and Horses The Musical in the New Year to take up the role of Grandad again. It has been a real honour to watch the success of the show grow since the very beginning. The show has received an incredible amount of love from fans since it opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket back in February and to hear it’s been extended AGAIN for a third time is music to all of our ears. I can’t wait to be back. Mange tout!”

Fans and critics alike have been praising the show in their droves: The Sun awarded five stars, hailing it “One Del of a show!”; the Daily Mirror said it was “a treat for Trotter fans” in their five-star review. The Sunday Times bestowed four stars and remarked that “Only Fools is a blast from our wide-boy past. A hearty stage adaptation of the 1980s BBC television comedy”. Evening Standard also awarded four stars, complimenting the “unashamedly British night out. A jubilant lovely jubbly!” While Daily Mail urged its readers to “raise a glass of Tittinger to Del Boy and Rodney as Only Fools and Horses storms the West End!”

It has just been announced that in the 2019 BroadwayWorld UK Awards that Tom Bennett has been nominated in the ‘Best Actor in a New Production of a Musical’ category for his portrayl of Del Boy and Paul Whitehouse has also been nominated in the ‘Best Supporting Actor in a New Production of a Musical’ category for his role as Grandad.

John Sullivan’s iconic and record-breaking television series has been turned into a home-grown West End musical spectacular. With a script and original score by John’s son, Jim Sullivan and Paul Whitehouse, the musical reacquaints fans with Britain’s most loveable rogues, to experience the classic comedy brought to life once again through 20 ingenious and hilarious songs.

Paul Whitehouse will take centre stage as Grandad, reuniting with Tom Bennett (Del Boy) and Ryan Hutton (Rodney) in this unique showstopper, featuring cherished material from the TV series. Join us as we take a trip back to 1989, where it’s all kicking off in Peckham. Directed by Caroline Jay Ranger, Only Fools and Horses The Musical also features many of the hugely loveable TV characters: Raquel, Cassandra, Trigger, Boycie, Marlene, Denzil, Mickey Pearce, Mike the Barman and the dreaded Driscoll Brothers.

With musical contributions from Chas n Dave, the beloved theme tunes as you’ve never heard them before and an array of brand-new songs full of character and cockney charm, you’re guaranteed to have a right knees-up! Only Fools and Horses The Musical is a feel-good family celebration of traditional working class London life and the aspirations we all share.

Only Fools and Horses The Musical is a truly cushty night out. Only a 42 carat PLONKER would miss it!


One Del of a Show!

The Sun


Viva, Hooky Street. C’est Magnifique! A treat for Trotter fans

Daily Mirror


Call it comfort food for our troubled times, this show serves up some lovely jubbly



Theatre Royal Haymarket

Box Office: 020 7930 8800

Performances: Monday – Saturday at 7:30pm. Wednesday and Saturday matinee at 2:30pm


Twitter: @OFAHMusica

Philharmonia Orchestra Celebrates 75th Anniversary in 2020



The Philharmonia Orchestra today announces part one of a year of programming to celebrate its 75th anniversary, marking three-quarters of a century of world-class concerts, definitive recordings, technological innovation, community-led outreach and artistic adventure. Philharmonia at 75 opens in January 2020 with a pair of concerts conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen focusing on the orchestra’s founding year and featuring the world premiere of a new commission from Mark Anthony Turnage, Towards Alba, a Horn concerto commissioned by the Philharmonia with support from John and Carol Wates.

The Philharmonia is a world-class symphony orchestra for the 21st century. Founded in 1945, in part as a recording orchestra for the nascent home audio market, today the Philharmonia uses the latest digital technology to reach new audiences for symphonic music. VR experiences featuring music by Sibelius, Mahler and Beethoven, placing the viewer at the heart of the orchestra, have been presented at Southbank Centre, where it is Resident Orchestra, and internationally. The Orchestra is led by Finnish conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen. Fellow Finn Santtu-Matias Rouvali takes over from Salonen as Principal Conductor in the 2021/22 season.

Esa-Pekka Salonen said: “The Philharmonia started as a direct result of the advent of the LP. The orchestra’s founding was a response to the technological development of the day and ever since, the Philharmonia has been at the forefront of tech in classical music. Utilising pioneering technology and constantly being at the forefront of industry developments means that the orchestra adapts easily to new frontiers and new repertoire, because development has been in its DNA since its birth.”

