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Dec 9th

The Finborough Presents "Pig Girl" - a Controversial New Play from Canada

By Carolin Kopplin

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In a new production commissioned by the Finborough Theatre and originally seen as a staged reading as part of Vibrant– A Festival of Finborough Playwrights, and part of its Winter Season of 20 Premieres, the European premiere of Pig Girl by former Canadian Playwright-in-Residence at the Finborough Theatre, Colleen Murphy, runs at the Finborough Theatre, playing twelve Sunday and Monday evenings from Sunday, 11 January 2015. 

The play was inspired by real events. For eighty-five minutes, a Killer holds a Dying Woman captive in a secluded barn. Their names say it; there is noescaping the horrific conclusion. 

In the empty space on either side are the Dying Woman’s Sister and a Police Officer. Their action spans nine years as the sister beats her head against a police force agonizingly slow to investigate the disappearance of marginalized sex workers.

The play gives a fictional victim’s story back to her as she fights to refuse the inevitable. It will not help her, but her heroic defiance gives voice to thousands of women whose lives or spirits have been lost to violence.

Pig Girl received its world premiere in November 2013 in a hugely controversial production at Theatre Network in edmonton, Alberta. It recently won Canada's prestigious Carol Bolt Award, sponsored by Playwrights Canada Press, the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, and Playwrights Guild of Canada, for the best new by a Playwrights Guild of Canada member that has premiered in the past year.

Playwright Colleen Murphy is the former Canadian Playwright in Residence at the Finborough Theatre where her previous productions have included The December Man (L’homme de decembre),The Goodnight BirdThe PiperBeatingHeart Cadaver and Armstrong's War. Since 2010, Colleen has been guest playwright at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton, Canada and was Playwright-in-Residence at The Factory Theatre in Toronto in 2011/2012. Currently, as the LeePlaywright-in-Residence at the University of Alberta, Canada, she is working on three new plays, as well as libretti for new operas with composers Aaron Gervais and Andrew Staniland. Murphy’s play, The December Man (L’homme de décembre), won the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama. Her large opera, The Enslavemant and Liberation of Oksana G, composed by Aaron Gervais, will be produced by Tapestry New Opera in Toronto in 2015. Murphy is also an award winning filmmaker.

Director Helen Donnelly is a former Resident Assistant Director at the Finborough Theatre where she assisted on Almost Near, John Ferguson, Hostage Song and The Immortal Hour. Trained at Royal Holloway University of London with a MA in Theatre Directing. Direction includes includes Scumbags (Richmix), Corrections (Intermission Theatre), Far Away (Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast), About A Goth (Black Box Theatre, Belfast), Lead Astray (MAC, Belfast), Sitting Up For Michael (Northern Irish Tour) and Forgotten Footfalls (Ulster Hall Group Space, Belfast). Assistant Direction includesassisting Lynne Parker on Macbeth (Lyric Theatre, Belfast), Oliver Mears on Hansel and Gretel (Gaiety Theatre, Dublin) and Jamie Harper on The Return of Colmcille (Walk The Plank) for Derry/Londonderry City of Culture.                                                                         

Sundays and Mondays, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 January, 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16 February 2015

Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED

Box Office 0844 847 1652  

Book online at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk

Performance Length: Approximately 90 minutes with no interval.

Dec 3rd

Cinderella

By Kirstie Niland

Take Your Family to the Ball This Christmas

at The Dukes, Lancaster

This festive season, The Dukes presents a brand new take on the classic fairytale, Cinderella.

Performed in The Round at the Lancaster theatre, this new version of Cinderella has been adapted by awardwinning writer, Ian Kershaw.

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The father of two has written a modern version of Cinderella of which he hopes his daughters will be proud.

Set on a Northern farm, The Dukes Christmas show tells the story of gutsy teenager, Ella, whose family have hit hard times and whose sisters – recently relocated from Essex – are making her life a misery.

As Ella begins to dream of a better world, news hits of a party at the palace – is this the ticket to her future?

