Tom Conti and Gwen Taylor in BEFORE THE PARTY

Bill Kenwright presents two of the UK’s best loved stars together for the first time on stage – Tom Conti and Gwen Taylor, in BEFORE THE PARTY – a bitingly funny adaptation by Rodney Ackland of a short story by Somerset Maugham.

Tom ContiThey are two of the UK’s best-loved stars of stage and screen, but have never performed together, that is until now. For the first time in their careers, TOM CONTI and GWEN TAYLOR are set to take to the stage in the satirical comedy BEFORE THE PARTY. Premiering at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 2nd September 2015, before a short run at 6 selected theatres, Tom Conti will also be directing this new production of writer Rodney Ackland’s black comedy, having first directed it in 1980 at the Apollo Theatre in London starring Jane Asher and the late Michael Gough.

TOM CONTI is one of the most respected and celebrated actors of his generation. Unforgettable as the leading man in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Shirley Valentine, he has also appeared as myriad characters on screen and stage. He was recently voted Most Popular Actor in the West End alongside Dame Judi Dench. This year saw him tour the UK as Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men, a role he reprised from the successful and sold-out extended run of the drama at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End.

Gwen TaylorGWEN TAYLOR is best known in recent years for her role as Anne Foster, mother of the villainous Frank Foster in Coronation Street, but she is also much loved for starring in the ITV sitcoms Duty Free, A Bit of A Do with David Jason – for which she was nominated for a Best Actress TV Bafta – and as the lead character in Barbara. She also starred as Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, and has appeared in Yes, Prime Minister, Murder Most Horrid, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders and Fat Friends. Her theatre credits include Driving Miss Daisy, The Butterfly Lion, Prick Up Your Ears and Calendar Girls.

The war is over and the Skinner family is trying to return to normal. If only the blasted Government wasn’t such a nuisance with rationing preventing Cook from acquiring delicious delicacies. With daughter Laura returned from Africa, widowed but not alone, they prepare for the latest social gathering.

Rodney Ackland, who adapted the play from a short story by Somerset Maugham, has recently seen a huge resurgence in the popularity of his work, which is much admired by such artists as Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and originally Dame Edith Evans and Sir John Gielgud.

Ackland is best known for his play Absolute Hell, set in a decaying West End drinking club at the end of the Second World War and performed at the National Theatre in 1996 starring Judi Dench. BEFORE THE PARTY is based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, lauded for his 1915 novel Of Human Bondage, widely considered to be his masterpiece.

2nd – 12th September
Theatre Royal, Windsor
01753 853 888 /

14th – 19th September
Theatre Royal, Norwich
01603 63 00 00 /

21st – 26th September
New Victoria Theatre, Woking
0844 871 7645 /

28th September – 3rd October
Festival Theatre, Malvern
01684 892 277 /

5th – 10th October
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
01242 572573 /

12th – 17th October

Theatre Royal, Bath

01225 448844 /

19th-24th October

Devonshire Park, Eastbourne

01323 412000 /



SHARK WEEK to premiere on Discovery Channel in the UK from Sunday 2nd – Saturday 8th August

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SHARK WEEK, Discovery Channel’s must see summer event returns to Discovery Channel on Sunday 2nd August. Uncharted technology will capture all-new shark images and behaviour, while also drawing attention to these incredible animals and their evolving habitats.

Programme highlights for 2015 include;


SHARK TREK featuring Dr. Greg Skomal, Massachusetts’ senior marine fisheries marine biologist, as he tags Great White sharks off the coast of Cape Cod and attempts to determine their swim patterns once they leave the Massachusetts coast. As patterns point to the southern U.S., Dr. Skomal tries to determine why the Florida coast is the new Great White shark hotspot in the Atlantic.

LAIR OF THE MEGA SHARK, which sees shark experts Jeff Kerr and Andy Casagrande head to New Zealand to investigate the sightings of a 20 foot Great White Shark. The team explore the nocturnal feeding ground of the modern day legend, in the hope of coming face to face with the legendary Great White.

MONSTER MAKO; Mako sharks are the fastest of all species of sharks in the world however little more is known about this particular breed. MONSTER MAKO explores this area as scientists fit a Mako shark with cameras in order to unlock and reveal the mysteries of their swift, immediate and unseen world. And a rare sighting is caught on film as a Mako shark breaches the waters during the expedition.

Additional SHARK WEEK 2015 programming will include SPAWN OF JAWS: THE BIRTH featuring Dr. Michael Domeier as he continues on his quest to unlock one of the greatest shark mysteries: the location of great white pupping grounds. This two year mission follows the journey of a pregnant great white called Gil Rakers as she prepares to give birth; BRIDE OF JAWS which searches for Joan of Shark, the largest female Great White ever tagged and NINJA SHARKS which explores six sharks with unique adaptations that have evolved over millions of years making them the most lethal hunters in the sea.


