Willemijn Verkaik In Concert at the Ambassadors Theatre

Paul Taylor-Mills presents

Willemijn Verkaik

In Concert at The Ambassadors Theatre

On Tuesday 25 August 2015


Willemijn Verkaik in Women on the Verge. Photo credit Jay BrooksDutch vocal powerhouse Willemijn Verkaik will play a one-off solo concert at the Ambassadors Theatre on Tuesday 25 August 2015.


Accompanied by a live band and joined by some to-be-announced special guests, Willemijn will take a journey through some of the greatest classic and contemporary musicals of all time, as well as celebrating some of the iconic songs that have defined her career so far.


Willemijn Verkaik is best known for playing the role of Elphaba in Wicked, having performed the role in the West End, on Broadway, in Germany and the Netherlands. Willemijn is also the only actress to have performed the role in multiple languages. Other stage credits include Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown in the West End, and Mamma Mia!, Aida and We Will Rock You in Germany. Willemijn also voiced Elsa in the Dutch and German versions of Disney’s smash hit animated film Frozen. Recordings include the German cast recording of Wicked, and appearances on Scott Alan’s albums What I Wanna Be When I Grow Up and Live.


This one-off UK concert promises to be a magical and intimate evening with one of theatreland’s greatest contemporary vocalists.


Willemijn will also be bringing her concert to New York for two performances only, playing at 54 Below on Thursday 27 and Friday 28 August 2015 at 7.00pm.




Willemijn Verkaik – In Concert


TUESDAY 25 AUGUST 2015, 8.00pm


West Street, London, WC2

Tickets: £17.50 and £29.50

Box Office: 08448 112334 | www.theambassadorstheatre.co.uk


THURSDAY 27 and FRIDAY 28 AUGUST 2015, 7.00pm


254 W 54th St, Cellar, New York, NY 10019

Tickets: $40, $45, $50, $80

Box Office: (646) 476-3551 | www. 54below.com



Hackney Empire presents
2015 Pantomime



 He’s back! Clive Rowe is to tread the boards at Hackney Empire once again starring as Dame Daisy Trott in their 2015 pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, from 21 November 2015 to 3 January 2016.

Starring as Jack will be Olivier Award-nominated Bodyguard actress Debbie Kurup. She is new to the Hackney family, having most recently appeared in the UK tour of Anything Goes, following her Olivier-nomination for her role as Nicki Marron in The Bodyguard in London’s West End. Hackney Empire favourite Kat B will join the pair on stage as Snowman with further casting still to be announced.

Rowe returns to the home of London’s number one pantomime after reprising his Olivier-nominated title role in Mother Goose in 2014. The production was Hackney Empire’s most successful pantomime to date and was seen by over 50,000 people from all over London.


Jack and the Beanstalk will be written and directed by the theatre’s Artistic Director Susie McKennawith music by Steven Edis. The team has been the creative force behind London’s number one pantomime for over a decade.


In true Hackney style the production will feature a break dancing cow, bonkers baddies and the scariest giant ever, outlandish costumes and glittering sets by Lotte Collett, buckets of silliness, tons of audience participation and full-on show stopping songs performed by a kickin’ live band.

After 15 years of perpetual winter the kingdom of Hackneydale is really feeling the pinch of austerity cuts. McKenna’s production follows two stories, that of young and earnest Jack and of the HUGE scary giant. Whilst Jack is tempted by a mysterious stranger into swapping the family’s trusty old cow for a handful of magic beans, the Giant’s inventions for making gold are destroying the Earth… Can Jack and his crazy mates save the day?

Clive Rowe (Dame Daisy Trott) was nominated for the 2008 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre for his role as Mother Goose at Hackney Empire. Rowe’s extensive theatre credits include his Olivier Award-winning performance in Guys and Dolls (National Theatre), The Light Princess, Carousel (for which he was nominated for an Olivier Award), Fuente Ovejuna, Caroline or Change, The Villains Opera, Money, Candide, Peter Pan (all National Theatre), Kiss Me Kate (Chichester and Old Vic Theatre) and The Ladykillers (West End and UK Tour). He is well known for his role as ‘Duke’ in the BBC’s The Story of Tracey Beaker. Other television credits include All the Small Things,Doctor Who, Dalziel & Pascoe, and The Harry Hill Show. Rowe returns to Hackney Empire for his eleventh pantomime appearance.

Debbie Kurup (Jack) most recently played the role of Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes (UK/Ireland Tour). Prior to this, she played Nicki Marron in the World Premiere of The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre, London(2013) for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical. Kurup has also appeared in Chicago (Adelphi), Ben Elton’s Tonight’s The Night (Victoria Palace), Rent (UK Tour and West End), Sister Act (Palladium) and West Side Story (Prince of Wales).

Kat B (Snowman) returns to Hackney Empire after his role as Billy Goose in last year’s production ofMother Goose. He also starred in the title role of Puss in Boots in Hackney Empire’s 2014 production. Previous credits include Dick Whittington, Cinderella, The Wiz, Mother Goose, A Christmas Carol, Aladdin, Jack and the Beanstalk and The Kat and Tameka Show. Kat is best known for his antics on MTV Base where he has presented numerous shows around the world. His film and television credits includeWaterland and Street Wise (BBC) and The Richard Blackwood Show (Channel 4). Kat is also the Artistic Director of Real Deal Comedy Jam and a regular on the Jongleurs Circuit.

Susie McKenna (Writer /Director) has worked as an actress and director touring nationally and in the West End for over 25 years and is currently Creative Director of Hackney Empire. Her directing credits include the critically acclaimed Blues In the Night ( Hackney Empire 2014)  A Midsummer Night’s Madness (Hackney Empire, New York and Edinburgh Festival), La Varieté, Once on This Island (Hackney Empire), Sit and Shiver (assisting Steven Berkoff), A Christmas Carol (Arts Theatre, London) and Once on this Island (Hackney Empire, Birmingham Rep, Nottingham Playhouse). Her acting credits includeChicago, Ragtime, Cats and The Witches of Eastwick in the West End and national tours of Hair, The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar.

Steven Edis (Musical Composer) returns once again to create a magical mix of musical mash-ups, chart remixes and an original score. Steven has worked with the National Theatre, in the West End and on a variety of prestigious projects as composer, arranger and orchestrator. Credits include Volpone (RSC),The Captain of Köpenick (National Theatre), She Loves Me and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead(Chichester Festival Theatre), A Chorus of Disapproval, Flare Path and Birdsong for the West End. Steven brings his vast experience to create a musical score that rivals a West End musical.

Tickets are now on sale.


A Hackney Empire Pantomime
Press Night: Thu 26 Nov, 7pm

Written and Directed by Susie McKenna
Music: Steven Edis
Design: Lotte Collett
Musical Director: Mark Dickman
Choreographer: Carl Parris
Lighting: David W Kidd
Sound Design: Andy Hedges
Assistant Director: Tony Whittle
Creature Design: Scott Brooker

Sat 21 Nov 2015 – Sun 3 Jan 2016

Tickets prices
Tickets from £34.50 – £10, concessions available
Groups of 10+ discount available at certain of performances
Early Bird offer: Book and pay before 30 Sept and receive best available seats for just £17.50 per ticket. Available at certain performances.

Signed Performances
Sat 5 Dec at 2.30pm & 7pm.
Thu 17 Dec at 1.30pm (schools performance) & 7pm.

Relaxed Performance
Sat 5 Dec at 2.30pm (pre-show meet and greet, 12.45 – 1.15pm)

Box Office: 020 8985 2424



First Look – Start of Rehearsals for the West End Transfer of McQUEEN






McQUEEN, which received its world premiere in May at St. James Theatre, where it broke box office records, will transfer to London’s West End, opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on Thursday 27 August, following previews from 13 August, for a strictly limited season until 7 November.

