Full programme announced for the Bush Theatre’s This Place We Know


Tickets are now available for the Bush Theatre’s full programme of This Place We Know, six new, commissioned plays which will be playing in various venues on the Uxbridge Road in September and October this year. Following the previous announcement of the season’s playwrights, the Bush Theatre today reveals full details of the plays, creative teams and venues.

In the week of 26 September the Bush Theatre’s Artistic Director, Madani Younis will direct Gbolahan Obisesan’s play Zaida and Aadam at a centre for African and Caribbean elderly people – Nubian Life Resource Centre – whilst Nancy Harris’ One Cold Dark Nightwill be directed by Associate Director, Omar Elerian and performed at the Defector’s Weld pub.

During the second week of the production The Rest of Your Life by Barney Norris andTerrorism by Kenny Emson will both open. The Rest of Your Life will play at local karaoke haunt Bar FM and will be directed by Miranda Cromwell (ADF partnership) whilst Terrorismtakes up residency at Room 56, Dorsett – the old Shepherd’s Bush Palladium and a  former cinema – under direction from Eleanor Rhode.

The final week will see Joe Murphy direct Battleface by Sabrina Mahfouz in St Stephen’s CE Primary School and Ailin Conant (ADF partnership) will bring April De Angelis’sNobody’s Listening to life at the neighbouring St Stephen’s Church.

Press night will be held on 5 October 2016.

Madani Younis said, “It has never seemed more important or fitting to present a season that mirrors the diversity and cultural heritage of our immediate community. From the protagonists of the stories we’re telling, to the playwrights and directors, This Place We Know is a direct result of the gamut of communities in W12. This year sees the Bush Theatre step outside of our building and conventional theatre setting and into the heart of Shepherd’s Bush, continuing our commitment to speaking up for, and with, our neighbours”

Thanks to a partnership with Artistic Directors of the Future (ADF), This Place We Knowwill include two directors who successfully applied to be a part of the season following a call out to ADF’s core network. The Bush Theatre will work alongside Miranda Cromwell and Ailin Conant as they direct productions as part of this season.

The Uxbridge Road is one of the longest and most diverse roads in Europe and has been the Bush Theatre’s home for the last four years.

In an extraordinary love-letter to its home, This Place We Know brings together a series of specially-commissioned short plays to be performed in borrowed spaces along this West London artery.

Discover stories of heartbreak, joy, loss and retribution in pubs, churches and karaoke bars. At times funny, mysterious and foreboding, each is an intimate tale woven into the fabric of the city by the hottest new writers.

This Place We Know has a meeting and information point located at Shepherd’s Bush Boutique Hotel, 11/12 Poplar Mews, London W12 7JS. A venue map is downloadable here.

Brian May & Kerry Ellis In Leeds



In response to a clamour of public demand, Queen star Brian May and singing sensation Kerry Ellis today announced they are teaming up once more for a new series of UK concerts at the end of the year.

May and Ellis play Leeds Grand Theatre on Monday 12th December;  tickets go on general sale this Friday 15th July

The concert marks the pair’s sixth tour together since their first ‘Anthems’ shows in 2011, which they performed on the release of Kerry’s first album, produced by Brian.

May comes hot from a hugely impactful Queen tour of festivals throughout Europe this summer including a performance at the Isle of Wight Festival, which the organiser himself has called the greatest performance in the Festival’s history.

By the time Ellis and May embark on their Christmas tour, the now widely critically acclaimed combination of Queen and Adam Lambert will have extended their tour de force in Asia.  Ellis, in the meantime, has consolidated her huge reputation in the world of Musical Theatre. She stands as one of the all-time most lauded Elphabas in Wicked in London and on Broadway, and by December she will have delivered her starring role in the first run of the Off-Broadway hit Murder Ballad in London’s Arts theatre.

‘Intimate’ is a word Kerry uses when she talks about what first-time audiences might expect from seeing May and Kerry perform their upcoming shows: “Our show is definitely an experience; we like to move people, give them new experiences and take them on our personal journey, and we have a lot of fun. Brian always comes up with great stories to explain our choice of songs, and among them a lot of hidden gems that people have never heard before. We like to think it’s a very unique and special evening.”