With live music and songs plus fantastic puppets, Cinderella promises a theatrical treat for all the family. It’s the perfect show for all party-goers aged 5 plus.

Cinderella is the third Dukes Christmas production in The Round to be directed by Joe Sumsion.

He said: “In recent years The Dukes has developed a reputation for fantastic seasonal shows with a big heart, performed in The Round, where the audience are in touching distance of the action. Cinderella will continue this – it will be a funny, joyful piece of theatre with broad appeal.”

   Cinderella runs at The Dukes until January 10.

   To ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org

Photograph by Darren Andrews


Dec 3rd

The Bishop’s Wife for Age UK Lancashire

By Kirstie Niland

The Dukes Lancaster

Celebrate Christmas with a seasonal movie at the The Dukes Journey Café.

The Bishop’s Wife (U) starring Cary Grant and David Niven was a big hit with audiences way back in 1947. It tells the story of a bishop trying to get a new cathedral built. He prays for guidance and an angel arrives, in the form of Cary Grant.

The Bishop’s Wife will be shown at The Dukes cinema in Lancaster on December 15 as part of a series of arts events presented in association with Age UK Lancashire for people with memory problems and their families.

This pioneering scheme has attracted national publicity and featured on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour recently.

Before the film begins, free tea/coffee and pastries are available in The Dukes foyer for all ticket holders which provides the chance for a social get-together.

During the screening, which is open to everyone, some changes are made to lighting and sound to ensure that a comfortable environment is created. There will be an interval during the film when the audience can join in a festive singalong.

Tickets for The Bishop’s Wife are £4 including tea/coffee and a pastry. An accompanying carer/family member goes free.

To book tickets, contact The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org/journeycafe

Nov 20th

The Grand Tour Is Cast!

By Carolin Kopplin

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Alastair BrookshawNick Kyle and Zoë Doano are to head the cast for the European première of Jerry Herman’s 1979 Broadway musical, The Grand Tour, directed by Thom Southerland, at the Finborough Theatre as part of the 20 Premières Season.

Produced by Danielle Tarento, The Grand Tour will run for an eight-week strictly limited season from Thursday, 1 January to Saturday 21 February.

France, 1940. Jacobowsky, a Polish Jewish intellectual, has been one step ahead of the Nazis for years. Stjerbinsky, an aristocrat, anti semitic Polish colonel is desperately trying to get to England. Jacobowsky has purchased a car he doesn’t know how to drive. The Colonel knows how to drive, but has no car. When the two meet at a Paris hotel, they agree to join forces in order to escape the approaching Nazis. Together with the Colonel’s girlfriend, Marianne, they begin their perilous journey on the road to freedom. Featuring one of Jerry Herman’s most engrossing and heartfelt scores, The Grand Tour finds beauty, light and humour in one of history’s darkest hours. 

Alastair Brookshaw (Jacobowsky) received rave reviews for his starring role as Leo Frank in Thom Southerland’s critically  acclaimed production of Parade at Southwark Playhouse. Alastair’s West End shows include Cabaret and Blood Brothers, with him understudying Eddie. He was in Craig Revel Horwood’s revival of Hot Mikado at the Watermill Theatre, and he was a vocalist in the dance musical Shoesat Sadler’s Wells. He recently premièred the one-man Oscar Wilde musical, De Profundis, winner of Leicester Square Theatre’s The New Musical Project. 

Nik Kyle (The Colonel) hails from New Zealand, where he starred as Chris in the NZ premiere of Miss Saigon. His other musicals include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar, Anthony in Sweeney Todd, Emcee in Cabaret and Assassins

Zoë Doano (Marianne) was in the musicals Sweet Smell of Success (Arcola), High Society (UK tour) and Les Miserables (West End). 

The rest of the cast are: Michael Cotton (Parade, Victor/Victoria, The Tailor Made Man, Martin Guerre, My Fair Lady, Oliver!), Laurel Dougall, Elizabeth Graham (Alvaro’s Balcony, Candide, Salad Days, Cabaret), Natasha Karp, Vincent Pirillo (Sweeney Todd, Chichester, The Phantom of the Opera, The Woman in White, Ragtime, Fiddler on the Roof), Blair Robertson, Samuel J Weir (Dogfight, Monkee Business, Parade, Spring Awakening), Lizzie Wofford.

The creative team consists of: 

Director Thom Southerland

Choreographer Cressida Carré

Musical Director Joanna Cichonska 

Set Designer Philip Lindley

Costume Designer Sophia Simensky

Sound Designer Max Pappenheim

Producer & Casting Director Danielle Tarento

Jerry Herman (Music and Lyrics) is one of Broadway’s most prolific composers, whose best known works include Hello, Dolly!, MameLa Cage aux Folles and Mack & Mabel. He has been nominated for the Tony Award five times, and won twice, for Hello, Dolly! and  La Cage aux Folles. In 2009, Herman received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. 

Michael Stewart (Book) made his Broadway debut with Bye Bye Birdie in 1960. He won two Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical for Hello, Dolly! and was further nominated for Mack & Mabel, Carnival!, I Love My Wife, Barnum, 42nd Street andHarrigan ‘n’ Hart. 

Mark Bramble (Book) has been nominated for the Tony Award three times: for Best Book of a Musical for Barnum and 42nd Street and Best Direction of a Musical for 42nd Street.

Thom Southerland (Director) was longlisted Best Newcomer in the 2011 Evening Standard Awards for Parade. He was named Best Director at the 2011 The Offies - Off West End Theatre Awards - for Me And Juliet at the Finborough. He directed Titanic, Victor/Victoria, Mack & Mabel and Parade (Southwark Playhouse); Daisy Pulls It Off, Irving Berlin’s Call Me Madam! (Upstairs At The Gatehouse); the European première of I Sing!, Divorce Me, Darling!, Annie Get Your Gun, The Pajama Game and sold-out all-male adaptations of Gilbert and Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore and The Mikado (Union); Noël and Gertie (Cockpit); the European première of The Unsinkable Molly Brown(Landor); and the European première of State Fair (Finborough & transfer to Trafalgar Studios).

Danielle Tarento (Producer and Casting Director) was named Best Producer at the 2012 Off West End Awards and recently won Best Off West End Production at the 2014 Whatsonstage Awards and Best Musical Production at the 2014 Off West End Awards for Titanic at Southwark Playhouse. She has also produced Dogfight, Victor/Victoria, Mack & Mabel, Parade, Company and Three Sisters at Southwark Playhouse; Taboo (Brixton Clubhouse); The Pitchfork Disney (Arcola); Burlesque, Drowning on Dry Land (Jermyn Street); Noël and Gertie (Cockpit). She is co-founder of the Menier Chocolate Factory and co-produced all in-house shows 2004 - 2006, including Sunday In The Park With George, which received a West End transfer and five Olivier Awards.


THE GRAND TOUR

Finborough Theatre 
118 Finborough Road
London SW10 9ED

Box Office: 0844 847 1652

www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk

Thursday 1st January - 21st February

Nov 14th

THE DUKES LANCASTER SEEKS DIRECTORS

By Kirstie Niland

An awardwinning Lancaster theatre is seeking new independent directors to help plan the next phase of its development.

The Dukes is a producing theatre, independent cinema and creativity centre and an essential part of Lancashire and Lancaster life. 

Following six years of audience growth and increased creative output, The Dukes needs new independent directors to join its board. 

Two vacancies have arisen which need to be filled and a third position will become vacant in May 2015.

As with the majority of publicly supported arts organisations, The Dukes is managed by a voluntary, unpaid board of directors. 

The company is looking for candidates with a broad background who are willing to offer their skills to enable The Dukes to achieve its ambitious goals.  It is particularly keen to recruit people who have experience of fundraising and in capital development.

To request an application pack, contact Jacqui Wilson, theatre secretary, on 01524 598506; email jwilson@dukes-lancaster.org or complete an information request form at the Box Office.

The closing date for receipt of completed applications is December 3, 2014.

