Darlington Civic Theatre – Beyond The Barricade

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t miss the Musicals event of the year!

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

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

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

*All prices include a £1 restoration levy



The Father 18-23 April ‘16

Tom 3 – 7 May ‘16

Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour 12-16 July ‘16

The Commitments 6-11 Feb ‘17


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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


New thriller Rehearsal for Murder to tour the UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further casting for Blood Brothers is to be announced.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further dates and casting to be announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Stage Awards 2016 Shortlist Announced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shortlist in full

London Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Häagen-Dazs

Almeida Theatre
Shakespeare’s Globe

Fringe Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by encoreinsure.com

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

Regional Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by Theatre 2016

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

Producer Theatre of the Year
Sponsored by John Good Ltd

Edinburgh International Festival
Rachel Edwards
Sonia Friedman

International Award
Sponsored by ATG 

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

School of the Year
Sponsored by Digital Theatre Plus.com

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

Theatre Building of the Year
Sponsored by ABTT and Richard Pilbrow

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


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

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

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

Derby Theatre and Octagon Theatre Bolton to stage 60th anniversary revival production of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger – Derby Theatre 4-26 March 2016

image (1)A Derby Theatre & Octagon Theatre, Bolton production 

by John Osborne
Directed by Sarah Brigham


Derby Theatre:  Friday 4 – Saturday 26 March


60th anniversary production of the play which changed the face of British theatre

Derby Theatre and Octagon Theatre Bolton celebrate the 60th anniversary of Osborne’s seminal play, the ground-breaking classic Look Back in Anger with a new revival directed by Derby Theatre’s Artistic Director, Sarah Brigham. The production will run at Derby Theatre from Fri 4 until Sat 26 March, and then transfer to the Octagon Theatre Bolton from Tue 7 – Sat 30 April.

Look Back in Anger smashed onto the scene and changed the face of British theatre in the mid-1950s, by placing on stage the voice of the ‘Angry Young Man’.  The play has a huge local resonance in Derby, as it is a strongly autobiographical piece which suggests it is based on Osborne’s unhappy marriage to actress Pamela Lane, and their life living in a cramped flat in Derby during the 50s.    

Osborne worked as as an actor and stage manager at Derby Playhouse (now Derby Theatre) during the 1950s. He pitched the play to the Playhouse before he offered it to the Royal Court, but the Theatre’s Board turned it down as they thought it may not show his ex-wife (Pamela Lane), who was a leading actress in the rep company at that time, in a good light. 


In 2016, Derby Theatre looks forward to presenting this iconic play to the audiences of today in the city from where the play was born.


It’s 1956 and in a cramped flat in Derby, Jimmy Porter is angry. His upper-class wife Alison is the perfect target for his anger whilst his flatmate Cliff is the perfect sounding board. An unwanted pregnancy and the arrival of a glamorous actress take the couple into a love triangle which questions the very foundations of how they live. 


Playing the central role of Jimmy Porter will be Patrick Knowles. Patrick’s recent credits include: Saturday Night Sunday Morning and The Grapes of Wrath, Mercury Theatre Colchester; and, most recently, as Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire at the Curve in Leicester. 


Joining Patrick, in the role of Alison, is Augustina Seymour. Augustina’s recent credits include a UK tour of It’s a Wonderful Life; Playing for Time at Sheffield Crucible and Happiness for Theatre 503.  Daisy Badger will play Helena. Daisy currently plays Pip Archer in the long-running BBC Radio 4 favourite The Archers and she also plays series regular, Claire Hillman in the ITV series Home Fires. Jimmy Fairhurst will play the role of Cliff.Jimmy recently played Phil in Derby Theatre’s highly acclaimed production of Brassed Off as well as Jud in the Theatre’s production of Kes in 2013. His other credits include ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore for Cheek by Jowl and Theatre 503.

The creative team for Look Back in Anger includes design by Neil Irish, lighting design by Arnim Friess and music composed by Ivan Stott, who will also feature in the play.

As the perfect companion piece to Look Back in Anger, Derby Theatre will also present a new play, Jinny written by Jane Wainwright, an exciting new voice in theatre who hails from Derbyshire. Jinny will look at the play afresh and offer a contemporary response to Look Back through the Theatre’s RETOLD series, which aims to crack open classics from the perspective of females characters. Built on research and development with the women living in Derby in 2015/16, this is a story of a young woman trying to cope with the world she finds herself told with humour and warmth.  Jinny plays at Derby Theatre from Mon 7 until Wed 23 March (on selected days).

