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Preview: When Aussies Ruled Britannia at Hexham Queens Hall

Hear the stories of two legends from the 60s to a background of songs they made famous.
Frank Ifield and Keith Potger
When Aussies Ruled Britannia
Hexham Queens Hall Arts Centre
Tuesday 10 June 2014
Two Australian superstars of the 60s, Frank Ifield and Keith Potger (The Seekers), are joined by a live band and a cast of award winners who perform their songs as well as other hits from the era in When Aussies Ruled Britannia. Hits include  “I Remember you”, “Georgy Girl” and “I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing”?
This will be a chance to join them on a wonderful journey back to a time when life was much simpler and music was something to enjoy. They will recall some of the stories about the most exciting time in the history of pop music; how The Beatles asked to be Frank’s opening act in England and how Keith and The Seekers played Wembley Stadium with the Rolling Stones and a host of other legends.

When Aussies Ruled Britannia is at the Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Hexham on Tuesday 10 June at 7.30pm. Tickets are £13.00 & £15.00 and are available from the Queen’s Hall Box Office 01434 652477 or online at


Preview: Secret Theatre (4-14 June) & Opus No7 (19 -21 June) at Newcastle's Northern Stage

The Secret’s out: Northern Stage is set to host a spectacular summer of theatre 
Opus No 7 Photo: Pavel Antonov

Secret Theatre (4-14 June) │Opus No7 (19 -21 June) 
Streetcar Named Desire Sergo Vares - Photo: Alexandra Davenport
This summer Northern Stage will be the first venue outside of London to let its audience in on a secret. Secret Theatre has been the talk of the town in London since launching in 2013 and now the company is taking four of its shows outside of the capital for the first time, starting with a ten day residency at Northern Stage in June. 

“These people are some of London’s brightest theatre talents.” Time Out 
Glitterland - Billy Seymour, Charlotte Josephine, Hammed Animashaun, Steven Webb, Sergo Vares, Nadia Albina - Photo: Helen Maybanks
"The Lyric's Secret Theatre Company is one of the most exciting things to happen in British theatre in recent years. Bringing fresh energy and new thinking to great classic texts and the very best of New-Writing they are creating theatre which is accessible and innovative, entertaining and deeply engaging.At Northern Stage we are committed to bringing the very best theatre to Newcastle, sometimes this means established famous names and faces and sometimes, like now, it means bringing something right at the moment of its invention. As the first company to present this work outside of London we are very proud to join the Lyric in an explosion of creativity and colour that we think will bring something genuinely new and exciting to our stages. Secret Theatre are creating some of the most exciting work I have seen in a long time and I look forward to introducing them to the ever-welcoming Newcastle audience.Lorne Campbell, Artistic Director, Northern Stage 
Woyzeck - Billy Seymour  - Photo: Alexandra Davenport
Lyric Hammersmith/Secret Theatre Artistic Director Sean Holmes adds, "We’re thrilled to be taking Secret Theatre across the country and that our first two week residency is being hosted in Newcastle. Northern Stage has a long-standing commitment to programming daring, declarative theatre and that makes it the perfect partner for our season of bold work and big risks.” 
Chamber Piece - Katherine Pearce, Steven Webb, Charlotte Josephine, Hammed Animashaun, Leo Bill, Nadia Albina - photo: Alexandra Davenport
Then on 19 June, one of the most influential figures in Russian theatre, Dmitry Krymov – rarely seen in the UK and never before in Newcastle – brings Opus No7 to Northern Stage. 
An "unforgettable work and thrillingly inventive production" The New York Times
Opus No 7 Photo: Pavel Antonov

For the first time since reopening in 2006, Northern Stage will open up Stage 1 and Stage 2, creating space for Opus No7 to place its audience tantalisingly close to the action of this genre-defying double bill. The oppression of Soviet Jews and the censorship of Shostakovich under Stalin, and the legacies of these events, are depicted through larger-than-life puppets, duelling pianos, living walls and blizzards of newsprint. Epic images are conjured up from the simplest of materials - by turns tender and delicate, comedic and sinister.

This is mouth-watering theatre on a grand scale, and ensuring that bigger, broader audiences have the opportunity to experience incredible international theatre is a passion for us all. To that end I’m delighted to be working so closely with my colleagues in Brighton, Norwich and Newcastle to ensure that Russia’s boldest and most inventive theatrical force will be thrilling audiences across England.” Mark Ball, Artistic Director of LIFT

You do not see work as original or stirring as Krymov’s every season. A thrillingly inventive production that tingles with sensation,” Time Out New York
Opus No 7 Photo: Pavel Antonov

Krymov is currently one of the most successful Russian theatre directors in the world. Opus No7 was the toast of New York in January 2013 and his take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was a huge hit both at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Edinburgh International Festival in 2012. 
Opus No 7 Photo: Pavel Antonov
William Galinsky, Artistic Director of Norfolk & Norwich Festival, spoke to Dmitry Krymov at his studio in Russia earlier this month. “After training and working as a theatrical set designer, Krymov spent the years after the fall of communism as a very successful painter only to start making theatre again with a group of design students. His is a theatre of magic and transformation, of beautiful, funny and dizzying images and sounds that communicate with its audience far beyond the power of words. When I saw Opus No7 I was struck by his ability to create the most wonderful magic from every day materials. I don’t want to give too much away but in Opus No7 the audience experiences the most extraordinary transformation of everyday objects like newspaper, cardboard and paint. These are the materials of a theatre created by a painter who has discovered a giant, moving, three-dimensional canvas.”

Opus No7 is at Northern Stage from 19-21 June and Secret Theatre will perform four productions during their residency from 4-14 June.

Opus No. 7 Photo Credit: Pavel Antonov

Details of the shows:
A Streetcar Named Desire- Photo:  Alexandra Davenport
Secret Theatre: A Streetcar Named Desire -4, 7, 10, 12 & 14 June
£18.50 / £14.50
A reclaiming of Tennessee Williams’ classic like you’ve never seen it before. "Unsettling, absorbing, thrilling... Stunning." The Times Recommended Age: 14+ 
Secret Theatre: Woyzeck -5 & 11June
£18.50 / £14.50
A mind-boggling staging of George Buchner’s masterpiece of a man, murder and madness. Recommended Age: 14+
Chamber Piece - Photo: Alexandra Davenport
Secret Theatre: Chamber Piece -11 & 14 June
£18.50 / £14.50
A pitch-black comedy from up-and-coming writer Caroline Bird about power, lethal injection and the desperate need for a Twix. ”Smart, effortless and shocking” The Times Recommended Age: 14+ 
Glitterland - Photo: Alexandra Davenport

Secret Theatre: Glitterland -6 June, 7.30pm
£14.50 / £12 concessions
A thrilling story of power, corruption and revenge adapted from John Webster’s The White Devil by Hayley Squires. “Fiercely imaginative” The Telegraph 

Opus No 7 Photo: Pavel Antonov

Opus No7 -19 – 21 June, 7.30pm
£24, £18 concessions
Larger-than-life puppets, duelling pianos, living walls and blizzards of newsprint in this genre-defying double bill from of the most influential figures in Russian theatre, Dmitry Krymov.
Recommended age: 12+ 
Tour dates: Brighton Festival – 3 – 8 May, Norfolk and Norwich Festival 14 – 17 May, Barbican – 4 – 14 June 

Preview: Annie Get Your Gun at Sunderland Empire

Annie Get Your Gun 
Sunderland Empire - 3 –  7 June 2014
Norman Pace, Emma Williams and Jason Donovan

The producers of the recent Barbican production of South Pacific and the Sadlers Wells production of West Side Story present a major new production of this Tony Award-winning version of Irving Berlin’s classic musical, Annie Get Your Gun, starring Emma Williams as Annie Oakley, Jason Donovan as Frank Butler and Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill. This exciting show is at Sunderland from the 3rd to the 7th June as the second stop on a National Tour.

A star of stage and screen, and having performed on the musical theatre stage across the globe, Jason Donovan has appeared in hit musicals including Priscilla Queen of the Desert, The Sound of Music, War of the Worlds and Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Now he will appear as Frank Butler in this new version of the classic Broadway smash hit. Jason is joined by Emma Williams as Annie Oakley. Emma is the twice Olivier nominated star of Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang and Love Story. Her other credits include Sunset Boulevard and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  Jason and Emma will be joined by the much loved Norman Pace as Buffalo Bill, who most recently starred the West End production of Chicago.

With timeless classic songs including There’s No Business Like Show Business and Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better, Annie Get Your Gun tells the legendary story of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West female sharpshooter, Annie Oakley and her romance with fellow sharpshooter, Frank Butler. When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show comes to town, it only takes one glance for sharp-shooting country girl Annie Oakley to fall head over heels for its star marksman, Frank Butler. Both have truly met their match, revealing their competitive natures as they vie for best shot – and each other’s hearts.

Jason Donovan said; "I've been very lucky in having some great roles to get my teeth into in the past, but now having the chance to star in the UK premiere production of this award winning version of such a classic musical is very exciting. I'm very much looking forward to performing such brilliant songs and appearing alongside a truly great cast as we bring the Wild West to theatres across the country."

Norman Pace said; "I can't wait to get out on the stage and play Buffalo Bill alongside Jason Donovan and Emma Williams, with a script and songs written by the legendary Irving Berlin. Even though it's nearly 70 years since the show was first performed on Broadway, there's still a real sense of fun and excitement to a timeless production that I'm very honoured to be a part of."

Leading lady Emma Williams said; "I'm thrilled to be playing the legendary Annie Oakley alongside Jason and Norman, and performing iconic songs such as Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better and You Can't Get A Man With A Gun. Annie Oakley has been played by so many incredible actresses before that it's a privilege to fill those cowgirl boots, and I couldn't be more excited to be Doin' What Comes Natur'lly!"

Now, Howard Panter and The Ambassador Theatre Group are thrilled to be producing this version on tour across the UK, bringing this much loved musical to a new generation of theatre-goers, with a brilliantly talented cast.
 Emma Williams is blogging about her experiences on tour and you can follow her at

Tour Website:

Ticket Details:
Tickets available in person from £10.50 at the Box Office or from £13.40 via the Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022* or online at
Premium seats also available.
*£2.85 transaction fee applies to  telephone and online sales.

Tour Dates:

12 – 13 and 19 – 24 May  Manchester: Opera House                                  
03 – 07 June Sunderland: Empire                                                 
10 – 14 June Stoke: Regent Theatre**                                                       
17 – 21 June Edinburgh: Playhouse **
24 – 28 June Oxford: New Theatre        
01 July – 05 July Birmingham: Alexandra New Theatre **
15 – 19 July Bromley: Churchill Theatre 
22 – 26 July   Aylesbury: Waterside Theatre                                      
29 July – 02 August  Malvern: Festival Theatre **                                     
05 August – 09 August Liverpool: Empire
12 August – 16 August  Woking: New Victoria Theatre**
19 August – 23 August Bournemouth: Pavillion Theatre**      
26 August – 30 August Brighton: Theatre Royal           
02 Sept – 06 Sept Glasgow: Theatre Royal                                                     
09 Sept – 13 Sept Wimbledon: New Theatre  
16 Sept – 20 Sept Aberdeen: His Majesty’s Theatre **              
30 Sept – 04 October Torquay: Princess Theatre

** Jason Donovan will not be performing on 14thJune in Stoke,  20th and 21st June in Edinburgh,  5th July in Birmingham, 2nd August in Malvern,  16th August in Woking, 17th September in Aberdeen, the whole week in Bromley or the whole week in Bournemouth.


Preview: Cats at Newcastle Theatre Royal

The Brilliant Musical Cats Returns to The Theatre Royal

One of the longest-running and most memorable shows in West End and Broadway history, CATS is coming back to Newcastle Theatre Royal for a two week extravaganza this Summer, from Tues 1 – Saturday 12 July 2014.
Cats Photo: Alessandro Pinna
Based on T.S Eliot’s  ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s record- breaking adaptation CATS is directed by Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Gillian Lynne  and set and costume design by John Napier.  Re-creating the direction and choreography for the tour is Chrissie Cartwright. Including one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most memorable musical scores, spectacular set design, extraordinary costumes and stunning choreography, CATS is a uniquely magical musical.

On just one special night of the year, all Jellicle cats meet at the Jellicle Ball where Old Deuteronomy, their wise and benevolent leader, makes the Jellicle choice and announces which of them will go up to the heaviside layer and be reborn into a whole new Jellicle life. Music, dance and verse fuse together in an enchanting blend of fantasy, drama and romance.

CATS opened at the New London Theatre on 11 May 1981 and played almost 9,000 performances. It closed on 11 May 2002 having celebrated 21 record-breaking years and winning an Olivier Award for Best Musical (1981). On Broadway it was the winner of 7 Tony Awards (including Best Musical and Best Director) and ran for an amazing 18 years making it second only to “The Phantom of the Opera” as Broadway’s longest running musical.

Abigail Jaye as Jennyanydots in Cats - Photo Alessandro Pinna
CATS continues to be a worldwide musical phenomenon; to date the show remains one of the world’s longest running musicals and has been seen by over 50 million people. It has enchanted audiences in over 300 cities in 26 countries around the world and has been performed in at least 10 different languages. CATS was last seen in the UK in 2008 where it enjoyed a hugely successful tour playing to sell-out audiences across the country. Back by popular demand, the memory returns with the 2014 tour.

The show has featured some of this country’s most famous stage performers including Elaine Paige (‘Grizabella’), Wayne Sleep (‘Mungojerrie’), Bonnie Langford (‘Rumpleteazer’), Paul Nicholas (‘Rum Tum Tugger’), Brian Blessed (‘Old Deuteronomy’), Sarah Brightman (‘Jemima‘) and Rosemarie Ford (‘Bombalurina’ & ‘Grizabella’).

The 2014 tour of the Cameron Mackintosh and The Really Useful Theatre production of CATS is again presented by David Ian.

For further information, please visit

Cats appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tues 1 – Sat 12 July 2014 (Evenings: 7.30pm, Matinees: Wed 2 July 2pm, Thursday 2pm and Saturday 2.30pm). Tickets are from £15.00 (a booking fee of 95p - £1.95 will apply to most tickets) and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at


Preview: An Evening of Dirty Dancing at Darlington Civic Theatre

Local Girl Returns to the Big Stage

Coming to the North East is a smash hit tribute to one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time, An Evening of Dirty Dancing: The Tribute Show is coming to the Civic Theatre in Darlington on 6 June and features local performer, Victoria Rachael Mccabe. The show is a fully choreographed, highly interactive celebration of the music from the iconic movie and kicks off it’s 4th UKtour at the venue.

 Now in it’s 4th smash-hit year, An Evening of Dirty Dancing: The Tribute Show is directed by Paul Spicer with choreography by Leanne Harwood. Dirty Dancing boasts the greatest movie soundtrack of all time and all the hits are here, superbly performed in this fast moving, slickly choreographed theatrical treat. Songs include: Big Girls Dont Cry, Hey Baby, Wipeout, Do You Love Me, Hungry Eyes and, of course, the Oscar-winning (Ive Had) The Time of My Life.
Victoria Rachael Mccabe
Victoria Rachael Mccabe attended Hummersknott School and studied performing arts at The Tiffany School of Dance, before moving to London to train at the prestigious London Studio Centre. Since graduating she has appeared in Footloose,toured the world performing aboard Celebrity Cruises and was the winner of Disney’s Search for a Star.
Victoria Rachael Mccabe said “I’m delighted that the tour is visiting my hometown. As a child I performed at the Civic Theatre many times; it's a lovely theatre and it'll be absolutely amazing to perform there again. I am particularly excited that my exceptionally supportive family will be able to see the show on their doorstep. I’ve always expressed that the North East is the friendliest place in England so I'm sure we'll have a fantastic audience. Get your dancing shoes on and thank you for having me back!'
Matthew Mckenna will lead the production direct from the final cast of London’s We Will Rock You. His previous theatre credits include Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Electra in Starlight Express and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. He’s joined by Tricia Adele Turner who recently played played Vivienne Kensington in Legally Blonde and Jane in Carnaby Street The Musical. The production also features Matt Cox, James Williams Davies, Laura Ellis, Peter Houston and Grace Reynolds.
Paul Spicer said “The atmosphere is always electric. Theres something about this soundtrack that ignites even the dullest of days. We totally encourage our audiences to dance and sing and immerse themselves in the summer of 63, and it seems they cant get enough of it. This is a multi-award winning soundtrack steeped in nostalgia. I challenge anyone to come along and not have a fantastic time.” Please note this production is not affiliated with Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage in the West End or on tour in the UK or worldwide.
“A thoroughly entertaining, visually stunning extravaganza” - The Public Reviews
“All singing, all dancing, highly watchable entertaining” - The Stage
Tickets £19.00* / £17.00 (concession). *Plus £1 restoration levy on all ticket prices
To book online go to or call 01325 486555

The Tour: