Shrek The Musical extended until 21-Oct-2012

Shrek The Musical has extended its booking period until 21 Oct 2012 at Theatre Royal Drury Lane.

Shrek The Musical is based on the story and characters from the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film Shrek, the first chapter in the much loved series of irreverent fairy tales.

Join Shrek, our unlikely hero, and his loyal steed Donkey, as they set off on an adventure to rescue the beautiful (if slightly temperamental) Princess Fiona from her tower, guarded by a fire breathing love-sick dragon.

Add a wannabe King with a height complex, a bunch of fairytale superstars, and a biscuit with attitude, and you’ve got this year’s must see new musical comedy -Shrek.

Shrek the Musical brings the characters, loved by all ages, magically to life, in a spectacular and hilarious new production which turns the world of fairytales upside down in an all singing, all dancing, irresistible mix of magic, laughter and romance featuring an all new score, as well as cult Shrek anthem-I’m a Believer.

Cast includes Amanda Holden as Princess Fiona, Richard Blackwood as Donkey, Nigel Lindsay as Shrek and Nigel Harman as Lord Farqaard.

Book tickets for Shrek at  Theatre Royal Drury Lane!

Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem returns to West End for a season at the Apollo Theatre!

SONIA FRIEDMAN PRODUCTIONS & ROYAL COURT THEATRE production of JERUSALEM which returns for a season at the Apollo Theatre starring Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook.

Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook lead the cast in the West End transfer of the Royal Court Theatre’s sell-out production of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, directed by Ian Rickson. Jerusalem, which received its world premiere at the Royal Court in July and for which Rylance in particular received outstanding reviews.

Jerusalem is a comic, contemporary vision of life in our green and pleasant land. On St George’s Day, the morning of the local county fair, Johnny Byron, local waster and modern day Pied Piper is a wanted man. The council officials want to serve him an eviction notice, his children want their dad to take them to the fair, Troy Whitworth wants to give him a serious kicking and a motley crew of mates want his ample supply of drugs and alcohol.

Book tickets for Jerusalem at the Apollo Theatre!

Wicked extended until Saturday, 27 October 2012

Wicked at Apollo Victoria theatre has extended its London run until Saturday, 27 October 2012.

Based on the acclaimed novel by Gregory Maguire that re-imagined the stories and characters created by L. Frank Baum in ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’, WICKED tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two girls who first meet as sorcery students. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.

Experience this unforgettable, award-winning musical and discover that you’ve not been told the whole story about the land of Oz…

Winner of 2010 Laurence Olivier Award for ‘Most Popular Show’, the 2010 Whatsonstage.com Award for ‘Best West End Show’ and the 2010 Broadwayworld.com UK Award for ‘Best Long-Running West End Show’.

Book tickets for Wicked at Apollo Victoria!

DAMES AT SEA – A musical pastiche of the golden age of Hollywood

DAMES AT SEA – A musical pastiche of the golden age of Hollywood by arrangement with Samuel French Ltd, which is book & lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller, music by Jim Wise, director Kirk Jameson,  choreographer Drew McOnie,  musical director Richard Bates, designer Kinsley Hall, lighting designer Steve Miller and produced by Sasha Regan for The Union Theatre.

In the early 1930’s a Broadway musical is in rehearsal. It is a lavish spectacle, the vision of eccentric director/choreographer/producer Hennessey to keep spirits high in amongst the depression –suffering New Yorkers. Mona Kent is the star of the show, a temperamental diva whose tears and tantrums are the stuff of legend. Joan is the wisecracking chorus girl who, during the course of rehearsals re-kindles her romance with former boyfriend Lucky, a sailor. Fresh from Utah arrives Ruby, a bright but naïve dancer with talent and ambition. She falls for Dick, another sailor and aspiring songwriter after they discover a shared history back in Utah.

There’s good news for Ruby when she is given a part in the chorus but bad news soon follows as the company learns of the planned demolition of the theatre. In a desperate attempt to keep the show alive Dick and Lucky persuade the Captain of their ship to allow the show to be stage there.

Mona recognises the Captain as a former boyfriend but is soon found by Ruby kissing Dick. Ruby is upset but is reassured by Dick of the misunderstanding. The show is almost ready, the ship has been turned into a makeshift theatre and then… Mona gets seasick. After she is unable to perform all turn to Ruby who, at the last minutes, in true Hollywood style, steps in and saves the day.

George Haimsohn, Jim Wise and Robin Miller originally wrote Dames At Sea as a sketch. It was a spoof of the large-scale film musicals of the 1920’s and 30’s by such Hollywood greats as Busby Berkley. Ruby was based on the Ruby Keeler types of these films. After a positive start the sketch was lengthened to a 50 minute musical and, in a case of life imitating art, one of the leads dropped out, to be replaced by the then new and unknown Bernadette Peters. Entitled Dames At Sea, or Golddiggers Afloat, it was stage by Robert Dahdah at the Caffe Cino in 1966.

New York Times, 1968 “Dames at Sea is a real winner, a little Gem of a musical.”

For more information, please visit: www.uniontheatre.biz

National Event on Collaboration: Cultural Sector Are Stronger Together

Six arts organisations will team up to host one national event about collaboration entitled “Stronger Together”.

Northern Stage (formerly Newcastle Playhouse) and Pilot Theatre, with support of Arts Council England, will host the event at Northern Stage, Newcastle on Wednesday 29 June 1.30pm – 6pm.  Innovatively, three national venues – Cornerhouse, Manchester, Watershed in Bristol and Lyric Hammersmith – will live stream the event to more delegates across the country.  Some of the best thinkers and leaders from the cultural sector and beyond will be sharing their thoughts and provoking conversation all across the UK.

Erica Whyman, Chief Executive of Northern Stage, said: “This is a very exciting opportunity to bring together artists, producers, strategic thinkers and funders from across the country to celebrate existing collaborations, and challenge each other to be bolder, more generous and clearer about why and how we want to work together.  The day is an experiment to see how creative we can be in talking to one another across four cities and a chance to meet new collaborators from all the cultural forms.”

Alison Clark-Jenkins, Regional Director, Arts Council England said, “Stronger Together will bring the sector together to develop a critical debate. This event reflects our aspirations to use the real experiences of the sector to work together in partnership to build our collective knowledge.”

The unique national event will explode the myth that conferences are all about sitting listening to examples.  Northern Stage has transformed its main auditorium into a giant living room (removing all 450 seats) and delegates will be encouraged to talk about what they want to collaborate on and their own experiences of partnerships.  There will be some curated conversations in the theatre’s studio looking at the limits of collaboration and the challenges of working internationally and a chance to see some case studies of excellent strategic collaborations across the building.

The day will also see collaboration in action in a speed-dating event, SOUP, where artists, producers, funders and policy-makers get to chat to each other for three minutes each about an idea they have, or simply to make a new connection.

And there is tapas, entertainment and excellent company for those who can stay in Newcastle into the evening.

Audiences in Manchester, London and Bristol have a chance to participate in the day without travelling to Newcastle.  The conversations and provocations will be available through live streaming, blogging and a twitter feed #artstogether, downloadable case studies and presentations and live Skype-based interaction with Newcastle throughout the day.  The three venues will be running their own conversations and discussions in their venues and sending details back to the main event in Newcastle.

Marcus Romer, Artistic Director of Pilot Theatre, said: “Pilot Theatre are delighted to be able to be part of this project- which enables the sector to join, connect and engage in a number of cross platform ways across the country, and to discover and discuss the ideas that can make us stronger and work more collaboratively as an industry.”

For further details:  www.northernstage.co.uk

Northern Stage: Title Pending – the future of theatre is in good hands…

Northern Stage (formerly Newcastle Playhouse) has welcomed this year’s Title Pending winner, writer-director Kirsty Housley, into its city centre venue. Kirsty won the opportunity to embark upon an intensive two week residency, where she has a free reign over using Northern Stage’s facilities to create a new piece of exciting theatre.

