In this, his second exhibition of dancers to be held at the Hospital Club Gallery, world renowned dance photographer Rick Guest with long time collaborator Olivia Pomp, explore the supreme spirit and ensuing physicality that underpins a dancer’s art.

What Lies Beneath - Nehemiah Yuhui by Rick GuestWith this remarkable series of portraits he seeks to strip away the external layers of costume, role and performance to reveal the character of the dancers themselves. Once exposed, we see a life of dedication, resolve and sacrifice, reflected in their eyes and carved into their bodies.

In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The artist must be sacrificed to their art. Like bees, they must put their lives into the sting they give.”

The dancers appear in what they wear for their daily ballet practice. These clothes perform various functions, from the necessary preservation of heat, to a small piece of self expression in an otherwise uniform ensemble act. Some clothing becomes talismanic and is still worn, despite having all but fallen apart. These are all further insights into the mind of the dancer.

In a performing art that is meant to appear effortless, to communicate only the intention of the choreographer, the effort and sacrifice of the dancer is often hidden. Here they are revealed, allowing us to appreciate the essence of what it takes to be a dancer.

At once beautiful and brutal, these large scale portraits aim to lay bare and celebrate the emotional and physical determination that is required to succeed in an art form that is the very zenith of the human spirit, that in the words of Martha Graham, is truly “the language of the soul”.

What Lies Beneath - Sergei Polunin by Rick GuestRick and Olivia have had the pleasure and honour of working with an astounding array of dancers and companies. The exhibition features such luminary dancers as Edward Watson, Tamara Rojo, Steven McRae, Marianela Nuñez, Alban Lendorf, Zenaida Yanowsky, Melissa Hamilton, as well dancers from the English National Ballet, the Royal Ballet, The Dresden Semperoper, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, the Richard Alston Company and the Royal Danish Ballet.

All art pieces are in a limited edition of six and will be for sale. The exhibition will have an accompanying book featuring many more images from the series, with an essay by Sarah Crompton.

There will be a private view on the 21st of January, 2016, and then the exhibition will be open to the public from the 22nd to the 31st of January.

It will be held at the Hospital Club Gallery, 24 Endell St., London, WC2H 9HQ.



Chris JarvisNewcastle Theatre Royal is delighted to announce that TV presenter and children’s favourite, Chris Jarvis, will host the Relaxed Performance of Dick Whittington on Tuesday 12 January.


Best known for his work as a presenter on CBeebies, Chris will join the cast at Newcastle Theatre Royal, for its first Relaxed Performance since it became the first theatre in the UK to be awarded the Autism Access Award (AAA) from the National Autistic Society.


The well-known TV personality will host the Relaxed Performance, which is specifically designed to welcome people with an Autistic Spectrum Condition, learning disability or sensory and communication disorder into the theatre.


Chris said: “I am thrilled to be returning to the most spectacular and hilarious of pantomimes for this year’s relaxed performance ofDick Whittington. We all enjoy laughing and joining in at Panto, well now absolutely everyone is included thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team at Newcastle Theatre Royal.  The thought and care that goes into this unique performance ensures the audience feels safe and completely comfortable without destroying any of the magic – which this show has in abundance.”


The relaxed performance is designed to provide an opportunity for people who would otherwise find it difficult to go to see a show – for example people who make involuntary noise, or are likely to need to talk a lot, or move around. During a regular performance this can disturb the other audience members, and the show, but at a relaxed performance it’s expected that the auditorium will be noisy and our staff are trained to support this.


The show will have a less formal, reassuring atmosphere in order to reduce anxiety levels. Lighting and special effects will be slightly altered – including removing strobes and flashing lights and reducing very loud noises, however the content of the show will not be specifically changed so all the magic of pantomime is maintained.


Chief Executive, Philip Bernays, said: “We are very proud that as an AAA accredited theatre, we will once again be flying the flag for Relaxed Performances. We are one of only a handful of theatres in the UK to offer these specially tailored performances and we are delighted that by doing so, we bring the best panto in the UK to hundreds of children, families and adults who might otherwise never experience its magic. We are dedicated to making our theatre as accessible as possible and have already started taking bookings for next year’s Relaxed Performance of Cinderella too!”

