Today the National Theatre announces its commitment to begin creating new work again, with plans to resume socially-distanced live performances in the Olivier Theatre in late October. A new one-person play, DEATH OF ENGLAND: DELROY, by Clint Dyer and Roy Williams, will be directed by Dyer, and performed by Giles Terera. This follows on from Dyer and Williams’ play Death of England, which Dyer also directed, and which was performed by Rafe Spall to critical acclaim in the Dorfman Theatre, closing only weeks before lockdown.

The production team, together with Giles Terera, have been back at the National Theatre this week working on the play: the first artists to return to work in the building since it closed. The new play was commissioned by the NT’s New Work Department at the start of lockdown and written over the subsequent five months. It explores a different side of the Death of England story as it focuses on the character of Delroy, the best friend of Michael, the protagonist of the first piece.

London, 2020. Delroy is arrested on his way to the hospital. Filled with anger and grief, he recalls the moments and relationships that gave him hope before his life was irrevocably changed. This new work explores a Black working-class man searching for truth and confronting his relationship with Great Britain.

Government have now confirmed that indoor, socially-distanced performances can resume from this Saturday. Death of England: Delroy will begin performances in late October. Tickets will go on sale in September, when full details of the performance schedule, ticketing, and safety measures for audiences will also be available. 

Speaking about the play Clint Dyer and Roy Williams said: “There’s a moment in Death of England at his father’s funeral where Michael tells Delroy, ‘you may act like us and talk like us, but you will never be one of us’. In telling Delroy’s story, we hope to take audiences on an illuminating journey into the Black British psyche and realities of a ‘tolerant’ England in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said: “This week Death of England: Delroy will have its first workshop as we finally, carefully open the doors of the theatre to artists and put in place plans to start live performance again this Autumn.  Clint Dyer and Roy Williams have delivered another explosive piece of work; set during lockdown and charting its own fearless and provocative course through the same subjects as its prequel, and a very English reflection of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is so important for us to be welcoming artists back into the building again, and planning for doing the same for our much-missed audiences. The moment the incomparable Giles Terera steps out on the Olivier stage at that first performance will be an incredible one, and I’m thrilled to be reopening our theatre with such an important and timely piece of work.”

Set and costume designers are Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and ULTZ, with lighting design by Jackie Shemesh, sound design by Pete Malkin and Ben Grant.








After tremendous success with ‘The Show Must Go On’ merchandise, The Theatre Support Fund+ have teamed up with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and designed a special edition face covering to coincide with the venue reopening on 14th August 2020.

Timothy Sheader, Artistic Director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre said today,

‘As our industry continues to be faced with an uncertain future, the Theatre Support Fund+ is critical to support those whose livelihoods are under threat. Whilst we at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre have found a way to re-open this summer, a 70% reduction in our capacity to allow for social distancing does not offer a long-term solution. We are therefore proud to support the Theatre Support Fund+ by selling their face coverings and to highlight their essential work’.

The Theatre Support Fund+ & ‘The Show Must Go On’ merchandise was created in response to the Coronavirus Pandemic and has raised over £250,000 for Acting for Others and the Fleabag Support Fund who are providing financial aid to people working in the theatre industry.

Chris Marcus and Damien Stanton from Theatre Support Fund+ said today, ‘We are so thrilled to be collaborating with the Open Air theatre to raise monies for our industry. It has been five months since we had to close our theatres doors and it’s wonderful that one of London’s theatres can finally open for summer. We have designed a bespoke mask which people can purchase from our website in advance or at the venue. All profits from masks sold will go to Acting For Others, Fleabag Support Fund and the COVID-19 Urgent Appeal’.

The design is an amalgamation of the world-famous artwork of 16 of the biggest musicals in the West End. Shows included in the design are & JulietCome From AwayDear Evan HansenEveryone’s Talking about JamieHamiltonLes MisérablesMamma Mia!Mary PoppinsMatilda The MusicalSix The MusicalTina, The Tina Turner MusicalThe Book of MormonThe Prince of EgyptThe Lion KingThe Phantom of the Opera and Wicked.

Face coverings can be purchased in advance from the website  or at the venue. 

London Theatre Company – Bridge Theatre



Ralph Fiennes will make his Bridge Theatre debut performing David Hare’s monologue Beat the Devil, a new play written as a response to the author’s experience of contracting coronavirus. Nicholas Hytner will direct with designs by Bunny Christie, lighting by Jon Clark, sound by Gareth Fry and music by George Fenton. The performance schedule can be found below.

On the same day that the UK government finally made the first of two decisive interventions that led to a conspicuously late lockdown, David Hare contracted Covid-19. Nobody seemed to know much about it then, and many doctors are not altogether sure they know much more today. Suffering a pageant of apparently random symptoms, Hare recalls the delirium of his illness, which mix with fear, dream, honest medicine and dishonest politics to create a monologue – performed at The Bridge by Ralph Fiennes – of furious urgency and power.

Ralph Fiennes has enjoyed an extensive career in theatre, film and television as well as producing and directing film.  He was last on stage at the National Theatre in Antony and Cleopatra. Fiennes was previously directed by Hytner as Edmund in King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company.  His many other theatre credits include Hamlet, Ivanov, Richard II and Coriolanus for the Almeida, The Master Builder, God of Carnage and Faith Healer.  His many film credits include Schindler’s List, The English Patient, The Constant Gardener, The Grand Budapest Hotel and the roles of Lord Voldemort in the Harry Potter films and M in Skyfall and Spectre.  He has also directed three feature films – Coriolanus, The Invisible Woman and The White Crow. Fiennes’ forthcoming films include The King’s ManThe DigThe Forgiven and No Time To Die.

David Hare is one of the UK’s most prolific and acclaimed writers having written extensively for stage, television and film.  He is the author of over 30 full length plays, his first, Slag, was produced in 1970. Hare is the winner of multiple international awards including a BAFTA for Licking Hitler, an Olivier award and a Critics’ Circle award for Racing Demon, an Evening Standard Drama award for Pravda and a Tony award for Skylight.  He is also a two-time Academy award nominee for The Hours and The Reader and was knighted in 1998.

Nicholas Hytner co-founded the London Theatre Company with Nick Starr. For the Bridge Theatre he has directed Young Marx, Julius Caesar, Allelujah!, Alys, Always, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Two Ladies. Previously he was Director of the National Theatre from 2003 to 2015. His book Balancing Acts is published by Jonathan Cape.



Following the television broadcast in June this year, eight of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologues will be performed in repertoire at the Bridge Theatre. The performance schedule can be found below.

During April and May, while the Bridge Theatre was closed, the London Theatre Company worked with the BBC to produce Alan Bennett’s landmark Talking Heads monologues. They were broadcast on BBC One in June.

Eight of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads come to the stage in a series of unique double bills, all of them with the same leading actors whose performances were universally acclaimed on television. Each of the short plays is a perfectly distilled masterpiece, sometimes disturbing, often hilarious and always profoundly humane. 

Monica Dolan in The Shrine directed by Nicholas Hytner

Tamsin Greig in Nights in the Gardens of Spain directed by Marianne Elliott

Lesley Manville in Bed Among the Lentils directed by Nicholas Hytner

Lucian Msamati in Playing Sandwiches directed by Jeremy Herrin

Maxine Peake in Miss Fozzard Finds Her Feet directed by Sarah Frankcom

Rochenda Sandall in The Outside Dog directed by Nadia Fall

Kristin Scott Thomas in The Hand of God directed by Jonathan Kent

Imelda Staunton in A Lady of Letters directed by Jonathan Kent

Designs are by Bunny Christie, with lighting by Jon Clark, video designs by Luke Halls, sound by Gareth Fry and music by George Fenton.

Alan Bennett has been one of our leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic, as have many of his works for the stage including Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van (together with the screenplay), A Question of Attribution, The Madness of George III (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay The Madness of King George) and an adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows.  At the National Theatre, The History Boys (also a screenplay) won numerous awards including Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle awards for Best Play, an Olivier for Best New Play and the South Bank Show Award. On Broadway, The History Boys won five New York Drama Desk Awards, four Outer Critics’ Circle Awards, a New York Drama Critics’ Award, a New York Drama League Award and six Tonys. 

Alan Bennett’s collections of prose are Writing Home, Untold Stories (PEN/Ackerley Prize, 2006) and Keeping On, Keeping OnSix Poets: Hardy to Larkin contains Bennett’s selection of English verse, accompanied by his commentary. His recent fiction includes The Uncommon Reader and Smut: Two Unseemly Stories.

Allelujah! marked the tenth collaboration between Alan Bennett and Nicholas Hytner, presented at the Bridge Theatre in 2018, a working relationship which began in 1990 with The Wind in the Willows, and continued with The Madness of King George III, The Lady in the Van and The History Boys (all three also adapted for film), followed by The Habit of Art, People and the double bill Untold Stories. 

The Talking Heads monologues were first broadcast on the BBC in 1988 and 1998, breaking new ground for television and widely celebrated as Alan Bennett’s masterpieces. The monologues won two BAFTAs, an RTS award and have also since been included on the A-level and GCSE English Literature syllabus.

The recent BBC One television series was produced by Nicholas Hytner and Kevin Loader for the London Theatre Company (LTC) and co-produced by Steve Clark Hall. Executive Producers were

Nick Starr, Andrew Leveson and Medwyn Jones for LTC and Piers Wenger for the BBC. The series was commissioned by Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama and Charlotte Moore, Director of BBC Content. Ten of the original pieces were re-made with the addition of two new ones written by Bennett last year.