SHARK WEEK will premiere in the UK from Sunday 2nd August – Saturday 8th August on Discovery Channel

(Sky 520 / Virgin 211 / BT TV 322 / TalkTalk 322)


A new version by Marina Carr
Directed by Erica Whyman
Swan Theatre:
17 September – 17 October 2015

Full casting is announced for the Swan Theatre production of Marina Carr’s new play based on the epic tale of Hecuba, directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman with Derbhle Crotty in the title role, opening on Thursday 24 September 2015.

Derbhle Crotty returns to the RSC to play Hecuba, having previously played Lady Macbeth and Lady Duncan in the 2007 repertory season of Macbeth and Ionesco’s Macbett. Derbhle is currently playing Bolingbroke/Henry IV in DruidShakespeare, which has played various venues in Ireland, New York and at the Kilkenny Festival. She is known for her film roles in Notes on a Scandal (2006), Rory O’Shea Was Here(2004) and Noble (2014).

Also returning is RSC Associate Artist Ray Fearon as Agamemnon, who has worked extensively with the RSC, most recently as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and as the title role in Othello (1999). His recent theatre credits include playing Macduff in Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival; Ray also appeared in the 2006 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Joining him is Edmund Kingsley who plays Polymestor. Edmund can currently be seen in the BBC 2 mini-series Life in Squares as John Maynard Keynes. His RSC credits includeAntony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, as part of the Complete Works Festival, Richard III,King John and Lord of the Flies. His film credits include Hugo (2011) and Stonehearst Asylum (2014).

The full cast includes: Nadia Albina (Cassandra); David Ajao (Nepotolemus); Derbhle Crotty (Hecuba);Ray Fearon (Agamemnon); Edmund Kingsley (Polymestor); Amy McAllister (Polyxena); Chu Omambala(Odysseus) and Lara Stubbs (Hecuba’s Woman).

Hecuba is designed by Soutra Gilmour with lighting by Charles Balfour. The music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge with sound by Andrew Franks. Movement is by Ayse Tashkiran.

To book tickets call 01789 403493 or online at



Patti LuPone Offers Five Rules of Theatre Etiquette, Starting with “Respect”

download (19)Tony- and Olivier Award-winning actress Patti LuPone, currently back on the New York stage in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Shows for Days, has supplied The Wall Street Journal with a five-point list of theatre etiquette.

LuPone, a Tony winner for her performances in Evita and Gypsy, recently made headlines when she seized the cell phone of a woman who was using it during the July 8 evening performance of Shows for Days.

LuPone’s rules of theatre etiquette, according to the Wall Street Journal, follow:

1 R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Be aware of your theatergoing neighbor. In front of you, behind you, to your right, and left. Treat them with respect, unless you’re sitting next to a loudmouthed idiot.

2 Power Down
Turn off all electronic devices, and watch the play instead.

3 Have Dinner Beforehand
Refrain from eating and drinking in your seat. The majestic old ladies that are Broadway’s great theaters deserve your respect. The theater isn’t your kitchen. There is always intermission to imbibe.

4 Use Judgment
Don’t feel obligated to give everything you see a standing ovation.

5 Prepare For Bliss
Come to the theater with the expectation of being transported. Isn’t that why you bought the ticket?

Following the cell-phone incident, LuPone issued a statement July 9, which follows: “We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else – the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage. I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform.”

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Empire Cinemas announces a sensational late summer line-up of Empire Extra screenings

