Full cast joining Brian Cox in the World Premiere of The Score at Bath Theatre Royal announced today


Theatre Royal Bath Productions presents

Brian Cox

In the world premiere of


A new play by Oliver Cotton
Directed by Trevor Nunn






Friday 15 September:  As rehearsals begin this week for the Theatre Royal Bath Productions production of the world premiere production of THE SCORE, starring legendary stage and screen actor Brian Cox (HBO’s multi award-winning Succession) as Johann Sebastian Bach, the complete cast and creative team are announced.

This astonishing new play by Oliver Cotton is directed by Trevor Nunn and opens at Theatre Royal Bath with performances from 12 – 28 October 2023.

The stellar cast joining Brian Cox as Bach are:  Nicole Ansari-Cox (Deadwood, Succession) as Bach’s wife Anna (Nicole Ansari-Cox is Brian’s real-life wife), Matthew Burns (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as Carl, Doña Croll (The Doctor, The American Plan) as Emilia, RSC regular Peter de Jersey (Warrior Nun, Doctor Who) as Voltaire, Stephen Hagan (You, The Larkins) as Frederick, Christopher Staines (Wolf Hall, Mrs Dalloway) as Quantz, Benedict Salter as Benda and Eric Sirakian (The Kite Runner on Broadway) as Graun.

Robert Jones is the Set and Costume Designer, Johanna Town is the Lighting Designer, Sophie Cotton is the Composer and Sound Designer, Cordelia Monsey is the Associate Director and the Casting Director is Ginny Schiller CDG.

Spring 1747. Potsdam, Prussia.

Johann Sebastian Bach reluctantly visits the court of Frederick II, Europe’s most ambitious and dangerous leader. 

The two men could hardly be more different. As the Age of Enlightenment dawns, they stand in opposite camps. Bach is deeply religious, Frederick is an atheist. Bach loathes war, Frederick revels in it. Bach studies scripture, Frederick reads military history. Frederick remains in awe of Bach’s genius however and has mischievously prepared a musical conundrum that he hopes will baffle the composer and amuse his court.

The explosive events of the following days could not have been predicted by either man.

Brian Cox‘s glittering career has spanned more than sixty years, garnering numerous awards and nominations, working with the most esteemed theatre companies and renowned Hollywood and TV directors. Twice Olivier Award winner for Best Actor, his portrayal in the HBO hit series Succession has won him a Golden Globe award and Emmy nominations. Other notable film credits include Braveheart, The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Bourne Identity. In 2007, the UK Film Council named him in the top ten powerful British film stars in Hollywood.

Former artistic director of the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company, Trevor Nunn’s multi-award-winning repertoire ranges from Les Misérables to The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

That Face Review

Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond – until 7th October 2023

Reviewed by Bobbi Fenton


That Face, written by Polly Stenham, explores the effects of parental neglect, addiction, and mental health issues on the family. The play opens with Mia (Ruby Stokes) and Izzy (Sarita Gabony) performing some sort of ‘initiation’ on younger girl, Alice (Holly French) at their school, which lands Alice in hospital, and Mia in a whole heap of trouble. We are then introduced to Martha (Niamh Cusak) and her 18-year-old son, Henry (Kasper Hilton-Hille). Within the first two or three scenes you can really gage the family dynamic, with the codependent and borderline incestuous relationship between Henry and Martha, and Martha’s hatred of her own teenage daughter.

Throughout the course of the play, we watch as Henry tries, in vain, to help Martha, to try to prove that the last five years of living with her have not been for nothing, and to prevent his father, Hugh (Dominic Mafham) from having Martha sectioned when he arrives from Hong Kong. This all leads to the seemingly inevitable conclusion of Henry showing just how much his life and mental wellbeing have been impacted by Martha.

One of my favourite parts of this play was the decision to have the set only use a bed, with any props underneath it, which during transitions between scenes is rotated in a circle. I interpreted this as a representation of the inescapable cycle that all the main characters are trapped in because of Martha.

I believe that this play has been perfectly cast, as I cannot think of a single actor or actress that would have been better, in any of the roles, than the actual cast. It is a definite must see, as it explores such disturbing themes in such a gripping and captivating way.

