Behind-the-scenes images and casting revealed for the stage premiere of Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show

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Behind-the-scenes images and casting revealed for Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show

imitating the dog and Leeds Playhouse have today announced full casting for the outdoor premiere of DR BLOOD’S OLD TRAVELLING SHOW. New rehearsal images have also been revealed, giving an enticing glimpse of the high-tech treats in store for returning theatre audiences.

The production’s cast will feature imitating the dog regulars Laura Atherton (Night of the Living Dead™ – Remix and A Farewell To Arms, imitating the dog); Matt Prendergast (Night of the Living Dead™ – Remix and The Zero Hour, imitating the dog) and Keicha Greenidge (Heart of Darkness, imitating the dog, and In the Club, BBC).

The inventive storytelling skills of theatre innovators imitating the dog are used to great effect as they create a deliciously dark tale of mischief, immorality, and long-buried secrets. Drawing on horror movies and the traditions of carnival shows, Dr Blood and his motley crew tell a tale of the price paid for pursuing ambition, hypocrisy, and greed. Set in a mythical ‘North’ and made for these strange times of lockdown, imitating the dog bring all their theatrical and technical acumen to this unique outdoor entertainment.

Produced by imitating the dog and Leeds Playhouse, DR BLOOD’S OLD TRAVELLING SHOW is written and directed by imitating the dog’s co-artistic directors Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks and will premiere on Playhouse Square from 7–8 October. It will then tour to the Piece Hall, Halifax (9–10 Oct), The Lowry, Salford (17 Oct), Lancaster Square, Lancaster Arts and Dukes Lancaster (20–21 Oct) and Belgrade Square, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry (23–24 Oct).

Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show, Playhouse Square, Leeds Playhouse

7 – 8 October

Book online Box office 0113 213 7700.


7­–8 Oct, Playhouse Square, Leeds Playhouse

9–10 Oct, The Courtyard, The Piece Hall, Halifax

17 Oct, The Lowry, Salford

20–21 Oct, Lancaster Square, Lancaster Arts

23–24 Oct, Belgrade Square, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Full tour info:

National Theatre partners with Audible to support next generation of young playwrights across UK

National Theatre partners with Audible to support next generation of young playwrights across UK

The National Theatre is partnering with Audible as the Official Audio Partner for its New Views playwriting competition to support the next generation of writing talent across the UK.

Through this partnership the National Theatre and Audible plan to work with a young writer to adapt their script and publish it in audio. The participant will be supported throughout the process, gaining invaluable experience in audio development.

New Views is the National Theatre’s annual playwriting programme and competition for 14 – 19-year olds which supports students to write their own play with mentoring from professional playwrights, online workshops and masterclasses alongside bespoke training for teachers. Each year one play is selected from hundreds of entries to be produced at the NT with a professional cast and crew, alongside rehearsed readings of eight shortlisted plays. Previous winning and shortlisted scripts will act as a catalogue of plays that may be adapted by the playwright for Audible.

Audible, the leading provider of audio storytelling, is also supporting the National Theatre with the digital delivery of the adapted programme in response to Coronavirus. Participants will be able to access playwriting masterclasses and Audible’s expansive back-catalogue of audio content, in addition to online recordings of NT productions and digital workshops from the NT. 

Lisa Burger, Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre said, “Young writers and theatre-makers are the future of our theatre industry and we are committed to supporting the development of new talent by continuing to provide opportunities and platforms for young people right across the UK in these challenging times. New Views encourages participants to explore their creativity, engage in debate and develop their ideas with the support of fantastic contemporary writers. We are excited to begin our partnership with Audible to develop brilliant new scripts for their platform and ensure the talented voices of the next generation are heard far and wide”. 

Kevin Addley, Country Manager at Audible said, “This exciting partnership with the National Theatre’s New Views programme allows us to help support the theatre at a difficult time for the arts. Discovering and supporting young talent has never been more vital, and we look forward to being able to celebrate new young talent in the coming months”.

