Critically acclaimed East Is East starring award-winning Pauline McLynn












Pauline McLynn (Father Ted, Shameless, EastEnders) will play Ella Khan in Ayub Khan Din’s critically-acclaimed play East is East, which was part of Jamie Lloyd’s second Trafalgar Transformed season, directed by Sam Yates, on a 16 week National Tour from 11 June 2015, commencing at Theatre Royal, Brighton. East is East is designed by Tom Scutt, with lighting by Richard Howell and sound and music by Alex Baranowski.

Pauline will be joined by some of the original cast from the West End production of East is East: Ashley Kumar (Tariq Khan), Darren Kuppan (Maneer Khan) and Sally Bankes (Auntie Annie). The full cast will be announced in due course.

Other confirmed venues for the East is East National Tour include the Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury (22-27 June), New Victoria Theatre, Woking (29 June – 4 July), Churchill Theatre, Bromley (6-11 July), Princess Theatre, Torquay (13-18 July), Regent Theatre, Stoke (20-25 July), Theatre Royal, Nottingham (27 July – 1 August), Grand Opera House, York (3-8 August), Theatre Royal, Glasgow (10-15 August), The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford (31 August – 5 September), Sheffield Lyceum (7 September – 12 September) and Bath Theatre Royal (14 September – 19 September) with further dates announced shortly.

Pauline McLynn said “I am very excited to be part of this production. The play by Ayub Khan Din is sparkling, funny and tender and I’m delighted to be working with the brilliant Sam Yates. I cannot wait to get out there with it!”

Jamie Lloyd, Artistic Director of Trafalgar Transformed, said “As a part of our drive to make our work accessible to all, I am very excited to present the first major tour of a Trafalgar Transformed production. I am thrilled that so many more people, all over the country, will get to see Sam Yates’ vivid production of this modern classic, and I’m delighted to welcome Pauline McLynn to the company.”

Pakistani chip-shop owner George Khan – “Genghis” to his kids – is determined to give his children a strict Muslim upbringing against the unforgiving backdrop of 1970s Salford. Household tension reaches breaking point as their long-suffering English mother, Ella, gets caught in the cross fire – her loyalties divided between her marriage and the free will of her children. 


East is East, Ayub Khan Din’s semi-autobiographical account of British Asian life in the 1970s and the clash of cultures between a multi-cultural family growing up in Salford, is a play that continues to resonate and provoke discussion. Starring award-winning screen icon Pauline McLynn (Father TedShameless and EastEnders) as Ella and a host of the finest British acting talent as the remainder of the Khan family and friends, this long awaited revival of a modern comedy classic promises to be unmissable.

Pauline McLynn (Ella Khan) is best known for screen roles including Mrs Doyle in Father Ted (for which she won a British Comedy Award), Libby Croker in Shameless and her current role playing Yvonne Cotton inEastEnders. Pauline’s stage credits include most recently The Knight of the Burning Pestle, at The Globe,Happy Days at Sheffield Crucible, Playboy of the Western World at the Donmar Warehouse, The Trojan Women, Comedy of Errors, Yerma and Antigone all at the Abbey Theatre/National Theatre of Ireland, The Double Dealer, Tartuffe, Absurd Person Singular and School for Scandal all at the Gate Theatre, Dublin andOur Country’s Good, The Tempest, Top Girls and The Caucasian Chalk Circle for Rough Magic. Her other television credits include Father Figure (BBC), Threesome (Comedy Central), The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff(BBC) Pramface (BBC), three seasons of Jam and Jerusalem (BBC), Bremner, Bird and Fortune (Channel 4, six series), High Hopes (BBC), French and Saunders (BBC), TV To Go (BBC), The Dark Ages (ITV), It Happened Last Year, Dalziel and Pascoe, Family, Aristocrats and Ballykissangel (all for BBC).  Pauline’s film credits include Stephen Bradley’s Noble, Helen in Gypo, Sister Hilda opposite Brendan Blethyn in The Calling,Iris directed by Richard Eyre, Heidi directed by Paul Marcus, Angela’s Ashes directed by Alan Parker, The Most Fertile Man in Ireland directed by Dudi Appleton, An Everlasting Piece directed by Barry Levinson and When Brendan met Trudy directed by Kieron J. Walsh.  Other film work includes; QuillsNoraHer Own RulesGuilttrip. Pauline most recently completed shooting on Jim Sheridan’s feature Secret Scripture. She has also published eight best-selling novels, Something for the Weekend (1999), Better Than A Rest (2001), Right on Time (2002), The Woman on the Bus (2004), Summer in the City (2005), Bright Lights and Promises(2007), Missing You Already (2009) and The Time Is Now (2010). In 2012 she published her first novel for young people, Jenny Q, Stitched Up! with Puffin Books, and the sequel JENNY Q, Unravelled.


Ashley Kumar’s (Tariq Khan) stage credits include East is East at Trafalgar Studios/UK Tour, Tartuffe at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Commercial Road at the Hackney Empire and The Snow Queen at the Unicorn Theatre. Ashley’s screen credits include A Nice Arrangement, Omid Djalili’s Little Cracker, Summer In Transylvania, EastEnders, Spooks, Benidorm, The Bill, Doctors and MI High.


Darren Kuppan’s (Maneer Khan) stage credits include East is East at Trafalgar Studios/UK Tour, Rafta Raftaat the Bolton Octagon and the New Vic Theatre, Stoke, the latter of which he also performed in Arabian Nights, East is East at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, An August Bank Holiday Lark at the Northern Broadsides, Melody Loses Her Mojo at the Liverpool Playhouse, England Street at the Oxford Playhouse, The Bridge at Freedom Studios, Jamaica House at Duke’s Playhouse, Lancaster, Much Ado About Nothing at the RSC, Bollywood Jane at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Pretend You Have Big Buildings at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Darren’s screen credits include Spooks, Britannia High, Emmerdale,Coronation Street, The Sweet Stall, Piggy, The Code, Winners And Losers and The Chaos Theory.

Sally Bankes’ (Auntie Annie) stage credits include East is East at Trafalgar Studios/UK Tour, That Day We Sang at The Royal Exchange Manchester (for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at The Manchester Theatre Awards), The Winter’s Tale at the RSC, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Octagon Theatre, Waiting for Gateaux on a UK tour, Everybody Loves a Winner at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, and Acorn Antiques on a UK tour. Her screen credits include Our Zoo, Pompidou!, Mount Pleasant, Prisoners’ Wives, Doctors, World Without End, In With The Flynns, Titanic, Housewife 49, Hollyoaks, White Van Man, Semi-Detached, Hoof and Safety with Nuzzle and Scratch, MI High, Nuzzle and Scratch, Scallywagga, Guantanamo Phil, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Heartbeat, 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Tittybangbang!, Where the Heart Is, Little Britain, Absolute Power, Twisted Tales, Coronation Street, Fat Friends, Stabat Mater, Line of Fire, Trained, Chicken Tikka Masala (for which she won Best Actress at the OutTakes Dallas Film Festival), Redemption Road and When It All Comes Down.


East is East, was Ayub Khan Din’s first play, following an initial career as an actor. It was staged at the Royal Court in 1997 and, subsequently, Ayub adapted the play into a hugely successful feature film, starring Om Puri and Linda Bassett.  For his screenplay, Ayub won a British Independent Film Award and a London Critics’ Circle Film Award, and was nominated for two BAFTAs for Best Adapted Screenplay and the Carl Foreman Award for Most Promising Newcomer, and a European Film Award for Best Screenwriter. Ayub was last seen on stage in the West End/National tour run of East is East at Trafalgar Studios as part of the Trafalgar Transformed season, playing for the first time, the role of George. Other stage credits include the title role of Bunty Berman Presents, under the wing of The New Group at the Acorn Theatre, Off-Broadway. The musical was co-authored by Ayub and Grammy and Emmy Award winner Paul Bogaev. He made his film debut in My Beautiful Laundrette, but is perhaps best known for the role of Sammy in Hanif Kureishi‘sSammy and Rosie Get Laid – both directed by Stephen Frears. His TV credits include Coronation Street, London Bridge, The Chief, Dangerfield, Boon, The Bill and Poirot. Additional writing credits include Last Dance at Dum DumNotes on Falling LeavesAll the Way Home, Rafta Rafta, which won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and ran at the National Theatre, West is West, All in Good Time, an adaptation of To Sir With Love, which recently completed a national tour, and Bunty Berman Presents.


Sam Yates most recently directed Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and directed Ruth Wilson in The El Train at Hoxton Hall.  His other directing credits includeCornelius by J.B. Priestley at the Finborough Theatre and 59E59 Theatre, New York, and Mixed Marriage at the Finborough Theatre. He was Artistic Associate at Royal and Derngate Theatres from 2011-2013. He trained with directors Jamie Lloyd, Michael Grandage, Trevor Nunn, Josie Rourke and Phyllida Lloyd.

The National Tour of East is East follows the completion of the second season of work for Trafalgar Transformed, produced by Jamie Lloyd Productions, a partnership between acclaimed director Jamie Lloyd and Ambassador Theatre Group. Season Two included Richard III, starring Martin Freeman, East is Eaststarring Jane Horrocks and The Ruling Class, starring James McAvoy, which is running until 11 April 2015.

*Further tour venues/dates will be announced shortly


11 – 20 JUNE

0844 871 7650


22 – 27 JUNE

0844 871 7607


29 JUNE – 4 JULY

0844 871 7645


6 – 11 JULY

0844 871 7620


13 – 18 JULY

0844 871 3023


20 – 25 JULY

0844 871 7649



0115 989 5555


3 – 8 AUGUST

0844 871 3024



10 – 15 AUGUST

0844 871 7647



01274 432000



0114 249 6000



01225 448844



Twitter                                                            @traftransformed

Ray Quinn to join cast of Judy – The Songbook of Judy Garland




The Songbook of Judy Garland



International theatre producer David King is delighted to announce that the singer-songwriter, actor and winner of hit TV shows Dancing On Ice , Dancing on Ice – All Stars,  Ray Quinn, will be joining  the UK Tour of JUDY – THE SONGBOOK OF JUDY GARLAND. Ray was runner up in The X- Factor in 2006, with his debut album going straight to number one in the UK charts and has starred in many West End musicals including Legally Blonde and Dirty Dancing.

JUDY – THE SONGBOOK OF JUDY GARLAND will tour some of the UKs finest theatres, with the UK premiere of this new musical show at the Edinburgh Playhouse on May 8 2015. Highly-acclaimed choreographer and theatre director, Arlene Phillips, will be the Creative Director on the production. This will be the only Judy Garland Show in the world authorised by the Judy Garland Estate.

JUDY – THE SONGBOOK OF JUDY GARLAND stars Lorna Luft, Judy Garlands daughter, together with leading West End musical theatre stars, including Louise Dearman, Rachel Stanley, Darren Bennett and more. Also appearing are Judys dancers – The Boyfriends, named after Judys original dancers of the same name.

