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FOREWORD

FOREWORD

The New Normal?

Now that 19 July (or ‘Freedom Day’) has come and gone – albeit delayed by four weeks – and all social restrictions in England (with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland following suit asap) we can begin to start the arduous journey of getting our theatres back to some kind of recognisable format, of how they used to be… (whatever guise the ‘new normal’ decides to take).

The need for social distancing and the use of facemasks has been eradicated – despite the infection rates going through a third wave – thanks to the NHS’s efficient rollout of the vaccine programme across the UK. If your invited to and able then please, please, please take the vaccine.

For us, this of course means that our auditoriums can, once again, enjoy 100% capacity audiences. Well, that’s the theory anyway. In reality, we’ll need to make sure our audiences are confident to come through our doors again and, in addition, convince our casts and crews that, not only are our rehearsal rooms but also our close-knit dressing rooms and performance spaces, safe places to be.

All of this won’t be easy and arguably won’t come overnight, especially as the mixed messaging from the UK Government tells us that while legal restrictions have now been lifted, we are also encouraged to keep wearing masks and socially distancing when convening in crowded spaces or whenever we feel the situation might require it.

Nevertheless, we can be encouraged by the fact that many of our members, from both sides of the curtain, have already expressed a deep desire to return as quickly as possible. With some societies already well into rehearsals. This can be seen on page six where we have listed a snapshot of productions around the British Isles that have already been announced.

Likewise, the professional theatre industry has already announced its intention to reopen with dates being listed everywhere it would seem. You only need to look at our regular Strike Up the Band! pages to see what we mean. Mind you, with the professional sector involving big money, with many shows reopening as soon as legally permitted, some big productions had to quickly close again due to a member of the company testing positive in a daily Covid test.

Such victims included Cinderella – with Andrew Lloyd Webber being particularily vocal in his dismay, Hairspray at the London Coliseum, Romeo and Juliet at Shakespeare’s Globe and Wonderville at the Palace Theatre.

In an attempt to avoid similar situations arising we are all, almost certainly, going to need to show some kind of NHS ‘Vaccine Passport’ or proof of immunity to enter any kind of auditorium to see a show in the future – by law.
That means no passport, no entry. Which is likely to be part of the new normal for some considerable time to come. (Another is waiting for the banks to revert back to their previous closing times… or stick with their new 2pm deadline forever!)

Meanwhile, welcome to only our second back-to-print edition of Sardines and what has fast-become a bit of a Heathers The Musical special. Not only is our latest cover star the returning Jodie Steele as Heather Chandler, but we also feature a chat with Paul Taylor-Mills, half of the Heathers production team.

Paul speaks very fondly of his strong amateur theatre roots.

Paul & Fariba x

FOREWORD

CONTENTS

Foreword
Paul and Fariba suggest that public confidence is the final step in getting back to normal.

 

 

 

Reopening Our Theatres
Eddie Redfern, the LTG’s National Liaison Officer asks how ready we really are to welcoming back audiences.

 

 

 

Getting Back
We asked for your reopening production details and you didn’t let us down. So here is a snapshot of what you told us.

 

 

 

Tamara von Werthern
The Performing Rights Manager at Nick Hern Books features her regular advice column and looks at ‘Devising’ a show.

 

 

 

Why Stay So Tight-Lipped?
Paul Johnson looks at why the amateur theatre sector hasn’t commented on various UK Government Covid announcememnts.

 

 

 

One Step Beyond! No.1
We talk to Paula Clifford about keeping busy and the reason for changing the name of RWB Productions to LnjMonroe Drama.

 

 

 

Your News
News stories relevant to amateur theatre-makers around the UK. Some amateur theatre, some professional, some youth/student.

 

 

 

Understanding Changing Consumer Behaviour
Founder and MD of Razzamataz Theatre Schools shares some advice and breaks down the world of franchising for us.

 

 

 

Supplier Directory
Our newest section of Sardines concentrates on bring you some examples of industry suppliers.

 

 

 

Jodie Steele (cover story)
Paul Johnson interviews Jodie Steele (a.k.a. Heather Chandler) and finds out she is the opposite of her onstage persona.

 

 

 

Giles Terera – The Pics
Our previous coverstar, Giles Terera’s book is now published, so here are some backstage pics from his time in Hamilton.

 

 

 

I’ll Be in My Trailer! – Paul Taylor-Mills
Our regular series of coffee-break interviews sees us speak with The Turbine Theatre’s Artictic Director about all sorts of things.

 

 

 

An Understudy at the Opera
Chris Abbott talks to Harriet Burns about landing a job covering a principal at Garsington opera.

 

 

 

Audition Advice
Matthew Malthouse shares some expert tips and advice on how to make the most of the dreaded audition process.

 

 

 

One Step Beyond! No.2
We focus on Amy Clayton of Early Doors Productions and how trained ex-professionals are now working in amateur theatre.

 

 

 

See You Next Year, Coventry
National Drama Festivals Association’s Rod Chaytor reviews a tough All Winners Finals week, but falls in love with Coventry.

 

 

 

Strike Up the Band!
Our attempt at bringing you up to date with what the professional musical theatre industry has in store for us.

 

 

 

Plays, Books & Musicals
New and re-released titles, many of which are now available for amateur performance. From big companies to small.

 

 

 

Index of Advertisers

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Plays, Books & Musicals

New Plays, Books & Musicals

Our regular up-to-date selection of recently published books as well as new or re-released plays and musicals, many of which are now available for amateur performance.
Show listings are not proof that respective titles are available for amateur performance. Please make appropriate enquiries with respective licensors.


CONCORD THEATRICALS

E: licensing@concordtheatricals.co.uk
E: customerservices@concordtheatricals.co.uk
W: www.concordtheatricals.co.uk
F: ConcordShows | T: @ConcordUKShows

Samuel French

HADESTOWN by Anaïs Mitchell

Full-Length Musical / F5, M3 / Fantasy / 978 0 573 70885 5 / £10.99

This intriguing and beautiful folk opera delivers a deeply resonant and defiantly hopeful theatrical experience. Following two intertwining love stories — that of young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of immortal King Hades and Lady Persephone — Hadestown invites audiences on a hell-raising journey to the underworld and back. Inspired by traditions of classic American folk music and vintage New Orleans jazz, Mitchell’s beguiling sung-through musical pits industry against nature, doubt against faith, and fear against love.

 

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL by Laurence O’Keefe, Kevin Murphy

Full-Length Musical / F9, M8 / 1980s, Westerberg High School, Ohio / 978 0 573 70382 9 / £10.99

Heathers The Musical is the darkly delicious story of Veronica Sawyer, a brainy, beautiful teenage misfit who hustles her way into the most powerful and ruthless clique at Westerberg High: the Heathers. But before she can get comfortable atop the high school food chain, Veronica falls in love with the dangerously sexy new kid J.D. When Heather Chandler, the Almighty, kicks her out of the group, Veronica decides to bite the bullet and kiss Heather’s aerobicised ass… but J.D. has another plan for that bullet.
Brought to you by the award-winning creative team of Kevin Murphy (Reefer Madness, “Desperate Housewives”), Laurence O’Keefe (Bat Boy, Legally Blonde) and Andy Fickman (Reefer Madness, She’s the Man). Heathers The Musical is a hilarious, heartfelt, and homicidal new show based on the greatest teen comedy of all time. With its moving love story, laugh-out-loud comedy, and unflinching look at the joys and anguish of high school, Heathers will be New York’s most popular new musical. Are you in, or are you out?

 

IN THE HEIGHTS by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes

Full-Length Musical / F6, M6 / Contemporary, Present Day / DIG0000000438 / £4.00 (digital perusal score rental)

In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighbourhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

 

ONE GOOD TURN by Una McKevitt

Full-Length Play / F4, M2 / Present Day / 978 0 573 13270 4 / £9.99

Brenda wants Frank to do his exercises, Aoife wants to go to a wedding of all things, Fiona doesn’t know what she wants and Frank is looking for the gun.
One Good Turn brings us a family on the brink who are keeping the show on the road any which way they can. It is a wry and life-affirming exploration into the ups and downs of family bonds.

 

 

SIX by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss

Full-Length Musical / F6 / Present Day, 16th Century – Elizabethan

This title is not currently available for performance. To be informed as soon as it becomes available in the future, please submit a license application.
The Electrifying New Musical Phenomenon! From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the SIX wives of Henry VIII take the mic to reclaim their identities out of the shadow of their infamous spouse, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-Century girl power.Nominee:

  • Five 2019 Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical
  • Winner! 2019 Whatsonstage Award for Best Off-West End Production
  • Winner! 2019 BBC Radio 2 Audience Award for Best West End Musical

Rodgers and Hammerstein

PAL JOEY by Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, John O’Hara

Full-Length Musical / F4, M2 / 1940s – WWII / DIG0000000500 / £4.00 (digital perusal score rental)

The penultimate Rodgers & Hart collaboration introduced the first anti-hero to propel a musical. Joey is an opportunistic cad, but he always seems to land on his feet. He elbows his way into a job at a seedy Chicago nightclub and is soon juggling the affections of a naive chorus girl and a wealthy society dame who just happens to be married. Once Joey has charmed the socialite into setting him up in his own joint, he ditches the chorine and is riding high, playing the big-time operator. When a punk threatens to spill the whole business to the socialite’s husband, she decides that she’s bored with Joey anyway, dumping him and the club. Having had a taste of his own medicine, you’d think Joey would head back to the sweet kid who really loves him. Wrong. Some things never change, but you know what? He’s still on his feet.

 

SHOW BOAT by Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II, Edna Ferber

Full-Length Musical / F8, M9, 1 Girl / 1920s, 1910s – WWI, 1900-1910, 18th Century / DIG0000000522 / £4.00 (digital perusal score rental)

Spanning the years from 1880 to 1927, this lyrical masterpiece, centered around the Mississippi show boat Cotton Blossom, concerns the lives, loves and heartbreaks of three generations of show folk and their lifelong friends. Show Boat follows the story of the Hawkes family, including the captain’s naive daughter Magnolia, who wants to be a performer, as she marries a gambler and moves with him to Chicago. When his debts compound, he deserts her and their young daughter. Magnolia’s selfless best friend Julie, a performer on the Cotton Blossom, faces arrest on charges of miscegenation, which is illegal, and she spirals into despair. The passing of time reunites Magnolia and her now-grown daughter with Magnolia’s estranged husband, who returns offering a second chance at familial happiness.

 

 

Tams Witmark

BARNUM by Cy Coleman, Michael Stewart, Mark Bramble

Full-Length Musical / F3, M2 / 1835 – 1880. America and major capitals of the world / DIG0000000360 / £4.00 (digital perusal score rental)

P.T. Barnum, the Greatest Showman on Earth, combines razzle-dazzle with charm and brass to sell “humbug” to cheering crowds. A joyful and moving musical portrait of the nineteenth century’s greatest show-biz legend, Barnum is a colorful, dynamic spectacle with heart. Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart’s rousing score includes “There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute,” “Join the Circus,” “The Colors of My Life,” and “Come Follow The Band.”
Concord Theatricals has collaborated with Subplot Studio to create high-quality artwork that complies with your license. Promoting your show has never been easier!

 

PORGY AND BESS by George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward, Dorothy Heyward, Ira Gershwin

Full-Length Musical / F4, M4 / Charleston, South Carolina. The early 1930s

Known worldwide as a masterpiece and an “American Folk Opera,” Porgy and Bess® was George Gershwin’s final work for the musical stage. Based on DuBose and Dorothy Heyward’s play Porgy, Porgy and Bess® combines elements of jazz, classical, and American folk music. Musical numbers include “Summertime,” “A Woman Is a Sometime Thing,” “My Man’s Gone Now,” “I Got Plenty O’ Nuttin’,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” “Bess, You Is My Woman Now,” and “I’m On My Way.”

 

TITANIC by Peter Stone, Maury Yeston

Full-Length Musical / F14, M23 / The RMS Titanic, between 10 – 15 April 1912 / DIG0000000299 / £4.00 (digital perusal score rental)

Titanic is available for licensing in two versions:

  • Titanic (Original): Designed for a large cast, with 14 lead roles and at least 23 supporting roles. Presented on Broadway with a cast of 37 performers.
  • Titanic – Ensemble Version: Designed for a total of 20 actors, with performers doubling or tripling on roles.

Concord Theatricals has collaborated with Subplot Studio to create high-quality artwork that complies with your license. Promoting your show has never been easier!

The sinking of the Titanic in the early hours of April 15, 1912, remains the quintessential disaster of the Twentieth Century. A total of 1,517 souls – men, women and children – lost their lives (only 711 survived). The fact that the finest, largest, strongest ship in the world – called, in fact, the “unsinkable” ship – should have been lost during its maiden voyage is so incredible that, had it not actually happened, no author would have dared to contrive it.
But the catastrophe had social ramifications that went far beyond that night’s events. For the first time since the beginning of the industrial revolution early in the 19th Century, bigger, faster and stronger did not prove automatically to be better. Suddenly the very essence of “progress” had to be questioned; might the advancement of technology not always be progress?
Nor was this the only question arising from the disaster. The accommodations of the ship, divided into 1st, 2nd and 3rd Classes, mirrored almost exactly the class structure (upper, middle and lower) of the English-speaking world. But when the wide discrepancy between the number of survivors from each of the ship’s classes was revealed – all but two of the women in 1st Class were saved while 155 women and children from 2nd and 3rd (mostly 3rd) drowned – there was a new, long-overdue scrutiny of the prevailing social system and its values.
It is not an exaggeration to state that the 19th Century, with its social stricture, its extravagant codes of honor and sacrifice, and its unswerving belief that God favored the rich, ended that night.
The musical play Titanic examines the causes, the conditions and the characters involved in this ever-fascinating drama. This is the factual story of that ship – of her officers, crew and passengers, to be sure – but she will not, as has happened so many times before, serve as merely the background against which fictional, melodramatic narratives are recounted. The central character of our Titanic is the Titanic herself.
Peter Stone

 

Musicals: Youth & Teen Editions

AMÉLIE: TEEN EDITION by Craig Lucas, Daniel Messé, Nathan Tysen & Daniel Messé, Jean-Pierre Jeunet & Guillaume Laurant

Full-Length Musical / F5, M7, 1 Girl / 1970s & 1990s Paris and the mind and imagination of Amélie Poulain / 978 0 573 70865 7 / £10.99

Amélie is an extraordinary young woman who lives quietly in the world but loudly in her mind. She covertly improvises small but surprising acts of kindness that bring joy and mayhem. But when a chance at love comes her way, Amélie realizes that to find happiness she’ll have to risk everything and say what’s in her heart. Be inspired by this imaginative dreamer who finds her voice, discovers the power of connection, and sees possibility around every corner.


 

Nick Hern Books

T: 020 8749 4953
W: www.nickhernbooks.co.uk | E: info@nickhernbooks.co.uk
F: NickHernBooks | T: @NickHernBooks

Alexander Technique for Actors: A Practical Course by Penny O’Connor

Theatre book / 978 1 848 42758 7 / £14.99 (£11.99 direct from publisher)

Written by an experienced teacher of the Alexander Technique, this comprehensive, supportive and highly practical book takes you step by step through a series of eleven guided lessons, each exploring different elements and principles of the technique. With dozens of exercises and assignments to help you immediately put what you’ve learned into practice, and featuring illustrations throughout, this is the ideal introduction to everything the Alexander Technique has to offer – and its potential to benefit not just your work and career, but your entire life.
‘Penny O’Connor’s approach to the Alexander Technique is mindful and meaningful. She brings great skill, experience, wit and humanity to her work. I have learnt a great deal from her.’
Jeannette Nelson, Head of Voice, National Theatre.

 

Getting, Keeping & Working with Your Acting Agent: The Compact Guide by JBR

Theatre book / 978 1 848 42941 3 / £8.99 (£7.19 direct from publisher)

Perfect for any talented and committed amateur actor looking to make the leap into working professionally, this empowering, informative guide explains everything actors need to know about agents – how to find one, what they do, and how to work with them effectively to help you succeed if you want to make acting your career. Also included are invaluable tips on how to write a great CV; obtain attention-grabbing headshots, showreels and voicereels; prepare for and excel at auditions; embrace social media; protect your mental health; and much more.

 

 

Hamilton and Me: An Actor’s Journal by Giles Terera. Foreword by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Theatre Book / 978 1 848 42999 4 / £16.99 (£13.59 direct from publisher)

A unique, personal account of researching, rehearsing for and performing in the London production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton – by Giles Terera, the actor who won an Olivier Award for his performance as the West End’s Aaron Burr. It offfers an honest, intimate and thrilling look at everything involved in opening a once-in-a-generation production – the triumphs, breakthroughs and doubts, the camaraderie of the rehearsal room and the moments of quiet backstage contemplation – as well as a fascinating, in-depth exploration of now-iconic songs and moments from the musical, as seen from the inside.
‘Masterful and excellently written… offers audiences and readers the chance to not only be in the “room where it happens” but also to smell the sweat, feel the pulsing hearts and hear the resonance… deserves a permanent place on aspiring musical theatre performers’ bookshelves’
The Reviews Hub

 

How Plays Work (revised and updated edition) by David Edgar

Theatre book / 978 1 839 04031 3 / £14.99 (£11.99 direct from publisher)

In this fascinating masterclass for playwrights and playmakers, distinguished playwright David Edgar examines the mechanisms and techniques which dramatists throughout the ages have employed to structure their plays and to express their meaning. This new edition brings the book right up to date with analyses of many recent plays, as well as explorations of emerging genres and new innovations in playwriting practice.
‘An essential accompaniment for anyone fascinated by the craft of dramatic storytelling’
John Yorke

 

 

Learning Your Lines: The Compact Guide by Mark Channon

Theatre book / 978 1 848 42971 0 / £8.99 (£7.19 direct from publisher)

This accessible, systematic guide will teach you how to memorise your lines quickly and effectively, and let go of the fear of forgetting them – helping you build confidence and focus, and reducing anxiety and stress around auditions, rehearsal and performance. Discover dozens of tips, tricks and techniques, along with exercises and examples to illustrate how they work in practice.

 

 

What Country, Friends, Is This?: Directing Shakespeare with Young Performers by Max Hafler

Theatre Book / 978 1 848 42803 4 / £14.99 (£11.99 direct from publisher)

A highly practical, comprehensive guide to exploring Shakespeare with young people, or indeed performers of all ages – ideal for directors, youth-theatre leaders, workshop facilitators and teachers. Beginning with a series of workshops that introduce the skills and principles of voice and acting, this book sets out, step by step, how to use devising, develop short scenes, explore soliloquies, and unlock the themes, characters, stories and language of the plays. There is also useful advice on preparing for a production, editing and transposing the text, rehearsing scenes, and fostering an ensemble.
‘A must-own… full of exercises and advice to explore’
Teaching Drama on Max Hafler’s book Teaching Voice: Workshops for Young Performers


 

Music Theatre International (Europe)

T: 020 7580 2827
W: www.mtishows.co.uk | E: shows@mtishows.co.uk
F: mtieurope | T: mtieurope

Hans Christian Andersen Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser. Book by John Fearnley, Beverley Cross and Tommy Steele

Countless generations of children have been raised on the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. From “The Ugly Duckling” to “The Little Mermaid.” Now with music by legendary composer Frank Loesser, Hans Christian Andersen is a musical storybook that brings the timeless tales (and the man who created them) to life onstage.
A struggling cobbler in Denmark, Hans Christian Andersen is better at making stories than shoes. As he discovers his potential as a storyteller and writer, he ultimately gets the help he needs from the people who love him to make a future for himself.
A family-friendly show with generous ensemble roles for both adults and children, Hans Christian Andersen is a timeless treasure. It is based on the 1952 film starring Danny Kaye and features classic songs such as “I’m Hans Christian Andersen,” “Thumbelina,” “Anywhere I Wander,” and more!

 

A KILLER PARTY: A Murder Mystery Musical Music by Jason Howland. Lyrics by Nathan Tysen. Book by Kait Kerrigan and Rachel Axler

A Killer Party: A Murder Mystery Musical is an online, performance-ready show based on the successful streaming musical. This hilarious and irreverent send-up of the classic Murder Mystery features an all-star creative team that includes music by Jason Howland (Little Women), lyrics by Nathan Tysen (The Burnt Part Boys), and a book by the illustrious Kait Kerrigan and Rachel Axler.
MTI’s licensable version of this online show is a 90-minute, single piece designed to be pre-recorded and edited together for a streaming production shown on the showtix4u.com platform.
When Varthur McArthur, the artistic director of a failing theater in Duluth, invites his troupe of disgruntled actors and collaborators to the first read of an “immersive murder mystery dinner party,” no one knew that he would be the victim. Or did they? Enter the eager, determined, and untested Detective Case. After sequestering the guests into separate rooms (because, you know, social-distancing), she gets down to finding out whodunnit, uncovering secret affairs, life-long grudges, backstage drama, and a lot of musical theater song and dance. Sifting through lies and red herrings and a truly baffling murder mystery script left by the deceased, Case vows to find the truth and secure her future as a great detective.

 

A-Wop Bop A-Loo Bop: A jukebox celebration of the early days of Rock & Roll! Book by Mark Brymer and John Jacobson

A-Wop Bop A-Loo Bop takes us back to the late 1950’s as Rock & Roll is taking the airwaves by storm. Roberta “Ruby” Lester and her friends are spunky teenagers with dreams of making it big in the music business. But sometimes dreams don’t go as planned. When the local radio station announces that “Rock‘n’Roll has got to go”, the kids take a stand for the music they love.
A-Wop Bop A-Loo Bop offers plenty of roles, along with a flexible ensemble you can tailor to your casting needs. Featuring hit songs like ‘Rock Around The Clock’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Tutti Frutti’, ‘Up On the Roof’, ‘The Loco-Motion’, ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Land of 1000 Dances’, this new jukebox musical will get a whole new generation of rockin’ around the clock!


 

Surface Press / BANDCAMP

W: rosebiggin-keircooper.bandcamp.com
E: surfacepress@gmail.com

WILD TIME: a radical novelisation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare, Rose Biggin, Keir Cooper

Novelisation

Paperback, signed paperback, e-book: rosebiggin-keircooper.bandcamp.com/releases
Ebook (Amazon): www.amazon.co.uk/Wild-Time-Rose-Biggin-ebook/dp/B08GY1NL4L

Both funny and sexy on an astronomical scale. The Perfect Summer Read!
Rose Biggin and Keir Cooper’s Wild Time “breaks as many rules as it can”, sparking rave reviews, a must-read for those looking for an hilarious new twist in the tale that packs a punch.
As the theatre industry opens up this season we are seeing many productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (one of the world’s most beloved plays), as theatres around the UK welcome back their audiences.
Two award-winning theatremakers have made a “theatrical novel” Wild Time, a witty riff that rewrites the action of Dream, and begins a conversation about the sexual politics of this famous and frequently performed piece, in a wholly unique way.
Their theatrical bookclub at Camden People’s Theatre made the Guardian’s hotlist and Lyn Gardner’s Pick of the week.
Authors Rose Biggin and Keir Cooper offer us a mischievous ride into myth and magic, taking liberties with Greek gods and literary idols as if nothing is sacred.
A witty reinvention of Shakespeare for 21st Century politics and sex-positivity. An ideal world to get lost in this Summer.
The Duke of Athens and the Amazon Queen are getting married in the morning. It’s going to be a big one, and everyone’s invited. The King and Queen of the Fairies arrive into ancient Athens, ready to be guests of honour at the party of the age.
There’s a gifted new Changeling in town — a uniquely talented human who’s attracting some attention. Titania has plans, Oberon’s wound up about it, there’s a long night ahead and naturally it all comes down to who does what. The planets have their own ideas, and elsewhere, deep within the forest, we see a leatherworker and part-time male stripper rehearsing a play that’s ahead of its time…
This is A Midsummer Night’s Dream as you’ve never known it before. A punk revision of Shakespeare’s narratives of pleasure and power, WILD TIME is a new world composed of erotic and theatrical acrobatics, taking liberties with Greek gods and literary idols like nothing is sacred. It’s funny, it’s sexy, and you’ve got a front row seat.

“WILD TIME is a genuinely intoxicating night in the woods. Generous and witty, sexy and extremely smart, it torments Shakespeare with such lascivious glee and trips nimbly through the theatrical canon… To see the universe expanded out in prose, but also subverted and punked and stripped down and re-focussed is a constant joy. I’ve never read anything like it.”
Stewart Pringle, Dramaturg, National Theatre.

“A lusty reimagining of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, WILD TIME spins you at arm’s length in the middle of its heated embrace. Transgression is at its heart: this new version does its best to rip off the shackles of its originator, but pays homage to it too by breaking as many rules as it can – just as Puck and his cohorts are wont to do. It’s like being in a really fun, messy party where I want to be friends – and maybe more – with them all… erotic and direct, joyful and funny, WILD TIME entices as much as it shocks. There are dangerous pleasures to be had here… if you’re bold enough.”
Honour Bayes, Writer & Critic

“Funny and mischievous, WILD TIME is a delightful reinvention… a treat for lovers of theatre and the fantastical”
EJ Swift

“Boldly experimental and daring, not to mention fabulously entertaining… One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is the way it honours its source material: the bawdiness, the humour, the word play, the theatrical chaos – they’re all here, all mined knowingly and inventively and to delightful effect. The authors’ willingness to be bold and innovative in terms of language and form adds extra verve, and their understanding of and appreciation for *theatre* in every sense of the word results in a work that almost demands to be adapted for the stage. The poetry, humour and sheer joy… a book that will raise a sorely needed smile as these dark days encroach.”
Nina Allan

Rose Biggin & Keir Cooper are two experimental theatre artists who work with radical adaptation, literature and histories: between them, productions include a Don Quijote remix (**** Guardian, Time Out Critics Choice), queer flamenco-theatre on the Spanish Revolution, and a performance of poledance and electric guitar, feat. live art veteran Penny Arcade.

WILD TIME is their debut novel. Rose’s short fiction has been published by Jurassic London, Abaddon Books & Egaeus Press.
Their second theatrical novel has been funded by Arts Council England and is currently in development.


 

Neville Teller

T: 01625 879508
W: www.nevilleteller.co.uk | E: teller.neville@gmail.com

MORE AUDIO DRAMA by Neville Teller

£11.99 paperback / £4.99 ebook (Amazon)

Neville Teller’s generous second helping of plays for audio. Charging no performance rights or royalties, More Audio Drama author Neville Teller gifts ten beautifully crafted literary classic adaptations for radio and audio to podcast producers looking for prepared audio scripts.
Following the success of the author’s unique first collection of ten radio plays published in 2019, veteran audio dramatist Neville Teller returns with his second helping of plays – More Audio Drama – to delight lovers of radio drama as well as producers, actors and podcasters everywhere.
In these 10 plays inspired by literary classics, Neville’s expert and finely tuned writing skills are displayed to full effect. Whether you are a podcast producer seeking fully realised audio drama scripts, or one of the worldwide listening audience who love radio drama with its power to create images in the mind’s eye, More Audio Drama is a book to treasure and enjoy.
Neville is a veteran radio dramatist, with more than 50 BBC radio plays under his belt and scores more produced and broadcast across America by the San Francisco-based Shoestring Radio Theatre.
Back in 2019 he published his first collection of ten radio plays, Audio Drama. They have been so welcomed that he decided to make another ten available. Here they are – 10 more of Neville’s plays for radio and podcast, all of which have been produced and broadcast. As in his first book, these scripts are offered to podcast producers with no strings attached. The books on which they are based are all literary classics in the public domain. No performance rights are required.
Whether you are a podcast producer seeking fully realised audio drama scripts, or one of the worldwide listening audience who love radio drama with its power to create images in the mind’s eye, More Audio Drama is a book to treasure and enjoy.
Neville says: “These easy-to-read radio scripts provide lovers of radio drama with the chance to create in their own minds the sort of radio drama that they enjoy. As for the worldwide community of podcast producers, here are 10 audio-ready scripts, offered with no strings attached.
“No royalties, no performance rights.”
Neville Teller is a veteran radio dramatist, with more than 50 BBC radio plays under his belt and scores more produced and broadcast across America by the San Francisco-based Shoestring Radio Theatre. Back in 2019 he published his first collection of ten radio plays, Audio Drama. They have been so welcomed that he decided to make another ten available. Here they are – 10 more of Neville’s plays for radio and podcast, all of which have been produced and broadcast. As in his first book, these scripts are offered to podcast producers with no strings attached. The books on which they are based are all literary classics in the public domain. No performance rights are required. Whether you are a podcast producer seeking fully realised audio drama scripts, or one of the worldwide listening audience who love radio drama with its power to create images in the mind’s eye, More Audio Drama is a book to treasure and enjoy.


 

JOHN WATERHOUSE

T: 01625 879508
W: jcwaterhouse.co.uk | E: john@jcwaterhouse.co.uk

What goes on in the Pantheon by John Waterhouse

Full-Length Comedy / F6, M6 (or 3m, 3f with doubling)

Free preview script via Stage Scripts at shop.stagescripts.com
The Greek Gods have enjoyed centuries of relative stability under the rule of Zeus, notwithstanding a few affairs and shenanigans along the way. All seems well apart from the fact that Artemis, Goddess of the Moon and the Hunt (as well as chastity) has not been seen for a while.
Karen, a holiday-maker climbing Mount Olympus, enters a portal accidentally left open by the messenger God Hermes on a trip down to the underworld of Hades. Karen bears a strong resemblance to Artemis, albeit with much shorter hair, and the rest of Gods assume she has simply changed her appearance a little (which Gods can do).
Having quickly learnt there are dire consequences for mortals who enter the Pantheon, Karen decides to pose as the missing Goddess. This suits Hades perfectly, who has Artemis a prisoner in his underworld kingdom, as he plots to challenge the power of Zeus on Olympus.


 

STAGE GHOSTS AND HAUNTED THEATRES by Nick Bromley

Available at lnpbooks.co.uk/product/stage-ghosts-and-haunted-theatres and for Sardines readers at a special price of £8 + £2 p&p by using code: GhostClub8

Despite the mind fog of these Covid times, can you, like me, just about remember the 16 March 2020? That’s when the first lockdown started and shows, even those that had survived multiple cast changes, came to a grinding halt.

I’m a freelance Company Stage Manager and like the vast majority of my fellow workers in the business had to accept I had even more time on my hands than usual.

The belief things would improve in a couple of months turned from hope to despair at times but I was cheered by a consistent story in the theatre’s trade papers and websites.

It seemed that though actors and audiences had vanished, there was still one thing performing nightly as long as managements had paid their electricity bills. It was that age old symbol of stage superstition, the Ghost Light. Every theatre now seemed to have one defiantly alight, keeping the dark shadows of dread and emptiness at bay.

Their stories made me want to emulate them. I wanted to do something positive to help lift my spirits and an idea began to form. As I couldn’t partake in shows or watch live performances, what about dead ones? It so happened that I had been collecting ghost stories of the theatre for most of my career and I saw this as an ideal opportunity to tell some of them. There was no lack of variety. After all, if I added up all the casts of Les Mis, Phantom, Mamma Mia! and The Mousetrap, they still couldn’t top my Chorus Line of ghosts.

I started going through my collection and quickly realised it would be unfair to only concentrate on past performing phantoms. I needed to broaden my outlook more widely. And so I added stories from backstage and also from the auditoriums. After all, spectral spectators abound throughout the land.

My list of sightings and experiences grew and grew and to accommodate a selection of the best I decided to divide my book in two. Starting in the West End, it visits many playhouses where multiple hauntings have been reported including the Adelphi, the Haymarket and Wyndham’s.

An interval is next where individual stories are related, and afterwards the book goes on tour around the country, before ending of course with a finale set in the most famous haunted theatre of them all, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
The end result is entitled Stage Ghosts and Haunted Theatres. It’s an illustrated paperback with a foreword by Richard O’Brien of The Rocky Horror Picture Show fame. It covers over fifty theatres and includes a host of terrors and apparitions that have been seen, felt, heard and even smelt. Those lonely lights onstage may be beginning to be turned off now as shows are cautiously re opening, but that does not mean the ghosts themselves have ever left the buildings…

ONE STEP BEYOND! – No.1

ONE STEP BEYOND! – No.1

Image: Paula Clifford holding the Premier League Trophy at the Manchester Football Museum.

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

Simply email us at news@sardinesmagazine.co.uk and please don’t forget to take plenty of photos…


NEW NAME, NEW CHALLENGES

In this One Step Beyond! (No.1) we follow RWB Productions (Royal Wootton Bassett Productions) though a name-change and see how ‘LnjMonroe Drama’ had to adapt to restrictions over the last fifteen months.


Since 2014, RWB Productions’ main focus had always been on producing original one-act plays for festivals as well as four murder mysteries each year for the local steam railway.

On the 16 March 2020 when Covid-19 forced theatres to close, village halls to shut and vintage railways to stop steaming, every stage was empty.

It was, the group decided, the perfect time to reflect on past achievements and establish the future of the group, but how would they fill the void that the pandemic had left?

Companies, both amateur and professional, were exploring audio drama, monologues, duologues and drama shorts. RWB’s Artistic Director, Paula Clifford, had to decide which type of production would be most suitable. After a great deal of thought, monologues and duologues were chosen, to be performed and recorded by actors in their homes.

For many, drama is an immersive experience, and most performances at this time used lockdown as its theme. However the group’s founders, Paula and Derek Clifford, decided that they wanted to move away from the events that were surrounding everybody.

So, the next step was to choose a theme, one that would showcase the group’s acting and musical talents. Paula and Derek have always shared writing responsibility for one-act scripts, with Paula doing any necessary research. Her attention was drawn to an article about the upcoming 75th anniversary of V.E. Day and how the planned celebrations would not be able to take place. Having a collection of letters, cards, newspapers and souvenirs from World War II, left to Paula and Derek by their parents meant this could be the perfect project.

From this came some little vignettes of the lives of various people during the war. Several dramatic shorts emerged: Mrs Tree and Mrs Brett Queuing for Bread, Scottie, 3 Bs (Beer, Bicycles and Blackouts) and The War Poet. Scripts also included historical broadcasts and songs from the time. Members rose to the challenge of singing Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree, Boogie Woogie Buggle Boy and Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

Recordings were joined to make videos of between three minutes to seven minutes each. Visual elements for the videos included photos of the inspirational letters, original photos and copyright-free images found online. They were then added to the group’s social media pages over the weekend of the V.E. Day anniversary.

On 10 May 2020 lockdown began to ease (little did we know) and the group planned for performances in front of a live audience. But of course local lockdowns kicked in, and by 14 September the ‘rule of six’ was established. So any hope of performing came to a standstill once again. On 5 November a second national lockdown came into force. The group felt that they needed another project to keep everyone occupied.

The decision to change the name of the group came as a result of performance and audience interaction. It needed to be unique and one that could not be confused with other groups. In 2000, Paula and Derek wrote a one-act play for a local drama group under the pseudonym of Liam Monroe and this was used for the new name; ‘LnjMonroe Drama’.

Monologues and duologues were used again. The next project’s theme was inspired by another one-act, written by Paula back in 2018. The Boy I Love, a story of love & football set in 1917, focuses on the lives of three women working in a munitions factory who all play football during their breaks. The last scene is based on the FA’s 1921 ban on women playing the game (not lifted until 1971!) It seemed to be the perfect topic for a set of monologues spanning the history of women’s football – from the late 1800s to the present day.

Almost the whole group wanted to take part which resulted in Paula writing sixteen scripts incorporating the main events surrounding history of the women’s game. She began with a monologue about Nettie Honeyball, founder of the British Ladies Football Club in 1895. The Dick Kerr ladies, the most famous of the teams to come out of the World War I, were next. Paula chose to write a duologue about Alice Norris and her mother. Mrs Norris took in the most famous of all Dick Kerr Ladies, Lily Parr.

Alfred Frankland, manager of the Dick Kerr ladies required his own monologue and so two fictional characters were duly incorporated. Nell and Dot from The Boy I Love. Dot having played football for a factory munitions team with Nell becoming the team’s manager.

Men and women for and against the FA’s ban most definitely had to be included. The first was a fictional FA Council member who voted for the ban followed by Dr. Mary Lowry, a factual doctor who spoke out against it. Lastly, footballer, Harry Hampton, who was also against the ban.

With the ban not being lifted until 1971, it seemed appropriate to include the 1970s in some format. Lucy Hurst was another of Paula’s fictional characters (no relation to Geoff, but whom she still imagined playing for West Ham in 1971 and visiting Mexico to watch the Women’s world Cup the same year).

Women’s football has come a long way since 1971, but still has a long way to go. As such, for the final monologues, Paula wanted to show that women can have important roles in English football today. She created Ashley Lynn who she imagined as the first female Premier League manager; Daisy wheeler, a fictional referee in the Women’s Super League; and Eva Hart, a female historian who having written a book, was guest speaker at a women’s football awards dinner. Paula gave Eva’s book the same title as the project It Took 50 Years. Through Eva’s speech she was able to link some of the other characters dialogue together, and to suggest what women’s football might look like in another fifty years.

The next task was to cast the characters. For members with a musical theatre background, as the May’s V.E. Day monologues, they had the extra challenge of a song. Mrs Norris, for instance, came from Lancashire and sang, A Lassie from Lancashire. Harry Hampton who played for Birmingham City has the club anthem Keep Right On to the End of the Road. Another football anthem written into a monologue was for Lucy Hurst of West Ham Ladies to sing I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.

Completed scripts were sent, with character notes, to the appropriate actor to record. All of the cast working on the project were experienced so Paula was confident they would be able to effectively use voice alone. But if one was struggling, then a video call with Paula was set up for help.

Shorter scripts also included a narrative for each period of history in the form of newspaper reports and crowd chants. One member has his own filming and editing service and has volunteered to put the individual recordings together.

To date two films have been produced: How It All Started and The First World War. The films are much longer than the ones the group produced in May 2020, and were going to require a vast amount of visual elements. Although challenging, suitable props and costumes from the group’s large collection were photographed by Paula, to be added to copyright free images. Because the films were nine and ten minutes long, Paula created a group YouTube channel. Three of the drama shorts created in 2020 were swiftly added to followed by the latest ones.

For It Took 50 Years, the next step is to adapt the monologues into a stage play. When it might be performed is difficult to predict as guidelines are continually being adjusted to meet the ever evolving Covid-19 restrictions.

Looking back, a few actors have reflected on the project. Rob Hall (Harry Hampton) shared some of his thoughts: “Being a football fan, I’ve always been fascinated with the history of the beautiful game right back to its early beginnings. I have to admit I didn’t know much about the early women’s game until I was asked to be involved in this production but after a little research I discovered a wealth of information! The stories of the Dick Kerr Ladies and their star player Lily Parr makes for incredible reading; she really was the Raheem Sterling of her day! It’s been an absolute pleasure to have been involved in this truly inspiring project.”

Long-standing member, Alan Fisher (James Turner), added: “I joined, what was then RWB Productions in 2014 when they needed men for There Just Has to be a Better Way. The process for It Took 50 Years has been so different. Having to record our lines has been a new experience and made it a harder task to get into character. Hopefully we can all get together soon to perform it as it should be.”

Lizzy Baker gave consideration to both projects: “Just when our band of thespians were gearing up for a session of murder mysteries on our steam railway the pandemic hit and scuppered all our plans. These little nuggets of history were not only fun to be part of but also full of historical fact. I was involved with two. The first I played Mrs Tree Queuing for Bread at the grocers. Then Paula, who is a huge football fan and has supported Crystal Palace through thick and thin, came up with a series of playlets. The second was a duologue with my daughter, the night before a big match for the Dick Kerr Ladies, where a celebrity was going to kick off the game. Both were totally different from each other and great fun to play with. I used different accents for each character and sung in both pieces. Lots of laughter rang around my house during the recordings and trying to stop my dog from joining in was a challenge. It was great to have something creative to be part of and helped our little company feel connected.”

Jen Fisher who played Lucy Hurst said of It Took 50 Years: When Paula asked if I would like to be involved, I was hesitant, as remembering a monologue seemed a daunting task… However, here was an advantage of the pandemic… I could record it in my lounge with the script by my side and no-one would know. I really enjoyed adding feeling and expression to Paula’s writing and hope I managed to convey the character she had imagined.”

Finally, also reflecting on the project is Denise Humphries (Nell): “As a performer, I really appreciated Paula’s innovative approach and her willingness to think outside the box. This meant that we all felt involved in something even though we couldn’t actually perform onstage. It also helped us to stay in contact so that during lockdown we felt less isolated. Thank you Paula!”

Search YouTube for ‘LnjMonroe Drama’ to watch the videos yourself.

ONE STEP BEYOND! – No.2

ONE STEP BEYOND! – No.2

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: news@sardinesmagazine.co.uk 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 early.doors@hotmail.co.uk

STRIKE UP THE BAND!

STRIKE UP THE BAND!

Heathers The Musical
Open now until 11 Sep 2021
Theatre Royal Haymarket, London SW1Y 4HT
and touring from 5 Aug – 11 Dec 2021
www.heathersthemusical.com
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
www.jerseyboyslondon.com
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
uk.thephantomoftheopera.com
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.

 

PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL
Open now, booking until 12 Dec 2021
Savoy Theatre, London WC2R 0ET
london.prettywomanthemusical.com
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.

TINA – THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL
Open now, booking until 26 June 2022
Aldwych Theatre, London WC2B 4DF
www.tinathemusical.com
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.

 

PIPPIN
Open now until 5 Sep 2021
Charing Cross Theatre WC2N 6NL
www.pippinonstage.com
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
www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show-whats-on/john-jen
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.

JUST SO – A CONCERT VERSION OF THE STILES & DREWE MUSICAL
Open now until 4 September 2021
The Watermill Theatre, Newbury RG20 8AE
www.watermill.org.uk/just_so_the_musical
F: thewatermilltheatre / T: @WatermillTh / I: thewatermilltheatre

Garden Theatre Summer Festival
1 – 14 Aug 2021
St Gabriel’s Halls, London SW1V 3AA
www.gardentheatre. co.uk
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
www.andjulietthemusical.co.uk
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!

 

GREASE
Touring now until 27 November 2021
greasethemusicalontour.com
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.

 

CABARET
Opening on 15 November 2021 –
booking until 5 March 2022
Kit Kat Club, Playhouse Theatre, London WC2N 5DE
kitkat.club
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…

 

CINDERELLA
Opening on 25 August 2021 –
booking until 13 February 2022
Gillian Lynne Theatre, London WC2B 5PW
andrewlloydwebberscinderella.com
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.

 

MAMMA MIA!
Opening on 25 August 2021 –
booking until 2 April 2022
Novello Theatre, London WC2B 4LD
www.mamma-mia.com
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.

 

HAMILTON
Opening on 19 August 2021 –
booking until 2 April 2022
Victoria Palace Theatre, London SW1E 5EA
hamiltonmusical.com/london/home / 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.

THE DRIFTERS GIRL
9 – 23 October 2021
Newcastle Theatre Royal then… opening 4 Nov 2021 (Booking until 26 March 2022)
Garrick Theatre, London WC2H 0HH
www.thedriftersgirl.com
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.

 

MARY POPPINS
Opening 7 Aug 2021
Booking until 13 Feb 2022
Prince Edward Theatre, London W1D 4HS
www.marypoppinsonstage.co.uk
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.

GET UP, STAND UP! THE BOB MARLEY MUSICAL
Opening 1 Oct 2021 / Booking until 3 Apr 2022
Lyric Theatre, London W1D 7ES
getupstandupthemusical.com / 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.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS
17 Sep – 17 Oct 2021
Garrick Theatre, London WC2H 0HH
www.last5yearsuk.com
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.

INDECENT PROPOSAL
22 Oct – 27 Nov 2021 / Southwark Playhouse, London SE1 6BD
www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show-whats-on/indecent-proposal
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).

MATILDA THE MUSICAL
Opening 16 Sep 2021
Booking until 13 Feb 2022
Cambridge Theatre, London WC2H 9HU
uk.matildathemusical.com
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.

SIX
Until 29 Aug 2021
Lyric Theatre, London W1D 7ES then…opening 29 Sep ’21
Booking until 1 May 2022
Vaudeville Theatre, London WC2R 0NH
www.sixthemusical.com
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

THE RHYTHMICS
10 Dec 2021 – 8 Jan 2022
Southwark Playhouse, London SE1 6BD
www.mettatheatre.co.uk/therhythmics
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.

9 to 5 THE MUSICAL
Touring from 24 August 2021
9to5themusical.co.uk
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!

 

BAT OUT OF HELL – THE MUSICAL
Touring 11 Sep 2021 – 5 Nov 2022
www.BatOutOfHellMusical.com / 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’.

CHICAGO
Touring 11 Sep 2021 – 30 Jul 2022
www.chicagothemusical.com
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.

 

ROCK OF AGES
Touring 19 Aug 2021 – 18 Jun 2022
www.rockofagesmusical.co.uk
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.

 

BRING IT ON THE MUSICAL
Touring from 26 Nov 2021 – 30 Jul 2022
including Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX
from 8 Dec 2021 – 22 Jan 2022
www.bringitonthemusicaluk.com
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.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Touring 19 Aug 2021 – 19 Mar 2022
www.theaddamsfamily.co.uk
F & I: TheAddamsFamilyUK / T: @AddamsFamilyUK

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Touring 14 Aug 2021 – 1 May 2022
www.bedknobsonstage.com / 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

RENT
6 Aug – 19 Sep 2021
Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester M4 7JA
hopemilltheatre.co.uk
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
www.shaftesburytheatre.com/shows/lady-chatterleys-lover
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
www.netflix.com/gb
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
www.incidentalmusicforthestage.com
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’S SYMPHONIC SUITES
www.andrewlloydwebber.com

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
www.thetheatrechannel.stream
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.

 

 

 

NEWS, GOSSIP and STILL TO COME…

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.

YOUR NEWS – Heart of Hammersmith Rehearsals Underway

YOUR NEWS – Heart of Hammersmith Rehearsals Underway

Heart of Hammersmith company members in rehearsals.  Photo: Nahwand Jaff


By Su-Ann Chow-Seegoolam

Heart of Hammersmith is the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre’s first large-scale community play celebrating true stories of West London with a cast of over forty local people, aged from 11–88 years.
Full casting has now been announced with participants from the adult Community Chorus, Young Lyric Partner Chorus and Amici Dance Theatre Company joining the previously announced Lyric Community Company.
The production will be running in the Lyric Theatre’s Main House from Thursday, 12 to Saturday, 14 August.
Heart of Hammersmith is written and created by Nicholai La Barrie with The Lyric Community Company, directed by Eva Sampson with Alex Hurst with set and design by Charlotte Espiner, lighting design by Shaun Parry, sound design by Lorna Munden and choreography by Diane Alison-Mitchell.
The new show celebrates West London stories past and present. The production started rehearsals in January during Lockdown via Zoom with the Lyric Community Company’s 17 young members, aged 18-25. The production has been developed throughout the year and now brings together a cast of over 40 West Londoners, including an Adult Community Chorus, aged 30-88 years; the Amici Dance Theatre Company of disabled and non- disabled performers aged from 20-70 years; and a Young Lyric Partner’s Chorus, aged 11-18 years.
From lives lived to lives lost, lives forced out and lives brought together, Heart of Hammersmith celebrates West London through all of its hardships and triumphs and the vibrant individuals who make it what it is. Inspired by true stories from West London, the play tracks immigrant arrivals, million-pound homes and social housing sitting side by side, the rise of gentrification and the shadows left by the Grenfell tragedy, the changing of attitudes, facing of tragedies and the rallying of a resilient community. Heart of Hammersmith tells the story of Dieppe Street, a street from West London’s past, and a place that today unites us.
The performances will be socially distanced in line with See It Safely industry-approved guidelines and all tickets are £10 available at www.lyric.co.uk .
The adult Community Chorus includes Colm Gallagher, Patricia Mantuano, Denise Clarke-Williams and Nutun Ahmed in speaking roles and Alessio Bagiardi, Francis Cherry, Margaret Cramp, Isobel Leaviss, James Mcauley, Binita Patel, Lizzie Popoff, Priya Narayan, Pauline Singh, Anne-Marie Wedderburn, Jamie Woodard, Donna Wright and Faisal Yusuf.
Amici Dance Theatre Company is a unique dance theatre company integrating non-disabled & disabled artists and performers. The Amici Company includes: John Athnasious, Stuart Cowie, Ekeama Henry-Ferrazzi , Nicolas Serial, Wilma Serial and Delson Weeks.
The children’s Partner Chorus includes: Amaiya Coleman, Luka Jankovick, Nikolas Obradovic, Agnes Suckling, Imiya Summers and Alyssia Tachie-Menson in collaboration with the Young Lyric Partner Organisations Action on Disability, Amici Dance Theatre Company, New English Ballet Theatre, Tri-Borough Music Hub, Turtle Key Arts and Zoo Nation Academy of Dance.
Working together with Nicholai La Barrie (Tina – The Tina Turner Musical Resident Director), the script has been created with The Lyric Community Company, aged 18-25, from West London. They are Gehna Badhwar, Eva Bate, Wes Bozonga, Ömer Cem Çoltu, Tom Claxton, Kitty Cockram, James Douglas-Quarcoopome, Harry Drane, Harri-Rose Hudson, Lex MacQuire, Ella McCallum, Ele McKenzie, Alfie Neill, Priyanka Patel, Danielle Tama, Wilf Walsworth, Aliyah Yanguba.

Website: www.lyric.co.uk
Twitter: @LyricHammer
Instagram: /LyricHammersmith
Facebook: /LyricHammersmith

YOUR NEWS – Beckenham at the End of the Line

YOUR NEWS – Beckenham at the End of the Line

Founded in 1948, asbestos signals the end of 73-year-old amateur theatre venue


By Paul Johnson

One of the saddest stories I have come across in recent times concerns the demise of Beckenham’s intimate 47-seat theatre situated on the crossroad junction of Bromley Road, Manor Road and Wickham Road.
Around fifteen years ago I personally appeared in three plays over a twelve-month period at BTC, and I loved every minute of it. Cut to 2021 and Covid is not the big problem; the enemy within is asbestos.
However, there maybe some light at the end of the tunnel. Members of BTC are determined to continue despite the harrowing diagnosis, at a new premises.
Earlier this year, Malcolm Jones, Chairman of Beckenham Theatre Trustees issued the following message via the theatre’s website:
“As many of you who attended last December’s AGM and the EGM in 2019 will know, the theatre has been struggling recently in many ways. COVID has, of course, had a huge impact on BTC. We have been closed for a year and it is still unclear on a date when we could re-open without social distancing.
“But for a longer time than COVID has been around, we have had to cope with the problems of declining membership and a failing building. We need a substantial injection of money to deal with the needs of the building survey originally undertaken in 2018. We exist in an environment in which many local amateur theatres are struggling with issues of membership and audiences.
“As was explained at the AGM, before attempting to fundraise for the money needed to repair and update the building, we needed to know the basic structure of the theatre was sound. Unfortunately, an asbestos survey found that we had asbestos in several places. The worst affected area is the cellar which has brown asbestos which, alongside blue asbestos, is considered the most dangerous type. As our Gas and Electricity supplies are in the cellar, this caused further problems as utility companies will not go into the cellar to disconnect our supplies for work to begin. This meant a substantially more expensive cost of working from the street to disconnect.
“As a consequence, the cost of removing the asbestos was moving towards £20,000, and this was before any reinstatement costs were taken into account, which meant the Trustees have had to make the difficult decision about whether this was a responsible way to use the theatre’s capital, especially considering in the last two or three years we have suffered from falling membership and audiences and falling numbers volunteering to act, direct and work backstage. That said, the children’s and youth theatres are still thriving.
“We also spoke at the AGM about the various options open to us, which include selling the land to a developer who will incorporate a community space in the new build (this would give us less money but a possible space to perform in in two years’ time, although not a like-for-like theatre) or simply selling the land to achieve the most money we can from the site.
“We are still awaiting full costs in order to make a final decision but, so as not to stand still and to try to be positive in the situation we find ourselves in, we are having presentations from three estate agents later this month who will explain how we will go about selling the land on which the theatre stands.
“In the meantime, in accordance with the membership’s wishes at the 2019 EGM, we are also investigating the best method of setting up a Trust Fund to use any monies from the sale of the land responsibly and to form a lasting and positive legacy for Beckenham Theatre.
“If the theatre is to sell the land, it does not necessarily mean the end of Beckenham Theatre. There is still money to allow the children’s and youth theatres to hire premises so they can continue and for adult productions to take place elsewhere if there is enthusiasm for this.
“In the end, we need to remember that BTC is not just a social club but a legally registered Charity and we, as Trustees, must be able to report to Companies House and the Charities Commission about our decisions and demonstrate due diligence as Trustees on how we manage the Charities assets, both financial and physical.
“We will keep our membership updated as we continue to explore the options available.”
Despite the grim news, BTC members have been carrying on regardless, conducting online social evenings, play readings and even entering regional online drama festivals.
The bottom line is still that the physical theatre is being sold for redevelopment of the land and, to that end, will not open again as a theatre.
We will bring you more news when it becomes available.

REOPENING OUR THEATRES

REOPENING OUR THEATRES

Photo: Vernon Bryant

Some thoughts from Eddie Redfern, the LTG’s National Liaison Officer…


Eddie Redfern

As we come out of lockdown and start to return to rehearsals and putting on plays, have you considered what effect the last fifteen months has had on your members both onstage, backstage and front of house?
Have all volunteers and workers been fully briefed on the new COVID secure environment training and systems? Are you asking cast crew, set builders, technicians and all volunteers to take regular lateral flow tests, during rehearsals and performances? These are free and available from pharmacies or direct from the NHS.
Has everyone been briefed that “The Show Must Go On” syndrome is no longer a realistic and valid reason for turning up if they have any COVID symptoms, irrespective of their role?

Onstage and Backstage

We might recognise that some cast members will be apprehensive about returning and rehearsing. But have we considered the lack of muscle memory for speaking out loud and projecting their voices. If you don’t do it already in rehearsals, is it worth doing vocal warm-ups and some warm-up exercises to get our actors rehearsal ready? This will assist them to get back to full performance readiness.

What about our set builders, the majority of whom are retired and have not built any sets for fifteen months? I know at my own theatre the team dismantling the previous, unused set, was knackered far sooner than they expected. Again lack of exercise and muscle memory. Do they need longer to build the set than fifteen months ago. Have they been reminded of the health and Safety requirements. Hve they had any refresher training on use of equipment, for example electric saws.

Has the Stage Manager and crew been briefed on COVID secure working, are they fit enough to move props and scenery. Are props being sanitized before and after use? Do they need additional assistance to get back to normal? What about our lighting and sound technicians. Have they been reminded of health and safety practices, especially lighting technicians who may not have been up high ladders for fifteen months or more.

Front of House

In this I include FoH manager, Stewards, Bar staff, Box Office and Tea & Coffee teams. Are they comfortable to return? Are they comfortable with the COVID-secure procedures, with the likelihood of additional cleaning requirements, such as door handles and touch points once audience are in the auditorium? Have the bar staff been briefed to minimize handling of glasses and increased hand sanitation during bar service? Is the preparation and service of ‘interval drinks’ any different? Box Office, have you moved to electronic ticketing? How will you manage manual tickets to avoid excess handling? Have you placed a screen between Box Office and customers, if you did not already have one? (My own theatre has installed a bank-style, two-way communications system, and electronic ticketing. This stops people putting their heads through the box office hatch!!). Have you amended your first-aid procedures to ensure safety of both first aiders and the person needing assistance?

Is your theatre really COVID secure? Have you ensured additional ventilation? Have you adjusted your cleaning routine, with a higher frequency, or level of cleaning? Have you taken steps to mitigate contamination of auditorium seating? Do you have one-way systems in place, for as long as they are needed within the regulations? How are you ensuring dressing rooms, green room and kitchen areas backstage are clean?


These are just some of the thoughts in general about re-opening. How many of you have subscribed to the UK Theatre “See it Safely” kitemark that you can use in your PR and marketing of your post-COVID Productions. The link is ‘See it Safely Toolkit – UK Theatre’ which is open to all LTG Members. The other available Kitemark is Visit Britain “We’re Good to Go”. Google ‘Visit Britain Good to Go Standard’.

Finally, I look forward to hearing how you have all managed as you re-open and pray that your audiences return in droves, so that we can do what we do best and produce live, entertaining, educational drama and theatre!

 

GETTING BACK!

GETTING BACK!

Recently, we asked you to send us details of your production plans to reopen and welcome your audiences back into theatres up and down the UK.
You haven’t disappointed us. In fact we almost received too many shows to list.
There are two points why this news is so big:

  1. You must all be confident that audiences are ready to come back into theatres.
  2. Your own societies, casts & crews must also be ready to launch back into performing with aplomb.

We must admit to fearing a bigger level of hesitancy whilst, it turns out, all along, you’ve been waiting to get back to where you belong.
The next thing you need to do id check that your society’s contact ‘Admin’ has uploaded the production to our website. Here are some of your shows:


With somewhere in the region of over 10,000 amateur theatre societies in the UK, this obviously a tiny snapshot of what is going on across the length and breadth of the country.
Many of the societies shown here are listed on the Sardines website directory. However, some have merely responded to our video shoutouts on YouTube and sent us details of their reopening shows, plays and pantos.
If you spot your own society here then why not look on the Sardines website to see if the society and show are listed?

The website can be reached by visiting: www.sardinesmagazine.co.uk

That said, not everybody will be able to upload information to the website. So here are the basic points:

  1. Individuals must register on the website before being able to do anything. However, it’s very quick and easy.
  2. Once registered you can add a society, a new service supplier profile, comment on any post or add a new post of your own. Just click on the ‘Add/Upload/Me’ link once you log in to add or edit something.
  3. Only the main society ‘Admin’ can update and add new details to a society page. This is usually the person who created the original society page, but not always. Email us (admin@sardinesmagazine.co.uk) with any queries or special ‘Admin’ requests you may have.
  4. Anybody can apply to be a ‘Co-Admin’ of a society page which means – if approved by the existing ‘Admin’ – they will be able to add productions, auditions and request a Sardines review for a production they have added.
  5. Any registered user can also ‘follow’ a society to receive notifications of additions, changes and uploads made to any particular theatre group.

If you get stuck our YouTube channel has a ‘Video Tutorials’ playlist to help out. Search YouTube for ‘Sardines Magazine’.

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