The Chef Show – New play by Nick Ahad – part play, part cookery demonstration

The Chef Show
A new play by Nick Ahad
Directed by Stefan Escreet
Designed by Martin Johns / Movement by Ella Vale
Cast: Kaamal Khan and Rohit Gokani
Feed your mind and excite your taste buds at The Chef Show, the new play from Yorkshire playwright Nick Ahad.
Part play, park cookery demonstration, The Chef Show takes its audience behind the scenes on a busy Saturday night in the local curry house.
Two actors play a cast of thousands in heroic and comic tales inspired by interviews with real people in the trade. They will be joined by a chef from a restaurant local to each venue, providing tips on how to create a spicy offering of your own.
The Chef Show reflects on the many villages and market towns where there are ‘Indian’ restaurants with staff who rarely have any social contact with other members of the community apart from serving them food.
The Chef Tour will be the first production from Ragged Edge Productions – a new Cumbrian theatre company founded by Theatre in the Lake’s former Associate Director and the play’s director -Stefan Escreet.
The production will be touring until the 12 February.

Miles Jupp Interview

Comedian Miles Jupp describes his new show, Songs of Freedom, as “a rant about me, you, domestic imprisonment, fatherhood, having to have opinions, hot drinks, the government, bad balance, housing, ill health, the ageing process, navigation and other people’s pants”. That’s a very long list of thing to be fretting about, I say when we meet for a coffee to talk about taking the show on tour. “Oh, I’m not a fretter,” he replies thoughtfully. “More a despairer.”

But his fans shouldn’t despair, nor indeed fret; in conversation Miles is warm and witty, and in no way negative about his situation in life. It’s just that the modern world can – in his word – “discombobulate” him.

Take a recent incident at the house he shares with his wife, Rachel, and their five children in the Welsh borders. “I can get angry very, very quickly about inanimate objects, particularly if they don’t do what I want them to do,” says Miles. “We’ve just had a new boiler put in and I can’t operate it. I’ve read the instructions but it’s got this enormous control panel and I don’t understand it, or for that matter why it makes the radiators come on at 3am. The man who installed it has to come back and talk us through it.

“And now we have bought a smart TV and, after not having had a television for eight years, it’s all slightly baffling. It’s the equivalent of going on a yoga retreat and in the intervening time the industrial revolution has happened. ‘What’s going on? I don’t know how to use a loom…’

“Of course our seven-year-old understands how the TV works perfectly, but I can’t very well go and wake him up at midnight and say, ‘We want to watch Peaky Blinders, come and find it for us…’” In case you’re thinking that Miles is a man born out of his time, he goes on to wax lyrical about the reversing camera in the family car. “It’s just brilliant,” he says. “It’s just that I am slightly out of kilter with the modern world and I do come at things from a different angle sometimes.”

You will by now have guessed that Miles is a man who can have a joke at his own expense, and that his wit is the kind that demands there should be a typeface called “ironic” for conversations such as this. When I ask if the new show contains any material about his young family, he responds: “Why talk about something as wonderful as my children when I could be talking about something completely pointless? The show can be summed up as: ‘I don’t tweet, but I write down things that ought to be a tweet, and here they are’.” In actuality it’s a very funny, wry take on life.

Many of Miles’ fans will be keen listeners to Radio 4’s topical comedy show ‘The News Quiz’, which he took over as host of last year, and which he is enjoying enormously. “I love working as part of a team, and I hope people listening get some sense of me as a person, rather than just some bloke capable of reading stuff out loud.”

Miles’ father was a minister in the United Reform Church and he himself studied Divinity at Edinburgh University. While still a student there he started acting and, for those of a certain age, he will forever be Archie the Inventor in CBeebies’ Balamory. “I often get people come up to me and start talking about it,” he says. “For me it was a long time ago, but for them it’s a defining part of their childhood.”