JUDY – THE SONGBOOK  OF JUDY GARLAND will include never seen before film clips and interviews together with irresistible classic hit songs from some of Judys hugely popular films such as A Star is Born, Meet Me in St. Louis, Easter Parade and The Wizard of Oz. The set of songs will include I Got Rhythm, The Trolley Song, The Man That Got Away, Get Happy,Zing! Went the strings of my Heart, and the song that is synonymous with Judy Garland, Over the Rainbow.

JUDY THE SONGBOOK OF JUDY GARLAND, has Arlene Phillips as Creative Director and is directed by Christopher Manoe.

Ray Quinns first acting role was in Brookside, the popular soap, based in Liverpool. He was announced as the runner-up in the X Factor to Leona Lewis in 2006 and subsequently released a a debut album which went to number in one in the UK charts and eventually became a platinum selling album. Ray has starred in many West End musicals including Grease, Dirty Dancing, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice andLegally Blonde. Ray was the winner of ITVs Dancing on Ice in 2009 and went on to win the final All Stars series in 2014. Ray is currently recording an album and is inspired by by the greats, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the Rat Pack.


Lorna Luft is considered to be part of Showbiz Royalty, as the daughter of Judy Garland and the half sister of Liza Minnelli and a highly successful stage, film and TV actress and singer. She has appeared in numerous film, TV and stage shows, including White Christmas, Theyre Playing My Son and Babes in Arms. Lorna appeared on stage regularly with her mother as a young girl and continues to maintain a high profile concert career.

Louise Dearman is the darling of the West End, and has performed in leading roles in many West End musicals including Wicked where Louise was the first actress to play both the good witch and the bad witch, Glinda and Elphaba. Louise also starred in Evita, Cats and Guys and Dolls to name just a few.

Darren Bennett has appeared in numerous productions in both the West End and on tour including the current production of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Aladdin, Merrily We Roll Along,  Crazy for You, Fiddler on the Roof, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Singin in the Rain.

Rachel Stanley has recently finished starring as Betty Haynes in the hugely successful production of White Christmas at Londons Dominion Theatre, and  previously  played the role in Edinburgh, Manchester, Plymouth & Southampton. Rachel has also had lead roles in  Annie  (New Zealand and UK tour), Crazy for You  and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (UK Tour).

Arlene Phillips (CBE) is one of the UKs best known choreographers, and also works regularly as a theatre director and is a well know television personality. Arlene has worked on numerous stage productions, (The Wizard of OZ, Starlight Express, Grease) TV (So You think you can Dance) and films.


Please check websites for performance times.

May 8th – 9th

Edinburgh Playhouse

Box Office: 0844 871 3014


May 11th – 13th

The Pavilion Theatre, Rhyl

Box Office: 01745 33 00 00


May 14th – 16th

Grand Opera House, York

Box Office: 0844 871 3024


May 18th – 19th

The Alhambra Theatre, Bradford

Box Office: 01274 432000


May 21st – 23rd

New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham

Box Office: 0844 871 3011



May 26th – 27th

The Corn Exchange, Kings Lynn

Box Office: 01553 764864


May 28th – 30th

Palace Theatre, Manchester

Box Office: 0844 871 3019


June 2nd – 6th

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Box Office: 0844 871 7647



June 8th – 10th

Liverpool Empire

Box Office: 0844 871 3017


June 12th –13th

Princess Theatre Torquay

Box Office: 0844 871 3023

June 16th– 20th

New Wimbledon Theatre

Box Office: 0844 871 7646


June 23rd – 24th

Hall for Cornwall

Box Office: 01872 262466


June 25th – 27th

Cardiff New Theatre

Box Office: 029 2087 8889


June 29th July 4th

Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Box Office: 0114 249 6000


July 7th – 11th

Theatre Royal, Brighton

Box Office: 0844 871 7627


July 13th – 14th

Watford Collosseum

Box Office: 0845 075 3993


July 16th – 18th

The Churchill Theatre, Bromley

Box Office: 0844 871 7620


July 20th – 22nd

Darlington Civic Theatre

Box Office: 01325 486555


July 23rd – 25th

New Theatre, Oxford

Box Office: 0844 8713020



July 28th – August 1st

New Victoria Theatre, Woking

Box Office: 0844 871 7645


August 14th -15th

The Cliffs Pavilion Southend

Box Office: 01702 351135


August 19th – 22nd

Congress Theatre, Eastbourne

Box Office: 01323 412000

[email protected]


The people of the North East can look forward to another jam-packed year of spectacular theatre as Newcastle Theatre Royal announces a breath-taking line-up for Summer/Autumn 2015, with highlights including a glorious new production of The Sound of Music and three huge hits straight from the West End – King Charles III, Handbagged, and Hetty Feather.


We can almost hear the hills ringing already as one of the greatest musicals of all time returns to the theatre Royal stage in The Sound of Music (1-12 Sep ‘15).  This magnificent new production from Bill Kenwright offers a lavish new staging which will enchant and enthral the young and the young at heart. Based on Baroness Maria von Trapp’s 1949 autobiography, the musical tells the true story of the world-famous singing family, from their romantic beginnings and search for happiness, to their thrilling escape to freedom as their beloved Austria becomes part of the Third Reich at the start of WWll and features some of the world’s most memorable songs.


In mid-September comes a new production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar (14 -19 Sep ‘15) starring Glenn Carter and Tim Rogers with X-Factor finalist Rachel Adedeji.  A huge hit when it exploded onto the musical scene in 1971 – stunning audiences and changing the face of musical theatre forever, it tells the story of the last seven days in the life of Jesus through an extraordinary, ground-breaking score.


His music defined an era and his story stunned the world, and now the life, fame and vanishing of America’s most famous big band leader is retold for the first time on stage in The Glen Miller Story (21 – 26 Sep ‘15). It’s been seventy years since Miller mysteriously disappeared over the English Channel and now rock n’ roll legend Tommy Steele will play the icon in this musical spectacular accompanied by a live 16-piece Glenn Miller orchestra.


Coming direct from a sold-out West End season, Jaqueline Wilson’s extraordinary Hetty Feather (8-11 Oct ‘15) visits in October.  Following the adventures of a little Victorian foundling with a big personality, it brings Wilson’s much loved children’s book thrillingly to life with live music, songs and circus skills and is a must see for  ‘tweenies’ everywhere.


Big, bold and beautiful comedy Hairspray (19-30 Jan ‘16) will be our first musical of 2016, kicking off the year in glorious 60s technicolour!  Set in Baltimore in 1962, it tells the story of larger-than-life Tracy Turnblad – a big girl with hair and a heart to match.  Tracy dreams of becoming a dancer on TV and is determined to defy the odds and follow her dream.  Based on the 1988 film of the same name it opened to rave reviews on Broadway in 2002 and subsequently went on to win multiple awards and become a worldwide hit.


Back again in time for Christmas and due to unwavering popular demand is Northern Ballet’s timeless The Nutcracker (10-14 Nov ‘15).  A classic production reimagined for a modern audience, it tells the magical tale of Clara, swept away on Christmas Eve by a Nutcracker Prince into a winter wonderland of dancing snowflakes and the famous Sugar Plum Fairy.  The ballet is performed to Tchaikovsky’s enduring score, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia.  Northern Ballet are also bringing Elves and the Shoemaker (13 Nov) to run in repertoire with their main stage show. Adorable and whimsical, it runs for 45 minutes and is the perfect introduction to ballet for young children.


The darlings of the ballet world Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (6-7 Oct ‘15) are set to make a welcome return in October with two glittering performances full of playful comedy and breath-taking skill.  Founded in 1974 by a group of ballet enthusiasts presenting an entertaining view of classical ballet in parody form, the all-male troupe first performed in the late-late shows in Off-Off Broadway lofts and are now treasured all around the world.


Two of the biggest names in stand-up comedy are set to bring their respective hit shows to the theatre in the autumn.  Trevor Noah (27 Sep ‘15) is renowned for his sharp wit, intelligent commentary and unmistakable charm, and is undoubtedly one of the foremost young comedians of his generation. Dave Gorman (1 Nov ‘15) is a regular sell-out at the Theatre, and following his 2014 hit tour is back with a show that promises more of his unique blend of stand-up comedy and visual storytelling.


Following a sold-out run at the Almeida and in the West End, Mike Bartlett’s critically acclaimed new future history play King Charles III visits in the autumn (28 Sep – 3 Oct ‘15). Directed by Rupert Goold – the award-winning talent behind ENRON, King Lear at the Young Vic and the RSC’s Romeo and Juliet, it presents a future where the Queen is dead and Prince Charles has taken the throne. Provocative and entertaining, it puts the spotlight on the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy, and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family.


To mark the 21st anniversary of one of the most popular films ever made, prison thriller The Shawshank Redemption will hit the stage for the first time later this year and will visit Newcastle between 19 – 24 October ‘15.  Based on the short story by Stephen King, it tells the tale of Andy Dufresne, a young banker in the 1940s who is handed a double life sentence for the brutal murder of his wife and her lover despite protests of innocence.  Incarcerated at the notorious Shawshank facility, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with ‘fixer’ Red, and a desperate plan is quietly hatched.  Widely considered the number one all-time movie, this new production examines desperation, injustice, friendship and hope behind the claustrophobic bars of a maximum security penitentiary.


Moira Buffini’s West End smash hit Handbagged (26-31 Oct ‘15) offers a delectable dramatic treat which is wickedly funny and brilliantly astute. It takes two of the world’s most powerful women, the enduring British icons born in the same year Elizabeth 2nd and Margaret Thatcher, and speculates on what they really talked about behind closed palace doors, when the stiff upper lip softened and the gloves came off… Highly mischievous and utterly unmissable.


Another hit show who’s popularity will never wane, and our first drama to be programmed for 2016 (9-13 Feb ‘16) is J.B. Priestley’s classic thriller An Inspector Calls.  A Theatre Royal favourite hailed as the theatrical event of our generation, this landmark production has won more awards than any other play in history and thrilled audiences in the West End, on Broadway and throughout the world with its epic and wildly imaginative staging, raw emotion, evocative score, lashing rain and chilling suspense.


There are nine dramas already on sale for 2015, offering something for every taste.

From haunting thrillers – Daphne Du Maurier’s absorbing masterpiece Rebecca (11 – 16 May), Reginald Rose’s gripping courtroom thriller Twelve Angry Men (15 – 20 June), Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None (27 July – 1 Aug) and bestselling crime thriller novelist Peter James’ Dead Simple (26 – 30 May); to the historical and literary – Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird (20 – 25 April), John Boyne’s heart-wrenching tale The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (19 – 23 May) and Oscar Wilde’s much loved masterpiece The Importance of Being Earnest  (8 – 13 June). The Royal Shakespeare Company is also here with its Younger Audiences production of The Famous Victories of Henry V (30 June) and from the award-winning Mischief Theatre Company is new comedy Peter Pan Goes Wrong (1-4 July).