Says May: “Our show is largely acoustic and usually performed by candlelight. It’s very loose and interactive. In contrast to the bombast of a Queen show, our relationship with the audience is very informal – truly live and spontaneous.  This is now my favourite way of performing – it’s a lot of fun and anything can happen.  It takes some courage, but we believe our audience loves the fact that we take the risk to run the show completely ‘wild’.  No clicks, no loops, no clutter. It’s fundamentally just a voice and a guitar.”

This concert tour will feature new songs from the forthcoming second album Anthems II, which the pair has been working on for the last year.  Their magic in these shows is born of simplicity.  May swaps his trade-mark Red Special for a variety of acoustic instruments for much of the evening, and provides his own special arrangements to highlight the beauty of Kerry’s extraordinary voice. The repertoire also includes versions of Brian and Kerry’s personal favourite songs of all time, a few Queen tunes revisited, and material dedicated to awareness of wild animals, in tune with the passion that Brian and Kerry share for giving animals a voice.  With a little support from keyboard whiz Jeff Leach, the show builds, and without giving too much away, it’s safe to say that the mighty crunch of May’s red special is brought in to bring the evening to an electric climax.

Kerry Ellis says:  “It’s always a joy to be able to perform live with the ‘Doc’ and this time will be as magical as ever. We seem to always be developing and bring new ideas to the table. Alongside performing and recording we are still learning and for me that’s the exciting part. I feel very fortunate to be doing another tour together and sharing yet another show with our audiences.”

Brian May: “Although life has taken us both into so many new areas recently, live music is still what makes us tick – the greatest joy. And Ms Ellis is the perfect fellow band member! I’m grateful for the opportunity we have to bring this show to an even wider audience. I’m already working on hardening up the finger ends!

Brian May and Kerry Ellis: Candlelit Christmas Concert is at Leeds Grand Theatre

on Monday 12th December


Tickets go on sale to Priority Members on Wednesday 13th July and general sale on Friday 15th July

Tickets are priced at £45

Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700

Let It Be Review

Grand Theatre, Leeds – Mon 11 to Sat 16 July 2016

I’ll admit I’ve seen Let It Be before – and I loved it!  So relished the chance to revisit the show whilst it is in Leeds this week and see what a different cast can bring to the performance.

Let It Be is a “Celebration of the Music of the Beatles”, more of tribute concert than anything else but it is immensely enjoying.  Reuven Gershon as John, Ian B Garcia as Paul, John Brosnan as George and Stuart Wilkinson as Ringo are all incredible musicians presenting, on a nightly basis, a repertoire of songs that includes All You Need Is Love, Blackbird, Eleanor Rigby, Get Back, Help, Hey Jude, Let It Be, Penny Lane, Please Please Me and Yesterday, amongst many, many others. Whilst most shows struggle to have one or two hit songs, Let It Be has over forty of them!

There doesn’t seem to be any set script, just banter between the band themselves and the audience. That combined with some period video projections ensure that Let It Be is staged simply but effectively.  The Fab Four come on stage and steer us through the Beatles catalogue. They start with the joyous songs of innocence, such as She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand, and move on to the multilayered songs of experience, such as Strawberry Fields Forever and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. Periodically, contact is made with the rest of us: John Lennon repeats his famous injunction to a Royal Variety Performance audience (“Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands. And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewellery”) and we are periodically bidden to our feet to scream and shout. The whole evening, however, is an exercise in nostalgia.  With most of the audience being of a certain age and who would have been original fans of the Fab Four

A word of warning, don’t go to Let It Be if you’re idea of theatre is sitting in silence whilst watching. The producers make it abundantly clear from the start that photography is encouraged, and the performers make a point of getting the audience up on their feet to dance at every opportunity. On opening night the audience responded with gusto

The authentic detail is impressive, be it Ringo smoking a fag while playing at The Cavern or John chewing gum while singing in the later days. The sky darkening as The Beatles play Shea Stadium is another sign of a thoroughly switched-on show that takes the regular path from Liverpool to the Royal Variety Show, New York and Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, flowers, palm trees et al.  Although our Paul wasn’t left handed.  John had some arrogance about him and Paul was barefooted in the Abbey Road section.

There were some surprises for me too though – I didn’t know that Ringo sang but he led us in Yellow Submarine and I didn’t know that Roll Over Beethoven had been covered by the Beatles either.