Dick Whittington Relaxed Performance plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal on Tuesday 12 January at 12 noon. Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Group Bookings team on 08448 11 21 22 (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 select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School of Rock smashes Broadway Box Office Records

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s School Of Rock smashes Broadway Box Office records as UK search begins for the West End Kids cast.

school-of-rock-the-musical280Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical School of Rock, with book by Julian Fellowes, based on the 2003 Jack Black movie, has broken the house record at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre, grossing more than US$1.5 million dollars, in a standing room only sell out during Christmas week. This surpasses the previous record of US$1.36 million held by Mamma Mia.

This is the first time that a British composer and producer has opened a new musical on Broadway. The show has received rave reviews from the US critics and is set to break a further record when it plays nine performances this week.

The sell out audience over the Christmas period coincides with the beginning of a nationwide search in the UK for highly talented children required for the musical’s West End debut at the London Palladium.

Andrew Lloyd Webber said: “I had forgotten what it was to have this kind of hit. It is particularly great as we have no star names and we are witnessing personal triumphs for our brilliant kids and for Alex Brightman as Dewey, the role made famous by Jack Black.

Now our team will begin searching across the UK for talented children to star in the West End transfer.

The thirteen child roles in School of Rock involve the kids playing their own instruments live on stage, as well as singing and dancing. Because of the UK performance regulations on child actors, School of Rock will need at least three separate casts – providing opportunities for more than 39 talented children in total.

The nationwide search for the UK cast will begin in the new year. The show will open at the London Palladium in the spring of 2017.

The musical is an adaptation of the 2003 hit film comedy which starred Jack Black as the failed rock star, Dewey Finn, who becomes a teacher and forms a band with his pupils. Lloyd Webber has composed an original score for his stage adaptation, with lyrics written by Glenn Slater, and a book written by Julian Fellowes.

School of Rock – The Musical is produced on Broadway by Andrew Lloyd Webber for The Really Useful Group, Warner Music Group & Access Industries, The Shubert Organization, and The Nederlander Organization. Nina Lannan and Madeleine Lloyd Webber serve as Executive Producers.

  • (New York Times Critic’s Pick) “School of Rock is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s friskiest show in decades. I melted” – The New York Times
  • “ROCK ON! Andrew Lloyd Webber unleashed his inner child to write this exubersnt, feel-good musical!” – Variety
  • “For those about to love School of Rock, we salute you…School’s in – forever!” – Time Out New York
  • “School of Rock doesn’t miss a beat!” – NY1
  • “School of Rock is heartwarming and irresistible with a wondrously rebellious spirit” – Associated Press
  • “Fists of all ages shall be pumping!” – Vanity Fair
  • “This show kicks class!” – WABC
  • “An inspiring jolt of energy, joy and mad skillz” – Entertainment Weekly

For further information visit www.schoolofrockthemusical.co.uk

Empire Cinemas and Dr David Lewis reveal how film impacts our lives

image001 (17)The Emotional Power of Film: Empire Cinemas’ Cin-sations Part Two reveals how film impacts our lives

·Almost one fifth (19%) of the UK say cinema provides an emotional release

· Comedy gives our body a great aerobic workout and 32% of Brits say relieves stress

· 16% of men think going to the cinema to watch a romcom is good for their relationship

· One in four say watching an action film is good for them

·  ET going home voted Biggest Tearjerker Cinematic Moment

· Psychologist Dr David Lewis explains your next cinema visit won’t just leave you feeling good – it could be doing you good as well!”

· Watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens could be good for you


London, UK 28th December: A recent study by Empire Cinemas, the UK’s largest independent cinema chain, reveals the extent to which watching a film at the cinema can exert huge power over our emotions.

The research shows that for almost one fifth (19%) of the UK cinema provides an emotional release, with happiness being the most important reason for selecting a film (65%), ahead of laughter (58%), adrenaline (24%) and sadness (18%). The power of film is clear; one in ten (10%) say watching a film at the cinema has helped them tackle a difficult issue in their lives.

