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Theatre and Dance at Rich Mix - July 2015

RICH Mix has several productions lined up for July 2015.

Scary Shit – Upstairs on Saturday, July 11 at 8pm. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions.

A humorous, naughty, risk-taking dance/theatre piece that looks at human obstacles and how we can challenge and conquer our fears.

The Eulogy of Toby Peach – Upstairs on Saturday, July 11 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £8, £6 concessions.

Toby’s delivering his Eulogy. Join him at the Cancer Club, complete with chemotherapy cocktails and Willy Wonka stem cells. An honest and inspiring discovery of self-mortality and celebration of life.

Freestyle Live – in the Main Space on Saturday, July 11 at 8pm. Tickets: £7, £5 concessions.

Freestyle Live is an interactive event in which dancers become more than dancers; having to use all their skills of entertainment through challenges judged by the audience.

The Misfit Analysis – Upstairs on Sunday, July 12 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £8, £6 concessions.

Cian has autism. He likes to spin tin openers. But he’s not an idiot. Using multi-media and performance poetry, Cian playfully questions ideas around disability in society.

Virtual Reality Showcase – Upstairs on July 17 and 18 at 6pm. Free.

A showcase of the latest and greatest Virtual Reality experiences from top UK studios. Delve into new technologies and immerse yourself in cutting edge games, cinema and journalism.

Shubbak Festival: Razor Sharp – Upstairs on Friday, July 17 at 4pm and 7.30pm. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions.

Sandpit Arts brings dramatized readings of three of London’s foremost Arab women writing today: Hannah Khalil, Yamina Bakiri and Malu Halasa. Collaborating with the same cast and responding to current affairs, Razor Sharp will present a series of three rehearsed readings.

Shubbak Festival: D-SISYPHE – Upstairs on July 18 and 19 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions.

A monologue performed by Meher Debichi Awachri (Tunisia), (Arabic with English subtitles) with contemporary dance and physical theatre, D-SISYPHE confronts topics of religion and revolution.

Vaishnavism Through Bengali Folk Music and Dance – in the Main Space on July 19 from 12pm – 5pm. Free.

The RadhaRaman Society presents this spectacular event of Bengali folk music and colourful folk dance, based around the Theo-philosophical movement of Vaishnavism.

East of India – Upstairs on July 24 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions.

Akademi, the leading producer of South Asian dance in the UK, present a rare evening of classical Indian dance styles from east India. This performance takes audiences to the state of Assam and showcases lesser-known dance styles of the region in a rich evening of dance not often performed in London.

Good Grief – Upstairs on July 26 at 7pm. Tickets: £8, £6 concessions.

With a coffin full of sympathy snacks, Jack Rooke invites audiences to his weird and wonderful world of bereavement. Good Grief celebrates lost loved ones and finding happiness after tragedy.

The Sensory Score – Upstairs on July 31 at 7.30pm, 8.15pm, 9pm and 9.45pm. Tickets: £7, £5 concessions.

A blindfolded experience with bespoke tastes by gourmet chef Adam Thomason, original perfumes by Sarah McCartney and a tactile experience choreographed by BitterSuite. Described by the Arts Council as “Mesmerizing”.

To buy tickets, call the box office on 020 7613 7498 or visit www.richmix.org.uk/.

As Is transfers to Trafalgar Studios

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FOLLOWING a sell-out run at the Finborough Theatre in 2013, William M. Hoffman’s As Is is transferring to Trafalgar Studios. With new cast and design, it runs from July 1 to August 1, 2015.

As Is is set in the New York City of 1985, where Rich, a young writer who is beginning to find success, is breaking up with his longtime lover, Saul, a professional photographer.

However, Rich’s idyll with his new lover is short-lived when he learns that he has contracted the terrifying new disease AIDS and he returns to Saul for sanctuary as he awaits its slow and awful progress.

A revolutionary and groundbreaking play of its time, As Is captures the pathos of Rich’s relationship with friends and family, the cold impersonality of the doctors and nurses who care for him and the widely diverse aspects of New York’s gay community.

Leading the cast are Steven Webb (House of Boys, The Inbetweeners, Betwixt!) and David Poynor (The Tempest, Peter Pan, As Is), reunited after appearing together in The History Boys at the Royal National Theatre in 2006/07.