For me the second half of the show was the best.  The songs I like most by the Beatles were featured in the second half and I loved the acoustic section showing off the individual versatility of the performers.  I know most people praise John and Paul but for me George was the genius.  I loved his version of Here Comes the Sun but it was his rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps completely stole the show.  If nothing else you must go and see the show purely for that

This is a hugely entertaining and enjoyable show and I recommend it all.

Upper class money-grubbing and gay romance at the Old Red Lion this August

The Past is a Tattooed Sailor

August 2nd – 28th 2016, Old Red Lion Theatre

In this world premiere of Simon Blow’s fiercely witty and bittersweet debut drama The Past Is a Tattooed Sailor, class struggles, thwarted love, and family destruction collide. Simon is the grandson of aristocratic architect Detmar Blow and scion of a family never far from the newspaper columns, and The Past Is a Tattooed Sailor is unique excursion into a lost world of sparkling aphorism and gloriously eccentric characters.

Past and present are one in the sleeping manor house where Uncle Napier lives in an eternal doze. Upper class boy Joshua has sought out his great-uncle, long taken to his bed and drifting in memories of his glowing adolescence. Joshua is having his own roaring twenties with new builder boyfriend Damien, but the burden of class weighs heavy over the young man, and ghosts from the past cling to him like Uncle Napier’s overwhelming scent.

Uncle Napier draws both boys into his delusions that his own youth has not faded, and that a muscular sailor will give this Sleeping Beauty the reviving kiss. Thus Uncle Napier drifts in reverie. Until the two boys and Uncle Napier are sharply awakened by visits from Joshua’s rich Cousin Patrick. But what sinister thoughts lie behind Patrick’s tight-lipped comments? What exactly is he seeking?

This fictionalised drama draws heavily on Simon Blow’s relationship with his great-uncle Stephen Tennant, “Brightest” of the Bright Young Things and renowned socialite. Simon says: “’Why did I write this play? ”You promise not to forget me when I’m gone,” the last words of my great-uncle Stephen Tennant to me – aka Uncle Napier in my play. So I haven’t. I have always been intrigued by how rich upper class families behave. Cruelty would be too kind a word as I experienced from the inside. Class and the greed for money are driving forces in society. My play dovetails them.”

The show is directed by Jeffrey Mayhew, whose recent directorial credits include The Ghost Hunter at Wilton’s, Tristan Bates, Theatre Delicatessen London, Edinburgh Festival (Pleasance) and national tour; and A Brief History of Beer at the Old Bell, London, the Brighton Festival, British and German tours, Adelaide Festival, American tours, transferring to Under Saint Mark’s in New York, off Broadway. Last summer he directed A Cinema In South Georgia, which he co-wrote, for its total sell out borders tour and Edinburgh run last summer, where it received six four star reviews.

Good Chance announces new events at Somerset House and Southbank Centre this summer


Good Chance have today announced two Encampment events at Somerset House on the north bank of the Thames this summer. In addition, they are delighted to confirm award-winning actress Cush Jumbo and prize-winning journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will be included in the Encampment line-up at Southbank Centre, as previously announced, taking place inside the iconic Good Chance Dome, direct from the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp from 30 July to 7 August.

Encampment at Somerset House

Somerset House will host The Machine to Be Another, an interactive virtual reality experience that allows users to experience the bodies and memories of volunteer refugees, from 30 July to 7 August, and Encampment Installation, a collection of tents and wooden shelters destined for the Calais Jungle that will stand on Lancaster Place from 30 July to 7 August, as part of UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility – four seasons of events, exhibitions and commissions celebrating the idea of utopia to mark the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s influential text.

Be Another Lab presents
The Machine To Be Another
Saturday 30 July – Sunday 7 August
12pm–2pm and 4pm–6pm, daily

What would the world be like if we could see through the eyes of another?

BeAnotherLab presents a series of Embodied Narratives that allow audience members to virtually inhabit the body of another person and experience their perspective of camp life. Hear the stories and step into the shoes of workers, volunteers and refugees around the world to understand more about asylum, displacement and day-to-day life in a refugee camp.

The Machine To Be Another is an interactive virtual reality experience designed to explore the relationship between identity and empathy, drawing from knowledge in the areas of neuroscience, storytelling and performance art.

For four years BeAnotherLab has been working with an extended community of researchers, artists, activists and members of the public to create performance-experiments related to the understanding of the other and the self. Designed to promote empathy, The Machine To Be Another explores issues such as cultural bias, immigration, physical disability bias, gender identity, generational bonding, conflict resolution and body extension.

Come and experience the story of another person.

Good Chance and A Home For Winter present
Encampment Installation
Saturday 30 July – Sunday 7 August
10am-6pm, daily

Good Chance and A Home For Winter will create an installation of three empty shelters in Lancaster Place, next to Somerset House. Walk among the tents and look inside the shelters which people are forced to make their homes in the Calais “Jungle” refugee camp for indefinable lengths of time. Who were the people that made these spaces their homes? Where are they now?

In March 2016 the southern section of the Calais camp was demolished. In that time 3,455 people, including 445 children, of whom 305 were unaccompanied, lost their homes. During this time many protests sprung up across the camp, from peaceful sit-ins, to hunger strikes, people were pushed to breaking point as they asked: where are we meant to go?

After the installation closes, the shelters will be taken to Calais to provide much needed materials for building there.

Encampment at Southbank Centre

On the other side of the Thames, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown will chair the Nights of Hope panel discussion ‘Why Women Refugees are Often Unheard and Unseen’, in association with Women for Refugee Women, followed by music from Maya Youssef on 4 August. This discussion will take place in the Good Chance Dome on the Festival Terrace at Southbank Centre’s annual Festival of Love.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown came to the UK in 1972 from Uganda, and completed her M.Phil. in literature at Oxford in 1975. She is a journalist who has written for The Guardian, Observer, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Newsweek, the Evening Standard, The Mail and other newspapers and is now a regular columnist. She is also a radio and television broadcaster and author of several books. Her book, No Place Like Home, was an autobiographical account of a twice removed immigrant. Her prizes and awards include the Commission for Racial Equality special award for outstanding contribution to journalism in 2000, the George Orwell Prize for political journalism in 2002, and an MBE for services to journalism in 2001 (which she returned in 2003).

Cush Jumbo will perform Nassim Soleimanpour’s internationally acclaimed White Rabbit Red Rabbit at Encampment at Southbank Centre on 7 August.

With no rehearsals, no director and a script waiting in a sealed envelope on stage, internationally acclaimed White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a potent reminder of the transgressive and transformative power of theatre.

Forbidden to leave his native Iran, Nassim Soleimanpour wrote a play that travelled the world in his place. It crossed borders, found refuge in theatres, and was given voice by a host of actors across the world. Since its world premiere in 2011, White Rabbit Red Rabbit has been performed over 1000 times, including by Juliet Stevenson, Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, John Hurt, Simon McBurney, Stephen Rea, Sinead Cusack and Ken Loach.

Cush Jumbo is a writer and performer whose theatre credits include: Taming of The Shrew (The Public Theatre, Broadway), Julius Caeser (The Donmar Warehouse), The River (Square Theatre, Broadway), She Stoops To Conquer (The National Theatre) and Pygmalion (Royal Exchange). Her screen credits include The Good WifeVera, Remainder and upcoming City Of Tiny Lights. In November 2013 she was presented with The Evening Standard Emerging Talent Award for her one woman show Josephine and I which was performed at The Bush and then transferred to The Public in New York. In 2013 she was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Olivier Award for her portrayal of Marc Anthony in Phyllida Lloyd’s Julius Caesar at The Donmar Warehouse.


One of Britain’s most popular soap stars to join the cast of international award-winning Broadway and West End musical CHICAGO which comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal for two weeks only from Monday 1 – Saturday 13 August 2016.


Jessie Wallace*(EastEnders) will be joining the cast in her first ever musical theatre UK tour as Matron ‘Mama’ Morton alongside previously announced West End and Celebrity Big Brother star John Partridge (EastEnders, Cats, A Chorus Line, Miss Saigon, Starlight Express) as Billy Flynn, and Dancing on Ice winner and Coronation Street star Hayley Tamaddon (Emmerdale, Grease, Mamma Mia!) as Roxie Hart.


