History Boys Review

Civic Theatre, Darlington – 16 June 2015

In 2013 The History Boys was voted “The Nations Favourite Play” and its easy to understand why.  It has all the classic elements needed – happiness and sad, good times and bad.  Characters that you care about and a storyline that draws you in. And a brilliant soundtrack of 80’s music punctuating the different scenes

Typically Alan Bennett, the show is based in Yorkshire, at a boys grammar school in Sheffield.  Set in the early 1980s, the play follows a group of history pupils preparing for the Oxford and Cambridge entrance examinations under the guidance of three teachers (Hector, Irwin, and Lintott) with contrasting styles.

Hector (Richard Hope) is the perfect teacher, loved by all his charges, because he doesn’t believe in any of the nonsense where teachers teach people stuff. His preferred method is to allow them to intuit, experience and feel their way into knowledge

However the Headmaster (Christopher Ettridge) wants results and supply teacher Irwin (Mark Field) is employed.  Irwin represents the antithesis of Hector’s enlightened attitudes. And there are clashes with Hector teaching them for their future and Irwin teaching to the test.

The show is very wordy, and not all of them are in English with a very memorable scene in French.  The acting is superb, with seasoned professionals along side some very young and inexperienced thespians some of which were making their stage débuts in this play.  Multi-talented performers not just acting but singing and playing the piano too.  Steven Roberts (Posner), Kedar Williams-Stirling (Dakin), Alex Hope (Scripps), David Young (Rudge), Patrick McNamee (Lockwood), Sid Sagar (Akthar), Joshua Mayes-Cooper (Timms) breathed life, confidence and fragility in their characters.  And, whilst they weren’t the 16, 17 and 18 year old Sheffield boys who I grew up with they were believable if not realistic

In a play that had its first performance just 11 years ago its become a phenomenal success, but that may be in part to the original National Theatre cast who have since gone on to be world famous stars.

In Darlington until Saturday 20th June and on a UK tour



Full cast announced for the 2015 National Tour of Terence Rattigan’s FLARE PATH


The producers of the forthcoming UK tour of Terence Rattigan’s FLARE PATH, directed by Justin Audibert, are delighted to announce the full cast, headed by the previously announced Leon Ockenden as Peter Kyle, Olivia Hallinan as Patricia Graham and Philip Franks as Squadron Leader Swanson.

They will be joined by Adam Best as Flying Officer Count Skriczevinsky, James Cooney as Percy, Simon Darwen as Sergeant Miller (Dusty), Stephanie Jacob as Mrs Oakes, Shvorne Marks as Mrs Miller (Maudie), Siobhan O’Kelly as Countess Skriczevinsky (Doris), William Reay as Corporal Jones (Wiggy), Holly Smith as Maid and Alastair Whatley as Flight Lieutenant Graham (Teddy).

As previously announced, the FLARE PATH tour will open on 18 August at Devonshire Park Theatre in Eastbourne (national press night, 2 September at Richmond Theatre). FLARE PATH will then tour to Richmond, Bath, Malvern, Exeter, Cambridge, Salisbury, Winchester, Ipswich, Coventry, Liverpool, Southend and Guildford.

Based on Rattigan’s experiences as a tail gunner during World War II, FLARE PATH paints an evocative portrait of life in wartime Britain for the life-and-death existence of the RAF bomber crews, and their wives and sweethearts who were left waiting their return.

Set in 1942 against a backdrop of heartache and quiet bravery, FLARE PATH tells the story of former actress Patricia, the wife of RAF pilot Teddy, whose marriage is tested to the limits by the surprise arrival of Patricia’s ex‐lover and Hollywood idol Peter Kyle. An unexpected and dangerous mission over Germany puts Patricia at the centre of an emotional conflict as unpredictable as the war in the skies.

FLARE PATH combines highly charged drama with a truly authentic taste of the fear, camaraderie and passion experienced by the men and women who fought to save their country, their families and each other.

This new production of FLARE PATH will be directed by Justin Audibert, who is currently directing The Jew of Malta for The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. Justin is an Artistic Associate for HighTide Festival Theatre and Red Ladder, and his directing credits include productions at Soho Theatre, the Young Vic and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

FLARE PATH will have Set and Costume Design by Hayley Grindle, Lighting Design by Alex Wardle and Sound Design by Dom Bilkey.
Most recently seen in London’s West End in 2011, in a production directed by Trevor Nunn, this major revival of FLARE PATH comes from the producers behind the current critically-acclaimed and hugely successful touring production of BIRDSONG.

FLARE PATH is produced on tour by Alastair Whatley for The Original Theatre Company and Anne-Marie Woodley and Jon Woodley for Birdsong Productions Ltd.
Official website:  www.flarepaththetour.com

Twitter: @flarepathtour
Facebook: @flarepaththetour


18 – 29 August                          Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne Now on sale

www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk                           01323 412000

1 – 5 September                        Richmond Theatre                                            Now on sale

www.atgtickets.com/venues/richmond-theatre     0844 871 7651

7 – 12 September                      Theatre Royal, Bath                                          On sale soon

www.theatreroyal.org.uk                                     01225 448844

15 – 19 September                    Festival Theatre, Malvern                                 Now on sale

www.malvern-theatres.co.uk                               01684 892277

22 – 26 September                    Exeter Northcott Theatre                                   Now on sale

www.exeternorthcott.co.uk                                 01392 493 493

28 September – 3 October         Cambridge Arts Theatre                                   Now on sale

www.cambridgeartstheatre.com                          01223 503333

5 – 10 October                          Salisbury Playhouse                                        Now on sale

www.salisburyplayhouse.com                            01722 320 333

12 – 17 October                        Theatre Royal Winchester                                 Now on sale

www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk                      01962 840440

19 – 24 October                         The New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich                    Now on sale

www.wolseytheatre.co.uk                                   01473 295900

3 – 7 November                         The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry                       On sale soon

www.belgrade.co.uk                                          024 7655 3055

10 – 14 November                     Liverpool Playhouse                                        On sale soon

www.everymanplayhouse.com                           0151 709 4776

16-21 November                        The Palace Theatre, Southend                          Now on sale

www.southendtheatres.org.uk                            01702 351135

23 – 28 November                     Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford                               On sale soon

www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk                                 01483 440000

Further venues to be announced



The greatest family musical of all time – The Sound of Music is returning to the Theatre Royal in September to celebrate the Hollywood film’s 50th anniversary, so prepare to head for the hills and get ready for one of your favourite things! 1 – 12 September 2015


The Sound of Music - credit Pamela RaithBased on the story of the Trapp Family Singers and Baroness Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, The Sound of Music tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich at the start of WWII.


Created as a Broadway musical in 1959 by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, the unforgettable score features some of the most memorable songs ever performed on stage, including ‘Edelweiss’, ‘My Favorite Things’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’, ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, ‘So Long, Farewell’ and of course, the title song, ‘The Sound of Music’. The musical was adapted into a multi academy-award winning film released in 1965 starring Julie Andrews.  It was an instant hit and went on to break Box Office records in 29 countries, becoming the most successful movie musical in history.


The Sound of Music - Danielle Hope as Maria - credit Pamela RaithPlaying the iconic role of Maria von Trapp in this new production is Danielle Hope, who captured the hearts of the country when she won BBC Television’s Over the Rainbow and made her professional debut as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium. Danielle has since played Eponine in Les Misérables in London’s West End and Narrator in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.


The role of Captain von Trapp is played by much-loved stage and television star Steven Houghton. Well-known for his longstanding television roles in Coronation Street and London’s Burning, Olivier-Award nominated actor Steven has taken on leading roles in Spend Spend Spend, Blood Brothers, White Christmas, Martin Guerre and Grease.


This wonderfully lavish new staging of the classic musical is produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Bill Deamer and with musical direction by David Steadman. Presented by special arrangement with R&H Theatricals Europe.


Click here to watch the trailer.


The Sound of Music is at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tues 1 until Sat 12 September 2015, playing evenings at 7.30pm, matinees on Wed 2pm (2 Sept only), Thu 2pm and Sat 2.30pm. Tickets from £14.50 (save 50p per ticket online), children £5 off all performances (restrictions apply). Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (all calls are charged at 7p a minute plus your phone company’s access charge, calls from mobiles may vary, please contact your operator for details) or book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk


Kids Go Free to Top London Shows

Book Now for Kids Week 2015

To purchase your tickets click the Book Tickets button above or call Ticketmaster’s hotline on 0844 248 5151.

Celebrating its 18th year, Kids Week is back and planning an action-packed month of theatrical fun from 1-31 August.

During Kids Week, a child aged 16 or under can experience the magic of London theatre and see a fantastic selection of shows for free, plus two additional children can go at half price (per transaction), as long as they are accompanied by a full paying adult. Plus, there are no booking or postage fees to pay!

Children can also take part in a fantastic range of free activities and events.

20 Questions with ….. Oliver Tompsett

download (4)Singer, actor and West End leading man Oliver Tompsett answered 20 questions

Some favourites

Favourite show (whether you have been in it or not)?

Full Monty

Favourite book?

The Yes Man

Favourite theatre?

The Unicorn Theatre Abingdon

Favourite song?

Hip-Hop popotamus

Flight of the Conchords

Favourite music?

Anything with a funky brass section

Favourite food

Christmas dinner

Favourite line from any show?

“I am the walrus. I’m just a teenage dirtbag baby. Who is the real Slim Shady? Who let the dogs out? Who Who? Who? Who? Who?” Galileo WWRY

What is your favourite role?

Sausage ……. Oh sorry … Drew Rock of Ages

What was your first role?

Tony – West Side Story

And what role would you really like to play?

Jerry in The Full Monty

If you could be anyone else for the day, who would it be?

My wife she’s lucky to see me everyday … Joke …. Erm probably Richard Branson

You have a son, would you encourage him to become a performer?

I would encourage him to do whatever makes him happy

What are the nicest/weirdest things you have ever received from fans?

Sweets, chocolates and a picture of Oliver Thornton to sign?

Have you considered doing a play or straight acting with no singing?

Yes I would jump at the chance

If you weren’t an amazing performer what would you be?

A PE Teacher

What advice would you give 16 year old Oliver?

Stop roller skating everywhere and learn to play the piano

What was the last stage show you saw and really enjoyed?

Oh What A Lovely War

You teach master classes with your Tricks of the Stage, do you enjoy spotting new talent?

Yes I love discovering and learning from talent of all ages

Will you be producing a CD of your songs?

If I think it will be excellent and enough people would buy it to cover the costs yeah someday

Can you tell us what you will be up to next?

Nope ! Can you? The life of an actor is a strange one and until Spielberg calls I’m happy doing bits and bobs. It will take something really special and fun for me to take a year contract at the mo
Thank you so much for helping me


80f3bf19645f0960_100x100arThe Bush Theatre’s twice-yearly open submission window for new scripts opens today, for three months. The window closes on 11 September.

The submission window is open to playwrights from the UK and Republic of Ireland who do not currently have an agent and have a full length play that can be considered for production at the Bush Theatre.  We are looking for plays that ask big questions of our time, represent the plurality of our culture and have a bold contemporary bite.  From our home in Shepherd’s Bush we are committed to championing playwrights and plays that represent the diversity of our city, the UK and the world.

Once you have submitted your play it will be read by a dedicated team of readers, made up of theatre professionals and led by the Bush’s Associate Dramaturg.  We are looking for new plays to produce in the first instance and will feedback to those playwrights whose plays we are interested in developing further.  However, our unsolicited submission windows are also where we look to start new relationships with playwrights not currently known to us and will contact those writers who we are keen to get to know better.

Plays can be submitted via the Bush Theatre website at https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/bushgreen/submissions/

Those submitting scripts are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the Bush’s work, by visiting the theatre and seeing a play or reading those plays it has produced recently.  BushGreen (https://www.bushtheatre.co.uk/bushgreen/) is the first port of call to get to know the Bush’s writers, read articles around its work and engage within a thriving community of artists.

BushGreen is a strand of programming focused on expanding the reach and depth of the theatre’s work and encompasses both digital content and live events. It is based around the concept of the green being the centre of any community and is a place for audiences and artists to meet, talk, play and pause – surrounded and informed by the world around them.

