Smash hit musical SIX extends its reign on tour into 2021


The British musical phenomenon turned global smash hit SIX, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, is extending its reign on tour through to Christmas 2021. Since opening in Guildford in October 2019, SIX has sold out at every venue and the nation is demanding more! The extension kicks off with a two week run at Oxford Playhouse on 13 August 2020 and will enjoy new and return visits to venues countrywide including The Lowry, Salford Quays where it will play for a six-week Christmas season from 1 December to 10 January 2021. Watch this space for the new cast announcement. Once again, the Queens will be backed by the show’s all female band, The Ladies in Waiting.

The Queendom continues to reign supreme! Since the show premiered as a student production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2017, the SIX phenomenon shows no signs of abating, attracting a new generation of theatregoers worldwide. In the US, the show is previewing on Broadway at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York (opening 12 March) where it has just joined the exclusive ‘million dollar club’ in its very first eight-show week! Lucy Moss, aged 26, has become the youngest female director to helm a Broadway musical. A sit down production opens at the Broadway Playhouse in Chicago in July. Back in London, where SIX continues to sell every seat at the Arts Theatre in the West End, the show was nominated for five 2019 OIivier Awards, including Best New Musical, Best Choreography and Best Costume Design. And in other continents, SIX is currently playing at the Sydney Opera House (until 5 March), before heading out on tour across Australia and New Zealand until 19 July 2020.

From Tudor queens to pop princesses, SIX sees the six wives of Henry VIII take to the mic to tell their own personal tales, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80-minute celebration of 21st century girl power. The songs from the show have proved a chart storming sensation: the SIX cast album is the second highest streaming cast recording in the world and surpassed the 100 million mark earlier this month. Ann Boleyn’s song ‘Don’t Lose Ur Head’ has been shared over half a billion times on the TIK TOK app. 

These Queens may have green sleeves, but their lipstick is rebellious red. Think you know the rhyme, think again… Divorced. Beheaded. LIVE!

SIX is co-directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage, featuring choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille. The design team includes Emma Bailey (Set Design), Gabriella Slade (Costume Design), Paul Gatehouse (Sound Design) and Tim Deiling (Lighting Design). The score features orchestrations by Tom Curran with music supervision and vocal arrangements by Joe Beighton. Associate Choreographer Freya Sands, Musical Director Katy Richardson, Associate Musical Director Arlene McNaughtSIX is produced by Kenny WaxWendy & Andy Barnes and George Stiles. The current touring cast presents: Lauren Drew (Catherine of Aragon), Maddison Bulleyment (Anne Boleyn), Lauren Byrne (Jane Seymour), Shekinah McFarlane (Anna of Cleves), Jodie Steele (Katherine Howard) and Athena Collins (Catherine Parr), with Alternates Jennifer CaldwellCassandra Lee and Harriet Watson. Casting for the 2021 tour is yet to be announced.


The BroadwayWorld Awards 2018


The BroadwayWorld Awards 2018


The Curtain Up Show Album of The Year Awards 2018


The Spy in the Stalls Awards 2018


WhatsOnStage Awards 2019


Best New Musical

Best Off-West End Production

Best Original Cast Recording

Best Choreography

Best Lighting Design 

Best Costume Design


Best New Musical

Outstanding Achievement in Music

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical (The Queens)

Best Theatre Choreographer

Best Costume Design




Boundless Theatre presents the full cast for Nina Segal’s bold debut fiction podcast: Radio Elusia. The new five-episode drama, directed by Boundless’ Artistic Director Rob Drummer, will launch in April 2020. Robert Awosusi joins Drummer as Associate Director in directing Joseph AdelakunValerie VansovicaChantelle AmonMegan JarviePip Williams, and Joe Matty. The podcast will feature music and sound design by FATHER.

“Our time will come and all the people will come out into the streets with their fists clenched, their arms and voices raised. You have to be listening. And you have to be ready.”