As Is was the winner of the Obie and Drama Desk Awards, one of Time Magazine’s ‘Best Plays of the Year’ and nominated for a Tony Award for Best Play. It was originally produced Off-Broadway by the Circle Repertory Company in 1985, and subsequently transferred to Broadway. It was televised in 1986, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, and received its UK premiere at the Half Moon Theatre in 1987.

Also at Trafalgar Studios: the Royal Court Theatre’s production of Nick Payne’s award-winning Constellations (July 9 to August 1) and Roger Mortimer and Debrorah Edgington’s acclaimed production of Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa! (August 4 to August 29, 2015).

Wicked Young Writers’ Award - winners announced

Theatre news

TODAY (June 29), the 2015 Wicked Young Writers’ Award announced its winners during a ceremony involving 120 shortlisted finalists at London’s Apollo Victoria Theatre, home of the multi award-winning classic musical Wicked.

Now in its 5th year, the Award encourages young people aged 5-25 to use writing as a means of expressing themselves, celebrating the production’s themes and values of looking at life in a different way.

Each year, thousands of entries are received across five age categories, with the addition in 2015 of the Sugarscape Fan Fiction Award, a brand new category created by the entertainment website to celebrate the growing genre of fan fiction amongst young people.

The ceremony was hosted by Wicked stars Emma Hatton (Elphaba) and Savannah Stevenson,(Glinda) with prizes presented by Award judge Cressida Cowell, best-selling author of the How to Train Your Dragon series of books.

Cast members also performed songs from the hit musical, as well as readings of the winning entries, which are:

5-7 Category – Wacky Tuesday by Harry Sample, age 6, from Cambridge.

8-10 Category – King Henry’s Wives by Kiersten Johnson, age 10, from London.

11-14 Category – The Orphanage 1915 by Anoushka Das, age 14, from Guildford.

15-17 Category – To My Future Daughter by Aashna Nithianandan, age 17, from Wimbledon, London.

18-25 Category – Gregory Maguire Award – The Starlight Staircase by Luke Thomas, age 20, from London.

Sugarscape Fan Fiction Award – The Hunger Games – Alternative Ending by Evie Buller, age 14, from Northamptonshire.

Cressida Cowell said of the winners: “These stories and poems address vital concerns, the really big questions. War, mental illness, love and the forging of identity are just a few of the issues explored with clarity and imagination. As a judge, I was looking to be moved, amused, stimulated and entertained, and I was not disappointed.”

Wicked’s Executive Producer, Michael McCabe, commented: “This has been yet another incredible year for Wicked Young Writers’ Award and the quality of the writing has been genuinely inspiring. Now in its fifth year, we were delighted to see entries from previous winners and entrants as well as a host of exciting new writers aged from 5 to 25.

“It has been a pleasure to work with Cressida Cowell, who joined us this year as a judge, and we also welcomed a number of new partners such as The Children’s University and Centre for Literacy in Primary Education who have enabled us to broaden awareness of the award and generate even more young writers.”

Championed by Patron Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, judges also included Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of Wicked, Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, and Henry Smith, Director of Lend Me Your Literacy.

Discover more at www.wickedyoungwriters.com/.

Kinky Boots extends booking period

Killian Donnelly (as Charlie), Matt Henry (Lola) and Amy Lennox (Lauren). Photo credit: Matt Crockett.

KINKY BOOTS, the hit Broadway musical which opens at London’s Adelphi Theatre on September 15, 2015 (previews from August 21), has already extended its booking period – until February 6, 2016. Tickets for this extended period are on sale now.

Image: Killian Donnelly (as Charlie), Matt Henry (Lola) and Amy Lennox (Lauren). Photo credit: Matt Crockett.

Previously Posted: Kinky Boots, the hit Broadway musical which previews from August 21, 2015, at London’s Adelphi Theatre, will become the first West End musical to partner with TodayTix in their UK mobile theatre lotteries.

Following huge success with their mobile lottery system on Broadway, TodayTix will offer users the chance to secure on-day tickets to that night’s performance. TodayTix users may enter these exclusive lotteries via the TodayTix app.

If lucky enough to secure a pair of tickets, users are notified via push notifications or email and can then collect them from the theatre that night.

Kinky Boots’ producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig said: “We are delighted to partner with TodayTix, offering UK audiences an innovative and fun way to buy tickets to watch the inspiring story of Kinky Boots in its home country. The lotteries will ensure as many people as possible have the opportunity to witness the homecoming of this life-affirming British success story and award-winning musical.”