Full guidelines are provided on BushGreen and the following submissions are not accepted: screenplays, proposals for adaptations, new musicals (which the Bush would not develop outside of a commission), one act plays, plays previously submitted to us and multiple submissions .

Duran Duran UK Tour Dates






Multi-platinum superstars Duran Duran will release their 14th studio album, Paper Gods in the U.S. on September 18th and in the rest of the world on September 11th through Warner Bros. Records. Singer Simon Le Bon, keyboardist Nick Rhodes, bassist John Taylor, and drummer Roger Taylor recorded the album in London with producers Nile Rodgers, Mark Ronson, Josh Blair, and Mr Hudson. The record features special guests Janelle Monáe (on the first single Pressure Off), former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante, Canadian Juno-Award winning singer Kiesza, British singer/songwriter Mr Hudson, violinist Davidé Rossi and actress Lindsay Lohan. The album was mixed by Mark ‘Spike’ Stent. Paper Gods will be available for pre-order and Pressure Off will be available for purchase at all participating digital retailers and DuranDuran.com this week.

The songs on Paper Gods capture the duality and sense of conflict at the heart of Duran Duran’s music. “It really goes back to that strange early Duran mix: the hard-edged pop, coexisting with this dark, weird, experimental side,” John says. “That’s something that’s essential to all of us,” Nick adds. “It’s great to be able to lift people’s spirits — and your own — with a strong shot of pure pop, but the world we live in isn’t all just made of that stuff, so it seems natural to me that we have kept one foot in the darker, more Gothic side of life.”

Alongside news of the new album, Duran Duran have also announced that they will perform a series of summer festivals, as well as several shows in the U.S. in September and October, followed by a UK arena tour that kicks off in late November reaching Newcastle at the Metro Radio Arena on Saturday 5th December 2015.

Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1978, Duran Duran is one of the most culturally influential and commercially successful bands of all time, topping the charts around the world over the past three decades and selling more than 100 million records worldwide. The band has been honoured with multiple Grammy, BRIT, Ivor Novello, and MTV Video Music Lifetime Achievement Awards, as well as a 20th Century Style Icon award from the City of Milan. In July, they will receive the Spotify UK Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s 40th Anniversary O2 Silver Clef Awards. Tireless innovators, they are always at the vanguard of music, fashion, art, technology and film — a group with unique and everlasting appeal.

Tickets costing from £35.00 will go on sale 9.00am Friday 19th June 2015 and are available online, from the booking hotline number 0844 493 6666 or from 10.00am in person from the Metro Radio Arena Box Office.

Tickets are available from:-

Credit Card Booking and Information Line 0844 493 6666

The Metro Radio Arena Newcastle Box Office (Mon – Fri: 10.00am 4.00pm, Sat: 11.00am – 2.30pm)

Internet Site:- www.metroradioarena.co.uk

Group Bookers should call (0191) 260 6006

Accessible Bookings should call (0191) 260 6066 for further details


Darlington Civic Theatre awarded 2015 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence

Trip Advisor Cert Excellence LogoRecognised as a Top Performing Theatre as reviewed by travellers on the world’s largest travel site

Darlington Civic Theatre today announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Now in its fifth year, the award celebrates excellence in hospitality and is given only to establishments that consistently achieve great reviews on TripAdvisor. Certificate of Excellence winners include hotels, restaurants and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a superior customer experience.

When selecting Certificate of Excellence winners, TripAdvisor uses a proprietary algorithm to determine the honorees that takes into account the quality, quantity and recency of reviews and opinions submitted by travellers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period as well as a business’s tenure and ranking on the Popularity Index on the site. To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

“Winning the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence is a true source of pride for the entire team at the Civic Theatre and we’d like to thank all of our past guests who took the time to complete a review on TripAdvisor,” said Lynda Winstanley, Director of Darlington Civic Theatre. “There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers. With the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence based on customer reviews, the accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence.”

“TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional hospitality businesses that have received consistent praise and recognition by travellers on the site,” said Marc Charron President of TripAdvisor for Business. “By putting a spotlight on businesses that are focused on delivering great service to customers, TripAdvisor not only helps drive increasing hospitality standards around the world, it also gives businesses both large and small the ability to shine and stand out from the competition.”