Kirsty Housley beat off national competition from over 75 other creative professionals who applied for Title Pending.  The unique annual residency, currently in its 2nd year, searches for innovative, thoughtful and intriguing ideas for new theatre.  Kirsty’s project is called She Stood at the Window and it will be developed, nurtured and supported by Northern Stage’s creative and technical team. 

“It’s really rare to get this level of support when writing a new piece of work, as you normally have to go a long way on your own before you reach this stage.  Title Pending has totally met my expectations – it has been an incredible experience!” said Kirsty Housley.

Kirsty is impressed by the way Title Pending has been tailored to her needs and how it’s a really good ‘fit’ to what she’s trying to create. 

Kirsty (aged 33) is originally from Southampton but currently lives in Haringey, London with her husband. She studied at the University of Warwick and on the National Theatre Studio’s ‘Director’s Course’.  This is Kirsty’s second visit to the North East, her first being to take part in the Great North Run in 2008. 

Kirsty added: “Normally at this stage of the writing process, you have to imagine what a scene will be like; but with Title Pending you can actually explore all of the possibilities and get professional actors to ‘road test’ the work. This is a very immediate and priceless function to have at your disposal.” 

Kirsty concludes: “The whole fortnight has been massively useful for me; especially being able to collaborate from the very beginning… it has been fantastic.” 

Kirsty was able to use her first week as an exploratory writing and directing exercise and then the second week has been allocated as an extended technical rehearsal – where the work comes to life onstage with help from the acting and technical teams. 

By the end of the fortnight She Stood at the Window should be close to a finished piece, with all of the layers in place. It will enable Kirsty to later put the finishing touches to the production. 

The local actors Kirsty has been working with during Title Pending have been: Gary Kitching, Ruth Johnson, Karen Traynor and Jemma McDonnell. 

Mark Calvert, Northern Stage’s Creative Associate, said: “We are really proud of Title Pending as it allows for somebody to explore and push the boundaries of new writing. Giving them the freedom to take a germ of an idea and create something special.” 

“Northern Stage looks to provide a unique theatre experience that can help nurture the very best in UK writing and directing talent.” 

Northern Stage is recognised for its innovative and engaging approach towards programming new writing on a regional, national and international platform.  The Newcastle-based city centre venue allows audiences to be treated to top theatre performances and gives up and coming and experienced creative professionals the stage they require to showcase their work. 

Last year’s winners of Title Pending were Greyscale (www.greyscale.org.uk) the scheme allowed them to develop and create a series of ideas that in turn made it to the stage; this just shows how invaluable the theatre programme can be when encouraging new writing. 

For further information about the work programmed by Northern Stage (formerly Newcastle Playhouse) or to learn more about schemes like Title Pending please visit www.northernstage.co.uk.

NUMBERJACKS – Live on stage for the very first time

For the very first time BBC TV stalwart NUMBERJACKS takes to the stage, starting a major national tour at York Theatre Royal on 3 September 2011.

Join the TV Superheroes as they leave the sofa and embark on their first live adventure and help them solve problems as they go! But watch out for the dastardly Numbertaker and Spooky Spoon, who do all they can to disrupt proceedings.
 
The television series has been running successfully on BBC2 and Cbeebies for five years. Now, one of the creators of Numberjacks, Chris Ellis has created a stage show to further the ethos of learning developed within the TV series. NUMBERJACKS TV series act as a building block for young children and helps them to learn about numbers, shapes and sizes in a fun way.

The Numberjacks are ten animated superheroes who solve problems for their special agent counterparts. These problems are caused by any one of five Meanies (and very occasionally by a smaller Numberjack who has escaped!).
 
Creator Chris Ellis says, “We know that Numberjacks fans love to engage with the characters and the live show will really give them the opportunity to do just that. Expect quite a bit of ‘pantomime’ and audience participation, together with the usual adventure, excitement and learning.”

Adhering to the Early Years Foundation Stage syllabus and the Primary National Strategy Framework for Teaching Mathematics aimed primarily at Reception-age children four to five year olds, although they are firm favourites with children from the age of 2 years upwards.  The TV  series has won the Royal Television Society Award for the best pre- school Educational programme two years in a row. 