With a book by Broadway legend and four-time Tony Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), and songs by Grammy and Tony Award-winning Cyndi Lauper, this musical celebration is about the friendships we discover, and the belief that you can change the world when you change your mind.

Inspired by true events, Kinky Boots takes audiences from a gentlemen’s shoe factory in Northampton to the glamorous catwalks of Milan. Charlie Price is struggling to live up to his father’s expectations and continue the family business of Price & Son. With the factory’s future hanging in the balance, help arrives in the unlikely but spectacular form of Lola, a fabulous performer in need of some sturdy new stilettos.

Leading the cast as Charlie and Lola are Killian Donnelly and Matt Henry.

Read more about Kinky Boots.

Christmas 2015 performance schedule:

Monday, December 21 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
Tuesday, December 22 at 7:30pm.
Wednesday, December 23 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.
Thursday, December 24 at 2:30pm.
Friday, December 25 – No Performance.
Saturday, December 26 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

Monday, December 28 at 2:30pm and 7:30pm.
Tuesday, December 29 at 7.30pm.
Wednesday, December 30 at 2.30pm and 7:30pm.
Thursday, December 31 at 2:30pm.
Friday, January 1 at 7.30pm.
Saturday, January 2 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

The Spitfire Grill - Union Theatre

Union Theatre logo

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE UNION Theatre is presenting the UK Professional Premiere production of The Spitfire Grill by James Valcq and Fred Alley based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff – from July 23 to August 15, 2015.

Chosen by Stephen Sondheim to be the recipient of the 2001 Richard Rogers Production Award, this multi award-winning musical follows recently paroled convict Percy Talbott, who is looking for somewhere to start over, and rural Gilead, Wisconsin, seems just the place.

She takes a job at the Spitfire Grill, a crumbling diner where the townsfolk congregate and gossip, run by a feisty widow named Hannah. Hannah has been trying to sell the diner to escape from the painful memories it holds, but the property has been on the market for a decade with no takers.

Soon, Percy hatches a plan to hold a raffle for ownership of the Spitfire Grill – for one hundred dollars and an essay about why they might want the Grill, anyone can enter the contest. As the seasons change and rumours about her past build, the contest entries begin to roll in, and Percy starts to realize that she’s not the only person in Gilead with a history.

The cast includes Belinda Wollaston (as Percy Talbott), Hilary Harwood (Hannah Ferguson), Natalie Law (Shelby Thorpe), Katie Brennan (Effy Krayneck), Hans Rye (Caleb Thorpe), Chris Kiely (Joe Sutter) and Andrew Borthwick (The Visitor).

The production is directed by Alastair Knights (Putting It Together, A Little Night Music 40th Anniversary Concert), with musical direction by Simon Holt (Love Never Dies, The Phantom of the Opera International Tour) and choreography by Lee Crawley.

The Spitfire Grill has been seen in over 500 productions worldwide, with the New York Times describing it as “A soul satisfying work. A compelling story that flows with grace and carries the rush of anticipation. The musical is freeing. It is penetrated by honesty and it glows.”

Times: Tuesday to Sunday at 7.30pm; Saturday and Sunday matinees at 3pm.

For more information or to book tickets, call the box office on 020 7261 9876 or visit www.uniontheatre.biz/

Annie Jr. comes to town

Photo credit:Fresh Shoot Studios

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

MORE than 2,900 children auditioned and now 350 young Londoners have won roles in Annie Jr., a special new version of the acclaimed Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Annie, which runs at the Arts Theatre from Wednesday, July 29 to Monday, August 31, 2015.

Eight lucky girls will star as orphan Annie, the plucky 11-year-old in 1930s America who dreams of escaping the clutches of the horrible child-hating orphanage matron, Miss Hannigan, and finding her real parents.

Annie’s life gets exciting the day billionaire businessman Oliver “Daddy” Warbucks opens his home to her and her dog, Sandy.

Annie Jr. is a special one-hour version adapted from the classic musical – winner of the Best Musical Tony when it premiered in 1977. It includes such unforgettable songs as It’s the Hard Knock Life, Easy Street, I Don’t Need Anything But You and Annie’s eternal anthem of optimism, Tomorrow.

Annie Jr. has music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin and a book by Thomas Meehan.

Producer/Director Matthew Chandler, of P2P Productions, said: “This is a version of Annie specially adapted by the original American creative team to be performed by talented young people. It is a fantastic opportunity for all the youngsters involved – and features one of the greatest child roles ever written.

“The fact we are performing it in the West End is the icing on the cake for the youngsters involved. We have eight different teams of actors who will rotate through the week. We hope this will be a great experience for everyone taking part and we will go on to perform other big West End and Broadway musicals. Annie Jr. is the perfect family-friendly show and an ideal show for children to experience as their first musical live on stage.”

Tickets: £10 – £25. To book, call the box office on 020 7836 8463 or visit artstheatrewestend.co.uk/whats-on/annie-jnr/.

Times:

Monday – 5.30pm and 7.30pm
Tuesday – no performances
Wednesday – 2.30pm and 4.30pm
Thursday – 11am and 2.30pm
Friday – 4.30pm
Saturday – 11am
Sunday – 11am

Running Time: 60 minutes.

Also at the Arts Theatre: the West End premiere of Green Day’s award-winning Broadway musical American Idiot (July 17 to September 27) and Ruby in the Dust’s new Orleans-set A Midsummer Night’s Dream (August 4 to August 30, 2015).

Thriller Live - major changes imminent and tour dates announced

MAJOR changes are planned for the long-running record-breaking West End concert spectacular, Thriller Live, which is currently booking at the Lyric Theatre until June 2016.

A thrilling new opening to the show is being created and four new Michael Jackson songs – Who’s Loving You, Rockin’ Robin, Remember The Time and Human Nature – are being added.

Gary Lloyd, Thriller Live’s award-winning director and choreographer, said:

“This is a really, really exciting time. Unlike all other West End musicals, Thriller Live’s music, choreography and costumes have been changed several times, but over the next few months we will be making a host of changes at once. We are introducing lots of new production elements, new video film sequences and some rather special visual effects to ensure the show looks stunning and to keep it up to date.

“When Thriller Live first opened in the West End at the Lyric Theatre in January 2009, it was definitely cutting edge. We have since refreshed the show several times but now it is getting enhanced production values to ensure our show is really eye-popping! Michael Jackson always put on thrilling live arena shows when he toured the world. He used magic and stage illusion and the latest technology to surprise his fans.

“The challenge to Thriller Live’s creative team is to try and recreate and capture that sense of groundbreaking dancing, singing and stage magic in a traditional theatre. Six months into our record-breaking 7-year run in the West End we aim to once again set the bar high in terms of what a West End audience will see, hear and experience.”

All the new elements will be in place by October, when a second Thriller Live company will also set out to tour the UK and Europe for 10 months, showcasing all the new elements from the West End show.

The UK tour dates are:

Blackpool Grand Theatre – October 5 – 10

Leicester De Montfort Hall – October 12 – 17

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre – October 19 – 24

Hull New Theatre – October 26 – 31

Portsmouth Guildhall – December 27 – 31

Nottingham Royal Concert Hall – January 12 – 17, 2016

Manchester Opera House – January 18 – 23

Sunderland Empire – January 25 – 30

York Grand Opera House – February 1 – 6

Stoke on Trent Regent Theatre – February 11 – 13

Bristol Hippodrome – February 15 – 20

Southend Cliff’s Pavilion – February 22 – 27

Darlington Civic Theatre – February 29 – March 5

Birmingham Alexandra Theatre – March 7 – 12

Oxford New Theatre – March 14 – 19

Edinburgh Festival Theatre – March 21 – 26

More dates will be added through to July 2016.

Read more about Thriller Live.

Harry Potter comes to the W/E in Summer 2016

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

BASED on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, will receive its world premiere at London’s Palace Theatre in the summer of 2016.

Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, Colin Callender’s Playground Entertainment and Harry Potter Theatrical Productions, tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will go on public sale this autumn, details of which will be announced soon and be shared on the official website in late July.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be directed by John Tiffany, with movement by Steven Hoggett, set designs by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, lighting by Neil Austin, music by Imogen Heap, sound by Gareth Fry and special effects by Jeremy Chernick.

J.K. Rowling is the author of the seven Harry Potter novels, which have sold over 450 million copies and been translated into 78 languages, and three companion books originally published for charity. She also wrote The Casual Vacancy, a novel for adults published in 2012, and, under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, the Cormoran Strike crime series.

