RSC announces professional casting for A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Royal Shakespeare Company announces professional casting for A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Royal Shakespeare Company today announces the professional actors cast in the national tour of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, leading the RSC’s celebrations for the Shakespeare anniversary year in 2016. This national celebration of Shakespeare will visit each region and nation of the UK. In each area the 18-strong professional company will be joined by local amateur theatre companies who will play the Mechanicals and schoolchildren who will form part of Titania’s fairy train. Playing opposite the 14 amateur Bottoms cast from across the country, Ayesha Dharker will take on the role of Titania, Queen of the Fairies.

This summer Ayesha played the role of Emilia in the RSC’s critically acclaimed production of Othello, having previously played Scheherazade in Arabian Nights. Most recently she appeared in Tanika Gupta’s Anita and Me at The Birmingham Rep and Theatre Royal Stratford East. Her other theatre credits include the Broadway and West End production of Bombay Dreams. Her film credits includeStar Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, The Mistress of Spices, with numerous TV credits including Arabian Nights, Doctor Who, The Indian Doctor and Waterloo Road.

On taking on this role Ayesha said: “I am delighted to be playing Titania for The Dream! I have fallen in love with the RSC because every project I have done with them involves strong women and magical stories with ancient roots – from Scheherazade to Titania. I am looking forward to working with talented actors from all over the country and cannot wait to work with Erica Whyman.”

Ayesha Dharker is joined by Jamie Cameron (Fairy); Lila Clements (Fairy); Lucy Ellinson (Puck);Aimee Gray (Fairy); Peter Hamilton Dyer (Egeus); Laura Harding (Hippolyta); Jack Holden(Lysander); Chris Nayak (Demetrius); Mercy Ojelade (Hermia); Chu Omambala (Oberon); Sam Redford (Theseus); Laura Riseborough (Helena); Isaac Ssebandeke (First Fairy); Alex Tomkins(Fairy) and Jon Trenchard (Philostrate). With further casting to be announced.

Erica Whyman, RSC Deputy Artistic Director, and director of A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation, said: “I am thrilled by the professional acting company and the creative team we have brought together.  They are hugely talented and offer me a wonderfully wide range of expertise so I’m looking forward very much to getting into rehearsals and responding to this magical play. They also all have big hearts and will rise to the unique challenge of this project with skill and generosity.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is designed by Tom Piper who is most well-known for his collaboration with Paul Cummins and The Tower of London on the extraordinary commemorative poppy installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’. The lighting is designed by Charles Balfour; the composer isSamuel Kenyon (who both worked with Erica Whyman on the 2014 production of The Christmas Truce). Movement is by Siân Williams and the Associate Directors are Kimberley Sykes andSophie Ivatts.

The 84 amateur performers playing the Mechanicals have been taking part in workshops and tasks set by the RSC team in preparation for the start of rehearsals throughout the autumn.

Peter Cockerill, a pub landlord from County Durham and one of our Newcastle Bottoms, said: “From the very first day of auditions I have been really excited about being involved with Dream. Every time we have a session planned with The RSC I feel like a little boy waiting for Christmas and can’t sleep with anticipation! I have found the process so far tremendously rewarding, I have learnt so much and we’ve got months to go yet!”

Sue Downing, a Funeral Director from Kidderminster playing Quince, said: “Being in Dream feels like falling in love and winning Strictly at the same time. The nature of life is you’re doing everyday things and then you suddenly remember you’re in it and it hits you, it’s magical.”

Peta Barker, a West Indies born driver playing Snug in London, said: “It has been such an amazing experience. The voice and movement workshops we have attended have been so helpful and the sessions with the RSC directors are really encouraging – they are so positive with their feedback, which is building up a real feeling of confidence in our abilities.”

You can follow all of their journeys along with the rest of the company via

A Midsummer Night’s Dream opens in Stratford-upon-Avon at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in February 2016, before embarking on a nationwide tour and returning to Stratford-upon-Avon with the entire company in June 2016.

The BBC will be capturing all of the action in ‘The Best Bottoms In the Land’ (Title TBC), which will follow the Royal Shakespeare Company’s journey as they put on the production with both amateur and professional actors, during their UK wide tour.

Overseen by BBC Birmingham, nine regional programmes will be produced by the BBC English Regions teams. The 30 minute documentaries will show the pressures and pitfalls of such a project, culminating in the opening night of each region’s local performance.

The Best Bottoms in the Land’ will follow individual stories from around the country and will air in spring 2016 on BBC One.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation is a co-production between the Royal Shakespeare Company and amateur theatre companies across the UK. This is an arrangement developed between the RSC and Equity.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation is supported by Arts Council England Cross-Border Touring Fund


WEST MIDLANDS: The Nonentities / The Bear Pit
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
Wed 17 Feb – Sat 5 Mar 2016
Tickets: / 01789 403493

NORTH EAST: The Castle Players / The People’s Theatre
Northern Stage, Newcastle Wed 16 – Sat 26 Mar 2016
Tickets / 0191 230 5151

SCOTLAND: The Citizens Dream Players
Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
Tue 29 Mar – Sat 2 Apr 2016
Tickets / 0141 429 0022

NORTH WEST: Poulton Drama
Grand Theatre, Blackpool Tue 5 – Sat 9 Apr 2016
Tickets  / 01253 290190

YORKSHIRE: Leeds Arts Centre
Alhambra Theatre, Bradford
Tue 12 – Sat 16 Apr 2016
Tickets / 01274 432000

SOUTH EAST: The Canterbury Players
Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury
Tue 19 – Sat 23 Apr 2016
Tickets / 01227 787787

Theatre Royal, Norwich Tue 26 – Sat 30 Apr 2016
Tickets / 01603 630000

EAST MIDLANDS: Lovelace Theatre Group
Theatre Royal Nottingham, Tue 3 – Sat 7 May 2016
Tickets  / 0115 989 5555

SOUTH WEST: Carnon Downs Drama Group
Hall for Cornwall, Truro
Tue 10 – Sat 14 May 2016
Tickets / 01872 262466

LONDON: Tower Theatre
Barbican, London Tue 17 – Sat 21 May 2016
Tickets  / 020 7638 8891

WALES: Everyman Theatre
New Theatre, Cardiff
Tue 24 – Sat 28 May 2016
Tickets  / 029 2087 8889

Grand Opera House, Belfast
Tue 31 May – Sat 4 June 2016
Tickets  / 028 9024 1919


Next Week at Sheffield Arena – Status Quo & WWE present NXT UK Takeover Tour

Status Quo

plus special guests The Wilko Johnson Band




Monday 7th December 2015


Britain’s best-loved rockers Status Quo bring their Accept No Substitute UK Tour 2015 to theSheffield Arena next week on Monday 7th December, with special guests The Wilko Johnson Band featuring Dylan Howe & Norman Watt-Roy.

This tour will see the band returning to their fully electric set up after the huge success of the ‘Aquostic (Stripped Bare)’ and ‘Aquostic! Live At The Roundhouse’ albums and tour. 

Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, Andy Bown, John ‘Rhino’ Edwards & Leon Cave will plug back in and bring their thunderous electric live show back to the nation’s venues. Packed with hits, both new and old, taken from that unbelievable back catalogue, this is a series of dates not to be missed. 

Francis Rossi said, “We’ve had such a blast with the ‘Aquostic’ style, but for this tour we are going back to the sound that defines us.  I read in the paper that we were breaking up; but we’re not finished yet I can tell you!”  Rick Parfitt added, “I guess the name of the tour speaks for itself, but this is full-throttle no-nonsense Status Quo”.

This tour sees one of Britain’s all-time great bands gearing up to do what they do best. Status Quo are still more than match-fit, and this game is not over – ‘Accept No Substitute’.

This show will be taking place in the Arena’s Steel Hall – an intimate theatre style set up with a 4,000 capacity.

This will be Status Quo’s fifteenth show at the Arena since they first played the venue in 1991, a show that saw Quo enter the Guinness Book of Records when they played four British shows in 11 hours and 11 minutes. The ‘Rock ’Til You Drop’ event playing four UK Arenas in a day started here in Sheffield, then Glasgow, Birmingham & Wembley.

Tickets purchased on-line and through the Arena Ticket Hotline on 0114 256 56 56 are priced £46.75 & £43.45 including booking fee. Tickets purchased in person at the Arena Box Office are priced £44.63 & £41.48 including booking fee.

Tickets are available in person at the Arena Box Office, by phone on 0114 256 5656 or online 



WWE presents NXT UK TakeOver Tour

Sheffield Arena
Saturday 12th December

First ever UK tour

For the first time in history, NXT embark on a seven city tour of the United Kingdom, with WWE NXT Tour performing at Sheffield Arena on Saturday 12th December 2015.

“Coming off NXT’s biggest event in history, NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, we are thrilled to announce our first international tour,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative. “The tour marks a major milestone in the continued expansion of the NXT brand.”

NXT’s tour of the United Kingdom will feature appearances by NXT Champion Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, Bayley, Tyler Breeze, Dana Brooke, Emma, and more (card subject to change).

“On behalf of all the NXT Superstars and Divas, we are extremely excited at the opportunity to perform for the WWE Universe in the UK,” said NXT Champion Finn Bálor. “I look forward to the opportunity to return to where I started my career, giving fans new memories that they will never forget.”

Tickets for the WWE NXT Tour at Sheffield are priced  £55, £44, £33 (including booking fee) with a very limited number of £110  VIP tickets when booked through the Arena Box Office on 0114 256 56 56 or online at  Tickets are priced £5.250, £42.00, £31.50 (including booking fee) with a limited number of £105 VIP tickets when booked in person from the venue.  VIP tickets include a ringside seat plus an exclusive Meet & Greet with NXT Superstars before the event.