Sarah Brigham (Director of Look Back in Anger and Artistic Director & Chief Executive, Derby Theatre) said:

“I am incredibly excited to be directing Look Back in Anger for our spring 2016 season and for it to then continue its run at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton.  The play changed the face of British Theatre back in the 50s by putting working class voices centre stage and I am keen to get my teeth into this iconic and influential work to discover what impact our version may offer our audiences today.

We have assembled a truly magnificent cast, all exciting, young actors in their own right and I am confident that their combined performances will result in a compelling night out of searing drama in our theatres.

Look Back in Anger placed the working man’s voice centre stage, coining the term ‘angry young men” and I believe very strongly that some of the status quo  the character Jimmy Porter was railing against then is still very relevant today – it will be exciting to bring this seminal text back to its home of Derby.

To complement the piece we have commissioned up-and-coming playwright Jane Wainwright to spend some time in Derby and discover what the female ‘Jimmy Porters’ of 2016 are angry about today and her short curtain raiser will offer a fresh look at the passion of politics for women in 2016.”

Following the run at Derby Theatre, Look Back in Anger will run at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton from Tue 7 until Sat 30 April.




Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap will continue its record-breaking, and first ever, UK tour into 2016. The beloved murder mystery will begin the 2016 leg of its tour at Nottingham Theatre Royal, where it originally opened in 1952, on 19 January before visiting more than 25 further venues across the UK.

The cast for the 2016 tour includes Anna Andresen (Mollie Ralston), Nick Barclay (Giles Ralston), Tony Boncza (Major Metcalf), Lewis Collier (Sgt Trotter), Gregory Cox (Mr Paravicini), Amy Downham (Miss Casewell) and Oliver Gully (Christopher Wren) who will join the previously announced Louise Jameson (Doctor Who, EastEnders, Doc Martin) as Mrs Boyle.

Anna Andresen trained at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, her previous theatre credits include The Frozen Scream (Birmingham Hippodrome/Wales Millennium Centre),The 39 Steps (Criterion Theatre)  Above & Beyond, You Once Said Yes (LLLR) Into The Sunlit Uplands (Theatre 80.St Marks, NYC)  Texting From Dachau (Red Bean Studio, NYC) Running On Empty, Lisa Is Looking Into The Mirror (Bennett Media Studio, NYC) , Red Admiral (Soho Studio)The Bald Prima Donna (The Etc) and Crossed Wires (Theatre 503). In addition to her work on stage Anna has also appeared in Fortitude, Miss Marple, Silent Witness and Wire in the Blood.

Nick Barclay trained at Mountview Theatre School and has appeared in more than 240 professional stage productions. Nick’s previous theatre credits include Stone Cold Murder, Dial M for Murder, The 39 Steps, The Titfield Thunderbolt, Strangers on a Train, Dead Funny, Romantic Comedy, Dangerous Corner, House Guest and Kind Hearts and Coronets. He is also a veteran of numerous repertory seasons in places such as Wolverhampton, Bournemouth, Crewe and Sidmouth. He has also written and performed for the world famous NewsRevue in London and directed various productions up and down the country. Nick has toured internationally with productions such as Stones in His Pockets, Art, Private Lives and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).

Tony Boncza originally trained as a journalist before joining The National Youth Theatre and then the Central School of Speech and Drama. Tony’s recent stage appearances have included roles in Great Britain (National Theatre), the South East Asian tour of The Mousetrap, Yes Prime Minister (West End & UK Tour), The Critic and The Real Inspector Hound (both Chichester Festival Theatre). Tony also played Sgt Trotter in the West End’s production of The Mousetrap25 years ago. In addition to his work on stage, Tony has appeared on screen in The Royals, The Sarah Jane Adventures and EastEnders.

Lewis Collier’s previous stage credits include Classic Ghost Stories (UK Tour), The Three Lions(St James Theatre & Tour), Macbeth (Erasmus International Theatre Co. Italy) and Two Noble Kinsmen (Round Pebble Theatre Co.). Lewis has also appeared on film in Checkmate.

Gregory Cox trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and has had an illustrious career on stage beginning with Oliver! (West End) and Little Lies which starred John Mills (Wyndham’s Theatre and Toronto). Gregory’s other theatre work includes Muswell Hill (Park Theatre),Arcadia (UK Tour), Don Juan (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), The Picture of Dorian Gray(Windsor and UK tour), Tale of Two Cities (Sheffield Crucible), Hamlet (Rose Theatre), The Devils (Union Theatre) and The Seagull (UK tour). Gregory was also Mr Paravicini in the 2013 cast of The Mousetrap at St. Martin’s Theatre, London.

Amy Downham trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and has appeared on stage in Generation Y (MF Productions), Twelfth Night (Attic Theatre Company), Out of Love(White Bear Theatre), Daisy Pulls it Off (Watermill Theatre) and Every Brilliant Thing(Nabokov). Amy has also appeared on TV in Doctors, EastEnders and Hollyoaks.

Oliver Gully trained at the Guildhall School of Acting; his previous stage credits include Hamlet(The Courtyard Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (UK Tour) and Timebomb (The White Bear).

Louise Jameson is best well-known for her long-running roles as Leela, a companion of Tom Baker’s Doctor in Doctor Who, Susan Young in Bergerac¸ Eleanor Glasson in Doc Martin, and Rosa di Marco in EastEnders. In addition to Louise’s illustrious roles on screen, she has also appeared on stage in Love, Loss and What I Wore (The Mill, Sonning), Noises Off (Mercury Theatre), Gutted (Theatre Royal, Stratford East) and Oedipus (The Liverpool Everyman & Nottingham Playhouse).

The production, which originally opened at Nottingham Theatre Royal in 1952 starring the late Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim before embarking on its current record-breaking West End run, continues its journey across the breadth of the country, visiting towns and cities including Brighton, Reading, Darlington, York, Portsmouth, Cheltenham, Stoke, Woking, Leicester, Liverpool, Harrogate, Shrewsbury, Dartford, Yeovil, Hereford, Derby, Kings Lynn, Salisbury, Manchester, Aylesbury, Torquay, Llandudno, Jersey and Bristol.

Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been the world’s longest running stage production at its London home since breaking the record in 1958 and recently celebrated its 26,000th performance. The 60th Anniversary – and first ever – UK tour of this beloved murder mystery is approaching 1000 performances and has now been seen by nearly 1 million people, having broken box office records in many of its tour venues.

Mousetrap Productions has also licensed 60 productions of The Mousetrap worldwide to mark the 60th year, and many of these have also broken records, from Cape Town to Philadelphia, Singapore to Sydney. During this period, the world’s longest running show will have been seen in every continent with professional productions in Australia, China, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Scandinavia, Venezuela, and across the United States and Canada.

The Mousetrap continues its open-ended run at St. Martin’s Theatre, London. The UK tour is currently booking until August 2016.



Louise Jameson’s final appearance in The Mousetrap will be 13 August 2016 at Bristol Hippodrome


19 – 23 January
Theatre Royal Nottingham
Box Office: 0115 989 5555

25 – 30 January
Theatre Royal Brighton
Box Office: 0844 871 7627

1 – 6 February
The Hexagon, Reading
Box Office: 0118 960 6060

8 – 13 February
Darlington Civic Theatre
Box Office: 01325 486555

22 – 27 February
York Grand Opera House
Box Office: 0844 871 3024

29 February – 5 March
Lighthouse Poole
Box Office: 0844 406 8666

7 – 12 March
Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield
Box Office: 01246 345 222

14 – 19 March
New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
Box Office: 02392 843 979

21 – 26 March
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Box Office: 01242 572573