Empire Cinemas announces thrilling line-up of Empire Extra screenings for July

image001 (3)Empire Cinemas announces thrilling line-up of Empire Extra screenings for July, including:

·        English National Opera: Carmen (Live)

·        Andre Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht Concert

·        Royal Shakespeare Company Live 2015: The Merchant Of Venice

Empire Cinemas’ Empire Extra screenings continue this July with an electric line-up of live opera, music, feature films and theatre. Ranging from one of the world’s most popular live acts in Andre Rieu, to enticing opera screenings such as ENO: Carmen and ROH: Guillaume Tell (Live); July’s seven screenings offer Empire Cinemas’ customers a fantastic range of the arts on the big screen.

Every month, the innovative programme delivers the UK’s best theatre, feature films, music, arts and opera straight to the cinema screen, offering a wide range of exciting content for customers beyond the blockbuster.

Jon Nutton, Marketing Director of Empire Cinemas, said: “We are delighted to offer our customers seven eclectic Empire Extra screenings for July – one of our broadest months of opera, music, theatre and feature film offerings to date. The reception for our Empire Extra screenings this year has been superb and we look forward to hosting our customers for July’s excellent line-up.”

The following will be screened this July:

English National Opera: Carmen (Live)

Released 1st July 2015

Ticket link: http://bit.ly/1yWwvUv

Set during the dying days of Franco’s Spain, Calixto Bieito’s acclaimed production of this must-see opera has been enjoyed by audiences across Europe. A passionate tale of lust, seduction and betrayal, no other opera boasts as popular a following as Bizet’s Carmen. Bizet’s dazzling score evokes all the sounds and sizzling atmosphere of Spain through some of the opera’s most famous melodies, from Carmen’s seductive ‘Habanera’ to the Toreadors’ stirring parade.


Released 3rd July 2015

Ticket link: http://bit.ly/1KkxyR7

From BAFTA award-winning director Asif Kapadia (Senna), Amy tells the incredible story of six-time Grammy-winner Amy Winehouse – in her own words. Featuring extensive unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks, this strikingly modern, moving and vital film shines a light on the world we live in, in a way that very few can. A once-in-a-generation talent, Amy Winehouse was a musician that captured the world’s attention. Amy’s huge success resulted in relentless and invasive media attention which coupled with Amy’s troubled relationships and precarious lifestyle saw her life tragically begin to unravel.

Royal Opera House: Guillaume Tell (Live)

Released 5th July 2015

Ticket link: http://bit.ly/1dqqFko

Rossini’s Guillaume Tell helped to lay the foundations of the genre of French grand opéra that dominated European stages throughout the mid-19th century. The opera’s theme is liberty, as exemplified in the struggle against Austrian occupation led by the Swiss archer and patriot Guillaume Tell. Rossini’s score is one of his most outstanding, and packed with glorious arias, choruses and ensembles. The exciting young Italian director Damiano Michieletto makes his debut with what promises to be a spectacular and thought-provoking production.


Fare Thee Well: Celebrating 50 Years of Grateful Dead

Released 6th July 2015

Ticket link: http://bit.ly/1B14Tcv

This epic event broadcast from Soldier Field in Chicago will take place nearly 20 years to the day of the last Grateful Dead concert with Jerry Garcia. The four original members — Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir — will be joined by renowned musicians Trey Anastasio (Phish and the Trey Anastasio Band), Jeff Chimenti (RatDog, The Dead and Furthur), and multiple GRAMMY®-winner Bruce Hornsby. For one night only, this final concert will be broadcast via satellite worldwide and will be the last time the band will ever play together. The concerts received an overwhelming fan response with more than 500,000 ticket requests received.


NT Live: Everyman

Released 16th July 2015

Ticket link: http://bit.ly/1JyZCkJ

BAFTA winner and Academy Award® nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) takes the title role in this dynamic new production of one of English drama’s oldest plays, directed by the National Theatre’s new Director Rufus Norris (Broken, London Road). Everyman is successful, popular and riding high when Death comes calling. He is forced to abandon the life he has built and embark on a last, frantic search to recruit a friend, anyone, to speak in his defence. But Death is close behind, and time is running out. A cornerstone of English drama since the 15th century, it now explodes onto the stage in a startling production with words by Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate, and movement by Javier De Frutos.

Andre Rieu’s 2015 Maastricht Concert

Released 18th July 2015

Ticket link: http://bit.ly/1MqnN3u

Affectionately known as ‘The King of Waltz’, André performs every year in front of thousands of fans set amongst the beautiful medieval backdrop of his beautiful home town of Maastricht, in The Netherlands. The Maastricht concerts are André’s most popular concerts of the year with his most dedicated fans flying from all over the world to see this incredible event live and 2015 is shaping up to be his biggest and most spectacular concert ever to be screened in Empire Cinemas. One of the most popular live acts in the world, André will be working his magic to present an unforgettable evening full of humour, music and emotion for every age.

Royal Shakespeare Company Live 2015: The Merchant of Venice

Released 22nd July 2015

Ticket link: http://bit.ly/1F47hzE

In the melting pot of Venice, trade is God. With its ships plying the globe, the city opens its arms to all, as long as they come prepared to do business and there is profit to be made. With the gold flowing all is well, but when a contract between Bassanio and Shylock is broken, simmering racial tensions boil over. A wronged father, and despised outsider, Shylock looks to exact the ultimate price for a deal sealed in blood. Polly Findlay (Arden of Faversham 2014) directs Shakespeare’s uncompromising tragedy[SO2] .

For further ticketing information visit www.EmpireCinemas.co.uk or call 08714 714 714.

Actors for The Railway Children announced

The Railway Children

31st July – 5th September

The actors playing The Railway Children in York’s smash hit summer production have been announced.

Playing Bobby, Peter and Phyllis will be Rozzi Nicholson Lailey, Izaak Cainer and Beth Lily. Andrina Carroll will be playing their mother, having played the role when the show premiered in 2008 and was reprised in 2009 after sell-out success. Other actors returning to the much-loved show include Rob Angell playing the famous father, Jacqueline Naylor as Mrs Viney who looks after the family when they move to Yorkshire, and Elianne Bryne as Mrs Perks. As has already been announced, they will be joined by panto favourites Martin Barrass as Mr Perks and Berwick Kaler in the cameo role of the Old Gentleman.

Izaak Cainer - PETERIzaak Cainer is originally from York. He trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.His theatre credits include Pirates on Parade (Theatre Royal Brighton), Frank Sent Me (Theatre 503 and Edinburgh Fringe) , 24 Hour plays (The Old Vic), The Upstanding Member (The Old Red Lion) and On The Shore of the Wide World, at York Theatre Royal. He said of being cast:

I’m delighted to be returning to York and working with my hometown theatre. I grew up watching plays at York Theatre Royal and used to go to the panto every year with Berwick Kaler and Martin Barrass, so it’ll be great fun and a little surreal to be sharing a stage with them. I’m looking forward to spending the summer with old friends and family and I have lots of little nephews who can’t wait to see it, though I suspect they may be more excited about the steam train than watching me perform.

Rozzi Nicholson - Lailey ROBERTARozzi will be playing Bobby, who launches the show by reminiscing about how her and her siblings became The Railway Children. Currently studying an MA in Acting at Guildhall School of Music and Drama having completed a degree at Cambridge University, Rozzi toured the USA as Isabella in a Cambridge university production of Measure for measure in 2013.

Playing Phillis, the youngest of the three children, is Beth Lilly. Most recently Beth has been on TV Screens as Edna in the ITV series Grantchester. She trained at Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts and her theatre credits include The Ladybird and Aunt Spiker in James and the Giant Peach for Simply Theatre, Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Cambridge Theatre Festival, and Silvia in Two Gentleman of Verona, also for the Cambridge Theatre Festival.Beth Lily - PHYILLIS

Reprising her role as Mrs Perks alongside Martin Barrass will be Elianne Bryne. Elianne trained at Manchester Metropolitan School of Theatre. Since last playing the role in 2009 Elianne has had two railway children of her own

They are very excited about seeing the show

Said Elianne. Other theatre credits include Through The Leaves of a Green Tree for Glossolalia Theatre Company, Danny Champion of the World at Bolton Octogan and Last Night for Real Life Theatre. TV and film credits include BBC’s Doctors, Hollyoaks, Ideal, North and South and four series’ of Where the Heart Is.