Apart from ‘The News Quiz’, people know Miles from television as fusspot Nigel in the ecclesiastical comedy ‘Rev’, as Captain Fanshaw in soldiering comedy Gary Tank Commander, asJohn Duggan in ‘The Thick of It’ and from his self-penned ‘In and Out of the Kitchen’, in which he played minor celebrity chef Damian Trench. Miles says ‘In and Out’ of the Kitchen won’t return to the BBC, but he is currently writing Damian’s memoir, due for publication later this year.

He also appeared as the Valet of Greystoke in The Legend of Tarzan, which was released earlier this year in July, and is Blackberry in an upcoming new adaptation of Richard Adams’ Watership Down for the BBC, part of a star-studded cast that includes Sir Ben Kingsley, Gemma Arterton and John Boyega from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

He usually gets to play posh and/or clever chappie roles, but says he would really love to be cast as a baddie. I suggest that’s because, as an unfailingly polite man, he would love to play against type, and he agrees. “You would get to cut loose and say bad things,” Miles says. “You can be unpleasant without having to apologise for it.”

In the meantime, audiences at his live shows will be able to enjoy the real version of Miles having a rant at modern life’s multiple irritations – politely, of course, without a hint of unpleasantness but with a lot of laughs.

Miles Jupp: Songs of Freedom can be seen at City Varieties Music Hall in Leeds on Thursday 7th February 2017

For more information visit


Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone tours to Salford with original cast

Original Royal Court cast
reprise roles in
Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone

At The Lowry Tue 7 – Sat 11 March

Following a sell-out run at the Royal Court Theatre in 2016, James Macdonald’s production of Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone will head to The Lowry from Tue 7 – Sat 11 March. 

Caryl Churchill’s Escaped Alone  was first staged at the Royal Court in January 2016 and received critical and public acclaim, with tickets selling out for the production’s run. Original cast members Linda Bassett (Call the Midwife, Lark Rise to Candleford), Macclesfield born Kika Markham,Deborah Findlay and June Watson; as well as the original creative team, return for the tour.

Caryl Churchill’s previous work for the Royal Court Theatre includes Ding Dong the Wicked, Love and Information, Seven Jewish Children, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?, A Number, Far Away, Blue Heart, Serious Money, Top Girls and Cloud Nine. Recent revivals of Churchill’s plays include The Skriker (Royal Exchange) and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire plus new play Here We Go (National).

James Macdonald’s previous work for the Royal Court Theatre includes The Wolf from the Door, Circle Mirror Transformation, Love and Information (and off-Broadway), Cock, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You?, Blasted and the European and US tours of Sarah Kane’s 4.48 Psychosis. He was Associate Director at the Royal Court 1992-2007. Other recent work includes The Father (Theatre Royal Bath, Tricycle and West End), Exiles (National) and Glengarry Glen Ross (West End).

“I’m walking down the street and there’s a door in the fence open and inside there are three women I’ve seen before.”

Three old friends and a neighbour. A summer of afternoons in the back yard. Tea and catastrophe.

Caryl Churchill’s new play unleashes an intricate, elliptical, acutely female view of the apocalypse.

Directed by James Macdonald, design by Miriam Buether, lighting by Peter Mumford and sound by Christopher Shutt.

Listings Info
Escaped Alone
The Lowry, Salford
Tue 7– Sat 11 March 2017
8pm (Thu & Sat 2.30pm)
Tickets: £22.50 (Including booking fees)
Box office: 0843 208 6000

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show live on stage in Salford

The wonderful world of
The Very Hungry Caterpiller
brought to life on The Lowry stage

Four stories from the world of Eric Carle
Wed 22 – Sat 25 February

One of the most iconic characters in children’s literature will be arriving in Salford next month, when The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show plays at The Lowry from Wed 22 to Sat 25 February, prior to a West End run.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will feature a menagerie of 75 enchanting puppets during a magical 60-minute show that faithfully adapts four of Eric Carle’s best loved books for the stage: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, Mister Seahorse, The Very Lonely Firefly and, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Eric Carle’s books have captivated generations of readers with their iconic hand-painted illustrations and distinctively simple stories, introducing millions of children to a bigger, brighter world, and to their first experience of reading itself. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has nibbled its way into the hearts of millions of children all over the world. It has been translated into 62 languages and sold over 41 million copies, remaining one of the top ten bestselling children’s books of all time. Since it was first published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, most of which he also wrote, and more than 132 million copies of his books have sold around the world.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show is adapted for the stage by directorJonathan Rockefeller, whose production sees four master puppeteers weave their way through Eric Carle’s stories, bringing to life 75 magical puppets that faithfully recreate the wonderfully colourful world of Carle’s illustrations.

Jonathan Rockefeller said: “Eric Carle has created a deceptively simple, yet sophisticated introduction to reading through the magic of his iconic collage illustrations and memorable stories. I still have my original copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and to this day can’t help but be enthralled by the stylish and captivating art in Eric’s work.

“For many in the audience, this show will undoubtedly be their very first time at the theatre, so we have been very conscientious to ensure that we have been absolutely faithful to their favourite characters. Our goal is to take the audience on a truly memorable journey, bringing these stories to life through the magic of puppetry, movement and stagecraft. We have a menagerie of larger-than-life puppets, bursting with vibrant colour – it’s astonishing to compare the original illustrations to the puppets and how exact they are.

“When our puppets appear on stage the atmosphere is positively electric – parents and grandparents are swept up in nostalgia, and you can hear peels of laughter and squeals of delight as joy fills the theatre. We can’t wait to bring The Very Hungry Caterpillar to London!”

Eric Carle added: “I am delighted my friends in the UK will soon be able to share the same enjoyment I felt when seeing my characters come to life in the beautiful and enchanting Broadway production of The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show first premiered in Australia in 2015 before opening in New York at the Acorn Theatre in January 2016. It is currently nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience, and returns next month for a second run due to popular demand. The New York production broke box office records and attracted celebrities with families including Chelsea Clinton, Emily Blunt, Neil Patrick Harris and Diane Sawyer.

Listings Info
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show
The Lowry, Salford
Wed 22– Sat 25 February 2017
11am, 2pm & 5pm
Tickets: £16.50 (Including booking fees)
Family Ticket £50
Box office: 0843 208 6000

Darlington Civic Theatre Starlight press release

2017 Civic Theatre season opens with a touch of Starlight

The 2017 season for Darlington Civic Theatre kicks off with Starlight, from storyteller Chris Bostock, with two performances on Saturday 28 January in the Crown Street Art Gallery at Darlington’s Crown Street Library.

Chris Bostock is a professional storyteller and theatre worker with a background in teaching, theatre and theatre in education. He tells traditional tales from many different cultures, to listeners of all ages.

His stories are chosen to entertain, excite and encourage listeners to dream with open eyes…. and then to become storytellers themselves. His work in schools complements national curriculum attainment targets and supports teachers’ creative and linguistic requirements for their pupils.

Starlight is the story of little possum, who lived in a cave with his mother. One night he went outside and saw bright stars shining in the sky. They were so beautiful, that he collected some to take home. The next day his mother was ill and little possum was told he had to find his own food. Although he was very afraid of going out alone, his mother told him he was very brave…and then his journey began. He learned many things along the way – about friendship, science and nature – and he was able to find his way home with the help of his own starlight.

Starlight is perfect for children between 2 and 6 years old with their families.

Please note these performances take place at Crown Street Art Gallery, Crown Street Library, Darlington.

Starlight is on Saturday 28 January 11.30am & 2.30pm. Tickets £4, family ticket £14 (4 people, minimum 1 adult). To book or for further information contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

Dance: Sampled is bite-sized introduction to all that dance has to offer

Dance: Sampled
A bite-sized introduction to all that dance has to offer.

At The Lowry Fri 24 – Sat 25 February

A showcase that brings together breath-taking acrobatics, scandalous ballet and flamboyant flamenco, Dance: Sampled brings dance fans of all genres into the same world for one evening.

