West Midlands actor and star of the hit sitcom Hi-de-Hi, Jeffrey Holland will be returning to his theatrical roots in a new production of Arnold Ridley’s classic comedy thriller, The Ghost Train touring to the Belgrade Theatre from 12 to 16 May.
On a dark and stormy night a number of passengers find themselves thrown together in the waiting room of a rural train station. A pair of newlyweds, an estranged couple, a self-indulgent young dandy and an elderly spinster are treated to the stationmaster’s unique hospitality, which includes an eerie tale of a ghostly locomotive that supposedly haunts the line.
Can the story be true and should they be alarmed by his grim warning of death to anyone who sets eyes on the infamous Ghost Train?
Arnold Ridley was inspired to write The Ghost Train after becoming stranded overnight at Mangotsfield station near Bristol. Ridley was perhaps best known for playing Private Godfrey in the classic BBC comedy Dad’s Army.
Completing the cast of The Ghost Train are Tom Butcher (The Bill, Doctors), Sophie Powles (Emmerdale), Judy Buxton (General Hospital, On the Up) and David Janson (Get Some In!, ‘Allo ‘Allo!, Keeping Up Appearances).
Tickets for The Ghost Train can be booked by visiting Belgrade Theatre's website here or calling the Box Office team on 024 7655 3055.
From 9 – 13 June 2015, Wolverhampton Grand Theatre is to play host to the world premiere tour of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, which opened at the Chichester Festival Theatre earlier this year.
The deeply moving and thought-provoking production is based on the best-selling novel by John Boyne. Set during World War II, the story is seen through the innocent eyes of Bruno, the eight year old son of the commandant at a concentration camp, whose forbidden friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence has startling and devastating consequences.
Various scenes in this production require the creation of the sense of a crowd – whether this be in Berlin, in the home of the Commandant and his wife or in the camp. Adult supernumerary actors are required to work alongside the show’s ensemble cast in order to help the production achieve such crowd scenes. The production also requires two child supernumeraries to work alongside the child actors in the show to help convey a poignant moment at the beginning of the play.
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre will be holding open auditions for these roles on Friday 22 May at the theatre. Audition times are 3.45pm for children and 4.30pm for adults.
The requirements for adult actors are:
3 men, white (Section 5(2)(a) of the Race Relations Act 1976 applies), very short hair (shaved for preference), thin/slim, 5'7"-6'3", 30-55. Must be confident movers. The men will appear as people of Berlin (opening sequence and two scene changes), completing the suggestion of street life - party guests - applauding Grandmother and greeting Father - servants (costume budget permitting) - "line of thin servants" in The New House - camp inhabitants - rounded up and marched. Please note: this is the most that will be asked of the adult supernumeraries. One of these scenes may not take place.
The requirements for child actors are:
2 boys, white (Section 5(2)(a) of the Race Relations Act 1976 applies) 9-12 years, approx. 4’4”/4’5” in height. Playful, confident, good physicality. They are Bruno's best friends; to play a choreographed game in the opening sequence and will be featured in the first 15 minutes of the show only. Local Chaperones will be appointed to accompany the children at all times.
Please note: These roles are open to non-professional actors only and are voluntary positions within the show for members of the local community. These are non-speaking roles but are a fantastic opportunity for aspiring performers to appear in a professional production.
Adult supernumeraries will be required on stage at various points throughout the whole performance. Child supernumeraries are only required for the first scene and therefore must be collected from the Stage Door from a parent or guardian once their appearance is over, 15 minutes after the beginning of the show.
None of the supernumeraries are required to stay for the curtain call.
All performers will be required from 2pm on Tue 9 June. They will have rehearsals, costume fittings and a dinner break before the first show at 7.15pm.
The performance schedule is as follows:
Tue 9 at 7.15pm, Wed 10 at 1.45pm, Thu 11 at 10am & 1.45pm, Fri 12 at 7.15pm, Sat 13 at 2.30pm & 7.15pm.
Children are required from 1 hour before each show but are free to leave 15 minutes after curtain up. They are required to be collected from stage door at this time. Or, at the latest, they can be collected at the interval. The adults are required from the half hour call (35 mins before curtain up) and are required for the duration of the show which is 2 hours, including an interval.
Each successful supernumerary performer in the show will be provided with a pair of complimentary tickets for a performance of their choice for friends or family members to see the production.
Please submit a brief letter of application via email (noting any stage experience where applicable) along with a recent photograph. Please submit all applications to Claudia Gilmour (Creative Learning Manager – Maternity Cover) to the following address firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the child applications, we will need the following information:
Full name, date of birth, height, full names of Parents/Guardians, address, school name and address, contact phone number, contact email, local council.
Adults need only provide full name, address, contact phone number, contact email.
Closing date for applications: Monday 18 May at 5pm.
Two University of Warwick graduates turned professional directors are on a mission: to bring opera to Coventry. Working in association with the Belgrade Theatre, their first production, Hansel and Gretel, will run from 7 - 9 May 2015.
Felicity Green and Benjamin Hamilton first met in 2009 and have been working together ever since. Both developed a passion for opera working with the university’s opera society, Opera Warwick, and the pair directed three sell-out productions at the Warwick Arts Centre. Since then, both have worked with companies across the country, but felt something was missing: Coventry did not have a professional opera company to call its own. By securing the support of Arts Council England to absolve this absence, HighTime was born.
Stage Director, Felicity Green says:
"We want to shatter the myth that opera is elitist, and that you need a vast concert hall and millions of pounds to create amazing productions. HighTime translates work into English and produces fun, modern music-theatre of the highest standard that everyone can enjoy. We want to give people a really enjoyable, magical evening out, and we think that by updating this classic fairy tale, we will do just that."
And this is no ordinary Hansel and Gretel. Sung in a new English translation produced with Kit Hesketh Harvey (Kit and the Widow, BBC Comedy Proms), Hansel and Gretel live on the outskirts of society, hungry and poor, when their mother sends them to forage for food on the mean city streets. News soon arrives that the circus has come to town, led by a very sinister Ringmaster, renowned for luring children away from their homes with the intoxicating smell of frying hot dogs…
Musical Director, Benjamin Hamilton says:
"We have founded HighTime with the aim of bringing excellent opera to Coventry. Having lived here for most of my life, I feel really passionately about this. We’re absolutely thrilled to be working with the Belgrade Theatre and hope to become a company the city can be truly proud of."
Keen to instil a love of the arts in the younger generation, the company are also giving 60 children from schools across Coventry their first taste of opera, with the chance to perform in the chorus of the production. The young people will appear alongside internationally-acclaimed professional singers, whose credits include the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition.
Hansel and Gretel runs from 7 - 9 May 2015 at the Belgrade Theatre B2. Tickets are available by clicking here or by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055.
The organisers of Stafford Festival Shakespeare have revealed that this year’s production of Much Ado About Nothing will be set in Stafford, at the close of World War 1.
Director, Peter Rowe, says:
“The show will open in 1918 as Leonato welcomes the troops back home from the Great War for music, dancing and romance. As war gives way to peace and Edwardian propriety unbuttons into the Jazz Age, Shakespeare’s much loved comedy will weave its magic in the dusk.”
Production Design will be by Dawn Allsopp, who is new to the Stafford Festival Shakespeare creative team. Dawn is a set and costume designer with impressive experience of over 23 years working in venues throughout the country.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Dawn to the Stafford Festival Shakespeare team this year” commented Producer Derrick Gask. “She is exceptionally talented and has some wonderful ideas for this year’s show. As it’s our big 25th anniversary I can’t think of a more appropriate setting than Stafford”.
Stafford Festival Shakespeare organisers recently announced that this year’s catering partnership will be with Sugnall Walled Gardens offering range of options to satisfy all appetites, from restaurant dining to take away snacks.
Much Ado About Nothing is the twenty fifth production staged as part of the annual Stafford Festival Shakespeare at Stafford Castle produced by Stafford Gatehouse Theatre in conjunction with Stafford Borough Council Leisure and Culture. The casting is due to be announced this month.
Tickets for Much Ado About Nothing are on sale now and start from as little as £12. To book tickets click here or call the box office on 01785 619080. The show opens at Stafford Castle on Thursday 25 June and runs until Saturday 11 July 2015.
Here is our top 15 theatre picks for May (we couldn't narrow it down to 10!). From amateur to professional, get your diaries at the ready to pop some of the most important dates in...
5 to 9 May
The Arcadians at Crescent Theatre
I Love You Because
Starbuck Theatre Company at Ruddock Performing Arts Centre, Birmingham
12 to 16 May
Trinity Players at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall
12 to 16 May
Mellow Dramatics at The Brewhouse Arts Centre
12 to 16 May
Kiss Me, Kate
Bournville Musical Theatre Company at Crescent Theatre
12 to 16 May
The Witches Of Eastwick
Solihull Theatre Company at Solihull Arts Complex
13 to 16 May
Ghost The Musical
WBOS at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
15 to 30 May
The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
21 to 23 May
Coventry Musical Theatre Society at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
21 to 23 May
Judy - The Songbook Of Judy Garland
New Alexandra Theatre
22 to 23 May
Old Rep Theatre
26 May to 6 June
The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time
27 to 30 May
SSA Drama at The Edge
27 to 30 May
SSC Performing Arts at Lichfield Garrick
28 to 30 May
Into The Woods
Backstreet Theatre Company at Prince of Wales Centre, Cannock
A first-of-its-kind production is heading to Birmingham this festive season, as the magical swashbuckling tale of Treasure Island takes to the stage at The Old Rep Theatre.
Opening on 20 November and running until 3 January 2016, The Old Rep Theatre will be battening down the hatches as the classic tale of Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins commandeers the stage for over six weeks. Featuring tales of buccaneers and buried gold, this thrilling voyage will include matinee and evening performances for visitors of all ages.
The production is brought to the stage by Scott Ritchie and Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA). A seasoned performer and director, Scott trained at the Italia Conti Academy and Bird College. Alongside Treasure Island, he will also be directing Peter Pan this Christmas at the Festival Theatre Malvern. In addition to his directing roles, Scott currently mentors aspiring performing arts students at the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School in London.
Scott, director and producer of Treasure Island, said:
“I’m really excited to be bringing Treasure Island to life with the support of BOA; it’s a great opportunity. Having directed many other productions across the UK, I’m really looking forward to bringing a brand new adaptation of Treasure Island to Birmingham this Christmas. I will be working with a very talented team of creative professionals throughout the year to develop this classic tale.”
Gaynor Cheshire, CEO of The Old Rep, added:
“This original adaptation will be brought to life at The Old Rep in a home-grown production suitable for all the family. You can expect peg-legged pirates and talking parrots on this exciting adventure on board the good ship Hispaniola. We can’t wait to welcome our young audiences in the Midlands to join in the pirate fun!”
Featuring tunes such as Fifteen Men on the Dead Man’s Chest, Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum, magical sets and costumes, tickets for Treasure Island are on sale now. To book, please call the Box Office on 0121 359 9444, or click here.
Amelia Lily is set to bring yet more X Factor to this year’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat as she steps into the role of Narrator alongside fellow X Factor finalist Lloyd Daniel’s Joseph at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry from 21 to 25 April.
After a successful 2014 tour, Lloyd Daniels reprises his role as Joseph for 2015, the musical also sees the welcome return of Matt Lapinskas (EastEnders) who will be donning his Elvis outfit once more to reprise the role of the Pharaoh. This colourful retelling of the biblical story about Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours sings out to young and old alike with a score which is crammed wall to wall with hits – including Jacob and Sons, Close Every Door and Any Dream Will Do.
Having garnered sensational reviews and standing ovations at every performance since its inception almost 35 years ago, Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s sparkling family musical has embarked on a new tour. With a fantastic company of energetic actors, singers and dancers, Joseph’s non-stop action, laughter and infectious fun are sure to delight young and old alike.
For more information or to book tickets for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat click here or call Belgrade Theatre, Coventry box office on 024 7655 3055.
From the author of the best-selling novel, The Woman in Black, comes a brand new stage adaptation of the gothic fireside thriller, The Mist in the Mirror. The world premiere production between Oldham Coliseum and imitating the dog will visit Belgrade Theatre, Coventry from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18 April.
Adapted by award-winning writer Ian Kershaw (Shameless, EastEnders, Casualty), from author Susan Hill’s novel, The Mist in the Mirror is a tense and atmospheric new production with visual theatre innovators imitating the dog creating an unsettling ethereal atmosphere both on stage and off. An unsettling ghost story in the mould of Hill’s chilling West End smash hit The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror is staged as if audiences are eavesdroppers to a fireside ghost story.
Sir James Monmouth has spent most of his life travelling, following in the footsteps of his childhood hero, the explorer Conrad Vane. Returning to the England he left as a five year old orphan, Sir James is determined to discover more, not just about his origins but also about the early life of Vane. Warned against pursuing this quest, Sir James becomes ever more determined to unravel the mysteries of the past. But who is the mysterious pale, thin little boy who haunts his every step?
For more information and to book for The Mist in the Mirror, playing from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18 April click here or call Belgrade Theatre, Coventry's box office on 024 7655 3055.
View The Trailer...
Opening on 8 April, in the year that marks Arthur Miller’s centenary, A View From The Bridge plays at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry.
Respected longshoreman, Eddie Carbone, lives with his wife and niece in a tight-knit Italian immigrant community bound by strong moral codes of justice and loyalty. When two family cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, arrive from Italy and enter their lives, the balance of Eddie’s family relationships is seriously rocked.
As the young men seek work, wealth and security they find themselves under threat in a country simmering with a mirage called the American Dream.
Set in the dangerous and mysterious world of New York’s Brooklyn harbour in the 1950s, this gripping and passionate drama ranks as one of the great classics of our time.
Make sure not to miss this epic piece of drama, which has been described as ‘tense and impressive’ (Birmingham Mail) and ‘an exceptional piece of drama by an incomparable playwright’ (Express & Star).
A View From The Bridge runs at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry from 8 to 11 April, to book tickets click here or call Belgrade’s box office on 024 7655 3055.
Here is our top 10 theatre picks for April. From amateur to professional, get your diaries at the ready to pop some of the most important dates in...
31 March to 26 April
Shrek The Musical
1 to 3 April
South Staffs Musical Theatre Company at Wolverhampton Grammar School
7 to 11 April
Tamworth Arts Club at Landau Forte Sixth Form Centre
8 to 11 April
A View From The Bridge
Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
14 to 18 April
Peterbrook Players at Solihull Arts Complex
21 April to 2 May
21 to 25 April
Studley Operatic Society at Redditch Palace Theatre
23 to 25 April
A Man For All Seasons
Union Theatre at St Edburgha’s Church, Yardley
27 April to 2 May
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
28 April to 2 May
Solihull On Stage at Solihull Arts Complex
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