From the seventeenth floor, Raphael watches the city for signs of a revolution, his voice echoing through a homemade radio transmitter to the streets below. He watches.  He waits.  One day, he disappears.  Now it’s down to Lia and Suz to continue where he left off.  But will a revolution ever come if we just wait for it? 

Set in the sprawling fictional city of Elusia, Radio Elusiais a new weekly podcast from Boundless Theatre about transmission and revolution.

“These are the messages. This is the meaning. Be ready. Be listening. And do not be afraid.”  

Radio Elusia was commissioned and developed as part of Extended Universe by Boundless Theatre in partnership with Teater Grob, Entropia and Sala Beckett. The project is co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Extended Universe is a transmedia storytelling and audience development project led by Boundless Theatre in London alongside partners in Copenhagen, Barcelona and Athens. Four stories in one extended universe. The project creates new ways for 15-25 year olds to access theatre.

Nina Segal is a playwright and screenwriter. Her play In The Night Time (Before The Sun Rises) was produced at the Gate Theatre to critical acclaim. Nina is currently under commission to Boundless, Soho Theatre, and the RSC. Her play Assembly will be staged at the Donmar Warehouse in July 2020 in response to Steve Water’s The Contingency Plan.

For TV, she was in the writers’ room and wrote an episode of the second season of Hanna for Amazon/NBC. She is developing projects with ITV Studios and Expectation Entertainment.

Rob Drummer joined Boundless Theatre in July 2016 as Artistic Director. For Boundless Rob directed Natives by Glenn Waldron and Confidence by Judy Upton. Before that he was Associate Dramaturg at the Bush Theatre. Prior to joining the Bush, Rob was the first Literary Manager for HighTide Festival Theatre where he supported the expansion of the festival, doubling the number of productions and before leaving the company directed Luke Barnes’ Eisteddfod (Latitude), Endless Poem (London 2012 Festival) and Perish (HighTide & Public Theater, New York).

As a Dramaturg and Director Rob has worked with playwrights at theatres including the National Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Contact, York Theatre Royal and Theatre503. Rob was one of the first recipients of an Artists’ International Development Fund from the Arts Council and British Council and spent time working in South Africa with playwrights and theatre makers at the Baxter and Market Theatres.

Associate Director Robert Awosusi is on the Advisory Board for Boundless Theatre.  He is a director and theatre maker trained through the Young Vic’s director’s programme and was the Trainee Assistant Director on The Trial (Young Vic). Robert was artistic associate on METIS’ participatory installation We Know Not What We May Be (Barbican). He was assistant director on “Daddy” – A Melodrama (Almeida Theatre), Fairview (Young Vic) and Let Kilburn Shake (Kiln Theatre).

FATHER is a music composition and sound-design studio which works on the principle that sound and image should work in tandem. Founded by Joe Farley and Freddie Webb, FATHER uses a variety of approaches that bridge musicality and sound design for rich, provocative and emotive sonic landscapes.

FATHER previously collaborated with Boundless Theatre on Confidence by Judy Upton and Natives by Glenn Waldron.

Launching on all major podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts in April 2020. Each of the five episodes will be 20 minutes in length.
Read more about Radio Elusia here:

Radio Elusia by Nina Segal. Commissioned and developed as part of Extended Universe by Boundless Theatre in partnership with Teater Grob, Entropia and Sala Beckett. Co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.




Full Cast For New BAT OUT OF HELL Tour





The producers of the UK Tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, featuring Jim Steinman and Meatloaf’s greatest hits, are delighted to announce the return of Sharon Sexton as Sloane and Rob Fowler as Falco (both starred recently in the Mamma Mia! International Tourand the original West End cast of Bat Out Of Hell), and introduce the new stars of the musical: Glenn Adamson (American Idiot) as Strat and Martha Kirby (Grease, Rags the Musical) as Raven.