This event will take place in the Arena’s Steel Hall – an intimate theatre style set up with a smaller capacity, bringing the audience closer to the event.



Liza Pulman 1 - cJohnny BoylanLIZA PULMAN SINGS HOLLYWOOD



As Fascinating Aïda takes a break, Liza Pulman will tour the UK from March 2016 with her brand new show – LIZA PULMAN SINGS HOLLYWOOD.

Liza Pulman 2 - cJohnny BoylanAccompanied by Joseph Atkins and the Stardust Orchestra, Liza will bring audiences an evening of some of the greatest songs from the silver screen, and take them on a musical journey celebrating the golden age of Hollywood and beyond. From As Time Goes By to Moon River, through Hitchcock, the romantic comedy and the great American western, these are the songs of our Saturday nights and our Sunday afternoons.


Liza says “I had a seriously misspent youth playing snooker and watching old movies! I firmly believe that the songs from these movies are in our DNA, and whether we know it or not they are part of our yesterdays and our todays, and will live on to be part of our tomorrows. With my gorgeous orchestra I have the opportunity to share my two great loves (not snooker!) music and the movies.”


Liza Pulman 3 - cJohnny BoylanLiza has enjoyed an extensive and varied career encompassing a broad spectrum of music, comedy and theatre.  After training at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama she joined Glyndebourne Opera enjoying roles in many of the globally renowned company’s leading productions. From Glyndebourne she guested with the D’Oyly Carte and Carl Rosa companies playing the leads in operettas by Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan.

Liza has always been in demand for musical theatre. Her performances have included Adrian Noble’s award-winning 2002 production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium with Michael Ball, a production which became the theatre’s longest running show. Liza also played opposite Phillip Schofield in the UK tour ofDoctor Dolittle. In 2004 Liza joined the internationally renowned comedy trio Fascinating Aïda, and their award winning shows have taken them to venues and festivals across the globe.

Liza continues her solo career with numerous projects including her acclaimed show Everything’s Coming Up Rosesand the development of her concert and recording series Liza Pulman Sings.


Saturday 12 March – Exeter Northcott

Sunday 20 March – Shrewsbury Theatre Severn

Wednesday 30 March – Dorking Halls

Thursday 31 March – Cambridge Corn Exchange

Friday 1 April – Basingstoke, The Haymarket

Saturday 2 April – Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall

Sunday 3 April – Eastbourne Devonshire Park

Thursday 7 April – Milton Keynes, The Stables

Friday 8 April – Reading Concert Hall

Saturday 9 April – St Albans Arena

Sunday 10 April – Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

Friday 15 April – Stratford-Upon-Avon Arts House

Saturday 16 April – Wakefield Theatre Royal

Sunday 17 April – Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre

Thursday 21 April – Wycombe Swan

Saturday 23 April – Truro Hall for Cornwall

Wednesday 27 April – Southend Palace Theatre

Thursday 28 April – Shanklin Theatre, Isle of Wight

Friday 29 April – Birmingham Town Hall

Wednesday 4 May – London, Cadogan Hall

Thursday 5 May – Crewe, Lyceum Theatre

Friday 6 May – Malvern Theatre

Saturday 7 May – Weymouth Pavilion

Sunday 8 May – Portsmouth, Kings Theatre

Thursday 12 May – Swindon, Wyvern Theatre

Friday 13 May – Bury St Edmunds, Theatre Royal

Sunday 15 May – Wimborne Tivoli Theatre

Thursday 19 May – Barnstaple Queens Theatre

Friday 20 May – Torquay Babbacombe Theatre

Royal & Derngate announces Made in Northampton Spring/Summer 2016 season

9c7999e3d5c73fe3_orgRoyal & Derngate announces Made in Northampton Spring/Summer 2016 season

@RoyalDerngate / #MadeInNorthampton

  • Four new productions will mark 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death:
    • The Herbal Bed – the first major revival of Peter Whelan’s play about Shakespeare’s daughter
    • Michael Pennington leading a distinguished cast inKing Lear
    • Tim Crouch collaborating with Spymonkey to stage all Shakespeare’s death scenes in The Complete Deaths
    • The Tempest in a new version by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, in a co-production with National Youth Theatre
  • World premiere of Soul by Roy Williams: the untold story of Marvin Gaye written in close collaboration with members of his family
  • Peepolykus’ anarchic take on Madame Bovary
  • A major touring revival of acclaimed 2014 production of A Tale of Two Cities adapted by Mike Poulton with music by Rachel Portman
  • The European premiere of Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning Peter and the Starcatcher
  • Royal & Derngate productions will tour to over 40 venues

a6b677d1a8e07d2b_100x100arJames Dacre, Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate today announced the Spring and Summer programme for Made in Northampton 2016 in his third year at the Northampton venue.

