New play about sex in the workplace comes to Theatre N16!

Cabbages and Kings presents:

February 1st – 11th 2016, 7:15pm, Theatre N16

Peter knows that he is being highly unprofessional; but she is so cute, and funny and so damn sexy. As for spoiled rich kid Polly? Hey, girls just want to have fun. Their doom is wrought one weekend on a residential course. Years later Polly returns to face her old boss, only now the tables are turned. Hilarious and terrifying, Goodnight Polly Jones is a devastating indictment of sexual behaviour in the modern workplace.

Goodnight Polly Jones is a new play by writer Andrew Sharpe, opening at Theatre N16 in February starring Ben Keenan and Victoria Morrison, directed by Lana MacIver. Lana and Andrew previously collaborated on the musical Songs from a Ledge, which garnered a five star review from What’s On Birmingham.

Ben Keenan has been in the highly acclaimed musical comedy sketch show NewsRevue several times. He says ”This is a really important subject matter that doesn’t get the attention is desperately needs, and I’m proud to be a part of this production to raise awareness of this issue.”

Victoria Morison is an emerging young actress, known for Tomorrow (2016), Swoon (2014) and The Soft Touch (2011). She says “I am absolutely thrilled to be playing the part of Polly. I have worked with both Lana and Andrew on the piece since inception and watched both Polly and the plot evolve to a place we can all be proud of. Polly is a dream role for young actresses: spirited, sharp and far from saccharine.”

The Stage 100 most influential people in theatre

The Stage 100 announced
Ambassador Theatre Group joint chief executives Rosemary Squire and Howard Panter have topped The Stage 100 list for the seventh year in a row, making them the most successful entrants ever.

The world’s oldest theatre publication, The Stage, has announced the definitive list of the most influential figures working in the UK theatre and performing arts industry today.

To see the full list click here

  • Panter and Squire have overtaken Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has topped the list on six occasions. In 2015, ATG made acquisitions in venues in Germany, Australia and the US, and produced shows including Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and The Rocky Horror Show.
  • Rufus Norris’ position at number 12 marks the lowest ever for an incumbent National Theatre director and the first time since 2001 that an NT director has been placed outside the top 10.
  • This year’s list also sees Benedict Cumberbatch as a new entry, at number 15, following his stint in Hamlet at the Barbican, with Imelda Staunton the highest riser, up from 70 to 16, follow her turn in Gypsy.
  • Producer Sonia Friedman takes the number two slot, up one place from 2015, followed by Cameron Mackintosh at number three.
  • Lloyd Webber is at number four, up a place from the previous year, with new entrants Peter Bazalgette and Darren Henley, from Arts Council England, at number five. The pair are the list’s highest new entry.
  • ACE chief executive Henley and chair Bazalgette have been credited with securing a better than expected settlement for the arts in last year’s spending review.
  • Meanwhile, Royal Exchange artistic director Sarah Frankcom makes big strides up the 100, pushing the Manchester Royal Exchange into the top 20. The Royal Exchange’s improved performance is matched by the increasing importance of Manchester as a cultural powerhouse.

Alistair Smith, print editor of The Stage, said: “Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire’s seventh number one position makes them The Stage 100’s most successful ever entrants, overtaking Andrew Lloyd Webber. The rise of Ambassador Theatre Group has been the defining feature of the last decade in the UK theatre industry. This private equity-owned company is by far the largest theatre company in the UK, and probably the world. Its rise may not have been universally popular, but its influence on the wider industry is unquestionable and its success is a remarkable achievement for the husband and wife team who started it from scratch in 1992.
“Elsewhere on the list, it has been a good year for Arts Council England’s Peter Bazalgette and Darren Henley (placed at number five), who secured an impressive  funding settlement for the arts in 2015, and a great year for Sarah Frankcom at Manchester’s Royal Exchange, which breaks into the top 20 for the first time. Benedict Cumberbatch was, meanwhile, the biggest star draw on stage when he appeared in Hamlet at the Barbican. That show’s producer Sonia Friedman was placed second – her highest ever position in The Stage 100 – and this year looks set to be even better for her with the forthcoming stage adaptation of Harry Potter which she is producing.”

About The Stage 100
The Stage 100 is intended to reflect the 100 most influential people working in the theatre and performing arts industry. It is considered from the point of view of The Stage as a trade publication and so focuses on theatre both as a business and an art form. Inclusion within the list and ranking is weighted towards achievements in the past 12 months, but also takes into account continuous achievement. The aim of the list – as much as is possible and plausible – is to reflect the astonishing breadth of the theatre industry. However, we do not weight the list in an attempt to make it gender-balanced or ethnically diverse: we believe the list should aim to reflect the way the theatre and performing arts industry is, not what it aims to be, or what we would like it to be.

Now in its 20th year, The Stage 100 was judged using a new methodology this year.
Step 1: 50 leading figures from the theatre and performing arts industry were invited to anonymously submit the names they would rank from 1 to 5, plus one other name they believed should feature in the list and why.
Step 2: We invited senior editorial contributors to submit their suggestions.
Stage 3: A final judging panel (comprising print editor Alistair Smith, online editor Matthew Hemley, associate editor Mark Shenton and reviews editor Natasha Tripney) decided on the final list.

About The Stage
The Stage Media Company Limited provides news and services for the UK entertainment and performing arts industry. 
Established in 1880, The Stage is a must read for those with an involvement or interest in the performing arts industry in the UK and beyond, offering theatre news, reviews, advice and more. The newspaper is published every Thursday and is available to purchase for just £2.10 from newsagents around the country. It is also available for download as a digital edition. The website ( is read by 450,000 unique users a month. The Stage also publishes an annual list of the 100 most influential people in theatre and the performing arts, The Stage 100, and runs The Stage Awards, recognising the best organisations operating within the UK theatre industry

Let it Be cast announcement





Audiences round the country are gearing up to Twist and Shout when the biggest ever tour of The Beatles’ celebration show LET IT BE starts next week (Tuesday, 12 January) – and a further five venues have been added to the tour before the curtain even goes up. The show comes to theGrand Opera House York on Monday 4th April and runs until Saturday 9 April 2016.


The national UK tour will visit 26 theatres across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales betweenJanuary and July 2016 – entertaining theatregoers with a show spanning the iconic eras of the band’s illustrious career.

Opening with six performances at the Cliffs Pavilion in Southend on 12 January 2016, the tour continues throughout the Spring and Summer months with the final date currently confirmed as23 July at the Theatre Royal in Brighton.


The mega tour will take in Southend; Southampton; Bromley; Bath; Torquay; Truro; Sheffield; Manchester; Wimbledon; Dublin; Woking; Blackpool; York; Swansea; Edinburgh; Birmingham; Aylesbury; Darlington; Canterbury; Bristol and Oxford.


Dates have now been added for Eastbourne; Dartford; Nottingham; Leeds and Brighton. Further venues are expected to be announced.


The start of the new tour coincides with the 53rd anniversary of The Beatles’ second single, Please Please Me – which was released on 11 January 1963. Over half a century later, The Beatles have never been so popular with a real resurgence in the band’s popularity and new fans discovering their music.

LET IT BE audiences can look forward to a show lasting more than two hours bursting with timeless hits, showstopping sets, dazzling costumes and a brilliant performance which fans will never forget. The show also continues to attract theatregoers and fans of live music, alongside the most dedicated Beatles’ enthusiasts.


LET IT BE will take to the road thanks to Annerin Productions and Flying Entertainment.

A cast of talented musicians will take to stages across the country as the Fab Four, wowing audiences with their effortless and indistinguishable portrayal as John, Paul, George and Ringo. The performers have already toured the show to some of the biggest stages in the world including Broadway.

The cast have been confirmed as Paul Canning and Reuven Gershon (John Lennon); Emanuele Angeletti and Iain Hornal (Paul McCartney); John Brosnan and Paul Mannion (George Harrison);Luke Roberts (Ringo Starr). The band will be joined on stage throughout the tour by Michael Bramwell on keyboards.

Derek Nicol, joint Managing Director of Flying Entertainment, commented: The time has come to take LET IT BE on the road for its biggest ever tour – it’s an incredibly exciting time for the show and we’re delighted to add another five venues to the tour before it’s even started.


“We have an extremely talented cast who have performed the show to audiences on New York’s Broadway, in London’s West End, and toured across Europe and Japan. The show’s most recent run was in Liverpool, where they certainly know their stuff when it comes to The Beatles. They truly welcomed LET IT BE into their hearts, the response was fantastic and we knew it was time to share the show with the rest of the country through a 26-venue tour spanning seven months.


“The show will have audiences on their feet from the very start. They won’t be able to help themselves thanks to the iconic songbook from the world’s biggest band. We’re also looking forward to entertaining the next generation of Beatles’ fans.”

LET IT BE celebrates the music of the world’s most successful rock ‘n’ roll band in a spectacular concert charting the band’s meteoric rise from their humble beginnings in Liverpool’s Cavern Club, through the height of Beatlemania, to their later studio masterpieces. They were just four boys from Liverpool who went on to change the world.

The show celebrates music history’s greatest ever worldwide phenomenon and is packed with over 40 of The Beatles’ greatest hits, including Twist and Shout, She Loves You and Drive My Car, as well as global mega hits Yesterday, Hey Jude, Come Together and, of course, Let It Be. Travel back to the Swinging Sixties when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends!

The show has already wowed London’s West End and New York’s Broadway audiences. It recently completed a five-week run in the birthplace of the biggest band in the world, Liverpool, where it enjoyed 5-star rave reviews and sell-out performances at Royal Court Theatre Liverpool.

The Liverpool run coincided with what would have been John Lennon’s 75th Birthday, breaking box office records at Royal Court Theatre Liverpool as the venue’s fastest selling show.

Now seen by over 1 million people worldwide, LET IT BE continues to delight audiences across the globe, having recently performed to audiences in Germany, Japan, Moscow, and France.

LET IT BE has established itself as one of the West End’s most popular shows since originally opening at the Prince of Wales Theatre in September 2012, where it recouped its initial investment after just 18 weeks before transferring for a year-long run at the Savoy Theatre from January 2013 through to February 2014. Before moving to Royal Court Theatre Liverpool, the show completed an 8-month run at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End.


Facebook:           Let It Be UK Tour

Twitter:                @LetItBeUKTour

Final Casting for National Tour of Rattigan’s Flare Path







Final casting has now been announced for the 2016 national tour of Terence Rattigan’s FLARE PATH, directed by Justin Audibert, opening on 27 January at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing. Daniel Fraser will play Teddy Graham and Audrey Palmer will play Mrs Oakes.  Daniel played Gregory Cromwell in the acclaimed RSC productions of Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies in Stratford, London and on Broadway.  He also appeared in Chariots of Fire at Hampstead Theatre and in the West End and starred in the Sci-Fi films Frequencies and Lab Rats and the thriller Scar Tissue.

As previously announced, the cast will be led by Graham Seed as Squadron Leader Swanson, Lynden Edwards as Peter Kyle and Hedydd Dylan as Patricia Graham.

They will be joined by Claire Andreadis as Countess Skriczevinsky (Doris), Emma Carter as Betty,  Charlie G Hawkins (Darren Miller in EastEnders) as Percy, Jamie Hogarth as Sergeant Miller (Dusty), Polly Hughes as Mrs Miller (Maudie)  and William Reay as Flying Officer Count Skriczevinsky and Corporal Jones (Wiggy).

Graham Seed is perhaps best known for playing Nigel Pargetter in the BBC radio series The Archers for 27 years until his dramatic exit at the beginning of 2011. He is the recipient of the Broadcaster of the YearAwards 2010 from the Broadcasting Press Guild and the Voice of Listener & Viewer Special Award 2010. Graham’s recent work in theatre includes An Audience with Jimmy Savile opposite Alistair McGowan (London’s Park Theatre and Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015), The Mousetrap (National Tour), Yes Prime Minister (National Tour) and Toad of Toad Hall (West End).

Lynden Edwards’s West End credits include Mr Lindquist and Carl Magnus in Trevor Nunn’s Tony Award-winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music (Garrick & Menier Theatres), Les Miserables (Palace Theatre) and The Mousetrap (St Martin’s Theatre).

Hedydd Dylan’s recent theatre credits include The Watchman/Cassandra/Cilissa/Athene in The Oresteia (HOME Theatre), Helena in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jackie Oppenheimer inOppenheimer and Jane Damport in The Shoemaker’s Holiday (all for the Royal Shakespeare Company).

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

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

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

FLARE PATH will have Set and Costume Design by Hayley Grindle, Lighting Design by Alex Wardle and Sound Design by Dominic Bilkey.                                                                                           

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

Official website:

Twitter: @flarepathtour

Facebook: flarepaththetour


27 – 30 January                         Connaught Theatre, Worthing                                     01903 206 206


2 – 6 February                           Oxford Playhouse                                            01865 305305


10 – 13 February                        Buxton Opera House                                       01298 72190                                                        

15 – 20 February                        Theatre Royal Windsor                                    01753 853 888

23 – 27 February                        The Grand Theatre, Blackpool                                    01253 290 190


29 February – 5 March               Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds                      01284 769505


7 – 12 March                             Mercury Theatre, Colchester                           01206 573948


15 – 19 March                           Aberdeen His Majesty’s Theatre                       01224 641122


22 – 26 March                           Theatr Clwyd, Mold                                         01352 701521


29 March – 2 April                     Wycombe Swan                                              01494 512 000


5 – 9 April                                 Orchard Theatre, Dartford                               01322 220000


12 – 16 April                              Darlington Civic Theatre                                 01325 486555                                                                      

19 – 23 April                              Derby Theatre                                                 01332 59 39 39


25 – 30 April                              Birmingham Repertory Theatre                      0121 236 4455


3 – 7 May                                  York Theatre Royal                                         01904 623568


ACE announces Stage One grant towards West Yorkshire Playhouse capital redevelopment


West Yorkshire Playhouse successful in Stage One application to Arts Council England for capital redevelopment funding of £6.6m

Arts Council England has announced that West Yorkshire Playhouse was successful in its Stage One application for a grant of £6.6m towards a major capital redevelopment. The decision includes the award of a development grant of £300,000, meaning  a fully-fledged plan can now be developed to renovate the 25 year old building, including creating a new entrance facing Leeds city centre, improving access to all the theatre spaces, the upgrading of technical equipment and the addition of a new studio theatre space.


The decision was based on the Playhouse and its partner Leeds City Council submitting a full application outlining the artistic vision for the theatre as well as a comprehensive business plan. It is also based on the commitment of Leeds City Council to contribute up to £4.9m towards the overall project costs of more than £14m. A fundraising campaign will now commence which will seek to achieve this full target.

Executive Director Robin Hawkes said:

‘This is the best possible news with which to start the New Year. We hadn’t been expecting an announcement from the Arts Council until the end of February, so receiving it now enables us to get things moving earlier than anticipated. We will accelerate our work with our partners at Leeds City Council to appoint an architect and to start getting plans in place.’

Artistic Director James Brining said:

‘We have an ambitious artistic vision for what the Playhouse can be for our audiences, artists and communities over the coming years. To have the opportunity to pursue this vision knowing that our building can match and indeed help realise those ambitions is a hugely exciting prospect. The Playhouse is undoubtedly beginning to show its age. We want to be able to welcome people from our region, our country and from across the world to a home of which we are proud. This project marks a step change for theatre in Leeds and feels especially appropriate as we move towards the 50th anniversary of the Playhouse’s inception in 1968.’

Chairman of the Board, Sir Rodney Brooke, said:

‘Having invested in the vision of West Yorkshire Playhouse through my former role as Chief Executive of West Yorkshire County Council, I’m thrilled that the theatre is embarking on a new chapter. With the support of Arts Council England and Leeds City Council the Playhouse can realise its ambitions and begin the next steps to develop further as a significant and dynamic cultural destination.’

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Judith Blake, said:

‘We’re absolutely delighted that the Arts Council is supporting our joint application for a project that will completely transform one of Leeds’s most cherished cultural institutions. West Yorkshire Playhouse is an integral part of our city’s cultural landscape which appeals to a huge range of people and this ambitious redevelopment scheme will be a massive statement of intent about how central the arts are to life in Leeds. The theatre already provides a host activities both on-stage, in the building and in our communities and these proposals will also help to bolster that excellent work still further as the city builds towards submitting an application to be European Capital of culture in 2023. With this excellent news, we can now look forward to working together and seeing the project take some exciting steps towards making the Playhouse a venue befitting of its status as one of Leeds’s foremost cultural flagships.’


The project can now move forwards with the appointment of a design team within the next six months, followed by the development of full plans for the building. Should the Stage Two application prove successful, it is currently expected that construction work will begin on site in the second half of 2017, with completion in late 2018. The construction work is also likely to involve a period of closure for the theatre building, so planning will now also begin in earnest for the continuation of the Playhouse’s programme off-site during that phase.

Extra performance of Welsh mining drama Land of Our Fathers added at Live Theatre due to popular demand

Presented by Theatre503, Tara Finney Productions and Wales Millennium Centre

Written by Chris Urch

Directed by Paul Robinson


An extra performance of critically-acclaimed play Land of Our Fathers, has been added at Live Theatre, Newcastle in January due to popular demand. A matinee performance has been added at 2pm on Thursday 28 February, as tickets for the other performances between Wednesday 27 and Saturday 30 January 2016 have almost sold out.


Starting it’s English tour at Live Theatre, after a successful tour in Wales last year Land of Our Fathers which follows six Welsh miners trapped underground, is a funny and deeply moving Welsh mining drama packed full of blistering comedy and echoes a generation of lost voices.


It’s May 1979 in South Wales. Thatcher is county her votes, Sid Vicious is spinning in his grave and six Welsh miners are trapped down a coal mine. As the men await their rescue, secrets emerge and accusations fly. Within two weeks, everything they believe in and everything they know will have changed.


Max Roberts, Artistic Director, Live Theatre said:


“We have been delighted at the popularity of Land of our Fathers and have added an additional performance so more audiences can see this powerful drama when it starts it’s English tour here at Live Theatre at the end of January. The story of miners in the play will have a strong resonance here in the North East with our shared mining heritage, and with Live Theatre’s audiences after our success with plays such as The Pitmen Painters and Close the Coalhouse Door.”


Land of Our Fathers has been described by The Guardian as ‘undeniably powerful’ and The Times as ‘a high voltage production’.


Paul Robinson, Artistic Director of Theatre503 and Director, Land of our Fathers said:


“The response so far has been thrilling and we’re delighted to be bringing the production to some fantastic venues in England in the New Year. The story is so universal with characters that you can’t help but fall; in love with, and we hope the play will continue to bring laughs and tears as it continues its journey.”


Tara Finney, Co-producer, Land of our Fathers said:


“I am delighted to be taking Land of Our Fathers on tour, enabling more people around the country to see this beautiful play. I have no doubt it will continue to enthral people as we move from the Welsh to English venues.”


Original cast members Joshua Price (Llwyth/Tribe) and Taylor Jay-Davies (Great Expectations – West End, The Passion) reprise their roles as Mostyn and Chewy. They are joined by John Cording (Pobol Y Cwm, Da Vinci’s Demons), Tomos Eames (Pride, Resistance), Cornelius Booth (Pride & Prejudice) and Robert Jezek (The Bodyguard – West End).


Two free events will accompany the shows at Live Theatre. Meet The Cast takes place after the show on Thursday 28 January, when the audience can discuss the making of the play with the creative team and cast.  A Post Show Discussion will take place on Saturday 30 January after the 2pm matinee, when Ian Lavery MP for Wansbeck and former President of the National Union of Mineworkers joins Max Roberts Artistic Director of Live Theatre to discuss issues raised in the play. Both events are free, but booking is essential.


For more information on Land of Our Fathers which is at Live Theatre between Wednesday 27 and Saturday 30 January 2016and to buy tickets costing between £22 to £12, over 60s concessions from £22 to £16 and other concessions £15 to £10 call Live Theatre’s box office on (0191) 232 1232 or see




Wednesday 27 to Saturday 30 January 2016

Land of Our Fathers

Presented by Theatre503, Tara Finney Productions and Wales Millennium Centre

Written by Chris Urch

Directed by Paul Robinson
3 May 1979, six Welsh miners are trapped underground as Thatcher is counting her votes.

Winner of Time Out Critics Choice & Fringe Show of the Year 2013


DATES: Wed 27 to Sat 30 Jan, 7.30pm
PERFORMANCES: Wed to Sat, 7.30pm
MATINEE: Sat 30 Jan, 2pm

LOCATION: Main Theatre
DURATION:  Approx. 2hr 20mins (including interval)
SUITABILITY: 14+, contains some swearing


TICKETS: £22-£12, over 60s conc. £22-£16 other concs. £15-£10
Meet the Cast

Thursday 28 January, after 7.30pm show
Meet the cast and creative team to discuss the making of the play.

DATE: Thurs 28 Jan,
LOCATION: Main Theatre
DURATION:  Approx. 40mins

TICKETS: Free, booking essential

Post Show Discussion

Saturday 30 January, after 2pm show

Ian Lavery MP for Wansbeck and former President of the National Union of Mineworkers joins Max Roberts, Live |Theatre’s Artistic Director to discuss the issues raised in the play.

DATE: Sat 30 Jan
LOCATION: Main Theatre
DURATION:  Approx. 40mins

TICKETS: Free, booking essential


Celebrate 20N16 at Theatre N16!

Theatre N16 presents:

20N16 at Theatre N16

In 2015, Theatre N16 moved from Stoke Newington to Balham, supported 29 different theatre companies with performance space at affordable rates and produced 4 and 5 star critically acclaimed shows, one of which transferred into a central London venue. This year, they’re looking to surpass that with an exciting season of new writing and fresh takes on classics, as well as piece that explores their new home at the Bedford pub in Balham.

The season opens this January with a new take on Oscar Wilde’s Salome, a sell-out Camden Fringe social media comedy, and two pieces of new writing, including a difficult look into the world of inter-office relationships. Towards the summer, Theatre N16’s next inhouse production, directed by artistic director Jamie Eastlake, will tell the story of Paul Hill of the Guildford Four in a new script by Martin McNamara, as well as a yet to be announced classic revival. This will be followed by a Romanian piece from the Royal Court International programme, I’m Not Jesus Christ, alongside a new site specific immersive piece that will take audiences through Theatre N16’s new home to explore The Killing of Charles Bravo, the inquest for which was all held at the Bedford in 1876.

The rest of the season includes instalments of national tours, more new writing, movement/music pieces, puppetry, Shakespeare and a revival of Richard Cameron’s Can’t Stand Up For Falling Down– definitively offering something for everyone!

The theatre will also be hosting a new writing night, DRAFT, courtesy of our literary department, as well as a live chat show, In Town Tonight, alongside offering workshops at local schools.

Theatre N16 is a trailblazing company that wants to change the face of the theatre industry. No matter how little money a production has behind it, if it has potential and that spark of innovation, they want to know. Theatre N16 is proud of their commitment to the welfare of creatives, operating without a hire fee for external companies. This promoting and nurturing of talent means that Theatre N16 is a bastion for the arts, making theatre accessible and affordable for audiences and in turn allowing artists to survive financially.

Sandra Dickinson is Lucille Ball in UK Premiere of I LOVED LUCY

I Loved LucyMake a Person Laugh Enough Times, You’re Loved Forever…
I Loved Lucy is a personal portrait of an iconic comedic entertainer whose public face is all too well known. But what was Lucille Ball really like and how did she choose to live her life… at the end of her life? Out of the spotlight.

Based on his best selling memoir, Lee Tannen’s funny, bitter-sweet play, which gets its UK premiere in a four-week season at Jermyn Street Theatre, reveals the real-life Lucy and what is was like being her friend to the end. Most people who wrote about Lucy never even met her. They relied on others to fill in the blanks. Lee relied solely on Lucy. And he paints a rich personal portrait that can only add to our love of a legend.

I Loved Lucy stars Sandra Dickinson (A Streetcar Named Desire, Not about Nightingales, Orpheus Descending) as Lucy and Matthew Bunn (The Ladykillers) as Lee. It is directed by Jermyn Street Theatre’s Artistic Director Anthony Biggs (The River Line, On Approval, The First Man).

Awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Lucille Ball remains one of Hollywood’s best loved stars. With her trademark red hair and goofy persona, she will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo on her groundbreaking 1950s TV sitcom, I Love Lucy, which co-starred her real-life husband Desi Arnaz and was produced by their own TV company, Desilu Productions. Shown around the world and topping the ratings every year in the US, it is still regarded today as one of the greatest and most influential sitcoms in TV history.

When the show ended, Lucy took sole control of Desilu Productions, making her the first woman to run a major TV production studio. She won four Emmys and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in recognition for her life’s work. On August 6, 2011, which would have been her 100th birthday, Google honored her with an interactive doodle on their homepage featuring classic moments from I Love Lucy.

Born in Washington DC, Sandra Dickinson first found fame in the UK as the star of Birds Eye beefburger ads in the early 1970s. They established her in a succession of American ‘dumb blonde’ roles, and it was many years before she was able to shake that image. She’s had a prolific career on stage and screen, notably as Trillian in the cult sci-fi TV series The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. She is currently the voice of Grandma Tracy in CITV’s Thunderbirds Are Go.

Lee Tannen first met Lucille Ball as a child but cemented their close and enduring friendship as an adult. During the last 10 years of Lucy’s life – years mostly spent out of the spotlight and much of it around a backgammon table, where Lee became Lucy’s confidant spending time in her Beverly Hills and Palm Springs homes, traveling with her and entertaining her on his turf in New York City. His memoir became an instant best seller. In 2010, he adapted it for the stage where it premiered at The Laguna Playhouse. Lee’s other work includes a new libretto in 2007 for the stage adaptation of the classic children’s story Dr. Dolittle, starring and directed by nine-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune. A year earlier, Lee was a contributing writer for the Drama-Desk-nominated musical The Audience. In 2003, Lee was writer and Associate Director for Paparazzi, an original musical for Holland America Line directed by Tommy Tune. In 2001, Lee wrote and directed All The World’s a Stage, a star-studded benefit for Variety Club at Carnegie Hall starring, among others, Barbara Cook, Nathan Lane and Tommy Tune and hosted by Jane Powell. Lee has also written special material for Joan Rivers, Elizabeth Taylor and Shirley MacLaine.

I Loved Lucy
Tuesday 2nd – Saturday 27th February 2016
Press night is Friday 5th February at 7.30pm
Jermyn Street Theatre
16b Jermyn Street
Tuesday to Saturday 7.30pm
Saturday & Sunday matinees 3.30pm
Additional matinee Thursday 25 February at 3.30pm
Tickets: £22.00 (£18.00 concs)

Full cast announced for Motown The Musical as rehearsals begin

As rehearsals commence for the West End production of Motown the Musical, full casting is announced for the production led by Cedric Neal as Berry Gordy, Lucy St. Louis as Diana Ross, Charl Brown as Smokey Robinson and Sifiso Mazibuko as Marvin Gaye.

They are joined by Keisha Amponsa Banson as Mary Wells, Cindy Belliot as Anna Gordy, Samuel Edwards as Jackie Wilson, Tanya Nicole Edwards as Florence Ballard, Portia Harry as Teena Marie, Aisha Jawando as Martha Reeves, Joshua Liburd as Eddie Kendricks, Simeon Montague as Jermaine Jackson, Cleopatra Rey as Gladys Knight, Brandon Lee Sears as Tito Jackson, Jordan Shaw as Stevie Wonder, Cherelle Williams as Mary Wilson.

Eshan Gopal, 12 years old from Kingsbury, London, 13 year old Kwame Kandekore from Leicester and 11 year old Joshua Tikare from Bromley will alternate the role of Young Michael Jackson.

They are joined by swings and ensemble members Jay Bryce, Daniel Bailey, Edward Baruwa, Eddie Elliott, Christopher Fry, Alex Hammond, Edward Handoll, Simon Ray Harvey, Elias Hendricks, Brian James Leys, Jayde Nelson, Kieran McGinn, Simone Mistry Palmer, Carl Spencer and Marcel J Whyte.

London previews begin at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 11 February 2016, with press night on 8th March 2016 with the first booking period to 22nd October 2016.

With music and lyrics from the legendary Motown catalogue and book by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Motown the Musical is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright.

With just $800 borrowed from his family, Motown founder Berry Gordy, goes from featherweight boxer to heavyweight music mogul, discovering and launching the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and many more. Motown the Musical uncovers the true story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation.

Featuring a sixteen piece orchestra playing 50 Motown tracks including Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, I’ll Be There, Dancing In The Street, Stop! In The Name Of Love, My Girl and I Heard It through the Grapevine, Charles Randolph-Wright’s production tells the story behind the classic hits.

Line-up announced for VAULT Festival 2016

VAULT Festival returns to The Vaults on Leake St in Waterloo for another year of comedy, theatre and experimental work from emerging artists.

Highlights from the 2016 line-up include Squidboy, a new show from award-winning physical performer Trygve Wakenshaw about an imaginary friend who creates their own imaginary friends (27-30 Jan) and The Misfit Analysis, written and lead by Cian Binchy who is a consultant for the National’s Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Journeying through the mischievous mind of an autistic man, audiences will be taken through a world of wheelchairs and blow up dolls (2-6 March).

Making their VAULT Festival debut from 17-21 Feb will be award-wining company Clout Theatre with The Various Lives of Infinite Nullity, a piece of absurdism centered around a post-suicide support group held in the afterlife. The production will run alongside Dom Coyote & The Blood Moneys’ Songs for the End of the World which is billed as ‘part gig, part play, part apocalypse’ and features artists from Kneehigh and Little Bulb Theatre.

Other highlights around the festival include the previously announced one-man show from Jamie Muscato; Tar Baby, a Fringe First Award-winning solo show which looks at race in America (10-14 Feb), The Devil Speaks True, an immersive show offering an intimate perspective of a man returning home from war with PTSD (17-27 Feb) and a new film festival taking place each Sunday in February with long and short form screenings of drama, documentary, animation and more.

Taking place from 27 January to 6 March, expect pop-up bars, restaurants, club nights and performances. Since its inception in 2012, VAULT has hosted over 250 productions and the 2016 festival includes shows which explore themes including gender, mental health and conflict.

For the full VAULT Festival line-up, click here.