The power of a good tearjerker shouldn’t be underestimated, with almost one in five of the UK admitting the last time they had a good cry was watching a tearjerker in the cinema. 5% even admit to crying more during a film that the breakup of their last relationship. ET going home was declared the biggest tearjearker movie moment, while Titanic’s ‘King of the World’ scene was named the most romantic.

On the subject of tearjerkers, psychologist Dr David Lewis offers some insight into the findings. He reveals: “An emotion-provoking movie offers an opportunity to display intense feelings in public without restraint or embarrassment. When it comes to tear jerking scenes, such as the moment ET goes home, the emotional benefits are great. The chance to weep openly and without social discomfort can prove profoundly cathartic. Emotional tears contain an array of beneficial substances such as Leu-enkephalin, a natural painkiller. As a result such tears reduce stress and make it easier to deal with other aspects of our lives.”

Watching romcoms appears to be a bonding exercise for many Brits; one in seven (14%) say they feel closer to their partner after watching a romcom, whilst 7% of men think these films give them a better chance in their love lives. A further 16% of men think that going to the cinema to watch a romcom is good for their relationship, compared to just one in ten (11%) of female correspondents.

Comedy helps relieve stress, say almost a third (32%), whilst one fifth (20%) say comedy films have helped them during difficult times in their lives. A further one in five (20%) even say they feel ‘funnier’ after watching a comedy. The benefits of comedy do not just end with relieving pressure, it also turns out that comedy provides us with a body workout and triggers feel good chemicals in our bodies. In the research, Monty Python’s Life of Brian won for funniest movie moment with the scene that asks, “what have the Romans ever done for us?”

Dr David Lewis explains: “The belly laughs produced by a film like Monty Python’s Life of Brian gives our whole body a great aerobic workout. Unrestrained laughter massages the digestive system, increases blood flow to brain and muscles, exercises the lungs and triggers the release of ‘feel good’ chemicals in the brain. One of these, dopamine, has been described as the ‘gas pedal of pleasure’ creating sensations of intense delight.”

Cinemagoers who have and who will watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the Christmas period will be taken on a journey of sensations. The Cin-sations Part 2 study reveals that nearly one in four (23%) of the UK say watching an action film is good for them. After viewing an action film in the cinema, one in ten – the equivalent of 5m adults – say that they work faster and better at work, whilst 13% of Brits claim that the cinema provides their adrenalin fix.


On the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Dr David Lewis tells: “To generate powerful emotions a movie must provide characters with whom audiences can emphasise and a story line so engrossing the audience becomes totally caught up in the story. Such immersion generates a mental state known as ‘flow’. Time passes unnoticed and nerve cells in your brain, known as mirror neurons, respond as if you were taking part of the action. For fans, the new Star Wars movie draws them deep into the fast paced story line by combining familiar faces from previous episodes with new excitements and challenges.”

Below is the list of favourite cinematic moments across all film genres:


Film scene


Most romantic movie moment

Titanicthe “King of the World” scene on the bridge of the boat


Most adrenalin-fueled cinematic moment

The Italian Job – the famous mini car chase


Most feel good cinematic moment

Shawshank Redemption – the escape scene where Andy emerges to freedom


Funniest cinematic moment

Monty Python’s Life of Brian – scene asking “what have the Romans ever done for us?”


Biggest tearjerker cinematic moment

ET – the moment when ET went home


Jon Nutton, Marketing Director for Empire Cinemas said: “From comedy, to feel-good, to action films and everything in between; film and cinema provide a real platform for emotional output for our customers and for filmgoers. People have been at their happiest, saddest and most inspired whilst watching films, which is evidence of the power of film & cinema and why it’s such a celebrated industry. Our ‘Cin-sations’ research has proved that the cinema offers customers not only a visual product, but a place to come and experience true feelings of all kinds.”  


Justin Ribbons, CEO of Empire Cinemas said: “Film plays an important role in people’s lives and it’s clear that it takes us on an emotional journey where we feel a huge range of feelings. 2015 saw some hugely exciting emotional releases, such as Inside Out and The Theory of Everything, which took filmgoers through a range of sensations, and 2016’s line up looks sure to do the same. Cinema is and always will be the best place to see film and to experience the emotions film brings out in us.”