This live show has all the fun, comedy music and excitement from the TV show and lots more and is wonderful introduction to theatre for young children.

For more information, visit: www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Pleasance Islington’s annual summer festival, Big Day Out – 16 July 2011

Pleasance Islington hosts its second annual summer festival, the Big Day Out for all the family on Saturday 16 July 2011 as part of the Islington Platform Festival.

Filling our 298-seat Main House, 54-seat Studio and 50ft garage with shows for all ages, workshops, a variety of market stalls, live music, comedy and The Big Day Out Barbeque. There’s something to entertain the whole family in this huge one-day event, from 11am – 11pm. 

There are many treats in store for our younger visitors who can come along to take part in our free, age appropriate, workshops for teenagers and younger kids, which run throughout the day. Build large Batonkas and play as a junk band at the Re-Tune It workshops. Come and explore your physicality, co-ordination and dexterity with our multi-award winning show STOMP rhythm and movement workshops, or make banners and get your views heard at the Mischief Makers Protest Camp. 

The Garden Classroom workshops are a good place to get your hands dirty and plant up some pots, make your own smoothie on the smoothie bike or take part in a raw cooking demonstration and buy some produce grown, packaged and sold by pupils from Holloway and Highbury Grove Schools. Once you have eaten your fill on delicious fresh food, wander over to the Big Day Out 2D Animation Workshops and experiment with stop motion animation with experienced Animator Angela Alhucema. Learn about drawing backgrounds, collage, pencil drawing, colour drawings, puppets and card and how to bring your own animations to life. 

In the theatre, we are pleased to present a full and exciting programme of ticketed shows. First of the day Perrier Comedy Award-winner Tim Bat takes over the main house with his quirky comedy and skilful trickery, before John Hegley delights with the wonder of words in the preview of the Edinburgh preview of his show Family Wordship. Islington Community Theatre presents Beginnings; five amazing new plays for and about young people written by some of the UK’s best new playwrights followed by an afternoon of story telling with Red Table Theatre and their Snuggle Pit in Storyteller General. 

From 5.00pm, come and support seven Islington Secondary Schools as they battle to win the Schools 4 Rock 2011 title and a day recording their songs at the Berry Street Studios! Islington’s young people have a lot of talent and the Islington Police Schools 4 Rock – Battle of the Bands competition is your chance to come support them and see them shine. 

If all of this still isn’t enough, the Big Day Out Market will run from 11am-5pm offering arts and crafts, toys, books, jewellery, health and beauty, clothing, cake stalls, face painting, The Pleasance Kids Café and Play Area, and operatic treats and gourmet ice cream from Opera Ice cream! With live music from Robin Grey and The Sax Pastilles. So come and spend a sunny summer day at the Pleasance.

Fore more information, visit: www.pleasance.co.uk

The British Military Tournament 2011 at Earls Court, London

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity in association with The Royal Navy & Royal Marines Charity and The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund have announced the exciting details of The British Military Tournament 2011, supported by Boeing, which is taking place at Earls Court, London, from 2 – 4 December. The British Military Tournament will build on the phenomenal success of its return last year, with a spectacular new show themed around the “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and the United States.

The British Military Tournament is the biggest fundraising event in aid of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and last year raised essential and much-needed funds. This year it will be tri-service, and will also benefit The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force charities.

This year’s Tournament will tell the 250-year military history between the United Kingdom and the United States of America through performances of military precision, re-enactments, words, music and state-of-the-art audiovisual in one of the most spectacular and largest theatrical productions of its kind. The choice of the theme is prescient given the recent celebrated visit by President Obama who along with Prime Minister David Cameron affirmed: “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship – for us and for the world.”