As well as the world premiere of Soul, Roy Williams’ searing new play about the life and death of Marvin Gaye, a playful take on Madame Bovary, the European premiere of American sensation Peter and the Starcatcher and a revival of James Dacre’s celebrated version of A Tale of Two Cities, four major new productions will mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.

In October, Royal & Derngate’s touring achievements were recognised when it was awarded the Renee Stepham Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre at the 2015 UK Theatre Awards. Over the previous 12 months, six Made in Northamptonproductions toured to 45 venues across 30 towns and cities. In 2014/15 more than 71,000 people saw Royal & Derngate productions on tour, and since April a further 147,887 have also seen work around the country. In this Spring/Summer 2016 season alone, work originating at the Royal & Derngate will tour to over 40 different venues.

Introducing the season, Dacre said: “Northampton has long been known for its exports and we’re thrilled that Royal & Derngate productions will tour to over 40 theatres across Britain next year in what is perhaps our most ambitious season yet.

Spring begins with a festival of four productions to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. We then produce four world premieres, concluding the Summer season with Roy Williams’ new play Soul about the extraordinary life and death of the musical legend Marvin Gaye, before welcoming family audiences next Christmas with the magical tale of Peter and the Starcatcher. 

It’s worth adding that in the past 24 months, 24 new works have been commissioned by Royal & Derngate – a wonderful tribute to Northampton’s unique artistic community.”

ac9ccf5622140ecc_100x100arBeginning in February 2016, the first show in the Shakespeare season will be The Herbal Bed,Peter Whelan’s imagining of the life of William Shakespeare’s daughter. A powerful exposé of the contradiction between human desire and social convention, this moving and uplifting play provides a beautiful evocation of life in Shakespearian England. Directed by James Dacre in its first major revival since its acclaimed Royal Shakespeare Company premiere in 1994, the production is a collaboration with English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston. The Herbal Bed reunites the design team behind 2013’s UK Theatre Award-winning production of Peter Whelan’s The Accrington Pals. #HerbalBed

91bfcbd549e7ff11_100x100arIn April, two-time Olivier nominee Michael Pennington will take on Shakespeare’s greatest role as he stars in King Lear, directed by Philip Franks. With a cast of fourteen distinguished actors, this major new production will run for three weeks in the Royal, including on 23 April – the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death – before touring the UK, in association with Ambassador Theatre Group. #LearTour16

a1d4ff36e93b826d_100x100arIn May, Tim Crouch will direct Spymonkey as they perform all 75 of Shakespeare’s onstage deaths, from the suicides in Julius Caesar to the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket inAntony and Cleopatra. Solemn yet sublimely funny, The Complete Deaths is presented by Spymonkey in co-production with Royal & Derngate and Brighton Festival, and receives exclusive previews in Northampton before its world premiere in Brighton Festival 2016 and international tour.#TheCompleteDeaths

The celebration of Shakespeare will conclude in June with The Tempest in a new music-theatre version by Oscar-winning writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz (Ida), directed by Caroline Steinbeis, who has directed for the Royal Court, National Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange. Shakespeare’s magical story of growing up and growing old is performed by the next generation of talent – an ensemble of 18-25 year olds that brings together the most promising young actors from the UK and Northamptonshire, in a co-production with the National Youth Theatre. #Tempest16

95f197baecd04335_100x100arAlso at the Royal, the internationally acclaimed company Peepolykus will tackle Madame Bovary in May, in a unique comic production. Described as ‘a loving derailment’ of Flaubert’s novel, The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary! will be directed by Everyman & Playhouse Artistic DirectorGemma Bodinetz. The world premiere will be a co-production between Royal & Derngate Northampton, Peepolykus, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Nuffield and the Bristol Old Vic.#MassiveTragedy

961a001faf67b052_100x100arIn a world premiere, Soul, Roy Williams’ new play about the life and tragically early death of soul legend Marvin Gaye will open at the end of May. A searing dramatic thriller that will reveal what really happened during Marvin Gaye’s haunting final days, Soul is a parable about an American family prepared to do anything to promote and protect their children. Not just the story of Marvin Gaye, but of many a great talent crushed by stardom, this new play is written by BAFTA and Evening Standard Award-winning Roy Williams, in close collaboration with members of the family of Marvin Gaye.#UntoldSoul

a883fc05a1fc5da8_100x100arFollowing its success in 2014, James Dacre’s celebrated production of Charles Dickens’ A Tale Of Two Cities, adapted by Mike Poulton, will be revived in September, ahead of a national tour. In an age of increasing popular unrest across the world, this bold dramatic adaptation, set to rousing original music by Oscar-winning composer Rachel Portman, is frighteningly relevant. Featuring one of the largest acting companies to ever appear on the Royal’s stage, A Tale of Two Cities will be a co-production by Royal & Derngate and Touring Consortium Theatre Company. #TOTCTour16

Next Christmas, Peter and the Starcatcher will receive its European premiere on the Royal stage. Based on the much-loved novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, this swashbuckling musical prequel to the stories of Peter Pan will see a dozen actors play over 100 characters in rising directorial star Luke Shepherd’s wildly imaginative new production. A huge hit on Broadway in 2012 winning five Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Award for its glorious music, Peter and the Starcatcher went on to become one of the most produced plays in America last year. Following its run in Northampton, Royal & Derngate’s production of Peter and the Starcatcher will embark upon a national tour, presented by Paul Taylor-Mills.

Royal & Derngate are also developing several other projects that will be announced at a further date. These include a large-scale sound installation with Seven Sisters Group and Fermynwoods Contemporary Art and new work by Melanie Spencer, Maria Aberg, Joel Horwood and Mike Poulton. This programme means the theatre will have commissioned 24 new works in under 24 months.

Royal & Derngate has a thriving relationship with its local community, and in addition to the productions described above, the theatre’s Actors Company, Youth Theatre and Young Companywill stage three productions at the venue: Market Boy by David Eldridge, The Musicians byPatrick Marber and Lionel Bart’s Oliver!.

The theatre will also host a “Musical Theatre Darkroom” with partners China Plate and Musical Theatre Matters, further details of which will be announced on Thursday 10 December.

Chief Executive of Royal & Derngate, Martin Sutherland, commented: “This announcement of our ambitious new season coincides with an exciting time at Royal & Derngate. 2015’s major upgrade of the Derngate has ensured that the auditorium maintains its much valued flexibility, while our new craft beer bar will further enhance our customers’ experience. We are working hard to build on our successes and look forward to welcoming audiences to Northampton throughout 2016.”

For more information about any of the Made in Northampton productions, Shows can be booked online or by calling Box Office on 01604 624811.




Venue: Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP

The Herbal Bed

Dates:                          Friday 5 to Saturday 27 February 2016

Times:                         Evenings 7.45pm (except Tue 9 February at 7pm)

2.30pm on Thursdays and Saturdays (except Sat 6 February)

Press Night:                Tuesday 9 February 7pm

Tickets:                       £10 to £29*

The Herbal Bed then tours to Cambridge Arts Theatre, Liverpool Playhouse, Exeter Northcott Theatre, Brighton Theatre Royal, The Lowry, Salford, New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth, Theatre Royal Bath and Oxford Playhouse, ahead of performances at the Rose Theatre Kingston from 26 April – 7 May 2016.

King Lear

Dates:                          Friday 1 to Saturday 23 April 2016

Times:                         Evenings 7.45pm (except Tue 5 April at 7pm)

2.30pm on Thursdays and Saturdays (except Sat 2 April)

Press Night:                Tuesday 5 April at 7pm

Tickets:                       £10 to £29*

King Lear then tours nationally until Saturday 2 July.

Spymonkey’s The Complete Deaths

Dates:                          Thursday 5 to Saturday 7 May 2016

Times:                         Evenings 7.45pm

Matinee 2.30pm on Saturday

Tickets:                       £16*

Spymonkey’s The Complete Deaths previews at Royal & Derngate before its world premiere at Brighton Festival, 11 – 15 May, and an international tour.

The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary!

Dates:                          Tuesday 10 to Saturday 14 May 2016

Times:                         Evenings 7.45pm

2.30pm on Thursday and Saturday

Tickets:                       £10 to £29*

The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary! opens at Liverpool Everyman 5 – 27 February, and plays at Nuffield, Southampton 1 – 19 March and Bristol Old Vic 26 April – 7 May.


Dates:                          Friday 20 May to Saturday 11 June 2016

Times:                         Evenings 7.45pm (except Tue 24 May at 7pm)

2.30pm on Thursdays and Saturdays (except Sat 21 May)

Press Night:                Tuesday 24 May at 7pm

Tickets:                       £10 to £29*

The Tempest

Dates:                          Thursday 23 June to Saturday 2 July 2016

Times:                         Evenings 7.45pm (except Tue 28 June at 7pm)

2.30pm on Thursdays and Saturdays (excluding Thurs 23 June)

Press Night:                Tuesday 28 June at 7pm

Tickets:                       £16*

A Tale of Two Cities

Dates:                          Saturday 10 to Saturday 17 September 2016

Times:                         Evenings 7.45pm (except Tue 8 September at 7pm)

2.30pm on Thursdays and Saturdays (except Sat 5 September)

Tickets:                       £10 to £29*

A Tale of Two Cities then tours nationally until Saturday 26 November.

Box office:               

01604 624811 or online at

* A charge of £2.50 applies for all transactions over £15. Does not apply to Groups, Friends or Disabled Patrons, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.