2023 UK Theatre Award nominations announced

Nominations announced for the UK Theatre Awards 2023

·         Lyric Theatre Belfast and Sheffield Theatres lead the way with five nods apiece

·         Best Performance in a Musical category is dominated by female nominees

Thursday 14 September: Today, the nominees for this year’s UK Theatre Awards have been announced. The UK Theatre Awards are the only nationwide awards to honour and celebrate outstanding achievements in theatre throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by UK Theatre members.  

With nominees across the UK, this year’s shortlist showcases the creativity, originality and resilience of theatre. Leading the nominations, both with acknowledgements across five categories, are Lyric Theatre Belfast and Sheffield Theatres. Lyric Theatre Belfast’s nominations include Best Design, Best Director, Best New Play, Best Play Revival and Best Show for Children and Young People, while Sheffield Theatres is represented in Best Musical Production, Best Play Revival, Best Performance in a Musical and Best Performance in a Play.

Meanwhile, two theatres receive three nods across various categories – Birmingham Rep and Nottingham Playhouse. Birmingham Rep was home to productions with nominees in performing categories, including Best Supporting Performance and Best Performance in a Play, while Nottingham Playhouse is acknowledged in the Excellence in Touring, Workforce Award and Most Welcoming Theatre categories. Separately, Shakespeare North, The Mill at Sonning and Leeds Playhouse have garnered two nominations apiece.

Elsewhere in performing categories, actors Siobhán McSweeney (Happy Days), Peter Forbes (On The Beach), Daniel Rigby (Accidental Death Of An Anarchist) and Wiliam Young (Of Mice & Men) are all nominated for Best Performance in a Play. This year, Best Performance in a Musical is dominated by female actors, with Joanna Ampil (Miss Saigon), Lena Hall (In Dreams) and Rebecca Thornhill (Gypsy) making up the list of nominees.

The exceptional work created by each of this year’s nominees demonstrates that there is no better time to support local theatre. The winners will be announced on 8 October, during a lunchtime ceremony at London’s Guildhall. The event’s host was announced on Monday as Zoe Birkett.

Hannah Essex, Co-CEO of UK Theatre, said,

“We are incredibly proud to celebrate theatre across our four nations and the inspiring work of our UK Theatre members. This year’s nominees are a reflection of the quality and diversity of talent, story-telling and community engagement that is needed now more than ever.

“We would like to thank all our sponsors for supporting the event and offer our congratulations to all those nominated. We look forward to celebrating your inspiring work at the ceremony on Sunday 8 October.”

Nominations for the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre Award were announced last month, with

Curve, National Youth Theatre, and Nottingham Playhouse making the shortlist. The winner will be revealed as part of the ceremony.

The recipient of this year’s Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre Award is yet to be announced ahead of the ceremony.

The UK Theatre Awards 2023 are sponsored by Birra Moretti, Harbottle and Lewis, Howard Park Wines, John Good Ltd, Marshfield Farm Ice Cream, Music Theatre International, Setting Line Production Management, Spektrix, Theatre Tokens, Trafalgar Theatres, Tysers in association with Ecclesiastical, Unusual Rigging and White Light.

Full list of nominations for the UK Theatre Awards 2023

On Stage Awards

Best Design

Conor Murphy for Propaganda: A New Musical, a Lyric Theatre Belfast and The Belfast Ensemble Production

Justin Nardella & Dan Steele for iShowmanism!, a Theatre Royal Bath production

Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey & UTLZ for Tambo & Bones, a Theatre Royal Stratford East Actors Touring Company co-production

Best Director

Matthew Dunster & Jimmy Fairhurst for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Shakespeare North Playhouse, Not Too Tame and Northern Stage co-production

Omar Elerian for As You Like It, a Royal Shakespeare Company production

Garry Hynes for DruidO’Casey, a Druid Theatre production at Lyric Theatre Belfast

Best Musical Production Sponsored by Tysers in association with Ecclesiastical

The Book Thief, an Octagon Theatre Bolton production

Gypsy, a The Mill at Sonning production

Miss Saigon, a Sheffield Theatres production

Best New Play

Agreement, a Lyric Theatre Belfast production

Enough Of Him, a National Theatre of Scotland and Pitlochry Festival Theatre co-production