On 16 January 2020, Salonen conducts a French Horn-themed programme inspired by famous French Horn players connected with the Philharmonia, including Dennis BrainRichard Watkins (soloist in the world premiere of Towards Alba) and Salonen himself. The performances of Richard Watkins in Turnage’s Horn Concerto and Allan Clayton in Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings are supported by John and Carol Wates.

On Sunday 19 January 2020, the Philharmonia performs a concert of music composed in 1945, the year the Orchestra was founded. Salonen conducts three very different masterworks composed for a world emerging from the destruction of the Second World War: Vaughan Williams Symphony No. 6, Richard Strauss’s Oboe Concerto (with Principal Oboe Tom Blomfield the soloist) and Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements. This concert is supported by the Nathan Family.

In addition to the initial concerts, and to celebrate three-quarters of a century of remarkable recordings, the orchestra is partnering with Warner Classics, which owns much of the Orchestra’s back catalogue, to release a box set of recordings from the years the Philharmonia was run by its founder, Walter Legge (1945-64).

Philharmonia – Birth of a Legend features recordings with conductors that made the early Philharmonia one of the greatest orchestras in the world: Herbert von KarajanWilhelm FurtwänglerGuido CantelliArturo ToscaniniOtto Klemperer and Carlo Maria Giulini.

Classic recordings sit alongside rarely-heard gems. A link to the modern-day Philharmonia is made with a bonus recording licenced from the BBC, of Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht at Royal Festival Hall in September 2018.

Philharmonia – Birth of a Legend was coordinated by Jon Tolansky. The box set will be released internationally on 24 January 2020.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird a new play by Aaron Sorkin directed by Bartlett Sher to open in London’s West End



Producers Scott Rudin, Barry Diller and Sonia Friedman Productions announced today that To Kill a Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin’s new play based on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, directed by Bartlett Sher, will open at London’s Gielgud Theatre in May 2020.

Harper Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice and childhood innocence has sold 45 million copies worldwide. 2020 will mark the 60th anniversary of its publication.  

Set in Alabama in 1934, To Kill a Mockingbird centres on one of the most venerated characters in American literature, the small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. The cast of characters includes Atticus’s daughter Scout, her brother Jem, their housekeeper and caretaker Calpurnia, their visiting friend Dill, a mysterious neighbour the reclusive Arthur “Boo” Radley, and the other indelible residents of Maycomb, Alabama.

To Kill a Mockingbird, celebrating one year on Broadway today, has not played to an empty seat and holds the benchmark of having become the most successful American play in Broadway history. A national tour of the United States opens at The Kennedy Center in Washington DC in August 2020.  

The British cast and performance dates will be announced soon.

Sign up at for updates and priority access to tickets.  

Aaron Sorkin is a celebrated writer, producer and director known for his multi-award-winning work across stage and screen. Sorkin is probably best known as the creator and screenwriter of the Emmy Award-winning hit TV series The West Wing and films such as Steve Jobs and The Social Network for which he received an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Writer’s Guild Award for best screenplayHe is the writer-creator of The Newsroom and the Academy Award-winning 1992 film A Few Good Men, which he adapted from his 1989 Broadway play. His other credits as a playwright include Making Movies and The Farnsworth Invention.

Bartlett Sher is the multi-award-winning Director of the Lincoln Center Theater in New York, a post he has held for over a decade. His critically acclaimed stage productions include the Tony Award-winning South Pacific and OsloMy Fair Lady and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. He has also worked extensively in opera, staging productions at English National Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera and New York City Opera.

To Kill a Mockingbird is designed by Miriam Buether, with costumes by Ann Roth, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, sound by Scott Lehrer and an original score by Adam Guettel.

Ugly Review

Tristan Bates Theatre – until 2 November 2019

Reviewed by Elizabeth J Smith


When you look in the mirror what do you see?

This new writing from Perdita Stott, Ugly, explores a females perception of their image and the power that image can have on each of us.

In an age of technology where we are bombarded with the “right” images of how we should look, what we should wear and how our perception of these demands can influence everything in our lives.

When does this awakening of our own image begin?

