Producers of SHREK THE MUSICAL® are delighted to announce that, following the unprecedented success of the first ever UK and Ireland Tour, the larger-than-life production will be returning to a swamp near you. Opening at the Edinburgh Playhouse for the Christmas 2017/18 season from 12 December 2017 to 7 January 2018, the production will then tour to Manchester, Sunderland, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Northampton, Stoke and Blackpool, with further venues to be announced.

Glasgow Evening Times
‘A fun, fairytale spectacular fit for all the family’

Nigel Harman will return as director, having made his directorial debut on SHREK THE MUSICAL’s first UK and Ireland Tour. Best known for his television and stage work, Nigel Harmanoriginated the role of Lord Farquaad in the West End production, winning the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Television credits include heart-throb Dennis Rickman in EastEnders, villainous valet Mr Green in Downton Abbey and Bradley in Sky’s Mount Pleasant, which aired its sixth series in Autumn 2016. Notable stage appearances include Jamie Lloyd’s production of Three Days of Rain alongside James McAvoy, Privates on Parade at the Donmar Warehouse and A Chorus of Disapproval, directed by Trevor Nunn.  

Nigel Harman says: ‘I had so much fun directing the original UK & Ireland Tour that I jumped at the chance to work on it again. Shrek the Musical has created pivotal moments in my career – firstly winning an Olivier and then my directorial debut. It’s certainly become one of the classic family musicals of all time and I’m really proud to be a part of it’.

 Manchester Evening News
‘A perfect mixture of music, dance and performance comedy, with a sprinkling of fresh gags and slightly risqué humour to keep adults on their toes.’
(Winner of 2014 CityLife Award for Best Musical)

SHREK THE MUSICAL® is based on the story and characters from William Steig’s book Shrek! and the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks Animations feature film. Originally directed in the West End by Jason Moore and Rob Ashford, the production has book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Jeanine Tesori with multi award-winning set and costume design by Tim Hatley.

Join our unlikely hero Shrek and his loyal steed Donkey as they embark on a quest to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from a fire-breathing, love-sick dragon. Add the diminutive Lord Farquaad, a gang of fairytale misfits and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got the biggest, brightest musical comedy around! Featuring all new songs as well as cult Shrek anthem I’m a Believer, SHREK THE MUSICAL brings over 100 much-loved fairytale characters, plus a 14 foot dragon, to life in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza.

Bristol Post *****
‘Simply Shrektacular – a musical extravaganza for big kids and little kids alike’

SHREK THE MUSICAL® was seen by nearly 800,000 people on its first highly acclaimed UK and Ireland tour in 2014, visiting 25 major venues over 20 months. The production was first staged in the UK at London’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2011. Since opening on Broadway in 2008 SHREK THE MUSICAL®  has toured to nearly 150 cities in the USA and Canada, with productions having also played in Spain, Poland, France, Malaysia, China, Brazil, Italy, Denmark, The Netherlands, Estonia, Israel and Turkey.

The UK and Ireland tour of the original DreamWorks Production will be presented by Neal Street Productions, Playful Productions, Ron Kastner, Saracen Films, Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Gavin Kalin, Glass Half Full Productions/Just For Laughs Theatricals, Lee Menzies and Mark Cartwright.

Casting information will be announced in due course.




Tuesday 12 December 2017 – Sunday 7 January 2018
0844 871 3014

Tuesday 16 January – Sunday 28 January 2018
0844 871 3019

Wednesday 31 January – Sunday 11 February 2018
0844 871 3022

Wednesday 14 February – Sunday 25 February 2018
0844 871 3011

Wednesday 28 February – Sunday 11 March 2018
01224 641 122
(General on sale Tuesday 28 February)

Wednesday 14 March – Sunday 25 March, 2018
01604 624 811

Wednesday 2 May – Sunday 13 May 2018
0844 871 7649

Tuesday 15 May – Sunday 27 May 2018
01253 625 252



The Wild Party Review

The Other Palace 13 February – 1 April.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

What a party! The gin, skin, sin and fun that are promised burst from the stage in this fast and frenetic show.