Untitled F*ck M*ss S**gon Play, a Royal Exchange Theatre, Factory International for Manchester International Festival, Young Vic Theatre and Headlong co-production

Best Play Revival Sponsored by Trafalgar Theatres

The Beauty Queen Of Leenane, a Prime Cut and Lyric Theatre Belfast co-production

The Comedy Of Errors (More Or Less), a Shakespeare North Playhouse and Stephen Joseph Theatre co-production

The Contingency Plan, a Sheffield Theatres production

Best Performance in a Play

Peter Forbes for On The Beach, a Sheffield Theatres production

Siobhán McSweeney for Happy Days, a Landmark Productions production at Birmingham Rep

Daniel Rigby for Accidental Death Of An Anarchist, a Sheffield Theatres and Lyric Hammersmith co-production

Wiliam Young for Of Mice & Men, a Birmingham Rep, Leeds Playhouse and Fiery Angel co-production

Best Performance in a Musical

Joanna Ampil for Miss Saigon, a Sheffield Theatres production

Lena Hall for In Dreams, a Leeds Playhouse production

Rebecca Thornhill for Gypsy, a The Mill at Sonning production

Best Show for Children and Young People

The Famous Five, a Theatr Clywd and Chichester Festival Theatre co-production

Mirrorball, a Replay Theatre Company production at Belfast Children’s Festival, Lyric Theatre Belfast

The SpongeBob Musical, a Selladoor Worldwide production

Best Supporting Performance (in a Musical or Play)

Bryony Corrigan for I, Daniel Blake, a Nothern Stage, Birmingham Rep, ETT, Oldham Coliseum and tiny dragon Productions production in association with Cardboard Citizens

Antony Eden for Family Album, a Stephen Joseph Theatre production

LJ Parkinson for Modest, a Middle Child and Milk Presents co-production

Achievement in Opera

Glyndebourne for Dialogues Des Carmélites

Opera North for Orpheus

Welsh National Opera for Blaze Of Glory!

Achievement in Dance

Jo Fong & George Orange for The Rest Of Our Lives 

Rambert for Peaky Blinders: The Redemption Of Thomas Shelby 

Scottish Ballet for Coppélia 

Off Stage Awards

Excellence in Touring


Northern Stage

Nottingham Playhouse

Digital Innovation Sponsored by Spektrix

HOME X presented by the Barbican

Pilot Theatre

Tara Theatre

Excellence in Inclusivity

Capital Theatres

Midland Arts Centre

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Excellence in Arts Education

Birmingham Hippodrome

Blackpool Grand Theatre

Hackney Empire

Workforce Award

Ambassador Theatre Group

Grand Opera House York

Nottingham Playhouse

UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre Sponsored by Theatre Tokens


National Youth Theatre

Nottingham Playhouse



The Watermill Theatre today announced a West End ticket raffle to support their Propel fundraising campaign.

Tickets on offer as part of the Big West End Ticket Raffle include Little Big ThingsThe Unfriend, FrozenGuys and DollsThe Time Traveller’s Wife, and Phantom of the Opera. All income from the raffle will go to supporting The Watermill Theatre’s fundraising campaign, Propel, which was launched in the aftermath of the Arts Council’s 100% cut to its funding. As the charity looks to its future as an independent theatre, fundraising will play an essential role in enabling The Watermill to continue to offer a vibrant and ambitious programme of theatre and outreach that engages over 60,000 people every year. 

Claire Murray, Executive Director at The Watermill Theatre commented:

“As we look to the future as an independent theatre company, we are excited to offer audiences a way to both support our fundraising and be in with a chance of winning tickets to some of the West End’s most in demand shows. We’ve been overwhelmed by the strength of the support we’ve been shown by the theatre community in creating this raffle and we’re grateful to everyone who has donated a prize.”