She is currently working on a screenplay for the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on the characters in her Harry Potter companion book of the same name.

Jack Thorne writes for theatre, film, television and radio. His theatre credits include Hope and Let The Right One In both directed by John Tiffany, Bunny (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Stacy (Trafalgar Studios) and 2nd May 1997 and When You Cure Me (Bush Theatre). His adaptations include The Physicists (Donmar Warehouse) and Stuart: A Life Backwards (Hightide).

His screen credits include War Book, A Long Way Down and The Scouting Book for Boys (film); The Last Panthers, Don’t Take My Baby, This Is England, The Fades, Glue and Cast-Offs (TV). In 2012, he won BAFTAs for best series (The Fades) and best serial (This Is England 88).

John Tiffany directed Once for which he received multiple awards both in the West End and on Broadway. As Associate Director of the Royal Court, his work includes The Twits, Hope and The Pass.

From 2005 to 2012, he was Associate Director of the National Theatre of Scotland, where his credits include Let The Right One, which transferred to the Royal Court, West End and St. Ann’s Warehouse, Macbeth (also Broadway), Enquirer, The Missing, Peter Pan, The House of Bernarda Alba, Transform Caithness: Hunter, Be Near Me, Nobody Will Ever Forgive Us, The Bacchae and Black Watch, for which he won the Olivier and Critics’ Circle Best Director Awards.

The Commitments continues at the Palace Theatre until November 1, 2015. Also at the Palace Theatre (in the daytime slot): Stiles and Drewe’s Three Little Pigs with Leanne Jones, Simon Webbe and Gareth Gates (August 5 to September 6, 2015).

Twelfth Night - The Geffrye Museum

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Malachites are presenting William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in the gardens of The Geffrye Museum – from July 2 to July 4, 2015.

On the distant shores of the mystical land of Illyria, the shipwrecked Viola has been saved from the sea. Believing her twin-brother Sebastian to be lost, she makes her way in this brave new world disguised as a boy in the service of the melancholy Count Orsino.

Shakespeare’s manic yet moving comedy of a family’s love overcoming death is directed by Benjamin Blyth and features a raucous new score and live music.

The cast includes Fiona Hardy (as Viola), Jude Owusu (Orsino), Zoe Lambrakis (Olivia), Charles Cromwell (Sir Toby Belch), Anatole Gadsby (Sir Andrew Aguecheek), Zara Banks (Maria), Stephen Connery-Brown (Malvolio), Joe Miller (Sebastian), Simon Chappell (Antonio), Benjamin Blyth (Feste) and Claire-Monique Martin (Feste’s Girl).

Tickets: £12, £10 concessions – available on the door (cash only) or from See Tickets.

Time: 7.30pm.

Running Time: 2 hours (including 15 minute interval).

Geffrye Museum, 136 Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA

Bruises - Tabard Theatre

Bruises

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

NEW company Woven Voices launches with Bruises, which runs at the Tabard Theatre from August 11 to August 29, 2015.

Bruises explores the subject of sex work within the contexts of feminism, twenty-first century attitudes to sex, female friendship, and the contemporary city.

It is the debut play from Franco-Swiss writer Nadia Cavelle, whose short film Talking Traffic was recently selected for the Short Film Corner at Cannes and the Women’s International Film and Arts Festival, Miami.

It is directed by French director Jean-Claude Fall, who brings over 40 years of professional experience to this, his UK directorial debut.

Bruises is described as a playful yet thought-provoking dramedy about identity and sexuality. It explores the still hugely taboo topic of sex work in the hope of opening up a more informed and compassionate dialogue.

It is about two best friends, whose journeys through life lead them in very different directions. It is about the struggle to forge our own identities within the confines of social expectations, and the damage and shame we can experience as a result. It is about love, lust and capital. It is about French literature, nominative determinism and dental hygiene. It is about what we do with the crap that life throws at us.

The cast includes Kirsty Rider (as Banana), Eva-Jane Willis (Jacqueline), Lily Knight (Mona) and Zachary Fall (Justin), with further casting to be announced.

Produced by Ben Weaver-Hincks with Nadia Cavelle for Woven Voices, Bruises has set and costume design by Anna Reid.

Woven Voices seeks to stage work that embraces those marginalised by existing social categories.

Tickets: £17, £15 concessions – to book, visit www.tabardweb.co.uk/bruises.

Time: Tuesday to Sunday at 7.30pm.