The Railway Children tells the story of how the comfortable lives of three Edwardian children, Bobby, Peter and Phyllis are shattered when their father is arrested on suspicion of betraying state secrets. The children and their mother move from London to a modest cottage near a railway in the Yorkshire countryside. New friendships, adventures and terrifying dangers await. But the mystery remains – where is father, and is he ever coming back?

Rob Angell will be playing the father as well as the doctor and railway man, returning to the production having played the same characters in 2008 and 2009. Audiences will also recognise Rob from his many roles in Yorkshire based Bad Apple Theatre Company’s work, most recently playing Isaac in Lights Out Landgirls.

Jacqueline Naylor recently worked for York Theatre Royal playing Mrs Badger in the 2014 production of the Wind in the Willows.

It will be the second time Barrass has played Mr Perks, originally donning Mr Perks’ cap back in 2009 when the production was brought back by popular demand after selling out and winning a Laurence Olivier Award the previous year.

Berwick Kaler to play Old Gentleman credit Colin RichardsonFor the first time, Berwick Kaler, better known as the UK’s Longest Serving Panto Dame and much loved by residents of York and beyond will be joining the production that York Theatre Royal has become famous for. The Old Gentleman is a cameo, but much loved, role. Berwick, whose early career included a role in the BBC smash hit Spender, alongside Jimmy Nail, as Detective Sergeant Dan Boyd, works with The Railway Children Director Damian Cruden each year co-directing the panto and said

The reason I have taken on this classic cameo role is to annoy Damian Cruden who wanted a professional actor to play the part. Even before rehearsals begin I have a shock for Cruden – I’ve already learnt my LINE!

The production’s popularity keeps soaring and Mike Kenny’s stage adaptation of the famous novel also opened in Kings Cross, London at the end of last year, where it has recently received critical acclaim being described as “oozing charm” by The Stage and receiving countless four and five star reviews. It will return to its original home in July 2014 in the purpose built 1,000-seat Signal Box Theatre, complete with a railway track and platforms for the live 60-tonne steam locomotive from the original classic film.

Paul Kirkman, Director of the National Railway Museum said:

The Pannier Tank which featured in the Lionel Jeffries film was recently restored at our Shildon museum so it will be looking its best for this welcome home performance for The Railway Children, which originated right here at the National Railway Museum in York. This year will be bigger and better than ever as although it’s the third run of this internationally-acclaimed show, it’s the first time in a purpose-built theatre in our South Yard and the first time the Theatre has been resident with us. This adds a whole new layer to what we can offer our visitors this summer and really raises the bar for museums and the arts working collaboratively together.

Over 24,000 people saw the show in 2008 and demand for tickets was so high that the last three weeks of the show was completely sold out – meaning hundreds of people had to be

turned away. This resulted in the local press receiving several letters calling for the production to be re-staged, and their calls were answered the following year when York Theatre Royal and the National Railway Museum re-staged the show. It has since toured to Toronto, Canada and travelled to London Waterloo and Kings Cross.

Damian Cruden, Artistic Director of York Theatre Royal said

Now casting is complete I am looking forward to getting started on rehearsals. The success of The Railway Children has been phenomenal and in such a different year for York Theatre Royal it is brilliant to be bringing the production back to its original home.

The Railway Children opens at its original home at the National Railway Museum in York from 31 July 2015 until 5 Septemeber. The production, directed once again by York Theatre Royal’s Artistic Director Damian Cruden, will be part of the theatre’s residency at the museum during its £4.1 million re-development. The theatre’s Chief Executive, Liz Wilson commented:

Part of The Railway Children’s popularity is its ability to appeal to a wide audience, as previous sell–out runs in York, Waterloo and Toronto have proved. York Theatre Royal and the National Railway Museum are delighted to be bringing the production back.

Tickets are priced between £10 and £32.50 and can be bought by calling the Box Office on 01904 623568, securely online at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk or in person at York Theatre Royal’s new Box Office in De Grey Rooms on St Leonard’s Place.