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Bye Bye Birdie - Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre (Review)

Bye Bye Birdie

Review by Shanna Schreuder

A spectacular show in a small space, All Star Production’s new revival of musical Bye Bye Birdie blows the roof off Walthamstow’s Ye Olde Rose and Crown’s upstairs theatre.

Although the costumes and set are in keeping with the original 1960’s Broadway show, director James Hume’s production in the wake of One Direction’s recent announcement seems bang up to date.

Albert Peterson and his long-time assistant/girlfriend Rose Alvarez’s big publicity stunt of having their client, the Elvis Presley-like superstar Conrad Birdie, kiss one of his biggest fans farewell on the Ed Sullivan Show before he joins the military takes them on a rollercoaster trip to small town Sweet Apple, Ohio.

Kim McAfee, who has recently been pinned by her boyfriend Hugo, is the lucky winner of the much-coveted kiss, leaving her poor parents, Harry and Doris, having to put up the heartthrob while swarms of female fans camp outside their house chanting, “we love you Conrad”, from dusk till dawn.

Boasting a highly accomplished cast as well as standout performances by Liberty Buckland as Rose Alveraz and Ryan Forde Iosco as Albert Peterson, this production is further enlivened by Abigail Matthews as Kim McAfee, whose youthful exuberance is infectious, and Harry Hart, who, as her father Harry, offers unadulterated hilarity throughout.

This is an excellent version of Bye Bye Birdie and shows how outstanding fringe theatre can be.

Venue: Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre, 53 Hoe Street, London, E17 4SA

Closest Tube/National Rail: Walthamstow Central, Victoria Line. (5 mins walk)

Dates: 11th August – 4th September

Times: Tuesday – Saturday at 7.30pm; Sunday at 3.00pm; No performances on Mondays

Price: £18/£16 Concessions

Box Office: 020 8520 8674020 8520 8674 l website

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists - CLF Theatre in the Bussey Building

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Stephen Lowe, based on the book by Robert Tressell and adapted as a two-hander by Neil Gore, runs at the CLF Theatre in the Bussey Building, Peckham from October 5 to October 31, 2015.

The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists tells the story of a group of house painters who are joined by Owen, an artist and journeyman-prophet with a vision of a just society.

Using songs of the period, movement, physicalisation and comedy, the two performers display the clarity and spirit of Tressell’s political message, highlighting Owen’s attempts to rouse his fellow workers from their complacency with spirited attacks on the greed and dishonesty of the capitalist system.

Performed as a two-hander, this production, described as moving and entertaining, remains as vivid and as relevant as when it was written almost a century ago.

Robert Tressell’s The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists has universally been accepted as being a classic of working-class literature since its first publication in 1914, and remains one of the most popular books of all time. The themes and style of the book and Neil Gore’s adaptation are eternally relevant and provoking, putting life and politics into sharp focus.

The cast comprises Neil Gore and Jonathan Markwood.

Presented by Townsend Productions in association with Harrogate Theatre and Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists is directed by Louise Townsend, designed by Fine Time Fontayne and has musical direction by John Kirkpatrick.

The Silver Sword - Fairfield Halls, Croydon and on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IAN Seraillier’s highly acclaimed and much-loved children’s novel, The Silver Sword, will receive its world stage premiere at Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre (September 26 to Octobert 3) before embarking on a UK tour that will visit Fairfield Halls, Croydon on October 9 and 10, 2015.

Originally written in 1956, The Silver Sword was recently named as one of the top 50 children’s books of all time by The Times. This brand new musical co-production from the Belgrade Theatre and Sell A Door Theatre Company has been adapted for the stage by Susie McKenna and Steve Edis.

The Silver Sword is a heart-warming tale of three children whose determination to become a family again, takes them on an incredible adventure to find their father against all the odds.

Set in the immediate aftermath of WWII, The Silver Sword follows the Polish Balicki children’s search for safety as Europe is divided up and displaced people return to their homelands.

Along the way, Ruth, Edek and Bronia meet 14 year old Jan – a boy who, years before, had met their father by chance and been given the family’s precious paper knife, affectionately known as the Silver Sword. Jan’s instructions are to show it to the children, should their paths cross, with the message that their father is still alive and headed for Switzerland.

During their adventures they cross paths with people from every nation as well as animals such as Jimpy the cockerel, Bistro the chimpanzee and Ludwig the dog.

Described as full of warmth, music and excitement, this brand new musical adaptation is brought to life by a cast of skilled actor/musicians and features amazing puppetry and stunning visual projections.

The cast includes Tom Mackley (as Jan), Nathan Turner (Joe Wolski/Gypsy Man), Lucy Tregear (Frau Wolff/Mrs Krause), Julian Harries (Joseph), John O’Mahony (Herr Wolff), Oliver Buckner (Edek), Sue Appleby (Margarit), Rachel Flynn (Ruth) and Alex Knox (Adam/Major Hargreaves).

Bronia will be played by various child actors from each venue.

The Silver Sword is directed by Susie McKenna, with musical direction by Steve Edis, design by Lotte Collett, lighting by David W. Kid and sound by Tom Marshall. Puppet designer/maker is Scott Broker and associate director is Anna Fox.

The tour will also visit Kircaldy, Portsmouth, Birmingham, Exeter, Ipswich and Southampton.

The Rocky Horror Show extends run at the Playhouse Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE Rocky Horror Show has extended its run at the Playhouse Theatre by one week (eight performances) – until September 26, 2015.

It has also been announced that Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Merlin) will join comedy legend Stephen Fry, Great British Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc and Spice Girl Emma Bunton in the Gala Charity Performance for Amnesty International on September 17. Read more.

Previously Posted: The Rocky Horror Company and Picturehouse Entertainment are presenting the Ambassador Theatre Group production of The Rocky Horror Show – 11 special performances at the Playhouse Theatre from September 11 to September 19, 2015.

It stars the creator of The Rocky Horror Show, Richard O’Brien as ‘The Narrator’, a role he will be performing in the UK for the first time in more than 20 years. Tickets are now on sale.

On September 17, Picturehouse Entertainment and the Rocky Horror Company will join forces to broadcast a gala charity performance, in aid of Amnesty International, live from the Playhouse Theatre to cinemas across the UK and Europe, featuring a number of special celebrity guest stars. Tickets for the cinema screenings are also on sale now.

With cinemas across the UK and Europe, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark streaming The Rocky Horror Show performance live at 6.45pm GMT, fans from around the globe will have the opportunity of being part of one of the most anticipated live events of the year.

There are also plans for the gala performance to be broadcast on television around the world in countries including America, Australia and New Zealand in autumn 2015.

The show will be directed by Christopher Luscombe and produced by Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group. These special London performances precede a nationwide UK tour, which opens at the Theatre Royal Brighton on December 17, 2015.

Richard O’Brien said: “Thanks to Picturehouse Entertainment, The Rocky Horror Show is coming to a cinema near you! I’m delighted to be returning to London, where Rocky started, and performing in the show after more than 20 years. It’s just fabulous that the world’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll musical will be beamed to many, many cinemas across the UK and Europe, via satellite. Everyone should prepare for a night of frolics and celebrations by joining us on the big screen!”

Sir Howard Panter said: “We are looking forward to working with Picturehouse Group for what is an extraordinary moment for The Rocky Horror Show, starting upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre 42 years ago to this autumn being beamed live to cinema and TV screens across the world, this is your chance to join in the world’s biggest Time Warp, ever.”

Marc Allenby, Director of Distribution at Picturehouse Entertainment said: “We are thrilled to be working with Howard Panter and his team at ATG on this extra special production of The Rocky Horror Show. We can’t wait to broadcast the Live show into cinemas across the UK and Europe this September – it is going to be one hell of a party!”

And Amnesty International UK Events & Artist Relations Manager Aikta Hancock said: “The Rocky Horror Show is a fabulous celebration of freedom of expression – a fundamental part of Amnesty’s work. Richard O’Brien has been an inspirational and long-time supporter of Amnesty and we are delighted to be part of the exciting gala performance and cinema screenings across the UK and Europe this September”

The Rocky Horror Show tells the story of Brad and his fiancée Janet, two squeaky clean college kids who meet Dr Frank ‘n’ Furter by chance when their car breaks down outside his house whilst on their way to visit a college professor. It is an adventure they’ll never forget, with fun, frolics, frocks and frivolity, bursting with timeless songs and outrageous outfits.

The Rocky Horror Show features famous musical classics, including Science Fiction/Double Feature, Sweet Transvestite, Dammit Janet and The Time Warp.

The tour will visit New Wimbledon Theatre from February 29 to March 5, 2016 and Richmond Theatre from May 2 to May 7, 2016. To buy tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/shows/rocky-horror-show-tickets/.