Based on the scandalous 1927 poem by Joseph McClure March, Michael John LaChiusa’s musical had a short run on Broadway in 2000, and is the first production at the relaunched St James Theatre, now rebranded as The Other Palace and with a mission to try out and refine new British musicals, and musicals new to the UK.

Vaudeville clown Burrs suggests throwing a party to his lover, dancer Queenie (they’re mid-fight and she has a razor to his throat at the time). Queenie’s best friend Kate brings her lover Black along, giving him permission to mooch. But Queenie and Black begin to fall in love. LaChiusa and George C Wolfe split the events into three main sections: – The Promenade of Guests, introducing each character with a hint of their backstory; The Party, sex, dancing, gin, drugs and more sex; and After Midnight Dies – where reality hits as everyone crashes after their highs and excesses of the night. With guests including a lesbian stripper and her stoned new lover, a bisexual playboy, a boxer and his white trophy wife, her 14-year-old sister, two theatre impresarios, a faded Vaudeville diva and a “brothers” double act, you can understand why the poem caused outrage when it was first published. Now, after jazz era shows like Cabaret and Chicago, some of the characters seem familiar, but The Wild Party makes Chicago look like it’s set in a convent.

Director Drew McOnie keeps a Vaudeville feel, with the orchestra (led energetically by Theo Jamieson) on a balcony above the main stage, and multilevel staircases that recall both apartment blocks and backstage areas. McOnie also choreographs, brilliantly. The jazz rhythms and beats of LaChiusa’s score are evocative and captivating, matched effortlessly by McOnie’s choreography. The cast move around the stage in gloriously organised chaos, slipping into defined synchronicity in a beat. The routines around the gin-filled bath tub and bed are inspired. The energy fills the theatre, and when the hungover songs begin, you’re grateful for a few moments of calm. The dialogue has been described elsewhere as clunky, but I thought it fitted perfectly in the show – risqué Vaudeville one-liners and cheesy exposition just like 1930s film comedies.

The cast are all stunning. Everyone brings something special to their role and ensures that they are all memorable. Standouts are Genesis Lynea and Gloria Obianyo as the brothers D’Armano – moving sinuously around the stage in unison, matching gestures and totally nailing the jazz style. Tiffany Graves as Miss Madeline True is comedy gold, proclaiming her love for the nearly unconscious Sally at every opportunity. Victoria Hamilton-Barritt is a force of nature as Kate, with a voice that sounds as if she has swallowed a sack of gravel and washed it down with a barrel of whisky. Frances Ruffelle and John Owen-Jones should be given their own channel on television. I could listen to them sing all day. Queenie is a tough character to relate to – shallow and selfish, but with an air of vulnerability, and Ruffelle is perfect. Owen-Jones’ Burrs is full of simmering violence and resentment, and his solo numbers are simply amazing. Donna McKechnie steals the show as Dolores, full of one-liners and tales of faded glory, and revelling in her Mama Rose moment with When It Ends.

The Wild Party might be a bit too wild and full on for some, but LaChiusa’s musical has been brought to full blooded life in this barnstorming production. Get a ticket. It’s the party of the season.

THE PHILANTHROPIST- Directed by Simon Callow – Starring Matt Berry, Simon Bird, Lily Cole, Charlotte Ritchie & Tom Rosenthal


The Classic Hit Comedy


In a new production directed by SIMON CALLOW

Trafalgar Studios

3rd April – 22nd July, 2017

Strictly limited season


“Intellectually stimulating, touchingly sympathetic and gloriously, gloriously funny”
Sunday Times






Simon Callow directs a new production of Oscar® winner Christopher Hampton’s most celebrated play, The Philanthropist, at the Trafalgar Studios, starring Matt Berry, Simon Bird, Lily Cole,Charlotte Ritchie and Tom Rosenthal. This classic hit comedy features some of today’s best young comedic actors playing the roles at the age Christopher Hampton first intended. The Philanthropist is produced by Howard Panter for Trafalgar Entertainment Group, Simon Friend and Gavin Kalin.