For these performances at the Bridge, Alan Bennett has generously waived his royalty.  

Earlier this summer, he and the actors, directors, producers and senior crew of the new BBC1 series of Talking Heads donated their fees to NHS Charities Together – generating over £1m that will be used to support NHS staff, volunteers and patients as they continue to tackle the Covid crisis and its aftermath.



Written and performed by Inua Ellams, The Bridge will present Ellams’ and Fuel’s production of An Evening with an Immigrant, with music selection by DJ Sid Mercutio. The performance schedule can be found below.

Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in what is now considered by many to be Boko Haram territory, Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London and starting work as a writer and graphic designer. Littered with poems,

Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in what is now considered by many to be Boko Haram  

territory, Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London and starting work as a writer and graphic designer. Littered with poems, stories and anecdotes, Ellams will tell his ridiculous, fantastic, poignant immigrant-story of escaping fundamentalist Islam, directing an arts festival at his college in Dublin, performing solo shows at the National Theatre and drinking wine with the Queen of England, all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home. 

Inua Ellams is an award-winning poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist and designer.  He started performing in cafes in 2003 and has since worked in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Glastonbury Music Festival.  He is the recipient of an Edinburgh Fringe First Award for his autobiographical award-winning play The 14th Tale.  He has also undertaken several commissions, including those for Louis Vuitton and Soho Theatre. Following two sell-out runs at the National Theatre and a world tour, his play Barber Shop Chronicles (A Fuel, National Theatre and Leeds Playhouse co-production) also ran at the Roundhouse in 2019. His adaptation of Three Sisters was co-produced by the National Theatre and Fuel in 2019-2020.

Fuel says: “Fuel leads the field in independent producing in the UK’s live performance sector. They work with brilliant artists to make fresh experiences for adventurous people. To date, many of these experiences have been theatre, whether that is in an actual theatre, on the streets, in community settings, or in purpose-built structures. All of the artists Fuel works with produce shows, performances or experiences which have clear, direct and playful relationships with their audiences. They appeal to the emotions and the intellect. Things that make you laugh and cry. These artists see the world in a different way; they respond to challenges and difficulties with ingenuity and ideas; they create something unexpected which articulates something new to audiences. Fuel was founded in 2004 and is led by Kate McGrath. Fuel is supported by Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation, Fenton Arts Trust, the Garrick Trust, the Backstage Trust, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Wellcome Trust through Sustaining Excellence.”



Yolanda Mercy will perform her one woman play Quarter Life Crisis, directed by Jade Lewis at The Bridge. The performance schedule can be found below. Previously seen in London at Soho Theatre in 2017 and 2018, Quarter Life Crisis was adapted for radio and broadcast on BBC Radio 1xtra.

Alicia is a hot mess. She doesn’t know what she’s doing with her life. Swiping left, swiping right to find the perfect match. Even though she’s a Londoner, born and bred, the scent of Lagos peppers her existence in the ends. Everyone around her seems to know where they’re going in life, but she’s just trying to find ways to cheat growing up and keep her 16-25 railcard. What does it mean to be an adult and when do you become one?

London based writer and performer Yolanda Mercy’s first play was On the Edge of Me presented at Soho Theatre where she is currently on attachment (as a Soho Six). Earlier this year saw her television writing debut with BBW, a comedy drama for Channel 4 as part of their BAFTA nominated anthology – On the Edge. She is a published author with Oberon Books for Quarter Life Crisis.

Jade Lewis is a writer and director.  Her theatre credits include Astro Babies at Ovalhouse which she wrote and directed.  Her directing credits include Superhoe at the Royal Court Theatre and the Brighton Festival, Extinguished Things at Summerhall Festival, Quarter Life Crisis which played at Underbelly, Soho Theatre and internationally as well as On The Edge of Me which toured nationally.  Her Resident Director credits include Nine Night at National Theatre and Trafalgar Studios.  Lewis was a Boris Karloff Trainee Assistant Director at the Young Vic, Creative Associate at The Gate Theatre and one of Ovalhouse’s Emerging Artist team.  She has also directed and assisted on community projects for Southwark Playhouse, Southbank Centre, Company 3 and the Young Vic. In 2019 Lewis was nominated for Best Director at the Stage Debut Awards for her work on Superhoe.



Poet and playwright Zodwa Nyoni’s Nine Lives will be performed by Lladel Bryant and directed by Alex Chisholm, presented by The Bridge. The performance schedule can be found below. Developed at West Yorkshire Playhouse (now Leeds Playhouse), Nine Lives received a UK national tour before it received its London premiere at the Arcola Theatre.