Written by James Phillips and directed by John Caird, the production stars award-winning actor Stephen Wight in the title role. Janet McQueen, one of Lee Alexander McQueen’s sisters, said of the play and the production at St. James Theatre, “It was as though the play and Stephen’s performance brought Lee back to me again. I felt as though he was real again for me.” Gary McQueen, Lee’s nephew, added, “It does really hit something in your heart.”

Carly Bawden (Dahlia) and Stephen Wight (Lee) Photo Credit SpecularJoining Stephen in the West End run will be Carly Bawden in the role of Dahlia. The role was originated by Dianna Agron who is not participating in the transfer due to filming commitments. Reprising their roles as Isabella Blow and Arabella will be Tracy-Ann Oberman and Laura Rees respectively. Michael Bertenshaw will be joining the cast as Mr Hitchcock. Further casting for the West End transfer to be announced.

For the transfer to the West End, scenes have been rewritten and an interval has been added. James Phillips said, “I’m so delighted to have McQueen in the West End, and to take this opportunity to refine some things from the original production. For me, it’s also thrilling that we’re going into the Theatre Royal Haymarket, as it was in this theatre that I had my first ever professional job, a few months after leaving college. I was a peasant – a silent role! – in Miss Julie starring Christopher Eccleston, Aisling O’Sullivan and Maxine Peake that Thelma Holt produced. It really is one of the most beautiful theatres I’ve ever been in.”

McQUEEN is a journey into the visionary imagination and dream world of Alexander McQueen, fashion’s greatest contemporary artist. Set on a single London night, it is more than a bio-play. It is stepping into the fairy story landscape of McQueen’s mind, the landscape seen in his immortal shows, where with a dress an urchin can become an Amazon, where beauty might just help us survive the night. A girl has watched McQueen’s Mayfair house for eleven consecutive days. Tonight she climbs down from her watching tree and breaks into his house, to steal a dress, to become someone special. He catches her,

but, instead of calling the police, they embark together on a journey through London and into his heart.

Lee Alexander McQueen died on 11 February 2010 aged 40. Born in Lewisham and raised in Stratford, East London, at 16 he served an apprenticeship with Savile Row tailors Anderson & Sheppard. Later, he studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design and his graduation collection was bought in its entirety by influential fashion stylist Isabella Blow. He was appointed head designer at Givenchy in 1996, where he remained until 2001. He founded his own Alexander McQueen label, and the Gucci Group acquired 51% of his company in 2000, with McQueen serving as Creative Director. McQueen achieved the title British Designer of the Year four times between 1996 and 2003, and was also awarded the CBE and named International Designer of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers in 2003. New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hosted a posthumous exhibition of McQueen’s work in 2011 titled Savage Beauty. The exhibition is currently being shown at the V&A until 2 August.

Stephen Wight was named Outstanding Newcomer at the Evening Standard Awards for his performances in Michael Grandage’s production of Don Juan in Soho and Samuel West’s production of Dealer’s Choice. Other theatre includes Nicholas Hytner’s production of The Habit of Art at the National and Sean Foley’s production of The Ladykillers in the West End. On television, he has played Simon in Bluestone 42 (BBC 3), Sam in The Paradise (BBC 1), Mitch in Threesome (Comedy Central), Fletcher in Sherlock and Charles in the BBC mini-series Fingersmith. His films include Wilderness, Highlander: The Source, Weekender with Jack O’Connell, Henry Lloyd-Hughes and Zawe Ashton and Ashes with Jim Sturgess and Ray Winstone.

Carly Bawden (Dahlia) Photo Credit SpecularCarly Bawden’s theatre credits include Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory), Dead Dog in a Suitcase, Tristan & Yseult and The Beggar’s Opera for Kneehigh, My Fair Lady with Dominic West (Sheffield Crucible), Pippin (Menier Chocolate Factory), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Leicester Curve and Gielgud Theatre), and the tours of Whistle Down the Wind and Evita, for which she was nominated for TMA Award for Best Supporting Actress 2009.

Tracy-Ann Oberman played Chrissie in EastEnders, Yvonne Hartman in Doctor Who, Lizzie Clapham in Monroe, Aunty Val in Friday Night Dinner, Mrs Purchase in Toast of London and Diana in the film Filth starring James McAvoy and Jamie Bell. In theatre, she has acted with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the National, including playing opposite Kenneth Branagh in Edmond.

