Gilbert & Sullivan at Darlington

Civic Theatre Hi Res Logo (1)ON TOUR WITH GILBERT & SULLIVAN

The National Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company brings three classic Savoy Operas to Darlington Civic Theatre from Tuesday 15 to Saturday 19 September.

The National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company has embarked on its first major national tour with three brand new productions from Britain’s most famous theatrical partnership. It is the most ambitious professional light opera company tour since the late 1970’s and features three of the best known Gilbert and Sullivan works – The Mikado, The Gondoliers and HMS Pinafore.

Audiences will enjoy the wit and magic of Gilbert and Sullivan performed by many of the country’s leading exponents of the world famous Savoy operas – artistes renowned for their work in these quintessentially British masterpieces.

This year’s programme is directed by John Savournin, recently described as one of the finest G&S actor/directors of the present day. He has assembled an outstanding cast of G&S specialists which includes the experience of Richard Gauntlett, Bruce Graham, Oliver White, and Sylvia Clarke, working alongside the stars of tomorrow including Claire Lees, Amy J Payne, Elinor Moran, Robin Bailey and Kevin Greenlaw. The thirty five strong cast will be supported by the highly acclaimed National Festival Orchestra and the company’s resident conductor, David Steadman.

Ian Smith, Chairman and founder of the National Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company is proud and excited of its achievements and growing reputation. “What we offer our audiences are the best Gilbert & Sullivan productions they will see; they are faithful to the original foundations laid down by Gilbert himself; high quality acting and singing; young, enthusiastic and talented chorus; colourful costumes and sets and a fantastic orchestra. And the great thing is these are not just our words but the endorsement of national and regional press, theatre managers and, equally important, theatre goers.”

The Mikado – Tuesday 15 & Wednesday 16 September, 7.30pm

HMS Pinafore – Thursday 17 September, 2pm & 7.30pm

The Gondoliers – Friday 18 September, 7.30pm & Saturday 19 September 2.30pm & 7.30pm Tickets* are £19 to £32

*All ticket prices include a £1 restoration levy.

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit

Joe McElderry stars in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat tour

X Factor star Joe McElderry is to don the dazzling coat of many colours as he takes the title role of Joseph in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The production will embark on a UK tour in 2016 with tour dates and venues to be announced.

Joe McElderry won The X Factor in 2009 and subsequently had a number one single with “The Climb”. He has since released four UK albums, won ITV’s Popstar to Operastar and appeared in a one-off West End gala performance as the lead in The Who’s Tommy.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is the UK’s longest running musical. Retelling the biblical story about Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours, the show includes songs such as “Jacob and Sons”, “Close Every Door” and “Any Dream Will Do”.

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is presented by Bill Kenwright and the Really Useful Group and features lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.


Sonia Friedman Productions presents

JIM BROADBENT as Scrooge in
A Christmas Carol

Inspired by Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story


Noël Coward Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, London
First performance: Monday 30 November
Final performance: Saturday 30 January

Academy Award-winning actor Jim Broadbent makes his long-awaited return to the stage to play Scrooge in a new version of A Christmas Carol adapted by Patrick Barlow from Charles Dickens’ classic story of greed, grief, ghoulish ghosts and eleventh-hour redemption.

From Scrooge and Tiny Tim to Bob Cratchit and Mrs. Fezziwig, Patrick Barlow’s imaginative adaptation of A Christmas Carol will bring some of Dickens’ most memorable characters to life at the Noël Coward Theatre this winter. Jim Broadbent will be joined by an exciting group of performers, to be announced shortly.

Coming together to create this innovative new work are some of our most loved and mischievous maverick theatre-makers. The play is written by Patrick Barlow (who also wrote the huge, long-running hit The 39 Steps) with whom Jim Broadbent performed for many years in Barlow’s cult comedy troupe The National Theatre of Brent. A Christmas Carol is directed by Olivier award-winning Phelim McDermott, Artistic Director of Improbable, one of Britain’s most inventive theatre companies, who is responsible for the iconic production Shockheaded Peter. McDermott also directed Theatre of Blood at the National Theatre in which Broadbent last appeared on stage. Joining them is the critically-acclaimed designer Tom Pye (The Testament of Mary, The Death of Klinghoffer, The Low Road) andToby Sedgwick (War Horse, The 39 Steps) as Director of Movement, Peter Mumford will design the lighting and Gareth Fry will design sound.

A Christmas Carol and The Mackintosh Foundation are proud to be supporting St Martin-in-the-Fields’ Christmas Appeal by donating 50 pence for each ticket purchased. The appeal raises money to assist homeless people with shelter, food, help and advice. Customers, as part of the purchasing process, will be asked if they would also like to donate 50 pence with each ticket purchased. Registered charity no 1156305/261359.



Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm (Wednesday 9 December at 7pm)
Matinee performances on Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm

No matinee on Wednesday 2 December or Wednesday 9 December
Additional matinee on Friday 11 December at 2.30pm

Noël Coward Theatre, St Martin’s Lane, London
First performance: Monday 30 November 2015
Final performance: Saturday 30 January 2016
Press Night: Wednesday 9 December 2015, 7pm

Christmas Schedule:

Monday 21 December at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Tuesday 22 December at 7.30pm
Wednesday 23 December at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday 24 December at 2.30pm
Friday 25 December NO SHOW
Saturday 26 December NO SHOW
Monday 28 December at 7.30pm
Tuesday 29 December at 7.30pm
Wednesday 30 December at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Thursday 31 December at 2.30pm
Friday 1 January at 7.30pm
Saturday 2 January at 2.30pm and 7.30pm


From Saturday 30 November to Tuesday 8 December:
£10, £25, £35 and £50

From Wednesday 9 December to Saturday 30 January:
£20, £35, £45 and £60

Front row £10 day seats available for every performance throughout the run. Available to buy in person from the Box Office from 10.30am, limited to two tickets per person.

Box Office: 0844 482 5140
All tickets are subject to a booking fee and restoration levy

St Martin-in-the-Fields Christmas Appeal 2015
A Christmas Carol
and The Mackintosh Foundation are proud to be supporting St Martin-in-the-Fields’ Christmas Appeal by donating 50 pence for each ticket purchased. Customers, as part of the purchasing process, will be asked if they would also like to donate 50 pence with each ticket purchased. Registered charity no 1156305/261359.

Musical which starred Idina Menzel at the Public Theater comes to London!

Casting has been announced for Michael John LaChiusa’s Off-Broadway hit See What I Wanna See, which will receive its London Premiere in a limited 4-week run at Jermyn Street Theatre from next Tuesday 8 September to Saturday 3 October, with a press night on Friday 11 September, 7.30pm.
The cast features Jonathan Butterell as The Janitor/The Priest, Marc Elliott as The Thief/A Reporter, Cassie Compton as Kesa/The Wife/An Actress, Mark Goldthorp as Morito/The Husband/A CPA and Sarah Ingram as The Medium/Aunt Monica.



Full list of Edinburgh award winners

The 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe dates were 07 – 31 August.

Full list of awards.


Allen Wright Award
Winner – Griselda Murray Brown
Special Commendation – Holly Williams
Special Commendation – George Sully


Amused Moose Comedy Awards
Winner: Richard Gadd – Waiting for Gaddot (Banshee Labyrinth)
People’s Champion: Jess Robinson – The Rise of Mighty Voice (Pleasance)


The Asian Arts Awards
Winner – Best Production: The Cherry Orchard: Beyond the Truth – Theater Margot (Korea) (C Venues)
Winner – Best Directing: Ms. Shubhra Bhardwaj – Ticket to Bollywood – Ferriswheel Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (New Town Theatre)

Brighton Fringe Award for Excellence in association with Sweet Venues
Winner: Police Cops – This Theatre – Zoo Venues


The Broadway Baby Bobby Award
Winners: Captain Morgan 1: The Sands of Time and Captain Morgan 2: The Sea of Souls – Ben Behrens / Tap Tap Theatre (Pleasance)
Richard III – Brite Theatre – Just Festival
Luke McQueen: Double Act – Luke McQueen / The Invisible Dot Ltd. (Pleasance)


Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award
Winner: Key Change – Open Clasp Theatre Company in association with Live Theatre (Summerhall)


Dave’s Funniest Joke of the Fringe
Darren Walsh (Pleasance)


Edinburgh Comedy Poster Awards
Panel Prize: Tom Parry – Yellow Tshirt (Just the Tonic)
Audience Award: Michael Stranney & Olaf Falafel – Expect the Unexporcupine (Cowgatehead)


Euan’s Guide Accessible Fringe Awards
Winner: The Solid Life of Sugar Water (Pleasance)
Runner Up: Wendy Hoose by Johnny McKnight (Assembly Rooms)
Accessible Venue Award: Dance Base


The Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards
Best Comedy Show – Sam Simmons – Spaghetti for Breakfast (Underbelly)
Best Newcomer – Sofie Hagen – Bubblewrap (Liquid Room Annexe)
Panel Prize – Karen Koren


Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Awards
The Frantic Canticles of Little Brother Fish (Bedlam Theatre)

Pip Utton…Playing Maggie (Assembly Rooms)


2015 Fringe Sustainable Practice Award
Lungs (Summerhall)


The Herald Angel Award

Winners – Week 1
Correction (Zoo Venues)
Fake it till you Make it (Traverse Theatre)
Little Devil Award: The artists and facilitators of Underbelly Circus Hub

Winners – Week 2

Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer (Underbelly)

Aceh Meukondore (C Venues)

Winners – Week 3

Herald Archangel Award: Maureen Beattie for The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy  (Assembly Festival)

Herald Angel Award: Cathal McConnell
Little Devil Award: Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Traverse Theatre)

Holden Street Theatres Award
A Gambler’s Guide to Dying (Traverse Theatre)
Labels (Pleasance)


The Malcom Hardee Awards
Comic Originality – Michael Brunstrom
Cunning Stunt Award – Matt Roper
Act Most likely to make a million quid – Laurence Owen

The Scottish Arts Club Award for Best Scottish Play

Swallow – Stef Smith (Traverse Theatre)


The Scotsman Fringe First Awards

Winners – Week 1
A Gambler’s Guide to Dying (Traverse Theatre)
Going Viral  (Summerhall)
The Christians (Traverse Theatre)
Swallow  (Traverse Theatre)
The Deliverance (Assembly Festival)
Underneath (Dance Base)
The History of the World Through Banalities (Summerhall)

Winners – Week 2

Light Boxes (Summerhall)

Raz (Assembly Festival)

Citizen Puppet  (Pleasance)

Labels  (Pleasance)

Tar Baby  (Gilded Balloon)

Trans Scripts  (Pleasance)

The Great Downhill Journey of Little Tommy (Summerhall)

Winners – Week 3

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Traverse Theatre)

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Traverse Theatre)

Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer (Underbelly)

What I Learned From Johnny Bevan (Summerhall)

A Reason to Talk (Summerhall)

Primary Times Children’s Choice Award
The Voice Thief (Summerhall)


So You Think You’re Funny?
Luca Cupani: Still Falling (Heroes @ Bob’s Blundabus)


The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence

Winners – Week 1
Molly Vevers – Ross and Rachel (Assembly Festival)
Aoife Duffin – A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing (Traverse Theatre)

Winners – Week 2

Andy Gray – Willie & Sabastian  (Gilded Balloon)

Sean Michael Verey – Tonight with Donny Stixx (Pleasance)

1972: The Future of Sex  (Zoo Venues)

Pip Utton…Playing Maggie (Assembly Rooms)

Winners – Week 3

Ensemble from Police Cops – This Theatre (Zoo Venues)

Maureen Beattie – The Jennifer Tremblay Trilogy  (Assembly Festival)

Ensemble from UKIP! The Musical  (theSpaceUK)

Lizzie Clarke – Molly  (Pleasance)

Ensemble from Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (Traverse Theatre)

Total Theatre Awards

Emerging Company/Artist: The Beanfield  (theSpaceUK)
Physical/Visual Theatre: Oog  (Dance Base)
Innovation/Experimentation & Playing with Form: Can I Start Again Please (Summerhall)
Portraits In Motion (Summerhall)
Total Theatre & The Place Award for Dance: Vertical Influences  (Assembly Festival)
Total Theatre & Jacksons Lane Award for Circus: B-Orders (Underbelly) and
Smoke and Mirrors  (Assembly Festival)


After 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues across Edinburgh, the curtain falls and the house lights go up on the 2015 Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society has announced that by Monday afternoon, with hundreds of performances still to take place, an estimated 2,298,090 tickets had been issued for shows across Scotland’s capital. The number of tickets issued reflects a 5.24% increase in comparison to tickets issued by the same point last year.

Kath M Mainland CBE, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society said:

“As this year’s Fringe draws to a close we can reflect on what a spectacular success it has been. Once again artists and audiences have travelled from across the globe to be a part of this unique cultural event. And with an estimated 2,298,090 tickets issued and many thousands of people attending the 800 free shows in the programme, I’ve no doubt every single person who watched a Fringe show, or experienced this wonderful festival city, will take away unforgettable memories. 


“With incredible talent from 49 countries from all over the world taking part this year, the Fringe has once again demonstrated itself to be both truly international and profoundly Scottish.  The 2015 season has firmly cemented Edinburgh’s reputation as the world’s leading festival city. “

Fringe Society Chair, Sir Tim O’Shea added:

“On behalf of everyone who visited and enjoyed this year’s Fringe, I would like to thank all the creative souls, both onstage and backstage, who brought their work here. Their courage, creativity and sheer hard work is unrivalled anywhere in the world, and without them, the Fringe simply wouldn’t be possible.”

Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs added:

“This has been another incredible year for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The festival continues to evolve and work with the city to expand and offer more and more to audiences from across the world. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe demonstrates the innovative spirit that makes Scottish culture so vibrant. “

One new initiative this year was a scheme launched by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, in collaboration with the City of Edinburgh Council and Virgin Money aimed at providing complimentary tickets to Fringe shows for children and young people who are being cared for by City of Edinburgh Council. The project calledAccess Fringe – Looked After Children made £173,172.00 worth of tickets from 233 shows in 38 venues available to children and young people whose circumstances would not normally allow them to participate in cultural activity. Access Fringe – Looked After Children is a part of the Fringe Society’s commitment to making the Fringe accessible to all and is one of a series of initiatives over the years to come to tackle the physical, economic, social and geographic barriers that prevent people from participating.

Other highlights in 2015 included the participation of a total of fourteen new venues across the city. These included the return of the famous St. Stephen’s Church in Stockbridge under the banner of Momentum Venues, Underbelly launching their Circus Hub on the Meadows in the city’s southside and SpaceUK debuting a new three floor venue called SpaceTriplex in The Prince Philip Building on Hill Place.

The Fringe Society unveiled two new commercial partnerships in 2015; with Airbnb and the Caledonian Sleeper. Both these relationships offered new opportunities for Fringe participants and audiences.

The Royal Mail celebrated this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe by issuing a special postmark, applied to stamped UK mail from 07-31 August. Royal Mail’s postmarks are reserved for special occasions and are used to recognise significant events, historical anniversaries or support of charity. It was the first time in the Royal Mail’s 500 year history that a festival has been featured on a postmark.

Award-winning comedian and theatre-maker Bryony Kimmings delivered the 2015 Fringe Central Welcome Address to participants, organised by the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society. The welcome address, designed to welcome and inspire participants, was attended by a record number of people. Bryony Kimmings, an Associate Artist at Soho Theatre and a Fringe participant herself, encouraged participants to take advantage of over 85 free events hosted throughout August, to help develop performance skills, expand networks and advance careers.

A wide range of awards were on offer throughout the festival organised by a range of organisations. Euan’s Guide, the disabled access review website launched their Fringe awards, acknowledging a show and a venue for their outstanding efforts to include disabled audiences at this year’s Fringe.


Jane McDonald fans miss her Cats performance after failing to recognise her in costume

Fans of Loose Women star Jane McDonald have walked out of her musical Cats because they don’t recognise her in costume.

Others have posted ­negative reviews voicing their disappointment she didn’t turn up to perform – even though she was there writes Janine Yaqoob in the Sunday People.

Jane-McDonald-in-Cats-With-Andrew-Lloyd-Webber-at-Winter-Gardens-BlackpoolThe confused fans did not recognise the singer in elaborate cat costume and heavy face paint as Grizabella.

Jane, 52, has won top reviews from critics for her performances at the Winter Gardens Theatre, Blackpool.

She took over the role from former X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger.

She said: “We had a problem with people saying ‘Well it would be nice if the star actually turned up on the show’.

“I haven’t missed a performance – I’ve done every single one and haven’t missed a night.”

New Arabic Oliver! production to star Syrian refugees

87496The first ever Arabic language adaptation of Oliver!, starring a cast comprised of Syrian refugees and under-privileged Jordanian children, will premiere next month.

The production, which will run at a local community centre in Amman in Jordan, has been spearheaded by journalist and filmmaker Charlotte Eager and William Sterling, of Refuge Drama Productions.

Producer and Oliver! rights-holder Cameron Mackintosh said: “I couldn’t imagine a better way of presenting the story of Oliver Twist’s contemporary relevance than this exciting and imaginative production performed by refugees and children who have had an even harder start to life than Oliver himself.”

The production’s director Khaled Abol Naga, who is a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, added: “We are aiming for an outcome that transforms the refugee and under-privileged children so they become a pride for society.”

Featuring a cast of 36 children, Oliver! opens on 1 September.

Sam Simmons wins Edinburgh Comedy Award

98896Absurdist comic Sam Simmons has won this year’s Forster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award with his show Spaghetti for Breakfast.

Simmons topped a shortlist that also included four-time nominee James Acaster, as well as Joseph Morpurgo, Kieran Hodgson, Nish Kumar, Sarah Kendall, Seymour Mace and Trygve Wakenshaw.

Awards producer Nica Burns said: “Sam Simmons has funny bones. He is a complete original, combining physical comedy with great verbal jokes and a unique take on life.

“His 2015 Edinburgh show is outstanding. This is a comedian at the top of his craft who has grown substantially since his two earlier nominations.”

The Best Newcomer prize went to Sofie Hagen, who Burns described as “a young comic with an effortless engaging style”.

The discretionary panel prize was given to Gilded Balloon founder and artistic director Karen Koren, who is stepping down after a 30-year tenure.

Sky’s head of comedy Lucy Lumsden, who chaired this year’s panel, said: “Karen Koren encapsulates the true spirit of the fringe in so many ways. Entrepreneurial, warm-hearted, a great survivor and a huge supporter and spotter of new talent.”

Simmons takes home a prize of £10,000, while Hagen and Koren win £5,000 each.

New dates announced for Dawn French’s 30 Million Minutes

98868Dawn French is reprising her solo show 30 Million Minutes later this year and has announced new dates ahead of its West End run.

The new dates are at the Liverpool Empire (3 November), Fairfield Halls in Croydon (5 November), Worthing Pavilion Theatre (6 November) and Swan Theatre in High Wycombe (8 November).

As previously announced, 30 Million Minutes will run at the Vaudeville Theatre from 11 November to 5 December.

French said: “Look, it’s not a play, it’s not stand up, it’s not a monologue, it’s not a slide show, but it’s something a bit like all of those with some alarming extreme striptease thrown in.”

Dawn French: 30 Million Minutes is directed by Michael Grandage, with set and costume design by Lez Brotherston and lighting design by Willie Williams.