To see theatre/cinema trailer visit www.youtube.com/.

Impossible recoups costs and plans tour and 2016 return to W/E

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

JAMIE Hendry, the producer of Impossible, has announced plans for a tour and 2016 return to the West End after the magic show recouped its costs of £950,000 during its five week run at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Hendry said: “Impossible was a hugely high-risk show to produce and I’m delighted for everyone involved that it has proved to be a commercial success story so quickly.”

Previously Posted: Impossible, described as the biggest magic show in decades, will receive its West End premiere at the Noel Coward Theatre, where it runs for five weeks – from July 24 to August 29, 2015.

The show will feature the very best magicians and tricksters from around the world, fusing dazzling grand stage illusions, up-close-and-personal magic, cutting-edge technological tricks and death-defying escapology in a fast-paced, breathtaking spectacular for every generation.

It was in London that Harry Houdini and the superstars of illusion stunned Victorian audiences on stage. Now, Impossible will ‘re-establish the UK capital as the epicenter of innovation and spectacle, hosting the greatest magic show on Earth’.

Directed by Anthony Owen, the multi award-winning producer and magic consultant behind Channel 4’s Derren Brown shows, Impossible brings eight world-leading performers together live on-stage for the very first time.

The confirmed line-up includes: modern-day Houdini, daredevil and TV escapologist Jonathan Goodwin; mind-blowing mind-reader Chris Cox; magical mentalist Katherine Mills; boundary breaking magician Ben Hart; spell-binding digital marvel Jamie Allan; explosive break-dancing street magician Magical Bones; escapologist and expert magician Ali Cook and world-renowned grand illusionist Luis de Matos.

Produced in the West End by Jamie Hendry Productions, Impossible has scenic design by Andrew D. Edwards, lighting design by Tim Lutkin, video design by Duncan McLean and sound design by Gareth Owen.

Richard Essien, alias Magical Bones, fuses a unique blend of innovative magic and hip hop that will have audiences spellbound as he seamlessly dances his way out of straitjackets. Starting his career as a professional hip-hop dancer, he has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry including Madonna, Black Eyed Peas, Alicia Keys and Plan B. Now, combining dance with magic, Bones has created a new and challenging form of performance for the entire industry. magicalbones.com/

Master of multiple magical trades, Ali Cook is a daredevil escapologist, sleight of hand expert, street magician, stage illusionist and performer of thought control. A pioneer of the alternative magic scene, he has written and starred in various television series including ITV’s Penn And Teller: Fool Us; BBC 1’s Now You See It; Channel 4’s Dirty Tricks; and Channel 5’s Psychic Secrets Revealed with Derren Brown. www.alicook.com/

A master magician known for his trail-blazing stunts and ability to make cars disappear, Portuguese grand illusionist Luis de Matos has won various prizes for his astounding magic. The youngest ever recipient of the distinguished ‘David Devant Award’, given to him by the Magic Circle for a significant contribution to advancing the art of magic, he’s considered by many as the most renowned and distinguished Portuguese magician of all time. luisdematos.com/

Daredevil and TV escapologist Jonathan Goodwin will have audiences on the edge of their seats as he dances with death on stage. After first appearing on Channel 4’s Dirty Tricks, he has brought his unique stunts to various TV specials including The Seven Stupidest Things to Escape From and How Not to Become Shark Bait! In his television series The Incredible Mr Goodwin, he pushes the limits of possibility with stunts that range from extreme planking to climbing skyscrapers. www.jonathan-goodwin.com/

Modern day Houdini, Jamie Allen fuses magic and technology together to create spell binding stunts that captivate the contemporary audience. Transporting classic magic tricks into the digital age, his phenomenal modern illusions include sawing people in half with lasers and iPad ‘Digital Art’. www.magicjamie.com/

Award-winning mind reading specialist Chris Cox stars in BBC 3’s Killer Magic, bewildering audiences with his unique mind reading talent. Illusion consultant for The Bodyguard, he has flummoxed audiences on stages across the country and continues to control minds in his sell-out tour Fatal Distraction. magiccox.com/

Ben Hart invents unique magic which pushes the boundaries of film, theatre and television and tests the limits of illusion, including decapitation, vanishing and levitation At the age of 16, he won the Magic Circle’s ‘Young Magician of the Year’ Award and his most recent show The Vanishing Boy sold-out to astonished audiences. He recently starred in BBC 3’s Killer Magic, where his unique and unorthodox approaches amazed audiences across the country. benhartmagic.co.uk/

Magical mentalist and sophisticated up-close trickster, Katherine Mills combines psychology with trickery and magic, crossing into her audiences psyche to astound and amaze. The first female magician ever with her own primetime TV series – Mind Games – she is taking the world by storm. www.katherinemills.co.uk/

Tickets: £10, £20, £40, £60. Premium tickets are also available. To book, call 0844 482 5141 (0844 482 5137 for Access bookings) or visit www.impossiblelive.com/.

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

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman continues at the Noel Coward Theatre until July 18, 2015. Impossible will be followed by Anna Ziegler’s new play Photograph 51, starring Nicole Kidman and Stephen Campbell Moore (September 5 to November 21, 2015).

The Old Vic - tickets on sale for three new productions

Season preview

THE Old Vic has announced that tickets for three further productions, previously confirmed for Matthew Warchus’ inaugural season as artistic director, are now on priority sale and will be available to the general public from Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

The productions are David Hare’s new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder, directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Ralph Fiennes; The Caretaker, Harold Pinter’s groundbreaking classic, also directed by Matthew Warchus and starring Timothy Spall; and Jekyll & Hyde, a new dance thriller devised, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie.

Previously Posted: The Old Vic has announced the inaugural season of new Artistic Director Matthew Warchus and the eclectic programme includes a newly-adapted Ibsen classic starring Ralph Fiennes and the world premiere of a new musical, Groundhog Day.

The season also features new commissions, including a stage adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, a dance production and a series of variety nights embracing The Old Vic’s history and its roots in music, dance and vaudeville.

As Artistic Director Designate, Matthew Warchus commented:

“After 25 years of freelance directing I unexpectedly find myself running my favourite theatre in the world. Or, if you like, my two favourite theatres since The Old Vic can now transition with relative ease between London’s best in-the-round space and the traditional, magnificent end-on auditorium. During my tenure I look forward to playing seasons in both of these great configurations.

“My first season demonstrates our aim to present more productions per year, of wide-ranging work, in a ‘something for everyone’ approach which reflects my own eclectic tastes and love of this unique and uplifting art form. In its dazzling history, The Old Vic has been home not only to great acting but also to dance, musical extravaganzas, vaudeville and spectacle. This diverse heritage is a big part of my inspiration going forward.

“When Lilian Baylis ran The Old Vic she kept a sign over her desk which read “Dare, always dare!”. Taking my cue from her, my goal is to programme invigorating seasons which are, by turns, surprising, smart, adventurous, and fun. Come and join in.”

PRODUCTIONS

Described as a bracingly topical and boisterously funny new play, Future Conditional by Tamsin Oglesby opens on September 10, 2015, with previews from September 1. Directed by Matthew Warchus, it stars Rob Brydon supported by 23 young performers.

Future Conditional tackles the conundrum of British schooling through a myriad of characters including parents, teachers, and Alia, a prodigiously clever young Afghan refugee and the newest member of Britain’s Education Research Board. Alia has a radical solution for Britain’s schools that could restore our place in the world education league. But is the system ready to take lessons from a schoolgirl…?

Written by acclaimed playwright Tamsin Oglesby (The Mouse and His Child, Really Old, Like 45), Future Conditional proves that when it comes to education, we’ve all got a lot to learn.

Future Conditional will be performed in the CQS space.

The Hairy Ape, Eugene O’Neill’s timeless classic of class and identity, opens on October 29, with previews from October 17.

A classic expressionist masterpiece by Nobel prize-winner Eugene O’Neill, The Hairy Ape tells the story of Yank, a labourer who revels in his status as the strongest stoker on a transatlantic ocean liner. But when Yank is called a ‘filthy beast’ by the overbred daughter of a steel merchant, he experiences an awakening of consciousness that leads him on a journey through the wealthy neighbourhoods and disenfranchised underbelly of New York society.

Searching for a way to belong, Yank is forced to confront primal questions about his true place in the world.

The Hairy Ape is directed by the acclaimed, multi-award-winning director Richard Jones, whose credits include Anna Nicole (Royal Opera House), Public Enemy, The Government Inspector and Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC), Tales from the Vienna Woods (National Theatre) and Into the Woods (West End).

Adapted by David Greig and directed by Max Webster, Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax opens on December 15, with previews from December 2.

I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees!

Inspired by Dr. Seuss’s classic tale, The Lorax tells of a moustachioed and cantankerous critter who’s on a mission to protect the earth from the greedy, tree-chopping, Thneed-knitting businessman known only as The Once-ler.

Brought to the stage by acclaimed director Max Webster (James And The Giant Peach, To Kill A Mockingbird, Twelfth Night), The Lorax blends theatrical invention, songs and zany humour in a timely and vibrant Christmas show with a message that will speak to audiences of all ages.

David Hare’s new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder is directed by Matthew Warchus and stars Ralph Fiennes.

A searing and mesmeric exploration of power, control, death and life, Ibsen’s late masterpiece comes to The Old Vic in a lively new adaptation by David Hare (multi-award-winning writer and author of 32 plays for the stage including Skylight, The Absence Of War, Amy’s View, Pravda and Stuff Happens).

Halvard Solness, a master architect, has spent his lifetime building the tallest spires in the land. But when Hilde, a radiant country girl, descends unexpectedly into his world, age is confronted by youth, and a series of revelations builds to a vertiginous climax.

The Caretaker, Harold Pinter’s groundbreaking classic, is directed by Matthew Warchus and stars Timothy Spall.

Disturbed handyman Aston has invited an irascible tramp to stay with him at his brother’s jumbled London flat. At first, it seems that the manipulative guest will take advantage of his vulnerable host. But when Aston’s brother Mick arrives, an enigmatic power struggle emerges between the three men that is in equal parts menacing, touching and darkly comic.

When it premiered in 1960, The Caretaker changed the face of modern theatre.

Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Jekyll & Hyde is a new dance thriller devised, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie.

One of the UK’s most innovative theatre choreographers, Drew McOnie reimagines Robert Louis Stevenson’s sinister drama in an excitingly physical new dance production with music by Grant Olding.

Jekyll & Hyde has been specially commissioned by The Old Vic as part of its new dance collaboration with The McOnie Company, led by Associate Artist Drew McOnie.

For Groundhog Day, director Matthew Warchus, composer and lyricist Tim Minchin, choreographer Peter Darling and designer Rob Howell, four of the creators of the international musical sensation Matilda The Musical, have joined forces with writer Danny Rubin to create this new musical based on the 1993 hit film of the same name.

Groundhog Day is the story of Phil Connors, an arrogant Pittsburgh TV weatherman who, when sent to cover the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, finds himself caught in a time loop where he is forced to repeat the same day again and again…and again.

The 1993 Columbia Pictures film, with a screenplay by Danny Rubin and Harold Ramis, based on a story by Rubin, and directed by Ramis, starred Bill Murray. Now widely regarded as a contemporary classic, Groundhog Day was cited by the Writers Guild of America as one of the 101 Greatest Screenplays ever written and in 2000 was voted by readers of Total Film as one of the ten best comedies of all time.

Rise, The Old Vic Community Company Show directed by Alexander Ferris.

Two hundred Londoners will take over The Old Vic for one week to present a kaleidoscope of ideas, discussions and stories that centre around an epic new production that explores our relationship with the environment. With music, movement and bicycles, Rise will explore the impact of living in a city where the temperature is rising.

The Old Vic Variety Nights, which take place on Sundays, are a series of spectacular evenings featuring collectable performances from celebrated comedians, musicians, magicians and other variety acts from around the world.

The Variety Nights are a contemporary take on a time when The Old Vic was the Royal Coburg Theatre presenting music, magic, ‘whims and oddities’.

As well as other new commissions to Richard Bean, Caroline Bird, Dennis Kelly, David Nicholls, Diana Nneka Atuona and Mark Watson, and the creation of a ground-breaking new musical commissioning fund, The Old Vic has appointed a diverse range of Associate Artists split across several disciplines including writing, choreography, photography, design, music, sound, lighting, casting and magic.

The Baylis Director for early career directors offers a year-long residency mentored by Matthew Warchus, direction of a main stage production and funds to commission new work.

A new transfer partnership with theatre producers Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman gives Old Vic shows a potential life in the West End and on Broadway

Coming attractions in future seasons include the first revival of Art by Yasmina Reza, the 50th anniversary production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard, and a new musical based on the film Pride written by Stephen Beresford.

In the meantime, Maria Friedman will direct High Society at The Old Vic. Based on the play The Philadelphia Story by Philip Barry and the Turner Entertainment Co. motion picture starring Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra, it runs from May 14 (previews from April 30) to August 22, 2015.

Camden People’s Theatre announces recipient of its inaugural People’s Theatre Award

Theatre news

CAMDEN People’s Theatre has announced the recipient of its inaugural People’s Theatre Award as Gameshow and Emily Lim’s Grown Up, a new project that explores the questions young people want to know about growing up – placing the words of adults in the mouths of young performers.

The award will support a period of R&D in which the company works with young people and adults in the West Euston community to develop an initial scratch version of a show. The company will receive £1500 towards the project, as well as rehearsal space and mentoring.

Gameshow is a company dedicated to collaborative performance projects. Their previous work at CPT includes The HS2 Project and This is the Moon, That is the Earth (we are here, we are here).

Emily Lim’s most recent project (as co-director) is Islington Community Theatre’s Brainstorm (***** ‘Outstanding’ The Times). She has previously created work at the National Theatre and Southwark Playhouse and has extensive experience working with marginalised communities.

With over 100 applicants and an exceptionally strong pool of applications, two further artists, Katy Baird and Venice as a Dolphin, have been selected to receive support as part of the People’s Theatre Award activity.

Katy Baird will launch ReDress, a new project exploring the ways in which we construct our identity through consumption, which will see the artist re-living discarded identities of her past through a series of three year-long performances. The first year will include the selling of all the clothing she currently owns in various public locations including local markets and CPT – as well as online documentation, interviews and discussions around the topics the work explores.

Venice as a Dolphin’s Camden People’s Radio will be an internet radio station physically located at CPT that asks ‘who are your people’? The project will provide a prototype for a highly localised theatre-based radio station, led by artists and based on grassroots engagements with the communities in the immediate vicinity of theatre.

Launched to mark the twentieth birthday of Camden People’s Theatre, the People’s Theatre Award is a new prize for projects that combine innovation with potential for public impact. It seeks to demonstrate the popular potential of new forms of theatre. The prize rewarded proposals that promised to engage new publics with CPT’s work, while retaining a commitment to new and imaginative ways of making and performing theatre.

Brian Logan, artistic director of Camden People’s Theatre, said: “We’re delighted to announce the winners and runners-up of our new People’s Theatre Award. The award was designed both to honour CPT’s two-decade history, and focus our enquiry into the overlaps between popular and experimental performance.

“We were overwhelmed and excited by the volume and quality of applications, through which process we’ve struck up many fruitful new relationships and ended up with three projects we can’t wait to help bring into being. This new work by Gameshow and Emily, and those by Katy and Will, rises thrillingly to the challenge posed by the award, to twist theatre into new shapes and, by doing so, connect new audiences and communities with theatre, and with CPT’s work.”

Read about Camden People’s Theatre’s Autumn Season.

Pig Farm - St James Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PIG FARM, a dark new farce by Tony Award-winning writer Greg Kotis, will receive its UK premiere at the St. James Theatre, where it runs from October 28 (previews from October 21) to November 21, 2015.

Life on the farm is hard. Under a pot-bellied sky, Tom and Tina, with just the help of hired hand Tim, are struggling for survival and it’s taking its toll. Troubles simmer dangerously as they search for solace, then gun-toting Teddy arrives and things go from bad to worse.

Pig Farm is described as an hilarious tale of regular folk, human sludgery and the American dream dragged through the mud.

Greg Kotis said: “I am thrilled beyond measure to be returning to London and the St. James Theatre with Pig Farm. Every American playwright dreams of having his or her work brought to life on a London stage, and I feel very lucky indeed that this dream is coming true once again.”

Pig Farm has a simmering comic intensity”, enthuses the shows young director, the aptly named Katharine Farmer, “I believe that it will be pitch-fork-perfect for British audiences!”

Dead Posh Productions will be co-producing Pig Farm alongside Julian Stoneman Associates, who brought the smash hit Urinetown The Musical, (also by Greg Kotis) to the same theatre, before its transfer to the West End’s Apollo Theatre.

Katharine Farmer, company director of Dead Posh Productions, returns to the St James Theatre where she was previously assistant to Sir Trevor Nunn on his acclaimed production of Scenes from a Marriage, which starred Olivia Williams and Mark Bazeley.

As well as Urinetown The Musical, Greg Kotis’ other works include Michael von Siebenburg Melts Through the Floorboards, The Boring-est Poem in the World, Yeast Nation (book/lyrics), The Truth About Santa, Eat the Taste and Jobey and Katherine.

The creative team and full casting for Pig Farm will be announced in due course.

Tickets: £15, £20, £29.50, £35 – available from the box office on 0844 264 2140 or online at www.stjamestheatre.co.uk/.

Times: Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm; Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm.

Also at St James Theatre: the world première of Pure Imagination, which celebrates the songs of Leslie Bricusse (September 24 to October 17) and in the Studio: the world stage premiere of Spike Milligan and Ronnie Barker’s legendary comedy, The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town (October 30 to November 1, 2015).

Urban Tales joins Totally Thames with a site-specific opera in London's only Lighthouse

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE cultural event series Urban Tales returns for its second chapter and partners with Mahogany Opera Group to bring an electrifying new take on opera.

Fusing classical, folk and electro music with new poetry, the show will be staged at the iconic Lighthouse of Trinity Buoy Wharf on Wednesday, September 23 as part of Totally Thames 2015.

Both a live opera and a concept album, Folie à Deux is written by award-winning British composer Emily Hall and Icelandic lyricist and long-term Björk collaborator Sjón.

Love and insanity collide in this story of a couple that descends into a shared delusion, known as ‘folie à deux’. The show includes groundbreaking lighting technology and a specially-created instrument: the electro-magnetic harp.

The river-inspired cultural journey will start with a boat ride from London Bridge to Trinity Buoy Wharf and offer an opportunity to enjoy unrivalled views of the Thames and rediscover the Docklands area. Upon arrival at the venue, refreshments and street food will be available for purchase.

Urban Tales by Unlimited Productions is a series of cultural events showcasing artists from all disciplines in unexpected locations across London. It launched in May 2015 with chapter #1 The Bank and will host more events leading up to Art Night London – a brand new contemporary art festival launching in Summer 2016.

Admission: £20 (includes complimentary drink and boat shuttle service).

Time: 7pm to 10pm.

Trinity Buoy Wharf, 64 Orchard Place, London, E14 0JY

Totally Thames takes place annually over the month of September to celebrate the river via an exciting season of arts, cultural and river-related events throughout the 42-mile stretch of London’s Thames.

Tales from the Shed and Saturday Shed Workshops

Tales from the Shed

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

CHICKENSHED’s popular interactive children’s show, Tales from the Shed, returns to the Southgate venue every Friday from September 4 to October 30 at 11.30am and every Saturday from September 5 to October 31, 2015 at 10am and 11.30am.

Tales from the Shed are vibrant, interactive theatre shows that are perfect for young children (0-6 years). They are informal, lively and amazingly engaging as the performers and audience share the same space.

Every show is fun and really silly, plus there will be plenty of colourful puppets and live songs.

Children are always encouraged to make lots of noise and create a lively and exciting show. Every week, different stories featuring the same much loved characters are introduced – characters such as Can-Can the beautiful bird, laid back Lion Down and The Thing That Goes Blurgh!

Extra half term dates: Thursday, October 29 at 10am and 11.30am and Friday, October 30 at 10am and 11.30am.

Tickets: £6, free to babies under 6 months. To book, call the box office on 020 8292 9222, email bookings@chickenshed.org.uk or visit www.chickenshed.org.uk/.

Running Time: Approximately 1 hour.

Saturday Shed (Performance Workshops for 5-12 year olds) is a great opportunity for young people to develop their performance skills using Chickenshed’s proven teaching methods and unique performance style.

Led by Chickenshed’s highly experienced and energetic staff, each term the participants will explore a wide range of performance skills through themed sessions that involve movement, drama, singing and story making.

Every workshop is different and designed so that a child of any ability can come to all sessions, or drop in to one session from time to time.

Dates: Saturday mornings from September 12 to October 31, 2015.

Times: Ages 5 – 8 years from 10am – 11am (school year 1 and up); ages 9 – 12 years from 11.15 am – 12.15pm (up to school year 8).

Price: £6 per workshop. Register for a term for a 25% discount.

NB: There are also Adult Theatre Workshops for the over 50s. Not only will participants have the opportunity to work alongside Chickenshed’s trained theatre professionals, but the workshops will provide a great opportunity to meet new people with a shared passion for theatre and the performing arts.

Also at Chickenshed: Two by Jim Cartwright (October 7 to October 24, 2015).