Brendan Cole – A Night To Remember


Brendan Cole is a professional Ballroom and Latin dancer, best known for his role on the BBC entertainment show Strictly Come Dancing.

Having started dancing in his native New Zealand aged six, after being dragged along to classes by his mother, Brendan competed there as an amateur dancer until the age of 18 when he packed his bags and headed to the bright lights of London. At this time England and particularly South London was the centre of the ballroom dancing world. Having been inspired by the top professional dancers and teachers, Brendan’s dancing went from strength to strength. He eventually turned professional in January 2000 having previously won the New Zealand amateur title on three occasions.

Brendan Cole 1During his time as a competitive Ballroom and Latin dancer, Brendan and his partner gained such credentials as New Zealand Amateur and Professional Champions, Amateur Asia-Pacific Champions, Professional Semifinalists in the World, International, United Kingdom Open and most prestigiously the British Open Championships as well as third place in the British Open Rising Star Championships.

In 2004 Brendan was approached by the BBC to take part in a brand-new television show then known as Pro-Celebrity Come Dancing, a new spin on the hugely popular Come Dancing which was originally broadcast in 1949 and ran until 1998. Initially Brendan had reservations about appearing on the show as he was concerned it may make a mockery of what he believed was perceived as a world of ‘tea and cucumber sandwiches’.

Brendan Cole 2Having had his fears put to rest after participating in the pilot for the show, Brendan danced the very first dance on the first show of what was to eventually become known as Strictly Come Dancing. Brendan went on to win this series with his celebrity partner, newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky. To date, Brendan along with his colleague and friend Anton du Beke, is one of only two professionals to have competed in all 13 series. During his time on the show, Brendan has been honoured to dance with such celebs as Kelly Brook, Lisa Snowdon, Jo Wood, Victoria Pendleton, Sunetra Sarker, Kirsty Gallacher and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

Having quickly established himself as a television personality and household name, Brendan has been fortunate enough to appear on many other television shows such as singing contests Just The Two Of Us partnering Beverly Knight, and Sing If You Can hosted by Keith Lemon, chat shows such as Al Murray’s Happy Hour and even a judging role on New Zealand’s Dancing With The Stars alongside Craig Revel Horwood.

Brendan Cole 3In 2010 Brendan felt he was ready for a new challenge and put his creative expertise to work in the conception of his first touring theatre show Live and Unjudged which played to rave reviews. Following on from this came the sell-out Licence to Thrill which lead to his 7th and now 8th UK tours and his third production, A Night to Remember.

Brendan credits his theatre tours along with the birth of his daughter, Aurélia, in 2012 as his proudest achievements. “It’s an incredible feeling knowing I have created something that people are wanting to come along to, enjoy and be a part of. I love every second of being on that stage and am extremely proud of the road it has taken to allow me to perform in this way. I’m so grateful to have these opportunities and every night I’m on stage is a privilege.”

On a personal level, Brendan believes he is the happiest and most fulfilled he has ever been following his marriage to Zoe in 2010 and the birth of his daughter in 2012.

“I am in a really good place in my life right now. I have a job that I adore and a fantastic creative outlet in my tour and then I have my wonderful family to come home to. Life is pretty great.”

A Night To Remember is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Thursday 18 February.

Tickets* £34 & £36. To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

*All prices include a £1 restoration levy

The Devil Inside – chilling new opera comes to LBT, Huddersfield – Fri February 26 at 7.30pm


MTW_The Devil Inside small




– Collaboration between award-winning composer Stuart MacRae and successful novelist Louise Welsh


– Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of greed and compulsion


– Music Theatre Wales/Scottish Opera co-commission & co-production


Friday, February 26 at 7.30pm


Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield

Queen St, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire HD1 2SP


Booking:              Tel: 01484 430528


‘finely paced, immaculately crafted’  The Guardian *****

‘spooky yarn’  The Times ****

‘Devilishly fine tale of greed and evil’   Financial Times ****

‘intimate, intense, disturbing’  Observer ****



A chilling tale of greed and compulsion by Robert Louis Stevenson gets the operatic treatment from composer Stuart MacRae and novelist Louise WelshThe Devil Inside, their new work, jointly commissioned by Scottish Opera and Music Theatre Wales, is a contemporary reading of Stevenson’s short story The Bottle Imp.


The opera comes to the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield on Friday, February 26 at 7.30pm. It features a fine cast of singers including popular Opera North regulars, the tenor Nicholas Sharratt and baritone Steven Page whose past successes include the title role of the company’s highly acclaimed production of Sweeney Todd.


Composer Stuart MacRae and novelist Louise Welsh are both well known in their respective fields. Stuart MacRae has been commissioned by the BBC, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and London Sinfonietta amongst others, and Louise Welsh is the author of a string of successful novels including The Cutting Room, The Bullet Trick and, most recently, Death is a Welcome Guest.  Their collaboration on the one-act opera Ghost Patrol  – an earlier joint venture between the Scottish Opera and MTW – won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Opera in 2013, and was nominated for an Olivier Award.


In The Devil Inside MacRae and Welsh have created a contemporary take on Robert Louis Stevenson’s unsettling tale whilst preserving the chilling, queasy qualities of the original. The story turns on a bottle with the power to grant the heart’s desire – but there’s a catch: you can only sell it for less than you paid for it, and, if you die while owning it, your soul goes straight to hell.