The Philanthropist has been delighting audiences since its premiere at the Royal Court in 1970. A biting ‘bourgeois comedy’ and a fiendishly clever inversion of Moliere’s ‘The Misanthrope’, Simon Callow’s new production boasts some of today’s most exciting young stage and screen actors.


“I am a man of no convictions. At least I think I am.”

As central character Philip, played by Simon Bird, says.


Set in a fictitious English University town, strongly evoking Oxford or Cambridge, the play follows 24 hours in the lives of a group of young academics. The action unfolds in the rooms of Philip (Simon Bird), the university’s cosseted and floundering professor of philology, for whom solace and certitude exist in complex wordplay. Out in the ‘real world’ the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been assassinated and England’s most treasured writers are being murdered one by one!  Back in the cosy bubble of university life, the bachelor don anguishes over sex, marriage, anagrams and the meaning of life. Did someone suggest academics were ‘out of touch’?


When Philip hosts a dinner party, joined by his stylish and perceptive fiancée Celia (Charlotte Ritchie), his worldlier best friend Donald (Tom Rosenthal), the seductive Araminta (Lily Cole), and the wealthy and egomaniacal novelist Braham (Matt Berry), the evening sets off a chain of events which puncture the rarefied and cerebral world they inhabit.  The morning after, the group is left to wade through the emotional detritus and navigate the consequences of their actions.


Acclaimed director Simon Callow says: “When Christopher Hampton’s The Philanthropist first burst onto the world, he was 23; the play was really about his contemporaries, but neither then, nor ever since, has it been cast at the right age. I’m very excited, not only to be doing the play, which I think one of the funniest, sharpest plays in the English language, but to be doing it with a group of brilliantly witty and original young actors who will reveal the play as it’s never been seen before”.


BAFTA award winning writer, actor and musician Matt Berry is best known for his roles in comedy hits The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh (BBC3), and as star and writer of sitcom Toast of London(Channel 4). Berry most recently appeared in the feature length drama The Last Dragonslayer (SKY 1).


Simon Bird is best known for his star-making turn in the hugely successful, BAFTA winning The Inbetweeners (E4) which ran for three series, and its two globally successful movies (The Inbetweeners Movie still holds the record for highest grossing UK opening weekend for any comedy film), as well as Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4), which to date has run for four series.


Lily Cole’s screen credits include St Trinian’s, Ab Fab: The Movie, and Snow White and The Huntsman. Cole has amassed theatre credits including The Last Days of Troy (Royal Exchange, Manchester), and The Old Vic’s 24 hour plays, for which she performed alongside an all-star cast.


Tom Rosenthal has established himself as one of the UK’s foremost stand-up and screen comedians, known for his roles in hit comedies Friday Night Dinner (Channel 4), alongside his The Philanthropist co-star Simon Bird, and the British Comedy Award winning series Plebs (ITV2). He also featured in the second series of the award-winning crime drama Broadchurch (ITV).  Rosenthal performed in the critically acclaimed Chicken Soup with Barley at The Royal Court, directed by Dominic Cooke.


Completing the cast is Charlotte Ritchie, best known as Nurse Barbara Gilbert in the much lauded drama series Call the Midwife (BBC 1). Ritchie has also showcased her comedic skills in hit comedies Fresh Meat (Channel 4) and Siblings (BBC3). Her theatre credits include One Night in November and the recent successful production of Private Lives.


Christopher Hampton’s other works for the stage include Les Liaisons Dangereuses (recently revived to great acclaim) and Treats. He has also recently received significant acclaim for his translations of three of the internationally acclaimed French dramatist Florian Zeller’s plays; the award-winning smash hit The Father (“translated with venomous flare”) as well as The Mother andThe Truth. The Old Vic has also just presented a major re-staging of his translation of Art. Among Christopher’s many screen adaptations are Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Atonement for which he received an Oscar® and an Oscar® nomination respectively.


Simon Callow has directed over 30 shows, including the multi award-winning musical Carmen Jones, the West End and Broadway productions of Shirley Valentine and the award-winning Single Spies by Alan Bennett at the National Theatre and in the West End. Most recently, he has published his second Wagner biography, Being Wagner: The Triumph of the Will (Cole Williams).


Critical praise for The Philanthropist:


“Christopher Hampton’s finest play”
Evening Standard


“The play begins with a wickedly funny coup de theatre”
The Times


“One of the most delightful and subtle comedies of the last century”
The Stage


“A clever, witty inversion of Molière’s great comedy ‘The Misanthrope’”
The Independent

Dates:                                   Monday 3 April – Saturday 22 July

Press night:                        Thursday 20 April: 7.00 pm

Performances:                  Monday to Saturday: 7.30pm, matinees Thursday and Saturday: 2.30pm

Tickets:                                 From £19:50

Box Office:                 / 0844 871 7632



Will Power Review

Theatre N16 19 – 22 February.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

“We are all trying to find that little ounce of joy that makes you want to wake up the next day” – so says Will as he takes us through his day. Will’s brothers William, Willie and Jambo (family tradition to call all sons William) are introduced as complete losers, while his disengaged and bullying father (Bill) and ineffectual mother watch on. His drive to work, sanity saved only by the music of Swedish Death Candy and the unwanted attentions of awkward and fawning Charlie play out to great comic effect. Everyone except Will is a caricature, and the events that play out – especially his brothers dying are played for laughs. In between, Will addresses the audience with his ideas about happiness and what his life is all about, but he can never quite finish that last part. It’s all flippant cod philosophy that we hear spouted on daytime television, but Will seems to be clinging to it desperately.

After the death of his last brother, Will finally comes clean about everything being a lie. The truth about his life, his guilt and unhappiness pours out as he admits that he is just trying to find something to blame for how he is. He can’t, so takes drastic measures in a very abrupt ending that the audience wasn’t sure was an ending. It left you feeling slightly cheated, thinking there should have been more to come – but that was hopefully the intent, considering Will’s fate.

Set in a bathroom, with the bath acting as car, bed and goalposts, and other bathroom paraphernalia being used as props, there are whopping signposts to the ending all along, but the energy of the cast, dancing, chanting and insulting each other, keeps you hoping for a cheery ending. The quietest moments are the most interesting, especially the long pub sequence – narrated by Willie, and the only time Will is off stage. After describing Will sitting alone drinking his pint, the cast sit and chat just out of earshot, and an audience member is pulled up to dance, again chatting incoherently, transferring the isolation and confusion Will feels to the audience.

The impact of seemingly harmless lads’ banter, parental attitudes and self-judgement are treated with a light touch. The stereotypical male need to find a cause and a cure rather than accepting and learning how to cope with mental health problems was handled well, although the comic potential of Will trying to talk things through with someone he trusted was missed.

Toby Boutall’s entertaining and thought provoking debut play has great potential. Well worth a look.

Full cast joining Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill in UK premiere of musical Honeymoon in Vegas concert

The full cast joining Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill for the London Musical Theatre Orchestra’s concert of Honeymoon in Vegas has been announced. Simon Lipkin, who hosted this year’s WhatsOnStage Awards, will appear as Buddy alongside Maxwell Caulfield (Tommy), Rosemary Ashe (Bea) and Nicolas Colicos (Johnny). The supporting roles will be played by Daniel Amity, Maisey Bawden and Hywell Dowsell. 

Samantha Barks and Arthur Darvill are to star in UK premiere of the musicalHoneymoon in Vegas concert at the London Palladium at 7:30 pm on Sunday 12th March.

They will be accompanied by the 30 piece  London Musical Theatre Orchestra, conducted by Jason Robert Brown who composed the piece.

Samantha Barks is to take on the role of Betsy and Arthur Darvill will play Jack. The musical is based on the 1992 hit film which starred Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicholas Cage. It is the story of tells the story of mild-mannered Brooklynite, Jack, who haunted by the fear of a promise to his dying mother never to get married, avoids proposing to his new girlfriend Betsy. He finally summons the nerve and takes Betsy to Las Vegas only to have his plans compromised by a dashing gambler with an eye for luxury and Jack’s new fiancée.
Barks is best known for playing Eponine in Les Miserables, in the West End, the 25th Anniversary Concerts at the O2, and in the 2012 film adaptation. Recent theatre credits include Cathy- Last Five Years (St James Theatre); the title role in the world premiere of Amelie – A New Musical (Berkeley Repertory Theatre), Mallory/Avril in City of Angels (Donmar Warehouse), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Hollywood Bowl) and Sally Bowles in Cabaret (UK Tour). Recent film credits include Interlude in Prague (Stillking Films), Bitter Harvest (Devil’s Harvest Productions), The Canary (Pioneer Pictures), the voice of Miss Acacia in Jack & The Cuckoo-Clock Heart (EuropaCorp) and The Christmas Candle (Pinewood Studios). Samantha also recently toured launching  with her debut album.
Darvill  has had a wide and varied career. Theatre includes: Treasure Island (National Theatre), Once (NYC and UK), Our Boys (Duchess Theatre), Soft Cops (RSC), Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe), Been So Long (Young Vic), Swimming With Sharks (Vaudeville), Terre Haute (Trafalgar Studios, National Tour), Stacey (Arcola), Terre Haute (Edinburgh). Television and Film Includes: Legends of Tomorrow (Berlanti Productions), Danny and The Human Zoo (BBC), Broadchurch ( ITV), The White Queen (BBC), The Paradise (BBC), Doctor Who (BBC), Little Dorritt (BBC), He Kills Coppers (Ecosse), The Verdict (RDF), Untitled Robin Hood (Imagine Entertainment), Sex, Drugs, Rock N Roll (Lipsync Productions), Pelican Blood (Ecosse). Other work: He is also Artistic Associate and musican/writer in residence of The Bush Theatre and founding member of Fuego’s Men Theatre Company

The Girls Extends Booking Period






From Monday 27 February, the booking period for Gary Barlow and Tim Firth’s award-winning new British musical, THE GIRLS, will extend to 15 July 2017.  A Tuesday matinee will be introduced from 25 April.


THE GIRLS, based on the true story, the film and the award-winning play by Tim Firth, Calendar Girls, opened last night, Tuesday 21 February, at the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End, where it had previewed from 28 January 2017.  The West End premiere follows sold-out runs at the Grand Theatre Leeds and the Lowry Salford late 2015/early 2016.  In the West End, the producers have made a commitment to there being no ‘premium-rated’ seats and no booking fees if tickets are purchased via the official show and theatre websites or direct from the theatre. 


The ‘Girls’ will be played by Debbie Chazen as Ruth, Sophie-Louise Dann as Celia, Michele Dotrice as Jessie, Claire Machin as Cora, Claire Moore as Chris and Joanna Riding as Annie.  Also in the cast will be Joe Caffrey as Rod, Jeremy Clyde as Denis, John Davitt as Doctor, Soo Drouet as Brenda, James Gaddas as John, Jenny Gayner as Miss Wilson (coffee), Steve Giles as Lawrence, Maxwell Hutcheon as Colin, Shirley Jameson as Miss Wilson (tea), Marian McLoughlin as Marie, Judith Street as Lady Cravenshire and Jane Lambert, Rebecca Louis, Victoria Blackburn and Frazer Hadfield, and introducing Josh Benson as Tommo, Ben Hunter as Danny and Chloe May Jackson as Jenny.


THE GIRLS is inspired by the true story of a group of ladies, who decide to appear nude for a Women’s Institute calendar in order to raise funds to buy a settee for their local hospital, in memory of one of their husbands, and have to date raised almost £5million for Bloodwise.  This musical comedy shows life in their Yorkshire village, how it happened, the effect on husbands, sons and daughters, and how a group of ordinary ladies achieved something extraordinary. 