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Empire Cinemas announces a sensational late summer line-up of Empire Extra screenings, including:
·         RSC Live 2015: Othello
Empire Cinemas’ Empire Extra programme continues with a thrilling late summer line-up of live theatre, ballet, opera and concert film. August & September’s Empire Extra screenings invite enthusiasts to enjoy screenings of their favourite productions, from the comfort of their local cinema at a fraction of the theatre ticket price. Each month Empire Cinemas offers a diverse range of exciting content and culture for customers beyond the blockbuster and the innovative programme delivers the UK’s best arts direct to the big screen.
Jon Nutton, Marketing Director of Empire Cinemas, said: “August & September sees another fantastic Empire Extra line up from the West End to the far side of the world, in the case of the brilliant Aida on Sydney Harbour. It’s incredibly rewarding to indulge our customers passion for alternative cinema and we look forward to hosting further screenings over the next few months.”
The following will be screened this August & September:
RSC LIVE 2015 – Othello
Released: 26th August 2015
After more than a decade working in film and television on projects from Star Wars to Holby City, Hugh Quarshie returns to the RSC to play Shakespeare’s Othello. He was last seen with us in Faust and Julius Caesar (1996). Hugh will play opposite Lucian Msamati in the role of Iago, returning to the RSC following his role as Pericles in 2006. The production is directed by Iqbal Khan (Much Ado About Nothing, 2012). Othello is the greatest general of his age. A fearsome warrior, loving husband and revered defender of Venice against its enemies.
NT Live – The Beaux’ Stratagem
Released: 3rd September 2015
Simon Godwin (Man and Superman) directs George Farquhar’s wild comedy of love and cash. The ‘Beaux’: Mr Aimwell and Mr Archer, two charming, dissolute young men who have blown their fortunes in giddy London. Shamed and debt-ridden, they flee to provincial Lichfield. Their ‘Stratagem’: to marry for money. Lodged at the local inn, posing as master and servant, they encounter a teeming variety of human obstacles, but their greatest obstacle is love. When the Beaux meet their match in Dorinda and Mrs Sullen they are most at risk, for in love they might be truly discovered…
Aida on Sydney Harbour – Opera Australia 2015
Released: 15th September 2015
In Aida, Verdi masterfully pits the intimate affairs of the heart against the grandeur of the universe: where kingdoms rise and fall and the sands of time grind onwards. There could be no grander setting for such an opera than Sydney Harbour itself, awash with the light of the city and the Sydney Opera House silhouetted against the setting sun. Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour has become a huge part of the cultural landscape, combining all of the things Sydney does best: world-class opera, champagne and fine dining, sunsets and spectacle on the harbour’s edge.
ROH – Romeo and Juliet (Live)
Released: 22nd September 2015
Romeo and Juliet is rich in the swaggering colour of Verona street life and in sword fights and celebrations, but Kenneth MacMillan’s focus is always on the complex emotions of the young lovers – especially on Juliet as she journeys through the delirious happiness of first love to a shocked, adult perception of her fate. Juliet is one of the most coveted of all ballerina roles, and as MacMillan’s ballet enters its 50th year it resonates as deeply with audiences today as when it was first seen half a century ago.
NT Live – Coriolanus (Encore)
Released: 24th September 2015
Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge, Coriolanus features an Evening Standard Award-winning performance from Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers, War Horse) in the title role, directed by theDonmar’s Artistic Director Josie Rourke. When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus, but he has enemies at home too. Famine threatens the city, the citizens’ hunger swells to an appetite for change, and on returning from the field Coriolanus must confront the march of realpolitik and the voice of an angry people.
Roger Waters the Wall
Released: 29th September 2015
Ticket link:
Roger Waters, co-founder and primary songwriter of Pink Floyd, fuses the epic and the personal in Roger Waters the Wall, a concert film that goes well beyond the stage. Based on the ground-breaking concept album, Roger Waters the Wall could be called a concept film: it’s a state-of-the-art show that dazzles the senses, combined  with an intensely personal road trip that deals with the loss Roger has felt throughout  his life due to war. 
For further ticketing information visit or call 08714 714 714.


Transport Theatre presents
Devised and Directed by Douglas Rintoul
Designed by James Button
Music Composed by Raymond Yiu
Sound by Helen Atkinson
Lighting by Matt Haskins
Projection by Will Duke

Co-produced with New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich

From 8 October to 14 November, Transport, the critically acclaimed Folkstone-based theatre company behind Invisible, 1001 Nights and Elegy will present a brand new devised production, The Edge, with original music composed by award-winning Raymond Yiu. Inspired by real life narratives taken from the south coast of England and the Sundabans in India and developed in collaboration with leading lecturer in coastal oceanography Dr Ivan Haigh, The Edge is an extensive exploration of climate change and migration. Based on an encounter between two people from different cultures that encompasses myths from the sea, the history of human migration, the formation of rivers and seas, the piece will be devised and directed by Douglas Rintoul and the creative team behind Elegy.

A woman steps into the English Channel. A man is swept up by a great storm in West Bengal. Two decades later their children meet on a beach by an English town that’s been abandoned to the sea. She’s training to swim the Channel. He’s a climate change refugee.

Powerful and poetic, The Edge is a love story between two people from different continents and cultures, connected by weather patterns and the shared experience of a radically changing world.Douglas Rintoul, Artistic Director of Transport Theatre was awarded the British Council Connections through Culture Award to visit the Sundarbans in West Bengal India where he worked with the Kolkata based theatre company Ranan, drawing real life narratives from an area directly on the frontline of climate change. The company also worked with young adults in Folkestone, developing an audio and visual work exploring narratives from the Kent Coast. Combining this quantative research from two different continents, Rintoul’s production questions what it really means to live on the geographical edge and explores the universal issue of climate change.

Developed in collaboration with leading lecturer in coastal oceanography Dr Ivan Haigh, with music by award-winning composer Raymond Yiu, The Edge will fuse text, movement, music and projection to transport its audience between continents, exploring the place where the sea meets the land.

In partnership with Kent Libraries, the tour will include a three day site specific run at Folkestone Library, Grace Hill. The production will be filmed in this creative venue and then released digitally to the public for National Library Day 2016.