James uses the bottle to get all he ever dreamed of, and then sells it. Happily married to Catherine, he feels his life is complete…until an awful discovery begins to unravel their life together, with devastating consequences.


As the price of the bottle gets lower, a dangerous game of pass-the-parcel ensues. Greed, despair, unconditional love and a fear of death can force people to take drastic measures in their attempts to trick fate…


The Devil Inside is conducted by MTW’s Joint Artistic Director and Music Director Michael Rafferty with The Music Theatre Wales Ensemble.


The team behind MacRae and Welsh’s Ghost Patrol returns for The Devil Inside – director Matthew Richardson, designer Samal Blak​​​​​​​​ and lighting designer Ace McCarron​ – and is joined by a strong ensemble cast including tenor Nicholas Sharratt (who was seen in Ghost Patrol 2012), mezzo-soprano Rachel Kelly, baritone Steven Page and Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Ben McAteer.


The opera will receive its World premiere at Theatre Royal Glasgow on January 23, 2016, and performances at London’s Peacock Theatre (February 3 & 4) mark the start of an England and Wales tour, including dates in Cardiff, Basingstoke, Manchester, Aberystwyth, Huddersfield, Mold and Birmingham.




26 February 7.30pm


Online booking:

Tel: 01484 430528

Tickets £10-£19

Under 26s £7              Kirklees Passport holders £3 off




Cian Binchy stars in The Misfit Analysis at Vault Festival, 2nd – 6th March

Jules Robertson makes his Holby City, 9th February

Access All Areas 40th anniversary show celebrates community work

Access All Areas, the award winning Theatre Company for adults with learning disabilities based in Hackney, London, is delighted to announce that two members of the company are headed for leading roles, with Cian Binchy reprising his one man show The Misfit Analysis at VAULT Festival, and Jules Robertson cast as a recurring character in BBC One’s Holby City.

Nick Llewellyn, Artistic Director of Access All Areas, said: “This is a real breakthrough moment for learning disabled actors in the UK. Access All Areas has been working with Cian and Jules for many years, and I’m absolutely thrilled that their talent is being recognised on stage and screen. I hope this leads to more diversity in arts and entertainment, and more disabled actors playing disabled characters themselves”.


VAULT Festival with Patrick Collier Creative Productions presents


by Access All Areas and Cian Binchy

Wed 2nd – Sun 6th March, 6pm

Press night: Wed 2nd Mar

VAULT Festival, The Vaults, Leake St,

Waterloo SE1 7NN (Forge)

Tickets: £10

Box office: / 0871 220 0260





“Inside Binchy’s head is utterly fascinating and wildly creative” – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

“A quirky, informative, funny show offering an insight into an autistic mind” – Steven McElroy,

New York Times


Cian has autism. He likes to spin tin-openers. He’s taught all the actors on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time how to be autistic. They’re very good at it.


Journeying through Cian’s mischievous mind, The Misfit Analysis takes us through a world of wheelchairs and blow up dolls in an unconventional exploration of an autistic mind. This is not Rain Man. Using multi-media, video projection and his unique brand of performance poetry, Cian playfully questions the place of disability in today’s world.


After a sell out run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and appearances on BBC 1, The Misfit Analysislaunches in London as part of VAULT festival 2016, and comes to Birmingham Hippodrome as part of the ITATI Festival.



Tue 15th – Wed 16th March, Hoxton Hall

WINNER: THE GUARDIAN UNIVERSITY AWARD FOR DIVERSITY (Access all Areas and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) 

2016 is the 40th anniversary of the community drama group that started Access All Areas off, and there’ll be events and performances throughout the year in celebration. For more information, visit / @AAATheatre /


Jules Robertson made his debut on the flagship BBC One hospital drama on the 9th February. Jules plays Jason Haynes, a 24-year-old funny and intelligent young man with Asperger’s. Haynes is a recurring character in the show.

Richard Cameron classic at Theatre N16 in March starring Ellie Nunn

Lily Staff presents:


March 6th – 17th 2016, 7.15pm, Theatre N16

Richard Cameron’s Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down plays at Theatre N16 this March, in a transfer from Cambridge from producer Lily Staff starring Abi Taylor Jones, Ellie Nunn and Venice van Someren.

***** “a must-see play if ever there was one” Varsity

Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down follows the lives of three South-Yorkshire women and their tales of Royce Boland, a man who has a profound and devastating effect on all of their lives. In a near-lyrical exploration of women, love and survival, this performance offers a striking celebration of storytelling and solidarity through the often overlooked medium of monologues, allowing for a powerful and personal production. An immediate hit when it premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011, this story of insecurity, family and domestic abuse unfolds as crimes of the past and present finally collide.

“engaging, provocative and, in a weird way, life-affirming” The Tab

Starring in Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down are Abi Taylor Jones (Danny The Champion of the World, Brentwood Theatre; Game Over, High Tide Festival), Ellie Nunn (Desperate Measures, Jermyn Street Theatre; Shakespeare in Love, Noel Coward Theatre) and Venice van Someren (Punk Rock and Therese Raquin, Drama Centre).