* Please note that Jessie Wallace will only be appearing in performances at Newcastle Theatre Royal during week two from Monday 8 August


CHICAGO sees Jessie Wallace make her return to Newcastle Theatre Royal where she starred alongside fellow EastEnders star Shane Richie in A Perfect Murder earlier this year.  One of Britain’s most loved soap stars and best known for playing Kat Slater in EastEnders, a role for which she has won numerous award, Jessie’s other TV credits include Amy Kriel in Wild at Heart and Pat Phoenix in The Road to Coronation Street, for which she was nominated for a Bafta Award.  Her theatre credits include Maureen in Rent Remixed in the West End, Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be at the Theatre Royal Stratford East and Sylvia in the national tour of Stepping Out.


CHICAGO is based on real life events back in the roaring 1920s; nightclub singer Roxie Hart shoots her lover and along with cell block rival, double-murderess Velma Kelly, they fight to keep from death row with the help of smooth talking lawyer, Billy Flynn.


Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, CHICAGO’s sexy, sassy score includes the iconic numbers “All That Jazz” and “Razzle Dazzle”. With 6 Tony, 2 Olivier, 1 Grammy, 2 Bafta and 6 Academy Awards, CHICAGO truly is ‘The sharpest, slickest show on the block’ (The Times).  A nightclub singer, a double-murderess, a smooth-talking lawyer and a cell block of sin; it would be a crime to miss it.


CHICAGO comes to Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday 1 – Saturday 13 August. Tickets are from £19.50 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).


  • Please note that Jessie Wallace will only be appearing in performances at Newcastle Theatre Royal during week two from Monday 8 AugustThe producers cannot guarantee the appearance of any particular artist. Please check with the Box office when purchasing your tickets

Ticket release for Edinburgh International Festival launch event

Edinburgh International Festival releases free tickets forStandard Life Opening Event: Deep Time

Public to feature in pioneering digital artwork

  • Free tickets released on Monday, 11 July for the ground-breakingStandard Life Opening Event: Deep Time, the largest free, ticketed event of its kind in the UK.
  • Further limited releases on Monday 1 and Saturday 6 August.
  • International Festival calls on Edinburgh residents and former residents to submit photos to be used in the event’s finale.

The Edinburgh International Festival today (Monday, 11 July) releases thousands of free tickets for the launch event of the city’s summer festival season, the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time.

Free tickets are available from 10.00am at www.eif.co.uk allowing Edinburgh residents, visitors and tourists to book and experience the largest free, ticketed event of its kind in the UK, on Sunday 7 August at 10.30pm. A second limited release will be available on Monday 1 August, with a further very limited release on Saturday 6 August – the day before the event.

The Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time is a free, outdoor artwork which will see the western façade of Edinburgh Castle and Castle Rock used as the 20,000m2 canvas for digitally animated projections inspired by the city’s past. The work is created by 59 Productions and set to a specially compiled soundtrack by Scottish rock band Mogwai, with an audience of up to 27,000 watching from the event arena.

The event is one of the largest architectural mapping projects ever undertaken by International Festival Artistic Associates, 59 Productions. The Tony award-winners created the acclaimed Harmonium Project which opened the 2015 International Festival, and were key to the 2012 London Olympic Opening Ceremony, and world-wide hit stage play,War Horse.

Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time explores ‘deep time’ – a geological concept which explains the age of the Earth in terms of billions of years. Charting 350 million years of Edinburgh’s history, the event uncovers the unique geology of the city’s landscape, starting with its volcanic beginnings.  It explores the intellectual legacy of the city – in particular the work of Edinburgh scientist James Hutton, who pioneered the theory of ‘deep time’ – and celebrates the cultural and scientific thinkers who have made Edinburgh their home through the ages, as well as the Edinburgh community which has lived and worked in the city in recent times. 59 Productions will use cutting-edge 3d animation and projection techniques to create the event, working in partnership with University of Edinburgh academics, who have lent their expertise to help tell the complex geological story.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, Edinburgh remains a powerhouse for visionary thinkers, artists and innovative business people, and is home to a diverse community from across Scotland, Europe and the rest of the world. The finale of the event will explore Edinburgh through its human population, flashing through thousands of faces of residents from the past and the present. These are drawn from historical and present-day sources, and will be solicited directly from local people, some of whom will themselves be amongst the audience for the show, the culmination of which is a vibrant celebration of Edinburgh today.

In order to create this moment, the International Festival and 59 Productions are asking the public for their help. Organisers are looking for hundreds of photographs of people who have called Edinburgh home – both those who live or have lived in the city. The photographs will help form the finale of this spectacular art work.