They are joined by Jordan Frazier (Nina Simone) as Zahara, Jonathan Bishop (Hamilton) as Jagwire, Killian Thomas Lefevre (Stranger Things Secret Cinema) as Tink, Alex Lodge (The Book of Mormon) as Ledoux and Kellie Gnauck (Evita West End and UK & International tour) as Valkyrie. Also in the cast are Emily Beth Harrington as Kwaidan, Amy Matthews as Vilmos, Rebecca Lafferty as Scherrzo, Samuel Pope as Hoffmann, Andy Prosser as Markevitch, Jack Heasman as Denym, James Chisholm as O’Dessasuite, Andrew Carthy as Hollander, Rory Maguire as Astroganger and Billie Hardy as Goddesilla.

At certain performances the role of Strat will be played by Samuel Pope.

Each venue on the tour will also be hosting special sing-a-long performances where audience members are encouraged to dress up as their favourite character from the show and sing along with the cast. These will take place on Thursday 24 September in Manchester, Thursday 8 October in Birmingham, Thursday 22 October in Wimbledon, Thursday 5 November in Oxford, Thursday 19 November in Glasgow and Thursday 10, 17 and the matinee of 31 December in Liverpool.

Performances will begin at Manchester Opera House from 10 – 26 September 2020. The other tour dates include The Alexandra Birmingham from 29 September – 10 October, New Wimbledon Theatre from 13 – 24 October, New Theatre Oxford from 27 October – 7 November, Glasgow King’s Theatre from 10 – 21 November and Liverpool Empire from 8 December – 2 January 2021. Further tour dates to be announced.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre from 2017 to 2019. The musical also ran successfully in Canada, Germany and at New York’s City Centre last summer.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and was nominated for 8 WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical.

Bat Out Of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide.  16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which contained the massive hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

For the stage musical, the legendary and award-winning Jim Steinman has incorporated iconic songs from the Bat Out Of Hell albums, including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Bat Out Of Hell, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

In Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, the electrifying rock songs of Mr Steinman propel an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.

The UK Tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, choreography adapted by Xena Gusthart, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell and casting by Anne Vosser.

The UK Tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is produced by David SonenbergMichael Cohl & Tony Smith, with executive producer Julian Stoneman.


Twitter & Facebook:  @BatTheMusical


10 – 26 September                        Manchester Opera House                                 0844 871 3018


29 September – 10 October           Birmingham Alexandra                                      0844 871 3011                                                 

13 – 24 October                             New Wimbledon Theatre                                   0844 871 7646


27 October – 7 November              New Theatre Oxford                                         0844 871 3020


10 – 21 November                         Glasgow King’s Theatre                                    0844 871 7648                  

8 December – 2 January 2021        Liverpool Empire                                              0844 871 3017                                                                   

Further dates to be announced

Measure for Measure Review

Nottingham Theatre Royal – until 1 March 2020

Reviewed by Louise Ford


Measure for Measure; The tempter or the tempted ,who sins the most?

The RSCs national tour stages Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure in Vienna in the 1900s. A city beset with loose morals, crime and full of brothels. The Duke of Vienna (Anthony Byrne) unable to keep control of the city hands over the reigns of power to his deputy Angelo (Sandy Grierson) and that’s when things start to get out of control. Introducing and enforcing strict laws against lewd behaviour he attempts to clean up the city. He threatens to demolish all of the city’s brothels, including the one run by Mistress Overdone (Graeme Brookes) and her pimp Pompey (David Ajao). Under the new criminal laws Claudio (James Cooney) is sentenced to death for getting his girlfriend, Juliet (Amy Trigg) pregnant. Isabella (Lucy Phelps), Claudio’s sister learns of her brother’s fate from his friend Lucio (Joseph Arkley). Isabella visits Angelo to plead for her brother’s life. Angelo makes a proposition, and so begins his down fall. 

The setting of 1900s Vienna is an interesting one, a mixture of military uniforms, Edwardian tightly buttoned suits, spats, and the more relaxed dress of the ladies in the brothels. The colour palette of the costumes is beautifully muted, shades of grey, pale blue, dark blue and brown contrasted with the red and black for  ladies in the brothels. With more than a nod to the Freudian undercurrents of sexual repression, public hypocrisy and the conflict between the church and the secular world.