Fleeing from his home where a fresh wave of homophobia threatens his life, Ishmael has sought sanctuary in the UK.  Dispersed to Leeds, Ishmael waits to hear his fate, he waits for a new life to begin amongst strangers.  But not everyone is bad… can he find a place to call home again? Some of us wanted to stop being afraid. Some of us wanted to find ourselves. Some of us wanted to belong. Zodwa Nyoni threads together humour and humanity to tell the real personal story behind asylum headlines.

Zodwa Nyoni is a playwright, poet and screenwriter. She was the 2014 Writer-in-Residence at West Yorkshire Playhouse/Channel 4 and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She has made short films with the Young Vic, National Trust, Tyneside Cinema, BBC Films and BFI Film Hub North. Currently under commission by the Kiln Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre, Nyoni is published by Bloomsbury.

As well as previously performing Nine Lives, Lladel Bryant’s theatre credits include The Night Before Christmas and A Christmas Carol for Leeds Playhouse, Shed Crew and Bittersweet Sunshine for Red Ladder Theatre Company and Concrete Jungle for Manchester Fringe Festival. His screen credits include DCI Banks and The Raven Tournament.

Alex Chisholm is the Co-Artistic Director of Freedom Studios in Bradford. Chisholm directed Nine Lives for West Yorkshire Playhouse, a UK tour and the Arcola Theatre and Conscientious for the West Yorkshire Playhouse and a UK tour. While Associate Director at the West Yorkshire Playhouse her credits include Schoolboy/LoverDustMelaScuffer, Tender Dearly, Non-Contact Time and Huddersfield.

Leeds Playhouse says: “In 2018 West Yorkshire Playhouse relaunched as Leeds Playhouse, a creative hub for the city and beyond, a place where people and communities come to tell and share stories, to experience world class theatre that is pioneering, invigorating and relevant. Dedicated collaborators seek out the best companies and individual artists locally, nationally and internationally to create inspirational theatre in Leeds at the heart of Yorkshire. Leeds Playhouse develops work with established practitioners and finds new voices that they believe should be heard, providing a creative space for new writers, emerging companies and individual theatre artists, making work with national and international ambitions yet locally rooted with their distinctiveness informed by where they are from. The Leeds Playhouse production The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was presented at the Bridge Theatre in association with Elliott Harper Productions in 2019/20.”





Twitter – @TheRhythmics_

Metta Theatre and Aria Entertainment – two of the UK’s leading production companies devoted to British musical theatre – are pleased to announce that the album for brand-new life affirming musical THE RHYTHMICS, is now available via Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Apple Music and many other digital platforms. With book and lyrics by Metta’s Artistic Director Poppy Burton-Morgan, and music & lyrics from Stiles&Drewe award winner Ben Glasstone (Reanimator), THE RHYTHMICS explores the crisis of masculinity via a collection of oddballs belting their way through a thrillingly catchy guitar led score.

Hapless single-dad Grey is in a rut. Teenage daughter Silva packs him off to revive his rockstar dreams, successfully auditioning for ‘Nick & the Rhythmics’ only to realise… he’s actually signed up for an All-male Rhythmic Gymnastics troupe. Against the odds these burly blokes make it as far as the World Championships – twirling their ‘ribbons of fire’ – and along the way Grey finally learns to commit to life. Calendar Girls meets Full Monty in this joyous new British musical.

The piece follows the ups and downs of single-father Grey and his precocious teenage daughter Silva – based somewhat autobiographically on Poppy Burton-Morgan’s own relationship with their father Louis Burton. Poppy and Ben invited Louis to play guest saxophone on the album which is being released following Louis’ 72nd birthday (7 August 2020).

Thanks to emergency support from Arts Council England, a hugely successful Crowdfunder campaign, which exceeded its original target, alongside Metta Theatre reserve funds, the producers were able to record the album (under socially distanced rules in studios across London, Brighton and Glasgow) during the month of July.

Artists involved in the cast recording include Neil McDermott (EastEnders, Pretty Woman) as ‘Grey’, Eleanor Kane (Fun Home, Billionaire Boy) as ‘Silva’, Christopher Staines (The Great Gatsby, Abigail’s Party) as ‘Nick’, Daniel York Loh (The Shadow Factory, Pahl-La) as ‘Dennis’, Samuel Thomas (Man of La Mancha, The Last Five Years) as ‘Connor’, and Kinny Gardner (Lindsay Kemp Company / Krazy Kat Theatre Company) as ‘Sid’. The Musical Director was Jamie Ross and it was mixed and mastered by Simon Small for Voicebox Productions.