Relive the 80s in site specific theatre piece by Aled Pedrick

Robin Linde Productions presents:


March 2nd, Ivy House Nunhead / March 13th, Arcola Bar

In March, Robin Linde Productions invites you back to the 1980s in a new site specific show by award-nominated playwright Aled Pedrick. Join a group of proactive miners’ wives during the strikes collecting for hungry families, relive the trials and tribulations of Thatcher’s Britain – and dance the night away to Wham!

“This is immersive theatre at its least pretentious” (Little London Magazine)

It is 1985, and everyone’s invited to a festive fundraising party to help the needy. Babs and her best friend Jackie are putting on a night to remember. Drawing parallels between Thatcher’s “Divide and Rule” tactics and today’s political agenda, this new immersive production will open up a moment in recent history and explore how it has shaped the Britain we live in today. Celebrate a shared strength and dignity in unity, stand up against the injustice that threatens to destroy our homes, history and identity – and enjoy an evening of boogie, bingo and banter!

In this site specific show, the audience are invited to become part of the striker’s community and are encouraged to bring real food donations that will then go directly to those Londoners most in need. Partnered with a London foodbank, Robin Linde Productions is supporting parts of our own community that are being forced to live on the line today.

“a strong evening of theatre (…) great performances, original direction and insightful ideas” (Female Arts)

Writer Aled Pedrick’s work includes Y Twr, which was recently nominated for number of Wales Theatre Awards. Director Yasmeen Arden’s work includes the award winning Three Sillies. The cast includes Judith Amsenga (Mike Leigh’s Turner and Out of Joint’s Mixed Up North), Dominik Golding (Downton Abbey), Jeremy Hancock (All Bar Love) and Charlotte Jane Higgins (BBC Bitesize Shakespeare).

Round The Horne 50th Anniversary Tour Review

Museum of Comedy 4 February – 12 March.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick


Watching Round The Horne is like wrapping yourself in a cosy old blanket – you’ll leave feeling warm and fuzzy with a huge smile on your face.

The classic radio show only ran for four series in the 1960s, but the superb material written by Barry Took and Marty Feldman has found new audiences ever since.

Tim Astley has chosen some of the best sketches and compiled them into 2 episodes, following the same pattern as the original show. At the interval you are invited to partake in the meagre BBC refreshments!

Two episodes means that the audience gets to enjoy double helpings of Dame Celia Molestrangler and aging juvenile Binkie Huckabuck, Julian and Sandy (they turn up in a James Bond spoof as polari spouting versions of Q) and Rambling Syd Rumpo (with sing-along version of Green Grow My Nadgers-O).

The writing is gloriously nonsensical, with filthy sounding gibberish, interruptions from Kenneth Williams complaining about the script, and Kenneth Horne continuing calmly with scathing putdowns delivered in the politest possible manner as he keeps the show on track despite the anarchy brewing behind him.

The atmosphere of the show is recreated thoughtfully with the stage set up as the BBC studio and a hapless sound engineer (Conrad Segal) bearing the brunt of the casts’ disapproving glares.

During the interval I overheard one older lady saying that she’d sat with her eyes closed for a while as that was how she’d originally experienced the show. But that meant that she’d missed out on the wonderful physicality of the actors. Jonathan Hansler as Hugh Paddick, Eve Winters as Betty Marsden and Colin Elmer as Kenneth Williams are just brilliant, with bizarre body language for each character, extraordinary facial expressions and knowing looks to the audience at each innuendo. Elmer’s cry of mortal agony is a thing of wonder. Julian Howard McDowell captures Hornes’s unflappable deadpan dependable manner and Nick Wymer’s Douglas Smith makes you wish that BBC announcers still spoke like that – a voice like melting chocolate.

This show will delight Round The Horne fans and those new to the material. An evening of silliness and laughter that takes you back in time to have fun with the gruntfuttocks and cordwanglers. Just look after your nadgers.

Dirty Dancing Launch

Grand Opera House, York.  By Michelle Richardson

On a wet and windy Monday afternoon in York we were given a special preview at the launch of Dirty Dancing, which is touring the UK from August 2016, coming to York 17th to 22nd October.

The shows producer, Karl Sydow introduced us to a brand new production and showed us a short clip from the last tour, giving us a snap shot of what to expect. He gave us a history of how it all started 12 years ago in Australia and broken records all over the world ever since, until Harry Potter came out that is.

We were then treated to an excellent mumbo performed by Carlie Milner and Paul Michael Jones, previous cast members, playing the parts of Johnny and Penny. Carlie is going to be in the new production with the rest of cast to be announced shortly.

Dirty Dancing has previously toured the UK but this is the first time in York. This has made me want to get the old DVD out again, and watch it for the umpteenth time. I’m so looking forward to seeing Baby, Johnny and Penny, and not forgetting those water melons,on stage in October and “having the time of my life”. I’ll just have to make sure that I get my tickets early because it is sure to be a sell out success.

LIFT 2016 Announces Full Programme





@LIFTfestival // #LIFT2016





LIFT has travelled the world to curate a very special playlist of performances, politics and pop-culture for London, so go on – press play.