The play opens with a pared back set with a background of a hall of mirrors and a gantry. With very clever lighting (Simon Spencer, lighting director) the space is effortlessly transformed to a ballroom, an abbey, a prison and a railway station. 

The first half of the play takes a little while to get going, however the pace picks up and the second half seems to fly by. This production has a gloriously mixed cast, with some of the roles switched between genders, in particular Escalus played by Claire Price and Amanda Harris as Provost.

The stand out roles are, for me,  Pompey, Mistress Overdone’s pimp, (David Ajao) with his swagger and wit and Lucio, a fantasist (Joseph Arkley) who is a very dapper seducer and man about town whose tales and lack of loyalty are his undoing. The cast is also a confident mixture of accents, physical abilities and colour, which does not impact on the tale and really should be the norm.  

The subject matter is not an easy watch, as a comedy, in the #MeToo era and the recent prosecutions for sexual intimidation and the abuse of power. But as we all know power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely

Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes Review

Liverpool Empire – until 29 February 2020

Reviewed by Sarah Cockerill


This week, Liverpool Empire welcomed Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes which is currently on a nationwide tour delighting cities across the UK. A far cry from the classing Hans Christian Andersen tale of vanity and sin, the story takes inspiration from the classic 1948 film of the same name and continues to establish itself as a classic in its own right. 

The star of the show, Ashley Shaw (Victoria Page), is utterly stunning, perfecting every movement and expression throughout the entire performance. So much so that it’s impossible not to be drawn to her even in the ensemble dances. 

The chemistry between Page and Dominic North, who plays Julian Craster, is undeniable and in moments their characters’ relationship is so captivating I found myself getting lost in their romance.

The costumes, wigs and make up were undeniably familiar, having seen previous Matthew Bourne productions, yet the sparkly dresses were no less mesmerising. The shoes themselves appeared to be truly under a spell and managed to somehow hypnotise the audience. 

If you’ve never been to a ballet or you’re not sure if it would be your thing then I would urge you to see a Matthew Bourne ballet as every single one of his touring production is a dazzling masterpiece in its own right and The Red Shoes is no exception.

The Red Shoes is at Liverpool Empire until 29th February 2020 before continuing its UK tour until June 2020.

Jekyll and Hyde Review

 The Vaults – until 22 March 2020

Reviewed by Donna Easton


The premise for tonight’s theatrical experience is a good one. It sounded like it ticked all the boxes for me in terms of theatre that’s immersive and a bit different from the norm.

We had to meet outside the entrance to The Vaults where there were quite a few people milling around so started with a bit of confusion until we were briefed by one of the team. The brief was….well brief! It gave the first answer to our first clue. We were warned not to speak to people not part of the action (actors were identifiable by a red carnation). A bit of the anticipation was lost here and maybe this could have been a chance to give us more of a set up.

Now, tonight being the coldest night of the year so far, I was hoping for a little bit of indoor (read warm) activity but this it seemed was not to be when we started on our journey looking for clues. The interactive website that accompanied the action was great and set everything up in terms of mood. The first actor gave us a map with all of our destinations and the experience began. 

There are a couple of easy clues to start is off and then the actors start their opening ‘scene’. They did well in this unconventional space to compete with the passing trains and other members of the public. They broke away from the scene and we were able to have a more one on one experience with the actors who were engaging, funny and were doing a great job of rounding us all up and helping us with our next clues but just felt there was a story thread lacking here. The set up was that the previous night we were supposed to have drunk a serum that had resulted in memory loss and we had to go off in search of clues to piece the events together but I just didn’t feel there was enough for me to feel invested in what had happened which was a shame. Without sounding like a whiner, the real issue for me was the weather. It was just so cold and after answering our clues (some tricky, some easy) and walking around different parts of Waterloo we got a bit lost and started waning a little as it was starting to get even colder. 