Photographs should be of individuals with their faces clear in the picture, and can be submitted via the International Festival’s website at eif.co.uk/deeptime by Monday 25 July. Further information on how and what kind of images to submit is available on the website.

Leo Warner, Creative Director of 59 Productions and director of Deep Time, said: ‘We were inspired to create this epic story by Edinburgh resident James Hutton and his pioneering geological work, which impacts so much on how we view the world now. As part of that story, we want to celebrate the people who make the city what it is today. We ask those who live here, or have moved away, to share with us photos of themselves or of family who have lived here. These images will make up the grand finale of the event and bring the story of Edinburgh over 350 million years bang up to date. Please share your photos and be a part of something truly epic.’

Fergus Linehan, Edinburgh International Festival Director, said: ‘I’m so excited by the prospect of the Standard Life Opening Event: Deep Time and this amazing artwork through which we’re celebrating our home city’s impact on the world stage throughout history and today. Working with Standard Life, 59 Productions, the University of Edinburgh, EventScotland, Edinburgh Castle and Blue-i Theatre Technology & mclcreate, we invite Edinburgh residents and visitors to experience the event with us and book their free arena tickets. This year, and in the future, the Standard Life Opening Event will declare to the world in spectacular style that the International Festival, and Edinburgh’s summer festival season, is truly open.’

Keith Skeoch, Chief Executive, Standard Life, said: We’re counting down the days to this unique event which will give the people of Edinburgh, including our employees, the opportunity to be part of an incredible work of art. As a global business founded in Edinburgh almost 200 years ago, we’re proud of our heritage and to be part of this city and its wider community. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the pioneering spirit of the people of Edinburgh, past and present, being brought to life at the Standard Life Opening Event for this year’s Edinburgh International Festival.’

Professor Dorothy Miell, Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Humanities and Social Science, said: ‘The University of Edinburgh is delighted to lend its expertise to help tell the story of our alumnus James Hutton and his theories of deep time. This spectacular show is another cutting-edge project demonstrating our long-standing and inspiring partnership with the Edinburgh International Festival and our pioneering work with the digital arts.’

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: Following the success of The Harmonium Project, we are once again delighted to be supporting Deep Time through EventScotland’s International Programme. Events of this scale, stature and ambition continue to strengthen Scotland’s outstanding portfolio of prestigious arts and cultural events, whilst also enhancing our reputation as the perfect stage for events. I’m certain it will give those lucky enough to secure one of the summer’s hottest free tickets, a chance to witness a mesmerising moment in history.”

“Deep Time also brings Scotland’s 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design themes together to showcase one of Scotland’s iconic locations transformed by cutting-edge design to the world, creating a spectacular and dramatic event to open the 2016 Edinburgh International Festival.’

Nick Finnigan, Executive Manager of Edinburgh Castle, which is managed by Historic Environment Scotland, added: ‘As the backdrop for key moments in Scottish history and iconic international contemporary celebrations and events the castle captivates audiences from home and further afield and Deep Time is no exception. Now the public have the chance to get their hands on free tickets for what promises to be a fantastic and memorable opening event for 2016’s Edinburgh International Festival.’

Sir Lenny Henry, Sir Tom Courtenay, Meera Syal, Stephanie Cole, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Mike Poulton and Blake Morrison to become patrons of Northern Broadsides

Northern Broadsides are delighted to announce that actors Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Sir Tom Courtenay, Stephanie Cole OBE, Meera Syal CBE, Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE and playwrights Mike Poulton and Blake Morrison will be joining the award winning Yorkshire theatre company as patrons.

Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Barrie Rutter said about the announcement:

“Most are famous, all are respected, some are learned, a couple write music and a couple write words and between them there is plenty of “fruit salad”- Knighthoods, OBE’s, CBE etc -but overall there is the shared passion and support for the work of Northern Broadsides.


They provide the voice of encouragement for Northern Broadsides to maintain our high standards, relish our audiences and play our part in the rich theatrical network.


We are absolutely thrilled to welcome this distinguished list of new Patrons. Their profile and commitment to theatre and communities will help enhance the reputation of Northern Broadsides as one of the country’s leading theatre companies

Sir Lenny Henry CBE, who appeared in the title role in Northern Broadsides award winning production of Othello and who will be starring in the final series of Broadchurch on ITV 1 said about becoming a Patron.