Applications for schools to take part in New Views 2020-2021 are currently open until Wednesday 7th October. To find out more and to sign up visit:

March For The Arts Protest Rally To Take Place In Liverpool This Weekend

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Muster begins 12pm on Saturday 3 October at Metropolitan Cathedral

Rally to March through the city centre to St Georges Hall with Speeches

Organisers appeal to attenders to put Covid safety at forefront of minds

A protest March will take place in Liverpool city centre this weekend to raise awareness of the devastating impact lockdown has had on the Arts Industry across the region.

The March on Saturday 3 October from 12noon will bring people together who work in and support the industry which currently lies in ruins due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with restrictions continuing further. The Governments support has been welcome but is not enough. The protest was originally postponed when the 1.57bn was announced, three months later, the rescue package hasn’t been delivered, furlough is ending, SEISS is ending, organisations remain closed and Rishi Sunak recently described the industry as ‘unviable’.

The peaceful March will begin at the steps of the Metropolitan Cathedral and move through the city centre to a rally with speakers at St George’s Hall Plateau, the speakers will represent a diverse section of the industry including the Artistic Director of Everyman Playhouse Gemma Bodinetz,Adam Flanders of BECTU and actor Tayo Aluko to name a few.

This weekend was chosen to build on a weeklong of protests up and down the country, from the Creative Performance Protest to We Make Events to The Panto Parade. Monday 5th October is the deadline for the Arts Council to have informed/distributed the arts rescue package for round one applicants and this Saturday is also the start of the Conservative Party Conference.

March For The Arts has been organised collectively by three people working in the industry, Liz Barker, Becky Webb and Gemma Dunne, who are dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of the arts and championing those who work in arts industries.

The organisers said “We believe the time is now to march and rally, without further financial support our industry cannot afford to operate with social distancing in place. Until social distancing is no longer required, we must have financial support that reflects our economic value of £111.7bn annually outside of this crisis. We can’t raise awareness to the changes we want to see, if we can’t be seen.

“We also understand there are concerns with the rising number of Covid cases in Liverpool.  Protests are still allowed in current legislation and whilst people are able to eat out, drink out, play sports in groups both at professional level and at amateur then we can protest at the Government’s lack of support for an industry that is unable to open, affecting hundreds and thousands of workers up and down the country, as well as the health and wellbeing of us as a society.

“Social distancing is important to us – we want to ensure everyone attending is 1m+ from the next bubble, is wearing a facemask unless medically exempt, and have plenty of hand sanitizer! We are keeping a track on numbers through the facebook event or by people emailing us confirmation of attendance, to ensure it remains a safe March.”

People can register at [email protected] or

via the facebook event

People are encouraged to attend in their work clothes or costume, to create banners or placards and are welcome to bring their musical instruments or other theatrical props such as puppets and to display their art.

The protest encourages all genres across the creative industries to come together, such as theatre, music, comedy, events, dance, or community engagement. If people are unable to attend or are cautious about attending, then they can also support the protest via social media on the day.


Twitter: @MarchforTheArts

Instagram: @MarchforTheArts

Facebook: /MarchforTheArts

Hashtags we use are: #FairFundingForAll #MarchforTheArts #SaveTheArts #WeMakeEvents #FreelancersMakeTheatreWork #WeAreViable #LetTheMusicPlay #CreativePerformerProtest

Kenton For Keeps Announcement – The Kenton Theatre

The Kenton Theatre announce  

fundraising campaign 


  • The Kenton Theatre set a target to raise £35,000, hoping to match the £35,000 received from the Arts Council England Emergency Response Fund, supported by the National Lottery. 
  • Mary Berry, Simon Williams, Pam Ayres and others speak out to support Kenton For Keeps. 
  • West End star Mike Sterling performs a live stream concert in aid of Kenton For Keeps. 

The Kenton Theatre, the UK’s fourth-oldest working theatre based in the centre of Henley-on-Thames, has today announced its plans to raise £35,000 through their fundraising campaign Kenton For Keeps. Like most theatres in the UK the Kenton Theatre has suffered financially during the COVID-19 pandemic when it had to close its doors to the public in March. 