The final meeting point really was a disappointment (we couldn’t find it as my phone kept losing signal. Not their fault….a network issue but when the whole enjoyment relies on good signal, it did scupper the experience somewhat). The final meet was called the Hideout and we were hoping for a cosy Speakeasy with a hot drink and a ‘well done’ but <spoiler alert> it was another outdoor meeting point which I think was a missed opportunity to round up the events somewhere relaxed and an indoor space would have been a welcome finale to the evening. 

We were the last ones back (much to the disappointment of my very competitive friend), had a final round up then we had a farewell and off we went. 

It was fun. It was certainly a great idea. In my opinion, it is a pursuit for warmer temperatures (and better phone networks). Well done Fire Hazard. It really is a brilliantly put together concept and I will be looking out for the next one… the summer! 

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE* (*Sort of) Review

Leeds Playhouse – until 29 February 2020

Reviewed by Sally Richmond 


A spectacular all-female-cast is providing the city of Leeds with an empowering, extremely entertaining version of Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) this week.  The wonderful Leeds Playhouse, which won ‘Theatre Building of the Year 2020’ at the recent Stage Awards, is currently showing this unique version (written by Isobel McArthur and directed by Paul Brotherston) of the aforenamed Jane Austen classic.  Dare I say it – yes I dare – I much prefer this stage adaptation to the original novel!  Gasp, shock-horror … but I actually think Austen wouldn’t mind me saying that and would most certainly approve of this hilarious mixed period mash up of her classic story. Despite being so far removed from the image one associates with her work (romantic love that is enveloped in etiquette and stuffy social protocol),  Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of) complements her work, and maintains the ethos of what she did so well- which was to observe and give sharp and accurate social commentary. 

Smartly written and directed, we witness Jane’s flowery prose of courtesy and politeness, laced with acidic quips that transform into language that would make any bonnet-headed lady faint away in shock and disbelief! Saucy and salacious lines are fired from every direction! 
Karaoke and Austin in the same sentence may seem incomprehensible, and a juxtaposition gone too far but somehow it all works! A medley of popular hit numbers were superbly well placed, and fitted each moment they accompanied perfectly.  “You’re so vain” being sung to Mr Darcy was simply a moment of comic genius to behold; if only to see his uncomfortable response and give the girls chance to sing along and holler “well said Liz!”.  The play translated exceptionally well into modern day life and small details, such as Elizabeth munching Frosties straight from the box as she mulled over the events from the night before with her sister, made it so relatable and relevant to today’s audience.

The mention of karaoke might make it hard to believe that the original story is adhered to, but the duel themes of confused amour and the great social class divide are kept intact, and developed with a modern slant.  Banter and wise cracks are abundant throughout and bounce back and forth between the eras of Austen’s world and modern times  (immigration and the inequality of women rear their ugly heads but are justly dealt with and playfully put in their place!). 

Kudos of the highest kind must be given to the phenomenally brilliant and outstanding cast: Tori Burgess, Christina Gordon, Hannah Jarrett-Scott, Isobel McArthur, Meghan Tyler and Felixe Forde.  They beamed and dazzled during every single second they were on stage; smoothly and seamlessly switching roles of the multitude of characters they each played. And, all of these characters were portrayed with clever comedic physicality. Hoot -filled one liners and popular verses blasted out  with great gusto and vigour (accompanied by a squeeze box and trumpet) filled the Playhouse with joyous abandon.  

Whether you’re an Austen fan or not, I would highly recommend that you go and see this play. Not only will you laugh, sing-along and feel uplifted but more importantly you’ll feel the incredible power of these fabulous women as characters and actors.

Dial M for Murder Review

Kings Theatre Edinburgh – until 29 February 2020

Reviewed by Manetta Anderson-McIntosh


Dial M for Masterclass.

Despite my aging years, I had not seen this production either on stage or screen. In this era of special effects and murder mysteries galore, I was intrigued to see if something written in the 1950’s could transcend the decades. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. This production, directed by Anthony Banks, was brought forward slightly to the 60’s to give it a more modern feel. I have to say I loved everything about it, from entering the theatre and having the set there for all to see, no safety curtain hiding it away, and some very relaxing music playing, to the clever use of lighting as well as the production itself.