Douglas Rintoul is Artistic Director of Transport and the Queens Theatre in Hornchurch. He has directed for the Barbican, Hampstead Theatre, Unicorn Theatre, Watermill Theatre, Trafalgar Studios, Dundee Rep Theatre, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, National Theatre Studio, Salisbury Playhouse, New Wolsey Theatre, Ice&Fire and Creation and is a long-standing associate director to Complicite and was an assistant and associate director to Deborah Warner. He recently received the Royal National Theatre Foundation Playwright Award for his production Elegy.

Raymond Yiu is the winner of a BASCA British Composer Award, and three times previous nominee. His early work received the advocacy of American composer-pianist-conductor Lukas Foss and he has worked with ensembles and artists including BBC Singers, BBCSO, Chroma, Concorde Ensemble (Ireland), Ensemble 10/10, London Sinfonietta, Lontano, LSO and Andrew Watts. The Original Chinese Conjuror, with libretto by Lee Warren, was commissioned by Aldeburgh Production for the 2006 Aldeburgh Almeida Opera Season. Maomao Yü, a quintet for piano and traditional Chinese instruments was commissioned by LSO for Lang Lang and the Silk String Quartet. The Earth and Every Common Sight, for soprano and piano, won the Tracey Chadwell Memorial Prize 2010. In April 2013, Teatro Barroco of Vienna mounted a new production of The Original Chinese Conjuror, directed by Bernd Bienert.

TRANSPORT is an internationally minded arts company based in Folkestone. Positioned on a geographical border, the company’s focus is rooted in the near and far looking towards the channel and beyond.



IPSWICH, New Wolsey Theatre
Thurs 8 – Sat 10 October
7.45pm Thurs – Sat, 2.30pm Sat
Box Office 01473 295900

CANTERBURY, Gulbenkian
University of Kent
Fri 16 October
Box Office: 01227 769075

LONDON, Rich Mix
Sun 18 October
Box Office: 020 7613 7498

FOLKESTONE, Quarterhouse at Folkestone Library, Grace Hill
Weds 21, Thurs 22 & Sat 24 October
7.30pm Weds – Thurs, & 2pm & 6.30pm Sat
Box Office: 01303 760 750

BRISTOL, Tobacco Factory Theatres
Tues 27 – Weds 28 October
Box Office: 0117 902 0344

LONDON, Canada Water Culture Space
Weds 4 November
Box Office: 0208 692 4446

Thurs 5 November
Box Office: 0116 255 6507

PORTSMOUTH, New Theatre Royal
Fri 6 – Sat 7 November
Minghella Studio
Box Office: 02392 649 000

CARDIFF, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
CAERDYDD, Coleg Brenhinol Cerdda Drama Cymru
Weds 11 November
Box Office: 029 2039 1391

SALISBURY, Playhouse The Salberg
Thurs 12 – Sat 14 November
7.45pm Thurs – Sat, 2.45pm Sat
Box Office: 01722 320 333


Full Company announced for PREMIÈRE of ANNA ZIEGLER’S PHOTOGRAPH 51

photograph51-2015The Michael Grandage Company has today announced the full company for the UK première of Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51. Nicole Kidman who leads the company as Rosalind Franklin is joined by Will Attenborough (James Watson), Edward Bennett (Francis Crick), Stephen Campbell Moore (Maurice Wilkins), Patrick Kennedy (Don Caspar) and Joshua Silver (Ray Gosling). Photograph 51 opens at the Noel Coward Theatre on 14th September, with previews from 5th September, and runs until 21st November, 2015.

Photograph 51 also sees the return of Michael Grandage Company to the West End following their immensely successful season in 2013/14, also at the Noel Coward Theatre. The company is committed to reaching as wide an audience as possible through accessible ticket prices across their theatre work, and are offering over 20,000 tickets at £10 (including booking fee and restoration levy), which is 25% of the tickets for the entire run, across all levels of the auditorium. In addition, the company will stage access performances – with both captioned and audio described performances.

“The instant I saw the photograph my mouth fell open and my pulse began to race”
Does Rosalind Franklin know how precious her photograph is? In the race to unlock the secret of life it could be the one to hold the key. With rival scientists looking everywhere for the answer, who will be first to see it and more importantly, understand it? Anna Ziegler’s extraordinary play looks at the woman who cracked DNA and asks what is sacrificed in the pursuit of science, love and a place in history.

Nicole Kidman makes her hugely anticipated return to the London stage in the role of Rosalind Franklin, the woman who discovered the secret to Life, in the UK première of Anna Ziegler’s award-winning play. The production reunites Kidman and Grandage following their recent collaboration on the forthcoming feature film Genius.

Will Attenborough plays James Watson. For theatre, his work includes Another Country (Chichester Festival Theatre and Trafalgar Studios) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Cambridge Arts Theatre). For television, his credits includes War and Peace, Midwinter of the Spirit, Apocalypse Slough, Home Fires, Father Brown, In the Flesh, Utopia and The Hollow Crown: Henry IV Parts 1 & 2.

Edward Bennett plays Francis Crick. His theatre work includes Love’s Labour’s Lost, Love’s Labour’s Won, Hamlet (RSC) Things We Do For Love, School For Scandal, In The Next Room, Pygmalion, Little Nell, Habeas Corpus and Measure for Measure (Theatre Royal Bath), One Man, Two Guvnors (National Theatre Tour), Lovesong (Frantic Assembly), 3 Farces, Nan, Skin Game, Diana of Dobsons (Orange Tree Theatre), Plenty (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), The Tempest and As You Like It (BAM/Tour/The Old Vic), Hay Fever (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Othello (Donmar Warehouse). For television, his work includes Miranda, The Scum Also Rises, Above Suspicion and After You’ve Gone; and for film, Skyfall, War Horse, Hamlet and Friends Just United.

Stephen Campbell Moore plays Maurice Wilkins. His theatre work includes Chimerica (Almeida Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre), Berenice (Donmar Warehouse), Clybourne Park (Royal Court and Wyndham’s Theatre), All My Sons (Apollo Theatre), The History Boys (National Theatre and Broadway), Much Ado About Nothing and Anthony and Cleopatra (RSC), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Albery Theatre), and Richard II and Coriolanus (Almeida at Gainsborough Studio). For television, his credits include Stag, The Wrong Mans, The Go Between, Our Zoo, Hunted, Just Henry, Titanic, Sleepyhead, Pulse, Ben Hur, Larkrise to Candleford, A Short Stay in Switzerland, Ashes to Ashes, Rough Crossings, Hustle, Wallis and Edward, He Knew He Was Right and Byron; and for film, The Lady in the Van, The Ones Below, Adam Jones, Moonwalkers, Man Up, Complicit, Johnny English Reborn, Season of the Witch, Sea Wolf, The Day, The Bank Job, Amazing Grace, The History Boys, A Good Woman and Bright Young Things.

Patrick Kennedy plays Don Caspar. For theatre, his work includes No Quarter (Royal Court), The Glass Menagerie (Shared Experience), Measure for Measure (Plymouth Theatre Royal and tour) Therese Raquin (National Theatre), Everything is Illuminated (Hampstead Theatre), Suddenly Last Summer (Sheffield Lyceum and Albery Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Bristol Old Vic). For television, his work includes Churchill’s Secret, The Money, Downton Abbey, Murder on the Home Front, Boardwalk Empire, Peep Show, Parade’s End, Black Mirror: The National Anthem, Married Single Other, The 39 Steps, Consuming Passions, Einstein and Eddington, The Somme, Bleak House and Cambridge Spies; and for film London Has Fallen, Mr Holmes, November Man, War Horse, The Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Last Station, Me and Orson Welles, Atonement, In Transit, A Good Year, Munich, The Tulse Luper Suitcases and Nine Lives.

Nicole Kidman plays Rosalind Franklin. Her theatre work includes The Blue Room (Donmar Warehouse and Cort Theatre, Broadway – Evening Standard Award, Olivier Award nomination). For television, her work includes Hemingway & Gellhorn (Emmy nomination, Golden Globe nomination); and her extensive film work includes To Die For (Golden Globe for Best Actress), Days of Thunder, Moulin Rouge! (Academy Award nomination, Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical), The Others (Golden Globe nomination, Saturn Award), The Hours (Academy Award, BAFTA, Golden Globe for Best Actress and Berlin Silver Bear), Cold Mountain, Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus, Stoker, Rabbit Hole (Golden Globe for Best Actress, Academy Award nomination), The Paperboy and Paddington. Upcoming films include Strangerland, Queen of the Desert, Genius, Lion and Secret in Their Eyes.

Joshua Silver plays Ray Gosling. For theatre, his work includes Wolf Hall/Bring Up the Bodies (Aldwych Theatre/Winter Garden Theater, Broadway), A Tale of Two Cities (Royal and Derngate), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Blue Stockings (Shakespeare’s Globe), Trelawny of the ‘Wells’ (Donmar Warehouse) and The Hotel Plays (Grange Hotel).

Anna Ziegler’s plays include The Last Match (upcoming at The Old Globe in San Diego, CA and City Theatre in Pittsburgh, PA), A Delicate Ship (upcoming in New York City at The Playwrights Realm; previously produced at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park), Dov and Ali (Theatre503), Another Way Home (upcoming in Washington DC at Theater J; previously produced at Magic Theatre, San Francisco, CA), and BFF (WET Productions at the DR2 Theatre, New York City). She has been commissioned by Manhattan Theatre Club, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Virginia Stage Company and New Georges. Her plays have been developed at The Sundance Theatre Lab, The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Williamstown Theatre Festival, New York Stage and Film, The Araca Group, Old Vic New Voices, and Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab, among many others.

