For theatre... online, non-professional, amateur


If your society has done something special, gone the extra mile or perhaps one step beyond! then please let us know and you could be featured in Sardines.

Email us here at: and please don’t forget to take plenty of photos…

Our second One Step Beyond! features a strong never-say-die attitude and should serve as an example to us all that we shall not fade away but will, instead, come back stronger than before!

Based in Essex, Early Doors Productions has been going for just over ten years. Non-professional in status, the theatre company is headed up by LAMDA-trained, ex-professional actress, vocalist and dancer, Amy Clayton.

Amy likes to surround herself with fellow ex-professionals (such as her husband, Justin Cartledge, who often collaborates with Amy on adapting films into plays and/or musicals) but is also very keen to push new ideas at festivals and fringe events and give aspiring amateur actors in the area the chance to develop their skills with them.

Arguably like a myriad of other theatre companies across the country, EDP is determined to pick up where it left off before the pandemic so rudely burst on the scene and put a stop to the performing arts on 16 March last year.

Just before the worst fifteen months of our lives began, EDP performed the controversial and violent A Clockwork Orange at the start of March 2020 to great acclaim at regular venue – The Brentwood Theatre (read Michael Gray’s review for Sardines).

Rather than wait for the world to wake back up, Amy has been steadily becoming more and more active theatre-wise this year. After live-streaming two original one-act dramas (Caillte Lighthouse and Paperclip) back in November 2020, EDP doggedly continued to push on through the craziness with a live-streaming week of Raft (a one-act musical) and reduced audience performances of Alfie at the start of 2021. Raft – is also being taken to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next year (where West End hits, such as Six first breathed life). Justin Cartledge is also coming to The Brentwood Theatre on 21 Aug (for one day only) with Alfie. So you may wish to see one of the two performances on that day. According to the blurb… “After a special request from the rights holders for the show to air a repeat, the ultimate swinger is excited to return – but beware: this time when he’s gone, he’s gone!”

Elsewhere, the EDP crew have put their writing talents to the test and are planning to debut Blue Morpho, another one-act original musical written by Justin Cartledge and starring Amy Clayton. This challenging piece will be performed on 16-17 Sep 2021 and will be co-directed by Neil Gray, Laura-Leigh O’Donoghue and Darren Matthews. A venue is still to be comfirmed so the website will hopefully let you know as soon as details can be confirmed.

Halloween (EDP’s favourite time of the year for a classic horror – mild or otherwise!) sees Sleepy Hollow galloping across Brentwood Theatre’s stage from 28-30 Oct. Expect humour, hilarity, horror and ‘headlessness’ (is that even a word!). Some new blood is welcomed to the EDP cast for this one, although not literally. Colin Richardson and Jack Dobre will be joining Early Doors’ ranks for the run in Essex.

Finally for 2021, EDP’s NHS charity music night of Soul, Jazz & Blues will be held in Chelmsford at Ingatestone Hall on 12 & 13 Nov. 100% of ticket profits will go towards the NHS whose staff have played the biggest part in making all of the above possible. Here here! For the special concert, Amy Clayton will perform with Jennifer Bell, Ben Martins and Victoria Russell, faithfully accompanied by Darren Matthews.

Limited tickets are available by emailing EDP at



Heathers The Musical
Open now until 11 Sep 2021
Theatre Royal Haymarket, London SW1Y 4HT
and touring from 5 Aug – 11 Dec 2021
F: heathersthemusical / T & I: @HeathersMusical
Our latest coverstar, Jodie Steele, steals the show, deserving of its 5-star review (we attended on the third time of asking due to restrictions). The tour is produced by Bill Kenwright and Paul Taylor-Mills (also in this issue) and will be running while the West End production is still playing. The show is a cult hit and, true to form, has fans dressing up as the dastardly Heathers at each performance.

Jersey Boys
Open now until 2 Jan 2022
Trafalgar Theatre, London SW1A 2DY
F: JerseyBoysLondon / T & I: @JerseyBoysUK
The famous Tony, Grammy and Olivier Award-winning smash hit musical is led by Ben Joyce as Frankie Valli, Adam Bailey as Bob Gaudio, Benjamin Yates as Tommy De Vito and Karl James Wilson as Nick Massi, at the new multi-million pound reinstated Trafalgar Theatre. There are way too many hit numbers to list here!

The Phantom of the Opera
Open now, booking until 13 February 2022
Her Majesty’s Theatre, London SW1Y 4QL
F: ThePhantomOfTheOpera / T & I: @PhantomOpera
If the rumours are to be believed, the Phantom orchestra size has been cut in half during its mysterious closure. During the pandemic, Cameron Mackintosh appeared to announce the show was definitely closing permanently. Then, after a huge public backlash Andrew Lloyd Webber seemed to backtrack saying it would be back.
The new Christine, Lucy St Louis, is the first black woman to play the phantom’s love interest. Killian Donelly returns as the phantom himself while Rhys Whitfield takes on Raoul.


Open now, booking until 12 Dec 2021
Savoy Theatre, London WC2R 0ET
F & T: @PrettyWomanUK / I: prettywomanmusicaluk
Aimie Atkinson plays ‘Vivian Ward’ and Danny Mac as ‘Edward Lewis’ – two roles that Julia Roberts and Richard Gere made famous.
The songs famously come from Grammy winners Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance while choreography comes from the egendary Jerry Mitchell.

Open now, booking until 26 June 2022
Aldwych Theatre, London WC2B 4DF
F, T & I: @TinaTheMusical
Another show that is back to 100% capacity and the stars are loving it just much as the audiences.
Aisha Jawando and Jammy Kasongo play Tina and Ike Turner respectively – the couple destined to part company. / This year the real Tina Turner was inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Previously in 1991 she was only inducted as part of a duo alongside Ike Turner. All the hits are in the show and it’s one you really don’t want to miss.


Open now until 5 Sep 2021
Charing Cross Theatre WC2N 6NL
F: Pippin-On-Stage / T: @OnPippin / I: pippinonstage
Grammy winner, three-time Oscar winner and musical theatre giant, Stephen Schwartz’s smash-hit musical has extended its ‘immersive’ stay at the Charing Cross Theatre until 5 September.
Set in the ‘Summer of Love’ of 1967, we follow Pippin, a young prince with extraordinary dreams and aspirations on his quest to find passion, fulfilment and meaning.

‘John & Jen’
Open now until 21 August 2022
Southwark Playhouse, London SE1 6BD
F: SouthwarkPlayhouse / T: @swkplay / I: @swkplayawood
This production is the world premiere of a brand-new, updated version of the show by Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a musical that explores the dynamics of family relationships. 1985. John & Jen, brother and sister, born seven years apart, grow up together, totally inseparable. 2005. Jen, alone in Canada with her baby boy whom she has named John, a living memorial to the brother she failed to protect.

Open now until 4 September 2021
The Watermill Theatre, Newbury RG20 8AE
F: thewatermilltheatre / T: @WatermillTh / I: thewatermilltheatre

Garden Theatre Summer Festival
1 – 14 Aug 2021
St Gabriel’s Halls, London SW1V 3AA
A festival of exciting and eclectic work in a new pop-up theatre at St. Gabriel’s Halls in Pimlico. Headlining the season is a sexy all-male modern ballet based on Delibes’ classic Coppelia


& Juliet
Reopening on 24 Sep 2021 – Booking until 12 February 2022
Shaftesbury Theatre, London WC2H 8DP
F, T & I: @JulietMusical
Miriam-Teak Lee – who was awarded the Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2020 for her performance as Juliet – leads a cast including Cassidy Janson, who also won an Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Anne Hathaway, Oliver Tompsett as William Shakespeare, David Bedella, who also won an Olivier Award for his performance in the show as Lance, Jordan Luke Gage as Romeo, Melanie La Barrie as Nurse, and Tim Mahendran as Francois. Alex Thomas-Smith will be joining the principal cast in the role of May.
The show is packed with pop anthems including: …Baby One More Time, Since U Been Gone, Roar, It’s My Life, I Want It That Way, and Can’t Stop the Feeling!


Touring now until 27 November 2021
F, T & I: @greaseuktour
Directed by Nikolai Foster and choreographed by Arlene Phillips the world’s best-known (and arguably best-loved if you’re of a certain age) musical is back. Starring Peter Andre at certain venues as Teen Angel and Vince Fontaine, the show that is a lot more ‘adult’ than you think promises to rock your socks off. Featuring a whole host of hits including Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, Sandy, Hopelessly Devoted to You , You’re The One That I Want and, of course, the title number, you’d be hard-pressed not to come out humming something from the show.


Opening on 15 November 2021 –
booking until 5 March 2022
Kit Kat Club, Playhouse Theatre, London WC2N 5DE
F, T & I: @kitkatclubLDN
Shrouded in mystery upon its launch, Cabaret, starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley, is going to be playing at a transformed Playhouse Theatre. The blurb says “In a time when the world is changing forever, there is one place where everyone can be free… welcome to the Kit Kat Club. This is Berlin. Relax. Loosen up. Be yourself.” Interesting…


Opening on 25 August 2021 –
booking until 13 February 2022
Gillian Lynne Theatre, London WC2B 5PW
F, T & I: @alwcinderella
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s infamous rant was probably justified when, only days from its opening night, the entire cast and crew had to self-isolate because of a single postive Covid test result.
Anyway, it’s not easy to fight the government and the show has a new opening date – slbeit over four weeks later than planned. But they do say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and this show has had a lot of publicity… not to mention some lovely photos, such as this one of Carrie Hope Fletcher.


Opening on 25 August 2021 –
booking until 2 April 2022
Novello Theatre, London WC2B 4LD
F, T & I: @mammamiamusical
Now in its 23rd year in London, producer Judy Craymer is “delighted to be welcoming people back to once again dance, jive and have the time of their lives!” Returning to the cast will be Mazz Murray as Donna, Richard Trinder as Sam, Neil Moors as Harry, Stephen Beckett as Bill and Sophie Matthew as Lisa. Since premiering in London in 1999, the show has now been seen live on stage by 65 million people across the world and been turned into two record-breaking movies.


Opening on 19 August 2021 –
booking until 2 April 2022
Victoria Palace Theatre, London SW1E 5EA / F, T & I: @HamiltonWestEnd
Arguably still the hottest ticket in town, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and featuring a brand-new cast – although Karl Queensborough is returning to play the title role of Alexander Hamilton.

9 – 23 October 2021
Newcastle Theatre Royal then… opening 4 Nov 2021 (Booking until 26 March 2022)
Garrick Theatre, London WC2H 0HH
F & T: @thedriftersgirl / I: @thedriftersgirlmusical
Adam J Bernard, Tarinn Callender, Matt Henry and Tosh Wanogho-Maud will play The Drifters in a brand new musical also starring Beverley Knight, which tells the remarkable story of one of the world’s greatest vocal groups and the woman who made them.


Opening 7 Aug 2021
Booking until 13 Feb 2022
Prince Edward Theatre, London W1D 4HS
F & T: @marypoppins / I: marypoppinsmusical
Cameron Mackintosh and Disney are relaunching their Olivier award-winning production. Zizi Strallen remains as Mary Poppins and Charlie Stemp as Bert. Petula The magical story of the world’s favourite Nanny arriving on Cherry Tree Lane has been brought alive with “dazzling choreography, incredible effects and unforgettable songs.” The stage version, adapted from the stories by PL Travers and the Disney film, continues to be a hit since its opening 17 years ago.

Opening 1 Oct 2021 / Booking until 3 Apr 2022
Lyric Theatre, London W1D 7ES / F, T & I: @GetUpStandUpLDN
Arinzé Kene will play Bob Marley with a book by award-winning Lee Hall. All of the back catalogue is there to take you to a reggae paradise.

17 Sep – 17 Oct 2021
Garrick Theatre, London WC2H 0HH
F, T & I: @L5YearsUK
Jason Robert Brown’s Drama Desk Award-winning musical is directed by Jonathan O’Boyle. Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson will reprise their roles as Cathy and Jamie, following a critically acclaimed run at Southwark Playhouse last year.

22 Oct – 27 Nov 2021 / Southwark Playhouse, London SE1 6BD
F & I: indecentproposalmusical / T: @indecentmusical
After two postponements, the company will be thrilled to get back to creating this ambitious and modern musical inspired by the Jack Engelhard novel (on which the iconic 1993 film was also based).

Opening 16 Sep 2021
Booking until 13 Feb 2022
Cambridge Theatre, London WC2H 9HU
T: @matildamusical / F & I: matildathemusical
Celebrating ten years since the multi award-winning show opened in London, this iconic British musical has won 99 international awards including 24 for Best Musical and has been seen by more than 10 million people across more than 90 cities worldwide.
The RSC show is written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and developed and directed by Matthew Warchus. Roald Dahl’s story is about an extraordinary little girl with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind.

Until 29 Aug 2021
Lyric Theatre, London W1D 7ES then…opening 29 Sep ’21
Booking until 1 May 2022
Vaudeville Theatre, London WC2R 0NH
F, T & I: @sixthemusical
The electrifying musical phenomenon by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss will move to it’s ‘forever home’ in the West End when it transfers to the Vaudeville Theatre on The Strand

10 Dec 2021 – 8 Jan 2022
Southwark Playhouse, London SE1 6BD
T: @TheRhythmics_
This new show explores the crisis of masculinity via a collection of oddballs belting their way through a thrillingly catchy guitar-led score.
Hapless single-dad Grey is in a rut. Teenage daughter Silva packs him off to revive his rockstar dreams, successfully auditioning for ‘Nick & the Rhythmics’ only to realise… he’s actually signed up for an All-male Rhythmic Gymnastics troupe. Against the odds these burly blokes make it as far as the World Championships.

Touring from 24 August 2021
T: @9to5musicaluk / F & I: 9to5themusicaluk
Louise Redknapp will reprise her role as ‘Violet Newstead’ in the forthcoming UK tour of Dolly Parton’s musical hit.
The show tells the story of Doralee, Violet and Judy – three workmates pushed to boiling point by their sexist and egotistical boss. Concocting a plan to kidnap and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor, will the girls manage to reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit? Inspired by the cult film this hilarious new West End production is about teaming up, standing up and taking care of business!


Touring 11 Sep 2021 – 5 Nov 2022 / F, T & I: @BatTheMusical
Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf’s greatest hits (and the highest selling album of all time in Australia!). Songs include: ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth’, ‘Bat Out Of Hell’, ‘I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ and ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’.

Touring 11 Sep 2021 – 30 Jul 2022
F: chicagothemusical / T & I: @ChicigoMusical
Darren Day will play ‘Billy Flynn’ in the forthcoming UK and Ireland tour of the international musical sensation. He joins the previously announced Faye Brookes as ‘Roxie Hart’, Sinitta as ‘Mama Morton’, Divina De Campo as ‘Mary Sunshine’, Djalenga Scott as ‘Velma Kelly’ and Joel Montague as ‘Amos Hart’.
Created by the musical theatre talents of John Kander, Fred Ebb and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse, Chicago’s sexy, sassy score includes the show-stopping songs “Razzle Dazzle”, “Cell Block Tango”, and “All That Jazz”. Winner of six Tony Awards, two Olivier Awards and a Grammy, it is the longest running American musical in Broadway and West End history.


Touring 19 Aug 2021 – 18 Jun 2022
F: rockofagesthemusical
T: @rockofagesuk / I: rockofsgesmusicaluk
Kevin Clifton is best known known for being a professional dancer on BBC1’s ‘Strictly Come Dancing’. In seven years on the show he has reached the final a record five times, winning four glitter balls including the main Glitterball trophy in 2018 with Stacey Dooley before leaving in 2019. Since then, Kevin has gone on to appear in many other theatre productions including, ‘The Wedding Singer’ and ‘Singin’ in the Rain’.
He returns to the role of Stacee Jaxx at selected performances of this new tour. Luke Walsh, Rhiannon Chesterman, Joe Gash, Ross Dawes, Gabriella Williams and Jenny Fitzpatrick also star.


Touring from 26 Nov 2021 – 30 Jul 2022
including Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX
from 8 Dec 2021 – 22 Jan 2022
F, T & I: @bringitonuktour
Producers Selladoor Worldwide is delighted to cheer on Amber Davies as ‘Campbell’ and four-time Olympic medallist Louis Smith as ‘Cameron’.
Inspired by the 2000 film of the same name, the show features an original score by the multi-award-winning Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer Prize winning Tom Kitt. The book is written by the Tony Award winning writer of ‘Avenue Q’, Jeff Whitty, and the lyrics are by both Lin-Manuel Miranda and writer of the stage adaptation of ‘High Fidelity’, Amanda Green.

Touring 19 Aug 2021 – 19 Mar 2022
F & I: TheAddamsFamilyUK / T: @AddamsFamilyUK

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Touring 14 Aug 2021 – 1 May 2022 / F, T & I: @bedknobsonstage
Dianne Pilkington will star as Miss Eglantine Price, the mysterious lady that the three orphaned Rawlins children are evacuated from wartime London to live with. A Disney classic

6 Aug – 19 Sep 2021
Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester M4 7JA
F & I: HopeMillTheatre / T: @hopemilltheatr1
Hope Mill Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of the classic rock musical RENT is to return with live performances at the Manchester venue.
Jonathan Larson’s book, written in 1996, is loosely based on Puccini’s opera ‘La Bohème’.


Lady Chatterley’s Lover
Filmed in June for streaming later in the year
Shaftesbury Theatre, London WC2H 8DP
Composer: John Robinson, book: Phil Willmott, direction: Sasha Regan, production design: Andrew Exeter, costume design: Jasmine Swan.

tick, tick…BOOM!
Globally launches on Netflix and in select cinemas this Autumn
Lin-Manuel Miranda directs and Andrew Garfield stars in TICK, TICK… BOOM!, a new film based on RENT creator Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical about one man’s race against time to create something extraordinary.

INCIDENTAL: Music For The Stage
Royal & Derngate Theatres and Atlantic Screen Music have announced the release of a contemporary classical and electronic music album INCIDENTAL: Music For The Stage featuring original compositions for theatre inspired by some of the most famous plays and novels in the English Language. The charity compilation album will contain original music from stage productions by composers such as White Lies, Anne Dudley, These New Puritans, Rachel Portman, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Isobel Waller-Bridge, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Renell Shaw alongside spoken performances from actors including Judi Dench, Amanda Seyfried, David Harewood, Felicity Jones, Giles Terera, Patricia Routledge, James Norton, Sharon D Clarke, Iain Glen, Lesley Sharp, Stephen Fry, Indira Varma, Maxine Peake, Roger Allam, Anton Lesser and Simon Russell Beale.


Andrew Lloyd Webber has brought
together an 81-piece orchestra to record
new symphonic suites from three of his
best-loved musicals.


The Theatre Channel
Episode 7: Rodgers & Hammerstein
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London NW1 4NU
The Theatre Channel collaborates with Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for Episode 7. The episode is brought to life by two-time Olivier Award-nominee Michael Xavier, Josefina Gabrielle and Caroline Sheen. Further casting includes Daniel Koek, Amara Okereke, Ethlinn Rose and Tavio Wright as well as The New Café Five.





Kay Mellor’s smash hit FAT FRIENDS THE MUSICAL will return to tour the UK and Ireland opening at Dartford Orchard Theatre on 14 January 2022. With original music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, the show will star Lee Mead as ‘Paul’ with further casting to be announced soon. The tour will visit venues including Cardiff New, Leeds Grand, Edinburgh Festival, Dublin Bord Gais Energy Theatre, The Lowry, Salford, Southampton Mayflower, Wolverhampton Grand, Canterbury Marlowe and Newcastle, Norwich and Plymouth Theatre Royals.


Selladoor Productions confirm that the previously announced Darren Day will remain in the role of Reverend Moore in Footloose The Musical and will be joined on stage by newly cast Dancing on Ice Winner and Theatre star Jake Quickenden. Having been previously cast in the 2020 tour which was postponed due to Covid 19 Darren tells us: “I am so delighted to be able to stay with the tour of Footloose for the 2022 tour. I was a teenager in the 80s, which is such an impressionable age for movies and music. This is one of the most iconic films and soundtracks from my teenage years. I can remember hearing Footloose on the radio for the first time and thinking… what a tune! I’m really looking forward to seeing you there”



THE OSMONDS: A New Musical will receive its world premiere at Leicester’s Curve on 3 February 2022, as part of a UK & Ireland Tour, which will run through to 3 December 2022. The with story is by Jay Osmond who tells the true story of the five brothers from Utah who were pushed into the spotlight as children and went on to create smash hits, decade after decade.


There is going to be a brand-new UK tour of Jim Cartwright’s The Rise And Fall of Little Voice directed by Bronagh Lagan (Cruise, West End). Two-time Drama Desk nominee Christina Bianco, whose extraordinary diva videos have been viewed over 25million times on YouTube to great international acclaim, will play LV.
Shobna Gulati, whose work includes Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (West End/film), Cinderella (Lyric Hammersmith), Coronation Street and Dinner Ladies will play Mari Hoff.
While Ian Kelsey, much loved for his many leading roles in the West End and on TV including Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Doctors and Casualty will play Ray Say.

I’LL BE IN MY TRAILER! – ‘T’ is for Taylor-Mills… ‘T’ is for Turbine

I’LL BE IN MY TRAILER! – ‘T’ is for Taylor-Mills… ‘T’ is for Turbine

Above: Paul Taylor-Mills. Photo: Mark Senior

Our regular series of coffee-break interviews

15 minutes with… Paul Taylor-Mills

Paul Taylor-Mills is Artistic Director of the Turbine Theatre, located in London on the banks of the River Thames in the shadow of the gigantic grade II listed Battersea Power Station.

Nestled in the arches underneath Grosvenor Bridge, the thirty-something from Kidderminster launched the new 200-seat theatre at the back end of 2019 (they do say it’s all about timing).

In partnership with theatre impresario, Bill Kenwright, Taylor-Mills came straight from Victoria where he used to run The Other Palace in Victoria for Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Sardines caught up with the hard-working ex-amateur theatre member just as he was preparing to launch a number of Turbine initiatives, as well as the West End’s relaunched cult hit, Heathers the Musical.

How’s life at Battersea Power Station?
“It’s absolutely bloody wonderful! I feel very lucky and rehearsing in a room again – with real people – feels very, very odd. There’s a weird mixture of absolute fear but, at the same time, exhilarating excitement because we can actually get on with our jobs and do what we used to do.”

Was launching the Turbine Theatre been one of your best ideas to date?
“I wouldn’t go that far, ha ha! I’ve run other buildings before, such as The Other Palace in Victoria, and I always think you’re better set up the second time aren’t you, mainly because you learn how to do things. You learn who are the right people to put around you, and anyway opening any new building is always a challenge. With the Turbine, it was very interesting because we opened with Torch Song which was a huge hit, followed by High Fidelity which was less so. Then, we were just getting into our stride and understanding what the work was we were trying to make, who the audience were – and all of those kinds of things. And then the world stopped. Now we are able to properly continue it is so exciting. We have been active for the last fifteen months doing things online and outside, but we have finally got the opportunity to pick up where we left off.”

‘MT Fest UK’ and ‘Rally Fest’’… one might wonder how you are able to do so much?
“To be honest I’ve had over a year to sit down and plan everything out, haven’t I. I’ve been beavering away and if the last year has taught me anything it’s the opportunity to read and really access what I want to be doing, the kind of work that I want to be making; all of those kind of things. That means making some of the decisions in terms of the content of Rally Fest and MT Fest etc. I’ve been able to use the time – which I don’t normally have – to work with writers on their material, to talk with actors about the kind of work they want to make. I’m a firm believer in looking at the more joyful things that have come out of the last year and, for me, that has certainly been one of them. It’s given me the time to plot rather than doing the usual chasing around and trying to make stuff happen.”

The Other Palace position alone would be enough to satisfy most people, but not you?
“It was great and you learn things from everything you do. But we all have one shot at life don’t we and you need to find that one thing that wakes you up in the morning, particularly in theatre. What is that one thing that really gets you excited, that lights that fire in your belly? For me, it’s a challenge, it’s knowing that you’ve got a show that you believe in – but how do you cast it and market it? If you put the right people around the table then you give yourself the best possible of succeeding.”

Bill Kenwright and Andrew Lloyd Webber have obviously seen YOUR spark of success?
“I hope so. And I’ve been very lucky to have met such influential mentors. I have a huge amount of respect for Andrew, as a creative, I mean he’s probably the most famous living composer in the world. I’ve learned a huge amount about the landscape of musical theatre in this country. Bill has also been there for many, many years and has an incredible level of loyalty to me and respect for me. It’s amazing to know that I can call on him whenever I need to. I feel he’s really played the long game with me, which is one of the things he’s done incredibly well. I wish that every show we’ve worked on had been as successful as Heathers for example. But this is theatre and it’s not really the way it works. When we’ve been working on a show that hasn’t been as jolly as it was with Heathers, Bill has really been there for me.”

Heathers and In The Heights are obviously two musicals you must be very proud of. Is spotting the right show a gift?
“Perhaps, but I think it’s quite subjective isn’t it. It’s like your opinion of a musical; I always compare it to a chocolate box at Christmas. There are so many kinds of musicals that other people love that, for me, just don’t resonate. Different people respond to different work, and talent works the same. I’m interested in developing new audiences and so I’m always thinking about what I could do to engage younger people for instance. In fifty years’ time we still want to have people going to the theatre.”

Have you been involved in the filming of In The Heights at all?
“I haven’t, although I have been sending them all the love and respect in the world. I’ve seen all of the trailers of course and they’ve really moved me. When I produced In the Heights the world was pre-Hamilton of course… I think it was probably just a distant idea back then. The world has changed since those days and, I have to say I’m still friendly with Lin [Manuel Miranda] who is an incredible man – without whom I don’t think I’d have the career that I have. When we did In The Heights I was a wee boy looking to find my fortune as it were. So I’m very grateful to him for giving me that opportunity because it put me on the map and have people take notice of me. It was an incredible show to have been a part of.

“Going back to Lin, he’s hugely inspiring to everyone who meets him and he’s got this unfaltering passion, and to see his progress to world domination, whether it be film or theatre, is amazing. He keeps his feet on the ground, he’s hugely humble and, speaking of social media, Lin uses those platforms for good. It’s a great opportunity to use a great example of the digital world we now find ourselves in – and that’s been very important to all of us over the last fifteen months.”

The ability to befriend the industry is a powerful talent to have in this age of social media, yes?
“Yes, and I think I’m probably part of that generation that you can market using social media. It was only really with In The Heights that I found out that social media could be used in that way, the same way that we might use print, newspaper adverts and billboards. So it’s quite important that people see me as somebody who’s quite open. I really have a love-hate relationship with social media, but there is definitely an intangible value to what it can bring. It can of course also be very noisy and, in many ways, really hurtful and hard. So I feel that to use social media in my work I have to maintain that healthy relationship with it. It needs to be used alongside your work though rather than like a personal diary. We’re in an age where everything is shared and I can speak very honestly about the value of it.

“With Heathers, for instance, there’s an online community that stays connected through social media and buys tickets to my shows simply because it’s been seen on social media.”

I read somewhere that you used to be heavily involved in amateur theatre before becoming professional?
“Yes! And these are some of my favourite memories. Actually, the reason I’m so proud to talk about it – as someone who was brought up by a single mum, so we never had any money – is that when you’re broke, the only access to the arts and theatre can be via amateur dramatics. For me, growing up was really hard at times and amateur dramatics was my absolute escape that, in many ways, taught me my craft and what it was like to walk into a rehearsal room. It ignited my passion for the theatre. And I think that other kids who are out there now, perhaps even in Kidderminster where I’m from, may also be in the position that without amateur theatre I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now.

“It’s so important that we never underestimate the power of amateur theatre and how meeting the right person at the right time could make something happen. The difference between living your dream or dreaming of living, experiences that amateur theatre can give you are so, so valuable.

“Mum could never have afforded for me to go to a private stage school, and am-dram allowed me to do that. For those kids also from a working class background and who don’t have a disposable income it is a lifeline.”

It’s apparent that your programming leans very much towards diversity and LGBTQ+?
“I do kind of think it’s what I’m kind of doing with the musicals work in lots of ways. Again, being a boy from a small town, if you’re gay and coming to terms with who you are as a person, it’s very easy to be frightened to face up to your own space and be yourself. I was in a very unique environment where my mum encouraged me to be me and I just think as I’ve got older I’ve had some incredible experiences thanks to the generosity of the people who I’ve met.

“I can actually give more opportunities to under-represented voices to bring them into the spotlight a bit more. I’m going to try and open conversations that, at times, are difficult. In doing Rally Fest at The Turbine in the spring, I’ve been giving work to trans artists, gay men, lesbian artists and every single conversation I have with these people, I’m learning, and I think it’s crucial to allow for these opportunities to happen so we can all learn. Then we can enter into a safe space where we’re allowed to ask questions, make mistakes… but with an underlying respect and sensitivity. I think I’m in a very privileged position where I’m able to do something like that; that’s really why I came up with the idea of Rally Fest. I think I have to do that.”

YOUR NEWS – Witness Sees an Autumn Delay

YOUR NEWS – Witness Sees an Autumn Delay

Image: Witness for the Prosecution at London County Hall. Photo: Sheila Burnett

Agatha Christie’s famous courtroom drama delays its reopening due to uncertainty around a return to full capacity in theatres

By Paul Johnson

The reopening of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution at London County Hall has been delayed until 14 September 2021. The production was due to reopen on 3 August.
Producers of the popular and perfectly staged production, Eleanor Lloyd and Rebecca Stafford, told Sardines: “We are absolutely gutted that we have to delay the re-opening of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution at London County Hall until 14 September.
Unfortunately, the combined effects of continued uncertainty around a return to full capacity in theatres, no provision of cancellation insurance, and the delayed delivery of our promised Cultural Recovery Fund grant are such that we cannot afford to proceed with the rehearsals as planned. We have not taken this decision lightly. It leaves fifty-one people waiting to resume their jobs. For us as producers the cost of remaining closed is significant and will increase as furlough and business rates relief are reduced from July (the end of the various support schemes were not extended in line with the government’s four-week delay to the easing of restrictions from 21 June to 19 July).
We are sorry for our wonderful and loyal audience who stood ready to support our return in August. We urge you, please re-book into the new dates from 14th September and come and celebrate with us as soon as we are able to declare ‘THE COURT IS NOW (RE)OPEN’.”
In Agatha Christie’s savagely twisting and timeless drama, Leonard Vole is accused of murdering a widow to inherit her wealth. The stakes are high. Will he be able to convince the jury of his innocence and escape the hangman’s noose?
The twists and turns of the case are played out in a spectacular courtroom setting inside the iconic London County Hall as prosecution battles defence and witnesses take the stand to give their shocking testimonies. The production received Best Revival nominations at the 2018 Olivier and WhatsOnStage Awards.
Witness for the Prosecution is booking through to 20 March 2022. Tickets are on sale by visiting:

Alternatively, call: 0844 815 7141. Currently booking from 14 Sep 2021 to 20 Mar 2022.

Twitter: @WitnessPlayLDN
Instagram: @witnessplayldn
Facebook: WitnessPlayLDN
#SeeYouInCourt #sworntosecrecy

YOUR NEWS – Who? What? Where? The Ultimate Whodunnit… CLUEDO

YOUR NEWS – Who? What? Where? The Ultimate Whodunnit… CLUEDO

By Paul Johnson

In our previous edition we announced the new life-sized and interactive attraction Monopoly coming to London.
Hot on its heels is a new stage play based on the classic whodunnit board game preparing to tour the UK in 2022.
Was it Miss Scarlet, with the revolver in the dining room, or was it Professor Plum, with the lead pipe in the library…?
Producers Joshua Andrews and Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Theatricals, in collaboration with their US producing partners Work Light Productions, Lively McCabe Entertainment & The Araca Group, have announced that Cluedo, a new stage play based on the classic Hasbro detective board game loved by generations, is to tour the UK between January and July next year.
Based on Jonathan Lynn’s 1985 screenplay of the Paramount film Clue, the stage play is written by Sandy Rustin with additional material by Hunter Foster and Eric Price and, for the UK production, Mark Bell, director of The Play That Goes Wrong and A Comedy About A Bank Robbery.
He will direct the UK premiere production and just like the game, it promises audiences of all ages a nostalgic, fun and thrilling evening of entertainment.
When Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs Peacock, Revered Green, Mrs. White and Colonel Mustard all arrive at a country house one dark and stormy evening, they find out that they have all received the same mysterious invitation from Lord Boddy.
What’s clear is that they all have something to hide and the mystery and hysteria grows, as the inhabitants and guests of Boddy Manor start being killed, with a variety of familiar weapons, leaving everyone to wonder, who will be next!
The spoof of a thriller, promises to keep you guessing right up to the finale as both audience and cast try to work out whodunnit, with what and where.

Twitter: @CluedoStagePlay
Instagram: @CluedoStagePlay
Facebook: /CluedoStagePlay

2022 Tour Dtaes:

  • w/c – 24 Jan – Bromley: Churchill Theatre
  • w/c – 7 Feb – Norwich: Theatre Royal
  • w/c – 14 Feb – Cambridge: Arts Theatre
  • w/c – 21 Feb – Woking: New Ambassadors
  • w/c – 28 Feb – Nottingham: Theatre Royal
  • w/c – 7 Mar – Richmond: Richmond Theatre
  • w/c – 14 Mar – Coventry: Belgrade Theatre
  • w/c – 21 Mar – Leeds: Grand Theatre
  • w/c – 4 Apr – Cardiff: New Theatre
  • w/c – 11 Apr – Shrewsbury: Severn Theatre
  • w/c – 25 Apr – Bath: Theatre Royal
  • w/c – 2 May – Birmingham: Alexandra Theatre
  • w/c – 9 May – Edinburgh: Kings Theatre
  • w/c – 16 May – Southampton: Mayflower
  • w/c – 30 May – Milton Keynes: Milton Keynes Theatre
  • w/c – 6 Jun – Leicester: Curve Theatre
  • w/c – 13 Jun – Brighton: Theatre Royal
  • w/c – 20 Jun – Malvern: Festival Theatre
  • w/c – 26 Jun – Salford: Lowry Theatre
  • w/c – 4 Jul – Glasgow: Theatre Royal
  • w/c – 11 Jul – Wolverhampton: Grand Theatre
  • w/c – 25 Jul – Belfast: Grand Opera House
YOUR NEWS – Good Life Just Around the Corner

YOUR NEWS – Good Life Just Around the Corner

Bet you never thought you’d hear that this year!
Well, before you get carried away, a brand-new stage adaptation of the beloved 1970s British sitcom will tour the UK this Autumn. The new comedy by Jeremy Sams, is based on the classic television series by John Esmonde and Bob Larbey which entertained countless millions fifty years ago.
Directed by Jeremy Sams, this world premiere production will be the first time that the iconic characters of suburban neighbours the Goods and the Leadbetters will be seen onstage.
Starring actor, comedian and presenter, Rufus Hound, as Tom Good, The Good Life will open at Theatre Royal Bath on 7 Oct before touring the country to seven venues.
Remember the Goods – Tom and Barbara, suburban eco-warriors? And their next-door neighbours Margo and Jerry Leadbetter, desperately trying to maintain the Surbiton status quo? Jeremy Sams’ comedy leads the well-loved characters (not forgetting Geraldine the goat) through adventures, old, new and often familiar. This new play celebrates a time when, whatever our differences, we still managed to get on with our neighbours.
The BBC sitcom ran on British television from 1975 to 1978 starring Richard Briers, Felicity Kendal, Penelope Keith and Paul Eddington.
Jeremy Sams’s theatrical directing credits include Noises Off, Spend, Spend, Spend, The Sound of Music and Oklahoma!.
Rufus Hound’s appearances include Doctor Who, One Man, Two Guvnors, What The Butler Saw, Don Quixote, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Neville’s Island and The Wind in the Willows.

YOUR NEWS – Potter’s Palace

YOUR NEWS – Potter’s Palace

Two-part multi award-winning Harry Potter and the Cursed Child ready to reopen in Oct

By Paul Johnson

The original two-part multi-award-winning production will resume performances at the Palace Theatre in London on 14 October 2021.

After over a year and a half of shutdown due to the pandemic, rehearsals for the West End production will begin this August.

Tickets for the West End production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are currently available for performances at the Palace Theatre until 27 March 2022 and remain priced from £15 per part, and for every performance there are over 300 tickets at £20 or less per part.

The original production, one play presented in two parts, is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The critically acclaimed production received its world premiere in July 2016 at the Palace Theatre in London. The most awarded new play in theatre history, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has won twenty-four major theatre awards in the UK and is the most awarded play in the history of the Olivier Awards, winning a record-breaking nine awards including Best New Play. The production has also won twenty-five major US awards with six Tony Awards including Best Play.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne, directed by John Tiffany with movement by Steven Hoggett, set by Christine Jones, costumes by Katrina Lindsay, music and arrangements by Imogen Heap, lighting by Neil Austin, sound by Gareth Fry, illusions and magic by Jamie Harrison, music supervision and arrangements by Martin Lowe, and casting by Julia Horan CDG.

In addition to the return of the original London production, the play is currently at the Princess Theatre Melbourne. Performances plan to resume in November 2021 at the Lyric Theater, New York followed by productions at the Curran Theater, San Francisco in January 2022, the Mehr! Theatre, Hamburg in December 2021, the Ed Mirvish Theatre, Toronto in the summer of 2022 and the TBS Akasaka ACT Theater in Tokyo in the summer of 2022. The New York, San Francisco and Toronto productions will be returning in a newly staged, one show experience.

Details of all productions of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child can be found at

l-r Michelle Gayle (Hermione Granger), Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley) and Jamie Ballard (Harry Potter). Photo: Manuel Harlan.

YOUR NEWS – Circus Back in Town

YOUR NEWS – Circus Back in Town

Circus 1903 at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. Photo: Dan Tsantilis


The performers at Circus 1903 will entertain thousands of people as they flock to the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall this Christmas to marvel at the wonders of the Golden Age of Circus.
The show will return for its third Christmas season at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall from 16 Dec – 2 Jan. We gave it a 5-star review in 2019.
Ringmaster, David Williamson, said: “I’m so happy that Circus 1903 is returning to Southbank Centre this festive season. There’s no better tonic for tough times than the sights and sounds and magic of the circus. I’m excited to get in front of an audience again and hear the roar of the crowd and see the smiling faces of the children as they thrill to our amazing show.”
Producer Michael Stevens told Sardines: “Circus 1903 has become an important part of the holiday season, for audiences old and young, and so we are delighted to be able to bring it back to Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall this year. After such a long period of not being able to see each other or to go out, this is a wonderful opportunity to get together at Christmas and celebrate while enjoying one of the most extraordinary shows on earth!”
Circus 1903 will feature many of the incredible acts from previous years, including Peanut and Queenie, the most charming elephants on any stage around the world. A range of dizzying new acts will join the troupe this festive season.

YOUR NEWS – Hunger for Performance

YOUR NEWS – Hunger for Performance

By Chloë Abley

In a year like no other, Brighton Fringe invited audiences to escape to the seaside and they flocked: 80,000 tickets were sold for drag, comedy, family, circus, theatre and more.
Both income and ticket sales amount to approximately 46% of the Brighton Fringe 2019 figures. An estimated 170,000 people enjoyed the Brighton Fringe both online and in-person.
The largest arts festival in England, this year Brighton Fringe held 2,501 more performances than in 2019.
Plus in 2021, 630 events (170 digital and 460 in-person) materialised into 7,216 performances for Brighton audiences and those comfy at home.
More venues than ever also joined in across the city with 166 playing host to the most weird, wild and wonderful shows from around the world! The events presented represents approximately 60% of Brighton Fringe 2019 but there was still plenty to choose from with 2,523 in-person and 4,693 digital performances.
Brighton Fringe CEO Julian Caddy comments, “We are hugely grateful to all participants, venues, staff, volunteers, Friends, funders, sponsors and all our other partners for the immense hard work in making Brighton Fringe happen this year. To our audiences, a massive thanks for attending so enthusiastically and also for following the Covid safety guidance. It was such a relief to be back after so long and we can’t wait for 2022. In the meantime, I think we’ve all earned a bit of a break.”
Celebrating the success of the artists who made Brighton Fringe possible, they announced their award-winners in a special July prize-giving. Recipient of the Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award was Clean: The Musical while Julie Madly Deeply won the Brighton Gin Cabaret & Variety Award.
Brighton Fringe embraces every art form and artist in its exciting and unusual programme. The open-access arts festival prides itself on welcoming established and emerging artists, supporting those taking their first steps with a variety of bursaries. It offers much-loved returning acts alongside exciting newcomers with comedy, theatre, circus, exhibitions, magic, dance, children’s shows and much, much more.