News, such theatre news!

It’s so exciting to have an inbox full of theatre announcements – here’s a recap of some of the ones that are most piquing my interest at the moment

The Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield and The Dukes, Lancaster announce the full cast of their digital co-production of The Importance of Being Earnest by Yasmeen Khan.

The full cast is Gurjeet Singh (Ackley Bridge, Wuthering Heights), Tom Dixon (Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet), Mina Anwar (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, The Thin Blue Line), Nikki Patel (Trojan HorseCoronation Street), Zoe Iqbal (Finding Fatimah, Ackley Bridge) and Melanie Marshall (Jane Eyre); with appearances from finalist of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK Divina De Campo, star of stage and screen Paul Chahidi, award-winning actor, comedian and writer Hugh Dennis, actress Harriet Thorpe (Absolutely Fabulous) and  comedian Sindhu Vee.

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is delighted to be able to reopen its doors to the public on Monday 17 May 2021 (subject to the Government’s Roadmap).

The new season of produced work at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch gets underway with a new production of Tim Firth’s hit comedy Neville’s Island, from 20 May – 12 June and 22 June – 3 July 2021 (socially distanced seating will remain in place at least throughout May
and June).

From 30 July – 21 August 2021, the main stage will be filled with all the best of Essex pop throughout the heart of the summer as the postponed premiere of Love Letters, a brand- new jukebox musical, promises audiences an unmissable post Lockdown treat.

In early autumn 2021, Romford-born David Eldridge (In Basildon) returns home with Beginning, a ‘gorgeous new play’ that takes a touching look at the first fragile moments of risking your heart and taking a chance. This tender‎ and funny critically acclaimed smash
hit received its world premiere at the National Theatre before transferring to the West End. Beginning is being revived and relaunched by Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from 3 – 18 September 2021.

Details of the rest of the Autumn 2021 season of productions, including a newly commissioned play, will be unveiled in late June 2021.

Chiswick Playhouse will mark its reopening on Monday 17th May with a socially distanced festival of magic, musicals, comedy and more. The festival kicks off with A Night at the West End, starring Scott Sutcliffe (Wicked) and Claudia Kariuki (Priscilla Queen of the Desert). This feel-good concert will celebrate the best of musical
theatre with irresistible songs from hit shows such as Little Shop of Horrors, Dreamgirls, Wicked and Les Misérables.

The festival will include Bare Bones, a new series of play readings. Actors will perform thrilling plays with no set, costumes or lighting – just the text, the performance, and the audience. Plays include Single Black Female by Lisa B. Thompson, The Woodcutters Tale by Orlando Wells, The Gin Game by D.L. Coburn plus a new version of Tom Sharpe’s Wilt, adapted by David Spicer.

Musical productions include The Soprano Behind the Screen: The Untold Story of Marni Nixon and brand-new song cycle, Another Life. And there is even an opportunity to spend evenings with such leading lights of broadcasting as Phyllis Logan, star of Downton Abbey; familiar face of Loose Women, Judi Love; and BBC Broadcaster, Torin Douglas.

The Lyric Hammersmith Theatre has announced the world premiere of Out West featuring works by three of the UK’s leading playwrights, Tanika Gupta (A Doll’s House), Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and Roy Williams (Death Of England: Delroy), to reopen the venue. The plays explore themes of race, identity, place and purpose and bring together a stellar creative team, co-directed by the Lyric’s Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan and Diane Page, with Set and Costume Design by Soutra Gilmour, Lighting Design by Jessica Hung Han Yun and Composition and Sound Design by Simon Slater

The Overseas Student, by Tanika Gupta, reimagines Mohandas K Ghadi’s formative years following his arrival in London, aged 18 
Blue water and cold and fresh, by Simon Stephens, confronts white male privilege in the wake of city lockdown living and Black Lives Matter protests
Go, Girl, by Roy Williams, celebrates black female empowerment, heroism and triumphs over the everyday struggles of society

Alongside the Lyric’s production of Out West, West London writer and poet Zia Ahmed will lead a playwriting partnership to create new stories that are rooted in West London with students across six secondary schools in Hammersmith & Fulham. A selection of work will be filmed and presented in the Lyric’s Cinema, running in parallel with Out West during the summer. Our West will run in the main house from 18th June-24th July and will also be able to stream online.

One year to the day since the King’s Head Theatre closed its doors due to Covid-19 (16 March 2021), it is delighted to announce Plays on Film: its first ever digital on-demand season, which brings together five smash-hit shows from some of the UK’s most exciting theatre makers, and combines the raw immediacy of live performance with high definition cinematography.

The programme includes JEW…ish, a quickfire romantic comedy exploring sex, polamory and Jewish identity; Vespertilio, an atmospheric tale of love, loneliness, bats and the unlikely connection between two gay men; Sacrament, a powerfully funny monologue about a young Irish Catholic woman questioning her sexuality; I Wish My Life Were Like A Musical, a sparkling revue show about the tumultuous world of musical theatre, on stage and off; and Illusions of Liberty, a searing exploration of invisible illness against the backdrop of a deeply ‘hostile environment.’

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