Meet wild Japanese pop fans, an outré performance star, a body builder, and teenagers with attitude. Waltz, keep secrets, see a brass band, take revenge and sleep with a stranger.  Visit Roma musicians, refugees, ancient Greeks via Sarah Kane, Falklands War veterans, a Victorian music hall and a circus in a cemetery where the undead welcome you in.

Rejoice, dance, mourn, laugh and cry in this most exhilarating of cities.  Walk into the lives of some of the remarkable people who make up London in 4 weeks of stylish, bizarre, moving, flirtatious, sensory performance, as LIFT 2016 celebrates the world in London and London in the world.

LIFT Artistic Director Mark Ball – “Does art help us belong? I have met pioneering artists and performers from around the world who connect to the astonishing range of international communities that make up London, and, asking that very question, have made a Festival that investigates how this amazing mix of people adds up to the London I love. The cultural influences and radical imaginations of our festival artists result in enthralling and joyful work that will be seen in spaces and venues that take us into the guts of the city – so make your own playlist and join us at LIFT 2016.”

Compelling, playful and provocative work comes from 14 countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Greece, Poland, Canada, Japan, Australia, the USA, Lebanon and Syria.  Over 30 events will be seen across the capital from an East End Cemetery to the Barbican and Hoxton Hall, from The Place to the Thames, and from the Royal Court and Sadler’s Wells to a Stratford car park.

New work is the engine of LIFT, and this year sees more commissions than ever before, including an exciting new partnership with the Royal Court Theatre.  The programme of World and UK premieres includes: a voyage through the American song book with Taylor Mac, New York’s politically-knowing, enormous of spirit, and outrageously entertaining performance artist; haunting encounters with the dead in a Mile End cemetery in gothic circus from acclaimed Australian company Circa and British electronic musician Lapalux; the UK debut of Poland’s great iconoclastic director Krzysztof Warlikowski in an epic multimedia production ofPhaedra(s), a revolutionary interpretation of the Greek masterpiece by Sarah Kane, Wajdi Mouawad and J M Coetzee starring Isabelle Huppert.

In STELLA, writer and director Neil Bartlett looks into the soul of Victorian cross dressing artist Ernest Boulton on the day of his death. Argentinian artist Lola Arias brings together both Argentinian and British Falklands War veterans to share their revelatory experiences with us and each other. Musicians, performers and dancers explode in a rollercoaster ride through the lives and experiences of Europe’s Roma people, led by choreographer and theatre maker Constanza Macras; and Tokyo based artist and pop-idol Toco Nikaido and 25 performers swarm the stage in a frenetic, multi-coloured, cacophonous paean to Japanese youth subculture.  Frank Van Laecke and Alain Platel march to the sound of a brass band; the UK’s first transgender choir sing for us, and On The Move, a series of new works co-commissioned by LIFT responding to the world’s greatest migration crisis, inhabits unexpected spaces at the Royal Court Theatre.

Throughout the festival, LIFT 2016 invites you to a series of conversations, talks and events built around the shows and the people LIFT works with and is inspired by. These include:

3 June at the British Library: The Wooster Group In Conversation. A screening of the Wooster Group‘s Hamlet is followed by Scott Shepherd, Kate Valk and Wooster Group founding member Elizabeth LeCompte in conversation.

15 June at the British Library:  Peter Brook and Associates on A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Peter Brook, original 1970 Dream company members Frances de la Tour and Ben Kingsley, and Shakespeare scholar Peter Holland discuss this and other productions. Keep watching the website for further announcements.

There is much, much more – please see the show by show list below for further information.

Full Festival line up in brief below – and please go to for further details.

LIFT receives financial support from Arts Council England

LIFT 2016 SHOW BY SHOW       #LIFT2016

Taylor Mac    USA    UK Premiere
1 June at Hackney Empire
Press Night Wed 1 June at 8pm

“Fabulousness can come in many forms, and TAYLOR MAC seems intent on assuming each and every one of them.” New York Times

Bedazzled shaman, singer-songwriter, searing social critic and performance artist extraordinaire Taylor Mac kicks off LIFT 2016 in spectacular style with a politically-knowing, enormous of spirit, and outrageously entertaining romp through the great American songbook. Mac’s shows are like nothing you’ve ever witnessed: prepare for feathers and frivolity, a razor-sharp wit, a gorgeous voice, and serious glitter.

Presented by LIFT and Sharon Karmazin.
Produced by Pomegranate Arts.

Stella    UK    London Premiere    LIFT Co-commission
Written and directed by Neil Bartlett
1 – 18 June at Hoxton Hall
Press Nights Wed 1 & Thu 2 June at 7.30pm

“What’s the odds so long as you’re happy?”  Ernest Boulton 1869

Inspired by the true story of the strange life and lonely death of Mr Ernest Boulton – one half of the infamous Victorian cross-dressing duo Fanny and Stella  – STELLA is an intimate meditation on the fine art of keeping one’s nerve as the lights go out.  Performed amidst the newly restored splendours of one of London’s oldest surviving music-hall interiors, this is a theatrical love-letter to a truly remarkable person.

A LIFT co-commission with Brighton Festival and Holland Festival.

Everything By My Side    Argentina    UK Premiere
By Fernando Rubio
1 – 6 June at Canary Wharf and Southbank Centre

7 pristine double beds line the riverside – beautiful and enticing.