The plot, for those who haven’t seen it before, tells the story of a flagging tennis pro – in danger of losing his wife to an affair with a screenwriter he gives up tennis and gets a real job to keep his wife. A year later, when the screenwriter comes back into the picture, we then see the unravelling of a dastardly plot to have the wife murdered, which appears to have been a year in the making.

Tom Chambers played the villain (Tony Wendice) exceptionally well, he had us all in the palm of his hand, laughing at him one minute and despising him the next. Much to my surprise, there were only 4 actors for the 5 characters, I had not spotted that Christopher Harper played both Captain Lesgate and Inspector Hubbard, so well-done hair and make-up. I also loved his stereotypical portrayal of the Army Captain right down to his floppy hair and plum chinos, it was like I was back in the Officers Mess. Sally Breton who plays Margot Wendice, the wife, made quite an impact considering her time on stage was less than she made it appear, not through any fault of hers but more to do with the era the play was written. I expect Knott would not get away with such a stereotypically subservient (and quiet) wife in today’s climate. Max Halliday (Michael Salami) puts his crime writing skills to the test to try and save his one-time lover by coming up with a scenario which was curiously close to Tony’s actual plot. Fortunately, we don’t have to solely rely on an amateur because the Inspector is already on the case, but they do cut it fine to save Margot from the hang-man’s noose. But it’s not surprising if it took Tony a week to paint that tiny kitchen.

I felt that despite knowing who the villain was, I was still in suspense right to the end, to see if they could pin it on Tony. Fabulous production.

First look at Zorro the Musical new immersive production opening at Manchester Hope Mill Theatre



Zorro The Musical reveals a first look at the cast in action as rehearsal images for the new immersive production are released today. The production features music by The Gipsy Kings and the evening will start with live entertainment and a Flamenco party in the foyer of Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre before the story continues in the auditorium itself, bringing the legendary adventure of the masked hero to life. Zorro the Musical is directed by Christian Durham and runs from 14 March – 18 April 2020.

Zorro the Musical will be performed by a cast of 16 actor-musicians with Antony Costa as Garcia, Alex Gibson-Giorgio as Ramon, Emma Kingston as Luisa, Genevieve Nicole as Inez, Kit Orton as Don Alejandro and Benjamin Purkiss as the masked hero, Zorro. The cast is completed by Ajjaz AwadAmy BastaniIsobel BatesBen Boskovic, Maxwell GriffinMatthew HeywoodJessica PardoeThomas PingSeren Sandham-Davies and Stylianos Thomadakis.

With music by the Gipsy Kings and John Cameron, lyrics by Stephen Clark and a book by Stephen Clark and Helen EdmundsonZorro the Musical reinvigorates the story of the iconic hero, who appears when times are hardest and the struggle for freedom feels lost. The audience will be enveloped by the action of the legendary adventure as they are taken on a thrilling journey into an iconic story of good vs. evil, love vs. hate, brother vs. brother. The production is presented by Katy Lipson and John Gertz and features original music by the Gipsy Kings, alongside their international hits including Bamboleo, Baila Me and Djobi, Djoba. The production will be filled with pounding flamenco, breathtaking sword fights, tricks and magic, comedy and, at its heart, the desperate battle within a family of power versus freedom.

Antony Costa (Garcia) is best known as a member of the chart-topping boyband Blue. Most recently on stage he starred in the 2019 Rock of Ages UK tour. Previous stage credits also include A Judgement In Stone, Save The Last Dance For Me (Bill Kenwright Productions), Blood Brothers (Phoenix Theatre) and Boogie Nights (UK tour). For TV he has appeared in Holby City and Casualty.

Alex Gibson-Giorgio’s (Ramon) stage credits include Aria Entertainment’s recent production of RAGS The Musical (Park Theatre), Everything’s Coming Up Sondheim (Chapel off Chapel), Yank (Understudy Productions), Mamma Mia! (Australian Tour) and Anything Goes (Opera Australia).