X Factor Live Tour – Seann Miley Moore Announced as 8th Act, Sheffield Arena, Fri 11th March 2016

Sheffield Arena
Friday 11th March




Seann Miley Moore has been picked by the judges to take the eighth place spot on The X Factor 2016 Live Tour, which stops off at Sheffield Arena on Friday 11th March.

Following the announcement that, for the first time, it would be down to the judges to pick who would take the eighth place spot on the tour, they all unanimously decided that it was Seann who deserved to take the place.

Talking of the decision to give Seann the coveted spot Nick said, “Seann really deserved his spot on the tour, myself and the other judges felt we lost him too early from the competition so it’s brilliant he’s been given this opportunity to go on the road with the other acts and perform in some of the UK’s biggest arenas.”

Seann said, “I cannot believe that my X Factor journey isn’t over, I am so excited to be going on the tour and cannot believe I’ll be performing on the same stages as some of my idols, it’s like a dream come true.”

The confirmed line up for The X Factor 2016 Live Tour is: Anton Stephans, 4th Impact, Reggie ‘N’ Bollie, Louisa Johnson, Lauren Murray, Che Chesterman, Mason Noise and Seann Miley Moore.

Attended by over three million people, The X Factor Live Tour has been one of the most successful annual arena tours in the UK for the past eleven years. Tickets are on sale now so don’t miss the opportunity to catch this year’s stars live.

Tickets purchased online at or via the ticket hotline on 0114 256 5656 are priced £60.50, £38.50, £21.45 (including booking fee) with family tickets £203.52, £132.00 (including booking fee).

Tickets purchased in person at the Arena box office are priced £57.75, £36.75, £20.48 (including booking fee) with family tickets £194.24, £126.00 (including booking fee).

Don’t miss the opportunity to catch this year’s stars live in Sheffield.

Showstopper! The Improvised Musical extends and transfers…..



The Improvised Musical



Limited run of 10 Mondays from February to July

Tickets on sale Monday 30th November at 5pm

Following a 10-week engagement wowing audiences and critics alike in the first ever season for an improvised musical in the West End, the run of Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is being extended, with a transfer to the Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue. For just 10 more performances between 15th February and 25th July, audience suggestions will be transformed instantly into all-singing, all-dancing shows with unpredictable and hilarious results.

Even the title of each show is improvised. Highlights from the 2015 West End run have included: ‘Royal Flush’ set in the Queen’s bathroom, ‘Blatt Out of Hell’ from the Fifa HQ, ‘The Lyin’ King’ set in the Daily Mail newsroom; ‘I never tyre of Georgia’ set in Kwikfit in the Deep South and ‘Bricking It’, the sad history of the Guernsey Lego factory.

The Showstopper team nightly pull off something incredibly ambitious; they create a real musical from scratch, not just an improv night with songs but a full story with stories and characters you can care about, a live band of incredible musicians, and spontaneous but seamless choreography. With a BBC Radio Four series and eight years of festivals and touring to their name, The Showstoppers have delighted and astounded audiences around the world with their ingenious, unique blend of comedy, musical theatre and spontaneity.

What the critics said:


Incredible… so polished, it defies belief.” – Daily Telegraph


“You absolutely have to go” – Mail on Sunday


Crackingly creative… a triumph.”  – The Times


“Astounding” – Daily Express


“Brilliant” – Financial Times


A success story that could run and run.”  – Evening Standard


Staggeringly good… a must-see.”  – The Stage


The resultant show is a glorious mix of shambolic story and genuinely hilarious songs

 – Time Out


Go and go again. It’s irrepressible, irresistible fun.” – British Theatre


Satirical ingenuity” – What’s On Stage


“Showstopper! is a must for every fan of musical theatre” – Musical Theatre Review


“Make sure you catch this show” – Sunday Mirror


Prepare to be wowed… Showstopper! might be the only West End show you ever need.”

– Chortle


Showstopper! was created by Adam Meggido and Dylan Emery.  Duncan Walsh Atkins is Musical Director, with design by Simon Scullion, lighting by Tim Mascall and sound by Tom Lishman.

The cast includes Ruth BrattJustin Brett, Dylan Emery, Pippa Evans, Susan Harrison, Sean McCann, Adam Meggido, Philip Pellew, Andrew Pugsley, Oliver Senton, Lucy Trodd, and Sarah-Louise Young, with seven cast members appearing per performance plus a live on-stage band.


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical is presented by James Seabright, Julie Clare, Julius Green, Keith Strachan, Irving Rappaport and Ray Cooney by arrangement with Suzanna Rosenthal for Showstopper Productions.

Listings information:


Showstopper! The Improvised Musical

Venue:                                   The Lyric Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London,

Dates:                                     Monthly Mondays in Feb/Mar/April and then fortnightly from May to July15

Dates : 15 February, 14, March, 11 April, 9 May, 23 May, 6 June, 20 June, 4 July, 18 July & 25 July

Tickets:                                  From £20

Box Office:                      /  0330 333 4812


Jest End Review

Waterloo East Theatre 24 November – 6 December.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

Jest End is a brilliantly bitchy and barmy production.

If you love musicals – you’ll love this show.

If you hate musicals – you’ll love this show.

Garry Lake has created a wonderful satirical review of West End favourites. The Jesters – Simon Bailey, Lizzy Connolly, Scott Garnham and Jodie Jacobs are all fantastic performers and seize every opportunity to make the audience, and their fellow cast members, crack up.

Jodie Jacobs’ accents as Billy Elliot and Rachel Tucker are insane, and her audition piece is beautifully observed. Simon Bailey is hysterically disturbing as Miss Trunchbull and Willy Wonka – with golden tickets to the Menier Chocolate Factory. Lizzy Connolly is ridiculously funny as Mary Poppins the choreographer, and her Ariel is a showstopper. Scott Garnham may need to avoid Killian Donnelly for a while, but John Barrowman probably has I am Barrowman as his ringtone now – fantastic mickey taking.

The less glamorous realities of a career in acting are a recurring theme, from Miss Sign On to We get Paid A Pound. Ridiculously high ticket prices, reality TV stars and pretentious choreography are also targeted. Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber don’t escape ridicule either, with Garnham revelling in morphing between Macintosh and Fagin in Reviving Old Adaptations, and a critique of Love Never Dies – “not your best”. Tim Minchin gives a lesson in how to write a perfect show, Sheridan Smith would rather be poor, and we finally find out why Made in Dagenham failed.

Les Mis is an easy target, but Jest End uses the casting of the film to great effect. Crowe and Jackman facing off is wonderfully silly, throw in an aging Eponine and Samantha Barks lusting after Jackman and it’s comedy gold.

Full of laughs, and some seriously fine singing, Jest End is a fantastic night out.

Darren Day to star as Tick in national tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert

David Ian Productions and the Ambassador Theatre Group are delighted to announce that Darren Day will star as ‘Tick’ in the international smash hit musical PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT in Woking from 15th February to 27th February 2016; Plymouth from 9th May to 14th May 2016 and Llandudno from 16th May to 21st May 2016.
Tour listings below.

Darren Day’s first theatre role was the title role in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, both in the West End and on tour internationally. His other West End theatre credits include ‘Danny’ in Grease; ‘Don’ in Summer Holiday and ‘Tony’ in Copacabana.

On tour, he has played the title role in Alfie, ‘Billy Bigelow’ in Carousel, ‘Pip’ inGreat Expectations, ‘Jesus’ in Godspell, ‘Frank N Furter’ in The Rocky Horror Show, ‘Cornelius’ in Hello Dolly and ‘Khashoggi’ in the Queen musical We Will Rock You. His TV credits include roles in Holby, Crime Stories, Doctors, The Bill,; Mile High and Hollyoaks. He is also well-known as a television presenter for shows including Just Kidding, Don’t Try This at Home, Clockwise, Teen Win Lose or Draw and You Bet!.

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL currently stars Simon Green as ‘Bernadette’, Adam Bailey as ‘Felicia’ and Philip Childs as ‘Bob’. They are joined by: Richard Astbury; Rebecca Botterill; Matt Crandon; Peter Cumins; Amy Di Bartolomeo; Martin Harding; Lisa-Marie Holmes; Ricky Lee Loftus; Adam Lyons; Callum MacDonald; Laura Mansell; Catherine Mort; James Paul McAllister; Robin Mills; Craig Ryder; Naomi Slights and Julie Yammanee.

Get ready for the ride of your life! Based on the movie, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL is the heart-warming, uplifting adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus searching for love and friendship and end up finding more than they could have ever dreamed of. With a dazzling array of outrageous costumes and a hit parade of dancefloor favorites including ‘Say a Little Prayer’, ‘Go West’, ‘Hot Stuff’ and ‘Always on My Mind’, this wildly fresh and funny new musical is a journey to the heart of FABULOUS!

PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT THE MUSICAL originally opened in Australia and after a sell-out two year run, opened in London’s West End followed by Broadway in the United States. It has won numerous awards all over the world, including prestigious Olivier and Tony awards.

TOUR DATES 2015/2016
Please note that Duncan James, Jason Donovan and Darren Day play the role of ‘Tick’ at different venues. Full details with casting and tour schedule below.

Jason Donovan as Tick.

Jason Donovan as Tick.
Jason Donovan will not be performing on Thursday 24 or Saturday 26 December 2015.

Jason Donovan as Tick.

Jason Donovan as Tick.

Jason Donovan as Tick.

Jason Donovan as Tick.

Jason Donovan as Tick. Please note Jason Donovan will not perform on Monday 8 February

Darren Day as Tick.

