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Preview: BalletBoyz – Fourteen Days at Darlington Hippodrome


BalletBoyz – Fourteen Days
Darlington Hippodrome
Wednesday 2 May 2018

The international Emmy Award-winning, all-male dance company BalletBoyz is set to return to Darlington Hippodrome with a new show, Fourteen Days, on Wednesday 2 May.

The new work from the recent Rose d’Or winners has been created by four internationally celebrated choreographers, alongside four eminent and completely different composers. The new work comprises four short pieces, and will run alongside their previously acclaimed Fallen. A coproduction with Sadler’s Wells where BalletBoyz are an Associate Artist, and in association with artsdepot.

Choreographers Javier De Frutos (London Road), Craig Revel Horwood (West Side Story, Sunset Boulevard), Iván Pérez (Young Men) and Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris) have teamed up with composers Scott Walker, Charlotte Harding, Joby Talbot and Keaton Henson, with each pair given just 14 days to work with the ensemble to create the new pieces. Playing with the concept of balance and imbalance, the result is an exciting and varied programme of dance and music in BalletBoyz’s inimitable style, performed live musicians.

Fallen forms the second half of the evening, choreographed by regular BalletBoyz collaborator and Sadler’s Wells Associate Artist Russell Maliphant (Broken Fall), and set to a powerful score by French film composer Armand Amar. Fallen won the award for Best Modern Choreography at the 2013 National Dance Awards.

For more information or to book call 01325 405405 or visit

Preview: Anna Nicholson: Woman of the Year

North-East writer/actor performs her debut character comedy show in her hometown first before taking it to the Brighton Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe and London.

Anna Nicholson: Woman of the Year
Newcastle Holy Trinity Church
Friday 4th May 2018

Written and performed by Anna Nicholson
Creative Development by James Cary
Directed by Neil Armstrong
Music and Voiceover by Bobby Goulder
In a time where female equality and liberation are top talking points comes a refreshingly light-hearted and charming character comedy show which celebrates entertaining, endearing and empowered women.

Through a combination of monologue, song and audience interaction, meet the five nominees for this year’s Woman of the Year award. From a hero-seeking teenager, to an it-girl vlogger giving the ‘best’ advice, to a bra-saleswoman stirring up the next generation. Who will be crowned the winner?

The audience are invited to get to know this delightful mismatch of women who, despite comic flaws, are all striving to make a positive impact on the world, even if they (endearingly, often spectacularly) don’t quite hit the mark!

Each character appears twice allowing for their stories to unfold. The audience then cast their vote for their winner at the end of the show.

Anna Nicholson plays five contrasting characters with confidence, versatility and subtlety employing her in-built comic timing. Her performance style and warm demeanour are reminiscent of Victoria Wood and Joyce Grenfell, but with a fresh flair and exuberant energy that appeals to a wide-ranging audience.

Nicholson’s charming writing presents relatable characters and in her distinctive and engaging style uses comedy to comment on hot social topics including the impact of social media, millennial ambition and female empowerment.

Woman of the Year is directed by Neil Armstrong, North-East director and writer.

BBC sit-com writer James Cary provides creative development and script oversight for the show. James wrote and directed sketch show A Monks Tale in 2017, in which Nicholson starred. The show received critical acclaim from The Guardian and The Times, had a highly successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe and a sellout 99-date UK tour.

Anna Nicholson says: “I am really excited to perform my first ever solo show in my hometown. The support from Newcastle audiences has always been very special and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the tour.”

The show celebrates the diversity of ordinary women in this country. It is empowering for women without being a ‘feministshow.