Emma Kingston (Luisa) starred as Eva Peron in Evita (2017-18 international tour), Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Vanessa in In the Heights (King’s Cross Theatre). Further stage credit includes Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Priscilla Queen of the Desert (UK Tour) and Grease (UK Tour).

Genevieve Nicole’s (Inez) musical credits include Guys & Dolls, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Spamalot in the West End, UK tours of Hairspray, Chicago, The Producers, Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas, and previously at the Hope Mill in Pippin.

Kit Orton’s (Don Alejandro / Gypsy Leader / Guitar / Violin) theatre credits include Tom (UK Tour 2014/2016), Spamalot (UK Tour & West End), Oliver!, Spend Spend Spend, Martin Guerre (Watermill Theatre) and Dickens Abridged (Arts Theatre).

Benjamin Purkiss (Zorro/Diego) recently performed as the alternate Strat in the original West End cast of the Evening Standard Award and BBC Radio 2 Audience Award winning Bat Out Of Hell The Musical (Dominion Theatre/ Manchester Opera House). His other stage credits include Broken Wings (The Other Palace), Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera (William Christie and Les Arts Florissants) and Allegro (Southwark Playhouse).

Zorro the Musical brings together Director Christian Durham (Breaking The Code, Quaint Honour, Café Society Swing), Choreographer Cressida Carre (Avenue Q, Titanic, Pippi Longstocking), Designer Rosa Maggiora (Hobson’s Choice, Approaching Empty, ‘Nina’ A Story About Me & Nina Simone) and Orchestrator and Musical Director Nick Barstow (RAGS The Musical, Just So, RE:arrangement). The creative team also includes Sound Designer Andrew Johnson, Lighting Designer Matt Haskins, Flamenco Specialist Maria Vega, Fight Director Renny Krupinski, and Casting Director Jane Deitch.

Tickets are now on sale at

Tracy Ann Oberman to play Shylock

Tracy Ann Oberman stars as Shylock in new production of The Merchant of Venice

In a creative response to antisemitism in Britain, the production will be set in 1930s London

A person standing in front of a building

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NATIONAL TOUR: 4 September – 14 November

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Brigid Larmour

@watfordpalace | #Merchant36 |

A major co-production between five leading regional theatres in Autumn 2020, The Merchant of Venice will star Tracy Ann Oberman (EastEnders, Friday Night Dinner, Toast of London) in the role of Shylock and will be directed by Brigid Larmour, Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre. Set in the London of the 1930s – East End, West End and City – Oberman was inspired to reframe The Merchant of Venice based on her own great grandmother’s experience as a single mother in the East End of London. Drawing on her own family history of her grandmother and uncles who were on the front line at The Battle of Cable Street as children, Oberman reimagines Shylock as an East End matriarch, a refugee from pogroms in Russia. The production is led by Watford Palace Theatre in partnership with Leeds Playhouse, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Rose Theatre.

This timely retelling sees Shylock as a widow, and a survivor, running a small business from a dark and cramped terraced house in Cable Street, trying to give her daughter Jessica a better quality of life. The aristocrats – Portia, Antonio, Lorenzo – are Mosleyites, supporters of the British Union of Fascists. Their playground is piano bars at the Savoy, bias cut silk gowns, white tie and tails. 

Tracy Ann Oberman said, “I’ve always wanted to reclaim The Merchant in some way and wanted to see how it would change with a single mother female Shylock. My own great grandma and great aunts were single mothers, widows, left in the East End to run the businesses and the homes which they did with an iron fist. When I spoke about it to Brigid, she instantly got it, and said it gave a brilliant way into the problematic aspects of characters like Antonio and Portia –  she saw them as aristocratic young Mosleyites, supporters of the British Union of Fascists led by Oswald Mosley. That led us to an East End Cable Street, with pawn shops and money lending under the counter of shmatter stalls and seamstress jobs, in the weeks leading up to Mosley’s Fascist march against ‘The Jew’ in 1936.”

Brigid Larmour said, “The great Polish critic Jan Kott called Shakespeare ‘our contemporary.’  This production brings together Tracy’s powerful stage presence as an actor with her courageous activism, in a story with acute contemporary resonance. Our national sense of pride in the ‘Britain stood alone’ view of 1940 can sometimes makes us forget how much support there was for fascism here in the 30s.  It is dangerous to forget.”

Tracy Ann Oberman is an English television, theatre and radio actress. Having trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, Oberman spent four years with the Royal Shakespeare Company, before joining the National Theatre. Her extensive theatrical background includes appearing with Kenneth Branagh in David Mamet’s Edmond, a run in the West End revival of Boeing-Boeing and the National Theatre’s production of Earthquakes in London. She was recently seen performing to sell out audiences in the West End opposite Amanda Holden in Stepping Out and as the lead in Fiddler On The Roof at the Chichester Festival Theatre. Oberman later returned to Chichester Festival Theatre to play a lead, opposite Rufus Hound, in Noel Coward’s Present Laughter.  She has also been seen at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Hugh Whitemore’s Pack of Lies, at the Harold Pinter Theatre in Party Time and Celebration as part of the sell out Jamie Lloyd Pinter at the Pinter season of one-act plays on the tenth anniversary of the Nobel Prize winner’s death, and as the lead in new play Mother of Him at The Park Theatre. For this role she was nominated for Best Actress at The Offies. TV credits include Doctor Who, Mistresses, Toast of London, Ricky Gervais’ Netflix hit After Life, and the critically acclaimed Friday Night Dinner, which will soon be returning for its sixth series. It has recently been announced that Tracy Ann will be joining the cast of Russell T Davies’ new Channel 4 drama, Boys, alongside Keeley Hawes, Stephen Fry and Neil Patrick Harris and Sky One’s exciting new drama Code 404 opposite Stephen Graham and Daniel Mays. Both will air later this year. Oberman has performed in more than 600 radio plays. Tracy is also a column contributor for The Guardian and was a regular contributor to the Jewish Chronicle and Red Magazine. As a playwright she has written a number of well received Radio 4 plays, including Bette and Joan and Baby Jane.

Brigid Larmour, an experienced director, producer and dramaturg, is Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Watford Palace Theatre. A text-based director, she has directed numerous Shakespeares, including a recent all-female Much Ado About Nothing at Watford Palace.  Other WPT credits include new plays by Timberlake Wertenbaker (Jefferson’s Garden), Gary Owen (Perfect Match, Mrs Reynolds and the Ruffian, We That Are Left), Neil d’Souza (Coming Up), Charlotte Keatley (Our Father), Marks and Gran (Love Me Do, Von Ribbentrop’s Watch) and Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti (Fourteen), as well as plays by Ronald Harwood and Alan Ayckbourn, and four pantomimes. She has a track record of supporting diverse voices, and casting women in traditionally male roles in Shakespeare. She championed and directed Charlotte Keatley’s game-changing play My Mother Said I Never Should at Contact Theatre, Manchester in the 80s. From 1998- 2006 she was Artistic Director of West End company Act Productions, and adviser to BBC4 Plays.

Listings information

UK Tour: 4 Sept – 14 Nov

4 – 19 Sept                   Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
                                    142-144 Above Bar Street, Southampton, SO14 7DU
                           | 023 8067 1771

22 Sept – 3 Oct             Liverpool Playhouse
                                    Williamson Square, Liverpool L1 1EL
                           | 0151 709 4776

6 – 17 Oct                     Watford Palace Theatre
20 Clarendon Rd, Watford, Hertfordshire, WD17 1JZ | 01923 225671

20 – 31 Oct                   Leeds Playhouse
Playhouse Square, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UP | 0113 213 7700

3 – 14 Nov                    Rose Theatre                            24-26 High St, Kingston upon Thames KT1 1HL                           | 020 8174 0090

The project is supported by Roman Abramovich and Chelsea Football Club’s “Say No Antisemitism Campaign”

Thank you to Trafalgar Entertainment for their support of this project