2016 will see a Cin-sational line-up of high-profile releases at Empire Cinemas – for tickets and listings seewww.empirecinemas.co.uk

Darlington Civic Theatre – Beyond The Barricade

Civic Theatre Hi Res Logo (1)DO YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING…

Beyond The Barricade returns to Darlington Civic Theatre in January with an evening of songs from the most loved musicals of all time.

Beyond The Barricade has delighted audiences throughout the UK and Europe for more than a decade, with its exciting concert portrayal of the greatest songs in musical theatre, all performed totally live.

Recreating original West End and Broadway musical hit songs with amazing authenticity, this cast of past principal performers from Les Misérables present a blockbusting show, which is now established as the nation’s favourite musical theatre concert.

Starring Andy Reiss, David Fawcett, Katie Leeming and Rebecca Vere, together with their own ensemble of talented musicians, Beyond The Barricade features songs from The Phantom Of The Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jersey Boys, The Lion King, Blood Brothers, Miss Saigon and many more, climaxing with a spectacular finale from, of course, Les Misérables.

Don’t miss the Musicals event of the year!

Beyond The Barricade is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Thursday 14 January.

Tickets* £19 & £21, Groups 10+ £2.50 off.

To book contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit www.darlingtoncivic.co.uk

*All prices include a £1 restoration levy



The Father 18-23 April ‘16

Tom 3 – 7 May ‘16

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour 12-16 July ‘16

The Commitments 6-11 Feb ‘17


Fresh from winning the ‘Most Welcoming Theatre in the UK’ award in October, Newcastle Theatre Royal has announced a sizzling new season for Spring/Summer 2016, full of delights for all tastes and ages.


The season features musical film classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1 – 12 Jun ‘16) which will have audiences of all ages flying high with its mixture of madness, intrigue and exuberance, but this isn’t the only musical extravaganza instore…


A brand new musical TOM. A Story of Tom Jones, The Musical is set to make its North East debut 3-7 May. An inspirational show full of Tom’s greatest hits, it takes audiences back in time to the working men’s clubs of the ‘60s where the legend of Tom Jones was born: a Valleys boy with a heart-stopping voice. Welsh West End star Kit Orton appears in the title role.


In July, the producers of the sell-out smash hit Puttin’ on the Ritz return with the dazzling song and dance extravaganza That’s Entertainment (5-9 July) celebrating the biggest hits of the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s.  The show includes sumptuous music by Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and features glorious costumes and an award-winning cast of singers and dancers.

Back again in August due to popular demand is the international multi-award winning musical, Chicago (1-13 August). Based on real life events back in the roaring 1920s this world-famous show tells the sordid tale of a nightclub singer, a double-murderess, a smooth-talking lawyer and a cell block of sin, and features one of the sexiest, sassiest scores ever written.


February 2017 brings soul-celebration The Commitments (6-11 Feb 2017) to the Theatre Royal, direct from a phenomenally successful, record breaking two year run in London’s West End.  The musical has been adapted from the novel by Booker prize winning author Roddy Doyle himself and is directed by the award-winning Jamie Lloyd. Like the novel and the film, this tale of a talented group of working class Dubliners is full of heart and features over 20 soul classics performed live on stage including:Night Train, Try A Little Tenderness, River Deep, Mountain High, In The Midnight Hour and many more.


Another hit from the West End, this time for drama lovers, is The Father (18-23 April 2016), the winner of France’s highest theatrical honour – the 2014 Moliere Award -and the most acclaimed new play of the decade.  It tells the tragic tale of eighty year old Andre who has Alzheimer’s disease and whose life is starting to spiral out of control.  In Christopher Hampton’s crisp and witty translation it has dazzled audiences across the country and received an unprecedented ten five star reviews from major national critics. Tony Award nominee Kenneth Cranham reprises his indelible performance for this tour direct from the West Award.


A wonderfully uplifting family drama for May is the Olivier award-winning Goodnight Mister Tom (17-21 May) starring David Troughton (The Archers). A magical stage adaptation of Michelle Magorian’s heart-warming tale, set during the dangerous build up to the Second World War, the story follows young William Beech who is evacuated to the idyllic English countryside and forges a remarkable friendship with the elderly recluse, Tom Oakley. Winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and commended for the Carnegie Medal, Goodnight Mister Tom is now also a world-wide literary favourite and a BAFTA award-winning TV film.