4 – 9 April
The Lichfield Garrick Theatre
Box Office: 01543 412121

11 – 13 April
The Regent Theatre, Stoke
Box Office: 0844 871 7649

14 – 16 April
New Victoria Theatre, Woking
Box Office: 0844 871 7649

18 – 20 April
De Montfort Hall, Leicester
Box Office: 0116 233 3111

21 – 23 April
Liverpool Empire
Box Office: 0151 702 7320

25 – 30 April
Embassy Theatre, Skegnes
Box Office: 0845 674 0505

2 – 7 May
Harrogate Theatre
Box Office: 01423 502 116

9 – 14 May
Severn Theatre, Shrewsbury
Box Office: 01743 281281

16 – 21 May
The Orchard Theatre, Dartford
Box Office:  01322 220 000

23 – 28 May
Octagon Theatre, Yeovil
Box Office: 01935 422 884

30 May – 4 June
The Courtyard, Hereford
Box Office: 01432 340 555

6 – 11 June
Derby Theatre
Box Office: 01332 59 39 39

13 – 18 June
Kings Lynn Corn Exchange
Box Office: 01553 764864

20 – 25 June
Salisbury Playhouse
Box Office: 01722 320 333

27 June – 2 July
Opera House Manchester
Box Office: 0844 871 3018

4 – 9 July
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Box Office: 0844 871 7607

18 – 23 July
Princess Theatre Torquay
Box Office: 0844 871 3023

25 – 30 July
Venue Cymru Llandudno
Box Office: 01492 872000

1 – 6 August
Jersey Opera House
Box Office: 01534 511 115

8 – 13 August
Bristol Hippodrome
Box Office: 0844 871 3012



Cast announced for PINK MIST
PINK MIST by Owen Sheers
Directed by John Retallack and George Mann
Bush Theatre
Presented by Bristol Old Vic
21 January – 13 February 2016, Press night 26 January 2016

Casting has been announced for award-winning writer Owen Sheers’ acclaimed play Pink Mist, about the mental and physical scars of war, which opens at the Bush Theatre in January 2016 before a run at the Bristol Old Vic.

Pink Mist at Bristol Old Vic by Owen Sheers Cast includes Phil Dunster  Erin Doherty Peter Edwards Rebecca Hamilton  Zara Ramm  Alex Stedman Creative Team Writer Owen Sheers  Director John Retallack Associate Director George Mann  Supported by the Quercus Trust and in partnership with the National Theatre Designer Emma Cains  Lighting Designer Peter Harrison Composer / Sound Designer Jon Nicholls

Five of the six original cast members from the play’s 2015 run will return – Phil Dunster, Peter Edwards, Rebecca Hamilton, Zara Ramm and Alex Stedman – with Rebecca Killick joining the company.

Pink Mist tells the story of three young Bristol men deployed to Afghanistan. Returning to the women in their lives who must now share the physical and psychological aftershocks of their service, Arthur, Hads and Taff find their journey home is their greatest battle.

Owen Sheers’ Pink Mist was inspired by thirty interviews with returned servicemen and first staged at Bristol Old Vic in July 2015. This moving production, directed by John Retallack and George Mann (Theatre Ad Infinitum) matches Sheers’ haunting verse with dynamic movement.

Cast: Phil Dunster, Peter Edwards, Rebecca Hamilton, Rebecca Killick, Zara Ramm and Alex Stedman.

Phil Dunster trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, graduating in 2014. Theatre includes:Pink Mist (Bristol Old Vic); Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Reading Between the Lines); The Man in The River (Tobacco Factory Theatres). Film includes: Leavey, The Rise and Fall of the Krays. TV includes: Catastrophe (Channel 4), Lucky Man (Sky 1).

Peter Edwards graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2015 and was highly commended for the 2015 Peter O’Toole Prize. Theatre includes: The Crucible, Pink Mist (Bristol Old Vic). Credits whilst training include: The Boy on the Swing, The Grand Gesture, The Merchant of Venice, Alice in Wonderland, Sauce for the Goose (West Country Tour), The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Speaking in Tongues.

Rebecca Hamilton graduated from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in 2015 and is the winner of the BBC Carleton Hobbs Bursary Award 2015 and highly commended for the 2015 Peter O’Toole Prize. Theatre includes: Pink Mist (Bristol Old Vic); City Of Strangers (Tron Theatre); Romeo and Juliet (Lemontree Theatre).  Credits whilst training include: The Merchant of Venice, Alice in Wonderland (Redgrave Theatre); The Grand Gesture (Tobacco Factory). Rebecca has also been a member of the BBC Radio Drama Company appearing in numerous productions for BBC Radio 4.

Rebecca Killick trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. She has also represented Wales in gymnastics. Theatre includes: Performer/Puppeteer in One Snowy Night (Norden Farm Productions); Catherine Denham in One Minute (Delirium); Emilie/Baby Joey/Annie Gilbert inWar Horse (National Theatre); Moth in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Meyer Theatre); Patty Symcox in Grease, Elvira in Blithe Spirit (Turner Auditorium); Brink in When Do We Start Fighting? (Courtyard Theatre); Psychiatrist in 4.48 Psychosis (Royal Academy of Music); Madge Syers in Swifter, Higher, Stronger (The Roundhouse); Dunyasha in The Cherry Orchard, Clara inA Vampire Story (Richard Burton Theatre Co.). Film includes: Jemima in Fugue State (FireParty Films), Fiona in short film Vertical Drop (Sci-Fi 48 Hour Film Festival). Radio includes: Buddug inThe Minister (BBC Radio 4).

Zara Ramm trained at LAMDA. Theatre includes: Alice in Wonderland (The Watermill); Life Raft, Pink Mist, Swallows and Amazons, World Cup Final 1966, Treasure Island, Beasts and Beauties, Pheadra’s Love (all Bristol Old Vic); My Mother Said I Never Should (The Theatre, Chipping Norton); The Last Voyage of Sinbad the Sailor (Tobacco Factory Theatres); The Nutcracker (Bath Theatre Royal/The Egg); Into the West  (Travelling Light Theatre Co); Skellig (Birmingham Stage Co); Macbeth (Northcott); Othello (Ludlow); The Tempest (Arts Threshold); A Chorus of Disapproval (Colchester Mercury); Saigon Rose: The Case of Rebellious Susan (The Orange Tree Theatre);  Cinderella, Dick Whittington, Sleeping Beauty (Cheltenham Everyman); State of Grace (Reckless Kettle Theatre); Dalston Songs (Helen Chadwick Song Theatre). Film includes: The Merchant of Venice, Crazy Hands. TV includes: Grandpa in My Pocket (five series); Teachers, Being Human, Afterlife 2, Passer By, Doctors, The Bill, Dead Gorgeous. Zara has also recorded numerous audio books and is a regular reader of audio books for the BBC, Audio Go and Chatter Box Audio.

Alex Stedman graduated from ALRA in 2012. Theatre includes: Pink Mist (Bristol Old Vic);Honest (Theatre West, Alma Tavern); Boom (Bush Theatre); Do You Speak British (Camden People’s Theatre); Little Pieces of Gold (Southwark Playhouse). TV includes: Skins, Casualty. He is also a writer and has had his work performed at Theatre503 and at the Theatre Royal Plymouth as part of the Plymouth Fringe Festival.

Owen Sheers has been described as “the war poet of his generation”. He is an author, poet and playwright whose first novel, Resistance was translated into eleven languages and adapted into a film. His latest novel, I Saw a Man, was published in June 2015. Owen’s writing for theatre includes National Theatre of Wales’ site-specific production in Port Talbot, The Passion; TheTwo Worlds of Charlie F, which won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, and NTW’s Mametz.  His verse drama Pink Mist was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and won the Hay Festival Poetry Medal and the Wales Book of the Year 2014. He has been Artist in Residence for the Welsh Rugby Union and is currently Professor in Creativity at Swansea University.

John Retallack was the founding director of Company of Angels, producing new work for young audiences. He was formerly Artistic Director of Oxford Stage Company and was the founding director of Actors Touring Company (ATC). John’s own plays for theatre are translated into several languages and published by Oberon and Methuen. John is currently Tutor in writing for performance at Ruskin College Oxford.

George Mann is Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic, and Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Ad Infinitum. Highlights include Translunar Paradise (director, writer, co-deviser, and performer) a sell-out at Barbican as part of the London International Mime Festival (LIMF) 2012, which picked up nine awards and toured the globe for three years; Light (director, writer, co-deviser, performer of live vocals) met with critical acclaim, its London premier sold out at Barbican as part of LIMF 2015. In December 2014, George won the Quercus Trust Award becoming Associate Director at Bristol Old Vic in partnership with National Theatre; he continues his role at Ad Infinitum part time.

FORGET ME NOT by Tom Holloway, a co-production between the Bush Theatre and HighTide Festival Theatre, is currently playing at the Bush until 16 January 2016.

Empire Cinemas’ 2016 film recommendations

image001 (12)Empire Cinemas’ 2016 film recommendations

With 2015 being such a huge year for film, Empire Cinemas – the UK’s largest independent cinema chain – takes a retrospective look at this year’s major big screen successes, as well as a look forward at what film lovers can expect from cinema in 2016.

In the past year Empire Cinemas has screened an enormous 495 films, with the top films being the much anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens (December), SPECTRE (October), and Avengers: Age of Ultron(October), as well as summer hits; Jurassic World (May), Minions (June) and Inside Out (June).

2016 looks set to be another huge year for film, with a number of high-profile releases coming to the big screen. January kicks off with Joy (January 1st), which sees Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper team up for the fourth time in four years; whilst February sees the much anticipated return of Ben Stiller and Co inZoolander 2 (February 12th), which will undoubtedly be as hilarious as the original. In March, two of cinema’s biggest superheroes will come face to face in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (March 25th), a scenario that comic fans across the globe have dreamed of, which will see Ben Affleck taking over the bat ears for the first time.

The Jungle Book (April 15th) looks set to star at the worldwide Box Offices in April; this live action take on the 1967 original will appeal to audiences both young and old. Meanwhile May will play host to a number of great titles, from the film of the hit game Angry Birds (May 20th) to X-Men: Apocalypse (May 27th). June sees the hugely anticipated release of Finding Dory (June 17th), which is set to conquer children’s hearts.

Independence Day 2 (July 1st) is likely to be one of the biggest Sci-Fi thrillers of the year, and on that topic, July also sees the return of Star Trek Beyond (July 8th). Both are set to fight for the title of ‘Sci-Fi of the Year’. Month of the blockbusters, July will include Tarzan (July 1st), the all-female casted Ghostbusters (July 15th) and The BFG (July 22nd). One of the most hyped and star-studded films of 2016, Suicide Squad(August 5th), will hit the big screen in August and witness Jared Leto as the Joker. September will see Chris Pratt and Denzel Washington starring in The Magnificent Seven remake (September 23rd), directed by the award winning Antoine Fuqua.

In October, Inferno (October 14th) will see Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones star in the film based on Dan Brown’s novel, which follows the success of 2009’s Angels & Demons. The blockbuster book adaptations don’t stop in October, for in November Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them (November 18th) will hit the big screen, starring the ever-excellent Eddie Redmayne. This Harry Potter spin-off has every potential to be a huge hit in 2016, and Potter fans will be delighted to see more of J.K. Rowling’s amazing stories turned into film format. 2016 ends in a similar style to 2015, with the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (December 16th), the first film of the spin-off Star Wars Anthology series, directed by Godzilla 2014’s Gareth Edwards.

Jon Nutton Marketing Director of Empire Cinemas said: “After a magnificent line-up of films in 2015, 2016 looks set to be just as entertaining for our customers. Every month sees a stellar line-up of exciting titles and incredible acting talent and we look forward to hosting cinemagoers at the home of where all films should be experienced.”

Other releases to keep an eye out for in 2016:


The Danish Girl

Released January 1st

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk

The Revenant

Released January 15th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRfj1VCg16Y




Released February 5th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cn716jv61s

A Bigger Splash

Released February 12th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akAvbD8uc8g



The Divergent Series: Allegiant

Released March 11th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0G0C-vMHcQY

Kung Fu Panda 3

Released March 18th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10r9ozshGVE



Eddie the Eagle

Released April 1st

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYjX7WmQyvc

Captain America: Civil War

Released April 29th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVdV-lxRPFo



Bad Neighbours 2

Released May 6th

Alice through the Looking Glass

Released May 27th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OiEG3Zr_Jxs



Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2

Released June 3rd

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeaugHGd1Kw

The Secret Life of Pets

Released June 24th

Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-80SGWfEjM



The Purge 3

Released July 15th

Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur (3D)

Released July 22nd



Sausage Party

Released August 12th

Project XX

Released August 26th



Patient Zero

Released September 2nd

Bridget Jones’ Baby

Released September 16th



The Girl on the Train

Released October 7th

Jack Reacher 2

Released October 21st



The Accountant

Released November 4th

Why Him?

Released November 11th



Let It Snow

Released December 9th

Assassin’s Creed

Released December 26th


For further ticketing information visit www.EmpireCinemas.co.uk or call 08714 714 714.