Pop Princess and BBC Strictly Come Dancing sensation Pixie Lott has just been announced for Putting on the Ritz (2 – 6 June ‘15) – a star-studded musical extravaganza taking audiences on a wonderful journey through the hits of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter.  Strictly stars Trent Whiddon, Kristina Rihanoff and Robin Windsor also feature in the show.


From Strictly Come Dancing performers to one of the show’s hardest judges Craig Revel Horwood, who is gracing our stage as the tyrannical Miss Hannigan in the world premiere of a new production of Annie (11-18 July).  Meanwhile Alexandra Burke has also been announced for the Summer’s biggest show The Bodyguard (1 – 18 April), and Belinda Lang, Gary Wilmot and Ashley Day will add a dose of stardust to a true classic – Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! (23 – 27 June).


There are two shows already on sale specifically for younger audiences – Judith Kerr’s much loved The Tiger Who Came To Tea(3-4 July), and, following a sell-out day of shows in March,  Sing-a-long-a Frozen (Sun 10 May) is back as an additional date due to overwhelming public demand.


Tickets are still available to be snapped up for Shrek The Musical , direct from the West End and here until 29 March, as well as Matthew Bourne’s internationally acclaimed dance thriller The Car Man (28 April – 9 May).  Plus, with a staggering 50,000 tickets already sold eight months before it opens, our 15/16 Pantomime Dick Whittington (24 Nov 2015 – Sun 17 Jan 2016) is set to be our biggest and fastest selling panto of all time.  Fans better be quick if they want to see Clive, Danny, Chris and the gang in another spectacular production jam-packed with fun, adventure, comedy and…cats!


The 2015 summer and autumn seasons at the Theatre Royal are kindly sponsored by Mill Volvo


Tickets for all new shows in the summer/autumn ‘15 season go on public sale on Friday 20 March.  Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or pay less online at



Mack has found his Mabel! After an extensive search, American actress Rebecca LaChance has been confirmed to star alongside Michael Ball in Chichester’s forthcoming summer musical, Mack & Mabel, and will then tour across the UK and Ireland in the production.

Based on the true romance between Hollywood legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand, this musical comedy received eight Tony Award nominations when it opened on Broadway in 1974. The much-loved score includes Time Heals Everything and I Won’t Send Roses.

Rebecca LaChance’s credits include her recent Broadway debut in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical as a featured ensemble member while understudying Jessie Mueller in the title role. Other credits include Johnny Baseball directed by Gordon Greenberg, the director of Chichester’s acclaimed production of Guys and Dolls during Festival 2014, Central Avenue Breakdown and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

Michael Ball plays Mack Sennett. Recent credits include the BBC television drama That Day We Sang, which reunited him with Sweeney Todd co-star Imelda Staunton. Theatre credits include the title role in Sweeney Todd (Chichester’s Festival 2011 and West End), Hairspray, Les MisérablesChitty Chitty Bang BangPassionAspects of LoveThe Woman in White and The Phantom of the Opera. Ball co-produced Chichester Festival 2010’s West End transfer of Love Story. He also has a successful recording and broadcasting career, and will be embarking on a UK concert tour in Spring 2015.

Other casting includes Anna-Jane Casey as Lottie, Jack Edwards as Fatty, Alex Giannini as Mr Kleiman, Gunnar Cauthery as Frank and Mark Inscoe as William Desmond Taylor. The company also includes Michelle Francis, Emily Langham, Rebecca Louis, Joshua Lovell, Joseph Prouse, and Emily Shaw.

Further casting is to be announced.

The production is directed by Jonathan Church, Chichester’s Artistic Director. His Chichester credits include Festival 2014’s Taken at Midnight (also West End) which has just received three Olivier Award nominations. Other credits include Singin’ in the Rain (also West End, UK and international tour), which tours to New Zealand in March 2015.

Jonathan Church said: “Mabel Normand was ‘discovered’ by Mack Sennett and became one of the best loved female film stars of the era.  Partly for this reason Michael and I always hoped we might cast an emerging young actress to play Mabel. And we are thrilled that Rebecca will follow in the steps of Bernadette Peters and Imelda Staunton who played this role at the beginning of their careers.”

Mack & Mabel will be at the Festival Theatre, Chichester from 13 July – 5 September. Tickets from £10, with 16 – 25s tickets at £8.50.Visit or contact the Box Office on 01243 781312 for more details. Following the Chichester dates there will be a UK and Ireland tour from 1 October – 6 December, for further details.







If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable day out this Easter then roll up, roll up to Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus, a brand new arena spectacular starring Justin Fletcher MBE, a whole host of CBeebies presenters and characters as well as some outstanding speciality circus acts!

Joining Justin on stage will be Mr Tumble, CBeebies presenter Cat Sandion and Swashbuckle star Gemma Hunt, alongside dino-mad Andy Day, Robert the Robot played by Steve Kynman and Little Monster. Mr Tumble will be inviting a few family members along too including Aunt Polly as well as some familiar faces from Gigglebiz including Keith Fitt.

Justin Fletcher said: “For many youngsters their first experience of live theatre is at a CBeebies Live arena show and we want to make that experience as special as possible. The circus theme of this year’s show means that Mr Tumble will be in his element, and we’ve also been able to bring in some incredible circus performers including jugglers and tumblers, not to mention the UK’s Freestyle Unicycle Champion!”

Justin & Friends: Mr Tumble’s Circus is produced by the creative team behind the hugely popular Justin & Friends 2013 Easter Tour which was attended by over 105,000 people.

Tickets costing from £13.50 are available online, from the booking hotline number 0844 493 6666 or in person from the Metro Radio Arena Box Office.

Tickets costing from £13.50 are available from:-

Credit Card Booking and Information Line 0844 493 6666

The Metro Radio Arena Newcastle Box Office (Mon – Fri: 10.00am 4.00pm, Sat: 11.00am – 2.30pm)

Internet Site:-

Postal applications: Metro Radio Arena Newcastle, PO Box 304, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 4YJ

Group Bookers should call (0191) 260 6006

Special Needs bookings should call (0191) 260 6066 for further details

New tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert


A new tour of Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which launches in August, has just gone on sale.  Venue and dates released so far are:

Opera House Manchester: 14 – 29 August

Sunderland Empire: 31 August – 5 September

Southampton Mayflower: 14 – 19 September

Stoke Regent: 21 – 26 September

Wimbledon: 20 – 24 October

Birmingham Alexandra: 26 – 31 October

Aylesbury Waterside: 2 – 7 November

More venues and casting details to follow.


Birdsong Review

Civic Theatre, Darlington – 10 March 2015

Sebastian Faulkes Birdsong arrives in Darlington this week, as part of a UK tour commemorating 100 years since the World War I.

Rachel Wagstaff’s stage adaptation is intense, dark and brooding, so accurate you felt you were down those horrendous small tunnels.  Although this is in part due to the immense set, designed by Victoria Spearing and the outstanding lighting, designed by Alex Wardle for Charcoalblue LLP.

Telling the story of Stephen Wraysford (Edmund Wiseman), the play moves between the Western Front in France between 1916 and 1918 and flashes back to his past to Amiens in 1910.

Birdsong dwells on the hellish tunnelling and explosives-laying operations conducted below the battlefield. Using atmospheric lighting and crouching, nerve-racked movements to conjure an indescribable mood of tension, the cast powerfully conveys the terror of being buried alive in narrow earthy passageways dripping with blood

The story is based on the idea that the bombardment is already under way and Stephen is lying seriously injured in a field hospital.  With his past in Amiens being replayed as part of the shell shock.

There are two moments that stand out: the needless, but almost heroic, suicide of 15 year old Tripper (Max Bowden) and Peter Duncan’s performance as Jack Firebrace, a simple sapper.  Duncan shakes off his action man children’s TV presenter persona to show just what an exceptional actor he is.

The singing and music pieces are totally evocative and blend into the performance seamlessly.

The 12 strong ensemble are a tribute to the sacrifice of the millions of men who died – showing just a glimpse of the  horrendous experiences they went through.

Showing in Darlington until Saturday March 14th and on tour in the UK, visit for further dates


Way Upstream press release

Jason Durr   Peter Forbes   Jill Halfpenny   Jason Hughes   Sarah Parish

by Alan Ayckbourn

Emily Laing   Nicola Sloane

Director Nadia Fall

23 April – 16 May
Festival Theatre, Chichester

Jason Durr, Peter Forbes, Jill Halfpenny and Jason Hughes join the previously announced Sarah Parish in Way Upstream, a characteristically dark and funny Alan Ayckbourn comedy which opens Chichester’s Festival 2015.

Four old friends, one cruising boat, two weeks off work, and the perfect setting of the beautiful River Orb. What could possibly go wrong? Plenty can, and does, in typical Ayckbourn style, as relationships become frayed before the ignition key is even turned. Waters get even choppier when the troubled crew bump into enigmatic seadog Vince and his bohemian friend, Fleur. This exposé of the murky depths that lurk beneath the surfaces of friendship, love, desire and power is vintage Ayckbourn.

Following the successful completion of the Festival Theatre’s major redevelopment last year, its stage will be transformed into a river, complete with a real life-size boat.

Jason Durr plays Vince. His credits include Donkeys’ Years (Rose Theatre, Kingston), the West End production ofVolcano and the role of PC Mike Bradley in the television series Heartbeat.

Peter Forbes plays Keith. His theatre credits include How to Hold Your Breath (Royal Court Theatre) and The James Plays (National Theatre of Scotland and Edinburgh International Festival).

Jill Halfpenny plays Emma. Her credits include her award-winning performance in Legally Blonde, the West End production of Abigail’s Party and screen roles in Babylon and In The Club.

Jason Hughes plays Alistair. His theatre credits include In The Next Room, or the Vibrator Play (St James Theatre) and the US tour of 4.48 Psychosis. Television credits include the role of DS Ben Jones in Midsomer Murders.

Sarah Parish plays June. Her numerous television credits include W1A, Atlantis, Mistresses, Cutting It and Blackpool.Her film credits include The Wedding Date and The Holiday.

The cast also includes Emily Laing as Fleur, whose credits include Arcadia (Nottingham Playhouse) and Nicola Sloane as Mrs Hatfield whose credits include London Road (National Theatre, and forthcoming film).

Alan Ayckbourn is an Olivier and Tony award-winning playwright whose distinguished career has spanned over 50 years. His major successes include Relatively Speaking, How the Other Half Loves, Absurd Person Singular, Bedroom Farce, A Chorus of Disapproval and The Norman Conquests. He was Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, from 1972 to 2009, where the majority of his work continues to be premiered.

Nadia Fall makes her directorial debut at Chichester having recently directed Dara and Home for the National Theatre, and Hobson’s Choice at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

The production is designed by Ben Stones, also making his Chichester debut. His credits include A Breakfast of Eels(Print Room), Smile (Sadler’s Wells) and Hobson’s Choice (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre).

Lighting Design is by Chichester Associate Tim Mitchell, whose credits include Festival 2014’s Olivier Award nominatedTaken at Midnight (also West End), Guys and Dolls and Amadeus, as well as The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (also West End), Kiss Me, Kate (also West End) and Singin’ in the Rain (also West End, UK and international tours).

Sound Design is by Fergus O’Hare, whose credits include Festival 2014’s An Ideal Husband, as well as King Lear (and New York), Another Country (and West End/UK tour), as well as West End productions of Daytona (also UK tour),Relative Values and Passion Play.

Way Upstream is sponsored by Genesis and Zero C.

Director Nadia Fall and writer Alan Ayckbourn will be in conversation with author and broadcaster Paul Allen on Monday 27 April at 5.45pm. Tickets free but advance booking essential.

Join the technical crew, cast and creative teams for 90 minutes of insight, demonstration and discussion on the making of a production on Thursday 7 May at 10.30am. Tickets £5.

There will be the chance to meet some of the Way Upstream company at a post-show discussion hosted by author Simon Brett on Monday 11 May.

Booking information
Way Upstream is at the Festival Theatre, Chichester from 23 April – 16 May. Evenings 7.30pm (except for Press Night, Tuesday 28 April at 7pm), matinees 2.30pm. Tickets from £10. To book, go to or contact the Box Office on 01243 781312.

Special Prices for 16 – 25s
An allocation of tickets for 16 – 25 year olds priced at just £8.50 for all performances of Way Upstream will go on sale on 23 March. These may be booked on 01243 781312, online at or in person.


Olivier Awards 2015 : Nominations

2015 Olivier Award nominees announced!

The winners will be announced on 12 April 2015 at the Royal Opera House ceremony

Best Play Revival

  • A View from the Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • A Streetcar Named Desire at Young Vic
  • The Crucible at Old Vic
  • My Night With Reg at Donmar Warehouse and Apollo Theatre
  • Skylight at Wyndham’s Theatre


Best Actor in a Supporting Role

  • David Calder for The Nether at Duke of York’s Theatre
  • Richard Goulding for King Charles III at Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • John Light for Taken at Midnight at Theatre Royal Haymarket
  • Nathaniel Parker for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at Aldwych Theatre


Best Actress in a Supporting Role

  • Phoebe Fox for A View from the Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • The Girls playing Iris for The Nether at Duke of York’s Theatre
  • Angela Lansbury for Blithe Spirit at Gielgud Theatre
  • Lydia Wilson for King Charles III at Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre


White Light Award for Best Lighting Design

  • Jon Clark for King Charles III at Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • Paule Constable and David Plater for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at Aldwych Theatre
  • Howard Harrison for City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse
  • Jan Versweyveld for A View from the Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre


Best Sound Design

  • Tom Gibbons for A View from the Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • Matt McKenzie for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre
  • Gareth Owen for Memphis The Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Brian Ronan for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre


Best Entertainment and Family

  • Dance ’Til Dawn at Aldwych Theatre
  • Hetty Feather at Vaudeville Theatre
  • La Soirée at La Soirée Spiegeltent


Best Costume Design

  • Rob Jones for City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse
  • Christopher Oram for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at Aldwych Theatre
  • Paul Tazewell for Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Alejo Vietti for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre


XL Video Award for Best Set Design

  • Bunny Christie for Made in Dagenham at Adelphi Theatre
  • Es Devlin for The Nether at Duke of York’s Theatre
  • Rob Jones for City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse
  • Jan Versweyveld for A View from the Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre


Best New Dance Production

  • 32 Rue Vandenbranden by Peeping Tom at Barbican
  • Mats Ek’s Juliet and Romeo by Royal Swedish Ballet at Sadler’s Wells
  • Tabac Rouge by Compagnie du Hanneton/James Thiérrée at Sadler’s Wells


Outstanding Achievement in Dance

  • Christopher Wheeldon for The Winter’s Tale at Royal Opera House
  • Crystal Pite for her choreography in the productions of The Associates – A Picture of You Falling, The Tempest Replica and Polaris at Sadler’s Wells
  • Rocio Molina for Bosque Ardora at Barbican
  • The Elders Project as part of the Elixir festival at Sadler’s Wells


Virgin Atlantic Best New Play

  • King Charles III at Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • The Nether at Duke of York’s Theatre
  • Taken at Midnight at Theatre Royal Haymarket
  • Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at Aldwych Theatre


Best Actor in a Play

  • Richard Armitage for The Crucible at Old Vic
  • James McAvoy for The Ruling Class at Trafalgar Studio 1
  • Tim Pigott-Smith for King Charles III at Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • Mark Strong for A View from the Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre


Best Actress in a Play

  • Gillian Anderson for A Streetcar Named Desire at Young Vic
  • Kristin Scott Thomas for Electra at Old Vic
  • Imelda Staunton for Good People at Hampstead Theatre and Noël Coward Theatre
  • Penelope Wilton for Taken at Midnight at Theatre Royal Haymarket


This Morning Audience Award

  • Billy Elliot the Musical at Victoria Palace Theatre
  • Jersey Boys at Piccadilly Theatre
  • Matilda the Musical at Cambridge Theatre
  • Wicked at Apollo Victoria Theatre


Best New Comedy

  • Handbagged at Vaudeville Theatre
  • The Play That Goes Wrong at Duchess Theatre
  • Shakespeare in Love at Noël Coward Theatre


Magic Radio Best Musical Revival

  • Cats at LondonPalladium
  • City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse
  • The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
  • Miss Saigon at Prince Edward Theatre


Best New Opera Production

  • Benvenuto Cellini at London Coliseum
  • Dialogues Des Carmélites at Royal Opera House
  • Die Frau Ohne Schatten at Royal Opera House
  • The Mastersingers of Nuremberg at London Coliseum


Outstanding Achievement in Opera

  • Jonas Kaufmann for Andrea Chénier and Manon Lescaut at Royal Opera House
  • Richard Jones for his direction of The Girl of the Golden West, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Rodelinda at London Coliseum
  • Royal Opera House and Early Opera Company for their offsite programme at Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and Roundhouse
  • Welsh National Opera Chorus for Moses und Aron at Royal Opera House


Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre

  • Bull at The Maria at Young Vic
  • Four Minutes Twelve Seconds at Hampstead Downstairs
  • Juma Sharkah for her performance in Liberian Girl at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court
  • Tanya Moodie for her performances in Intimate Apparel at Park Theatre and The House That Will Not Stand at Tricycle Theatre


Best Theatre Choreographer

  • Jerry Mitchell for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (musical) at Savoy Theatre
  • Annie-B Parson for Here Lies Love at National Theatre, Dorfman
  • Josh Prince for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre
  • Sergio Trujillo for Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre


Best Director

  • Rupert Goold for King Charles III at Almeida Theatre and Wyndham’s Theatre
  • Jeremy Herrin for Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies at Aldwych Theatre
  • Josie Rourke for City of Angels at Donmar Warehouse
  • Ivo Van Hove for A View from the Bridge at Young Vic and Wyndham’s Theatre


Autograph Sound Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music

  • The orchestra for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre
  • David Byrne and Fatboy Slim for Here Lies Love at National Theatre, Dorfman
  • David Bryan, Joe DiPietro, Tim Sutton and the Memphis band for Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Ray Davies for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre


Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Musical

  • Rolan Bell for Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
  • George Maguire for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre
  • Ian McIntosh for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre
  • Jason Pennycooke for Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre


Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical

  • Samantha Bond for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (musical) at Savoy Theatre
  • Haydn Gwynne for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown the Musical at Playhouse Theatre
  • Nicole Scherzinger for Cats at London Palladium
  • Lorna Want for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre


Best Actor in a Musical

  • Jon Jon Briones for Miss Saigon at Prince Edward Theatre
  • John Dagleish for Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead Theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre
  • Killian Donnelly for Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Brandon Victor Dixon for The Scottsboro Boys at Garrick Theatre


Best Actress in a Musical

  • Gemma Arterton for Made in Dagenham at Adelphi Theatre
  • Katie Brayben for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre
  • Tamsin Greig for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown the Musical at Playhouse Theatre
  • Beverley Knight for Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre


Mastercard Best New Musical

  • Beautiful – The Carole King Musical at Aldwych Theatre
  • Here Lies Love at National Theatre, Dorfman
  • Memphis the Musical at Shaftesbury Theatre
  • Sunny Afternoon at Hampstead theatre and Harold Pinter Theatre

West Yorkshire Playhouse announce cast for Brining’s Little Voice

Vicky Entwistle, Chris Gascoyne & Nancy Sullivan to star in Jim Cartwright’s Award-winning The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

SS-15-Little-Voice press (1) 

Former Coronation Street actors Vicky Entwistle (Janice Battersby) and Chris Gascoyne (Peter Barlow) are taking leading roles along withNancy Sullivan in West Yorkshire Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining’s production of Jim Cartwright’s Olivier Award-winning THE RISE AND FALL OF LITTLE VOICE. This West Yorkshire Playhouse and Birmingham Repertory Theatre co-production opens in Birmingham on 15 May before transferring to the Playhouse on 5 June.


Nancy Sullivan stars as LV, a painfully shy girl with a bold and beautiful voice, whose blowsy mother Mari, played by Vicky Entwistle, shrieks and shouts her way around the house, all-the-while Chris Gascoyne’s Ray Say engineers his escape from small town show-biz to the bright lights of the big-time. They are joined on stage by Joanna Brookes, Brendan Charleson and Tendayi Jembere.


Artistic Director James Brining said…

There is a wonderful poetry to this play and the relationships Jim creates between his extraordinary characters are funny and moving. I can’t wait to explore this in the rehearsal room with a great company of actors. Nancy has an incredible voice that can transport you and Vicky and Chris have an intuitive understanding of Mari and Ray. I’m looking forward to getting started.



Nancy Sullivan has been seen at the Playhouse and The REP in THE WIZARD OF OZ and in Nikolai Foster’s recent production THE GOOD PERSON OF SICHUAN playing the Niece. Other credits include the role of Eponine in Trevor Nunn’s LES MISERABLES in the West End between 2008 – 2010.  Alongside playing Coronation Street’s infamous Janice Battersby Vicky Entwistle has also been seen in THE BILL, her credits for the stage have included roles in Eve Ensler’s THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, Bill Kenwright’s FUNNY PECULIAR and Madame Thenardier in LES MISERABLES. Outside of Coronation Street Chris Gascoyne has been seen in the BBC’s long-running drama CASUALTY and NEW STREET LAW for Red Productions. On stage he has played Johnny in Mark Babych’s production of FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIRE DE LUNE other credits include THE RIB CAGE (Royal Exchange Theatre), Simon Stephen’s first play BLUEBIRD (Royal Court) and The Changing Room (Royal Court and West End).


The show opens at Birmingham Repertory Theatre before transferring to West Yorkshire Playhouse,