I’ve been asked to say why I am supporting Northern Broadsides as a patron.

Which is an odd question because -without Broadsides, my life would not have transformed. Without Broadsides I would not have taken on one of the greatest tragedies known to man -Othello by William Shakespeare.  West Yorkshire Playhouse, then a tour then the Trafalgar theatre in London. Completely changed my life and turned my career around.


More importantly the whole experience gave me colleagues and a frame of reference for acting and performing that have stayed with me ever since.  Why am I supporting Northern Broadsides as a patron?

Ask Rutter…”


Like Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Barrie Rutter, Sir Tom Courtenay was born in Hull and shares Barrie’s love of Hull City Football Club. He left the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, joining The Old Vic Company in 1960. His first film, ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner‘ was released in 1962. He received Oscar nominations for the films Doctor Zhivago and The Dresser and most recently appeared in films ‘Quartet,’ Forty-five Years,‘ ‘Dad’s Army’ and the ITV series ‘Unforgotten.’ He is a great admirer of Barrie’s achievements with Northern Broadsides.

Actress Stephanie Cole OBE, who is best known for appearing in the hit television series Waiting for God, Coronation Street, Open all Hours, Doc Martin and currently the Channel 4 comedy Man Down said:

” I’ve seen many shows by Northern Broadsides over the years in many surprising and unusual and imaginative venues and have always been excited by their work and been inspired by them. May they have many more years thrilling audiences and introducing so many to ‘theatre’ “

Actress, playwright, screenwriter and novelist Meera Syal CBE, whose recent television appearances include the second series of Broadchurch and the award winning BBC series Goodness Gracious Me and the Kumars at number 42 said about the Yorkshire company

“I’m delighted to support this dynamic front footed company led by the imitable Barrie Rutter. Having spent too many years growing up thinking theatre wasn’t for the likes of me, it’s a joy to champion Northern Broadsides who make theatre accessible and exhilarating for all.”


Syal’s husband Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE, who is also best known for the much loved television series Goodness Gracious Me and The Kumars at Number 42, and who appeared ast year appeared alongside Tom Courtney and Nicola Walker in the hit ITV series Unforgotten will also become a Patron of Northern Broadsides.


Playwright Mike Poulton, who adapted The Canterbury Tales for Northern Broadsides in 2010 and who in 2014 adapted the award winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies for the Royal Shakespeare Company added:

” More than a quarter of a century ago Barrie Rutter showed us that Shakespeare delivered passionately, and flavoured with strong Yorkshire accents could captivate all parts of the nation – and indeed other nations. And that a good actor who takes pains to understand, and trust his playwright is worth more than a multitude of effects and gimmicks, the imposed concepts of crack-pot directors, or expensive sets and frocks… And he’s still at it. Long may it continue.”


Playwright, novelist and poet Blake Morrison who has adapted several plays for Northern Broadsides, including The Cracked Pot, Lisa’s Sex Strike and We Are Three Sisters, said about becoming a patron:

‘I’ve always enjoyed watching Northern Broadsides productions – and, just as important, especially when they do Shakespeare, listening to them (it’s an unexpected pleasure to go the theatre and hear every word). As one of the most vibrant and enterprising companies in the country, they bring huge energy to everything they do. They’ve made a big difference to my own career, and I’m delighted to support them’


Also joining as Patrons will be former Northern Broadsides Chair RT Hon Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE, FCA; singer and broadcaster Mike HardingEdith Hall, Professor of Classics at King’s College London and Co-Founder of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama at Oxford University and Halifax entrepreneur and former Northern Broadsides board member Roger Harvey OBE.

All of the above new patrons will join Lady Patricia, Countess of Harewood who has been the company’s loyal patron for the last twenty years.

Northern Broadsides is a unique theatre company with a true northern voice. Its work is characterised by a high degree of theatrical inventiveness and robust performances from a large ensemble cast of multi-talented and charismatic northern actors who all perform in their natural voices. For the past 24 years, it has delighted audiences here and abroad with a growing classic repertoire that has won the company many awards and a loyal following worldwide.

From 9-24 September Northern Broadsides will revive J.B. Priestley’s much loved comedy When We Are Married at York Theatre Royal (who will be co-producing the production) and then tour the production until December.

