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Jul 3rd


By Kirstie Niland

TOMMY, Blackpool Opera House

12th-26th September

The announcement that Blue’s Antony Costa is to star in rock opera Tommy when it premieres in Blackpool is exciting news for North West fans. However they should prepare themselves because this role means no more Mr Nice Guy. For the boy band hearthrob is playing Tommy’s sadistic Cousin Kevin who bullies and tortures the deaf, dumb and blind pinball player.

And he can’t wait to get started. “People know me for being the Cockney boy, Jack the Lad, so this is out of my comfort zone,” says Antony. “If I can pull it off and do it to the best of my ability it’s another string to my bow. If you’re given the chance to play a different character you have got to audition. You’ve got to be able to act and not be stereotypical. Be resolute. I don’t want to get parts off the back of my name. For Tommy I have to play a psycho really well and I can’t wait to get my teeth into it.”

This is definitely a step away from the norm as Antony is more often seen in wholesome roles - such as Aladdin at the Kings Theatre in Southsea. Coincidentally this is the very same location Pinball Wizard was filmed in the 1975 movie version of Tommy, a number Antony performs in the show. Even more prophetic is that Antony plays the character made famous by the show’s director, stage and screen star Paul Nicholas. “Paul auditioned me, and I’m looking forward to him giving me advice. I will take everything he says on board.”

Born Antony Daniel Costa on 23rd June 1981, the 34-year-old singer/songwriter began his career in TV as a young boy playing pupils in Grange Hill and Chalk. In his late teens Blue was born, and his focus turned to music. Over the ensuing years Antony has done reality TV, modelling and the Eurovision Song Contest. Theatrical success began in the West End, 2006, when he starred as Mickey Johnstone alongside Maureen Nolan. In 2007 he played Roddy in Boogie Nights opposite Alvin Stardust. Then in 2010 he became Cal in POPSTAR the Musical. This Christmas he’s back in panto as Prince Charming at Dunstable’s Grove Theatre.

Meanwhile the boys from Blue are still going strong. Currently on tour promoting their album Colours they’ve just returned from Japan. So many bands have short-lived success, what is the bond that keeps the Blue boys together? “Laughter and friendship,” he says. “Come on the road with us for a couple of days and you’ll see we are worn out from laughter. If one of us is feeling down the other three picks us up. We love each other to death. We’ve always had respect for each other, it’s about staying together but letting each other do other things, encouraging and supporting each other” explains Antony. “When we started out we were non-stop for five years, we only had Christmas and Boxing Day off. You don’t get tired, you get drained. In 2005 we sat down and said we’re not enjoying it, let’s take six months off, let’s chill and do other things. That turned into six years."

It seems Antony has always been a bit of thespian at heart: “I got into acting first but you just don’t know where things are going to take you when you’re 17 or 18 – and 16 years later I’m doing another show and still gigging with the boys. It’s nice to combine the two. A lot of people think if one of us is doing something else then the band must have split up but look at Gary Barlow and Take That. It’s good to do other things, it keeps your mind active, and I don’t want to live with regrets and think I wish I’d done this or done that. I can’t wait to get on that stage and be someone else for a couple of weeks.”

It will be great to see Antony back up North again too. Blue were a huge draw at the 80s v 90s night at last year’s Lytham Proms (even though Blue are from the noughties!) Before that Antony’s last trip to Lancashire was in 2010 for a gig in Preston, before travelling through the night to Gatwick to find out who his surprise fellow guests would be in Channel 4's Celebrity Five Go To Turkey. “That was a wicked show! Russell Grant was there so it was nice to see a friendly face.” Out of his housemates Antony got on best with Russell and former 80s wildchild, Emma Ridley, now famous in LA for her Goddess Fitness Dance studios. “Emma’s a Piscean, Russell is an Aquarian and I’m Cancer,” he says. “All water signs. I’m not that into astrology but you have to listen. Russell did my astrological chart years before the show and said he knew I was coming to Turkey!”

Blackpool certainly seems written in the stars for Antony. Tommy looks set to be a sell-out, and Boogie nights also premiered in Blackpool. “Haha yes there is a bit of Blackpool vibe going on!” he admits.  “I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been to a few parties there with Blackpool’s own Nolans, we used to have a right old craic.”

Now a father and engaged to dental nurse Rosanna Jasmin, Antony has put his wild days firmly behind him and is dedicated to family life. “I love to share my experiences and say Mum, Dad, Fiancée, baby – this is what I do.” All the Blue boys have children now, and recent Rat Pack style promotional shots reflect their album’s chilled lounge/Motown feel and a more mature, Hollywood image. Could a movie role be on the cards?

“You never know! My film heroes are Pacino and De Niro. I love their presence and performance. Robin Williams was an amazing actor. I played an extra in Secret Agent when I was about 12 and he was ridiculously good. I told him and he said “thanks man, thank you” in his Genie voice from Aladdin. My dream stage role would be Tommy DeVito in Jersey Boys. Who knows after Tommy but as long as I’m auditioning and working I’m cool.”

So what would Antony’s advice be to anyone starting out? “Keep going. Learn your trade and work hard at it. Make sure you’ve got thick skin - and enjoy what you do.”

Last but not least, the most important question of all. Has he ever been on the Big One? “No but it’s got to be done,” he laughs.

Despite growing up near Blackpool I confess that neither have I. “That’s dreadful,” Antony says, “We’ll have to put that right! We'll do it together, I’ll meet you on the Big One in September!”

It’s a deal :-)

Tommy the film, based on The Who’s 1969 album, is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Directed by Ken Russell it starred the band members, with lead singer Roger Daltrey in the title role, alongside Oliver Reed, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Elton John and Jack Nicholson. Antony will appear in the stage version at Blackpool Opera House with X-Factor winner Joe McElderry as Tommy.

For tickets prices and bookings go to

 Photograph courtesy of Winter Gardens Blackpool


Jun 13th

Autumn Season at Theatre503

By Carolin Kopplin

First up is Bea Roberts' And Then Come the Nightjars, a chronicle of an English farm's struggle following the 2001 Foot and Mouth crisis. It is tender and angry and hilarious in turn, directed by Paul Robinson.

The other award-winner is in striking contrast. Valhalla by Paul Murphy is a dark and devastating piece about science and humanity and that elusive territory where the two elide. This profound story of man vs nature will be brought to life by Jo McInnes. His recent work includes the Midsummer Mischief season at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Then we have Jon Brittain's Rotterdam. This bitter-sweet comedy about sexual identity and love is the culmination of Jon’s six year relationship with the theatre and continues the season's celebration of in-house talent. You may remember him as the co-creator of 503’s Maggie Thatcher Queen of Soho and a previous 503 in-house writer.

And finally, making a riotous return for the Christmas period are the award-winning comedy trio and new 503 Associate company Sleeping Trees with Cinderella and the Beanstalk. Back by popular demand after its sell-out success last year this is a festive treat suitable for family members young (ideal for 6+), old and everything in-between.


Further information: Theatre503

Jun 6th

UK Tour Announced for Little Bulb Theatre's Acclaimed Production of Orpheus

By Carolin Kopplin

Following two sold-out runs at Battersea Arts Centre and at the world-renowned Salzburg Festival, Little Bulb Theatre’s critically-acclaimed production of Orpheus will play at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre as part of the 2015 Deloitte Ignite Festival (15-19 Sept), Bristol Old Vic (23-26 Sept), Nuffield Southampton (29 Sept-3 Oct), Liverpool Everyman (20-24 Oct) and Birmingham Repertory Theatre (28-31 Oct) on its first-ever UK tour. 

Little Bulb Theatre’s Orpheus is an original musical re-imagining of the epic Greek myth inspired by the music of legendary jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt.

1930s Paris: charismatic songstress Yvette Pépin has cajoled the guitar virtuoso, Django Reinhardt, into joining her in a brand new production of Orpheus. He will play the tragic hero, she will play his lost love Eurydice. Together with her troupe of operatic players she tells the thrilling tale of Orpheus’s ill-fated descent into the underworld, set to a live score of hot club jazz, opera and French chanson.

Formed in 2008, Little Bulb Theatre has been widely applauded for its genre-shifting approach and readiness to embrace fresh challenges with every new production. From fantastical balletic farce to folk opera to intimate character pieces, no two shows are ever the same. Developed over two years at Battersea Arts Centre, Orpheus is the Company’s largest-scale and most ambitious production to-date. 

Music has played an integral part in all of Little Bulb’s past productions but Orpheus puts it right at its heart: it is entirely sung-through in a veritable musical feast including original compositions alongside Bach, Monteverdi, Edith Piaf and Debussy. In developing the show, members of the Company learnt the double bass, clarinet and slide-whistle from scratch then hit the road to play gigs across the UK as a real-life jazz band. To elevate his guitar technique to that of a maestro, performer Dominic Conway trained and lived alongside Lollo 
Meier, a travelling guitar virtuoso much like Django Reinhardt.

Little Bulb Theatre’s Artistic Director, Alexander Scott, was nominated for the Salzburg Festival’s Young Director’s Award in 2014 for the boldness of innovation in Orpheus. This is the third nomination that the Salzburg Festival has given to productions commissioned and developed at Battersea Arts Centre following Ontroerend Goed’s A Game of You (2010) and 1927’s The Animals and Children Took to the Streets (2013).

Orpheus is written and devised by Little Bulb Theatre and directed by Alexander Scott, with design by Mary Drummond, puppets by Max Humphries and sound design by Ed Clarke. It is performed by Clare Beresford, Dominic Conway, Miriam Gould, Eugénie Pastor, Charlie Penn, Tom Penn, Alexander Scott and Shamira Turner. Orpheus is a Little Bulb Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre co-production.

Listings information:

Deloitte Ignite, Royal Opera House, Linbury Studio Theatre
15 – 19 September 
Performances Tues-Fri at 19:45, Sat at 13:30 & 18:00      
Book tickets:
 / 020 7304 4000 (Currently on sale to members. General booking opens 14 July, 9am)

Bristol Old Vic 
23 – 26 September
Performances Weds-Fri at 19:30, Sat at 14:30 & 19:30
Book tickets: / 0117 987 7877

Nuffield Southampton 
29 September – 3 October
Performances Tues-Fri at 19:30, Sat at 14:30 & 19:30
Book tickets: / 023 8067 1771

Liverpool Everyman 
20 – 24 October
Performances Tues, Weds, Fri at 19:30; Thurs at 17:30; Sat at 14:00 & 19:30
Book tickets: / 0151 709 4776 (on sale soon)

Birmingham Repertory Theatre 
28 – 31 October
Performances Weds & Thurs at 19:00; Fri & Sat at 19:45
Book tickets: / 0121 236 4455

Jun 6th

New Season at the Orange Tree Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin


Announcing Paul Miller’s second season as Artistic Director of the Orange Tree Theatre

  • Artistic Director Paul Miller announces a season of collaborations, rediscoveries and new work, building on the success of his inaugural season which attracted over 40,000 people to the 168-seat venue (90% capacity), with nearly 1 in 3 people new to the Theatre (45% for Pomona) and over 2,000 discounted seats sold to under 30s.
  • The season opens with the first major revival of Sharman Macdonald’s When We Were Women, in a co-production with Snapdragon, directed by their Artistic Director Eleanor Rhode (Toast at the Park Theatre, Teddy at Southwark Playhouse).
  • Paul Miller revives Terence Rattigan’s comedy French Without Tears, getting its first full-scale London revival in a generation.
  • Following a sell-out run in 2014, Deborah Bruce’s The Distance returns in a co-production with Sheffield Theatres where it opens.
  • £12 tickets available to under 30s across 50 performances.
  • Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns visits the OT for Christmas from Wizard
  • Also, the Orange Tree presents 75 performances this autumn elsewhere with Alistair McDowall’s Pomona at the National Theatre and the Royal Exchange Theatre, and The Distance in the Studio at Sheffield Theatres.
  • Richard Humphreys appointed Chair of the Board of Trustees and Kate Ellis Vice Chair.
  • The Orange Tree offers opportunities to emerging directors through the J.P. Morgan Award with the National Theatre Studio and with an MA in Directing in collaboration with St Mary’s University.
  • Take Part, the OT’s education and participation work involves over 20,000 people from the local community every year, including the return of Fun Palaces for a second time on 4 October after the phenomenal success of last year’s nationwide event.

Paul Miller comments: “I'm delighted to announce an autumn programme which is a classic Orange Tree mix of contemporary work and rare revivals. And two of last year's smash hits return: The Distance and Pomona. We are no longer regularly funded by the Arts Council but our spirit of adventure remains strong: more new work is in the pipeline for early in 2016 and we're really proud to be collaborating with Snapdragon, Sheffield Theatres, Wizard, the NT and the Royal Exchange to deliver this autumn's five exciting productions.” 

Priority booking for members opens from Mon 1 June at 10am

Public booking opens Wed 10 June at 10am

Box Office 020 8940 3633

May 26th

Old Vic New Voices Festival

By Carolin Kopplin

19 June - 24 July

The Old Vic

Celebrating the work of exceptional and emerging playwrights, Old Vic New Voices is delighted to invite you to the Old Vic New Voices Festival, which will include readings of plays from the US & UK, a dynamic schools tour, the showcase of a new musical and fresh performances from The Old Vic Community Company.

Produced, directed and performed by the most exciting emerging and established talent that the industry has to offer, they will be staged in front of an invited industry audience with limited tickets on general release via a ticket lottery.

For more information about the plays, playwrights and directors and to enter our lottery, please click here

May 21st

Chichester's Festival of Theatre for Under 25s

By Cameron Lowe


Anyone aged 16 to 25 can now buy £8.50 tickets to some of the summer's biggest and best productions at Chichester Festival Theatre. 

These £8.50 tickets are released for sale just one month before each production opens, often making them the only seats available for the hottest shows.

So this summer you can get your hands on exclusive tickets for our large scale, feel-good musicals A Damsel in Distress and Mack & Mabel, as well as for sold out drama Educating Rita and the theatrical event of the year, our Young Chekhov season. You might even catch a famous face or two!

Don't miss out on seeing some of the biggest and best productions on the South Coast and sign up to our 16 to 25 mailing list for the latest news and ticket releases.

The first of big musical of the Festival Season opens this month. With a stellar cast featuring Richard Fleeshman and Summer Strallen, £8.50 tickets are already going fast.


Arguably the hottest ticket of the Festival 2015 season, £8.50 tickets are currently the only remaining seats for this classic Willy Russell two-hander with Lenny Henry and Lashana Lynch.


Following on from the success of Gypsy last year, we're pleased to present another dazzling Broadway musical as Michael Ball returns to Chichester in Mack & Mabel. £8.50 tickets go on sale Friday 12 June.


Don't miss this unique theatrical event and see Chekhov’s early plays performed together for the first time. Enjoy all three over different days or as one intense theatrical experience on trilogy days.

Apr 21st

New Summer Season at the Finborough Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

The Finborough Theatre celebrates its 35th year with a Summer Season of even more vibrant new plays and unique rediscoveries.

The season opens with the return of the Finborough Theatre's occasional TheGreatWar100 series with a rediscovery – commissioned by the Finborough Theatre – and a new play. Commemorating the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign, the first UK production in over fifty years of Alan Seymour’s The One Day of the Year – directed by Wayne Harrison, former Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company, and starring Mark Little runs from 19 May to 13 June 2015. Alongside it, Stony Broke in No Man’s Land, a world premiere written and directed by John Burrows, is performed by two original members of the Number 1 chart-topping group, The Flying Pickets, plays on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 24 May to 9 June. There are also two afternoon staged readings ofMiss Wilson's Waterloo, a new play by Ellis Jones and Martin Wimbush, on Wednesday, 10 and Thursday, 11 June to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo.

In June and July, Purni Morell, Artistic Director of the Unicorn Theatre, directs the first major revival of Ted Whitehead’s Alpha Beta for more than forty years, playing from 18 June to 18 July. It is accompanied by the world premiere of A Third by award-winning Chicago playwright Laura Jacqmin, playing on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 21 June to 14 July.

The season culminates with two world premieres. Previously seen as a sold out Sunday/Monday/Tuesday run at the Finborough Theatre in 2013, and following an acclaimed National Tour, Operation Crucible by new playwright Kieran Knowles returns to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, from 28 July to 22 August. It is accompanied by a new play from the award-winning Finborough Playwright on Attachment Steven Hevey – We Know Where You Live plays Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, 2 to 18 August 2015.

For full information, please visit

Apr 17th


By Kirstie Niland

Preston Charter Theatre Announces Diamond Cast for 60th Anniversary Tour 

As Preston Charter Theatre prepares to host The Mousetrap, a diamond cast has been revealed for the 60th anniversary tour. The line-up includes a host of actors and actresses well-known to the theatre and the world of TV soaps. 

Hester Arden (Macbeth, Orange Tree Theatre) will appear 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 2014 tour as Sgt Trotter and Mrs Boyle respectively.

The Mousetrap, which originally opened in 1952 starring the late Richard Attenborough and his wife Sheila Sim, is famous around the world for being the longest running show of any kind in the history of British theatre, with over 25,000 performances.

The scene is set when a group of people gathered in a country house cut off by the snow discover, to their horror, that there is a murderer in their midst. Who can it be? One by one the suspicious characters reveal their sordid pasts until at the last, nerve-shredding moment the identity and the motive are finally revealed. 

Preston theatre-goers will not be disappointed as The Mousetrap tour has had some rave reviews so far: “The cleverest murder mystery of British Theatre” The Telegraph; “A truly entertaining classic thriller” The Sunday Times; “Deservedly a classic among murder thrillers” The Observer.

Dame Agatha Christie’s suspense story features a brilliantly intricate plot where murder lurks around every corner. Don’t miss the chance to find out whodunnit at the Preston Charter Theatre.

Photograph features previous cast of the 60th anniversary tour - by Helen Maybanks Photography

Tickets: Tuesday evening  £22, Wed – Thurs Eve/Sat Mat £27.50 & £25.50 Wed Mat All seats  £24,  Fri/Sat Eves  £29.50 & £27.50

Contact the Box Office on 01772 804444, or book online


Apr 14th

Elefeet Dance Festival at the Blue Elephant Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

Elefeet Dance Festival presents new dance work and runs from 7th until 29th April.

If You Leave  201 Dance Company 

16 – 18 April 

Can you stay true to yourself, when everything suggests you change? 

201’s raw, contemporary hip-hop movement returns in If You Leave: a story of two people's broken encounter. After acclaimed performances in New York and a sold out London debut at The Place, 201 Dance Company presents If You Leave as a full-length production for the first time. Touching on themes of addiction, obsession, and the true meaning of commitment, choreographer Andrea Walker directs a cast of eight dancers in a fast-paced, intimate performance exploring the relationship of two young men. 

Winner of the BDC Outstanding Award for concept choreography. 

Choreographer: Andrea Walker

Producer: Patrick Collier

Dancers: Luigi Ambrosio, Nicole Chen Wen Ni Michaela Cisariková, Heidi Clark, Saran Kohli, Fraser Murray, Simon Tichelaar & Andrea Walker

Lighting Designer: Louisa Smurthwaite  

Dates & Time: Thursday 16 – Saturday 18 April at 8pm


Bridging the VoidExperiential Dance 

21 & 22 April 

Film, dance and music interlace to create an immersive and mesmerizing sunrise experience inspired by the Native American saying Every Night is followed by Sunrise. 

From darkness, through sunrise to dawn light, the performance unfolds around the audience, who are invited to wander, encounter and react to the production as it develops. Each person’s experience will be unique and personal.  

Recommended for ages 12 upwards

Choreographer: Rachel Johnson

Camera Operator: Jonathon Binks

Composer: James Welland

Cast: Elzbieta Kowalik, Eleanor Palmer & Clélia Vuille 

Dates & Time: Tuesday 21 & Wednesday 22 April at 8pm


Once Upon a Midnight Dreary

24 & 25 April

A Dance Double Bill 

Sonámbulas is a collaborative exploration of the world of dreams. Three characters delve into the subconscious through dynamic, frenzied movement sequences; their stories and emotions becoming tangled in the sounds of live accordion. Sonámbulas take a trip into our subconscious where unrelated images and absurd stories exist.  

Choreographer: Justyna Sochaj

Musician & Composer: Martina Schwarz

Dancers: Dorota Popińska , Nashira Santanatalia-Goméz &  Justyna Sochaj  

NonFiction Dance present Little Red Riding Hood, a new piece inspired by the Grimm brothers’ famous fairy tale. 

We’ve all heard the fairy tale. The little girl in a red cape, her encounter with the evil wolf in a dark woods...The story has been narrated through centuries, capturing imaginations and inspiring fear in children and adults alike. But who was the girl hiding underneath the red cape? And how did the story really end?  

Little Red Riding Hood explores the mysteries of this beloved character, re-examining her relationship with the wolf and re-imagining her fate. 

You will never think of Little Red Riding Hood the same way again. 

Choreographer: NonFiction Dance

Dancers: Rowena Evans, Dorota Popińska, Juan Ignacio Serradilla Mazuelas & Martina Vojtkova

 Dates & Time: Friday 24 – Saturday 25 April at 8pm 


In Memoriam

28 & 29 April

 A reflection on the transformation which happens to people, their lives and their concept of normality during times of war. 

In Memoriam is dedicated to women of the First World War - women who become the 'army behind the army'; women the bomb-makers, women the fighters, women who 'stayed behind', women addressed in thousands of letters and poems.

It is also a contemplation on war’s parallel realities, as history and events repeat themselves across space and time.  

Inspired by war-time imagery and poetry of The Great War and performed by an exceptionally skilled group of dancers and musicians, In Memoriam brings together an explosive mix of flamenco and contemporary dance. 

Direction and choreography: Masha Gurina

Original music by: Steve Homes

Film-making by: Remigiusz Sowa

Dancers: Elsa Arcaute, Carolina Esteves & Laura Heywood

Musicians: Steve Homes (guitar), Demi Garcia Sabat (percussions), Javier Macias (singer) & Angela Moreno (singer) 

Dates & Time: Tuesday 28 & Wednesday 29 April at 8pm


Further information:

Blue Elephant Theatre



Apr 5th

Write Now Festival at the Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

By Carolin Kopplin

The Jack Studio Theatre is delighted to announce its annual playwriting festival WRITE NOW 6, running from the 9th to the 30th May 2015. The WRITE NOW festival, now in its 6th year, is a playwriting festival of new work that is dedicated to the south east London region and is an essential part of the theatre’s annual programme to showcase and support emerging playwrights and their work. It is a festival of new writing performances, workshops and events to engage and develop the talent of people who live, work and study in this area.

Three full length plays and seven shorts have been chosen for the festival. rock paper scissors by Olga Nikora (full production) directed by Kate Bannister Talking to Alice by Lucinda Burnett (staged reading) directed by Tanith Lindon Dog Country by Joseph Wilde (staged reading), directed by Mark Leipacher

Write Now Shorts

To launch this year's Write Now Festival there is a selection of short plays. Chosen from submissions to the Jack, these plays explore different aspects of this year’s theme: Lead Us. The Jack is giving playwrights the chance to show the world what a real leader looks like (or failing that, to show us where we’re going wrong). Heart warming, thought-provoking and humorous, these short plays are drawn from UK and international submissions. Footprints by Joe Murphy and Joe Robertson, Four Interrogations by Maximillian Singh Gill, Queens of the Realm by Ian August, Roleplay by Nick Myles, The Catch by Tom Harvey, The Soldier by Chris Paxton, True Grit by Judy Upton

Saturday 9 May to Saturday 30 May 2015

Jack Studio Theatre, 410 Brockley Road, London, SE4 2DH

Further information: : Brockley Jack Studio Theatre