Oct 24th

THE STAGE IS SET FOR PRESTON'S PERFORMANCE OF A LIFETIME

By Kirstie Niland

Simon Rigby holds the keys to success as he and right-hand man, Richard Simkin, begin to breathe life back into the Guild Hall & Charter Theatre

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As a Prestonian for 25 years I am proud to say I was there at the very moment Simon Rigby got the call to sign the contract at Preston Town Hall. The one that means he now owns the Guild Hall & Charter Theatre.

This promises to be an important historic moment. For the local tycoon and entrepreneur plans to reverse its decline over the last decade and put it on the North West map as a top “cultural hub for entertainment, education and eating.”

As I sit in the brand new Leaf or Bean cafe, on the first day it opens its doors, the tables are still being painted and there’s a smell of coffee and a definite buzz in the air. It’s exciting to think of the impact Simon and his hand-picked team of experts are about to have on Preston. By investing £1m in updating the Guild Hall and putting a £250,000 fund into local arts projects Simon has not only rescued one of Preston’s cultural gems, he is about to make it a much-needed jewel in the city’s crown.

As a reporter in the 90s I regularly reviewed famous names of the day there. Highlights for me as a 20-something not long out of college were comedy acts such as Newman & Baddiel, Smith & Jones, and indie band The Wonderstuff. So it’s great to look across from the Leaf or Bean and see that Preston’s popular comedy club, the Frog & Bucket, has recently moved in, and to hear that the closure of music venue 53 Degrees will not mean the end of live bands coming to Preston.

And since Simon owns the Villa Group, the new Preston Guild Hall will also be hot on hospitality, offering corporate and wedding events, a wine bar and five eateries, alongside select retail and business units.

Even though the keys have only just been handed over, the makeover on the 1970s building has already begun. The trees masking its faded facade have been uprooted and a bright and airy new design is planned for its revival. A tapas bar will be open in time for this year’s panto, Snow White, starring Jimmy Cricket, and other shows already programmed include the best-selling West End musical Avenue Q and Waiting for Godot.

The stage is being set for the performance of Preston’s lifetime.

 “The Guild Hall is a fantastic venue in a city centre location, with the bonus of a 2,200 capacity arena and 780 seat theatre at the top” says Simon. When it was built it was the biggest arena in England but it hasn’t moved on and has gone into a downward spiral. The big acts haven’t been coming. The Guild Hall needs to be much more enterprising and appeal to all ages.

“The way to do that is to go back to how Preston was built and that was by investing in the infrastructure for people to use it. Nobody is more pleased about this handover than Preston City Council. They knew what the place needed but were governed by rules. Everything had to be zero risk as they were spending taxpayers’ money. They couldn’t risk putting on speculative events.”

Under private ownership The Guild Hall will not be under the same restrictions, and Simon seems confident about taking the risk himself. He certainly has the passion to make it happen. “I’m Preston born and bred and Preston is very special to me. It has started off as an act of philanthropy but hopefully won’t remain that,” he quips.

Simon is the CEO of Farmgen, an anaerobic-digestion power company, and owner of over 150 properties, as well as the Villa Group, which has venues at Wrea Green, PNE and what used to be the Fairfield Arms at the M55 junction at Kirkham. How does he manage to be a Jack of all trades and the master of all them too?

“I just facilitate it all,” he explains. “There are four MDs, all specialists in their own areas. I have people who know what they’re doing and understand what’s needed, people I can trust. If you’re in the hospitality business and about to launch one of the premier venues in Lancashire then my Head of Operations, Richard Simkin, is the guy to run it.”

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Simon and right-hand man Richard Simkin at the official Mayoral handover

Despite the busy schedule and not feeling well (he jokes it’s man flu) Richard is alert and gearing up for the public handover. At 30 Richard has a formidable CV under his belt. One of his most high profile projects was the set up and launch of a 250 cover restaurant at Liverpool Football Club. The Boot Room Cafe was the first of an international franchise.

Born into his family’s hospitality business, Richard grew up as a regular at West End shows, and his wealth of personal and professional experience means he is cool, calm and collected about spearheading this latest venture. Like the Villa’s takeover of the Fairfield Arms the transformation of the Guild Hall seems to be happening overnight.

“It has to happen overnight,” he says. “You can’t worry about what colour you’re going to paint the walls, you have to knuckle down and get on with business. Everything should be done here within 6-12 months.

“We need to work around the panto as we don’t want steel girders being hoisted up when families are coming in, so there will be a couple more soft launches as things happen but they will happen quickly.”

What else can we expect on the What’s On list? “There is a massive programming consultation in progress along with other projects. We don’t have a resident company, we are just a receiving theatre at the moment but there are big plans for school programmes and community education, with partnerships already forged with Preston College and UCLAN.  We are also in discussions with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and with the Lowry regarding shared acts. Watch this space.”

Simon is looking forward to seeing the line-up, which he knows he will enjoy. “I’ve never seen live theatre that hasn’t been fantastic.”

To date, the business deal Simon is most famous for is the sale of Spice, the utility group that was sold to private equity for £251m, earning him £21m. Under his ownership Spice moved to up to the FTSE 250 Index just weeks into its debut on the London Stock Exchange's main list. “They said ‘you’ve done the impossible’ and they still think it’s impossible,” smiled Simon.

Which makes you believe 100 per cent in a thriving future for the new Preston Guild Hall and Charter Theatre. As Richard said...watch this space!

 

Check out the new website and branding here.

Photographs courtesy of Sue Blackhurst, SusieQ Photography

 

Oct 21st

LAFFALANG Returns to Westovian Theatre for Yuletide Japes

By Cameron Lowe
The Laffalang will return to the Westovian Theatre,  South Shields,  in December due to popular demand.
 
Christmas LAFFALANG

The comedy show, which was first performed last December at the Stand Comedy Club in Newcastle (250 attended), has already gained a strong following with 275 people attending the Summer Laffalang in July.
 
The Laffalang, which comprises themed comedy sketches linked by a stand-up comedian, was performed at the Westovian Theatre in Ocean Road and it will return to the venue on Friday and Saturday, December 5 and 6, when the theme is Christmas.
 
Laffalang producer and director Gareth Hunter said: “The response to both shows has been fantastic. People are now talking about the Laffalang and constantly asking when the next one is.
 
“The sketches are written by Ed and the cast includes Paul Dunn (Dracula in Dracula: Die Laughing), whose latest success is I Left My Heart in Roker Park, and panto legend Bob Stott who dons the Widow Twanky costume for three sketches (including the Queen’s Speech). A special sketch has been written for the original Dirty Dusting trio of Helen Russell Gwen Doran and Jean Southern, who are sold off as slaves. Other sketches include the Geordie Nativity (Part 2), The Fabulous Five in an all-new spiffing adventure (huge favourites since their introduction in the Summer Laffalang) and The End of the World is Nigh. The other wonderful cast members are Viktoria  Kay (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Durham) Dylan Mortimer (Son of Samurai) and Rosie Ramsey (I Am Christ Ramsey TV sketch show).  
Gareth added: “Every sketch is different from last year’s Xmas Laffalang. Once again it will be hilarious. The read through took a lot longer than it should have because we were howling with laughter.
 
“Any work groups looking for a great Christmas evening out should come along. It’ll be a cracking night.”
 
Tickets for the Christmas Laffalang cost £10 and are now on sale from the Tourist Information Centre in Haven Point Sports Centre (opposite the Westovian Theatre).  0191 424 7788
Oct 17th

FEE FI FO FUM..GUESS WHAT'S COMING TO BIRMINGHAM

By Kirstie Niland

Jack and the Beanstalk is on the Hippodrome this Christmas and it features a GIANT cast!

This year's panto has one of biggest bills ever, starring JANE MCDONALD, DUNCAN JAMES and CHRIS GASCOYNE, alongside the comedy trio of GARY WILMOT, PAUL ZERDIN and MATT SLACK, who were a huge hit with audiences in Snow White.

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Jane McDonald, singer, actress and broadcaster, who will play the role of The Enchantress, quickly rose to fame and became a national treasure when she hit our screens in the popular BBC documentary, The Cruise. Since then Jane has released several award-winning albums, toured the UK with her own shows, appeared on countless TV programmes, and from 2004 to earlier this year, hosted Loose Women. Jane released her latest album Singer of Your Song in March and is currently on tour around the UK. Jack and the Beanstalk marks Jane’s panto debut.

Playing the title role of Jack is singer, songwriter, television presenter, actor and all-round entertainer Duncan James. Best-known as a member of the band Blue, which reformed in 2009 following a four-year break, Duncan has appeared in the West End in Chicago and Legally Blonde, and has appeared on numerous television programmes, including Soapstar Superstar, and Dancing on Ice where he made it to the final.

Chris Gascoyne, who plays Fleshcreep, is best-known for his role as Peter Barlow in Coronation Street. Nominated for numerous awards in the British Soap Awards his television character is currently involved in one of the biggest storylines on the Street for the past few years. Chris has also appeared in Between the Lines, Soldier Soldier and New Street Law.

Back by popular demand following their hilarious antics in last year’s Hippodrome pantomime, Gary Wilmot plays Dame Trot, Paul Zerdin plays Simple Simon, and Matt Slack takes on the role of Silly Billy.

Staged by Qdos Entertainment, the world’s largest pantomime producer, Jack and the Beanstalk is directed by Michael Harrison who created last year’s record-breaking pantomime at the Theatre.

“We are thrilled that Jane, Duncan and Chris will lead the country’s biggest pantomime.” said Michael. “The sensational and outstanding cast, combined with stunning sets, fabulous costumes and top-drawer production values will make Jack and the Beanstalk another unmissable Birmingham Hippodrome pantomime.”

Stuart Griffiths, Chief Executive, Birmingham Hippodrome commented  “We are delighted to be working with Qdos Entertainment and Michael Harrison once again to build on last year’s record-breaking success with one of the biggest star bills ever assembled, promising great music and comedy in a magical production as spectacular as ever.”  

Jack and the Beanstalk runs at Birmingham Hippodrome from Friday 19 December 2014-Sunday 1 February 2015.   Performance times vary, enquire when booking. 

Captioned performances: Sun 4 Jan 1pm, Wed 7 Jan 7.15pm.  Signed performances: Sun 11 Jan 1pm & 5pm. Audio described performances: Wed 14 Jan 2pm.  Relaxed performance Thu 29 Jan 1pm.

Tickets: £14 - £40 and are available online www.birminghamhippodrome.com or telephone 0844 338 5000. 5% transaction charge applies (excl. cash sales in person) plus postage from £1. Phone calls from 5p per minute. Prices and discounting subject to change.
Oct 2nd

Colette Kelly Discusses the Return of Testing Times to Newcastle

By Cameron Lowe

Interview by Fiona Harvey

A compelling new play, coming to the Studio at The People’s Theatre, explores the impact of being diagnosed HIV+. Colette Kelly tells us more.

“People still have misconceptions and are ignorant about HIV,” states Colette Kelly in response to my asking her why she felt Testing Times was an important production to be involved in.

The Dublin-born actor, who made her debut in the original West End production of Hair, will take on the role of Brenda, a mother who discovers that her only son is HIV+, at The People’s Theatre in November.

“Testing Times will inform and educate people but, at the heart of it lies warmth and humour as the three characters strive to make sense of the situation they find themselves in,” she adds.

Surely, though, after the many public health campaigns surrounding HIV and AIDS, the need to ‘inform and educate’ is no longer an issue in the twenty-first century? Not according to Kelly.

Colette Kelly
Photo: Carl Procter 
 
“When I told a friend I’d be doing the play, she exclaimed: ‘A play about HIV? That’s a bit old hat, isn’t it?’ And there you have more than a good enough reason to give it another airing.”

Testing Times returns to the stage after a successful try-out at The Trent House last year, during which the play received critical acclaim and inspired cathartic outpourings of emotion from audiences.
“The play centres around Dominic (who contracts HIV), his partner, Chris, and his mother, Brenda,” explains Colette.