Michael Grandage is Artistic Director of the Michael Grandage Company in London which he set up with Producer James Bierman in 2012. For the company he directed Henry V, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Peter and Alice and Privates on Parade as part of the season at the Noel Coward Theatre, Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes (national tour and West End run at the Vaudeville Theatre later this year) and the forthcoming feature film Genius. He was Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2002–2012) and Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres (2000–05). He is the recipient of Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and South Bank Awards. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by the University of London, Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University and is President of Central School of Speech and Drama. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2011. His book, A Decade At The Donmar, was published by Constable & Robins in 2012. His work for the Donmar Warehouse included Richard II with Eddie Redmayne, Luise Miller with Felicity Jones, King Lear with Derek Jacobi, Red with Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne (also New York, Tony and Drama Desk Awards Best Director), Hamlet with Jude Law (also Elsinore and New York), Ivanov with Kenneth Branagh (Evening Standard and Critics Circle Award Best Director), Madame de Sade with Judi Dench and Rosamund Pyke, The Chalk Garden with Penelope Wilton (Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards Best Director), Frost/Nixon with Michael Sheen and Frank Langella (also Gielgud, New York, USA tour, Tony Nomination Award for Best Director), Othello with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor (Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Director), The Wild Duck (Critics’ Circle Award Best Director), Guys and Dolls (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Grand Hotel (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production and Evening Standard Award Best Director), Caligula (Olivier Award Best Director), Merrily We Roll Along (Evening Standard Award Best Director. For Sheffield Theatres he directed many productions including Don Carlos with Derek Jacobi (Evening Standard Award Best Director).

Director: Michael Grandage; Set and Costume Designer: Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer: Neil Austin; Composer and Sound Designer: Adam Cork


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tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal present


Written by Emma Reeves (Hetty Feather, Vaudeville Theatre)

Inspired by Arthur Ransome’s adaptation of The Little Daughter of the Snow

Directed by Wendy Harris Designed by Kate Bunce

Movement by Joanne Bernard Music by Oliver Birch

Cast: Mei Mac, Lizzie Franks and Mark Pearce

TOUR DATES: UK tour from 3 October 2015 – 5 March 2016


tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal are delighted to announce that they will be teaming up with Olivier award nominated playwright Emma Reeves to stage the enchanting Snow Child, a new play inspired by Arthur Ransome’s adaptation of The Little Daughter of the Snow.

Due to York Theatre Royal’s closure for its major development, the tutti frutti & York Theatre Royal production will premiere at Arc, Stockton Arts Centre on 3rd October 2015 and then tour the UK until 5 March 2016 including dates at York Theatre Royal, The Lowry, Salford Quays, The Gulbenkian, as well as several London venues. The production will also tour to Hong Kong and Singapore.

As autumn leaves fall and the foxes, wolves and bears hide among the trees, tutti frutti will tell you a magical story about family, love and the power of dreams. The first snow falls. Watching the village children play, a lonely couple yearn for a child of their own. They build a small figure from the ice and snow, and wish very, very hard… until the strength of their longing brings the magical snow child to life before their eyes! She’s a girl like no other. As she dances in the wild landscape and talks with the animals, she brings joy, fun and laughter to the whole village. But it’s not easy, bringing up a wild daughter of the blizzards and the wind. As the seasons turn, and winter gives way to spring and summer, will the Snow Child and her parents find their “happily ever after”? With direction by tutti frutti’s artistic director Wendy Harris, atmospheric music by Ollie Birch, beautiful movement by Joanne Bernard and an inspired design brought to you by Kate Bunce, Snow Child promises to be a winter wonderland of poignant, inventive storytelling to enchant children and families.

Last year playwright Emma Reeves adapted Jacqueline Wilson’s Hetty Feather for the stage and was subsequently nominated in the Best Entertainment & Family category at the 2015 Olivier Awards. Emma has also written some episodes for the forthcoming television version of Hetty Feather. Her other stage adaptations include Carrie’s War, Little Women, Anne of Green Gables and Cool Hand Luke. She co-created and wrote the hit CBBC series Eve. Other TV credits include The Dumping Ground, Tracy Beaker Returns, Young Dracula and Sadie J. She has twice been nominated for Writers’ Guild Awards.

Emma said about the new version, “Wendy Harris approached me with her plans for adapting the old Russian tale, “The Snow Child” and I was instantly intrigued and could see how it could form the basis of a show which addressed fundamental questions about parents and children and, generally, what it means to be human. Like all the best legends, there are many versions available, some of which end happily, others not so much. But the central story is always there – two parents who yearn for a child so much that their very love and desperation wills her into being, and a child who loves her parents but doesn’t understand them – and vice versa. I want to write a story about unconditional love, and how we (wittingly or unwittingly) test the people we love – and how we try to forgive them when they fail.

Above all, I thought it was a magical story. I want our audience to love the character of the Snow Child as much as I do. I want them to feel they’ve been transported to a world where anything is possible, and met an irresistible heroine – who feels the same as they do about parents: they can be an incredible nuisance sometimes, but in the end you have to feel sorry for them – and even love them – after all, maybe – just maybe – you need them as much as they need you…?

It’s a story with a winter setting, which uses all the magic of winter – but ultimately I want it to be heart- warming.

This is my first collaboration with tutti frutti and the company has made me feel incredibly welcome. I’m excited to work with this creative team and can’t wait to collaborate on this exciting new show!”

tutti frutti productions are a national touring company creating high quality work for children and their families to enjoy. Based in Leeds, tutti frutti has been delighting children aged 3 and above since 1991. The company tour nationally and internationally to schools, venues, arts centres and village halls through the rural touring schemes. Whether it is a commission or an adaptation of a book, tutti frutti aims to work with the best artists and actors to create a unique and special experience for all who attend. Previous tutti frutti and York Theatre Royal co-productions have included, When We Lived in Uncle’s Hat, Hare and Tortoise, Rapunzel, The Boy Who Cried Wolf and last year The Princess and the Pea.

York Theatre Royal is the oldest continuously running theatre outside London and is currently under-going a £4.1million redevelopment to its front of house and auditorium areas. An Arts Award Good Practice Centres for 2014-15, the theatre is nationally recognised as an inspiring centre for children and young people participating in the arts and as a specialist in creating highly original and engaging theatre for families that has helped to grow audiences for theatre regionally and nationally. Through forging strong artistic partnerships with other theatre companies, like tutti frutti and Pilot Theatre, they continue to create a significant body of work that has regional and national impact.

Snow Child opens at Arc, Stockton-on-Tees on the 3rd October and will then tour until 5th March 2016. The tour will include dates at Arts Centre Washington (30 Nov-5 Dec), Gulbenkian Theatre (8-20 Dec), The Lowry Salford Quays (22 Dec-3 Jan) and York Theatre Royal (23 Feb-7 Mar).

Snow Child is suitable for everyone aged over 3.




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Townsend Productions in association with the Official Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, Harrogate Theatre and Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre present


By Neil Gore

Director Louise Townsend Designer: Amy Yardley

Lighting Designer: Brian O’Carroll

Music Director: John Kirkpatrick

Cast: Neil Gore and William Fox


Monday 2 November at 7.30pm -The CLF Art Café, Block A, Bussey Building, Peckham

A Q+A with Ricky Tomlinson and Tom Watson will follow the performance.

After a successful national tour last year, a new play based on the story of the “Shrewsbury 24” when 24 building workers were accused and three jailed for violent picketing and intimidating workers in Shropshire in 1973, is set to open in London this November.

United We Stand, by Neil Gore, will open at The Bussey Building in Peckham from 2-14 November.

In the 1960s and 70s the UK’s building companies were making millions re-building the country, but building workers faced the most dangerous working conditions and poorest wages of any trade. In the summer of ’72, for twelve weeks, 300,000 building workers launched their industry’s first national all-out strike to end cash “lump” wages and seek better pay by using the controversial tactic of ‘Flying Pickets’. The partial success of the strike, and the methods used, enraged the construction industry and government, and culminated in the arrest of 24 builders in North Wales who were charged with offences including conspiracy to intimidate and affray. The “24” were prosecuted at Shrewsbury Crown Court in 1973 and three were jailed, including building workers Des Warren and Ricky Tomlinson.

Sharp and humorous, United We Stand tells the story behind the compelling dispute and dispels the myth, put about at the time, that the pickets were a criminally violent rather than ordinary working men seeking a better life for themselves and their fellow workers.

Combining Townsend Productions’ trademark cast of two playing multiple roles, grand theatrical style and wit with popular and political songs about the strike, arranged by re-nowned folk musician John Kirkpatrick and Ricky Tomlinson’s poems from his time in prison, the production aims to bring the full story of the compelling dispute to life in a powerful and thought-provoking new play.

The events surrounding the strike are still making headlines to this day, and 42 years on, the high-profile Shrewsbury 24 Campaign, led by picket turned actor Ricky Tomlinson is still seeking to overturn the unjust prosecution of the 24 building workers.

Ricky Tomlinson said about the play:

“I am delighted Townsend Productions are presenting a play about the 1972 building workers strike, and the plight of the Shrewsbury 24 building worker pickets. It is 41 years since I, together with Des Warren and John McKinsie Jones were charged with conspiracy and jailed.

We were charged with conspiracy, but we believe the real conspiracy was between the government, the building contractors and the judiciary. They wanted the prison sentences to act as a deterrent, to prevent workers from taking strike action.

Every worker should know what happened to us so as to ensure it does not happen again.”

United We Stand is directed by Louise Townsend and will be designed by Amy Yardley, with lighting by Brian O’Carroll and music by John Kirkpatrick, one of most prolific figures on the English folk scene. The various roles will be played by Neil Gore and William Fox.

Throughout the run there will be post show discussions on the play and its relevance to to-day’s society with amongst others Ricky Tomlinson, Tom Smith MP, Matt Wrack (General Secretary FBU) and Dave Smith (Black Listing Campaign).

The production is produced in association with Harrogate Theatre and Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre and sponsored by Southwark Socialists, part of the Independent Socialist Network and has the backing of the unions UNITE, NUT, Unison, RMT, GMB, Amiel melburn & Unity Theatre Trust.

United We Stand will run at The CLF Art Café, Block A, Bussey Building from 2-14 November

For more info visit



Dates: Monday 2- Saturday 14 November at 7.30pm

Venue: The CLF Art Café, Block A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4ST

Ticket prices: £12 (Concessions £10; Mondays all tickets £5)

Box office details: 07812 063 409 or online at


The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

Townsend Productions in association with Harrogate Theatre and Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists

By Stephen Lowe, based on the book by Robert Tressell

Adapted for two-hander by Neil Gore

Directed by Louise Townsend

Musical Director of arrangement of songs: John Kirkpatrick

Designer: Fine Time Fontayne

Lighting Design: Brian O’Carroll

Cast: Neil Gore and Jonathan Markwood


Monday 12th October at 7.30pm -The CLF Art Café, Block A, Bussey Building, Peckham

Followed by a Q&A with playwright Stephen Lowe and actor Johnny Vegas (subject to availability)

Townsend Productions is delighted to announce that it will be staging their acclaimed two hander production of Stephen Lowe’s version of Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists at the Bussey Building in Peckham from 5-31 October at 7.30pm.

The production, which is produced in association with Harrogate Theatre and Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre, is the first part of a double bill of political plays to be performed at the Bussey Building throughout October and November. From 2-14 November the company will be staging their latest production United We Stand, which tells the story of the controversial Shrewsbury 24 and the imprisonment of Ricky Tomlinson and Des Warren.

Using instrumentation, songs of the period, movement, physicalisation, comedy and characterisation to create the spirit and clarity of the political message, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists shares with its audience a year in the life of a group of painters and decorators, as they renovate a three-storey town house for Mayor Sweater. It traces their struggle for survival in a complacent and stagnating Edwardian England. These workers are the “philanthropists” who throw themselves into back-breaking work for poverty wages in order to generate profit for their masters.

Combining Townsend Productions’ trademark cast of two playing multiple roles, grand theatrical style and wit with popular and political songs arranged by renowned folk musician John Kirkpatrick , the production, remains as vivid and as relevant as when it was written almost a century ago.

Stephen Lowe’s version of the story was first seen in 1978, when Joint Stock Theatre Company toured the country playing to packed houses. The play was revived at the Half Moon Theatre, London in 1983 and again for a touring production by the Birmingham Rep in 1991. Stephen’s plays have been staged at London’s Royal Court (Tibetan Inroads, Moving Pictures and Body and Soul) Royal Shakespeare Company, (Divine Gossip/ Ostrovsky’s The Storm) Hampstead Theatre (Revelations) as well as premieres at most of the leading repertory theatres. His work has been staged by directors/ producers including Alan Ayckbourn, Richard Eyre, Steven Daldry, Danny Boyle, Jonathan Church, Annie Castledine, and Thaddeus O’Sullivan. His television work includes his BBC-2 adaptation of Stendhal’s Scarlet and Black starring staring Ewan McGregor and Rachel Weisz, and the four-part BBC2 psycho-thriller Tell-Tale Hearts starring Bill Patterson Stephen also written over 100 episodes of Coronation Street.

Lowe said about the production, “After 30 years involvement with ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ since my original version with Joint Stock in 1978, I’ve seen many productions from Alabama to Perth, Cape Town to Nottingham, and each time performers and audiences alike have felt the piece to be totally relevant and ‘of the time’. This new two handed version follows that tradition and speaks out to the present economic and political

reality in a clear, uncompromising but hugely entertaining way, through the energetic and brilliant performances of the two performers and storytellers.”

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ excellent cast features Neil Gore (Song of Singapore, Chichester Festival Theatre and the West end) and Jonathan Markwood (Return to the Forbidden Planet, National Tour).

The production is directed by Louise Townsend, designed by Fine Time Fontayne, lighting by Brian O’Carroll and features music by John Kirkpatrick, one of the most prolific and acclaimed figures on the English folk scene.

Throughout the run there will be post show discussions on the play and it’s relevance to today’s society with amongst others playwright Stephen Lowe, Megan Dobney (General Secretary of SERTUC), actors Johnny Vegas and Liz Carr, Christine Blower (NUT) and Doug Nichols (Gen Sec GFTU)

The production is produced in association with Harrogate Theatre and Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre and sponsored by Southwark Socialists, part of the Independent Socialist Network and has the backing of the unions UNITE, NUT, Unison, RMT, GMB and Amiel Melburn trust.

For more info visit



Dates: Monday 5- Saturday 31 October at 7.30pm

Venue: The CLF Art Café, Block A, Bussey Building, 133 Rye Lane, Peckham, SE15 4ST

Ticket prices: £12 (Concessions £10; Mondays all tickets £5)

Box office details: 07812 063 409 or online at