The record-breaking 60th anniversary tour of Agatha Christie’s THE MOUSETRAP returns to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre this week, from 29 June to 4 July.
The beloved murder mystery began its record-breaking tour in September 2012 and continues to play at the St Martin’s Theatre in London’s West End.
The cast for the 2015 tour includes Hester Arden (Macbeth, Orange Tree Theatre) as Miss Casewell, Edward Elgood as Christopher Wren, Mark Homer (Eastenders’ Tony Hill) as Giles Ralston, Esther McAuley (I Promise You Sex and Violence, Northern Stage) as Mollie Ralston and Jonathan Sidgwick (Hollyoaks; Coronation Street) as Mr Paravicini. William Ilkley joins from the West End production of The Mousetrap as Major Metcalf alongside Luke Jenkins and Anne Kavanagh who will reprise their roles from the record-breaking 2014 tour as Sgt Trotter and Mrs Boyle respectively.
Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap has been the world’s longest running stage production at its London home since 1958. The 60th Anniversary, and first ever UK tour of this beloved murder mystery has been seen by over 600,000 people across more than 600 performances and breaking box office records in many of its venues.
Mousetrap Productions has also licensed 60 productions of The Mousetrap worldwide to mark the 60th year, and many of these have also broken their records, from Cape Town to Philadelphia, Singapore to Sydney.
During this period, the world’s longest running show has been seen in every continent with professional productions in Australia, China, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Poland, Spain, Scandinavia, Venezuela, and across the United States and Canada.
The Mousetrap continues its London run, after recently celebrating its 26,000 performance at St. Martin’s Theatre, London.
For more information and to book tickets, visit grandtheatre.co.uk or call 01902 429 212.
Starbuck Theatre Company have announced that they will be running a Summer School for 8-16 year olds at Droitwich Spa High School.
Running from 17 to 21 August, Starbuck Theatre Company's Summer School will look at musical theatre and acting, leading up to a final performance on the Friday evening. The Summer School is from 8.15am to 3.15pm each day, with the performance taking place at 7pm on Friday 21 August.
Not only that, Starbuck Theatre Company have also announced that they will be starting new classes for 9-13 year olds from September 2015. Acting classes will be taking place on Thursdays from 5.45pm to 6.30pm and Musical Theatre classes will take place on Fridays from 5.45pm to 6.30pm at Elmbridge Village Hall and Droitwich Spa High School. This is a fantastic opportunity to build confidence, make friends, learn skills in acting and musical theatre, work towards shows and be part of a company. Make sure to book your place, which will include a free trial lesson.
For more information on the Summer School or the new classes email email@example.com or call Sarah on 07711 230 317.
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Check out LMT's review of Starbuck's production of I Love You Because here
In 2008 David Reynolds and Laura Foxcroft met as the incoming production team for a local Stafford youth group, putting on Seussical the Musical. They quickly realised they enjoyed working with the other, and had the same drive to develop talent in young people, and strive for excellence. They went on to produce Children of Eden (which won two NODA awards), Les Misérables, Footloose and West Side Story.
Knowing West Side Story was the last show David and Laura were scheduled to do together, an idea formed. As they prepared for opening night of West Side Story, in a brief moment in the Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford - in that one moment - the idea to run their own theatre company was born.
And now, just one year later, Theatre1 brings you Songs For A New World, by Jason Robert Brown.
Songs For A New World is a song cycle - a suite of songs about that one moment where you have to decide whether to carry on or give up. Each song tells a story of one of these moments - from the suicidal New York debutante, to the man contemplating leaving his wife in a train station, to the mother of a soldier gone to war.
Theatre1 offers young adults a chance to perform contemporary musicals in the intimate venue of the MET Studio at the Gatehouse Theatre in Stafford.
Songs For A New World runs from 14 to 18 July in the MET Studio, Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and tickets are available from theatre1.co.uk or by calling the box office on 01785 619 080.
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Following the nationwide success of The Perfect Murder this year, Dead Simple, Peter James’ all-time best-selling novel, will be the second claustrophobically thrilling stage adaptation in conjunction with producer Joshua Andrews (The Perfect Murder, A Streetcar Named Desire).
The cast includes Tina Hobley (Holby City) as Ashley Harper, Jamie Lomas (Eastenders, Hollyoaks) as Michael Harrison, Gray O’ Brien (Coronation Street) as Detective Roy Grace, Rik Makarem (Emmerdale, Torchwood) in the role of Mark Warren and Michael McKell (Doctors, Emmerdale) as Bradley Cunningham to complete the all-star lead cast.
The cast is completed by Joshua Brown as Davey Wheeler, Marc Small as Detective Sergeant Glenn Branson, Sarah Baxendale as Zoe Frame and Alan Freestone as Robbo.
Michael Harrison thinks he has it all; great career, good friends and a beautiful fiancée. But when his stag night prank goes horribly wrong, Michael finds himself alone and staring death in the face. As time runs out and the terror grows, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace tries to solve his mysterious disappearance, but begins to fear that Michael will never be found in time.
Olivier Award-winner Ian Talbot directs this all-star cast in this gripping, chilling, thriller that has all the classic suspense, twists and turns of a best-selling Peter James novel.
Author Peter James said of the casting:
“As a writer, all my characters begin in my mind. I flesh them out for the printed page. But nothing can compare to the joy of seeing them turn into real flesh and blood. We were blessed with both casts of The Perfect Murder and we are just as blessed now with the cast for Dead Simple. All of them are actors I really admire and respect, and to see them come together, for the first time, at the read-through of the play was a truly magical experience for me.”
Dead Simple runs at New Alexandra Theatre from 29 June to 4 July. For more information and to book tickets visit atgtickets.com/birmingham.
Dreamboats and Miniskirts comes to Wolverhampton Grand this week, inspired by the 7 smash hit multi-million selling albums of Dreamboats and Petticoats, the show runs from 23 to 27 June.
It’s 1963 and the world is changing. Bobby and Laura’s first single Dreamboats and Petticoats went to the top of the charts - but they haven’t been able to repeat that success with any further records. Norman and Sue have settled down to non-marital bliss - and a baby! But Ray and Donna seem blissfully happy.
The advent of The Beatles and the Merseyside sound is inspirational. But will it inspire Bobby and Laura to have one more shot at stardom, Norman to ‘get off the drains’ and find that singing voice he has longed for, and Ray to realise his ambition and manage a really top pop act?
All will be revealed in a follow up story with the same wit, charm, and great songs as Dreamboats and Petticoats. Many of the songs are from the next period in pop history, including A Picture Of You, All I Have To Do Is Dream, It’s In His Kiss, Hiip Hippy Shake and many more.
For tickets and more information visit grandtheatre.co.uk or call their box office on 01902 429 212.
Real-Life Couple To Play Benedick & Beatrice In Stafford Festival Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing
A real life couple are preparing to take to the stage to play one of Shakespeare’s most iconic partnerships.
Philip Bretherton and Sherry Baines are playing the famously witty Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing at Stafford Castle this summer, for the 25th anniversary Stafford Festival Shakespeare Production.
The pair met just over 25 years ago and were spotted in a theatre bar by Much Ado About Nothing Director Peter Rowe. “Peter spotted us bickering and then approached us asking if we would be interested in performing as Beatrice and Benedick in the Stafford Festival Shakespeare production” the pair commented.
Both have impressive theatre and television careers; Sherry worked for 18 months with Alan Ayckbourn’s company at Scarborough and on tour, appearing in the 25th anniversary production of Bedroom Farce and Callisto 7, both directed by Ayckbourn. She was also the voice of Cherie Blair in the award-winning satirical series, Double Take. Philip has most recently been playing Tony Benn in a one man play by Andy Barrett Tony's Last Tape, directed by Giles Croft. Audiences will also recognise him from his roles as the German team manager in the first two series of Footballers' Wives and as Alistair in As Time Goes By with Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, which he was in for ten series.
When asked what she was looking forward to Sherry commented:
“Lots of things: Beatrice is a part I’ve always wanted to play, the challenging experience of performing in the open air and the fact that I’ll be playing opposite my real-life partner. It’s a dream job”.
“I’m looking forward to working with my partner Sherry on a play for the first time in too many years. But what a play!”
Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s most popular comedies thanks to the sharp, witty and unique relationship between Beatrice and Benedick, making them a favourite Shakespearean couple with audiences.
Philip and Sherry have been in rehearsals at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre since Monday 1 June ahead of opening night at Stafford Castle on Thursday 25 June. The production will run until Saturday 11 July with tickets available from just £12. Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting www.staffordfestivalshakespeare.co.uk.
Would your choir, youth theatre, school or performing arts group like to join our West End cast on stage at The Old Rep in Magic of the Movies?
Magic of the Movies is a brand new show, flying in to The Old Rep for one night only on Saturday 25 July. This magical concert will feature music from all of your favourite animated movies performed live on stage, with musicians, spell-binding surprises, and the chance to sing-along to your much loved favourites. From The Lion King to Shrek, and from An American Tale to Frozen, this show will feature world famous songs that will entertain every member of your family.
The producers of this musical show are looking for talented local performing groups to join the West End cast on stage at The Old Rep, appearing alongside them in two iconic numbers. This will be an amazing opportunity to experience what it’s really like to be a professional performer, as the local children involved really will be a star for the day!
If your choir, school or theatre group is interested in starring in Magic of the Movies, the application process is quick and simple. This offer is open to everyone, but your group should have at least 10 members who are aged 4-18.
To sign up, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with some general information about your group. If selected, you will receive a pack including everything you need to prepare for the show, such as song lyrics and DVD of choreography to learn. You will also be given information about the performance day, what to wear, and when to arrive.
On Saturday 25 July, you will be required for a quick rehearsal with the professionals before the show, so that you are ready to sparkle in front of all your family and friends! There will be plenty of time to get autographs and photos with the cast. Please note there is no charge for taking part.
The professional West End cast will include Michelle Pentecost, who has previously played Elphaba in the global sensation Wicked, as well as Eva Peron in the smash-hit London production of Evita.
Producer James Williams commented:
“It is really important to me that we have young, local talent in the show. Magic of the Movies is all about bringing the glitz and glamour of West End musicals to Birmingham, and what better way is there for young aspiring performers to experience this magic than by starring on stage themselves?”
If your performing group would like a taste of West End fame, make sure you contact email@example.com by Tuesday 30 June.
Magic of the Movies will be performed at The Old Rep on Saturday 25 July at 7:30pm. Tickets are just £16 for adults, with concessions available at £14 and family tickets at £48. For further information, or to book your seats, please call Box Office on 0121 359 9444, or visit www.oldreptheatre.co.uk (booking fees apply).
Rugby Theatre is on the hunt for a host of talented individuals to join them on their next exciting project, Sunset Boulevard. Auditions are taking place on Thursday 25 June, 7.30pm with a fantastic variety of roles on offer.
Sunset Boulevard weaves a magnificent tale of faded glory and unfulfilled ambition. Silent movie star Norma Desmond longs for a return to the big screen, having been discarded by tinsel town with the advent of ‘talkies.’ Her glamour has faded in all but her mind. When she meets struggling Hollywood screenwriter Joe Gillis in dramatic circumstances, their subsequent passionate and volatile relationship leads to an unforeseen and tragic conclusion.
Based on the Billy Wilder film, the musical version of Sunset Boulevard has music by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and lyrics by Christopher Hampton and Don Black. It had its world premiere at London’s Adelphi Theatre on 12 July, 1993.
There are parts for actors, singers and dancers. The ensemble will be very busy on this production, and everyone will be playing a range of cameo roles. There is something for everyone, so for more information click here to download the various resource packs and audition sign-up form.
Auditions will take place on Thursday 25 June, 7.30pm at Rugby Theatre Central Hall (see map below) and the show is being performed from 10 to 17 October.
If you would like any further information, email Alan Pavis on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07931 772091.
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BE FESTIVAL, Birmingham’s innovative festival of European theatre returns to the city this summer, taking over Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 23 - 27 June. One of the UK’s most experimental theatrical events, BE FESTIVAL’s unique format gives the audience the opportunity to see four 30-minute long shows each night and eat dinner with the performers in the interval.
This year's BE FESTIVAL spans 5 days and features 20 shows from 9 European countries offering an action-packed programme of theatre, dance, circus, food, live music, visual arts, talks and workshops.
The festival also turns Birmingham Repertory Theatre back-to-front, with the festival transforming the theatre’s vast new set construction workshop into a festival hub, complete with lounge and bar, and its scenic paintshop into an exhibition space.
Highlights of this year’s festival programme include a spectacular outdoor performance by trampolining forces of nature, Bot Project (Spain). 2014’s 1st prize festival winner, Antonio Tagliarini (Italy), returns with a full version of his wonderful and wacky Show, and the award-winning choreographer Ricardo Buscarini(UK / Italy), contemplates the competition between man and machines in Atheletes. Tortured Mind byInPulse (Germany) is a topsy-turvy story following the attempts of a psychiatrist to treat his patient through a series of creative games while Mouvma! by Collectif Corps Citoyen (Tunisia / Italy) goes back to the start of the Arab Spring and asks questions about political change, society and the future. The festival finale features Game by newcomers Unstable King (UK) – a madcap three-man circus show exploring how video games shape our lives.
The ethos of BE FESTIVAL has always been grounded in a sense of community. This is perfectly captured each evening when the main stage makes way for a pop-up restaurant where audience members, actors and festival staff are invited to enjoy a meal together under the spotlights whilst post-show all can relax, meet and chat in the festival lounge.
The theme of this year’s BE FESTIVAL explores topics around contemporary democracy. In recent years the world has witnessed a new democratic dynamic at play affecting how we think about our role in building a more harmonious and fairer society. This has given rise to a renewed sense of collectivism both locally and globally. Visual arts installations by Adam Scarborough (Glasgow), Natalie Jones (Birmingham) and other artists will explore the theme of modern democracy, while participation workhops and talks will give audiences the opportunity to chat with actors, artists and academics and analyse and discuss each other’s perspectives.
Each evening of the festival ends with live music or DJs in the festival hub and bar. The line up features an array of international groups including reggae band, Gabbidon featuring musician from Steel Pulse and music from Birmingham’s Celebrating Sanctuary stable of artists.
To book tickets call The REP's box office on 0121 236 4455 or visit birmingham-rep.co.uk. For full programme details and times, visit www.befestival.org.
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The Belgrade theatre's Unplugged has returned for Summer 2015. First launched in 2013, the week-long performance programme taking place at venues throughout Coventry and Warwickshire will once again offer audiences a unique opportunity to preview rehearsed readings from the Belgrade’s Autumn season of home-produced drama.
Building on the great success of Unplugged 2013 and 2014, this year’s event will see the Belgrade theatre leave its home to visit a host of exciting new locations across Coventry and Warwickshire, giving both new and existing audiences a rare opportunity to preview the Belgrade Theatre’s programme of forthcoming work in production.
Rehearsed readings will take place in a series of unique settings around Coventry and Warwickshire, which this year include the stunning Kenilworth Castle, Nicholas Chamberlaine Almshouses, Bedworth,Coombe Abbey Hotel, The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Parkridge Centre in Brueton Park, Solihull,The Merchants Inn, Rugby, Coventry’s new creative quarter – Fargo Village – and the newly refurbished Old Grammar School, Coventry.
Audiences can enjoy rehearsed readings from a selection of upcoming productions which include the U.K stage premieres of Crush – a sizzling new musical comedy by Maureen Chadwick and The Silver Sword, based on the much-loved children’s novel by Ian Serraillier. There will also be the opportunity to preview this year’s alternative B2 Xmas show, Vampomime – a fangtastic festive comedy written by Coventry playwright Nick Walker plus, looking ahead to 2016, audiences can enjoy a preview of our forthcoming comedy, The Sisterhood by Moliere.
There is also be the opportunity to preview scenes from forthcoming work by our recognised Community & Education Company.
The Belgrade’s Artistic Director Hamish Glen said:
"I’m delighted that the Belgrade will once again be bringing Unplugged to the people of Coventry and Warwickshire. These events have been devised to offer people the chance to come and hear excerpts from our forthcoming autumn season in the form of rehearsed readings in interesting and inspiring settings. They aren’t fully realised productions with big sets and lighting; they are stripped back, “unplugged” readings that I’m putting together with a group of talented professional actors, to give you a unique taste of what’s in store at the Belgrade throughout the rest of the year. This year will see the Belgrade visit some of Coventry and Warwickshire’s favourite locations, from the magnificent grounds of Kenilworth Castle to the creative hustle and bustle of Fargo Village. I’m really looking forward to showcasing some of the highlights of our Autumn season and look forward to introducing audiences, both old and new, to what promises to be a very exciting programme of drama"
The first performance kicked off in the B4 Grill on 20 June, moving onto the delightful Nicholas Chamberlain Almshouses in Bedworth on Monday 22 June at 7.30pm. Situated in the heart of Bedworth, this beautiful setting provides the perfect backdrop in which to enjoy live theatre. Commemorating the 300th anniversary of the death of Nicholas Chamberlain, this year’s performance will once again take place in the central courtyard. In the event of bad weather, performances will be moved into the residents’ lounge.
Nature lovers can look forward to an afternoon of live theatre in the open air as Belgrade Unplugged moves to The Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Parkridge Centre in Brueton Park on Tuesday 23 June at 2.30pm. Set in the middle of Brueton Park, on the edge of Solihull Town Centre, the Parkridge Centre and its 5.5 acre nature reserve offers a beautiful and tranquil backdrop against which to enjoy a spot of free afternoon entertainment. If the weather is kind, performances will take place just outside the café but if not, the company will re-locate indoors.
The stunning setting of Coombe Abbey’s Abbeygate will be hosting Unplugged on Wednesday 24 June at 3pm. World-renowned for its magnificent grounds, first-class accommodation and stunning facilities, the award-winning Coombe Abbey Hotel boasts 500 acres of parkland plus a thriving events and conferencing programme. On arrival at Coombe Abbey Hotel, audiences will be directed from the reception to the venue’s premiere entertaining space, Abbeygate. Afternoon Tea can be purchased in advance directly with Coombe Abbey by calling 024 7645 0450.
For anyone who enjoys a play and a pint, The Merchants Inn, Rugby will play host to the fifth Belgrade Unplugged performance on Wednesday 24 June at 7.30pm. Taking place as part of the Rugby Festival of Culture, this intimate setting provides the perfect backdrop in which to enjoy a post-show drink and a bite to eat with friends.
Coventry’s newest creative hub, Fargo Village, will be opening late on Friday 26 June to host what promises to be an exciting and unique Unplugged performance in Market Hall. Food, drink and shopping will be available throughout the evening.
This will be followed with a visit to the historic Kenilworth Castle on Saturday 27 June at 2pm. From medieval fortress to Elizabethan palace, Kenilworth Castle has been at the centre of English affairs for much of its 900 year history. Performances will take place outside the restaurant or inside if the weather is inclement. Please note, Kenilworth Castle charge an entrance fee to their property as standard.
Completing this year’s Unplugged tour, the Belgrade will be back in Coventry for a one-off performance at the newly renovated Old Grammar School on Saturday 27 June at 7.30pm, which celebrates its official re-opening this year. Located next to the Coventry Transport Museum, this Grade 1 listed building at the heart of the city is one of Coventry’s foremost cultural landmarks with a history stretching back as far as 1185 AD. This year’s Belgrade Unplugged will mark the first public performance at the venue since its refurbishment.
Tickets to all readings are free, although Kenilworth Castle charge an entrance fee to their property as standard. For more information about all of The Belgrade Theatre Unplugged events click here.
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