The Kenton Theatre received financial aid from the Arts Council England’s Emergency Response Fund, supported by the National Lottery, in May 2020. The Kenton has set a target to match the £35,000 received through its own fundraising campaign. Asking the public to generously support the intimate 240 seat theatre will help invest in the venue’s immediate future. With 70% of theatres warning they will run out of cash by the end of the year The Kenton want to preserve the heritage of the theatre, and keep it safe for the generations to come. 

Local actor to Henley and West End actor Mike Sterling (The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and Jean Valjean in Les Misérables) will be hosting a live stream concert through The Kenton Theatre’s YouTube channel on Friday 9 October at 7pm to support Kenton For Keeps. The concert will consist of songs and anecdotes from West End hit shows.  

British stage and screen actor Simon Williams, known for playing the role of James Bellamy in the ITV BAFTA award-winning Upstairs, Downstairs, National treasure Mary Berry and comedian/poet Pam Ayres all show their support towards Kenton For Keeps. 

Julie Huntington, Chair of the trustees at The Kenton Theatre said: 

“With not being able to do our job – that is, entertain and delight our audiences for the last 6 months, this period has had a huge financial impact on our beloved Kenton Theatre. She, The Kenton, the “Grand Old Lady” of theatre, 215 years old this year, has survived many battles. Built in the time of the Napoleonic Wars, she has come through many testing times, including bankruptcy, abandonment and two world wars. This latest challenge however – this unseen enemy, Covid-19, is probably one of the most difficult to overcome, but overcome we will and this is where the local community and the Kenton’s patrons are so very important to her survival. This is also why the new Board of Trustees are very excited to relaunch the highly successful “Kenton for Keeps” campaign that saw the purchase of the freehold of the theatre back in 2011 and would urge audiences, past and present and FUTURE to support the campaign as much as they can. We shall shortly be publishing our plans for the future. Our “Grand Old Lady”, The Kenton Theatre is a much-loved landmark of Henley, we want to make sure that we secure her future for generations to come.” 

Mike Sterling, local actor and supporter of The Kenton Theatre said: 

“It’s vital that all the public near and far, get behind this campaign for such a piece of national treasure as the Kenton. There are not many venues like this and its preservation is vital. I believe also that Henley can indeed set a benchmark for venues such as The Kenton. It’s only when these venues disappear that people truly realise what they have lost in their midst. Personally, I truly ‘feel’ the Kenton and what it stands for. If everyone was to get behind our cause and support it, the long-term financial impact for them is minimal, but for The Kenton, it’s a case of it flourishing.” 

Mary Berry, supporter of The Kenton Theatre said:  

“The Kenton Theatre is one of the treasures of Henley. Please support ‘Kenton For Keeps’ – a historic icon of Henley and it needs to be here forever.” 

Simon Williams, supporter of The Kenton Theatre said: 

“I love the theatre, I love theatre in general, I love the buildings, the actors, the idea of audiences gather to watch a story being told – in particular I love The Kenton Theatre. Please help support the Kenton during these grim times.” 

Pam Ayres, supporter of The Kenton Theatre said:  

“I’ve been appearing at the Kenton Theatre now for many years and have always loved it! I’ve been there for literary festivals and to do my own show on many occasions and I’ve always come away thinking what a valuable place it is. I’m appealing to you today to donate whatever you can to help keep The Kenton open. Please help us ensure that The Kenton Theatre is here for the future generations in Henley and for everyone who is interested in theatre to come along and enjoy.” 

New Associate Company Finally to Perform at the Space

New Associate Theatre Company Finally to Perform at the Space 

How does an emerging theatre company become associates at a venue they’ve never performed at? Well, when they’re as dynamic, committed and super-talented as Mrs C’s Collective are, it should come as no surprise.  

The company were due to stage That Was All at the Space back in March, they were the next ones in when the lockdown hit. Since then, they’ve staged The Big Share online, presenting the work of their Writer’s Collective and launched The Reading Room, engaging theatre luminaries such as Marina Carr, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Mark Ravenhill, in discussions with emerging playwrights. For the Space, members of the company have been employed in different areas of the Locked Down, Looking Up online programme. 

Now, their rescheduled show is finally going to perform at the East London venue, regardless of whether an audience can be there or not. 

Artistic Director of the Space, Adam Hemming, explains ‘I knew when I met Francis and Charlotte, before I saw That Was All at Oso Arts Centre, that they had something special. Their ethos of supporting others, particularly new playwrights, and their passion for storytelling, resonated strongly. Then I saw Jennie perform this beautiful piece of theatre and it was pretty much nailed on from there. Since then, I’ve worked with each of them individually and as a collective and they’ve shown heart, insight and compassion in all that they do. I’m delighted that our audiences will finally be able to see That Was All.” 

You might explore a selection of belief systems, dip your toes in some new age sciences. You might take up yoga, meditation and a plant-based diet. You might even spend a day with a world-renowned Mexican healer wondering why you keep walking around with the strangest feeling, and a distant memory of a pub-crawl with your dad. The endless pints, the samba dancing, the drunken philosophy and the look in dad’s eye when he got a free round on the house. “Jesus Christ” dad said, “Finally get a free pint now that I’m…”. 

That Was All is a one woman show about families, memory and how to make sense out of the unspoken. 

The Saturday matinee performance will be live-streamed so, even if government restrictions mean socially-distanced audiences can’t attend in person, the company will finally be able to perform at the Space 

View the trailer for That Was All and check out the COVID guide for audiences at  

The Space has recently launched a crowdfunder, as part of the Theatres Trust’s #SaveOurTheatres campaign.  

The performance details are:- That Was All
8th-10th October, 7:30pm 
10th October 2:30pm (also live streamed)

Everyone’s got their own beliefs. Dad worshipped ‘good times.’ Years later, you’re searching for meaning, clinging on to new age jargon and a memory of that final pub crawl. 

Written by Francis Grin 
Directed by Charlotte Everest 
Performed by Jennie Eggleton 
Producer by Darcy Dobson 
Sound Design by JP Guerrier 
Stage Managed by Jen McTaggart  



City Varieties Music Hall is pleased to announce that Beauty and the Beast will get the Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto treatment for 2021.

The exciting news comes on the back of the announcement that Leeds’ oldest theatre will reopen for the first time in six months from Friday 9 October 2020 with a programme of film presented in collaboration with sister venue Hyde Park Picture House.

Having closed its doors on March 17th due to the pandemic, the news of reopening unfortunately comes too late to save this year’s panto but tickets for 2021 will go on sale today (Thursday 1 October) at 10am from

Ian Sime, General Manager at City Varieties said: “Like so many other theatres across the country, we are absolutely devastated that this years’ panto won’t be going ahead, but we’re thrilled to be able to bring Beauty and the Beast, a brand new production from the enchanted pen of Peter Rowe, to The Varieties in 2021.

“Our Rock ’n’ Roll Pantos have been extremely popular since they were first introduced in 2011 and have grown year on year to become a Christmas tradition for so many families in Leeds and beyond.”

A very different format to the traditional Christmas pantomime, Rock ’n’ Roll Pantos mix traditional elements of audience participation and corny gags with a jukebox full of classic rock anthems and chart-toppers – all performed live on stage by an ultra-talented cast of actor-musicians. Be sure to keep your wits about you, or you may just get rocked by the legendary Boulder Battle!

“One of the secrets of its success lies with its cast of actor-musicians who waste no time in developing a great rapport with the audience in the intimate atmosphere of this historic old theatre. Full of audience participation you can cheer the goodies, hiss the baddie and shout until you are hoarse and that’s what pantomime is all about.” (YORKSHIRE EVENING POST – Aladdin, 2017).

Beauty and the Beast The Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto is at City Varieties Music Hall from Friday 26 November 2021 to Sunday 9 January 2022.