THE GIRLS is directed by Tim Firth, with musical staging by Lizzi Gee, comedy staging by Jos Houben, design by Robert Jones, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, sound design by Terry Jardine and Nick Lidster, musical direction and orchestrations by Richard Beadle, with casting by Sarah Bird, and associate producer is U-Live.


THE GIRLS is produced by David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers and The Shubert Organization.


Bloodwise, the UK’s specialist blood cancer charity, will receive monies from this production.



Twitter               @thegirlsmusical






Phoenix Theatre

110 Charing Cross Road

London WC2H 0JP


Box Office:  0844 871 7629


Ticket Prices: 

Previews: £25 / £35 / £45 / £55

After 24 February: £29.50 / £49.50 / £59.50 / £69.50

Group Rates: 6+ from £29.50


Performances until 22 April 2017: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinee at 2:30pm

Performances from 25 April 2017: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday matinee at 2.30pm


Running Time: 2½ hours including interval

Caroline Flack at Leeds Grand Theatre


Winner of Strictly Come Dancing Caroline Flack will make her stage debut as Irene in the national tour of the acclaimed production of Crazy For You which is at Leeds Grand Theatre in August this year. Caroline joins the previously announced Tom Chambers as Bobby.

High energy, high kicking and gloriously glamorous, Crazy For You is the ultimate feel-good musical with a fabulous score from the Gershwin brothers’ songbook. Mistaken identities, plot twists, heartbreak, happiness and a wealth of memorable tunes including I Got Rhythm, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Nice Work If You Can Get It and Embraceable You all feature in this exhilarating celebration of the great Broadway musicals.

Caroline Flack won the 12th season of Strictly Come Dancing in 2014. She currently presents ITV’s Love Island; her previous presenting credits include I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here NOW!, The Xtra Factor and The X Factor but before presenting, Caroline trained in musical theatre.

Tom Chambers created the role of Jerry Travers in the West End musical Top Hat, for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical. In 2008 he won the 6th season of Strictly Come Dancing. He can currently be seen in the hit BBC drama Casualty; his other TV credits include Holby City and Waterloo Road. His recent stage credits include Private Lives and White Christmas in the West End.

Crazy For You is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Tuesday 29th August to Saturday 2nd September


Ticket are on sale now priced from £24.50 to £46.50


Book online at or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700


Fast-paced, bizarre “ultra-sound” comedy about pregnancy comes to Theatre N16

Full Pelt Theatre presents:

March 7th – March 11th 2017, Theatre N16

Full Pelt Theatre present their new show, Wombmates, a fast paced, bizarre new ultrasound comedy about two brothers, Eric and David, from conception to birth.

“I want to celebrate this young company’s ability to assault an audience with so much (…) they achieve what they need to just by performing the tension & hostility (& humour, & vulnerability) that comes before that violence” Meg Vaughan

The age old story of boy meets girl. Well boy meets boy – they’re brothers, in a womb. So more like sperm meets egg, becomes foetus and then a baby… or babies in this case, and one mother is in for a big surprise. All of that time in the womb gives these two little Geordies a chance to explore, discover and some questions to ponder. When their 9 months are up, is their really life after birth?

Using clowning, shadow puppetry and physical comedy, Full Pelt Theatre show pregnancy in a whole different light. With a lot of time together, full bellies from “womb” service, and the impending doom of birth, these two boys don’t quite know what is outside for them.

“Dart and Napier’s contribution can be held up as a credible mirror to this blight on British society. Names and faces to watch for” Paul Couch, The Reviews Hub

Full Pelt Theatre is a graduate company from East 15 Acting School, Winner of the BA Graduate Award 2016. They combine traditional and contemporary techniques to create and offer an exciting new brand of dynamic theatre with the aim of attracting new audience members. Their first show, The Going Away Days, written by Aaron Dart and directed by Aidan Napier, was selected for the Pulse Festival in Ipswich and the Plymouth Fringe Festival in May 2016. In November 2016 they had a sell-out run at The New Diorama Theatre as part of their Two-Night Stand scheme, supported by the Emerging Companies Fund.