From one country idyll to another, and the first ever stage adaptation of ITV’s popular Sunday evening 60s police drama,Heartbeat visits in late May (23 – 28 May). Heartbeat ran for 18 years from 1992 to 2010 with audiences regularly exceeding 10 million viewers and constantly being in the top five TV programmes across all channels. This new stage production features all the show’s favourite characters, video footage,  an original script  and even members of the original TV cast, and perfectly recreates the show live on stage.

June sees the return of an old favourite – the Olivier Award winning comedy adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic spy thriller,The 39 Steps (27 June – 2 July), this time on its 10th Anniversary Tour. Featuring only four actors playing a staggering 130 characters in 100 minutes, the show follows  handsome hero Richard Hannay on his incredible adventures as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women! This wonderfully inventive and gripping comedy thriller is set to be as fast-paced and thrilling as ever.


Following its sell-out success at Live Theatre, Lee Hall’s hit play Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour (12-16 July) makes its Theatre Royal debut in the summer. Adapted from Alan Warner’s brilliant novel about six girls on the cusp of change, the play tells a tale of love, lust, pregnancy and death – which all spiral out of control in a single day. Warner’s blisteringly funny dialogue – a tribute to being young, lost and out of control, ends in fireworks (literally).


Comedy fans will delight in two hit shows arriving in the Summer – national trinket, author, TV and Radio star Julian Clary is bringing ‘The Joy of Mincing’ on Sunday 15 May, a celebration of 30 years as a camp comedian and Julian at his filthy best, live and unplugged.  June then sees the return of those fabulous Grumpy Old Women (Sun 26 June) – back at the Theatre Royal after a critically acclaimed, total sell-out and extremely grumpy tour in spring  2015 and ready once again to  knock some sense into the nation!  Perrier Award-winning comedian, writer and original star of the show Jenny Eclair will be joined by fellow recruits Susie Blake (Handbagged, Coronation Street) and actress and singer Kate Robbins (Where The Heart Is).


A rare treat for North East audiences, one of the world’s most celebrated dance companies Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT2) will visit in the Spring (26-27 April).  Featuring a corps of 18 young international dancers aged 18-23, the company offers a unique blend of breathtaking dance, awe-inspiring skill and unparalleled creativity and promises to thrill and entertain with its sheer exuberance and astonishing athleticism.


A perennial favourite with Theatre Royal audiences – Scottish Ballet follows hot on NDT2’s heels, bringing its World Premiere ofSwan Lake from 11-14 May. Set to enchant a whole new generation with an imaginative re-telling of the timeless tale, this new production is choreographed by the award-winning British

dance maker David Dawson – one of the most innovative choreographers in classical ballet today. This will be the company’s first tour of the ballet in over 20 years and is set to once again astonish with ethereal sets and costumes, and Tchaikovsky’s iconic score performed live by the Scottish Ballet Orchestra.


Another favourite, this time with our younger audiences, Peppa Pig is back in Newcastle in July with her brand new live stage show, Peppa Pig’s Surprise (27-28 July)! Peppa is playing outside with her friends on a sunny day, and Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig have got a surprise for her and George! A charming, colourful new show with new songs and new life size puppets, perfect for pre-schoolers.


He’s impossible to categorise, and equally impossible to forget, the multi-award winning acknowledged ‘master of psychological illusion’ Derren Brown is back in the summer with his most provocative show yet, Derren Brown: Miracle (20-25 June).  Derren is one of the world’s most renowned live performers; a dark manipulator of magic and mind control, a miracle man of our modern times.  This new show delivers an evening of mind-altering genius full of extraordinary and unbelievable events – showmanship at its very best.


