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Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Preview: Stick Man Live at Newcastle Tyne Theatre

Scamp Theatre presents:
Stick Man Live
Newcastle Tyne Theatre & Opera House
Thursday 11th – Saturday 13th October 2018

Touching, funny and utterly original, Scamp Theatre’s delightful adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man is coming back to Tyne Theatre & Opera House this October, after a hugely successful run of shows in October 2017.
What starts off as a morning jog becomes quite the misadventure for Stick Man: a dog wants to play fetch with him, a swan builds a nest with him, and he even ends up on a fire! How will Stick Man ever get back to the family tree?

This award-winning production, from the team behind The Scarecrows’ Wedding, features a trio of top actors and is packed full of puppetry, songs, live music and funky moves.

★★★★★ 'Wonderfully exuberant and imaginative! Our 3 year old was engrossed from start to finish' - Time Out Critics’ Choice

★★★★Zesty and delightful. A clever compelling treat’ - Independent

★★★★ 'More fun than you can shake a stick at' - Daily Mail 

★★★★ 'Julia Donaldson's miniature epic.  Sally Cookson and her team recreate the book with vigour and imagination' - The Times

‘Scamp Theatre’s productions are a pleasure for the child in us all’ - Evening Standard
‘Scamp Theatre send shivers down my spine. They are so lively and innovative. I love their production of Stick Man and so do the audiences’
- Julia Donaldson, author and former Children’s Laureate

Tyne Theatre & Opera House Director Joanne Johnson says: “I’m so thrilled to welcome back Stick Man Live to the Tyne Theatre stage! When Scamp Theatre brought the show to the theatre in October 2017 it was absolutely delightful, and I hope this gives people who missed it the first time another chance to catch it.”.

Most suitable for all aged 3+ but all ages welcome.

Tickets: £14.50 adults, £12 under 16s, £48 family (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, 3 children). School groups Buy 10 get 2 free. (Please note that children 18 months or younger classify as babes in arms and will not need a ticket. Children over 18 months old will need a ticket, even if you want to keep them on your lap.)

Tickets available from the theatre box office and from our affiliate Eventim_UK: .

Preview: POT at Hexham Queen’s Hall

Ambreen Razia, Ovalhouse and Rua Arts present:


Hexham Queen’s Hall Arts Centre
Tuesday 2nd October 2018

Written by Ambreen Razia
Directed by Sophie Moniram

From the writer of Diary of a Hounslow Girl, a restless new thriller reveals the hidden lives of Britain’s invisible children, adrift in the care system at the mercy of gang culture

“A sophisticated, moving and often very funny piece of writing”
The Stage (on Diary of a Hounslow Girl)

In the year that has seen knife crime in the UK soar to an unprecedented level, writer and actress Ambreen Razia, whose hugely successful Diary of a Hounslow Girl has been commissioned by BBC Three for a pilot, presents the corrupt and violent world of inner city gang culture. Ambreen will once again be collaborating with director Sophie Moniram, one of The Old Vic 12 class of 2018.

POT delves into the lives of Britain’s invisible children, adrift in the care system and inadvertently impacted by gang culture.16-year-old Louisa wakes up in a flat on her estate with her erratic and unstable boyfriend Josh missing and a notorious drug dealer on her back. A young man, Miles, who is clearly concealing his own troubled past has been appointed her protector. Time is running out as Louisa must decide whether to do the right thing whilst a series of revelations suggest everything is not as it seems.

Ambreen Razia said, “POT is a raw tale set in inner-city London and it pulls no punches. It raises questions about why young people who leave care, form families on the streets. I want to capture these stories which go untold, the voices which echo from the underbelly of our cities; nobody should be exempt from seeing themselves reflected back at them. I believe that through theatre we can help tell stories which centre around young people who are unheard, mis-represented or exploited, enabling us to break down misconceptions and dismantle damaging stereotypes.”

Rehearsal Photo by Suzy Corker
Ambreen Razia is an actress & writer from South London. Her critically acclaimed debut play Diary of a Hounslow Girl, commissioned by Ovalhouse, toured nationally with Black Theatre Live and House Theatre, featured at Alchemy Festival, Southbank and has been commissioned as a TV pilot for BBC Three. Awards include Best Newcomer, Asian Media Awards 2016 and Eastern Eye Emerging artist award, 2017. Ambreen was nominated for the Outstanding Achievement Award at the 'Women of the World' festival earlier this year. Credits include: On the Middle Day (Old Vic Theatre); Words and Women (Edinburgh Fringe); Diary of a Hounslow Girl (Black Theatre Live National UK Tour) ; Mind the Gap (National Theatre); No Guts, No Heart, No Glory (Perth International Arts Festival Australia / BBC 4) Random Acts (Channel 4); Murdered by my Father (BBC Three); Finding Fatimah (British Muslim TV); Ladies Day (Sky), Ilford Lane (BFI), Killed by my Debt (BBC).