Slip between the crisp white sheets of a stranger’s bed and, for 15 intimate minutes, listen to the long-lost memory of a childhood tale.  This story is all for you.

Reawakening tales that have lain dormant somewhere in the recesses of your soul, these playful encounters become a place for daydreams, escaped memories, and silent connections.

Presented by LIFT, Canary Wharf Arts+Events and Southbank Centre.

Minefield    Argentina    London Premiere    LIFT Co-commission
By Lola Arias
2 – 11 June at the Royal Court Theatre

‘When I got back from the war I was a stone. I couldn’t feel anything.‘ Argentinian veteran

‘The islands looked very beautiful, much like Scotland with barren land and mountains.
But that was just a blurred image through my binoculars’
British veteran

On a stage 8,000 miles away from the battlefield on which they first met, Argentinian artist Lola Arias brings together soldiers who fought on opposite sides for 3 terrible months in 1982 in the Falklands/Islas Malvinas war. This is truth and reconciliation laid bare – a unique opportunity to share with us, and each other, the veterans’ first hand experiences of those fateful events and their life since. MINEFIELD merges documentary theatre, film and re-enactment to dig deep into the personal impact and real story of the war.

A LIFT co-commission with Royal Court Theatre, Brighton Festival, Le Quai Angers and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm. Produced by LIFT. A House on Fire project, supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union.

Adam’s Apple    UK    World Premiere    LIFT Commission
3 – 4 June at Hoxton Hall

Does the sound of our voice communicate who we are?

A brand new choir, specially created for this event, of transgender and LBGT singers led by Canadian performer Tristan Whiston, will sing Adam’s Apple, an original song cycle, which explores and celebrates the voice and gender identity. Inspired by in-depth conversations with transgender people and those who are closest to and support them, this joyful and mesmerizing music gives voice to a new community.

Presented by Thomas Carter Projects, with support from Wellcome Trust Small Arts Awards, Arts Council England, PRS and LIFT.

Without Blood    Belgium    UK Premiere    LIFT Commission
By Inne Goris and Dominique Pauwels
6 – 8 June at The Place
Press Night Mon 6 June at 8pm

A brief moment, almost like love at first sight.

In the course of a pitiless act of revenge, a young man and a girl exchange a single glance. Unwittingly, and without a word being spoken, they are forever bound to each other.  52 years later, in a twist of fate, they meet again.  Inne Goris, one of Europe’s most inventive theatre artists, has adapted Alessandro Baricco’s powerful, poetic novella Without Blood for the stage. An evocative and exquisite exploration of human relationships using sound, music and an eloquent movement vocabulary, this is a theatrical alchemy of extraordinary experiences.

A LOD muziektheater production, commissioned by LIFT and presented with Crying Out Loud in association with The Place. Supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe.

On The Move    Middle East/Europe    World Premieres    LIFT Co-commission
9 – 11 June at the Royal Court Theatre

Responding to one of the greatest humanitarian issues of our time, this collection of new works features artists from Germany, Greece, Italy, Lebanon, Syria and the UK as they uncover the stories of people forced to leave their homes.

The work includes a durational piece by Chris Thorpe delving into the great British public’s attitude towards migrants and refugees; short plays exploring the impact of the migration crisis in Greece and Italy; a one-on-one experience in conversation with a refugee through a wall; a continually growing installation outside the building; a miniature museum of migrations; a Syrian filmmaker exploring loss; an installation and a promenade audio-tour created between London, Berlin, Beirut and Damascus mapping ideas of exile and belonging in the city.

A LIFT co-commission with Royal Court Theatre. A House on Fire project, supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union.

PHAEDRA(S)    Poland    UK Premiere   LIFT Co-commission
After Sarah Kane, Wajdi Mouawad and J M Coetzee
9 – 18 June at the Barbican (Theatre)Press Night Fri 10 June at 7.45pm

French screen star Isabelle Huppert’s Phaedra burns with illicit desire for her stepson, who remains forever out of reach.  But who is Phaedra?

Poland’s great iconoclastic director Krzysztof Warlikowski draws from his lifelong passion for the Greeks to scrutinise and evoke the mysterious queen and her many incarnations.  His new production is based on the complete text of Sarah Kane’s provocative Phaedra’s Love. Other content includes original material developed in collaboration with Lebanese-Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad and extracts from J M Coetzee’s novel Elizabeth Costello. The UK Premiere of this wild, explicit, experimental production from one of Europe’s most controversial directors.

Co-produced by LIFT, the Barbican, Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand – Scène Nationale, Les Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg and Théâtre de Liége – Belgium.

Empathy Museum    UK   LIFT Co-commission
By Clare Patey
11 June – 2 July at NOW Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula

‘To understand others, we need to walk in their shoes – literally’ Philosopher Roman Krznaric

What is it like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes? Choose a pair, put on your headphones and find out.

Across the world our ability to empathise is decreasing.  How can we begin to understand the lives and needs of others while we’re distracted by Twitter updates, emails, 24 hour shopping and a constant stream of notifications. Empathy Museum re-awakens that spark and introduces us to the shoe box of life.

Co-commissioned by Artsadmin and LIFT.

By Andrew Schneider
14 – 18 June at Shoreditch Town Hall

If you can’t keep a secret don’t come to Andrew Schneider’s new work.

YOUARENOWHERE arrives at LIFT following huge success in New York
‘A tour de force – both of acting and design’ Time Out
‘An extraordinary coup de théâtre.” NYTimes Critics’ Pick

A man with a nosebleed appears – possibly from the near future – to tell us what’s going on – but something unseen stops him telling us the thing which might prevent his imminent death. Microphones crackle and break. Signals get scrambled, transmissions glitch and modes of communication malfunction. In an extraordinary revelation (in the play’s second half) this rapid fire meditation of what it means to be here, now, is a manic, magical delight – but you can’t tell anyone …

Presented by LIFT, Shoreditch Town Hall and Gate Theatre Notting Hill. Produced by Shoreditch Town Hall. A House on Fire project, supported by the Culture Programme of the European Union.

Late Night    Greece    UK Premiere
By Blitz Theatre Group
15 – 18 June at the Barbican, The Pit
Press Night Wed 15 June at 7.45pm

In a dilapidated ballroom, six performers endlessly dance the waltz while they wait for the end. There’s music, singing, a drink, some tricks to pass the time, and always the same absurd sense of waiting.

With an otherworldly feel of a David Lynch film, Greece’s most innovative theatre collective have created a beautiful, poetic theatrical experience that unfolds to a nostalgic soundtrack.Late Night speaks of the past and the future, of hope and despair, of being on the edge of a Europe in ruins.

Presented by LIFT and the Barbican. A blitz theatre group and Onassis Cultural Centre co-production. A House on Fire project, supported by the Culture Programme of the
European Union.

En avant, marche!    Belgium    London Premiere

By NTGent / les ballets C de la B
16 – 17 June at Sadler’s Wells
Press Night Thu 16 June at 7.30pm

Celebrated directors Frank Van Laecke and Alain Platel, and their renowned dance theatre collective, completed by a full brass band, draw their inspiration from the music associations that are integral to communities throughout the world.

One by one the company arrive for rehearsal.  This is a group of people with only one thing in common – they all play in the brass band. Commanded by the dying trombonist in his last rehearsal, they revel in the pure, life affirming joy of making music.

Presented by Sadler’s Wells as part of LIFT 2016.

Open For Everything
    Germany    London Premiere
By Constanza Macras | DorkyPark
16 – 18 June at the Royal Court Theatre

Who are the true nomads of the 21stcentury?

Musicians, performers and dancers explode out of a packed Louis Vuitton clad car and straight into a journey through the Roma Communities of Europe.

Choreographer and theatre maker Constanza Macras has travelled across Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, seeking out the remnants of Europe’s last nomadic tribe, creating a large ensemble of Roma musicians, and five dancers from her own company, for this unexpected celebration of life and music.

With music, dance and irrepressible humour they reveal prejudices, clichés, traditions, hopes, poverty and violence, and honour the dwindling communities to which they belong.

Presented by LIFT and Royal Court Theatre.

Depart    Australia    World Premiere    LIFT Co-commission
By Circa
16 – 26 June at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park
Press Night Fri 17 June from 9pm

A journey through the dark space between life and death…

Led by the internationally acclaimed Circa and the electronic musician Lapalux, haunting sights and sounds seduce audiences down a night-time path punctuated by unexpected encounters. In one of London’s old Victorian Cemeteries, overtures drift between the tombstones, while shadowy objects hang precariously like frozen birds above your head…

An ethereal collaboration brings circus artists, choral singers, designers and musicians together in an East End cemetery, a place where many of those who once entered this city are now buried.

A Circa production co-commissioned by LIFT, National Centre for Circus Arts, Spitalfields Music, Hull 2017 UK City of Culture, LeftCoast and Brighton Festival. An Urban Heat project, supported by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.

Miss Revolutionary Idol BerseRker    Japan    UK Premiere
Created by Toco Nikaido
22 June – 2 July at the Barbican (The Pit)
Press Night Wed 22 June at 6.30 & 9.30pm

‘blasts the audience with the sound and fury of Japanese youth culture’

Sydney Morning Herald

Orchestrated by Tokyo-based artist and pop-idol Toco Nikaido, this is Japanese subculture conveyed in all its multi-coloured, cacophonous, frenetic glory.

Prepare to be equipped with a rain poncho and earplugs as twenty-five performers swarm the stage at breakneck speed, armed with an abundance of disposable props and sub-cultural references. In a frenzied homage to otagei, (ritualised dancing and chanting by groups of fans) this riotous company hurtle towards a festival-like finale that invites everyone to take part.

Presented by LIFT and the Barbican.

Calling Tree    UK    UK Premiere    LIFT Co-commission
Directed by Rosemary Lee and Simon Whitehead
23 – 26 June at Bruce Castle Park, Tottenham

In a park in Tottenham sits a magnificent ancient Oak tree – a 500-year-old symbol of permanence that dominates a corner in this forever-changing pocket of the city. Bird-like calls and songs beckon knowing audiences and unwitting passers-by alike, enticing them to stop, look up, contemplate and enjoy.

Calling Tree is a free durational performance cycle of music, movement, and messages on an extraordinary stage.

Co-produced by LIFT and Artsadmin. Presented in association with The Place. Originally commissioned by Migrations. An Imagine 2020 (2.0) and Create to Connect project. Supported by the Creative Europe programme and the Culture Programme of the European Union.

    Australia    UK Premiere
By Antony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe
28 June – 2 July at Battersea Arts Centre

‘Antony Hamilton and Alisdair Macindoe, have teamed up to create something unique.’
Sydney Morning Herald

Two men stand in a circle of small boxes. As their arms slowly oscillate, each action is defined by a tiny pop as the boxes begin to move. They are 64 robotic percussion instruments, each tapping a pencil, creating an insistent, mesmerising range of sounds. A stream of activity unfolds, with all actions carried by the meditative pulse of the machine beat.

Part of the thriving Melbourne dance scene, with Hamilton’s unique physical grammar and Macindoe’s bespoke musical instrument making, MEETING fuses bodies, space and the robots into a dynamic and riveting choreographic sound installation.

Presented by LIFT and Battersea Arts Centre.

The Hamilton Complex    Belgium    UK Premiere
By HETPALEIS, directed by Lies Pauwels
30 June – 2 July at the Unicorn Theatre

‘The Hamilton Complex isn’t for pussies; Pauwels peppers her nostalgic fantasy with juicy irony and social criticism.’ De Standaard, Belgium

‘Brutal, uncertain and beautiful’ De Volksrant

Thirteen girls reveal what it’s like to be on the precipice between youthful innocence and adult sexuality in this exquisitely chaotic journey into the mind of a 13 year old.

Charity, Prudence, Destiny and the rest of their crew exchange horror stories, sing and dance to music from Joan Baez to hip hop and Les Choristes. They talk, rebel, flirt and play. They demand your attention and test your boundaries as they drag you from one shocking image to the next, all the while provocatively flicking their lashes at the adult world they are fated to inherit.

Presented by LIFT and the Unicorn Theatre.

The Children’s Choice Awards    Canada
by Mammalian Diving Reflex
1 July at the Unicorn Theatre

‘In the future, every child will be given a pair of scissors and invited to shape our destinies.’Darren O’Donnell; Writer and Artistic and Research Director, Mammalian Diving Reflex.

Who doesn’t want their opinions to matter?  Who wouldn’t like red-carpet treatment?  The Children’s Choice Awards are an entirely fresh look at the Festival. A group of children from two schools in Tottenham are appointed the Official Festival Jury, and are chauffeured to and from festival shows to see the art, take notes, review, critique and vote.
Subverting traditional jury structures, the children call the shots, and in their own Award Ceremony tell us what they think.


Presented by LIFT. A BeSpectACTive! project, Supported by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

New International Voices    LIFT  Co-commission
1 – 2 July at Battersea Arts Centre

New International Voices is a partnership between LIFT and Battersea Arts Centre connecting a new generation of international artists through a two week residency at the Battersea Arts Centre, concluding with an informal Scratch showing of new work and ideas.

Ahilan Ratnamohan’s Michael Essien I want to play as you… was part of LIFT 2014. In 2016 he will work with Aloys Kwaakum and Etuwe Bright Junior on Reverse Colonialism in which two migrants, from Cameroon and Nigeria, present a European audience with a controversial plan to tempt European Africans back to their motherlands. Interested in place and live performance, Dutch visual artist Nick Steur’s new piece will respond directly to the building, exploring ways in which his work can inhabit and transform space.

A LIFT and Battersea Arts Centre project.

East Wall Warm-Up
Saturday 2 July
Roof East, Stratford Centre Car Park, E15 1XE 

Hofesh Shechter curates a group of East London’s most talented and exciting up-and-coming choreographers and dancers in pop-up performances high above the rooftops of London. This scratch event is a prelude to a thrilling new project for 2018 and will get the party going for closing night of LIFT 2016.

An East London Dance and Hofesh Shechter Company project with Historic Royal Palaces and LIFT.

Talks, Conversations and Special Events

Throughout the festival, LIFT 2016 invites you to a series of conversations, talks and events built around the shows and the people LIFT works with and is inspired by, including:

3 June at the British Library: The Wooster Group In Conversation. A screening of the Wooster Group‘s Hamlet is followed by Scott Shepherd, Kate Valk and Wooster Group founding member Elizabeth LeCompte in conversation.

15 June at the British Library:  Peter Brook and Associates on A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Peter Brook, original 1970 Dream company members Frances de la Tour and Ben Kingsley, and Shakespeare scholar Peter Holland discuss this and other productions.

Keep watching the website for further announcements.


For full booking information please go to







Following the sold-out success of the first two relaxed performances of Matilda The Musical in 2014 and 2015, the Royal Shakespeare Company will present a third relaxed performance at the Cambridge Theatre on Sunday 12th June at 3pm. This will be the seventh performance that the Royal Shakespeare Company has staged to date. The National Autistic Society and Mousetrap Theatre Projects will again work closely with the RSC, offering full access to the theatre for people with autism and learning disabilities.

This performance of Matilda The Musical builds on the programme of relaxed performances that the RSC has been running in Stratford-upon-Avon since 2013, when it was amongst the first to adopt and promote the concept. The performance provides a relaxed environment, with elements of the production adapted to reduce anxiety or stress. Lighting and sound levels are adjusted to soften their impact and there is a different approach to noise and moving around the auditorium during the performance.  Designated ‘chill-out’ areas are provided outside the auditorium with soft seating and activities for people to use if they want to take a break from being in the auditorium. The performance will also be audio-described.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is offering tickets at the reduced rate of £25 and £10 which can be booked through the RSC Ticket Hotline or in person at the RSC box office from Tuesday 9 February. All bookers will be sent a visual story to help them familiarise themselves with the plot, characters and the setting before they arrive at the theatre. Detailed event and transport information will also be available from

Catherine Mallyon, Executive Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company said:

“We hope that everyone feels welcome at our theatres and our productions.  Following the success of our first two relaxed performances of Matilda The Musical, we are so pleased to offer a third to people with autism and learning disabilities and their families, recognizing that it isn’t always easy to all come out together.  The National Autistic Society and Mousetrap Theatre Projects have provided valuable support and I am delighted that relaxed performances are now a regular feature of our programme.”

Mark Lever, Chief Executive of the National Autistic Society said:

“More than 1 in 100 people in the UK are autistic. They and their families want to enjoy a great time at the theatre in the same way as everyone else, so we’re delighted to be working with the RSC again to put on a relaxed performance of Matilda The Musical. We’ve been heartened by the enthusiasm with which the RSC have taken on the task of adjusting the performance to meet the needs of this audience. This involves some technical changes to sound and lighting, setting up quiet areas for people who become overwhelmed and providing a group of trained volunteers and staff to provide a friendly welcome and support. It is wonderful to know that during this performance autistic people and their families will be understood, supported and accepted, so they can just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.”

Susan Whiddington, Director of Mousetrap Theatre Projects said:

“Mousetrap Theatre Projects is delighted to be working with Matilda The Musical and the RSC once again to offer families with children with special needs the opportunity to see this fantastic show at a relaxed performance. After a recent relaxed performance, one family wrote to say “What you create with these events are a little bit of magic and pixie dust,  memories which keep our  families afloat during our more challenging day to day lives.””

Capturing the imagination of young and old alike, Matilda The Musical has now received over 50 awards in Stratford-upon-Avon, London, the USA and Australia and has been seen by more than four million people worldwide. In 2015 the London and Broadway productions were joined by the North American and Australian tours. After opening to rave reviews and winning a Sydney Theatre Award for Best Musical, the Australian production recently announced it will open at Melbourne’s Princess Theatre from 13 March 2016 for a strictly limited season.

Inspired by the incomparable Roald Dahl’s beloved book, Matilda The Musical premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010, before transferring to London’s West End in October 2011. Now in its fifth year in the West End, tickets are on sale until 18 December 2016 at the Cambridge Theatre.

Having swept the board at the 2012 Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking seven awards,Matilda The Musical has gone on to take Broadway by storm, winning four Tony Awards® and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for each of the four girls sharing the title role. The New York production of Matilda The Musical, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Dodgers, opened in March 2013 at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre.

Matilda The Musical is written by playwright Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by comedian, musician and composer Tim Minchin, and directed by Matthew Warchus. The production is designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound bySimon Baker and the special effects and illusions are by Paul Kieve.

Matilda The Musical is produced in the West End by the Royal Shakespeare Company with André Ptaszynski and Denise Wood as Executive Producers. The production was developed with the support of Company Dramaturg Jeanie O’Hare and the RSC Literary Department.


Cambridge Theatre, Earlham Street, WC2H 9HU
Booking until 18 December 2016
Tuesdays 7pm
Wednesday – Saturday 7:30pm
Wednesday & Saturday 2:30pm
Sundays 3pm

Box Office: RSC Ticket Hotline 01789 403493/ Cambridge Theatre 0844 412 4652
To book online visit:

English Rep returns with new play about narcissism

English Repertory Theatre presents:

March 8th – Apr 2nd 2016, The Courtyard Theatre

English Repertory Theatre returns to London this Spring after last year’s “clear, passionate and full of snarky, sarky bite” (Time Out) Hamlet. In this new production, writer/director Gavin Davis presents his play The Narcissist, a searing look into the terrible and terrifying effect a narcissist can have on their family.

“an engrossing night at the theatre (….) controversial in the best sense” (British Theatre)

Charlie is 34, single, wealthy and having too much fun. His estranged mother, Pandora, his evidently brain damaged father and his parasite single brother, Felix, come to live with him. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the order of the day alongside a line or two, a tart and a large Gin and Tonic. Can love survive in this middle class Homecoming? The Narcissist is the blackest of comedies drawing on the most sinister of collectors, one which is always spelt with two “I”s.
Davis says: “The most dangerous predators are ingeniously veiled. They lead secret lives. They lie effortlessly. They appear with a perfect public image that most people believe. In the shadows, when no one is looking, they do savage evil to their family members, their children and those that love them.”

**** “Messy, chaotic and hot-blooded, but fun as hell” (London City Nights)

English Repertory Theatre produce the highest quality productions of popular classical and contemporary British plays, bringing the traditional craft and values of the Repertory System back to the acting profession. Their production of Hamlet, starring a female Hamlet, played London, Oxford and Edinburgh last year to great acclaim, garnering 4 and 5 star reviews.