Theatre N16 is a trailblazing theatre company, dedicated to creating a creative hub where new and existing works can be explored and pushed into new realms. Theatre N16 is proud of their commitment to the welfare of creatives, operating under an Equity Fringe Agreement. This promoting and nurturing of talent means that Theatre N16 is a bastion for development within the context of a society in which the arts are increasingly struggling to stay afloat

Celebrations at The Grand Theatre


As National Theatre’s Olivier and Tony Award-winning production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time takes to the stage at Leeds Grand Theatre next week, so begins a year of celebrations, firsts and winners for the venue as it prepares to welcome a wealth of entertainment to its stage.

The theatre’s year ahead includes the World Premiere of Northern Ballet’s Casanova, the first tour forcomedian Joel Dommett since he starred in I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, the first UK tour ofNational Theatre’s Jane Eyre (it’s also the 170th anniversary of the book’s publication), the first ever UK tour of La Cage aux Folles (many will remember the 1996 film version, The Birdcage, starring Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Gene Hackman) and the first UK tour of Nativity! The Musical which lands, with perfect timing, in December.

There’s also last year’s Strictly Come Dancing Winner Joanne Clifton in Thoroughly Modern Millie, another two Strictly winners – Caroline Flack and Tom Chambers – in Crazy For You; it is the only Yorkshire venue for the West End smash-hit Mamma Mia! and it will host the World Premiere of Leeds’ own Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends The Musical.

It’s a very exciting programme for our audiences in 2017,” says The Grand’s General Manager Ian Sime. “We’re very proud to bring such a variety of entertainment to Yorkshire and be a part of the region’s cultural offering.”

Among the firsts and premieres, audiences can also see David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny, Evita, Count Arthur Strong, Shirley Valentine, Jon Richardson, The Play That Goes Wrong, Dirty Dancing and much more.

Philip Ridley’s dark 21st century fairytale comes to Theatre N16 in March

Second Sons presents:

March 21st – March 31st 2017, Theatre N16

Philip Ridley’s magnificent, award-winning Dark Vanilla Jungle heads to Theatre N16 in March 2017, produced by Brighton Fringe Award nominated Second Sons. In this dark, 21st century fairytale, a lone actress tells the audience her story.

**** “ingenious” Broadway Baby on Swan Bake

Andrea keeps getting asked if she’s ashamed. Ashamed of what she did to the soldier. Of what she did to the baby. But Andrea’s not ashamed at all. And she wants to tell you why… A beautiful, breath-taking drama about a young girl’s quest for the perfect family & home revealing a biting commentary on abuses of power in a patriarchal society.

Actress Emily Thornton hails from Bradford, but moved down south to train at Italia Conti, and was recently a finalist of Monologue Slam UK. Her theatre credits include Ruth in Sex with a Stranger at The Pleasance Theatre and The Sanctuary at The Bread and Roses Theatre.

Samson Hawkins is a theatre maker from Northamptonshire who trained as an actor at both East 15 & Italia Conti. After graduating, he formed Second Sons Theatre Company to make “theatre for people who don’t like theatre.” Second Son’s first production, Swan Bake – the story of a drug-addicted ballerina – premiered at Sutton Theatres and was transferred to The Otherplace as part of the Brighton Fringe, where it was nominated for a Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence.

Samson directed Stephan Golaszewski’s Sex with a Stranger at the Pleasance Theatre in 2017. His other writing work includes Olympic Fencing, which was shortlisted for Soho Theatres Young Writer Award, and Death is Wasted on The Old, which was produced for The Scribble Festival. He is a member of Soho Writers Lab and The Royal Court Writers Group.

**** “a damn fine piece of theatre” London City Nights on Swan Bake