The British Military Tournament 2011 has few rivals when it comes to spectacle and live drama. It is set to be the most breathtaking performance of military theatre anywhere in the world and will be narrated live by acclaimed British actor Anthony Andrews. From the American War of Independence to the operation in Afghanistan today, the story of our ―special relationship‖ will be told throughout a two hour extravaganza. The show will feature:

-Over 700 participants, including active combat servicemen and women plus musicians from the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and the US Army, and skilled historical American Civil War re-enactors

-Over 100 horses and modern military vehicles

-The legendary Field Gun Run, featuring two crews from Wellington College battling it out in a dramatic, nail-biting contest

-The iconic Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery

-Death-defying stunts from the White Helmets (Royal Corp of Signals Motorcycle Display Team)

-Special appearances from the US Army Drill Team and the US Army Europe Band & Chorus

-The Bands of the Scots, Irish & Welsh Guards, The Band of the Royal Marines (Lympstone), who will have just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and the Central Band of the Royal Air Force

-An expanded Skill-at-Arms sequence, featuring the gymnastics display team of the Royal Army Physical Training Corps, trick riding by the Household Cavalry, shooting from the saddle by the Lancers Display Team, jumping through fire performed by the Metropolitan Police Activity Ride and lots more

-A dramatic recreation of a scene in Helmand Province, Afghanistan by soldiers of the Royal Engineers, the Royal Air Force Regiment and the Military Support & Stabilisation Group

General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence staff said:

“The British Military Tournament is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Armed Forces. In 2011 the organisers are building on last year’s event and including the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Last year’s efforts were a great success as a spectacle for the public and in raising money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and I am delighted that it will be held again this year with an even wider participation and, now, to the benefit of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund as well as The Soldiers’ Charity.

Given the nature of our ongoing operations, it is only appropriate that the theme is a celebration of the close military ties between the United Kingdom and the United States. These ties have never been stronger. The participation in this year’s event of soldiers from the United States Army Europe and the United States Army Drill Team will be very welcome.”

In addition to the spectacular show the exhibition area at Earls Court will be an integral part of the British Military Tournament. Visitors will be able to enjoy a whole host of fun activities at the Armed Forces Activity Area, whilst a shopping area with a mix of retail and charity stands will have something on offer for all. The exhibition also provides the opportunity to meet members of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and to have hands on experience of some of the latest military kit.

For more information, please visit: www.britishmilitarytournament.com

THE GO!GO!GO! SHOW Returns to London – The Brand New Pop Musical For Kids!

Fresh from conquering the West End Stage in 2010 and securing a season long residency at Alton Towers Resort for 2011, The Go!Go!Go! Show is returning to London. From the 28th July the smash hit family musical will be playing at The Garrick Theatre.

The Go!Go!Go! Show is an energetic musical extravaganza featuring five new pop stars, brand new hit songs, a sock-stealing ‘Fluffalope’ and the permanently confused Mr Baffled…! There are catchy, easy-to-learn dance moves, a stack of audience interaction, magic and loads and loads of laughs!

The songs are written by Mike Stock (one third of the legendary Stock, Aitken & Waterman and the most successful writer and producer in British Singles Chart history) and Steve Crosby who masterminded pop sensations Steps. Mike and Steve are also the show’s producers. The Go!Go!Go! Show is the debut production from the Show 4 Kids.

Following two hugely successful West End runs The Go!Go!Go! Show was snapped up by Alton Towers Resort to be their principle live family experience for the entire 2011 theme park season. A brand new, 30 minute production, different to the much longer touring show is running at their Cloud Cuckoo Land Theatre until November.

The team behind The Go!Go!Go! Show has an undisputed track record of success. The story is by Dean Wilkinson (Ant & Dec, SM:TV, CBBC, Disney), choreography is by Paul Domaine (So You Think You Can Dance, Royal Variety, Saturdays, Sugababes) and the director is Adam Stafford (Roald Dahl stage shows, Billy Elliot, Chicago).

“Go!Go!Go!… It’s Great” – The Sun

“Irresistible… A veritable sugar rush for the holidays” – The Stage

“Superbly crafted pop songs” – The Times

“Through the eyes of a kid, The Go!Go!Go! Show is like seeing Oasis at Wembley Stadium” – The Sun

You just can’t miss this energetic song and dance adventure suitable for tots to tweens and the whole darn family!