Following its London run, dance taster festival Dance: Sampled will tour to The Lowry on Fri 24 and Sat 25 February 2017 as part of The Movement, a new producing partnership between The Lowry, Sadler’s Wells and Birmingham Hippodrome.

In a single evening Dance: Sampled showcases a wide variety of world-class dance, from classical ballet to hip hop, contemporary and tango. The bite-sized excerpts give audiences a chance to experience a broad range of dance at affordable prices, with tickets available for just £15. Alongside the performances audience members can also participate in an array of workshops and foyer activities across the two days.

The 2017 festival includes work from dotdotdot dance, a new company of three young British flamenco dancers. The group all trained in different dance styles prior to dedicating themselves to Flamenco in it’s native land, Spain. They had been performing in prestigious venues across Spain as solo dancers before joining forces in 2014 to create their first full length original production. dotdotdot dance aims to make work which explores how flamenco can be expressed in a contemporary context, acknowledging the intertwining of cultures that shape our lives.

Former Argentinian world champion tango dancers Claudio Gonzalezand Julia Urruty will bring the passion and sensuality of Argentina in a breathtakingly stunning and passionate tango.

Acosta Danza, a dance company founded by international dance iconCarlos Acosta following his exceptional career as a ballet star, will perform Faun – a sensual reimagining by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui of Nijinsky’s ballet.

Carlos Pons Guerra will present work inspired by Jean Genet’s provocative play, ‘The Maids’, and performed by Northern Ballet dancers. This dark comedic ballet, titled Paradis, toys with gender and performance as it delves into the darker side of femininity and power.

Before presenting the show in its entirety at The Lowry in May 2017Northern Ballet will perform an extract from Casanova, choreographed by Kenneth Tindall. Tindall was nominated for Best Classical Choreography and the Emerging Artist Award at the 2015 National Dance Awards. The production features a new score from composer Kerry Muzzey and set & costume design by Christopher Oram. The work tells the sensational story of the infamous Italian adventurer in a seductive masquerade of passion and politics. Dance: Sampled will offer audiences a first glimpse at this major new production prior to the start of its UK tour.

Winner of the BBC Young Dancer of the Year 2015 Connor Scott has received national recognition as a bright new talent in choreography. As part of Dance: Sampled, Connor will present an original piece of work exploring loneliness, nostalgia and joy.

The Ruggeds, a well-recognised name in the b-boy game and 2015 World Champions, will bring Adrenaline to the Lyric stage. A performance filled with acrobatics, risks, music and energy as they push their physical limits and unlock our adrenaline.
Completing the bill is Shobana Jeyasingh Dance performing an extract from Bayadère – The Ninth Life, a dance theatre work commissioned by the Royal Ballet Studio Programme in 2015 and inspired by French choreographer Marius Petipa’s ballet La Bayadère.
Sampled is presented as part of The Movement, a dance producing partnership between Birmingham Hippodrome, The Lowry and Sadler’s Wells. Supported by Arts Council England. The Movement aims to nurture talent and bring large scale dance productions to even wider audiences.

Listings Info
Dance: Sampled
The Lowry, Salford
Fri 24– Sat 25 February 2017
Tickets: £15 (Including booking fees)
Box office: 0843 208 6000


Open auditions will be held at London’s Pineapple Studios for the 2017/18 cast of Disney’s hit new West End musical Aladdin, which opened to critical acclaim at the Prince Edward Theatre in June 2016. Auditions for both male and female singers and dancers to play ensemble and featured roles will be held on Monday 16 January 2017.

Disney’s casting team is looking for athletic, technically-trained dancers with very strong technique in all styles, including tap, as well as excellent singing voices. Male dancers with acro, gymnastic and/or tumbling skills is a plus but not essential. Singers should be excellent and be able to dance well in order to make up the ensemble.

Attendees must be aged 18 years or older, eligible to work in the UK and have a playing age of 20s-30s. Actors of all ethnicities and cultural backgrounds are strongly encouraged to attend.

Full information, including what to wear and bring to the audition, can be found at

Open auditions were held in 2015 for the original London company, and seven members of the 38-strong company were cast from those calls in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

Aladdin features the timeless songs from the 1992 animated film as well as new music written by Tony®, Olivier© and eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Little Shop Of Horrors). With lyrics from Olivier Award and two-time Oscar® winner Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid), three-time Tony and Olivier Award, three-time Oscar winner Tim Rice (Evita, Aida), and four-time Tony Award nominee Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer), and a book by Beguelin, Aladdin is directed and choreographed by Tony and Olivier Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon).

Now in its third record-breaking year on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, where it has been seen by more than 1.5 million people, Aladdin’s global presence has grown to five productions on three continents. The show is also playing at Tokyo’s Dentsu Shiki Theatre Umi, Stage Theatre Neue Flora in Hamburg and Capitol Theatre in Sydney, before moving to Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne in April 2017.

Previous Disney stage productions in London have included Shakespeare in Love and the Olivier-winning productions of Beauty and the Beast, Mary Poppins and The Lion King, which is now playing its 18th year in the West End.

Aladdin is designed by Olivier and seven-time Tony-winning scenic designer Bob Crowley, five-time Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz, Olivier and two-time Tony-winning costume designer Gregg Barnes and sound designer Ken Travis. Casting is by Jill Green CDG.

The production team also includes illusion designer Jim Steinmeyer, hair designer JoshMarquette and makeup designer Milagros Medina-Cerdeira. The music team is headed by music supervisor and music director Michael Kosarin, who also created the vocal and incidental music arrangements, joined by orchestrator Danny Troob and dance music arranger Glen Kelly.






Carolyn Maitland will join Bill Kenwright’s production of the timeless story of love, despair and hope, GHOST – THE MUSICAL, in the part of Molly alongside Andy Moss as Sam. Taking its inspiration from the classic movie, this innovative reimagining features an expanded book, new music and original staging, and will continue to tour the UK in 2017, starting at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford on 17 January.

Carolyn’s musical theatre credits include ‘Ellen’ in Miss Saigon (Prince Edward Theatre), ‘Joelle’ in Groundhog Day (Old Vic), ‘Rose’ in From Here to Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre) and ‘Kate’ in Kiss Me Kate (Old Vic, West End & Chichester).

Musician and actor Andy Moss, best known for the role of Rhys Ashworth in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, one he played for 8 years, will continue to wow audiences around the UK as ‘Sam’. His credits also include Cutting It, Coronation Street and most recently he appeared as Paul Cuthbert in the long running BBC soap opera Doctors.

West End musical theatre star Jacqui Dubois (original London cast of Rent and Children of Eden, other credits include The Lion King, Fela and most recently People, Places and Things ) plays ‘Oda Mae Brown’, the part made famous in the film by Whoopi Goldberg. Sam Ferriday (Jersey Boys, Blue Man Group, The Prodigals) plays ‘Carl’, alongside Leo Sene as ‘Willie’, James Earl Adair haunting proceedings as the ‘Hospital Ghost’, and Gary Lee Netley as the ‘Subway Ghost’. Tarisha Rommick plays ‘Louise’ and Simbi Akande ‘Clara’. Completing the cast is Lori Baker, Ethan Bradshaw, Lauren Drew, Matthew Vinetot, Mike Ward and Kelly Hampson.

The Double Academy Award winning movie is a huge success story, both critically and at the box office, where it was the highest grossing film in the year of its release. It starred the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg and was directed by Jerry Zucker. Bruce Joel Rubin’s script won the Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay and Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar® for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. The film’s most iconic and moving scene was famously performed to The Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody, which also features in the musical version.