Casting to be announced soon

Duncan James as Tick.

Duncan James as Tick.

Duncan James as Tick.

Duncan James at Tick.

Duncan James as Tick.

Duncan James at Tick.

Duncan James as Tick.

Casting to be announced soon

Darren Day as Tick.

Darren Day as Tick

Casting to be announced soon

Duncan James as Tick.

Duncan James as Tick.

Gemma Arterton to star in West End transfer of Nell Gwynn

The Shakespeare’s Globe production of Nell Gwynn is set to open in the West End in 2016, with Gemma Arterton starring in the title role.

Following its original sell-out run at the Globe earlier this year, the play transfers in to the West End for a strictly limited season at the Apollo Theatrefrom 4th February to 30th April 2016. Press night will be held on 12th February 2016.

Award-winning stage and screen actress Gemma Arterton takes on the title role in Jessica Swale’s critically acclaimed new play, which charts the rise of Gwynn from her roots in Coal Yard Theatre to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress.

Arterton was recently named Best Newcomer in a Musical at the 61st Evening Standard Theatre Awards for her role in Made in Dagenham at the Adelphi Theatre, which marked her musical theatre debut. Her other stage credits include The Duchess of Malfi (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Little Dog Laughed(Garrick), The Master Builder (Almeida) and Love’s Labour’s Lost(Shakespeare’s Globe). Her film credits include Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Byzantium, Clash of the Titans, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Tamara Drewe, The Disappearance of Alice Creed and Quantum of Solace.

It is 1660. The Puritans have run away with their drab grey tails between their legs. Charles II has exploded onto the scene with a love of all things loud, French and sexy. And at Drury Lane, a young Nell Gwynn is selling oranges for sixpence. Little does she know who’s watching.

Nell Gwynn premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in September 2015. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, the original production ran as the last show in the Globe’s 2015 summer season and featured Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the title role.

Jessica Swale delighted audiences in 2013 with her spirited Blue Stockings (Shakespeare’s Globe). Jessica is the Artistic Director of the Red-Handed Theatre Company, which she set up after training at the Central School of Speech and Drama and the University of Exeter. Recent productions include The School for Scandal, Twelfth Night, The Rivals (starring Celia Imrie) and The Belle’s Stratagem, for which she was nominated for the Evening Standard Award for Best Director. She also directed Bedlam at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2010 – the first work by a female playwright ever performed at the theatre.

Christopher Luscombe’s recent directing credits include Spamalot and The Rocky Horror Show (ATG), Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing for the RSC, Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), The Madness of George III (Bath Theatre Royal), and The History Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse/Bath Theatre Royal/UK tour). He has also previously directed The Merry Wives of Windsor and The Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe). Christopher was nominated for an Olivier Award for his West End revival of When We Are Married. Originally an actor, his screen credits include The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep.

Nell Gwynn is produced in the West End by Nica Burns, Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Paula Marie Black.

Tickets go on sale to the general public on Thursday 3rd December 2015, with priority booking for Friends of Shakespeare’s Globe open from Friday 27th November 2015.


Chichester Festival Theatre to present Stiles and Drewe’s Half A Sixpence in 2016

The Chichester Festival Theatre will stage a new production of Half A Sixpence by George Stiles & Anthony Drewe in 2016.

The award-winning British songwriting duo have penned new songs for the musical which will feature alongside songs from the original score by David Heneker. The brand new production also includes a new book by DowntonAbbey’s Julian Fellowes, direction by Rachel Kavanaugh and choreography by Andrew Wright.

Half A Sixpence is based on the novel Kipps: The Story of A Simple Soul by H G Wells. It tells the story of Arthur Kipp, an orphan who unexpectedly inherits a fortune and climbs the social ladder before losing everything and realizing that you just can’t buy happiness.

The original production features music and lyrics by David Heneker and a book by Beverley Cross. It first opened at the Cambridge Theatre in London’s West End in March 1963, and subsequently transferred onto Broadway in 1965 with Tommy Steele in the lead role. The Broadway production received eight Tony Award nominations that year, including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

A film adaption starring Steele was released in 1967, and featured choreography by Gillian Lynne.

George Stiles and Anthony Drewe have been writing musical together for over 30 years. Their work includes Betty Blue Eyes, Soho Cinders, Honk!, Just So and Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure. They also contributed new songs, dance and vocal arrangements for The Cameron Mackintosh/Disney production of Mary Poppins, and previously teamed up with Julian Fellowes for the West End production of The Wind in the Willows. They are also founding board-members of Mercury Musical Developments, which presents the annual Stiles and Drewe Best New Song Award

Half A Sixpence will run at Chichester Festival Theatre in the summer of 2016, with dates and casting yet to be announced.

Stiles & Drewe’s musical adaption of the Graham Greene novel, Travels With My Aunt, will also be presented at the venue next year, directed by Christopher Luscombe.