Birmingham Opera Company today launch their next bold mission; Wagner’s RhineGold with an international cast and local volunteer performers led by Artistic Director Graham Vick and newly appointed Music Director Alpesh Chauhan in August 2021.  And, as ever, it is opera for our times.

The Lord of the Gods, maker of laws is in trouble. To shore up his own delusional ambitions and hang on to the Gods’ fading glory he chooses to break the very law which holds all races in balance. Mother Nature warns that greed for power will bring its own destruction. No-one listens.

Well known for presenting work in their home city’s abandoned buildings, sometimes a factory, a nightclub, an ice rink, this time the Rhine is canal-side in the 100,000 sq ft The Tubeworks on Icknield Port Loop. Performed in a disused  metalworks audiences will get a unique Brummie take on the original myth of the forging of the golden ring. The audience will physically move with the action, experiencing the opera by being a part of it.

Birmingham Opera Company’s occupation of The Tubeworks in partnership with Urban Splash will launch a new life for the currently empty industrial site which is to be transformed as part of a brand new 43 acre urban development. The site, once a powerhouse of the country’s industrial revolution, will embed the production directly within the city’s past, highlight the present and look directly to the future.

Graham Vick, Artistic Director, Birmingham Opera Company said: “I’m very excited that 30 years on from The Ring Saga we can now plan full scale Wagner in Birmingham – and cast Gods, Dwarves and Giants largely from the diverse group of singers whom we have been nurturing. This revolutionary political satire is also a great show piece for our new Music Director and for the marvellous CBSO. From the murky depths of the unconscious to self-serving promises of castles in the air and the voice of a planet facing its own destruction – it could’ve been written now.”

Alpesh Chauhan, Music Director, Birmingham Opera Company said: “I’m delighted that we announce RhineGold as our next big project at Birmingham Opera Company  – which will be my first in the new Music Director title. We have a stellar international line-up of soloists, boosted by the incredible forces of the CBSO and the people of Birmingham who volunteer to be a part of our creativity, all alongside the BOC team which is a hugely exciting prospect to make this opera come to life in its immersive setting in Brum. This work is a staple of the core operatic repertoire, and I look forward to bringing Wagner’s masterpiece to life alongside Graham Vick’s imaginative brilliance.”

More details including on sale and production dates will be announced in due course.

The cast, announced today will include: Eric Greene (Wotan); Brenden Gunnell (Loge); Chrystal E Williams (Fricka); Francesca Chiejina (Freia); Amar Muchhala (Froh); Byron Jackson (Donner); Gweneth-Ann Rand (Erda); Ross Ramgobin (Alberich); Keel Watson (Fasolt); Andrew Slater (Fafner).

On what is an ambitious journey to RhineGold and with many artists and companies struggling, the company are pleased to announce that the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation (UK) will lend their support to Birmingham Opera Company’s “Going for Gold” fundraising appeal by matching donations on the Fedora platform. Birmingham Opera Company’s Going for Gold Campaign is one of four nominees for the Fedora Education Prize 2020 (which also offers a further competitive prize worth Euro 50,000).  The match appeal launches 5 October and ends 30 October. 

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa said“In this year above all, my primary concern is the well-being of those talented artists now embarking on careers against such insuperable odds.  It is not just opportunities to earn enough to live, but the chance to practise and improve the craft in which they have invested so much time and dedication.  So, Birmingham Opera Company’s intensive coaching by top mentors and challenging rehearsal process offers a lifeline, which I know will be eagerly grasped by those singers selected.  I for one can hardly wait to experience the result next summer.”

As part of the campaign, the company are to hold a number of online Q & A events with Artistic Director Graham Vick and Music Director Alpesh Chauhan. They also intend to launch their first donor syndicate on World Opera Day weekend 24th/25th October to support RhineGold. Any potential supporters are encouraged to get in touch direct with Birmingham Opera Company.

Birmingham Opera Company makes work at this highest artistic level whilst reflecting the city they work in – with audiences, artists and stories. They were recently awarded a rare ‘Outstanding’ rating in the Arts Council England’s Creative Case for Diversity.