Full track listing is as follows:

Gymnastique Rhythmique
Mr Independent
Waiting to Begin
Why Why Why
Going Nowhere
I Was There
Got Your Back
Daddy You’re My Hero
Life’s Not a Competition
We Didn’t Come Here To Win

As well as the cast album (which features 11 of the 19 songs that will be in the show), the producers have released a full music video of the track ‘GOT YOUR BACK’ with fully integrated BSL choreography from Mark Smith (Artistic Director for Deaf Men Dancing), as well as captioning, in order to make it fully accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audiences.

As Poppy Burton-Morgan explains, “Got Your Back comes at the opening of Act 2. The Rhythmics team are having a drink together over Zoom (in the pub in the show proper) and finally starting to open up to each other emotionally. Leader of the troupe Nick reappears halfway through, having gone AWOL and he opens up through basic sign language (as he and his brother sometimes communicate in BSL as one of Jeremy’s children is deaf). Rifts are healed, and in the midst of the opening up they have a brainwave about how to transform their routine for the impending world championships…”

Artists specifically involved in the music video are Neil McDermott as ‘Grey’, Loren O’Dair as ‘Sue’, Craig Turner as ‘Nick’, Carl Sanderson as ‘Dennis’, Lemuel Knights as ‘Connor’, Adam Jay-Price as ‘Jeremy’ and Kinny Gardner as ‘Sid’.

Established in 2005 by Poppy Burton-Morgan and Motley trained Designer William ReynoldsMetta Theatre has been at the forefront of new work – with a strong focus on the development of new British musicaltheatre. After their smash hit street-dance Jungle Book (Theatre Royal Windsor & UK tour), circus-musical Little Mermaid (Theatre By The Lake & UK tour) and In The Willows (Exeter Northcott & UK tour) the award-winning Metta Theatre bring you their first original British musical. Other productions include Mouthful (Trafalgar Studios) and Arab Nights (Soho Theatre & UK tour). They are known for combining emotionally powerful performances with imaginative theatricality and striking visual style. Metta Theatre is one of the UK’s leading mid-scale touring companies – making exceptional theatre and opera that represents and celebrates the diversity of our world.

Aria Entertainment was founded in 2012 by Katy Lipson. In 2017, Katy was awarded the Best Producer award by the Off-West End Awards and is a recipient of a Stage One Bursary and Start Up Award. She took part in the first ever UK/US Producer Exchange in 2019 and was nominated for International Producer Of The Year in 2020 by the League Of Professional Women in New York. She made “The Stage 100” a list of the most influential people working in British Theatre in 2018, 2019 and 2020 for her work as producing artistic director of the Hope Mill Theatre.

Poppy Burton-Morgan, who earlier this year won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for musical theatre book writing for In the Willows – The Hip Hop musical (which toured the UK in 2019), said “It has been a surreal and poignant experience recording this album and making a music video in isolation, especially for a show that is so intrinsically about community and togetherness. But I’m thrilled with what we’ve managed to create, and in a strange way I think the warmth and humanity of the performances shines through all the brighter in these dark times

YTR Pop-up on the Patio

Live theatre returns to York Theatre Royal this August

York Theatre Royal has announced Pop-up on the Patio, a festival of live
outdoor performances on the theatre’s patio stage, featuring performers from
across Yorkshire.

The festival will take place over three consecutive weekends in August,
beginning on Friday 14 August and ending on Saturday 29 August. The full lineup includes a wide range of art forms; dance theatre, improvised comedy,
magic, storytelling, theatre, puppetry, poetry and music.

Thom Freeth, York Theatre Royal’s Producer, said: “We’re so excited to have
been able to bring live theatre back to our city this summer. Our building may
still be closed, but we didn’t want that to stand in the way of entertaining the
people of York during this difficult time. Pop-up on the Patio also gives us the
opportunity to showcase the work of brilliant locally-based performers, many
of whom are part of our freelance family, who have been disproportionally
effected by this pandemic.”

The theatre’s patio area has been reconfigured to allow for a socially-distanced
audience and stage, with extra safety measures in place to ensure that
audiences and staff are safe. The outside performance space has been
designed by Yorkshire-based theatre designer, Hannah Sibai.

At 7pm on Friday 14 August, York Dance Space will curate an evening of
contemporary dance theatre with Dance // Shorts, a compilation of solos and
duets from young dance artists from across Yorkshire and the Humber.
Performances include solo work from Alethia Antonia (Russel Maliphant, James
Wilton Dance Company
), Coalesce Dance Theatre, Daisy Howell (Brink Dance
), Namiuki Dance and a selection of ‘Doorstep Dances’ from Hull
based artists Tamar and Jo including contemporary, Northern Soul, jazz dance
and physical theatre styles.

At 11am on Saturday 15, 22 and 29 August, Mud Pie Arts presents their Silly
Summer Stories
, interactive storytelling for ages 4 to 11.

At 1pm on Saturday 15 and 22 August, Story Craft Theatre presents Crafty
Tales, an hour of storytelling designed around a picture book for ages 2 to 6.