Running time: 1 hour

2018 Performances:
4th May -              Holy Trinity Church, Newcastle, NE2 1HB
11th-13th May -     St Andrews Church, Hove, Brighton Fringe (as ‘Nicknacks’)
12th-13th July -     Museum of Comedy, London
19th July -             Arts Theatre, London
20th July -             Canal Café, London
2nd26th August - Just the Tonic, Edinburgh Fringe (not 13th)


             Friday 4th May 2018  8pm
             Newcastle Holy Trinity Church, NE2 1HB

Tickets available on Eventbrite:


Preview: Windrush at Newcastle Northern Stage


Windrush: Movement of the People
Newcastle Northern Stage
Wednesday 9th and Thursday 10th May 2018

Windrush: Movement of the People: a major new dance piece for 2018 by Phoenix Dance Theatre

Marking the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the SS Empire Windrush, the ship that brought the first large group of immigrants from the Caribbean to the UK

Internationally-acclaimed, Leeds-based Phoenix Dance Theatre will present a World Premiere at West Yorkshire Playhouse next month as 2018 marks the 70th Anniversary of the arrival of SS Empire Windrush to the UK.

Photo: Brian Slater
Windrush was the ship that brought the first large group of immigrants from the Caribbean and famously began the post-war immigration boom that was to radically change British society.

Photo: Richard Moran
Artistic Director of Phoenix Dance, and choreographer of Windrush, Sharon Watson said: “I want to capture both the excitement and the upset of this significant event. Windrush will highlight both the struggles and the good times the Jamaican community experienced during those early years. It is an uplifting dance production but it shines a light on an important era of the history of black people in the UK.’

The production begins in Jamaica showing the response to the newspaper adverts for the SS Empire Windrush; busy and excited scenes are juxtaposed with personal stories - family farewells and people left behind. The 492 immigrants were invited by the UK government, but were not always welcomed and the production will capture the daily exclusion and racism the newcomers faced.

Photo: Brian Slater
We know people were excited to come to the UK on the promise of work and a better life but we also know it was not the case for all. Britain was recovering from the war and needed help to rebuild the country, but the stories they told were of a bittersweet experience.Sharon continues.

“My family were not on the SS Windrush but did come to the UK as part of that first wave of people that were to become known as the ‘Windrush Generation’.

Photo: Brian Slater
Dancers will create unforgettable characters that take the audience from Jamaica to the UK celebrating how the Windrush generation began to create their own opportunities, setting up churches, introducing their own music and dance and establishing a ‘black British culture’. 

When I was undertaking the research for this project, I was delighted to discover that Calypso musicians Lord Kitchener, Lord Beginner, Lord Woodbine and singer Mona Baptiste were among the ship’s passengers; these major musicians were part of the story! What greater gift for a choreographer than to be practically handed a part of the soundtrack?”

Photo: Richard Moran
From 1948 to the present day; from Calypso to RnB via Blues, Ska and Reggae, composer Christella Listras supports the story with an original soundtrack to the lives of the Caribbean British people and wider Black British Communities.

Windrush: Movement of the People fuses music and dance to create an inspiring production that uses a multi-cultural cast to tell an international story, and celebrates a culture that is now part of the country’s fabric.

Windrush will be presented alongside Shadows by Christopher Bruce and Calyx by Sandrine Monin.

Cast: Carlos J. Martinez, Prentice Whitlow, Natalie Alleston, Vanessa Vince-Pang, Sandrine Monin, Aaron Chaplin, Mayowa Ogunnaike, Carmen Vazquez Marfil, Michael Marquez, Nafisah Baba


Northern Stage, Newcastle
Wednesday 9th and Tuesday 10th May 2018 at 7.30pm
Tickets: From £10
Box Office: / 0191 230 5151

Preview: Brighton Rock at Newcastle Northern Stage

Bryony Lavery’s new adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock comes to Newcastle as part of national tour

Brighton Rock
Newcastle Northern Stage
Tuesday 1st – Saturday 5th May 2018

Following the critical success of their co-production of E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops, Pilot Theatre once again join forces with York Theatre Royal to premiere Tony-Award Nominee Bryony Lavery’s (Frozen and Beautiful Burnout) new adaptation of Graham Greene’s iconic 1938 novel of sin and redemption Brighton Rock.

Directed by Pilot Theatre’s new Artistic Director, Esther Richardson and featuring a soundtrack composed by the acclaimed singer, musician and composer Hannah Peel, Brighton Rock will be at Northern Stage from 1 – 5 May 2018.

As two seventeen-year olds, Pinkie and Rose get embroiled in a vicious gang war in Brighton where one brutal murder leads to the next. The police are impassive - but the courageous and life embracing Ida Arnold wants the truth. Nothing scares her. Whatever the cost, she'll see justice is done.

Written in 1938, Graham Greene's classic novel of good and evil was first adapted for the stage at the Garrick Theatre with Richard Attenborough playing Pinkie, a role he resumed in the iconic 1947 film version. In 2010 Greene’s novel was remade, setting it in 1964, with Sam Riley, Andrea Riseborough and Helen Mirren. In 1993, Vicky Featherstone directed David Hurlock’s stage adaptation of the novel at West Yorkshire Playhouse and in 2004 John Barry and Don Black wrote a musical version which ran at the Almeida Theatre.

Bryony Lavery's play Frozen, commissioned by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, won the TMA Best Play Award and was then produced on Broadway where it was nominated for four Tony Awards. A revival will be staged at the Theatre Royal Haymarket Theatre in February. Stockholm, for Frantic Assembly, won the Wolff-Whiting award for Best play of 2008. Beautiful Burnout for The National Theatre of Scotland and Frantic Assembly received a Fringe First at Edinburgh, before performances in the UK, New York, Australia and New Zealand. Recent work includes The Believers for Frantic Assembly, Thursday for ETT/Brink, Australia, Brideshead Revisited for York Theatre Royal/ETT and Our Mutual Friend for Hull Truck Theatre.

Playwright Bryony Lavery said about her new adaptation, “Why adapt Brighton Rock for the stage? Because it is such a treasure chest of narrative delights. It has got everything...It's a love story, a revenge tragedy, a small-town murder mystery, an array of small-time gangsters and a middle-aged woman who knows no fear and who will stop at nothing to do right. In the poisoned relationship between Pinkie and Rose, there is one of the best accounts ever of what it is like to be 16 and 17 years’ old in a terrible, violent, adolescence.”

Composer Hannah Peel said, “The menacing aspects to the 1930s story are even more resonant today so I am really excited about working Pilot theatre for this incredible stage version of Brighton Rock. With an even greater sense darkness in the current world climate, my mind is already buzzing from the amount of music and sonic possibilities we will be bringing live to the stage.”

Brighton Rock’s cast are: Jacob James Beswick (People, Places and Things, Headlong and National Theatre; Peter Pan, Regents Park Open Air Theatre) as Pinkie; Gloria Onitiri (Caroline, or Change, Chichester Festival Theatre; The Taming of the Shrew, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre; The Grinning Man, Bristol Vic, The Bodyguard and The Lion King, West End and most recently as Cruela De Vil in 101 Dalmations, Birmingham Rep) as Ida; Sarah Middleton (The Hypocrite, RSC/Hull Truck Theatre; National Treasure, Channel 4 and Love, Lies and Records, BBC One) as Rose; Angela Bain (Cyrano, Northern Broadsides and Made in Dagenham, (Queen Theatre, Hornchurch) as Spicer; Marc Graham (Flood Part Two: Anbudance and Flood Part Four: New World, Slung Low) and All We Ever Wanted was Everything (Middle Child/Paines Plough Roundabout) as Cubbitt; Jennifer Jackson (Neverland, Battersea Arts Centre and Tour) as Crab and Colleoni; Dorian Simpson (Persuasion, Royal Exchange Theatre) as Dallow; and Shamira Turner (Golem, 1927 and Doppelgänger, Battersea Arts Centre) as Sylvie/Prewitt.

Brighton Rock is co-commissioned by The Lowry for Week 53 and presented by special arrangement with STUDIOCANAL.

Tickets for Brighton Rock are available from £10 and can be purchased at the Box Office on 0191 230 5151 or online at
For more info visit

NEWS: Boost for Newcastle theatre

Boost for Newcastle theatre

The People’s Theatre in Heaton received a real accolade for its redevelopment work last week when Ryder Architecture were awarded Highly Commended for Community Benefit for the scheme in the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors North East awards. 

The design has given the front of the building a much needed facelift, transformed the audience experience in the foyer, and built a new fully accessible studio at ground floor level, which will open later this year.

Tony Childs, director of the project for the People’s, said: ‘The changes have already proved a great success for the theatre.  Our new facility has brought new people into the theatre, not only in increased audiences, but also in attracting local people to join our voluntary teams of people who run this place.  When our final push for funding is complete and we finish the studio, the foyer and the studio combined will form a great venue for theatre, workshops, or celebrations for people in the area.’

Photo: Paula Smart
Gill Adams, freelance fundraiser working on behalf of People's Theatre since 2013 added, ‘Having been born and brought up in Heaton, I'm very proud of the part I've played in working with the volunteers at the People's Theatre to raise the funds for the redevelopment that's making such a tremendous impact.  The achievement so far is due to the generosity of local people who are true lovers of their local theatre and the Trusts and Foundations who, together with Arts Council England, have invested so wisely in the People's Theatre's next 100 years! That said, I appeal to any funders out there that can help us bring in the final £90,000 to put the finishing touches to the new Studio and make the whole project complete.’

When We Were Married - Photo: Paula Smart
The People’s goes from strength to strength, with May proving to be a particularly busy month. Events include JB Priestley’s classic comedy of marital strife WHENWE ARE MARRIED (1st-5th May) and hilarious spy spoof THE 39 STEPS (22nd-26th May).

Audiences also have the chance to tour the building and get a glimpse backstage and in our archives during our TALK AND TOUR on Monday 14th May as part of the Jesmond Festival. Tickets are free but spaces are limited, so booking is required at or give the Box Office a ring on 0191 265 5020.


Preview: Henning Wehn at Whitley Bay Playhouse

Henning Wehn - Get On With It
Whitley Bay Playhouse
EXTRA DATE Wednesday 20 Feb 2019
Thursday 21st February 2019

You couldn’t make it up; surely the German Comedy Ambassador Henning Wehn hasn’t bosched out yet another new show? And what’s he still doing here anyway? Well, his lack of transferable skills is what keeps him here and his belief that practise makes perfect is what keeps him going.
This show is a much needed call to arms. Listen, everyone: stop pondering and hand-wringing. Instead get on your bike and put your face to the grindstone!
“As subtle as Schumacher on Battiston” some bloke on Twitter
“Die entgueltige Teilung Europas - das ist mein Auftrag” Henning himself
Henning's most recent television and radio appearances include "Live At The Apollo" BBC2, "Have I Got News For You" BBC1, "Would I Lie To You" BBC1, "Fighting Talk" BBC Radio 5 Live and "The Unbelievable Truth" BBC Radio 4.

"Wehn wraps his vowels around the issues of immigration and identity. And he triumphs at it" The Times
"Cor blimey" The Guardian

Tickets cost £19.50 and 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 from our affiliates Ticketmaster UK: #Ad

*Calls cost 7p per minute plus your phone company’s access charge.

Preview Waiting for Gandalf at Durham Assembly

No Hobbits in this play, but an equally unexpected hero!

Waiting for Gandalf
Durham Assembly Rooms Theatre
Saturday 5th May 2018

Written by Adrian Marks
Directed by Patrick Sandford
From an original production directed by Teresa Hagger

Over the past two years the enterprising and imaginative Brighton based charity Mankind has been establishing a reputation for presenting lively, provocative theatre at the Brighton Fringe: GROOMED (2016), BLOOMING and BETWEEN YOU AND ME (2017). This year the emphasis, despite the title of Adrian Marks’ play, moves far from Hobbits, onto the hidden hero inside all of us - however ordinary we may feel. Vulnerable, plucky….the hero emerges in ways startling, comic and profoundly human.

Meet Kevin Brook, self-confessed fanatic of all things 'Lord of the Rings'. On the evening before Gandalf is to sign copies of the brand new Movie Companion to 'The Two Towers', Kevin is first in the queue outside the bookshop, eagerly waiting.

But in the deep of the night the thrilling fantasy characters soon give way to the all too real people in his own memory - friends who don't understand him, family who never had time for him.

What's the real reason for his obsession with the kindly wizard? A disturbing truth is about to be revealed, and with it the chance for Kevin to find the way clear to a more optimistic future….. Will he seize the opportunity? Can we, watching, support him?

Adrian Marks’ wry and sensitive writing is matched by the gentle quirkiness of Chris Neville-Smith’s stage presence…. but is this a disguise for something infinitely more complex?

Maybe our whole idea of what it means to be male and heroic will be subtly, even inspiringly challenged!

Dark-as-hell” (Fringe Guru)

***** (Albie Media)

**** (Broadway Baby)

On The  Web:
Twitter: @MankindCharity

There will be a preview of Waiting for Gandalf at The Assembly Rooms, Durham on Saturday 5th May at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are available on the door or online from the Assembly Rooms.

Waiting for Gandalf will be at Sweet Werks, (Brighton Fringe Venue 18), 14 - 20 May at 18:00 [75mins including after show Q&A]. Tickets: £8.00 / £6.00.

Preview: Sherlock Holmes at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain
Newcastle Theatre Royal
Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 May 2018

The mystery is solved! Sherlock Holmes returns in a thrilling new production starring Robert Powell and Liza Goddard and playing at Newcastle Theatre Royal in May.

Photo: Nobby Clark-Reh

This is a new Sherlock Holmes storyline by Simon Reade inspired by Arthur Conan-Doyle’s classic detective series and remains faithful to Conan Doyle’s characters.

Photo: Nobby Clark-Reh

As Conan-Doyle’s Holmes was famously brought back to life - by popular demand - after his fatal cliff-edge showdown with arch-nemesis Moriarty in his story ‘The Adventure of the Final Problem’, Simon Reade brings us The Final Curtain where Sherlock is tempted out of a comfortable retirement for another adventure.

Photo: Nobby Clark-Reh

Living on the South Coast, Holmes enjoys a more sedate life, keeping bees, occasionally casting his fly fishing rod, and turning his attention to his Stradivarius when his rheumatism allows. Now older and less agile, Holmes is preoccupied with feelings he may have lost his touch, causing paranoia that he has now become easy prey for his enemies, of which has had many over his time. The seed of suspicion and doubt grows in his mind that his most famous rival, Moriarty, may not have died at the Reichenbach Falls after all.

To draw Holmes out of his mounting feelings of obsolescence, Mary Watson (the wife of his former associate, John Watson) tracks down the reclusive detective to help her get to the bottom of a mystery very close to home. Mary and John Watson’s long dead son, James, was seen through the window of 221B Baker Street – apparently alive and well. Determined to solve this mystery, Sherlock is spurred into action to solve this mysterious case, and at the same time, to confront his own demons.

Photo: Nobby Clark-Reh

Chilling, gripping and filled with unforeseen twists and revelations, this world premiere production has been commissioned by Theatre Royal Bath from award-winning dramatist Simon Reade, previously Literary Manager at the Royal Shakespeare Company and reunites the dream team of Robert Powell and Liza Goddard following huge acclaim for their performances in Single Spies and Relatively Speaking. 

Robert Powell received multiple awards and a BAFTA nomination for his portrayal of Jesus in Franco Zefferelli’s Jesus of Nazareth. His extensive stage performances include Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell and King Charles III.
Photo: Nobby Clark-Reh
Liza Goddard is one of the UK’s favourite actresses who is perhaps best known for her television roles in Doctor Who and Bergerac. Stage credits include Life of Riley, Communicating Doors, Season’s Greetings, Life and Beth and If I Were You.

They are joined by Roy Sampson, Timothy Kightley, Anna O’Grady, Lewis Collier, Daniel Cech-Lucas, Peter Cadden, Peter Yapp and Louise Templeton.

The production is directed by David Grindley, designed by Jonathan Fensom, Lighting is by Jason Taylor and Sound by Gregory Clarke.

Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 May 2018 playing evenings at 7.30pm and matinees 2pm (Thu) and 2.30pm (Sat).  Tickets priced from £14.50 can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).