The ensemble of female actors introduce us to a range of females old and young all who have issues with how they look.

We meet females who know they are pretty and suffer because of it.

We meet a child who’s mother instils a sense of worthlessness in her daughter and question why a Mother would do that to her child?

Is it that you are too fat, too thin, the wrong colour, the wrong accent, your face moves too much or too little.

The questions of ugliness are endless and as an audience we are shown the questions that we probably ask ourselves on a daily basis. The answers to these questions, if positive, will give us strength and make our world a better place but, like Samson’s hair, when cut down to negatives we lose our strength and attack from within.

Ugly takes you on a journey of exploration as to the why’s and wherefores of our deepest felt feelings about ourselves and shines the light on how futile, pointless and time wasting these thoughts can be.

Should we just stop caring? What would that look like? Or should we all try to be like a Disney princess and sing and dance our way through life, with a little help from little creatures on the way.

Congratulation to Perdita on an exceptional piece that makes you think about your own perception of ugliness. With an amazing cast of ladies who make you laugh out loud and shed tears of sadness.

My husband accompanied me to this performance and his observation was, “your not the only mad cow who thinks she’s ugly then”. Ugly is a female epidemic of our modern age. There is so much truth in this piece that if we could all care a little less about what others think of us and just
get on with life we would save 23 hours a week for better activities.

Thought provoking, masterly crafted piece of female empowerment.

The King and I Review

Leeds Grand Theatre – until 9 November 2019

Reviewed By Dawn Smallwood


Leeds Grand Theatre is currently hosting The King and I which came direct from London’s West End and is currently on a national tour. With an international line up being led by Annalene Beechey and Jose Llana The King and I is certainly one of the most awaited musicals to be hosted at the theatre.

The King and I, a Lincoln Center Theater Production, is based on Margaret Landon’s Anna and The King of Siam and set to Richard Rodgers’ music and Oscar Hammerstein II’s book and lyrics. The musical was first premiered on Broadway in 1951 and in the West End two years later and subsequently filmed in 1956 starring Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr.

The story is set to Anna Leonowens’ memoirs when she, a governess, was invited to Siam (Thailand) by the King during the 19th Century to teach English to his children and his wives and also to share with them an insight into the British culture. The King of Siam (Llana) wants Anna (Beechey) to be part of his ambitious plans to modernise Siam and also for the country to fight off any colonial invasions that were happening at the time.

Coming from contrasting cultures, the King and Anna initially don’t see eye to eye especially the equality and position of women. There is also reluctance from the King to honouring Anna’s contract and how she and her son, Louis (Alfie Turnbull) have to be bounded by the palace rules.

The Royal Household (Ensemble) and Anna receive eye opening experiences when they exchanged and shared cultures and traditions from the East and the West. Differences and misunderstandings are noted, clarified and put in perspective amid humourous moments. Eventually, despite the differences, mutual trust and acknowledgement emerge between the King and Anna and unbeknown at the time love begins to grow. There are some sad moments however their presence, influences and mutual understanding will surely live on in generations to come.

Set to an incredible musical score; musically led by Mr Malcolm Forbes-Peckham, with show stopping musical numbers such as the memorable Whistle a Happy Tune; catchy and entertaining but legendary Shall We Dance; and the ever wonderful and cute Getting to Know You when Anna meets the Royal Children and their mothers. In between the musical numbers one gets a glimpse of the country’s culture and traditions and also the political landscape at that time when the neighbouring countries were being colonised by different ones.

Michael Yeargan’s sets are breathtaking and eye catching which compliment Donald Holder’s creative lighting, Scott Lehrer’s soundscapes and Catherine Zuber’s colourful costumes. The production has a lavish stage presence throughout which sells the performances so well. Every scene is a highlight especially the The Small House of Uncle Thomas ballet with Tuptim (Paulina Yeung) narrating and the Royal Singers and Dancers (Ensemble) performing – choreographically pleasing with the story being colourfully told with dance and movement.

Bartlett Sher directs a production that one in the audience is engaged and transfixed from beginning to end. The King and I offers a lot as far as entertainment is concerned with plenty of cultural exchanges. The cast delivers a legendary musical which will live on in generations to come. It’s a must see musical and one understands why it was a sold out season in London’s West End and it is evident why this touring production is currently being well received and supported.