And there are plenty of great shows to suit all tastes already on sale in our current season with family-favourite musicalsHairspray (19 – 30 Jan ‘16),

Guys & Dolls (22 Mar – 2 Apr), The Mikado (15 – 18 June) and Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s multi award-winning musicalMary Poppins (8 Sept – 29 Oct). Lovers of mystery and intrigue will revel in Stephen Daldry’s multi award-winning West End production of J.B. Priestley’s classic thriller, An Inspector Calls (9-13 Feb) and No.1 best-selling author Peter James’ critically acclaimed stage hit – The Perfect Murder (22-27 Feb).


For dance fans, Rambert (2-4 Feb), Stomp (15-20 Feb) and the return of Matthew Bourne’s Sleeping Beauty (5-16 April) will offer a feast for the senses, while drama enthusiasts can delight in Regent’s Park Theatre’s adaptation of William Goulding’s cut-throat tale of young society run wild Lord of the Flies (8-12 March 2016) and Alan Bennett’s Olivier-award winning comedy Single Spies(15-19 March).  The Opera North Spring season features three hit productions: Mozart’s romantic Cosi Fan Tutte (2 & 4 March), Donizetti’s sunny L’Elisir D’amore (3 March) and Girodano’s tragic Andrea Chenier (5 March).


The Theatre Royal’s annual pantomime still reigns as the region’s favourite and with over 90,000 tickets sold for this year’s extravaganza Dick Whittington (running until 17 Jan ‘16) it’s breaking all records once again.


Tickets for all new shows in the Spring / Summer ‘16 season can be purchased online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge).


New thriller Rehearsal for Murder to tour the UK

A new theatre company created by Bill Kenwright is set to tour the UK with their production of Rehearsal for Murder, opening at the Theatre Royal, Windsor in January 2016.

Rehearsal for Murder will be the first production from The Classic Thriller Theatre Company and is written by the award-winning team Richard Levinson and William Link, who are also responsible for Murder She Wrote and Columbo.

The production is set to star real-life spouses Robert Daws and Amy Robbins. Daws recently played Dr Choake in Poldark and has been in Midsomer Murders and Coronation Street, whilst Robbins is known for her role as Dr Jill Weatherill in The Royal. Her theatre credits include Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers.

They will be joined by Susan Penhaligon (And Then There Were None), Robert Duncan (12 Angry Men), Ben Nealon (Black Coffee), Steven Pinder (Brookside) and Lucy Dixon (Hollyoaks).

Adapted by David Rogers and directed by Roy Marsden, the murder mystery play follows playwright Alex Dennison as he tries to uncover the truth about his wife’s suicide and reveal it was murder.

Rehearsal for Murder runs at the Theatre Royal, Windsor from 12 to 16 January, after which it will tour to Peterborough, Malvern, Cardiff, Richmond, Stoke, Aylesbury, Brighton, Edinburgh, Bath, Birmingham, Guildford, Croydon, Cheltenham, Coventry, Southend and Milton Keynes.

Lyn Paul returns to the role of Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers UK Tour

Following a sell-out autumn 2015 tour, the international smash hit musical Blood Brothers is set to tour theatres across the UK into 2016. The tour opens in Peterborough on Tuesday 12th January 2016.

No stranger to Blood Brothers, ‘The definitive Mrs Johnstone’ (Manchester Evening News) Lyn Paul makes a welcome return to the iconic role, one she first played in 1997. Lyn last played Mrs Johnstone in the final West End performances at the Phoenix Theatre in 2012. She has starred in the UK tour of Cabaret in 2013 as Fraulein Schneider, in Boy George’s musical Taboo and in Footloose – the Musical.

Lyn rose to fame in the early 1970s as a member of the New Seekers. She was the featured vocalist on their 1972 Eurovision Song Contest entry, ‘Beg, Steal or Borrow’, in which they came second and lead vocalist on the 1974 number-one hit ‘You Won’t Find Another Fool Like Me’. Among the group’s other works, they recorded the song ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing’, adapted from an advertising jingle for Coca-Cola, which sold over 20 million copies and still remains one of the 100 best-selling singles in the UK.

Hailed as one of the best musicals of all time, Blood Brothers, written by award-winning playwright Willy Russell has triumphed across the globe. Scooping up no less than four awards for best musical in London and seven Tony Award nominations on Broadway, Blood Brothers is simply unmissable and unbeatable. This epic tale of Liverpool life ran in London’s West End for 24 years and exceeded 10,000 performances. It is one of only three musicals ever to achieve that milestone.

Blood Brothers tells the captivating and moving story of twin boys separated at birth, only to be reunited by a twist of fate and a mother’s haunting secret. The memorable score includes A Bright New Day, Marilyn Monroe and the emotionally charged hit Tell Me It’s Not True.

When Mrs Johnstone, a young mother, is deserted by her husband and left to her own devices to provide for seven hungry children she takes a job as a housekeeper in order to make ends meet.

It is not long before her brittle world crashes around her when she discovers herself to be pregnant yet again – this time with twins! In a moment of weakness and desperation, she enters a secret pact with her employer which leads inexorably to the show’s shattering climax. A sensational cast, incredible show stopping music, remarkable staging and five star performances make Blood Brothers an enthralling night of entertainment.

Willy Russell is undeniably one of this country’s leading contemporary dramatists. His countless credits include Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine. Educating Rita, originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, enjoyed a two year run in the West End and was made into a movie starring Michael Caine and Julie Walters. Shirley Valentine also made the move from stage to screen in an enormously popular film starring Pauline Collins and Tom Conti.

Further casting for Blood Brothers is to be announced.

Tuesday 12th – Saturday 17th January 2016
Box Office: 01733 822225
Peterborough, Broadway Theatre

Tuesday 19th – Saturday 23rd January 2016
Box Office: 01323 412000
Eastbourne Theatres

Monday 25th – Saturday 30th January 2016
Box Office: 0844 871 7651
Richmond Theatre

Monday 1st – Saturday 6th February 2016
Box Office: 0300 300 0035
Grimsby Auditorium

Monday 8th – Saturday 13th February 2016
Box Office: 0844 871 3014
Edinburgh Playhouse

Monday 15th – Saturday 20th February
Box Office: 0115 989 5555
Nottingham, Theatre Royal

Monday 22nd – Saturday 27th February 2016
Box Office: 0844 871 7620
Bromley, Churchill Theatre

Tuesday 1st – Saturday 5th March 2016
Box Office: 0844 871 3020
Oxford, New Theatre

Monday 7th – Saturday 12th March 2016
Box Office: 0845 127 2190
Buxton, Opera House

Tuesday 22nd – Saturday 27th March 2016
Box Office: 0844 871 3023
Torquay, Princess Theatre

Monday 28th March – Saturday 2nd April 2016
Box Office: 0844 848 2700
Leeds Grand Theatre

Tuesday 5th – Saturday 9th April 2016
Box Office: 0844 856 1111
Blackpool, Opera House

Monday 11th – Saturday 16th April 2016
Box Office: 01494 512000
High Wycombe, Swan Theatre

Further dates and casting to be announced

Alan Ayckbourn’s Confusions and Hero’s Welcome to tour UK and US in 2016

Two of playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s works, one a revival and the other a brand new play, are set to tour next year from January 2016.

A major revival of Ayckbourn’s acclaimed 1974 play Confusions will embark on a national and international tour alongside his latest play, Hero’s Welcome. The tour opens at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, where the productions will run from 13th to 23rd January 2016 before continuing on to also visit Cambridge, Bath, Windsor, Eastbourne and Malvern. They will then head to New York in May to play for US audiences as part of the Brits off Broadway Festival.

Confusions is a series of five interconnected one-act plays, each performed by an ensemble cast of five people and individually titled Mother Figure, Drinking Companion, Between Mouthfuls, Gosforth’s Fete and A Talk in the Park.

Hero’s Welcome is Ayckbourn’s 79th play, and follows the story of a soldier returning to his home town with his new bride after seventeen years. They do not receive an altogether welcoming reception however. It premiered earlier this year, September 2015, at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

Both productions are directed by Alan Ayckbourn and feature the same cast members: Stephen Billington, Emma Manton, Russell Dixon, Richard Stacey and Elizabeth Boag. They will be joined in Hero’s Welcome however by Evelyn Hoskins, who was most recently seen in ITV’s The Sound of Music LIVE as Liesl.

All confirmed UK dates for the 2016 Tour of Confusions and Hero’s Welcome are listed below:

13th – 23rd Jan (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford)
1st – 6th Feb (Cambridge Arts Theatre)
8th – 13th Feb (Theatre Royal Windsor)
15th – 20th Feb (Theatre Royal Bath)
22nd – 27th Feb (Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne)
29th Feb – 5th March (Malvern Theatres)

The Stage Awards 2016 Shortlist Announced

Hamlet and Harry Potter producer Sonia Friedman defends crown in The Stage Awards 2016

The world’s oldest and best theatre publication, The Stage, has announced the shortlist for its annual industry awards, celebrating success within the performing arts industry.

Sonia Friedman is shortlisted for Producer of the Year, the category she won in the 2015 awards, where she is up against Tooting Arts Club’s Rachel Edwards and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Shakespeare’s Globe is also back in the running for the second year in a row, shortlisted for London Theatre of the Year; it won in the International category in 2015.

The regional theatre shortlist includes Chichester Festival Theatre, the Royal and Derngate in Northampton and Manchester’s Royal Exchange, while Cardiff’s the Other Room, founded in 2014, has made its way into the running for Fringe Theatre of Year alongside London venues Camden People’s Theatre and the Orange Tree, which in 2014 was stripped of all its arts council funding.

London theatres vying for silverware include an on-form Almeida, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Barbican Theatre. Internationally, the Good Chance theatre space, based in the Calais refugee camp, is in the company of London’s Greenwich Docklands and International Festival, and the national theatres of China and Great Britain for the exchange of skills on their joint production of War Horse.

The Stage Awards, in association with Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach, are decided by The Stage’s senior editorial team, following extensive consultation with leading figures in the theatre industry.

Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage and chair of the judging panel, said:

“As with The Stage newspaper and website, The Stage Awards represent the full breadth of the industry, from the schools training our future theatremakers to international collaborations that are trading skills across the globe.

“This year’s shortlist is particularly exciting in its scope. Where else could you see West End producer Sonia Friedman going up against the producer behind a tiny south London community arts company, or a new pub theatre in Wales vying with an experimental fringe space in Camden?

“The Stage Awards recognise innovation and success in theatre, and we’re thrilled so many of our readers took the opportunity to tell us who they thought should be nominated. We also had dozens of top-level industry practitioners put forward their own nominations and the judging panel faced some very tough choices putting together this shortlist. It’s a testament to the current quality of UK and international theatre that so many talented, driven and successful organisations did not make the cut this year.”

The Stage Awards, in association with Robertson Taylor W&P Longreach, will be announced on January 29 at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.

Shortlist in full

London Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Häagen-Dazs

Almeida Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by encoreinsure.com

Camden People’s Theatre, London
Orange Tree Theatre, London
The Other Room, Cardiff

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Theatre 2016

Chichester Festival Theatre
Royal and Derngate, Northampton
Royal Exchange, Manchester

Producer Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by John Good Ltd

Edinburgh International Festival
Rachel Edwards
Sonia Friedman

International Award
Sponsored by ATG 

Good Chance, Calais
Greenwich and Docklands International Festival
War Horse China

School of the Year
Sponsored by Digital Theatre Plus.com

Arts Educational Schools, London
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
University of Warwick, School of Theatre, Performance and Cultural Policy Studies

Theatre Building of the Year
Sponsored by ABTT and Richard Pilbrow

King’s Cross Theatre, London
NT Future, London
Wilton’s Music Hall, London


About The Stage Awards
The Stage Awards highlights the achievements by London, regional and fringe theatres as well as international achievements. Additionally there are categories for producer, theatre building and school of the year. The Stage also presents an award to an unsung hero for which there is no shortlist.

This year’s shortlist was compiled from hundreds of nominations received through the open public nomination process. In addition, for the first year ever, an industry focus group of 50 people steered the shortlist. The final cut was selected by a panel of senior editorial figures at The Stage and aims to celebrate the finest theatre achievements of the past year.

The judging panel included The Stage print editor Alistair Smith, online editor Paddy Smith, news editor Matthew Hemley, associate editor Mark Shenton and lead critic Natasha Tripney.