Kerry Ellis, Preeya Kalidas and Ramin Karimloo to star in GODSPELL gala

Broadway and West End Wicked star Kerry Ellis, Olivier nominated Preeya Kalidas, Tony nominated Ramin Karimloo to star in a special GODSPELL gala.

Several major musical theatre stars are to headline a concert production ofGodspell, the heart-lifting feel-good Broadway musical from Stephen Schwartz (Wicked), at St. Paul’s Church in Covent Garden on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st August 2016.

Leading a cast of talented new young performers to launch of The British Theatre Academy will be Broadway and West End Wicked star Kerry Ellis, Olivier Nominated Preeya Kalidas (Bend It Like Beckham) and Tony-nominated Ramin Karimloo (Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera).

A timeless tale of friendship, loyalty and love, Godspell, will be directed by Dean Johnson with musical direction by Michael Bradley (Grey Gardens).

The evening will be hosted by Mark Shenton, associate editor and joint lead critic of The Stage.

The British Theatre Academy has been set up to give young people who can not afford to access theatre training the opportunity to work with top creatives in venues around the country.

A cast of 300 British Theatre Academy performers are to appearing in the West End this summer in a special family version of the Tony award-winning musical The Secret Garden, based on the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett with script and lyrics by Pulitzer prize and Tony award-winner Marsha Norman and music by Grammy award-winner Lucy Simon. The Secret Garden, directed by Rupert Hands, will run 6 weeks at the Ambassadors Theatre from Wednesday 27 July to Wednesday 31 August 2016.

Tickets from £17:50 can bo booked at: www.ticketsource.co.uk/thebritishtheatreacademy.

Proceeds will go to continuing the great work of THE BTA giving young people the chance to perform for free.

Kerry Ellis said: “It’s so great to have the opportunity to work with new talent who have passion for the arts, that’s exactly what the kids from the British Theatre Academy are all about.”

Preeya added: “I’m so excited to be able to go back to where to all began for me”.

Casting announced for Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium

Casting announced for Monty Python’s Spamalot at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium

Director and Choreographer JOANNE HAND

Musical Director JOHN HUDSON

Seven performances only – October 24 to 29

Tickets now available

Casting for the DarlingtonOS upcoming production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, the parody of the Arthurian Legend which won the Tony for Best Musical in 2005, can now be announced.

The cast includes Julian Cound as King Arthur with company newcomer Ruby Hoggarth as the Lady Of The Lake. King

Arthur’s hard-done-to side-kick Patsy will be played by Eddie Jones while the Knights of the Round Table are made up of Leighton Taylor as Sir Lancelot, Neil Harland as Sir Galahad, Jason Slater as Sir Bedevere, and another company newcomer Richard Hamilton as Sir Robin. Alisdair Wilson will play Sir Bors and Hamish Sams will appear as Sir Not Appearing In This Show.

Director Joanne Hand said “I feel so fortunate to have been asked to direct Spamalot for DarlingtonOS. The show is hilarious and full to overflowing with larger than life characters and I can’t wait to start working with this fabulous cast.

DarlingtonOS never fail to put on a spectacular show and Spamalot will be no exception.”

Joanne continued, “It’s easy to understand just why Spamalot is so popular. It’s been touring almost constantly since 2006 with productions taking place in Las Vegas, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand and Hungary. Millions have seen and enjoyed this show because laughter is universal. Even if you’ve never seen the movie or have any idea of what Monty Python is, you can still appreciate the show and its downright silliness. And I think, especially now, we all need a little laughter and silliness in our lives.”

Monty Python’s Spamalot will have seven performances at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium this autumn – Monday 24 to Saturday 29 October at 7.30pm with a 2pm matinee on Saturday 29 October.

Monty Python’s Spamalot tells the legendary tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and their quest for the Holy Grail. The show features lusty maidens, dancing divas, a killer rabbit and a legless knight. It has been honored with dozens of awards, including the Grammy for Best Original Cast Recording and three Tony Awards, including Best Musical.

Tickets are priced £16 for adults and £10 for children (aged 14 and under) and can be purchased online at www.darlingtonos.org.uk, or by phone on 01325 244659.

Monty Python’s Spamalot has book and lyrics by Eric Idle and music by John Du Prez & Eric Idle. Lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail, by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, Spamalot had its Broadway debut in 2005, directed by Mike Nichols.