Rehearsal Photo by Suzy Corker
Director Sophie Moniram was an Assistant Director on the critically acclaimed production of Yerma at the Young Vic and is a Creative Associate at the Gate Theatre. Directing credits include Diary of a Hounslow Girl by Ambreen Razia (national tour), The Five Stages of Waiting by Caro Dixey (Tristan Bates Theatre), Creditors by August Strindberg (in a version by David Greig) (Cockpit Theatre), Fucking Outside the Box by Jessica Burgess (VAULT Festival: The Vaults).

POT has been commissioned by Ovalhouse and supported by Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Ovalhouse is a lively theatre on the Kennington Oval, opposite the famous cricket ground. For the past 50 years, Ovalhouse has been part of the London fringe, providing development and performance space to experimental, radical and overlooked artists. Whether you love a show or not there is always so much talk about after a performance here! Today Ovalhouse is known for theatre and performance that speaks to a world beyond the mainstream, and continues to be a vital home for boundary-pushing art and artists with an eye on the future.

Rehearsal Photo by Suzy Corker
Stratford Circus Arts Centre is a vibrant place to create and experience art through world-class theatre, dance, music and circus and visual exhibitions and we present work for families, young people and adults. We support national, international and East London artists to create new work that is relevant to local people, connecting artists and audiences to help them find authentic voices.

On The Web:
Running Time: 90 minutes, no interval
Suitable for ages 14+ (references to drugs and alcohol)

Cast & Creatives

Directed by Sophie Moniram                           
Written by Ambreen Razia

Dramaturgy by  Neil Grutchfield                     

Produced by Maeve O’Neill (Rua Arts)

Design & Costume by Alison Neighbour       
Sound design by Jonny Wharton
Lighting design by Jamie Platt                       
Production management by Andy Shewan
Photography by Suzi Corker                           
Graphic design by Nick Thompson

Cast: Gamba Cole, Sophia Leonie and Wahab Sheikh

Tickets are available online from www.queenshall.co.uk and from the box office: 01434 652477

Preview: One Life Stand at Arts Centre Washington

Middle Child presents
One Life Stand
Arts Centre Washington
Thursday 4 October 2018
Written by Eve Nicol
Music by James Frewer and Honeyblood

One Life Stand, the new show by the award winning Middle Child theatre company comes to Arts Centre Washington on Thursday 4 October as part of a regional tour.

Kit and Kat are on a break, but Kit doesn’t know it yet. With the promise of fresh excitement just a swipe away, is Kat’s long-term lover really her lifelong dream?

One Life Stand is a late-night search for intimacy across a city obsessed with sex and screens, where the expectations of lust and the limits of love are ever-changing.

Written by Eve Nicol’s with music by James Frewer and Honeyblood, One Life Stand is Eve’s first professional commission and the latest production from the company behind the award-winning All We Ever Wanted Was Everything.

One Life Stand has already performed at the Paines Plough Roundabout at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it received four-star reviews from The Stage, The Scotsman, The List and A Younger Theatre, among other publications.

The production stars Tanya Loretta Dee (Boots, Offside) as Kat, Edward Cole (Ten Storey Love Song) as Kit and Anna Mitchelson (Weekend Rockstars) as Momo.

Eve Nicol is a playwright and director from Glasgow who has worked with the National Theatre of Scotland, Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh and Tron Theatre, Glasgow. She is the artistic director of Heroes Theatre, with whom she’s created theatre for fields, festivals, pools, pubs and stages across Scotland. One Life Stand is her professional debut as a writer.

James Frewer is a composer and musical director who has worked with Middle Child on seven previous productions, including Weekend Rockstars, I Hate Alone and All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and Mercury Fur.

Honeyblood are Glaswegian duo Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers, whose 2016 album, Babes Never Die, was described by The Skinny magazine as “peppered with catchy choruses and heroic riffs… with sing-along moments galore.”

Cast and Crew

Kat - Tanya Loretta Dee
Kit - Edward Cole
Momo - Anna Mitchelson

Writer - Eve Nicol
Music - James Frewer and Honeyblood
Director - Paul Smith
Designer - Natalie Young
Lighting Design - Jose Tevar
Sound Design - Ed Clarke
Production Manager - Emily Anderton

One Life Stand comes to Arts Centre Washington on Thursday 4th October, 7.30pm.  Tickets are £9.50 / £7 concessions and are available from www.artscentrewashington.co.uk or by calling 0191 561 3455.

Preview: Full Monty at Darlington Hippodrome


The Full Monty
Darlington Hippodrome
Monday 12 to Saturday 17 November 2018

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers’s presentation of the Sheffield Theatres production of Simon Beaufoy’s The Full Monty is currently touring the UK & Ireland for the final time and comes to Darlington Hippodrome for a week-long run from Monday 12 November.

The cast will be led by Gary Lucy (Luke Morgan in Hollyoaks, Danny Pennant in EastEnders, DS Will Fletcher in The Bill, Kyle Pascoe in Footballer’s Wives, winner of Dancing on Ice) as Gaz, along with Andrew Dunn (best known as Tony in Dinnerladies and for his regular appearances playing Alastair Campbell on Bremner, Bird and Fortune) as Gerald, Louis Emerick (Norman the Doorman in Benidorm, Mick Johnson in Brookside, PC Walsh in Last of the Summer Wine and soon to be seen as Mike in Coronation Street) as Horse, Joe Gill (Finn Barton in Emmerdale) as Lomper, Kai Owen (Rhys in Torchwood and Pete in Hollyoaks) as Dave and James Redmond (Finn in Hollyoaks and Abs Denham in Casualty).

The Full Monty is one of the most acclaimed British films ever and this stage play has become one of the most phenomenal theatrical productions ever. This chuffing brilliant production about six out-of-work, impoverished steelworkers from Sheffield with nothing to lose took the world by storm and has become one of Britain’s most successful shows.

Based on his smash hit film and adapted for the stage by Oscar-winning writer Simon Beaufoy, this hilarious and heartfelt production has received standing ovations every night and features the iconic songs from the film by Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate and Tom Jones.

The Full Monty runs at Darlington Hippodrome from Monday 12 to Saturday 17 November.

For more information or to book call 01325 405405 or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk

Monday, 17 September 2018

Preview: Vulcan 7 at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Vulcan 7
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Monday 8th – Saturday 13th October 2018

Stars of cult 80s TV comedy The Young Ones Ade Edmondson and Nigel Planer will reunite on stage next month in a brand new comedy written by themselves.  Audiences can join the comic legends on the Icelandic wastelands of Vulcan 7 for one week only at Newcastle Theatre Royal!   

British actor-comedians Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer rose to fame playing iconic characters Vyvyan and Neil in the BRIT award-winning TV classic The Young Ones and The Comic Strip Presents…and have performed together in Filthy, Rich and Catflap and in the spoof band Bad News.

In their latest comedy Vulcan 7 the long-time off-screen friends will co-star as former drama students Gary Savage and Hugh Delavois, one a plodding actor, the other a struggling Hollywood star, both in their 60s who are reunited on the set of a fantasy movie.

Hugh has landed the role of Vulcan’s butler and he's making his seventh film for the franchise. Gary is a one-time Hollywood A-lister playing a guest monster with four hours in make-up and one word in the script. Sparks fly inside the trailer as old wounds are opened. Leela, a runner (played by Lois Chimimba), attempts to keep the peace, but outside the trailer things are not going to plan either: the director’s gone AWOL, the catering truck’s on the wrong side of a ravine, and the volcanic activity is growing more lively by the minute…

Adrian Edmondson (Gary Savage) is well known for his role in TV sitcom Bottom which he wrote and starred in with Rik Mayall. Other television credits include Jonathan Creek, Blackadder and the BBC adaptation of War & Peace. On stage he has appeared in The Rocky Horror Show in the West End and Twelfth Night at the RSC. Film credits include Captain Peavey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Nigel Planer (Hugh Delavois) is an actor, comedian, novelist and playwright who has worked extensively in the West End with leading roles in original productions Evita, Chicago, We Will Rock You, Wicked, Hairspray, Feelgood and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for which he received an Olivier Award nomination. Other credits include the spoof actor character Nicholas Craig and Doctor Who: Live tour. He has been nominated for numerous awards and won the BRIT award for Best Comedy Record in 1984 for his appearance in The Young Ones.

Lois Chimimba (Leela) has appeared with the National Theatre most recently in Common, and previously Peter Pan and wonder.land. Other theatre credits include Pitcairn with Shakespeare’s Globe and Chichester Festival Theatre and Nightingale and Chase at the Royal Court. She has appeared on television in the drama series Trust Me and on film in The Proposal.

Vulcan 7 is written by Edmondson and Planer and directed by Steven Marmion.  It is presented by Jonathan Church Productions and Theatre Royal Bath Productions in association with Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.
Steven Marmion (Director) is currently Artistic Director at Soho Theatre where he has been at the helm since 2010. Productions include Only The Brave and the award-winning Madam Butterfly’s Child and Mad Margaret’s Revenge. He has directed workshops for the National Theatre, Hampstead Theatre, Royal Court and the RSC with whom he is an Education Associate Practitioner. Associate director credits include Rupert Goold's production of Macbeth and its Broadway transfer.  

Vulcan 7 is at Newcastle Theatre Royal between Monday 8 and Saturday 13 October 2018 at 7.30pm and matinees on Thursday at 2pm and Saturday at 2.30pm.  Tickets from £14.50 can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (Calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge) or book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk

Preview: Under Milk Wood at Newcastle Northern Stage

Under Milk Wood
Written by Dylan Thomas
Newcastle Northern Stage
Friday 2 - Saturday 17 November 2018

Originally written as a BBC radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood gets a contemporary, technological twist under the direction of The War of the Worlds director Elayce Ismail. 

An enfolding, haunting and at times unsettling experience, this ‘play for voices’ offers a glimpse of a golden era that may never have existed. It follows 24 hours in the lives of a collection of characters who inhabit the fictional town of Llareggub, and was made into a film starring Richard Burton with Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole. 

Director Elayce Ismail is currently Associate Director at Northern Stage as part of a pilot scheme by the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme (RTYDS) aimed at preparing directors with a strong professional track record for artistic leadership.  Elayce has directed theatre and opera for companies including the National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Young Vic, Gate, Soho Theatre, Royal Court, The Yard and Deutsches Theater Berlin. 

Elayce explains, “The fabric of the play allows you to get a glimpse of people's secret stories - their desires, dreams, and disappointments – whilst conjuring a natural world that is rich, sensual and evocative. For me, the beauty of Thomas’ text lies in the surprising rhythms, tones and textures of his words: he delights in language, and through it creates characters that are surreal and yet reveal so much about human nature. In this new production, we're creating a dream-like space that invites you to listen: immersing the audience in a playful soundscape, beautiful layered visuals and imaginative storytelling.”

Christina Berriman Dawson
Taking on multiple roles including Captain Cat, the old blind sea captain who dreams of his drowned shipmates; Myfanwy Price, the sweetshop-keeper lusting after Mog Edwards; Organ Morgan, obsessed with his music; postman Willy Nilly who reads his neighbours’ letters; and Mrs. Ogmore-Pritchard, relentlessly nagging her two dead husbands, the cast are Christina Berriman Dawson (Key Change, Open Clasp) and David Kirkbride (Pinocchio, National Theatre). 

David Kirkbride
Alongside Director Elayce Ismail, the creative team includes award-winning set and costume designer Jen McGinley - Jen has recently worked on The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Prasanna Puwanarajah, National Youth Theatre) and The Secret Life of Humans (David Byrne, New Diorama Theatre); lighting designer, Andy Purves - a regular with Frantic Assembly and The National Theatre of Scotland; sound designer Richard Hammarton whose work includes the Olivier Award-winning production The Mountaintop and the Ivor Novello award-winning Ripper Street for BBC Television; and film maker Kris Deedigan who worked with Northern Stage’s Young company to create visuals for David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey.

Tickets start at £10; for more details or to book tickets see https://www.northernstage.co.uk/Event/under-milk-wood or call the box office on 0191 230 5151.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Preview: Summer Holiday at Darlington Hippodrome


Summer Holiday
Darlington Hippodrome
Tuesday 25th – Saturday 29th September 2018

The new stage musical based on the hit 60s film starring Cliff Richard is coming to Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 25 September for one week only.
Enjoy fun and laughter on a Summer Holiday when the stage musical packed with classic Cliff Richard hits comes to Darlington later this month starring Ray Quinn.

Based on the iconic 1960s film starring Cliff Richard and The Shadows, this new stage musical includes all of the number one hits from the movie, plus some additional Cliff classics.

The famous red double-decker bus will be stopping of at Darlington Hippodrome to entertain audiences from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 September.

Summer Holiday tells the story of Don and his fellow London Transport mechanics as they journey together in a red double-decker bus through Paris, the Alps, Italy and Greece. Along the way they pick up a girl singing group and a young American pop star who is on the run from her domineering mother.

Taking the lead role of Don is Ray Quinn whose musical theatre credits include playing Danny Zuko in Grease in the West End), Dirty Dancing also in the West End, the UK Tour of Legally Blonde and most recently the UK Tour of The Wedding Singer.

We caught up with Ray to ask him a few questions about Summer Holiday and also filling the rather big shoes of Cliff Richard:

Tell us a bit more about Summer Holiday?
Summer Holiday the musical is based on the Iconic movie from the ‘60s. I am playing the role of Don, made famous by Sir Cliff Richard. With a group of friends we take a trip round Europe in a big red double decker bus - and along the way the adventure turns into a romance and lots of fun! The audience are in for a huge delight! It’s fast paced and exciting, with iconic songs that everyone will know and want to sing along to. In a nut-shell it’s what I would call good old fashioned entertainment at its best!!

To play the lead part in Summer Holiday, a role made famous by Sir Cliff must be a huge honour?
I’m very excited but also a bit nervous at the same time. When I was offered the role I jumped at the chance and then it hit me! This is my first role as lead male and on a personal note it was my Nan’s favourite movie and she adored Sir Cliff Richard! So big boots to fill and I’m up for the challenge and I know my Nan would be so proud..

Did you watch the film a few times to help you with the role?
Yeah, I have watched the movie several times to get my head around the role. I want to stamp my own identity on the part, but at the same time want to do justice to the original. I have to have a bit of a ‘60s posh London accent, so that’s totally new to me. And those iconic songs, such iconic hits!

How many rehearsals did you have to do for this show?
We had 3 weeks of intense rehearsals in North London studios, followed by a week of tech rehearsal in the theatre before opening in Liverpool. I know this sounds short but everyone in the cast and production team are so committed to making the show great and with my crazy schedule it had to be done!

You are touring all over the country, I'm guessing that must be hard at times, being away from home so much?
Yeah it gets little tough at times. I get to see my fans who have been with me since year dot !! I miss my family and friends, but when I get time off I spend it at home with them, which is always special.

It seems like a lifetime ago, you finished runner up on the X Factor to Leona Lewis. Can you believe it was 12 years ago now? What was it like to be on the show?
I know, I was reminded about this last week in an interview and it made me gasp… 12 years - wow! It was such an amazing and crazy period a whirlwind of ups and downs and to be in the final with Leona was incredible. X Factor was such a great learning experience for me and will remain one of my career highlights – I loved it!

You won Dancing on Ice in 2009. Did you have much ice skating experience before you went on the show?
I get asked this a lot and when I tell them ‘no’,  they say ‘really?!’ I never set foot on the ice before I was selected to be in DOI. I like a challenge and I am kind of fearless sometimes (a little too much!). Working with Jane & Chris was amazing. I would go to rehearsals each week wanting to take things to the next level and they would always support my ideas for new moves and having them mentor me was such a big part of making those idea come true.

Did you suffer any bad injuries during the show?
Yeah I had a couple of accidents on the Ice, luckily not too bad but you have to expect injuries as it can be a pretty dangerous environment. Luckily I’m still standing!

When you're not working, what do you like to do?
Like most people I like to spend my downtime at home with my Family doing the normal things. I don’t get to do this on a regular basis as I am tour a lot, so its important to me as that’s when I can totally relax and chill and recharge my batteries.

If you hadn't of done the X Factor, what sort of job do you think you would have done?
I wanted to be a copper (police officer) or barber when I was kid. I’ve been known to cut hair when on tour for the guys in the show. However, it all changed when my Mum took me to see my first show and I told her “this is what I want to do Mum!”

Who was your hero growing up?
Sammy Davis Jnr, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jean Kelly Fred Astaire…
Well I could go on for day’s when it comes to this subject. My love for Swing and The Rat Pack comes from my childhood. My Dad is such a massive Fan of this era and he would play his records in the house and I started to sing along. When it comes to singing and dancing there’s no one to touch the great Jean or Fred.

What would be your dream job and why?
Playing James Bond. I’m a massive fan of the Bond Movies. My ultimate Bond was Sean Connery - he is Mister Cool I wanted to be him. I love action Movies and I think this is the ultimate British role..

Do you still get nervous before you go on stage?
Yeah you bet! Opening night is the most intense time for me. Once on stage I’m fine, but those few seconds in the wings…oh boy! I love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else now.

Summer Holiday runs at Darlington Hippodrome from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 September.
For more information or to book call 01325 405405 or visit www.darlingtonhippodrome.co.uk.