York-based writer and director Paul Birch presents a bite-sized improvisation
show at 4pm on Saturday 15 August. Fool(ish) is an hour of spontaneous
comedy where the audience provide the suggestions and the actors ‘make
stuff happen’.

On Friday 21 August, The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook
present Orpheus and Eurydice, their award-winning modern retellings
of two ancient myths.

On Saturday 22 August, Freddie Does Puppets presents Fred’s Microbrewery,
the world’s first Puppet-in-a-Pub theatrical experience. A modern Punch and
Judy story with “Fred”, and his “Sharon”; two very grumpy Yorkshire puppets
cum-pub-landlord-and-landlady of Fred’s Microbrewery. For 15+ years
(contains strong language and adult themes).

Cosmic Collective return to York Theatre Royal on Friday 28 August at 4pm
with Heaven’s Gate, imagining the final hour of four members of the real life
UFO-theistic group. For 14+ years (contains strong language and adult

Slam-winning York-grown punk poet Henry Raby revives his Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019 one-man show to the patio stage at 6.30pm on Friday 28 August. In Apps & Austerity, Henry defines the last decade through sharp performance poetry.

York’s slam poetry group, Say Owt, present a showcase of work at 8pm on
Saturday 29 August. The group were Highly Commended for Best Performance
at the York Culture Awards and have performed at the Great Yorkshire Fringe,
the ArtsBarge, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Ilkley Literature Festival.

On Saturday 29 August at 1pm, just Josh presents his Ultimate Family Show,
with magic, juggling and balloon art to entertain everyone aged 4 to 104 years.

The festival ends with singer/songwriter Jess Gardham. Hailing from York,
multi award winning Jess will present own brand of pop/soul/acoustic.

Tickets for all performances can be purchased through the York Theatre Royal

A limited range of soft and alcoholic drinks will be offered, alongside ice
creams and chocolate.

St Helens Theatre Royal To Change Christmas Pantomime Title Due To Pandemic But A Show Will Go On!

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Regal Entertainments announced today that their 2020 Christmas Pantomime at St Helens Theatre Royal has been changed, but a show will go ahead.

The curtain was due to go up on Cinderella at St Helens Theatre Royal from Sat 5 Dec ’20 – Sun 3 Jan ’21 and had previously announced Linda Robson in the lead role.  However due to the government restrictions now enforced on theatres, it makes the current title not financially viable to continue with, Cinderella is one of the biggest productions in pantomime and carries many additional costs.

Pantomime producers, Regal Entertainments say they have worked tirelessly to look at alternative options for the festive season and they want to ensure that they can continue to provide top entertainment to its community and regular attenders this Christmas. They will now produce Beauty And The Beast, with all the high production values and comedy that audiences have come to enjoy, tickets will go on sale soon. 

The new show will be fully adhering to social distancing measures, in order to keep the audience, staff, and the cast safe. They will make all the necessary changes in order to ensure they comply to the government guidance at the time, full details will be announced when the show goes on sale, changes will include reduced capacity auditorium, temperature checks, wearing of face masks, deep cleaning and pre-order drinks and confectionary, to ensure the venue is Covid safe.

Chantelle Nolan, Theatre Manager at St Helens Theatre Royal said: “This has been a very difficult decision to make, but we have to be guided by the government’s rules at this time and we can’t take the financial risk if we have to wait until November for a decision on whether we move away from socially distant shows, so changes have had to be made. We have now come up with an alternative Christmas show for St Helens, which will have all the high production values the customers have become used to, Beauty And The Beast has always been a firm St Helens favourite and we will ensure it’s a fantastic, fully enjoyable, and a safe festive experience that the whole family can enjoy.

“I would also like to personally take this opportunity to thank all our customers for their continued support and loyalty through these very difficult times.”

Ticket holders for Cinderella are being asked to assist the venue by being patient while changes are being made and they will be contacted first, and directly, as quickly as possible by the box office. The venue will be working throughout August to ensure all patrons that have pre-booked, are rescheduled/re-seated before the show goes on general sale. We will do everything we can to provide you with as close to the original booking as possible.

For more information, please visit:

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Twitter: @TheatreRoyalStH

Instagram: @TheatreRoyalStH

Hackney Empire, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Theatre Royal Stratford East jointly announce the postponement of 2020 Pantos

Hackney Empire, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Theatre Royal Stratford East jointly announce the postponement of 2020 Pantos

Today four of the biggest pantomimes in London announce their postponement to 2021. Hackney Empire, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Theatre Royal Stratford East will not be producing their annual pantos this year due to the continued uncertainty of government guidelines for restarting public performances.

All four theatres have a long tradition of producing high quality and community driven Pantos, last year their four pantos were enjoyed by over 145,000 people, including over 40,500 schoolchildren, many of whom would have been experiencing theatre for the first time. Each Panto is created uniquely for the theatre and its community working with some of the UK’s most talented artists and providing opportunities for new talent to make their professional debuts. These four Pantos typically employ over 285 freelance artists, including writers, directors, designers, actors, technicians, stage management and many more, demonstrating the financial impact Panto has not only for a theatre, but across the theatre industry. The production process for such a large-scale show as Panto would have begun at the start of August. Without an announced date from the Government on when theatre performances can resume without social distancing, making doing a Panto economically viable, these theatres have now had to take the hard decision to postpone to 2021.

Yamin Choudury, Artistic Director and Jo Hemmant, Executive Director, Hackney Empire said: “Firstly we want to thank everybody for their passionate and tireless support, particularly over the last five months, the donations and messages of love and encouragement we have received have given us the strength we need to keep pushing forward in increasingly punishing circumstances. It makes decisions like today’s even more difficult. Everyone involved in bringing our world-famous pantomime to Hackney is devastated, but we know that we have to make any decision necessary, however unimaginable a few months ago, to ensure that Hackney Empire can remain this incredible and singular sanctuary of creativity and togetherness for another 120 years and more.

Pantomimes are long and expensive to plan and produce, monopolising the minds, efforts and generosity of hundreds of people in the process. Writers, directors, composers and performers, designers, builders, technicians and stage managers, box office and front of house staff who greet you every single night for over 60 performances, the list goes on and despite potential government funding for some – to be confirmed at a later date – the numbers just don’t add up while uncertainty remains on reopening timing and restrictions.  We need to stay strong until we can welcome audiences back when it is safe to do so. This doesn’t mean that nothing will be happening at Hackney Empire over the holidays. We are working on a festive programme (stay tuned…) for our audience to enjoy this December. It will be on a smaller scale to our usual offering, but it will be just as magical; maybe fewer custard pies, but even more fairy dust!”

Rachel O’Riordan, Artistic Director and Sian Alexander, Executive Director, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre said: “We are desperately sad to be postponing the Lyric’s 2020 Panto Aladdin to 2021. It was a very hard decision but one we had to make to ensure the future of our theatre and manage the unprecedented levels of risk during this difficult and uncertain time. We have a long history of Panto at the Lyric; our first was in 1897. It is a magical time of year for our theatre, the artists we work with and our community – we love seeing many generations of families coming together to experience the joy of Panto. Economically Panto is massively important to the theatre industry, it is also for many their first experience of live theatre and for others the first opportunity to work professionally. We are incredibly proud of the talent that has come through our Panto Ensemble, which provides a pathway into our industry for many young people who go on to have incredible careers in theatre. We are committed to Panto being back in its rightful place on our stage in the heart of Hammersmith and delighting our audiences in 2021.”

Douglas Rintoul, Artistic Director and Mathew Russell, Executive Director, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch said: “Whilst we’re excited that audiences will still get to see our latest pantomime Aladdin in 2021, fingers tightly crossed, we’re incredibly sad that this is the first time since 1953 that Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch won’t be producing a pantomime. It’s the highlight of everyone’s year – for audiences of all ages and the team at the Theatre too – celebrating togetherness through a riot of silliness and spectacle. The experience is so important for huge numbers – for children enjoying the magic of their first theatre visit, those who go to the theatre once a year and our most loyal followers, who’ve been enjoying Hornchurch pantos for a long time. The impact on the charity’s finances will be pretty dreadful too, and we’ll be seeking and needing lots of extra support to get us through the rest of 2020 without it. In the meantime, we’re hopeful that they’ll be a different and smaller but still very special alternative festive offering, which bookers can read more about on our website.”

Nadia Fall, Artistic Director and Eleanor Lang, Executive Director, Theatre Royal Stratford East said: “Panto has been part of the Stratford East Christmas since 1884 and so it’s with a heavy heart that we have to postpone Red Riding Hood. So many people tell us that the Stratford East panto is the first thing they saw as a child, and so many families come every year as their Christmas tradition, and each year over 11,000 school children come to our panto too. It’s also our biggest show; employing a wide range of freelancers, who may now have no work over the Christmas period. Panto means so much to our audiences, the artists and freelancers that put it together and to us as a building. Despite the disappointment for this year, we are determined that we will have a brilliant panto in the making by Carl Miller and Robert Hyman next year and we can’t wait to share Red Riding Hood with our audiences in 2021.”

The customers for each Panto will be contacted by the theatre they have booked with moving their booking to the equivalent performance in 2021. The theatres thank their customers for their continued patience and support through this process.



Selladoor’s subsidiary company Prime Pantomimes announces today that following the recent government announcement that it will not be possible to clarify guidelines for indoor performances until November, they will be postponing their 2020 pantomime season until 2021.  Pantomimes include Aladdin at New Theatre Peterborough, Cinderella at Queen’s Theatre Barnstaple and Snow White at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre.

David Hutchinson CEO of Selladoor worldwide says “It is with huge disappointment that we have made the difficult decision to postpone our pantomime season for 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 Crisis.   At this time, without guidance on when theatres will be able to fully reopen – we can’t further risk the business. Instead we are focusing on reimagining our business plan and strategising for the future in order for us to weather the next stage of this crisis.  We are exploring options for bridging this period with imaginative programming and engagement work to ensure we maintain the crucial connection between our audiences and artists with our café open and an outdoor festival planned for the Landmark in Ilfracombe and cinema screenings at the New Theatre in Peterborough along with localised fundraising campaigns. The stark reality is that as our pantos fall victim to Covid – the business moves into a critical stage, as we focus on business continuity and survival”

Selladoor has confirmed that following a consultancy period 91 full time and casual members of staff will be leaving the business in August.

David continues ”The loss of our loyal staff members is devastating. We have been doing all we can to protect and retain all of our employees but the extended period of closure and a lack of any income has put us in an impossible position where we simply cannot afford to sustain our staffing levels. This news will come as a further blow to the many freelancers and creative practitioners that are involved in bringing our pantos to life each year, and for that I feel terrible. After a horrendous year for freelancers, we are actively thinking of how we build our world class freelance talent into our bridging programme as our theatre remain closed – as it’s vital we all survive this period together. The postponement of pantomime means that now, more than ever, we need you to continue to support the arts and your local venues”    

Stuart Shanks – Head of Venues for Selladoor says “The support we have had from our local communities throughout this crisis has been amazing and we hope you can continue this support into next year. All tickets for this year’s pantomime season are transferrable to 2021 and we would ask you to consider this option to help enable us to come back bigger and stronger.”

Pantomime at Hull New Theatre: Update

Pantomime at Hull New Theatre

Due to the ongoing situation regarding Covid-19 and uncertainty of when theatres will be permitted to re-open at full capacity, Qdos Pantomimes and Hull Culture and Leisure have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s pantomime that was due to open on 12th December 2020 at Hull New Theatre.

‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ will instead be performed from Saturday 11th December 2021 – Sunday 2nd January 2022. All existing bookings remaining valid and tickets will automatically transfer into the equivalent date, time and original seat selection. Customers are advised to contact [email protected] to discuss options if this is not suitable.

A spokesperson for Hull New Theatre said “Whilst it is extremely disappointing that it will not be possible to stage our spectacular pantomime this year, we are pleased that we have been able to ensure that this much loved tradition will come alive again at Hull New Theatre in 2021. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all customers for their ongoing support during this time and we look forward to welcoming you back soon”

Tickets for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 2021/22 are on sale now from £16.50 – £30 at

A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story Rescheduled to 2021



Due to ongoing government guidelines restricting the reopening of theatres at full capacity, producer Eleanor Lloyd and Nottingham Playhouse have today announced that A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story a brand-new adaptation by Mark Gatiss, directed by Adam Penford has been postponed until 2021.

Performances will now take place at Nottingham Playhouse from 29 October to 13 November 2021 and at the Alexandra Palace Theatre from 26 November 2021 to 9 January 2022.

Originally scheduled to open in Autumn 2020, A Christmas Carol – A Ghost Story will see Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Dracula, The League of Gentlemen, Doctor Who) lead an ensemble cast, in his own retelling of Dickens’ classic winter ghost story, filled with Dickensian, spine-tingling special effects.

Adam Penford says: 

The audience response to this new ghostly retelling of A Christmas Carol has been overwhelming and it’s with a heavy heart that we’re postponing the production. The adaptation that Mark has delivered during lockdown exceeded our already high expectations – it makes you see the well-known tale through fresh eyes – and I was so excited by all the design and production ideas we were working on. I can’t wait to bring the new show to Nottingham and the atmospheric Alexandra Palace Theatre in 2021.

Current bookings for performances at Alexandra Palace will be rescheduled into the equivalent dates, and the same seats, for the 2021 run. Customers will be able to use their current tickets for performances next year. Alexandra Palace Box Office will be in touch with ticketholders in the coming weeks.

For further information, or to buy tickets for the 2021 season, please visit:

Customers who have booked tickets for the production at Nottingham Playhouse do not need to do anything; the box office team will contact them directly. As a registered charity, there will also be an option for customers to donate the value of their tickets to Nottingham Playhouse which will help the theatre to continue its work in the community and work towards reopening.  Donations to the theatre during this difficult time may also be made through their Curtain Up Appeal –

The latest news regarding Nottingham Playhouse and its reaction to Covid-19 can be found at: