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Preview: The Elvis Years at Tyne Theatre & Opera House

The Elvis Years
Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Thursday 28th April 2016, 7.30pm

Tyne Theatre & Opera House is looking forward to welcoming The Elvis Years to its stage in April 2016.

Celebrate Elvis’ 80th birthday year with this outstanding concert production of the West End musical Jailhouse Rock featuring original star Mario Kombou and his incredible band - led by legendary producer, musical director and Ivor Novello award-winner David Mackay.

This spectacular show is packed with over 50 greatest hits, from the early days of Sun Studios and That’s Alright Mama, through the Hollywood years of GI Blues and It’s Now or Never, the ‘68 TV special with All Shook Up, culminating in the legendary Las Vegas concert, with In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and American Trilogy.

 “The best Elvis since Elvis!” Donna Presley
“The King is re-born – the audience loved it.” The Times
“Elvis lives.” Daily Mirror
“He lights up the stage.” BBC 1

On The Web:

Tickets: £21.50, Cons £20 (plus booking fees when booking online and over the phone)
The Tyne Theatre & Opera House Box Office is open 10am-3:30pm Monday to Friday and event days
Booking and Information Line: 0844 2491 000 (10am – 6pm Monday to Friday)


Preview: Cinderella at Darlington Civic Theatre


Darlington Civic Theatre
Saturday 5 December 2015 to Sunday 16 January 2016

Channel 4’s popular TV show Coach Trip’s Brendan Sheerin and X Factor finalist Niki Evans have joined the cast of this year’s spectacular family pantomime Cinderella at Darlington Civic Theatre. The news follows the theatre’s recent announcement that Ashleigh Butler leads the cast as Cinderella, with her talented four-legged friend Pudsey.

Veteran travel expert Brendan Sheerin became a household name through Channel 4's runaway hit reality programme Coach Trip, having started his travel career in Costa Brava in the late 70s. Coach Trip and Celebrity Coach Trip catapulted Brendan to fame, with more than 300 episodes having aired since the series started in 2005. Brendan’s other TV credits include Brendan's Magical Mystery Tour and Brendan's Love Cruise. Brendan has written about his travel adventures in his autobiography titled My Life: A Coach Trip Adventure.

Niki Evans, who rose to fame in the fourth series of ITV’s The X Factor will play The Fairy Godmother. Niki has performed extensively as a solo vocalist and has recently toured the UK as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers and as Paulette in Legally Blonde the Musical. Most recently she starred in Cool Rider, the concert-production of Grease 2 in the West Endand has starred in a number of critically acclaimed pantomimes.

Michael Harrison, executive producer of Cinderellasaid “Brendan brings his big personality and infectious humour to the stage alongside Niki who has such a fabulous voice and wonderful stage presence. We’re delighted that they have agreed to be part of our spectacular Darlington production this year. With such a strong cast already in place this year’s pantomime is going to be a real treat for all the family.”

Lynda Winstanley, Director of Darlington Civic Theatre said “We are absolutely thrilled to announce this additional casting for Cinderella. With Ashleigh and Pudsey already creating a great buzz around the town, Brendan and Niki will both be a huge hit with audiences of all ages.”

Tickets are already on sale for Cinderella, which runs from Saturday 5 December 2015to Sunday 16 January 2016. For tickets and more information visit or call 01325 486555.

Preview: UB40 at Sunderland Empire

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Sunderland Empire
Friday 9 October 2015

Due to popular demand, reggae legends UB40 have confirmed extra UK live dates for October 2015, calling at Sunderland Empire for one night only – Friday 9 October 2015.

The autumn leg of UB40’s ‘Getting Over The Storm’ tour begins on Friday, 2ndOctober at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill and ends at Cardiff’s new state-of the-art Tramshed venue on Saturday, 24th October – by which time the band will have completed ninety UK shows and performed to over 170,000 people since the tour began in March 2014, making it the biggest UK tour of UB40’s career.

UB40 are Robin Campbell (co-lead vocals and guitar), Duncan Campbell (lead vocals) Earl Falconer (bass, vocal), Brian Travers (sax and keyboards), Jimmy Brown (drums), Norman Hassan (percussion, vocals).

The band also feature, Martin Meredith (sax) and Lawrence Parry (trumpet), who have both been in UB40’s touring line-up for over twenty years, and Tony Mullins (keyboards).

Naming themselves after the unemployment benefit form, UB40 formed in 1978, before releasing their debut album ‘Signing Off’ in August 1980 – considered by many to be one of the greatest reggae albums ever released by a British band. It was the start of a career that has since seen the band have over forty UK Top 40 hit singles and achieve sales of over 100 million records, making UB40 one of the most successful British groups of all-time. The band’s latest Top 30 album ‘Getting Over The Storm’ was awarded BBC Radio 2’s ‘Album Of The Week’ accolade and received 5-star reviews from the UK’s music press on its release in September 2013.



Friday 2nd- BEXHILL, De La Warr Pavilion
Saturday 3rdEXETER, Great Hall
Thursday 8th– GLASGOW, O2 ABC
Friday 9thSUNDERLAND Empire
Saturday 10thLEEDS, O2 Academy
Tuesday 13thIPSWICH, Regent Theatre
Wednesday 14thSHREWSBURY, The Buttermarket
Friday 16thSWINDON, Oasis 
Saturday 17thMARGATE, Winter Gardens
Sunday 18th– AYLSEBURY, Waterside Theatre
Wednesday 21stPORTSMOUTH, Guildhall
Thursday 22nd– HATFIELD, The Forum
Friday 23rdWARWICK UNIVERSITY, The Copper Rooms
Saturday 24thCARDIFF, Tramshed

Tickets available in person at the Box Office from £31, or from £33.90 by calling 0844 871 3022* or booking online at* plus a transaction fee applies.

Preview: The Ken Dodd Happiness Show at Whitley Bay Playhouse

Ken Dodd schedules an early evening twilight showing at Whitley Bay!

The Ken Dodd Happiness Show
Whitley Bay Playhouse
Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th August 2015

The PLAYHOUSE is thrilled to inform you that comedy veteran Ken Dodd, will be returning to the coastal region, in August this year. Ken joins us for two pun filled dates and catering for all guests, we’ve even scheduled a special 5 pmshow on Sunday evening, for those who might fancy an early night.

Ken Dodd's hugely successful career as a professional entertainer spans over 60 years. He is a comedian of unrivalled legendary status; an icon and a national treasure who has been entertaining audiences for a lifetime of happiness and laughter. Last year, the multi-award winning star celebrated his 60th anniversary year as a professional entertainer.

Don't miss his fun-filled Happiness Show for all the family, with non-stop gags and a selection of songs presented in Ken's unique and varied style: Everything from ballads to grand opera!  Come and enjoy his famous ‘Happiness Show’ and you’ll be absolutely discumknockerated (that’s Knotty Ash for ‘over the moon’) by a truly tattifelarius (fun-filled) evening of laughter and songs. 

 “Entertaining gives me a true feeling of plumptiousness. I’m fizzing like a bottle of champagne with the cork out! Discovering I could make people laugh was like being kissed by an angel”.  Ken’s love of showbiz began when he saw an advert for a ventriloquist’s doll in a local paper. His parents bought it for him and he christened it ‘Charlie Brown’. He worked on a semi-professional basis for many years to supplement his earnings as a salesman ‘on the knocker’ in Liverpool

“He is a comedy genius who is so funny that he should be available on the NHS. He’s a Chippendale in a room full of MFI.” – Eric Sykes

With two Happiness shows programmed, there really is no excuse to miss this one of a kind performer!

The Ken Dodd Happiness Show appears at the Whitley Bay Playhouse on Saturday 8th at 7pm & Sunday 9th August at 5pm. Tickets on sale now are priced at £21, £20 conc.

Tickets are available from the Box Office open Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm, Saturday 10.30am -2.30pm plus until show start on event days. Tickets can also be purchased on the booking hotline 0844 248 1588 or online at

Preview: And Then There Were None at Newcastle Theatre Royal


And Then There Were None
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Monday 27 July – Saturday 1 August 2015

The world’s best-selling mystery is coming to Newcastle Theatre Royal! Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None has recorded 100 million sales to date and the ‘Queen of Crime’s’ own stage adaptation of this dark and captivating tale is set to thrill audiences from Monday 27th July – 1st August 2015.

And Then There Were None is widely considered to be Christie’s masterpiece and this production marks the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth, and the 10th anniversary of the Agatha Christie Theatre Company.

Photo: Pamela Raith
A group of 10 strangers is lured to a remote island off the coast of Devon. Upon arrival they discover that their host, an eccentric millionaire, is missing. At dinner a recorded message is played accusing each of them in turn of having a guilty secret and by the end of the evening the 10 guests become nine. Stranded on the island by a torrential storm and haunted by an ancient nursery rhyme, one by one the guests begin to die. And with only the fallen believed to be innocent who amongst them is the killer?

Featuring a host of familiar faces from the world of TV and theatre, the show stars 2015 British Soap Award winner Verity Rushworth, best known for her role as Donna Windsor-Dingle in the long-running ITV soap Emmerdale. Verity won the ‘Best Scene’ award for the scene where Donna says goodbye to her daughter April. And Verity is no stranger to the stage having made her West Enddebut as Penny Pingleton in the musical Hairsprayand later she played Maria Von Trapp in the UK tour of The Sound of Music, taking over the role from Connie Fisher.

Photo: Pamela Raith
Verity is joined by fellow Emmerdale veteran Frazer Hines, who played Joe Sugden in the soap for 22 years from the pilot episode in 1972. Many will also recognise Frazer as Dr Who’s Jamie McCrimmon, companion to the second Doctor Patrick Troughton. Frazer’s theatre experience includes starring roles in Outside Edge, Dial ‘M’ for Murder, Spider’s Web, Not Now Darling, Doctor in the House, in which he played opposite Bill Kenwright, Run for your Wife, Wait Until Dark and Far From the Madding Crowd. 

Musical Theatre star Paul Nicholas first made his name in the original London production of Jesus Christ Superstar, in which he played the title role and later went on to star in Hair and Grease in the West End with Elaine Paige. Paul will also be known to many as Vince Pinner in the 80s BBC sitcom Just Good Friends.

Photo: Pamela Raith
Colin Buchanan, best known for playing D.I Pascoe for eleven years in the hit BBC television series Dalziel and Pascoe, joins the cast off the back of starring in a UK tour of another Bill Kenwright production, J.B Priestley’s Dangerous Corner.

Susan Penhaligon is probably best known for starring in the 1976 ITV drama Bouquet of Barbed Wire and for playing Judi Dench's sister in the 1981 LWT sitcom A Fine Romance. She has also appeared on TV many times in dramas such as Upstairs Downstairs, Casualty and Touch of Frost and her extensive West End theatre credits include The Three Sisters,  Of Mice and Men (Mermaid) and Dangerous Corner (Whitehall Theatre).

Photo: Pamela Raith
Mark Curry is best known to children of the Eighties as one of the Blue Peter presenters as well as hosting Get Set for Summer, The Saturday Picture Show and Screen Test. His acting credits include Alan Parker’s Bugsy Malone, London’s Burning, and West End shows The Woman in Black, Talent and he toured with Noises Off and Singin’ In The Rain.

Ben Nealon is best known for his role as 2nd Lt/Lt/Capt Jeremy Forsythe in the ITV award winning series Soldier Soldier. His previous work for Bill Kenwright includes The Signal Man (Windsor) and the Passport For Pimlico tour. His TV credits include Casualty, The Bill, EastEnders and Doctors, and film roles include the Bollywood blockbusters The Rising and the Oscar-nominated Lagaan.

Photo: Pamela Raith
As The Agatha Christie Theatre Company marks its 10th anniversary with this production of And Then There Were None, the interest and adoration for the great Dame Christie - who having sold over two billion books worldwide is outsold only by the Bible and Shakespeare - continues to grow.

This production of And Then There Were None is produced by Bill Kenwright, with Joe Harmston directing, design by Simon Scullion, lighting by Douglas Kuhrt and sound by Matt Bugg.

And Then There Were None appears at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Monday 27 July – Saturday 1 August 2015. Tickets from £14.50 (pay 50p less per ticket when you book online). Tickets can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 or select your own seat and book online at

And why not tempt yourself with Afternoon Tea after the matinees on Thu 30 July and Sat 1 Aug? Served in our exclusive Olivier Suite and accompanied by one of our pianists, you can treat yourself for £14.95 per person or upgrade to Afternoon Tea with Prosecco for £20.90. Book via the Box Office or online at

Previews: Music at Sunderland Empire


Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular 3rd June 2015
The Magic of Motown 4thJune 2015
An Evening of Burlesque 5th June 2015
Roy Orbison & Friends 6th June 2015
Sunderland Empire

Start spreading the news as not one but four one night spectaculars are set to grace the Sunderland Empire stage back-to-back next month starting with the Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular (3 June), The Magic of Motown (4 June), An Evening of Burlesque (5 June) and Roy Orbison & Friends (6 June).

Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular

It’s fun all the way as the "Purveyors of Cool" swing into Sunderland Empire with a sensational show Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular on the 3rd June) featuring "The Greatest Music Of The 20th Century". Wonderful memories of three incredible performers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Junior in a fabulous production that continues to be successful all over the world.

Now in their 13th year the show goes from strength to strength and it’s all live both musically and vocally. The Rat Pack Orchestra are more than just great musicians as they are a show band who also join in the fun as do the fabulous Vegas Showgirls who also add a touch of glamour to proceedings. Every song is an absolute classic - Under My Skin, Mr Bojangles, Fly Me To The Moon, Lady Is A Tramp, That's Amore, Mack The Knife, Sway and many more of your favourites. With an abundance of class and style they take you on a trip back in time to vintage 60’s Las Vegas hip and cool as their timeless soiree remains the pinnacle of quality entertainment.

The Magic of Motown

Britain’s biggest Motown spectacular is set to return with an all-new, all-star show celebrating 50 years of UK number one hit singles. The Magic of Motown on the 4th June brings its brand-new 2015 REACH OUT® Tour with songs like Stop in the Name of Love, I Can’t Help Myself, Tracks of My Tears and It’s the Same Old Song which rocketed artists like the Supremes, The Four Tops, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles to the top of the singles charts in 1965.

“Incredibly, 100 more No1s followed worldwide,” says show producer Michael Taylor. “The Magic of Motown 2015 REACH OUT® Tour brings to the stage 36 of these chart toppers back-to-back in one critically-acclaimed production”.

Direct from the USA, The Magic of Motown promises five-star performances that will authentically revive the style and sophistication of everyone’s favourite musical legends. “This year we’re proud to announce that the show will include more number one hits than ever before,” says Michael.

Classic hits from the Temptations, Four Tops, Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Lionel Richie and The Supremes are packed into the two-hour spectacular.   “As well as dazzling dance moves and glittering costumes galore and the elusive, authentic sound is recreated by our incredible band” adds Michael.

The group, especially put together for the show, celebrate their twelth year together on this tour. “In their capable hands,” says Michael, “you can guarantee that the score will be – with a nod to the great Stevie Wonder – uptight. . . alright and out of sight!”.

In 1965 Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder and the Temptations crossed the Atlantic for a UK-wide tour of ABC, Odeon and Gaumont theatres which began the process of the artistes becoming musical phenomena on these shores.  To mark the occasion, The Magic of Motown brings an all-new production for 2015 to the stage with a 100-date nationwide tour. Male lead in the show Andre Lejaune promises many new numbers added to the show’s already hit-packed score. “Come and celebrate 50 years of number one hits,” he says. “With the Reach Out 2015 Tour, the magic of Motown is truly coming to town.”

An Evening of Burlesque

For the first time ever, the biggest burlesque stars from around the world are set to star on the same stage in a brand-new, spectacular stage show for 2015, promising that Britain’s biggest burlesque production is “going global” for the new year. The 5th June brings An Evening of Burlesque which unveils an array of international talent brought together for a nationwide tour with the very best burlesque performers drawn from five continents of the world.

For its fifth year, An Evening of Burlesque goes international. The set list can include strutting Vegas showgirls in all their finery, a tutu too funny take on Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet, going nuts on Brazil’s Copacabana beach, a Roaring (with laughter) Twenties tribute to America’s Great Gatsby and international intrigue thanks to a James Bond finale, featuring a giant martini glass glamorously garnished by a splashing Bond Girl.

Already Britain’s biggest burlesque extravaganza – a quarter of a million people have now seen this show – An Evening of Burlesque has spent the past two years touring the rest of the world, revealing the secrets of the art of burlesque to delighted audiences. From Milan to Zurich, St Petersburg to Minsk, Leipzig to Verona, Dresden to Riga, Padova to Dessau audiences have given the show a standing ovation.

The show combines musical and theatrical parody, cutting-edge variety, magic, comedy and dance with the art of striptease. For over-18s only, An Evening of Burlesque is the slickest, wickedly wittiest, most delightfully choreographed cabaret spectacular of the year.

Roy Orbison & Friends

Barry Steelewill then present his tribute to The Big O with Roy Orbison & Friends when he returns on the 6th June. Barry is widely recognised as one of the world's leading tributes to music legend Roy Orbison. He's stunned audiences across the globe with his uncanny visual similarity and his ability to authentically revive the exquisite toe-tapping sound of this music giant. Using original film footage and backed by his fabulous band and big screen , this celebration of The Big O’s  musical legacy  is  quite simply unmissable as Barry Steele  takes you on a musical journey in time from the early sun years right through to the  late 80’s and The Traveling Wilbury’s. Add to the mix  Paul Molloy as a young Elvis and Boogie Williams as Jerry Lee Lewis and  you have yourself an incredible fusion of Rock ‘N’ Roll and Contemporary musical genius all on one stage. 

Barry has toured across the globe in his role as Roy Orbison, but it is a far cry from his time in the RAF when he was stationed at RAF Waddington, Scampton and RAF Tongeren in Belgium.  Whilst in the Forces Barry has refueled both Vulcan Bombers (The Ladies of the Sky) and The Red Arrows. When Barry left the RAF he moved back to the West Midlands with his young family. He became a long distance lorry driver, and it was during those long lonely hours out on the road that be began singing to artistes such as Michael Jackson, Wet Wet Wet, and Chris Rhea.

It was on a family holiday in Cornwall in 2001 that Barry took the first steps on the road to becoming a professional singer, when his wife Lynne and their daughter Leonie entered him into a singing competition without his knowledge. It was there that a fellow competitor said to him, “You know you sound just like Roy Orbison singing Robbie Williams!” so with the help of family and friends a tribute to The Big ‘O’ was born.

Barry quickly became totally enveloped in the music and sheer magic that was Roy Orbison, his aim was simple, his vision clear, to deliver the songs to Roy Orbison fans in the same manner in which they were originally performed.  Barry has toured across New Zealand, Holland, Germany, Austria, Denmark and Ireland. Whilst in the United States of America Barry sang in front of Roy’s son Wesley, as well as duetting with Bill Dees the co-writer of many of Roy’s songs.

All tickets available in person at the Box Office, by calling 0844 871 3022* or booking online at* plus a transaction fee applies.