Park Theatre Artistic Director Jez Bond today announces its new season of work, all in association with a host of exciting and diverse producers, including four world premieres, three UK premieres, two European premieres and a London premiere.


Bond says, “As well as welcoming back names who have proven hugely popular with our audiences, we are thrilled to announce brilliant new talent who will be making their Park Theatre debuts, including Mark Gatiss and Hollywood star Anne Archer. With a mixture of plays plus two musicals – a first for Park90 – I’m delighted to announce what I am sure will be a scintillating and varied programme. The first professional show I directed was a J B Priestley play and I consider him one of the master storytellers, so on a personal note, I’m absolutely thrilled we’re presenting his lost gem as part of our season!”


A new production of The Trial of Jane Fonda by Terry Jastrow, starring Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner, Anne Archer and directed by Joe Harmston, opens the season, marking the show’s London premiere inPARK200. The first major revival of beloved British playwright JB Priestley’s early comedy The Roundabout takes alook at an England in the 1930s, when it seemed, just possibly, as if the social order might be changing. Mark Gatiss, winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor, and his husband Ian Hallard star together inThe Boys in the Band, an eagerly anticipated revival of Mart Crowley’s seminal piece, which premiered just months before the Stonewall riots, and became a cult film in 1970.  Following huge critical acclaim and controversy withDead Sheep and An Audience with Jimmy Saville, journalist and playwright Jonathan Maitland returns to Park Theatre with the world premiere of Deny, Deny Deny, which tackles the topical subject of doping in sport. The UK premiere of the New York hit show The Screwtape Letters – a stage adaptation of the C. S. Lewis classic novel – makes for a subversive and alternative Christmas show to round off the year.


The PARK90 season opens with the black comedy Some Girl(s), written by multi Tony Award nominee Neil LaBute, following the story of a man who visits his ex-girlfriends in his ‘little black book’ to try and ‘right’ his ‘wrongs’, and closes with the Tony Award winning physical comedy LUV by Murray Schisgal; both are directed by Gary Condesand produced by Buckland Theatre Company.


Following his Park200 debut in January with 4000 Days starring Alistair McGowan, Olivier Award nominated playwright Peter Quilter (End of The Rainbow and Glorious!) returns to Park Theatre with the world premiere ofSaving Jason, a comedy set in 90s suburbia. American writers Stephen Fife and Ralph Pezzullo will also present the world premiere of The American Wife, about a woman trying to clear her husband’s name when he’s accused of acts of terrorism.


For the first time, PARK90 will play home to two musicals: the European Premiere of acclaimed musical The Burnt Part Boys, with music by Chris Miller, and the world premiere of brand new British musical set in London, This Little Life of Mine written and directed by Michael Yale


Last year’s best book about British theatre, according to the judges of this year’s Theatre Book Prize, was a fascinating study based on the files from the Lord Chamberlain’s Office now held in the British Library.

At a gathering of people from theatre and the book world on April 22nd, held in the historic rooms of the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, distinguished actress Dame Siân Phillips presented the prize to Steve Nicholson for The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 (University of Exeter Press), a story conflict and connivance involving Royal officialdom, theatre managers and some of the key dramatists of the twentieth century. Critics have described it as “forensic and fascinating” and called Nicholson “a scholar who writes with lucidity, wit, humane intelligence and grace of mind. There is no jargon in his pages, but much glorious hilarity.”

In remarks by the judges leading up to the presentation Colin Chambers, called it “The final volume of a terrific and important series in which Nicholson delivers his original research into the practice of theatre with characteristic enthusiasm. His detailed account of how theatre and the society it reflects interact is seen through the prism of censorship.”

Author Nicholson, who is Professor in Twentieth Century and Contemporary Theatre at the University of Sheffield, wins after being short-listed for this prize in previous years.

Darlington Civic Theatre – Dancing In The Streets

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300CELEBRATE THE BEST OF MOTOWN

Join the original and the best celebration of Motown’s greatest hits with the spectacular, critically acclaimed Dancing in the Streets at Darlington Civic Theatre on Saturday 7 May.

Experience the energy and electricity of the motor city in a stunning production packed with hit after hit, all killer, no filler!

The talented cast and band will bring to life the infectious, melodic, foot-tapping songs with a touch of soul and style guaranteed to have you singing along and dancing in the aisles.

Expect your favourite songs made famous by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Ritchie, The Supremes, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and many more.

Dancing In The Streets is at Darlington Civic Theatre on Saturday 7 May, 2016. Tickets* are priced from £23.50 to £27.50

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

*All ticket prices include a £1 restoration levy

Flanagan Collective Seeks Community Cast

York Theatre Royal Associate Company The Flanagan Collective Seeks Community Cast for The Tempest.


Three professional actors will join the community cast in a promenade performance in rural North Yorkshire.


York Theatre Royal associate company The Flanagan Collective is well known for staging innovative, site-specific productions, such as an all-female Romeo and Juliet in the 15th century St Olave’s Church and Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis in the historic Council Chamber at York Guildhall.  In September 2014, The Flanagan Collective moved home to at 17th century converted` watermill in the village of Stillington, North Yorkshire. At The Mill is a place to house artists, rehearse shows and present work. The company is now launching its first production At The Mill; an ambitious promenade production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and the company is looking for a community cast to join three professional actors to perform in the show.

Alexander Wright, Artistic Director of The Flanagan Collective and production director said:

We sit within such a beautiful part of the world, and it’s full of brilliant people. It’s so important for us to try and make as much work as we can with this community at the centre. Sometimes that might be as audience, as a sounding board, or as a programming team. But we want to start as we mean to go on, by creating a remarkable production with the community at the very heart of it.


The Flanagan Collective is holding workshops and auditions to meet anyone who would like to be a part of the show; whether that is actors, musicians, crew or front of house. The company is inviting people to attend one of two workshops at Stillington Village Hall on Monday 2 or Tuesday 3 May at 6.30pm.  This is a good time for any actors, musicians, helpers or other interested folks to find out more about the project.

The professional cast is made up of: Michael Lambourne as Prospero (The Great Gatsby with The Guild Of Misrule, The Railway Children with York Theatre Royal and Holly Beasley-Garrigan as Caliban (The Great Gatsby with The Guild Of Misrule, Romeo and Juliet with The Flanagan Collective) with a third actor to be confirmed shortly.

General Manager of the project Veronica Hare said:

We know how much work goes in to creating these unique events and we hope we can invite a lot of people to be a part of that journey – we have very big, welcoming, open arms.

Later that week the company is asking potential actors to sign up for a slot if they want to be in the cast and have a speaking role. Slots will be 30 minutes long in small groups on Saturday 7 May between 10am and 5pm at Crayke Village Hall and on Sunday 8 May between 12pm and 7pm at Stillington Village Hall. The company is also looking for an assistant director and assistant designer from the community.

Alexander Wright advised:

We’d encourage anyone who wants to know more, have a go or to come play, to drop us a line and sign up for one of the workshops. The worst that will happen is that you’ll have a lovely time at a free workshop! The Tempest is one of my favourite plays; it’s full of beauty and music and magic. Expect a show full of The Flanagan Collective’s trademark live music, bursts of anarchy and striking connection with the roaming audience.

The Tempest is being performed from Wednesday 15 to Sunday 19th June At The Mill in Stillington, North Yorkshire, with a community cast alongside three professional performers. Tickets are already on sale through York Theatre Royal Box Office on 01904 623568 or securely online at

To sign up for auditions, workshops or for more information contact Alexander Wright,[email protected]


The Bacchae After Euripides Review

Blue Elephant Theatre 19 April – 7 May.  Reviewed By Claire Roderick

Lazarus Theatre Company’s adaptation of Euripide’s tragedy is full of colour and energy.

Seeking revenge upon his mother’s sisters, Agave, Autonoe and Ino, for their lies about his mother and his parentage, Dionysus, son of Zeus, comes to Thebes. The women of the city leave their homes and go up to the mountains and revel in Bacchan rites. Pentheus, King of Thebes and son of Agave, returns and captures Dionysus, disguised as a foreign priest. Pentheus raises an army to defeat the Bacchae, but Dionysus convinces him to infiltrate the Bacchae dressed as a woman.

The production takes Euripides’ plot, gives it a modern twist – with the chorus talking about things like making fried breakfast for my family (except the vegan!), my mam teaching me how to swear – but still manages to feel authentic and not smugly “look what we’ve done to this”.

The use of lighting and music is extremely atmospheric, with deep blood reds for Dionysus and the Bacchae and clinical white for the rational and civilised Pentheus and his advisors. The Bacchae are dressed in white slips and the court in business suits, which are gradually shed as Dionysus’ influence takes hold. Dionysus is the only flash of colour onstage – in shimmering red as he prowls around.

The Bacchae’s chorus are not onlookers, but are the Bacchan horde – watching and moving around the advisors like wolves and vultures. They provide rousing drumbeats with hands and feet and throw heart and soul into their performances, managing to keep their sighs and grunts from appearing ridiculous. Nick Bladon’s Dionysus doesn’t really have much to do after his magnificent entrance – mostly sitting gleefully watching the carnage unfold, or pretending to be mortal. RJ Seeley is hypnotic as the leader of the chorus and Stephen Emery (Pentheus) is suitably stubborn and patronising. Sonja Zobel is almost childlike as Agave, and swings from mad zeal to horror just by changing the rhythm with which she is shaking – fantastic. The production has replaced Cadmus, Agave’s father, with Katrine, Pentheus’ wife (Lysanne Van Overbeek) which works, as the voice of calm reason is so often female, and Van Overbeek delivers her damning opinion of man and gods with steely dignity.

The balance of rationalism and instinct are still relevant today, when people are so willing to cite their rights but shirk their responsibilities, and of course gender equality and sexuality still stir high emotions. So even though this is a very old play by some long dead Greek bloke, it is well worth seeing. A magical modern version of a classic.

Your Ever Loving Review

Theatre N16 18 April – 6 May.  Reviewed by Claire Roderick

While people are still talking about the failings of US justice after watching “Making a Murderer”, Martin McNamara reminds us what the British establishment is capable of.

Bomb attacks in 1974 led to the conviction of the Guildford Four. Because of draconian anti-terrorism laws, they were allowed to be kept in custody for up to a week, allowing the police to coerce confessions out of them which led to their imprisonment, until their convictions were finally quashed in 1989.

Using the letters that Paul Hill wrote to his family, Martin McNamara has written an astonishing play chronicling Hill’s time in prison. Stefan McCusker as Hill has such an innocent baby face that he has your sympathy from the offset. But his performance is outstanding – explaining the slipperiness and ironies of the court procedures and prison life with a weary acceptance, while his moments of quiet despair are highlighted by his extraordinarily faraway but piercing gazes into the audience. James Elmes is almost certifiable as the rest of the world (just watch his lip synching and dancing) – dressed in black and simply adding a hat or a pair of fetching glasses, he portrays the police, politicians (a brilliant Maggie!), solicitors, priests and reporters. He manages to be hysterical, flirtatious and intimidating. Hill’s ghostings between prisons are portrayed starkly and simply by just moving his mattress from one side of the stage to the other accompanied by Elmes shouting prison orders. The prison beatings are brutal and well-choreographed, and are very disconcerting happening so close to the audience. The set is simple, with a brick wall covered in IRA graffiti for the prison, and a circus platform for court.

Using Hill’s letters to his mother and aunt obviously only portrays his view point of events, but, like any son, he is writing to convince his family that he is surviving and they should not lose hope. His comments about TV shows of the 70s and 80s are light hearted and in stark contrast to what is actually happening around him. Elmes’ reporter narrates the events in court and parliament with relish and from the establishment’s point of view. The narrative jumps around a little at the start, which confused a few younger members of the audience who had no idea who Hill was or why he was in prison, but all soon became clear for them.

McNamara doesn’t glorify Hill, including a scene where Hill explains what actually happened in the appeal court, rather than what was portrayed in the film version. Instead he just presents a normal lad in an extraordinary situation – so I have just about forgiven him for the Christ allusion during the police interrogation scene.

Your Ever Loving is a wonderful production, with an incredible cast telling a terrible story with lots of humour and humanity, and leaving you feeling just a little uneasy about whether this could happen again today.

Darlington Civic Theatre – Heritage Tours


Two special Heritage Tours are on offer in May at Darlington Civic Theatre for a look behind the scenes before it closes for refurbishment.

Darlington Civic Theatre is unlike any other building in the town – the stage has played host to so many famous faces, audiences have experienced every emotion possible, the auditorium buzzes with a tangible atmosphere of expectation.

Imagine, then, the opportunity to get a glimpse behind the scenes – the areas you never get to see as a member of the audience. Stand in the wings and imagine your next big entrance in front of a sell-out audience, get the view of the theatre every actor gets when they walk on stage for the first time, see the technical areas and offices. Add to that the history of secret apartments, the dressing rooms (some of which are known to be haunted) and you have an exciting and informative tour of one of Darlington’s most wonderful and historic buildings.

There will also be the opportunity to learn about the forthcoming restoration of the theatre following the successful Heritage Lottery bid – a chance to see plans for the project and discuss the benefits to audience members, touring companies and the cultural impact it will have on the town.

See Darlington Civic theatre as you have never seen it before.

The Darlington Civic Theatre Heritage Tours will take place on Tuesday 3 May and Monday 23 May, both at 6pm. Tickets are priced £5.

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

Civic-Theatre-Hi-Res-Logo-1-117x300Darlington Civic Theatre – a place to dream big.

Following a successful Heritage Lottery Fund Bid, Darlington Civic Theatre is planning a series of events to entertain and educate during the refurbishment period as well as looking forward to the remaining productions of a spectacular season.

Spring is in the air and there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a trip to Darlington Civic Theatre prior to the fantastic multi-million pound refurbishment project which commences in June.

We are currently enjoying time at Harvard Law School as DarlingtonOS presents Legally Blonde, running until Saturday 30 April. On Wednesday 4 May Phoenix Dance Theatre celebrate their 35th anniversary year with a triple bill of intense, funny and beautiful works based on Shakespeare’s themes of desire and unrequited love, concepts of the enclosed space that exists within our minds and darkly comic expressions of life and humanity.

Jodie Prenger makes a welcome return to the Civic Theatre following her starring role in Calamity Jane last year. This time for one night only in the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black classic Tell Me On A Sunday on Thursday 5 May. This new production includes an intimate post-show chat with Jodie about life, love and playing the role of Emma in the show.

The UK’s best-selling classical crossover artist of all time, Russell Watson, returns to Darlington Civic Theatre with another stunning collection of best-loved songs. Captivating to watch and enchanting to listen to, Russell continues to wow audiences with his enigmatic live performances, Friday 6 May (limited tickets now available). Saturday 7 May will see you dancing in the aisles to the best Motown hits with Dancing In The Streets. Expect your favourite songs made famous by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Ritchie and many, many more.

The hit West End and Broadway show Let It Be celebrates the music of The Beatles and is coming to Darlington from Monday 9 to Saturday 14 May. Seen by over one million people worldwide, Let It Be has established itself as one of the West End’s most popular shows. Travel back to the magical sixties when all you needed was love and a little help from your friends.

The nation’s favourite Strictly Come Dancing stars will grace the Civic Theatre stage as part of their ultimate farewell stage show – The Last Tango. Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace have created their most moving production yet for their final ever theatre tour. Don’t miss your last chance to see this beautiful couple do what they do best live, in an intimate, passionate and explosive production from Monday 16 to Saturday 21 May.

As well as being a household name in entertainment, David Walliam’s is the UK’s best-selling author for children. The stage adaptation of his book Gangsta Granny comes to the Civic Theatre from Tuesday 24 to Saturday 28 May. Ben’s Friday nights are usually so boring – staying with his Granny. It’s going to be cabbage soup, cabbage pie and cabbage cake. But what Ben doesn’t know is that Granny has a secret – and Friday nights are about to get more exciting than he could ever imagine.

As a final farewell to the Civic Theatre as we know it, a spectacular fundraising gala evening is in store on Tuesday 31 May. Live At The Hippodrome will be a very special evening to celebrate and anticipate the theatre’s restoration. The night will be hosted by national treasure Christopher Biggins and promises to be an unforgettable evening of live music, comedy, dancing and entertainment with community involvement and further casting to be announced.

In May there are two opportunities to take a behind-the-scenes tour of the theatre. Come and learn how the theatre works from the other side of the curtain, visit the dressing rooms – some said to be haunted, and learn more about the planned restoration project. These Heritage Tours will take place on Tuesday 3 and Monday 23 May at 6pm. Tickets are priced at just £5 and can be booked through the box office.

Looking ahead…

During the restoration process there will be many opportunities to engage with us. Two Royal Geographical Society lectures are to take place at Central Hall at the Dolphin Centre. Tristan Gooley is a best selling author and navigator who will be talking about the mysteries of water from wild swimming in England to Polynesian canoe navigation via the icy expanses of the Arctic (Monday 18 July). Nick Middleton is an award-winning photographer, writer, TV presenter, environmental scientist and lecturer at Oxford University. Nick takes you on an eye-opening tour of countries that don’t exist, countries that lack diplomatic recognition or UN membership that inhabit a realm of shifting borders (Monday 3 October).

This is your chance to be the star attraction as The Touring Consortium Theatre Company in association with Darlington Civic Theatre presents the Charles Dickens classic A Tale Of Two Cities on Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 November.

Dickens considered this novel to be the best story he had ever written. Interweaving one family’s intensely personal drama with the terror and chaos of the French Revolution. An epic story of love, sacrifice and redemption amidst horrific violence and world changing events.

The production will be staged in the atmospheric setting of Darlington’s Central Hall, where Dickens himself read in 1858 and 1861 and will feature a full community cast working with a professional director from the Touring Consortium Theatre Company. Auditions for the community cast will take place in July. For further information please contact [email protected]

Add your support…

Darlington Civic Theatre stands on the threshold of a new era. With a final £1.6m to fundraise there is a unique opportunity for supporters old and new to take the theatre forward into the next chapter of its incredible story.

A seat naming campaign has begun, supported by renowned north east actor Stephen Tompkinson. This is a fantastic opportunity to personalize your very own seat in the beautifully restored Edwardian auditorium. In recognition of your donation an engraved brass plaque will be placed on your chosen seat and you will receive a commemorative certificate. Seats will be £200 or you can name a pair of seats for £375. Your sponsorship will last for 15 years. To sponsor a seat visit the website or call the box office on 01325 486555.

Tickets for the remainder of the Winter / Spring season are on sale now.

For further information about the full Winter / Spring Season programme, pick up one of our brochures located in venues across Darlington including Darlington Civic Theatre Box Office and the

Cornmill Centre Box Office, or contact the Box Office on 01325 486 555 or visit




Planning permission has been granted to Shakespeare North for a proposed new £19m theatre and education hub, to be built in Knowsley, North West England. The 350-seat Shakespeare North will be the core of a new International University College, the first of its kind focusing upon Shakespearean performance practice.

In March this year, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced a pledge of £5m to support Shakespeare North’s proposal. The Chancellor’s announcement followed a commitment from Knowsley Council which has contributed £6m to the project, along with providing the building that will be converted into student accommodation and the land on which the theatre and college will be built.

With planning permission granted, Shakespeare North will continue fundraising ahead of building work, expected to commence in Autumn 2016. The Playhouse will be built to designs drawn in 1629 by Inigo Jones, the greatest English architect and theatre designer of his day. Helm Architecture has taken the archive designs and faithfully replicated Inigo Jones’ original vision. The Shakespeare North Playhouse will be the only replica of this indoor Jacobean Court Theatre in the world.

The support and patronage of the Earls of Derby at Knowsley Hall played a notable part in the development of Shakespearean drama. The summer seasons at Knowsley allowed Lord Strange’s Men, later part of Shakespeare’s own company at the Globe, to hone and perfect their acting craft. The Playhouse in Knowsley was the only purpose-built indoor playhouse outside London, allowing the people of the region to enjoy Elizabethan drama.

Peter Scott, Chair of Trustees, Shakespeare North Trust, said, “The creation of an historic theatre and a unique university college in Shakespeare North will commemorate the deep connection between our greatest cultural icon and an area of the country, Knowsley, that played an important role in forging his career. Shakespeare North aims to make Knowsley once again a place where actors, writers, students and young people will be able to study and practice the plays of Shakespeare.”

For more information visit

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS confirmed for London’s West End

London welcomes


Broadway’s Tony® Award-winning new musical

Dominion Theatre from March 2017

Tickets now on sale


An American in Paris bursts into life on the West End stage for the first time when Christopher Wheeldon’s multi award-winning new Broadway musical comes to London’s Dominion Theatre next spring.

Inspired by the Oscar® winning film and featuring the timeless music and lyrics of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin with book by Craig Lucas, An American in Paris has preview performances from Saturday 4 March 2017 with the official opening night on Tuesday 21 March 2017.

Jerry Mulligan is an American GI striving to make it as a painter in a city suddenly bursting with hope and possibility. Following a chance encounter with a beautiful young dancer named Lise, the streets of Paris become the backdrop to a sensuous, modern romance of art, friendship and love in the aftermath of war…

An American in Paris features many of George and Ira Gershwin’s most iconic songs including I Got Rhythm, ‘S Wonderful, and They Can’t Take That Away From Me, together with George Gershwin’s sweeping compositions including Concerto in F and An American in Paris.

Fresh from originating their roles on Broadway, Robert Fairchild (a New York City Ballet Principal dancer) will play Jerry Mulligan and British Royal Ballet dancer Leanne Cope will play Lise Dassin. These acclaimed, award-winning stars, who will be making their West End debuts, will lead a company of over 50 actors, dancers and musicians. Further West End casting to be announced.

“a perfect integration of dance, romance and classic Gershwin”
The New York Times

An American in Paris is directed and choreographed by the internationally renowned, British-born Christopher Wheeldon, recipient of the Tony® Award 2015: Best Choreographer for this production. An Artistic Associate of the Royal Ballet, Wheeldon received an OBE in the 2016 New Year’s Honours ‘for services to promoting the interests and reputation of British classical and theatrical dance worldwide’. The set and costumes are designed by the celebrated West End and Broadway designer Bob Crowley (The Audience; Mary Poppins) with projections by the prominent British designers 59 Productions (War Horse; London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony).

Christopher Wheeldon’s stunning reinvention of the MGM film, which starred Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, premiered in 2014 at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris to ecstatic reviews before transferring to The Palace Theatre on Broadway, where it now in its second hit year, becoming the most awarded musical of the 2015/16 season, including four Tony® Awards. A major North American tour begins later this year.

With music and lyrics by George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin and a book by Craig Lucas, An American in Paris is directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, with set and costumes designs by Bob Crowley; lighting by Natasha Katz; sound by Jon Weston and projection designs by 59 Productions. The musical score is adapted, arranged and supervised byRob Fisher with orchestrations by Christopher Austin; dance arrangements by Sam Davis; musical supervision by Todd Ellison; additional orchestrations by Don Sebesky and Bill Elliott and musical direction by Nigel Lilley.

An American in Paris is produced in London by Stuart Oken, Van Kaplan, Roy Furman, Michael McCabe and Joshua Andrews.

Robert Fairchild is appearing with the support of UK Equity, incorporating the Variety Artistes’ Federation, pursuant to an exchange program between American Equity and UK Equity.



Dominion Theatre, 268-269 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1T 7AQ

First Performance: Saturday 4 March 2017 | Opening Night: Tuesday 21 March 2017

Box Office: 0845 200 7982
Twitter: | @AmericanParisUK

Performance schedule:

Monday to Saturday 7:30pm
Wednesday & Saturday 2:00pm
[No Wednesday 2:00pm performances until 29 March 2017]

Tickets from £18.50