“Mine is a very meaty role. Many issues are raised for her: class, loyalty and her relationship with her husband Bob.”

The three-hander play has been described as being ‘as witty and uplifting as Calendar Girls; as profound and engaging as The Vagina Monologues; and as moving and emotive as Blood Brothers’.

“I think the set-up of having three characters on the stage, simultaneously, lends itself to the style of the play. Such is the quality of the writing that even those characters who are talked about, but do not appear, have a presence that is deeply felt.”

With an acting pedigree that includes stints on the West End alongside the likes of Richard Gere, repertory seasons throughout the United Kingdom and touring Ireland in a series of Beckett plays, what attracted Colette to a four-night run in Newcastle?

“The script and the issues it deals with,” she answers without hesitation. “The language is blunt and to the point, at times, so the play is not for the faint-hearted. Having said that, Testing Times will resonate with any audience – whatever their sexual orientation.”

Colette cannot wait for rehearsals to begin.
“I am looking forward to being part of a very collaborative process in the rehearsal room. I think all three of us have ideas and observations about our individual characters that we would like to explore, whilst also being conscious of not upsetting the balance of the script. I love the way in which the playwright has mixed humour with the seriousness of the issues concerned.”
 
Testing Times
The People’s Theatre Stephenson Road, Newcastle NE6 5QF 
Monday 17 – Thursday 20 November, 2014,
Tickets are priced at £11.50 (full) & £9.50 (concessions).
Telephone 07986 142281 or call the Box Office 0191 265 5020
Oct 2nd

Witches Take Flight in Eastwood in Support of Birds

By Cameron Lowe
“The Witches of Eastwick” Musical Plays at Eastwood Park Theatre
 
The Witches of Eastwick

Following on from sell-out productions of “Footloose” and “Fiddler on the Roof”, Theatre Guild Glasgow will be performing the hit musical “The Witches of Eastwick” at Eastwood Park Theatre from 7th – 11th October. 
 
The Witches of Eastwick is a  musical  based on the  novel of the same name  by  John Updike . It was adapted by  John Dempsey  (lyrics and book) and  Dana P. Rowe  (music), directed by Eric Schaeffer, and produced by  Cameron Mackintosh. 
 
The story surrounds Alexandra Spofford, Jane Smart, and Sukie Rougemont who are social outcasts in the sleepy town of Eastwick. Frustrated and bored by their mundane lives, a shared longing and desire for "all manner of man in one man" comes to life in the form of a charismatic stranger, a  devil -like character; Darryl Van Horne. Seducing each of the women in turn, Darryl teaches them how to further expand their powers locked within and, though their new unorthodox lifestyle, they scandalise the town. As their powers become more sinister and events spiral out of control, the women come to realise that Darryl's influence is corrupting everyone he comes into contact with and they resolve to use their new-found strength to exile him from their lives. 
 
RSPB In deciding whether to use the power of this bewitching musical for good or for evil, Theatre Guild elected to support our feathered friends via a donation to the RSPB. 10% of tickets sales from the Tuesday evening performance will be donated to the society dedicated to the protection of winged creatures around the UK.  As the show features ‘flying’ witches, this association couldn’t be more appropriate.  

The show is accompanied by a live band and directed by an experienced professional production team led by Artistic Director Alasdair Hawthorn, choreographed by Suzanne Shanks and musically directed by David Fisher. The cast of 40 local residents have been rehearsing for six months on evenings and weekends to ensure that this £35,000 production (which features some stunning effects) is ready for a live audience on the opening night. 
 
Tickets are already selling fast with only a small number remaining for the Friday and Saturday night.
 
Fly down to Eastwood Park Theatre where tickets are only £14.50 - £16.50.
 
 “The Witches of Eastwick”
Eastwood Park Theatre, Rouken Glen Road, Giffnock, Glasgow, G46 6UG
7th– 11th October 2014
Evenings:  7.30pm
Sat Matinee:  2.30pm
Tickets: £14.50 - £16.50
Box Office: 0141 577 4956
Web site: www.theatreguildglasgow.co.uk