A spokesperson from Playful Productions, one of the country’s leading producers, commented:

The UK is rightly famous around the globe for the vibrancy, diversity and quality of its performing arts. Regional theatres across the country, including powerhouse producing houses like the Watermill, are crucial to supporting this thriving landscape: they create life-long relationships with local audiences, provide access to world-class theatre experiences, tell new and overlooked stories in innovative ways, and inspire and develop the next generation of talent.”

To enter the raffle and be in with a chance of winning tickets to one of a wide range of shows, visit watermill.org.uk/raffle .

For further details on opportunities to support The Watermill Theatre, please contact Steph Dewar, Development Director at [email protected].





Arthur Miller’s ‘A View from the Bridge’ is as unnervingly relevant today as when written in 1955. The Octagon’s Co-production with Headlong, Chichester Festival Theatre and Rose Theatre delves deep into the murky depths of man’s primal desires and the moral dilemma it presents. Should he, Eddie Carbone, an ordinary inarticulate man, and our hero, let go and settle for half? Or should he engage in an inglorious battle to claim that which he feels he owns? This inevitable tragedy unfolds as Eddie, unable to admit, even to himself, his feelings for his niece, wages a war that brings destruction for all around him and a terrible betrayal of an inviolable community code. As our narrator and observer, lawyer Alfieri, asks: ‘Is it better to settle for half?

First off Jonathan Slinger as Eddie Carbone is sublime. His inner turmoil, angst and rising temper was palpable. He drove this performance; its mercury thermometer rose steadily until it broke the glass. Rachelle Diedericks as Catherine was wonderful to watch and perfectly believable as the young and green Niece falling hopelessly in love with the affable Rodolpho, a distant cousin and undocumented immigrant who Catherine’s family agree to shelter with his brother Marco. Rodolpho, played by Luke Newberry, was perfect as the Italian lover, his comedic timing and beautiful voice made for enjoyable relief in this dark drama. Tommy Sim’aan as Marco was truthfully authentic and honest as the honourable man striving to provide for his family whilst abiding by his code of ethics.

For me, this production, directed by Holly Race Roughan, raised uncomfortable questions around the theme of inappropriate sexual desires between a young and vulnerable girl and her uncle. It also highlighted the issues around historic negative views of same-gender attraction and the inability to confront and deal with one’s emotions instead of projecting their inadequacies onto those around them. There was, it seems, a deliberate attempt to sexualise the behaviour of Catherine, albeit in a naive childish way. The intimacy of their body language for me felt uncomfortable to watch and begged the question: were we to apportion blame for Eddie’s emotions between the two of them? Or accept that this was natural behaviour between a naïve girl and her uncle? The behaviour of wife Beatrice who throughout used flirty almost sensualised movement to portray her sexual frustration and desire to tempt her husband back to her, was at times a distraction from the very real and earnest performance of Kirsty Bushell as Beatrice.

Even the choice of set design by Moi Tran whilst dramatic and engaging gave me the impression of sleaze. An entirely black polished floor and walls with a dominant red neon sign displaying ‘Red Hook’, the place in which the story is set.

I accept you could argue the black set symbolised water and the darkness within. However, for me, the neon sign overpowered the set.

There was a clever use of the dock worker/ballet dancer played by Elijah Holloway (doubled as Louis / Immigration Officer whose infectious laughter delighted the audience) He would appear dancing tantalisingly, as if dominating Eddie’s thoughts. It was great to see, for the first time, lawyer Alfieri played by a woman, Nancy Crane. However, as with many productions there were times when it was hard to hear her, and I note there were some audience members in the interval saying they could not hear some of the companies’ words when they were shouting. I also note that for those who have hearing impairments there is a BSL Interpreted and Captioned performance, Tuesday 19th September,7:30pm

Overall, this was, again, another great production by the Octagon, whose choice to co-produce some of its programmed schedule allows for some excellent shows North of the capital.

Cast announced for The Cold Buffet at Live Theatre

Cast announced for The Cold Buffet – a deliciously comic North East family saga at Live Theatre. 

Live Theatre, Newcastle Upon Tyne is delighted to announce the cast for The Cold Buffet, a delicious North East family saga by Elijah Young which runs from Thursday 5 to Saturday 28 October 2023. Directed by Jack McNamara, Elijah Young’s play is brought to life by Nick BlakeleyJane HolmanAmara KaranJim Kitson and Beth Fletcher Morris.   

The centrepiece of Live Theatre’s 50th anniversary season The Cold Buffet is an epic and feverishly funny play by rising star Elijah Young, set at a wake, a wedding and a christening over five years with the McCarthy family. 

Artistic Director Jack McNamara said: “The play Elijah has written is a true ensemble piece and all about the actors. We spent a lot of time putting together the gloriously dysfunctional McCarthy family and have ended up with a cast to die for. Four outstanding and hugely loved North East actors are joined onstage by the amazing Amara Karan who I have long wanted to bring to Live Theatre and Newcastle. I can’t wait for them to feed our audience souls.”  

Elijah Young, writer of The Cold Buffet said: “Jack has pulled together a really dynamic and talented set of actors to be our McCarthy family and I am so excited to see what they do with the script. I am so pleased with this cast as it was so important to me for these roles to be cast authentically and to have some really strong players as even though there may be a central character, this play isn’t one person’s story. I really wanted to bring The Cold Buffet to Live Theatre because this is specifically a story of a North East family and I hope that this theatre’s signature cabaret seating will only help in making the audience feel like they are a part of the party.” 

The role of Ayeesha is played by Amara Karan. Her theatre credits include Bloody Difficult Women (Wind of Change/Cahoots Theatre Company), Much Ado About NothingThe Taming of The ShrewThe Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC). Amara’s film credits include Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, St. Trinians’ (Ealing Studios),T.I.M. (Netflix) and the forthcoming House of Spoils (Amazon Studios). Amara’s TV credits include HBO’s The Night Of, Sky One’s Stan Lees Lucky Man and for the BBC, Hope Street and Doctor Who.  

Nick Blakeley takes on the role of Ellis. Nick’s theatre credits include The Claim (Shoreditch Town Hall), Twelfth Night (Orange Tree Theatre), I Heart Catherine Pistachio (Soho Theatre/Yard Theatre), Brideshead Revisited (York Theatre Royal/UK Tour), Hapgood (Hampstead Theatre) and Comment Is Free (Old Vic Theatre). TV credits include Belgravia (ITV), Summer of Rockets (BBC), Theresa Vs Boris: How May Became PM (BBC), Beyond Reasonable Doubt (CNN), Doctors (BBC) and The Old Bailey (BBC). 

Jane Holman plays Ellis’ grandma Evelyn, the matriarch of the McCarthy family. Jane’s theatre credits include: Lush LifeOh What a Lovely WarTwelve Tales of TynesideCabaretLenya and In Blackberry Time (all for Live Theatre), Tyne (Live Theatre/Theatre Royal Newcastle) and Close the Coalhouse Door (Northern Stage). Television credits include: VeraInspector George GentlyUndercover, and The Dumping Ground and feature films, School for SeductionHarrigan’s Nick and Billy Elliot. 

Jim Kitson joins the cast as Ellis’ Dad, David. Jim’s theatre credits include Red Ellen (Nottingham Playhouse), Treasure Island (Derby Theatre), Pitmen Painters (NE Vic Theatre), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Drowned Man  (National Theatre), The Taxi Driver’s Daughter (Live Theatre) and Cooking With Elvis (Hull Truck). Television credits include Vera and Emmerdale (ITV), Byker Grove and Inspector George Gently (BBC), Land of Women (Apple+) and Tracy Beaker Returns (CBBC). 

Beth Fletcher Morris returns to Live Theatre as Max, Ellis’cousin and Grandma’s favourite. Beth’s theatre credits include We Are The Best! (Live Theatre), The Boyfriend (Newcastle College) and Cinderella (Whitley Bay Pantomime Society).  

Tickets for this premiere production, laced with dry humour and a good helping of interpersonal tension are on sale now at www.live.org.uk or from Box Office on (0191) 232 1232. 



A Sheffield Theatres production



Based upon the Paramount Pictures Film 

Written for the Screen by Norman KrasnaNorman Panama and Melvin Frank

Music and Lyrics by Irving Berlin

Book by David Ives and Paul Blake

Original stage production directed by Walter Bobbie
Original orchestrations by Larry Blank
Original vocal and dance arrangements by Bruce Pomahac
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd.

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Saturday 9 December 2023 – Saturday 13 January 2024

Sheffield Theatres today announces the cast for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, the classic feel-good musical directed by Paul Foster (Talent, Kiss Me, Kate and Annie Get Your Gun).

The cast includes: Craig Armstrong as Ezekiel and Understudy Waverley; Megan Armstrong as Ensemble/as cast and Understudy Martha; George Blagden as Bob; Charlie Booker as Ensemble; Danny Collins as Sheldrake and Understudy Phil; Alastair Crosswell as Onstage Swing; Ewen Cummins as Waverley; Adam Davidson as Ensemble; Jasmine Davis as Ensemble; Emily Goodenough as Ensemble, Understudy Judy and Dance Coach; Ryan Gover as Ensemble; Chloe Hopcroft as Onstage Swing; Emma Johnson asEnsemble and Understudy Betty; Thomas-Lee Kidd as Ensemble and Understudy Bob; Sandra Marvin as Martha; Grace Mouat as Betty; Natasha Mould as Judy; Stuart Neal as Phil; Hakeem Tinubu as Ensemble; D’Mia Lindsay Walker as Ensemble;and Lucy Young as Ensemble.

Danny Collins returns after also performing in Show Boat both in the Crucible production and its transfer to the West End. Ewen Cummins has previously performed in Sheffield inSolomon and the Big Cat. Emily Goodenough returns to the Crucible Theatre, having performed in My Fair Lady. Sandra Marvin, whose TV roles include Jessie Dingle in the ITV long-running soap Emmerdale,returns to Sheffield Theatres after her recent appearance in the UK Tour of Sister Act at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre, and before that appearing at the Crucible Theatre in The Band Plays On in 2021, written by Chris Bush, and Show Boat in 2015 for both its Sheffield run and subsequent West End transfer. Natasha Mould also returns to Sheffield after performing in Annie Get Your Gun at the Crucible in 2016. All other members of the castmake their Sheffield Theatres debut with Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.

Directed by Paul Foster
Designer Janet Bird
ChoreographerAlistair David
Lighting DesignerRichard Howell
Sound Designer Tony Gayle
Musical Director Alex Parker
New Musical Orchestrations Jason Carr
Casting Director Stuart Burt CDG
Assistant DirectorBeth Knight
Assistant Choreographer Victoria Hinde

‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Just like the ones I used to know’

Former soldiers turned successful showbiz duo Bob and Phil are on the lookout for a new act. On meeting singing sisters Betty and Judy they are immediately smitten. When the four wind up performing a gig together at a remote Vermont ski resort, they discover that the hotel is owned by the boys’ old army commander. But the place is on the verge of bankruptcy thanks to an unseasonal lack of snow. Can the talented foursome transform the lodge’s fortunes in time for Christmas? And will the snow start to fall?

The perfect musical for all the family features Blue SkiesSisters and the festive favourite White Christmas.

Tickets for Irving Berlin’s White Christmas are on sale now. Tickets can be booked through the Box Office in person, over the phone on 0114 249 6000 or at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.

Calendar Girls the Musical Review

Theatre Royal, Windsor – until 16 September 2023

Reviewed by Kirsty Thomson


Calendar Girls is the musical version of a true story about a group of ladies from the Women’s Institute (WI) in the Yorkshire village of Knapely. The ladies set about creating a nude calendar in order to raise money for a hospital sofa in memory of Annie’s (Tanya Franks) husband who passed away from cancer.

This very powerful show, written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, makes you both laugh and cry, often within the same scene. It is so cleverly written and directed so that despite all of the laughter and light-hearted scenes, the show is constantly brought back to the reality of all of the emotional and serious topics involved. I found it particularly effective when Annie (Tanya Franks) sang the musical number ‘Very Slightly Almost’ creating so much emotion with the story of John (Colin R Campbell) being diagnosed and struggling with his cancer, while at the same time summoning soft laughter from the audience with the lines about shopping at Tesco and having a row while people ‘try to reach for cheese’.

Amy Robbins playing the part of Chris really stood out to me. Her energy, facial expressions, and ability to put a smile on people’s faces was outstanding, not to mention her powerful vocals. She created such a presence every time she entered the stage particularly with her bold entrance during the WI conference.

Maureen Nolan played Ruth, a woman who needed more persuasion than others to take part in the nude calendar. Some of this persuasion came from her bottle of vodka during the song ‘My Russian Friend and I’ which was another number to incorporate both laughter and sadness.

Marti Webb played Celia and her musical theatre background really stood out when singing ‘So I’ve Had a Little Work Done’ about her life, working as an air hostess. Lyn Paul as Jessie, Paula Tappenden as Marie, and Honeysuckle Weeks as Cora also did a sensational job, and each woman had their own personal struggle and story which they had the solo opportunity to express which was extremely compelling.

Graham Macduff who played Rod was particularly entertaining during the photographing of the women for the calendar, not knowing quite where to look and communicating with the women from backstage.

The highlight of the show has to be the finale where the women pose nude for the calendar photographs. The chaos, the support, the laughter and of course the famous line from Chris (Amy Robbins) ‘We’re going to need considerably bigger buns’ had the audience in fits of laughter and brought a warm sense of community and achievement to the room. The standing ovation was extremely deserved.

This show hosts a spectacular cast, excellent songs and powerful topics that guarantees laughter through the tears. A sensational show not to be missed.





Internationally acclaimed touring theatre company Wise Children celebrate five fabulous years since launching in 2018, by throwing open the doors of their new home to the public for the very first time this festive season. Based in Somerset, The Lucky Chance will be launched as Wise Children’s new base with a magical retelling of The Little Matchgirl and Happier Tales directed by the company’s Artistic Director Emma Rice to mark the occasion.

The production kicks off with an open dress rehearsal for local residents on 5 December and runs until 23 December.

In tandem with the new production, Wise Children has launched an access initiative for schools, with performances on 5, 6 and 7 December being offered free to local Frome primary schools.

Artistic Director of Wise Children, Emma Rice said, “These last astonishing 5 years have been a testament to all the dedicated artists, curious students, brave creatives and big hearted audiences that make up the wonderful community of Wise Children. My life has always been a glorious and joyful exploration of stories with the principles of ensemble and imagination at its heart. It is a privilege to still be able to dedicate myself to this work and I couldn’t be prouder of all we’ve achieved – and in such a short time! Like a child at Christmas, I am excited and thankful to finally be sharing our new home, The Lucky Chance, with the public. And what better way to welcome them in but with this with this poignant jewel of a show – The Little Matchgirl and Happier Tales.”

The Lucky Chance, based in Frome, Somerset, was originally a Methodist Church, built in 1910. Over the past year, Wise Children have refurbished and repurposed it into their creation space, and a temporary, 60-seat venue. This Christmas, the intimate space will come to life with a show full of warmth, wit and wonder.  

Since their inception in 2018, Wise Children have produced five critically acclaimed original productions – Wise Children, Malory Towers, Romantics Anonymous, Bagdad Cafe and Wuthering Heights – which have been seen by over 240,000 people in 20 cities in the UK and internationally. Over the past 5 years, they have partnered with leading arts organisations, such as the National Theatre and London’s Old Vic, and their work has also been commissioned by the BBC and Sky Arts, with films reaching an estimated 300,000. Wise Children are one of only a handful of companies touring ambitious, large-scale productions across the country, ensuring that audiences outside London have access to world-class theatre.

In addition to touring, the company created The School for Wise Children to address inequalities in the industry, particularly in backstage roles. Through talks, ‘taster’ workshops, intensive courses and Traineeships, the School offers a free, flexible training in alternative, ensemble theatre-making for adult practitioners of all disciplines. The School offers students clear routes into employment with Wise Children, and of more than 1,000 students who have trained through in-person and online courses, seven now regularly work with the company.

Wise Children present


Based on the original production written and co-adapted by Joel Horwood and Emma Rice


Music by Ian Ross

5 – 23 December 2023

As the Little Matchgirl struggles to survive, she strikes her precious matches to keep warm. Each match conjures a new story, and we hold her hand as she tumbles down a rabbit hole of folk tales.

Inspired by the beautiful and poignant Hans Christian Andersen tale and interweaving it with The Princess and the Pea and The Emperor’s New ClothesThe Little Matchgirl and Happier Tales reveals a spellbinding world of magic and mystery.

Steeped in the metaphor and meaning that run through Andersen’s enduring stories, this will be an event to delight, transport, move and surprise. For adults and brave children alike, the show will feature music, puppetry, dark magic… and perhaps some modern truths that we all might rather remain hidden.



The Lucky Chance, Frome: Portway, Frome BA11 1QR 

5 – 23 December 2023

For adults and brave children (we recommend 8+)

Box Office: 0117 313 7636

Ticket prices

From £8.50


5/6/7 December at 10am and 1pm 

8/9/13/14/15/17/20/22 December at 7.30pm

16/21/23 December at 3pm and 7.30pm

The production launches new access initiative offering free tickets to local schools


Created and led by Emma Rice, Wise Children launched in April 2018 and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Based in the South West, we make ground-breaking work with exceptional artists, and tour across the world. Alongside our shows, we run a unique professional development programme, The School for Wise Children, training a new and more diverse generation of theatre practitioners. We have just bought a building, The Lucky Chance, in Frome, Somerset which we plan to use as our creation space, a home for the School and a tiny theatre in which to welcome audiences of all shapes and sizes.

The new access initiative for local Frome primary schools has been made possible by the generous support of Paul and Joanna Pearson.


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GIRD YOUR LOINS and prepare for that Catwalk! The Devil Wears Prada will be strutting into the West End October 2024 








As London Fashion Week descends on the Capital, the catwalk is out for the launch of The Devil Wears Prada, a new musical, based on the blockbuster film and bestselling novel, that will strut into London’s Dominion Theatre in October 2024. Featuring an original score by music legend, Tony, Grammy and Academy Award winner Elton John, lyrics by singer-songwriter Shaina Taub, book by Kate Wetherhead with direction & choreography by three-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell.

The production will play an exclusive preview engagement in Summer 2024 at Theatre Royal Plymouth prior to opening in the West End in October.

Hilariously fun and fabulously stylish, The Devil Wears Prada tells an inspiring story about discovering what kind of person you truly want to be. Choose your outfit carefully and get ready for a new musical that’s hautter than hell!

Fresh out of college, aspiring journalist Andy scores a job at the prestigious Runway magazine working for fashion’s most powerful and terrifying icon — editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly. Sacrificing her personal life to meet Miranda’s impossible demands, Andy finds herself seduced by the glamorous world she once despised. How far will she go to succeed… and will it be worth selling her soul to get what she’s always wanted?

The Devil Wears Prada, features an all-star, award-winning creative team led by Elton John (Tammy FayeBilly Elliot: The MusicalThe Lion King), new direction & choreography by Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Pretty Woman, Hairspray), lyrics by singer-songwriter Shaina Taub (Suffs), book by Kate Wetherhead (Ever AfterSubmissions Only), set design by Tim Hatley (Life of Pi, Back to the Future), costume design by Gregg Barnes (Some Like It Hot, Legally Blonde), lighting design by Bruno Poet (The Tina Turner Musical, Frankenstein), sound design by Gareth Owen (Come From Away, & Juliet) and casting by Jill Green CDG.

The musical is based on Lauren Weisberger‘s best-selling 2003 novel and the 2006 blockbuster film from Twentieth Century Studios which went on to gross $326 million worldwide and received two Academy Award nominations.

The Devil Wears Prada is produced by Tony Award winner Kevin McCollum/ Alchemation (In the HeightsAvenue QRent, SIX and Mrs. Doubtfire), Rocket Entertainment/David Furnish (Tammy FayeBilly Elliot: The Musical)
and Jamie Wilson (Mrs Doubtfire, Ain’t Too Proud, Sister Act The Musical) and presented by special arrangement with Buena Vista Theatrical.

Jerry Mitchell now steers this brand-new reimagined production of The Devil Wears Prada to new heights following a developmental run in Chicago in 2022.