Stephen Wight (Lee) Carly Bawden (Dahlia) Michael Bertenshaw (Mr. Hitchcock) Photo Credit Specular (2)Laura Rees’s theatre credits include Ophelia in Ninagawa’s Hamlet at the Barbican, Christopher Luscombe’s Comedy of Errors, Lucy Bailey’s Titus Andronicus and Kathryn Hunter’s Pericles at Shakespeare’s Globe, and Rupert Gould’s Macbeth and Philip Franks’s Twelfth Night at Chichester.

Laura Rees, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Stephen Wight, Carly Bawden and Michael Bertenshaw. Photo Credit SpecularMichael Bertenshaw’s recent theatre credits include The Merchant of Venice, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well That Ends Well and Anne Boleyn, all for Shakespeare’s Globe. His many television credits include playing Ralph Miliband in the documentary drama Miliband of Brothers, two three-part thrillers Murderland and Oktober, and regular appearances in the drama series Seaforth and in the children’s drama series C.A.B..

Far right - Eloise Hymas (Ensemble Dancer) Photo Credit Specular (3) - CopyJames Phillips’s first staged play, The Little Fir Tree, was commissioned by and performed, under his direction, at the Sheffield Crucible in 2004. He wrote and directed The Rubinstein Kiss at Hampstead Theatre in 2005. His most recent plays were Hidden in the Sand, which opened at the Trafalgar Studios in 2013, and City Stories, which was staged at the St. James Theatre Studio during the run of McQueen.

Andrei Teodor Iliescu, Amelia Jackson and Jessica Buckby (Ensemble Dancers) Photo Credit Specular (4) - CopyJohn Caird is an Honorary Associate Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, where his work includes over 20 productions of classic and new plays including co-productions with Trevor Nunn of Nicholas Nickleby, Peter Pan and Les Misérables. His National Theatre productions include Hamlet and Humble Boy, both with Simon Russell Beale, Stanley with Antony Sher, and his own new version of Bernstein’s Candide for which he won a Laurence Olivier Award.

McQUEEN has production design by David Farley, choreography by Christopher Marney, video design by Tim Bird, lighting design by David Howe, sound design by John Leonard, wigs designed by Linda McKnight and casting by Kate Plantin CDG & Jayne Collins CDG.

McQUEEN is produced at the Theatre Royal Haymarket by Robert Mackintosh, AMIR Ltd, Hilary A. Williams, Deborah Negri, with Julian Stoneman as executive producer, for and on behalf of McQ Productions Ltd.


13 August to 7 November 2015

Theatre Royal Haymarket

18 Suffolk Street

London SW1Y 4HT

Box Office: 020 7930 8800

Performances: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm*, Thursdays and Saturdays at 3.00pm**

*7.00pm on Thursday 27 August

**No 3.00pm performances on Thursday 13, 20 and 27 August

Ticket Prices: £15 – £65 (including booking fees); Premium Seats £85; Previews: £15 – £45

Running Time: 2 hours, including interval Website: www.mcqueentheplay.com

Facebook: facebook.com/McQueenThePlay

Twitter: @McQueenThePlay



National Youth Theatre, The Christmas TV and Film Company and Sky Arts present

Generation Sext, airing on 29th July at 10pm on Sky Arts, is an innovative new docu-drama exploring sexualisation and sexual consent  amongst young people, created by The Christmas TV & Film Company, in collaboration with the National Youth Theatre. Focusing in on the relatively recent and increasingly common phenomenon of ‘sexting’, sending explicit images or messages, the documentary follows the young members of the NYT as they develop their forthcoming West End play Consensual, based around similar themes.

An exploration of a particular issue facing young people today, told by those young people themselves, the enlightening 30 minute film has been made by The Christmas TV and Film Company in collaboration with NYT and was specially commissioned by Sky Arts for its Sex Season. The piece has been created as a mix of real-life testimony, documentary footage and dramatic scenes written on location as an immediate response to the issues generated by the workshops. The multi-layered film will star some of Britain’s best young acting talent.

Generation Sext is directed by Frances Dickenson (The Christmas TV & Film Company), and Paul Roseby (Artistic Director, The National Youth Theatre). It is produced by The Christmas TV & Film Company’s Caz Gorham and Jo McClellan is Executive Producer for Sky. The drama elements were written by Kirsty Swain.

Consensual is a brand new play written by Evan Placey (Girls Like That, Holloway Jones) and will be directed by Pia Furtardo (Dirty Great Love Story at Soho Theatre and L’Elisir D’Amore at Opera Holland Park).  Exploring teenage testosterone, teacher pupil relationships and the age of consent in the UK, Consensual will examine the relationship between PSHE teacher Diane and her class, specifically fifteen year old Freddie. “Think of Sexual Relationship Education as a war zone and you’re the journalist. Give the facts, show the photos, but don’t get too close unless you want your head blown off”. It will premiere at The Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End this autumn.

The NYT’s rep season returns to the Ambassadors Theatre in London’s West End later this year with three new productions. The 10-week season will feature: Consensual; Wuthering Heights, a new adaptation of Emily Brontë’s novel and The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare’s play abridged especially for schools by Tom Stoppard. Performances will start on 25 September 2015, with press performances on 6 and 7 October 2015.

Generation Sext airs on Wednesday 29th July at 10.00pm on Sky Arts as part of the channel’s Sex Season.


Ambassadors Theatre, WC2H 9ND
18 September – 4 December 2015

Consensual Press Performances 6 & 7 October, 7:30pm
Matinee performance (2:30pm):18 September
Evening performances (7:30pm):, 29, 30 September; 6, 7, 13, 14, 20 October; 3, 4, 10, 11, 18, 24 November; 2 December

Wuthering Heights Press Performance 6 October, 2:30pm
Matinee performances (2:30pm):
25 September; 2, 6, 13, 14, 23, 30 October; 6, 10, 11, 24, 27 November; 1, 4 December
Evening performances (7:30pm):
27, October; 17, 25 November;

The Merchant of Venice
Press Performances 7 October (2:30pm) & 9 October (2:30pm)
Matinee performances (2:30pm):
29, 30 September; 7, 9, 16, 20, 26, 27 October; 3, 4, 13, 17, 18, 25 November; 2 December
Evening performances (7:30pm):
1 December

Box Office
08448 112 334
020 7452 3000

More information at www.nyt.org.uk

New Cast for Grand Thriller












And Then There Were None at LGT Pamela Raith Photography Three more famous faces from stage and screen are set to become Agatha Christie’s latest guests as they join the UK tour of And Then There Were None this summer, which marks the 10th anniversary of The Agatha Christie Theatre Company and the 125th anniversary of the author’s birth.

West End and TV stars Gary Mavers, Neil Stacy and Deborah Grant will join this production of the Queen of Crime’s most popular and best-selling thriller, when it comes to Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday August 17th to Saturday 22nd August.

GARY MAVERS in And Then There Were None at Leeds Grand TheatreGary Mavers, best known as Peak Practice heart-throb Dr Andrew Attwood, will play retired police inspector William Henry Blore, Neil Stacy, who is best known for his role as Robert Cochran in the 80s ITV sitcom Duty Free, will play judge Sir Lawrence Wargrave, Bergerac and Peak Practice’s Deborah Grant will star as eccentric spinster Emily Brent, while Kezia Burrows, best known as junior doctor Cath Llewellyn in the 2009 BBC drama series Crash, joins the cast as secretary Vera Claythorne.

They join Frazer Hines, best known for his role as companion Jamie McCrimmon in Doctor Who, as Rogers, formerBlue Peter presenter and actor Mark Curry as Dr. Armstrong, Soldier Soldier’s Ben Nealon as Philip Lombard andBouquet of Barbed Wire’s Eric Carte as General Mackenzie.


A group of 10 strangers is lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon. Upon arrival it is discovered that their host, an eccentric millionaire, is missing. At dinner a recorded message is played accusing each of them in turn of having a guilty secret and by the end of the evening the 10 guests become nine. Stranded on the island by a torrential storm and haunted by an ancient nursery rhyme, one by one the guests begin to die. And with only the fallen believed to be innocent who amongst them is the killer?

And Then There Were None is the world’s best-selling mystery ever, with 100 million sales to date. Widely considered to be Christie’s masterpiece, her own stage adaptation of this dark and captivating tale will thrill and enthral, as murder unfolds.

And Then There Were None is at Leeds Grand Theatre from Monday 17th to Saturday 22nd August.

Tickets are still available priced from £18.50 to £35.

Book online at leedsgrandtheatre.com or call Box Office on 0844 848 2700




Direct from the West End, critically acclaimed Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – The Musical starring Michael Praed, Noel Sullivan, Carley Stenson and special guest Mark Benton, is set to transport audiences to the French Riviera with style, sophistication and a good deal of mischief when it comes to the Lyceum from Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 August.

download (3)The hit musical based on the legendary 1988 film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels follows two seasoned swindlers as they attempt to hoodwink a millionaire heiress.  Sophisticated conman Lawrence Jameson’s world comes crashing down with the arrival of larger-than-life Freddy Benson – a conman of an entirely different order.

As the pair go head-to-head in the con of their lives, pulling out all the stops in a bid for the affections of millionaire soap heiress Christine Colgate, little do they know what they’ve let themselves in for!

Michael Praed, best known for his starring role as Robin Hood in Robin of Sherwood and Prince Michael inDynasty, plays sophisticated swindler Lawrence.  Noel Sullivan (Hear’Say, Rock of Ages, Priscilla Queen of the Desert) returning to the Lyceum stage, plays street smart Freddy, with Carley Stenson (Hollyoaks, Shrek – The Musical, Spamalot) as the desirable Christine. Guest star Mark Benton (Waterloo Road, Strictly Come Dancing, Hairspray) plays hilarious side-kick Andre Thibault.

Enjoy a stylish, slick and fabulously funny trip to the luxurious Riviera with Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – The Musical this summer at the Lyceum Theatre from Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 August. Tickets are priced from £19.00 – £39.00 and can be purchased by calling the Box Office on 0114 249 6000 or by visiting sheffieldtheatres.co.uk (a transaction fee of £1.50 (£1.00 online) applies to all bookings made at the Box Office, excluding cash).

Crucible Lyceum Studio 55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA             
Box Office 0114 249 6000 –
Mon – Sat 10.00am to 8.00pm
A transaction fee of £1.50 (£1.00 online) applies to all bookings made at the Box Office (excluding cash).
On non-performance days the Box Office closes at 6.00pm.
Twitter: @crucibletheatre @SheffieldLyceum

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Tue 25 August – Sat 29 August

Press Night Tue 25 August 7.30pm

Tue – Sat 7.30pm

Fri & Sat 7.30pm

Wed & Thu 2.00pm

Sat 3.00pm

£19.00 – £39.00 (concessions and group discounts available)

Tom Conti and Gwen Taylor in BEFORE THE PARTY

Bill Kenwright presents two of the UK’s best loved stars together for the first time on stage – Tom Conti and Gwen Taylor, in BEFORE THE PARTY – a bitingly funny adaptation by Rodney Ackland of a short story by Somerset Maugham.

Tom ContiThey are two of the UK’s best-loved stars of stage and screen, but have never performed together, that is until now. For the first time in their careers, TOM CONTI and GWEN TAYLOR are set to take to the stage in the satirical comedy BEFORE THE PARTY. Premiering at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 2nd September 2015, before a short run at 6 selected theatres, Tom Conti will also be directing this new production of writer Rodney Ackland’s black comedy, having first directed it in 1980 at the Apollo Theatre in London starring Jane Asher and the late Michael Gough.

TOM CONTI is one of the most respected and celebrated actors of his generation. Unforgettable as the leading man in Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Shirley Valentine, he has also appeared as myriad characters on screen and stage. He was recently voted Most Popular Actor in the West End alongside Dame Judi Dench. This year saw him tour the UK as Juror #8 in Twelve Angry Men, a role he reprised from the successful and sold-out extended run of the drama at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End.

Gwen TaylorGWEN TAYLOR is best known in recent years for her role as Anne Foster, mother of the villainous Frank Foster in Coronation Street, but she is also much loved for starring in the ITV sitcoms Duty Free, A Bit of A Do with David Jason – for which she was nominated for a Best Actress TV Bafta – and as the lead character in Barbara. She also starred as Peggy Armstrong in Heartbeat, and has appeared in Yes, Prime Minister, Murder Most Horrid, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders and Fat Friends. Her theatre credits include Driving Miss Daisy, The Butterfly Lion, Prick Up Your Ears and Calendar Girls.

The war is over and the Skinner family is trying to return to normal. If only the blasted Government wasn’t such a nuisance with rationing preventing Cook from acquiring delicious delicacies. With daughter Laura returned from Africa, widowed but not alone, they prepare for the latest social gathering.

Rodney Ackland, who adapted the play from a short story by Somerset Maugham, has recently seen a huge resurgence in the popularity of his work, which is much admired by such artists as Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and originally Dame Edith Evans and Sir John Gielgud.

Ackland is best known for his play Absolute Hell, set in a decaying West End drinking club at the end of the Second World War and performed at the National Theatre in 1996 starring Judi Dench. BEFORE THE PARTY is based on a short story by Somerset Maugham, lauded for his 1915 novel Of Human Bondage, widely considered to be his masterpiece.

2nd – 12th September
Theatre Royal, Windsor
01753 853 888 / http://www.theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk/

14th – 19th September
Theatre Royal, Norwich
01603 63 00 00 / https://secure.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk/

21st – 26th September
New Victoria Theatre, Woking
0844 871 7645 / http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/new-victoria-theatre/

28th September – 3rd October
Festival Theatre, Malvern
01684 892 277 / http://www.malvern-theatres.co.uk/

5th – 10th October
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
01242 572573 / http://www.everymantheatre.org.uk/

12th – 17th October

Theatre Royal, Bath

01225 448844 / http://www.theatreroyal.org.uk/

19th-24th October

Devonshire Park, Eastbourne

01323 412000 / http://www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk/shows/before-the-party/



SHARK WEEK to premiere on Discovery Channel in the UK from Sunday 2nd – Saturday 8th August

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SHARK WEEK, Discovery Channel’s must see summer event returns to Discovery Channel on Sunday 2nd August. Uncharted technology will capture all-new shark images and behaviour, while also drawing attention to these incredible animals and their evolving habitats.

Programme highlights for 2015 include;


SHARK TREK featuring Dr. Greg Skomal, Massachusetts’ senior marine fisheries marine biologist, as he tags Great White sharks off the coast of Cape Cod and attempts to determine their swim patterns once they leave the Massachusetts coast. As patterns point to the southern U.S., Dr. Skomal tries to determine why the Florida coast is the new Great White shark hotspot in the Atlantic.

LAIR OF THE MEGA SHARK, which sees shark experts Jeff Kerr and Andy Casagrande head to New Zealand to investigate the sightings of a 20 foot Great White Shark. The team explore the nocturnal feeding ground of the modern day legend, in the hope of coming face to face with the legendary Great White.

MONSTER MAKO; Mako sharks are the fastest of all species of sharks in the world however little more is known about this particular breed. MONSTER MAKO explores this area as scientists fit a Mako shark with cameras in order to unlock and reveal the mysteries of their swift, immediate and unseen world. And a rare sighting is caught on film as a Mako shark breaches the waters during the expedition.

Additional SHARK WEEK 2015 programming will include SPAWN OF JAWS: THE BIRTH featuring Dr. Michael Domeier as he continues on his quest to unlock one of the greatest shark mysteries: the location of great white pupping grounds. This two year mission follows the journey of a pregnant great white called Gil Rakers as she prepares to give birth; BRIDE OF JAWS which searches for Joan of Shark, the largest female Great White ever tagged and NINJA SHARKS which explores six sharks with unique adaptations that have evolved over millions of years making them the most lethal hunters in the sea.


SHARK WEEK will premiere in the UK from Sunday 2nd August – Saturday 8th August on Discovery Channel

(Sky 520 / Virgin 211 / BT TV 322 / TalkTalk 322)


A new version by Marina Carr
Directed by Erica Whyman
Swan Theatre:
17 September – 17 October 2015

Full casting is announced for the Swan Theatre production of Marina Carr’s new play based on the epic tale of Hecuba, directed by RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman with Derbhle Crotty in the title role, opening on Thursday 24 September 2015.

Derbhle Crotty returns to the RSC to play Hecuba, having previously played Lady Macbeth and Lady Duncan in the 2007 repertory season of Macbeth and Ionesco’s Macbett. Derbhle is currently playing Bolingbroke/Henry IV in DruidShakespeare, which has played various venues in Ireland, New York and at the Kilkenny Festival. She is known for her film roles in Notes on a Scandal (2006), Rory O’Shea Was Here(2004) and Noble (2014).

Also returning is RSC Associate Artist Ray Fearon as Agamemnon, who has worked extensively with the RSC, most recently as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar and as the title role in Othello (1999). His recent theatre credits include playing Macduff in Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival; Ray also appeared in the 2006 series of Strictly Come Dancing. Joining him is Edmund Kingsley who plays Polymestor. Edmund can currently be seen in the BBC 2 mini-series Life in Squares as John Maynard Keynes. His RSC credits includeAntony and Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and The Tempest, as part of the Complete Works Festival, Richard III,King John and Lord of the Flies. His film credits include Hugo (2011) and Stonehearst Asylum (2014).

The full cast includes: Nadia Albina (Cassandra); David Ajao (Nepotolemus); Derbhle Crotty (Hecuba);Ray Fearon (Agamemnon); Edmund Kingsley (Polymestor); Amy McAllister (Polyxena); Chu Omambala(Odysseus) and Lara Stubbs (Hecuba’s Woman).

Hecuba is designed by Soutra Gilmour with lighting by Charles Balfour. The music is composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge with sound by Andrew Franks. Movement is by Ayse Tashkiran.

To book tickets call 01789 403493 or online at www.rsc.org.uk



Patti LuPone Offers Five Rules of Theatre Etiquette, Starting with “Respect”

download (19)Tony- and Olivier Award-winning actress Patti LuPone, currently back on the New York stage in the Lincoln Center Theater production of Shows for Days, has supplied The Wall Street Journal with a five-point list of theatre etiquette.

LuPone, a Tony winner for her performances in Evita and Gypsy, recently made headlines when she seized the cell phone of a woman who was using it during the July 8 evening performance of Shows for Days.

LuPone’s rules of theatre etiquette, according to the Wall Street Journal, follow:

1 R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Be aware of your theatergoing neighbor. In front of you, behind you, to your right, and left. Treat them with respect, unless you’re sitting next to a loudmouthed idiot.

2 Power Down
Turn off all electronic devices, and watch the play instead.

3 Have Dinner Beforehand
Refrain from eating and drinking in your seat. The majestic old ladies that are Broadway’s great theaters deserve your respect. The theater isn’t your kitchen. There is always intermission to imbibe.

4 Use Judgment
Don’t feel obligated to give everything you see a standing ovation.

5 Prepare For Bliss
Come to the theater with the expectation of being transported. Isn’t that why you bought the ticket?

Following the cell-phone incident, LuPone issued a statement toPlaybill.com July 9, which follows: “We work hard on stage to create a world that is being totally destroyed by a few, rude, self-absorbed and inconsiderate audience members who are controlled by their phones. They cannot put them down. When a phone goes off or when a LED screen can be seen in the dark it ruins the experience for everyone else – the majority of the audience at that performance and the actors on stage. I am so defeated by this issue that I seriously question whether I want to work on stage anymore. Now I’m putting battle gear on over my costume to marshall the audience as well as perform.”

 download (20)