Walking back to their apartment late one night a tragic encounter sees Sam murdered and his beloved girlfriend Molly alone, in despair and utterly lost. But with the help of a phony storefront psychic, Sam, trapped between this world and the next, tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving her from grave danger…


Bill Kenwright said; “Ghost is a story full of hope, and is one of those films which never leaves you. The book by Bruce Joel Rubin and score by Dave Stewart and Glenn Ballad come together wonderfully in one of my favourite new musicals in years.”


Bruce Joel Rubin said; “This is a show with such a strong emotional and musical life that it can mould to many visions and interpretations.  It can be performed on any scale, and its vibrant heart will still captivate an audience and allows the imagination to flourish. It is purely theatrical in the greatest sense.  We are very excited by the potential that the new version holds”.

The Grand Opera House gets amazing support for The Lord Mayor’s charities

The Grand Opera House York bucket collections during 4 of the Aladdin performances raised an amazing £1,804.11 for The Lord Mayor’s Charities 2016-17.  The theatre was delighted to champion such worthy causes as those listed below:

The York Racial Equality Network

York Racial Equality Network (YREN) is a voluntary organisation and registered charity based in York. It aims to promote awareness of the needs of black and minority ethnic (BME) and other people in the York area by developing links with appropriate voluntary and statutory agencies and by encouraging a multi-agency approach to race justice issues. YREN also provides information and resources for individuals, organisations and the community as a whole on race equality issues; and runs various projects.

The York LGBT Forum

The York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Forum was established in 2006, to act as a strong and unified voice for the local LGBT community,  achieving charity status in 2015.  The Forum also represent other minority groups who fall under the LGBT umbrella.

Whilst the Forum works within the York area, it isn’t exclusive to York. The forum has  recently started to work internationally.

St Nicks

St Nicks is the green heart of York: a centre for nature and green living.  The charity started, and registered, as ‘Friends of St Nicholas Fields’ in the 1990s by transforming a former landfill site into a thriving Local Nature Reserve.  We continue to manage and enhance it, with the help of many great volunteers, for the benefit of both wildlife and our visitors.  The name of the site and the secular charity comes from the middle ages when the area was owned and managed by St Nicholas hospital and church.

Our vision of St Nicks is for York to be a city where people value wildlife, the environment and each other equally to sustain a rich and healthy life for all. We aim to create lasting positive change in actions and attitudes of York residents enabling us all to move towards a sustainable future.

York Civic Trust


York Civic Trust is a membership organisation, open to all who wish to protect and enhance York’s architectural and cultural heritage, to champion good design and to advance the high place which York holds amongst the cities of the world. The Trust values its independence, but seeks to work collaboratively with the City of York Council and other organisations.

The Trust was founded at the Mansion House in 1946 by four men who saw the potential dangers, that could beset an historic city immediately after the war, when there was a prevailing ‘spirit of renewal’. These founder members had experience in various fields including the Church and commerce, but above all they had a passion for York. They intended that the Trust should have a wider remit than preservation alone, and hoped it would assist in schemes to improve the amenities in the city.

Three Bears Productions presents


Friday 9 December 2016 – Sunday 1 January 2017


A Wish Come True!


Grand Opera House York is getting ready for the arrival of the biggest pantomime ever to be staged at the theatre.  Three Bears Productions will be flying into York this Christmas with Aladdin, starring Suzanne Shaw as the beautiful Princess Jasmine, Paul Sinha in the role of Abanazar, Debbie McGee, Carl Tracey, Frazer Hines as The Emperor and Stuart Wade as Wishee Washee.

Aladdin, with wondrous 3D special effects, a magical Genie, dazzling sets, glamorous costumes, fabulous music and hysterical comedy.  Add to this a generous sprinkling of magic, a load of mischief and mayhem and a good chunk of audience participation and you get the best panto in town…

So fasten your seat belts for the most exciting carpet ride to Old Peking you’ll ever have.  Make sure one of your three wishes this Christmas is for tickets to see this fantastic pantomime!

Box Office: 0844 871 3024

Online Booking: