Times are hard for dreamers but Amélie is someone to believe in.

Following its opening at the Watermill Theatre, a critically acclaimed sell-out tour in 2019, a highly successful Christmas season at The Other Palace in 2019, a Grammy nomination and 3 Olivier Award nominations, Amélie The Musical arrives in the heart of the West End this summer. Following the government roadmap announcement, tickets are on sale now for a socially distanced audience at the Criterion Theatre from Thursday 20 May, with a press night on Wednesday 2 June. Olivier-nominee Audrey Brisson (The ElephantomPinocchio and Pericles (National Theatre), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), and The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic)), will return to the role of ‘Amélie’.

Amélie secretly improvises small, but extraordinary acts of kindness discovering the possibilities around every corner and bringing happiness to those she encounters. When a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realises that to find her own contentment she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Experience this beautiful story and be inspired by this imaginative dreamer who discovers her voice, uncovers the power of human connection and sees possibility around every corner.

The five – time Oscar®-nominated film will be brought to life by a cast of actor-musicians and set to a critically acclaimed re-orchestrated score. With music by Hem’s Daniel Messé, lyrics by Nathan Tysen and Daniel Messé and book by Craig Lucas, this musical adaptation of the five-time Oscar®-nominated film written by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Guillaume Laurant, is directed by Michael Fentiman.

The producers acknowledge that all current government guidelines will be adhered to in terms of Covid security, and they will keep them under constant review. The seating plan at the Criterion has been designed to facilitate social distancing. The box office system is responsive to demand and will automatically auto-distance seats during the booking process to ensure a minimum 1 metre space between patrons until such a time that social distancing is no longer a legal requirement.

Louis Hartshorn, CEO of Hartshorn-Hook Productions, said, Amélie is about kindness, distance and human connection, and resonates deeply with what we have all been through over the last year. We’re very excited to be bringing this beautiful production to the West End and contributing to the reopening of the theatre industry. We thank the Arts Council and DCMS for the support of the Culture Recovery Fund and our hard working producing and creative teams for their passionate and careful work to bring our shows back to the stage.”

The full cast includes Sioned Saunders as ‘Gina’ (Camelot– The Watermill, Made in Dagenham – Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch), Flora Spencer-Longhurst as ‘Georgette’ / ‘Sylvie’ (Once – Phoenix Theatre, The Real Thing– Rose Theatre Kingston), Rachel Dawson as ‘Amandine’ / ‘Philomene’ (The Jungle Book – UK Tour, A Little Night Music – The Watermill), Oliver Grant as ‘Lucien’ / ‘Mysterious Man’ (War Horse – UK Tour, Twelfth Night – Chichester Festival Theatre), Chris Jared as ‘Nino Quincampoix’ (946: the Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips – Shakespeare’s Globe, The Duchess of Malfi – Nottingham Playhouse), Caolan McCarthy as ‘Hippolito’ / ‘Elton John’ (The Plough and the Stars – NT, The Beggar’s Opera/Alice in Wonderland – Storyhouse), Samuel Morgan-Grahame as ‘Joseph’ / ‘Fluffy’ (Sister Act – UK Tour, All My Sons – Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Kate Robson-Stuart as ‘Suzanne’ (Crazy For You – UK Tour, Untold Stories – Watermill Theatre), Jack Quarton as ‘Blind Beggar’ (Assassins – The Watermill, Wonderland – Nottingham Playhouse), Jez Unwin as Raphael / Bretodeau (Oliver – Leicester Curve, Once – Phoenix Theatre) and Johnson Willis as Collignon / Dufayel (Harold and Maude – Charing Cross Theatre, Dido Queen of Carthage & Salome – RSC Swan). Nuwan Hugh Perera, Miiya Alexandra, Robyn Sinclair and Matthew James Hinchliffe complete the ensemble.

The original film, Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain, was released in 2001, starring Audrey Tautou and Matthieu Kassovitz. Taking over $33 million in a limited theatrical release, it remains the highest-grossing French-language film released in the United States, and one of the biggest international successes for a French film. Amélie won Best Film at the European Film Awards, four César Awards in 2002 (including Best Film and Best Director), two BAFTA Awards (including Best Original Screenplay), and was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best foreign language film. Amélie The Musical was first staged in California in 2015 and was described as an ‘enchanting act of theatrical reinvention’ (The Los Angeles Times).

Audrey Brisson’s theatre credits include: The Elephantom, Pinocchio and Pericles (National Theatre), Midnight’s Pumpkin and The Wild Bride (Kneehigh), The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Kensington Gardens), Dead Dog in a Suitcase & Other Love Songs (Kneehigh), Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre, Kingston), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic), The Strada (UK Tour & The Other Palace). Her film credits include: Hereafter directed by Clint Eastwood and W.E. directed by Madonna. Television includes: Outlander and Money. Radio includes the title role in Amy Dorrit.

Amélie The Musical is directed by Michael Fentiman, designed by Madeleine Girling, with musical supervision and arrangements by Barnaby Race, movement direction by Tom Jackson Greaves, lighting design by Elliot Griggs, sound design by Tom Marshall, puppet design and construction by Dik Downey andmusical direction, additional orchestrations and arrangements by Samuel Wilson.

The Grammy®-nominated original London cast recording of Amélie is available digitally and will be released on CD on 1st April. It can be streamed, downloaded, or pre-ordered here:

Amélie The Musical, is produced by Hartshorn – Hook ProductionsBroadway Asia International and Selladoor Worldwide in association with The Watermill Theatre, Piers Cottee-Jones Entertainment, Just Entertainment and Concord Theatricals.


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The Actors’ Church

Thursday 27 – Saturday 29 May 2021

Iris Theatre today announce Mediaeval Baebes: 25th Anniversary Concert. The Ivor Novello award-winning group will perform four celebratory performances at The Actors’ Church from 27 – 29 May 2021.

With lush, ethereal harmonies, the classical chart-topping choir weaves its story-telling magic, performing songs from their new album, the extraordinary Prayers of the Rosary, andthe uplifting hit title theme for TV’s Victoria, alongside traditional folk songs, and innovative settings of ancient and romantic poetry from their acclaimed 25 year back catalogue.

Katharine Blake, founder of Mediaeval Baebes, today said, “25 years ago when a group of friends got together to sing so­me mediaeval music for fun, we could nev­er have predicted the epic journey that the band was setting out on. Many incarn­ations and 10 studio albums later, we are so thrilled to be celebrating our silv­er jubilee, and to once again perform to a live audience.”

Paul-Ryan Carberry, Artistic Director of Iris Theatre, also commented, “We are really excited to be hosting the 25th Anniversary Concert of the fantastic Mediaeval Baebes. We’re sure that audiences are in for a real treat when we welcome them back through our doors in May for what will be a spectacular evening of performances.” 

Mediaeval Baebes was formed in May 1996 by Katharine Blake. The unique and class­ical chart topping choir Mediæval Bæbes mark their 25th Anni­versary this May. Over the years, the group have released 10 stu­dio albums, won an Ivor Novella Award for their performance on the BBC serializa­tion The Virgin Que­en, and received two Emmy nominations and a Royal Television Soc­iety award as the fe­atured artist alongs­ide composer Martin Phipps for the theme tune of IT­V’s hit TV show Vic­toria.

Social distancing measures will be in operation at The Actors’ Church, with tickets available in singles and pairs. All patrons, unless they have a known medical condition, will be required to wear a face covering at the venue. For full details on the measures implemented to ensure audience safety and wellbeing, please visit:



St Paul’s Church Bedford Street, London, WC2E 9ED

The Actors’ Church


17 May, 7.30pm

Ticket prices: £15 individual, £30 bubble (seats two)

The Actors’ Church


27 – 29 May 2021

Thursday 27th: 7.30pm
Friday 28th: 7.30pm
Saturday 29th: 5pm & 8pm

Ticket prices: £25 individual (limited availability), £50 bubble (seats two)

The Actors’ Church


27 September – 3 October 2021

Times: 7.30pm, 2.30pm matinees

Age Guidance: 12+ (includes themes of alcoholism)

Ticket prices: £20 individual (limited availability), £40 bubble (seats two)

West End women unite for a digital retelling of hilarious hit musical Disenchanted | Streaming 9th – 11th April

An all-star cast of West End women unite for
a digital retelling of hilarious hit musical
Streaming: Friday 9th – Sunday 11th April 2021

The hilarious hit musical Disenchanted will get a showstopping West End digital revival, as
leading ladies of the stage transform into the princesses we all know and love… but with a twist! Taking on these iconic heroines will be Jodie Steele as Snow White (SIX The Musical; Heathers), Sophie Isaacs as Cinderella (SIX The Musical; Heathers), Grace Mouat as Pocahontas (&Juliet; SIX The Musical), Millie O’Connell as The Little Mermaid (Be More Chill; SIX The Musical), Shanay Holmes as The Princess Who Kissed The Frog (RENT; The Bodyguard) and more. The production will be available to stream for a limited run via Stream.Theatre from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th April.

Revamping the tales of ‘happily ever after’ in an empowering all-female musical romp,
Disenchanted brings together a band of not-so-merry princesses, keen to rewrite their tales as old as time. Tossing their tiaras and setting the record straight, the royal renegades are here to comically belt out the truths that fairy-tales would have preferred stayed quiet.

Further casting includes Courtney Bowman (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie; SIX the Musical), Natalie Chua (Priscilla Queen of the Desert; Bat Out of Hell), Allie Daniel (RENT; The Secret Society of Leading Ladies), Aisha Jawando (Tina the Musical; Motown the Musical) and Jenny O’Leary (Heathers; We Will Rock You).

The acclaimed production, with book, music and lyrics by Dennis T. Giacino has received rapturous recognition overseas, including nominations for Outstanding Off-Broadway Musical (Outer Critics Circle Awards) and Best New Off-Broadway Musical (Off Broadway Alliance). The new digital adaptation has been filmed entirely on green screen for pure unadulterated fantastical fairy tale escapism.

Director Tom Jackson Greaves says, Disenchanted is exactly what our audiences need right now as we fill our hearts with hope for the future – laughter, magic and just a couple of woodland creatures… and this cast?! Just you wait…

The first 200 tickets purchased to the premiere performance (Friday 9th April) will also receive exclusive access to the VIP after party with the cast of princesses on Zoom.

Tickets are £15 (plus booking fee) and can be purchased at




The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry – the UK City of Culture for 2021 – today announces that its doors will fully reopen to the public on 17 May – the first day that the government’s roadmap allows – with socially distanced audiences able to enjoy Joe Pasquale and Sarah Earnshaw in John Godber’s APRIL IN PARIS, which kicks off its UK tour at the Belgrade.

Those first audience members through the doors will also be able to enjoy the brand-new upstairs Café Bar Nineteen 58 and newly refurbished downstairs Belgrade Café which has been created in the building as part of the £5.5m 2020 Redevelopment Project for the theatre; as well as the enhanced food and beverage offering, this has provided new spaces for audiences, visitors and additional capacity for workshops and community groups. Prior to this, from 12 April, The Belgrade Café will be offering a full range of delicious and locally sourced food and drink for patrons to takeaway and enjoy on tables outside the theatre on Belgrade Square. The refurbishment was inspired by and named after the theatre’s founding year and is decorated with vintage show posters and artwork from across the decades.

The Belgrade is Coventry’s largest professional theatre, producing and presenting a diverse range of shows, events and ground-breaking community and education initiatives. In its landmark building, across the region, the UK and online, it uses theatre to entertain, inspire, share the city’s stories, uncover hidden histories, and unleash the creativity of diverse communities.

Following April in Paris, the Belgrade continues to book in performances at short notice and audiences will be able to enjoy an eclectic mix of music, theatre and comedy  over the summer months The theatre’s digital offerings also continue: Jabala and the JinnThe Picture of Dorian GrayPrivate Peaceful and the MT Festival UK will stream at various times between the end of March and the beginning of June.

The UK Asian Film Festival will also be hosted at the venue, with socially distanced audiences watching five film premieres in the Belgrade’s B2 auditorium, including the world premiere of Beatles and India. These films have been selected by five Coventry locals, after training in film curation. The UK Asian Film Festival celebrates the art of storytelling extending from ancient oral traditions to tales told in today’s digital age, giving wings to South Asian roots since 1997. This year’s programming theme is Ray of Hope to mark the birth centenary of Satyajit Ray. The film choices reflect the shift in power that bring hope to the lives of the protagonists. Further details to be announced.

An autumn season of non-socially distanced work from 1 September will be announced on 1 June.

Joanna Reid, Executive Director of the Belgrade, said, “The whole team can’t wait to reopen on 17 May and to welcome shows and audiences back into our two auditoria as soon as possible.  We are delighted that we are launching a tour of APRIL IN PARIS on Monday 17 May and are continuing to work to secure more shows during May to August. We’re excited that we’ve been able to complete our 2020 Redevelopment in time for City of Culture despite the challenges posed by both the pandemic and Brexit.  We hope to see you back at the Belgrade soon!

A key partner of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021, the Belgrade Theatre’s 2021 programme is being delivered by three diverse artists under the role of Co-Artistic Directors alongside members of the local community.  Corey CampbellBalisha Karra and Justine Themen are developing a new vision and way of working for a 21st Century Theatre, bringing with them a unique perspective that celebrates the City’s diversity and drives positive change. 

As well as directing the City of Culture opening event, Coventry Moves, Justine Themen has commissioned a brand-new digital version of Like There’s No Tomorrow (Weds 19 May – Sun 13 June 2021), one of the first National Theatre Connections plays to be specifically commissioned for and created by young people. Originally devised by Belgrade Youth Theatre in March 2020, in 2021 it will amplify the voices of Coventry’s young people and their views on climate change, across the country. The Belgrade will also be hosting the region’s NT Connections Festival this summer, showcasing work by local youth theatres across the West Midlands.

Another cornerstone of the City of Culture programme, The Belgrade will co-presentwith Paines Plough a festival of new world-class plays and community-led activities in the world’s first plug-in, pop-up and play theatre Roundabout (Monday 26 July – Sunday 8 August 2021). LOCATION!? Balisha Karra will direct Coventry based playwright Frankie Meredith’s May Queen, and the other plays that will be played in repertory throughout the festival are Hungry by Chris Bush, Really Big and Really Loud by Phoebe Eclair-Powell, Black Love by Chinonyerem Odimba, with music by Ben and Max Ringham.

Filming has also begun on SeaView, an original digital series developed by Strictly Arts Theatre Company and Belgrade Film and Digital Ltd using theatre techniques, conceived before Covid-19 took the world of theatre online, and directed by Corey Campbell. Inspired by a true story, and lived experiences, SeaView is a supernatural drama centred on urban, working class communities in the Midlands. It follows the story of Steven, a high-flying university student who appears to have a bright future ahead of him… Release dates and further information to be announced shortly.

Whilst – as with so many theatres across the country during 2020– The Belgrade wasn’t able to present live work on stage during much of the year, the whole team worked hard to keep engaging with local audiences and communities. The theatre rapidly adapted to making its offerings digital, including taking their annual pantomime online – Jack and the Beanstalk was watched by 55,600 people in the UK and in 25 countries across the world. The team behind the theatre’s renowned participation programme Click Spring also continued to offer workshops, Summer School and Acting Classes over Zoom. They also kept engaging with audiences on social media, including Facebook pub quizzes and online play-reading groups, and created podcasts, education packs and Spotify musical theatre playlists.

Councillor David Welsh, from Coventry City Council, said, ““There has been so much work happening throughout the Covid outbreak to improve facilities at the Belgrade Theatre and I am really pleased that they can now take the first tentative steps by announcing what future productions they will be able to host. I want to thank all those involved for the hard work they have put into getting the Belgrade Theatre ready, and I wish the theatre every success.”

Remembering The Oscars Review

Streaming worldwide until 17 April – book via


Reviewed by Claire Roderick

While we must wait until 2022 for Aljaž Škorjanec and Janette Manrara’s live tour of Remembering The Oscars, this hour-long show gives us a preview of the spectacular production they have planned.

After an opening red-carpet routine featuring iconic songs from films including Flashdance, Dirty Dancing, The Gay Divorcee and The Way We Were, Aljaž and Janette introduce dance routines from Oscar categories – reintroducing a Best Choreography award.

The Behind-the-Scenes film, available as part of a post-show pass along with an interview with the couple, highlights the unusual rehearsal process and the short time available for filming, and the finished show is unbelievably slick considering the time pressures on the production. Director and choreographer Gareth Walker has included plenty of variety in music and dance styles to please the entire family, and the dancers – Ash-Leigh Hunter, Ediz Ibriham, Grace Walker, Natasha Mould, Joshua Moore, Kate Kenrick, Scott Coldwell and Stuart Rouse – are at the top of their game.

Aljaž and Janette’s routines, from the romance of Romeo and Juliet’s Kissing You to the sultry tango from Scent of A Woman are flawless – and of course they do THAT lift from Dirty Dancing. Their onstage connection is wonderful to watch. For the ballroom dances Aljaž’s partner is Ash-Leigh Hunter, and these dances are beautifully choreographed and danced. Janette gets to show off her singing in a couple of numbers, and the incredible Janine Johnson and Giovanni Spanó provide the classy vocals. Janette is obviously having the time of her life in the Disney section, with numbers from The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen and Mary Poppins that will bring the house down in a live show.

Remembering The Oscars is fantastic family fun – a must-see for Strictly and film fans

Birmingham Royal Ballet and The REP announce a ballet dedicated to Birmingham this June

Birmingham Royal Ballet and Birmingham Repertory Theatre announce June season including
the World Premiere of Birmingham’s own ballet


Birmingham Royal Ballet will return to the stage for live performances this June in their home city of Birmingham. Birmingham Repertory Theatre will host a new season as part of their ongoing partnership with the city’s own ballet company, including a tantalising triple bill, Curated by Carlos (10-12 June), and an adapted production of Sir David Bintley’s classic for all the family, Cinderella (18-26 June). 

Last October, the partnership was launched in a brief window where audiences were able to enjoy live performances in the theatre with a triple bill featuring the world premiere of Will Tuckett’s Lazuli Sky. This was followed by an adapted version of The Nutcracker which more than 10,000 people bought tickets to watch online via both a live-streamed show and view-on-demand. Now, the ambition of this partnership is taken to the next level with two world premiere Ballet Now commissions, a UK premiere and the staging of another Birmingham Royal Ballet classic. 

The Curated by Carlos triple bill will feature the world premiere of City of a Thousand Trades, a brand-new, one-act abstract ballet dedicated to the city of Birmingham. 2020 marked the 30th anniversary of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s move to the city in 1990. City of a Thousand Trades is inspired by and celebrates the richly diverse cultural and industrial heritage of Birmingham in a love letter to the city. 

Commissioned as part of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Ballet Now programme and produced in association with The REP, City of a Thousand Trades is being created by choreographer Miguel Altunaga and co-directed in rehearsal and with dramaturgy by The REP Associate Director, Madeleine Kludje, with music inspired by the city’s soundscape, including its legacy as the birthplace of Heavy Metal, composed by Mathias Coppens and performed live by the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, designs by Guilia Scrimieri, lighting by Michael Lee-Woolley.  

Birmingham became known as the City of a Thousand Trades at the height of Britain’s Industrial Revolution, thanks to the exponential growth of businesses using the central location and vast water network for transport and manufacturing. As the city grew into the second largest in the UK, highly skilled workers and tradespeople migrated to the city from throughout the Commonwealth including Ireland, India, the West Indies, and from all over the world, creating a melting-pot of cultures. 

The triple bill also includes Brazilian/British choreographer Daniela Cardim’s Imminent, created with a team of international talent including composer Paul Englishby, designer April Dalton, dramaturg Lou Cope, assistant choreographer Peter Leung and lighting designer Peter Teigen

The new abstract work is inspired by the feeling that something significant is looming and that change is imminent. As rainforests burn and consumption rises, as populism surges and democracy is tested in previously unimaginable ways, and as the health and harmony we allowed ourselves to believe in is being exposed as fragile and unsustainable, the balance we thought we could maintain is precarious to say the least. A tipping-point is approaching. Imminent invites us to recognise that a window of opportunity is now calling upon us. There is hope – and it is important to let go of the past, to take action and move boldly on.

Completing the triple bill will be the UK premiere of Spanish choreographer (and resident at Acosta Danza) Goyo Montero’s thrillingly physical work, Chacona, set to electrifying music by J.S. Bach and performed live on stage by violin, guitar and piano, together with 16 dancers.  

Chacona from Bach’s Partita no.3 is a challenge for any musician. Montero combines the original violin score with the piano and guitar to create three different levels, three states, like communicating vessels that create an ever-rising tension. The music is in the communication between the dancers and musicians on stage, making each live experience unique. Drawn from Montero’s 2003 ballet Vasos ComunicantesChacona was originally premiered by National Ballet Sodre, Montevideo (Uruguay) in July 2017. 

Sir David Bintley’s Cinderella is a family favourite, capturing every imagination with its sure-fire mix of wonderful dance, spectacular scenery, and a cast of characters that even includes a dancing frog. Specially adapted for The REP, the production will feature a reduced score and staging amendments to allow for social distancing and performer ‘bubbles’. 

This enchanting fairy-tale is a glorious celebration of ballet, with breathtaking designs by John Macfarlane, the designer of Birmingham Royal Ballet’s famous Nutcracker, and the Royal Ballet Sinfonia playing Prokofiev’s beautiful score live. 

Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet Carlos Acosta said: ‘To be able to present work to audiences again this June will be a huge relief, we are already rehearsing and it is incredibly motivating and inspiring for the Company to have this to look forward to and work hard towards in collaboration with Sean Foley and The REP team. It is over a year since the theatres closed and a year later than planned that these two new works, which I am very excited about, will finally make their premieres. The programme illustrates what I want this Company to be and highlights our commitment to diverse talent.’ 

Artistic Director of The REP Sean Foley said: ‘To be re-opening our wonderful theatre this summer with an array of talent from across Birmingham and the world is thrilling. In our 50th year on Centenary Square we will embrace an amazing diversity of theatrical form and content, of artists and audiences, and celebrate the joy of live performance in all its forms – from comedy to ballet, from musicals to contemporary drama, and everything in between. To have these very special performances from Birmingham Royal Ballet so soon after the first restrictions are lifted – and after so successfully starting our new collaboration during the long lockdown – is a wonderful testament to Birmingham’s unique cultural spirit.’ 

Tickets for Curated by Carlos (10-12 June) and Sir David Bintley’s Cinderella (18-26 June) at Birmingham Repertory Theatre go on priority sale to Birmingham Royal Ballet Friends and REP Members from 12pm on Tuesday 13 April and to the public from 12pm on Friday 16 April. Visit for more information and to book tickets. 











FROM 19 MAY 2021


The Guardian, The Times, Mail On Sunday, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Express,

The Spectator, The New European (five stars)



Jenny Seagrove and Martin Shaw are superbly matched.” 


The Guardian

“The two stars shine, while A.R.Gurney’s already bittersweet play here acquires an extra, decidedly Covid-era piquancy”

Daily Telegraph

Bill Kenwright presents the anticipated return of A.R. Gurney’s heart-warming play Love Letters to the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a strictly limited season of only 32 performances from 19 May – 13 June 2021.

Directed by Roy MarsdenLove Letters received probably its best ever reviews when Martin Shaw and Jenny Seagrove were reunited in the play last year. Their special chemistry led to highly acclaimed performances in this uplifting tale of long-distanced love and enduring friendship.

The critically lauded production of Love Letters originally opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket to a clamour of four star reviews on 3 December 2020. It was the first post-lockdown play to open in the West End since the pandemic began, before sadly being forced to close on 14 December due to increased restrictions in London.

L-R Martin Shaw & Jenny Seagrove – Love Letters – Theatre Royal Haymarket – Photo by Paul Coltas

Love Letters first opened in New York in 1989 and was a finalist in the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Gaining huge popularity, it has since played in theatres across the globe, attracting both real-life and on-screen couples to star as the protagonists. The last Broadway production in 2014 featured Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy.

When the young Andrew Makepeace Ladd III accepts an invitation to Melissa Gardner’s birthday party, Melissa writes him a thank you note… and a unique romantic friendship and delicately warm correspondence destined to last for almost half a century is born.

Love Letters is the tender, tragi-comic story of the shared nostalgia, missed opportunities, and deep closeness of two lifelong, complicated friends. A play that could have been written for the Covid era about two people physically separated yet brought together by candid communication and shared confidences, a romance blossoming across the miles and the years.

The hugely popular TV series Judge John Deed ended its sixth and final series with one of TV’s most-watched cliff-hangers, keeping nine million TV viewers on tenterhooks as on-off lovers Judge John Deed (Martin Shaw) and barrister Jo Mills (Jenny Seagrove) were left in an empty wedding chapel.

Since then Judge John Deed has consistently topped polls of TV shows viewers most want to return.

Now Shaw and Seagrove are together again, live on stage, in a heart-warming love story…

In the interim, both have made several West End theatre appearances and Shaw has starred in several series as Inspector George Gently, while Seagrove has completed big screen appearances in Another Mother’s Son and Off the Rails.

Martin Shaw’s many West End successes includeRobert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons and Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (both Theatre Royal Haymarket), Alan Bleasdale’s Are You Lonesome Tonight, Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl, Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men and most recently (and relevantly) as a tortured American presidential candidate in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.

Jenny Seagrove last starred at the Haymarket in Alan Ayckbourn’s How The Other Half Loves and her many West End productions include Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana, David Rabe’s Hurly Burly, David Hare’s The Secret Rapture, Noël Coward’s Present Laughter and Somerset Maugham’s The Letter.

Bill Kenwright Limited has been supported by a Department of Culture Media and Sport Cultural Recovery Grant, enabling productions to be mounted when theatre capacities are necessarily reduced for social distancing and when large live productions requiring currently unobtainable insurance against Covid cancellation cannot be produced. Love Letters as originally written works perfectly in the context of social distancing and will be presented in a Covid-secure environment in line with government guidelines.

Regal Entertainments Become New Owners Of St Helens Theatre Royal





The new owner of St Helens Theatre Royal has been announced as Regal Entertainments Ltd. 

Regal Entertainments has managed the day-to-day running of the Corporation Street venue for 22 years, but has now taken over ownership from the Theatre Royal Charitable Trust for an undisclosed fee. The structure will remain the same. 

The exciting announcement comes ahead of tomorrow’s World Theatre Day (Saturday 27 March 2021). 

Regal Entertainments is led by theatrical powerhouse mother and daughter duo, Creative Director Jane Joseph and Director and Theatre General Manager Chantelle Nolan. They took over tenancy of the popular St Helens playhouse in 1999, working in partnership with the Theatre Royal Charitable Trust which had owned the venue freehold since 1986 until the sale. 

For more than two decades, Jane and Chantelle have strengthened and continued to build the theatre’s professional reputation and standing within the industry, going on to attract household names and national touring shows each season. They also produce all the venue’s in-house productions, which includes three seasonal pantos directed by Chantelle and a stage play each year. 

The theatre purchase now means that Regal Entertainments is now entirely responsible for the building, interior and exterior. The Theatre Royal Charitable Trust will remain active and continue to fundraise for the building and develop arts in the community. 

St Helens Theatre Royal was designed by celebrated theatre architect Frank Matcham and opened its doors in 1901, replacing the Theatre Royal and Opera House which had stood on the same site until it was destroyed by fire in 1899. In 1964, the current theatre was gutted and extensively remodelled and modernised, with the addition of a glass façade. 

Like all theatres nationwide, St Helens Theatre Royal has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. 

As part of the venue’s response to the pandemic, Regal Entertainments launched a new theatre annual membership scheme in July 2020. By becoming a member of the St Helens Royal Family, patrons can enjoy an exclusive range of customer benefits. This has provided a new and much-needed income stream during the lockdown. 

As a result of the three national lockdowns, Regal Entertainments has also taken a number of its popular pantomimes online to ensure families don’t miss out and can enjoy the shows from the safety of their own homes.  

Creative Director Jane Joseph commented: “St Helens Theatre Royal is a very special place for the Regal Entertainments team, myself, Chantelle, and our families. It’s a hub of colour, singing, laughter and life, and it holds a very dear place in our hearts. We’ve successfully steered the theatre on a path of adventure and rediscovery for the past 22 years and we’re extremely excited for this new chapter. We’d like to thank the Theatre Royal Charitable Trust and Friends of the Theatre for their ongoing support and look forward to everything we can achieve together in the future.” 

Director and Theatre General Manager Chantelle Nolan added: “We are delighted to become the new owners of St Helens Theatre Royal. During our time managing the theatre we have always reinvested any profits back into the venue, and this will remain the case. The pandemic has proved extremely challenging, but we’ve still managed to find positives by launching our new Theatre Royal Family annual membership scheme and streaming our much-loved pantomimes online, this has been extremely important in keeping the St Helens Theatre Royal name and magical memories created at the forefront of people’s minds when it comes to returning to live theatre.” 

Nick Wilding, Chair of the Theatre Royal Charitable Trust, continued: Regal Entertainments has efficiently run the theatre for more than 20 years. Jane and Chantelle understand what audiences want and provide an excellent programme of entertainment so we’re delighted with the news. We’re also keen to reassure everybody that the charity will continue, and it’s a wonderful opportunity for us to focus on fulfilling some of our other charitable aims and objectives. The Trust is confident that the wonderful Victorian St Helens Theatre Royal, a Frank Matcham theatre and ‘a precious old lady in the town’, is very much in safe hands.” 

Enid Pennington, Chair of the Friends of the Theatre Royal, added: “We send our very best wishes to Jane, Chantelle and the team on their new venture. We are looking forward to supporting them in their continued efforts to make St Helens Theatre Royal a welcoming place of entertainment.” 

In October, St Helens Theatre Royal was successful in its bid for funds from the Government’s Covid-19 Culture Recovery Fund, administered by Arts Council England. The funding will support the venue in adapting to provide socially distanced performances and improving facilities at the venue. 

Follow St Helens Theatre Royal on social media channels: 

Twitter: @TheatreRoyalStH 

Instagram: @TheatreRoyalStH 








Public booking reopens on 6 April 2021

Scott RudinBarry Diller and Sonia Friedman announce today that multi-Olivier and Emmy Award nominee Rafe Spall will play Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. The production will open at the Gielgud Theatre on 31 March 2022, with previews from 10 March. This new play by Aaron Sorkin isbased on Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and directed by Bartlett Sher.

To Kill a Mockingbird premiered on 13 December 2018, at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre.  It is the most successful American play on Broadway; amassing a total gross of more than $125m to date and breaking the theatre’s box office record on ten occasions. On 26 February 2020, the Broadway cast gave a history-making free performance at Madison Square Garden in front of 18,000 New York City school children; this became the largest single performance of a theatrical work ever. To date, the Broadway production has provided over 10,000 free and low cost tickets to students.

For the London run, there will be a comprehensive education and outreach programme, seeking to engage with schools and communities who might otherwise be unable to access live theatre, and to raise awareness of the job opportunities within the theatre industry. In addition, there will be over 500 tickets available for each week of the run between £5 and £10. Full details and initiatives to be announced later this year. 

Rafe Spall plays Atticus Finch. For theatre, Spall’s work includes Death of England, Hedda Gabler – Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Play (National Theatre), Betrayal (Broadway), Constellations (Royal Court Theatre and West End – Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor), and John Gabriel Borkman (Donmar Warehouse). His television credits include TryingThe Salisbury PoisoningsThe War of the Worlds, and his international Emmy-nominated performance as Joe in Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. For film, his work includes Academy Award-winning The Big Short, Steven Spielberg’s The BFG, Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead, Dan Mazer’s I Give it a Year, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Ridley Scott’s Prometheus and Lone Scherfig’s One Day, and most recently Just Mercy, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Men in Black: International, and the forthcoming Long Story Short.

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

To Kill a Mockingbird will preview at London’s Gielgud Theatre from 10 March 2022 with an Opening Night on 31 March 2022Tickets go on general sale from 10.00am on 6 April 2021.

For latest news and priority booking access sign up at  

Curtain-Up! Hull New Theatre Is Back And Open For Business

Curtain-Up! Hull New Theatre Is Back And Open For Business

The dates are set, the artists booked, and now as we prepare to celebrate World Theatre Day, Hull New Theatre is delighted to reveal the first shows to feature in The Prologue Series: A Covid Safe Season as world-class entertainment returns to the stage.

This exciting announcement comes in the week the UK marked the first anniversary of entering national lockdown and sees a special selection of productions featuring the very best of live theatre and comedy make a welcome return to the stage.

These will be produced in-line with the latest Government advice to ensure the venue is Covid-safe for our valued patrons, visiting touring companies, performers and staff.

The season opens with John Godber’s comedy drama April in Paris starring former king of the jungle Joe Pasquale and musical theatre leading lady Sarah Earnshaw. The pair will stroll down the venue’s very own Champs Elysee sampling culture, champagne and croissants from 20 -22 May, 2021.

The Prologue series will also feature two award-winning musicals as well as a night of comedy as Priscilla Queen of the Desert brings glitz and glamour from the outback from 12 -17 July and SIX celebrates girl power to the Tudor court of Henry VIII from 21 – 25 July. Legendary LOL Comedy Club returns with another line-up of top class comedians ready to provide the gags and giggles on 18 June.

Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, Chair of Hull Culture and Leisure’s Board said “I am thrilled that as our prestigious venues emerge from the pandemic, we are able to provide high quality cultural experiences for all to enjoy.”

Cllr David Craker, Portfolio holder for culture leisure and tourism at Hull City Council, said: “It is wonderful to welcome customers back into our safe and secure Hull New Theatre to experience exciting world class live theatre and comedy after what has been a very challenging year.”

Janice Wincott, Theatres and Halls Manager for Hull Culture and Leisure, said: “This has been a challenging time for all and we are appreciative of the patience and understanding of all our valued customers. We are very much looking forward to welcoming audiences back into our venues and resuming world class performances within a Covid-compliant environment.”

More shows will be announced shortly as The Prologue Series: A COVID Safe Season continues.

Tickets for April in Paris, LOL Comedy Club and Priscilla Queen of the Desert are on sale from Thursday 1 April from 10am. Tickets for SIX are on sale now at