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Post-COVID Re-Opening of Our Theatres – Little Theatre Guild

Post-COVID Re-Opening of Our Theatres – Little Theatre Guild

By Eddie Redfern, Little Theatre Guild’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 15 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 15 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 15 months ago? Have they been reminded of the health and Safety requirements? Have 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 15 months or more.

Front of House:

In this I include FoH manager, Stewards, Bar staff, Box Office and Tea and 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 the 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?

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!

‘Dad’s Army Radio Show’ is back with 3 episodes newly adapted for the stage!

‘Dad’s Army Radio Show’ is back with 3 episodes newly adapted for the stage!

The nation’s favourite sitcom returns to stages across the nation in 2021 in this highly-acclaimed production

LONDON DATES: Crazy Coqs, Brasserie Zedel
Thu, 29 July, Fri, 30 July, Sat, 31 July (+ mat)
Plus a livestream on Friday 30 July

Perry and Croft’s classic BBC sitcom is brought gloriously to life in three episodes of the hugely popular television series hilariously and lovingly enacted by two master performers.

David Benson (‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ and ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’) and Jack Lane (‘Wisdom of a Fool’ and ‘7 Days’) transport the audience right back to Walmington, working from original radio scripts – complete with sound effects, vintage music and all of Perry and Croft’s beloved characters and catchphrases. Highly acclaimed by critics and by audiences of all ages.

Featuring three episodes newly adapted for stage:

‘When You’ve Got To Go’
Prviate Pike passes his call-up medical  A1 (in spite of his chronically bad chest, his painful sinuses, his weak ankles and recently acquired nervous twitch). At the evening’s parade, Mainwaring and the platoon decide to celebrate Private Pike’s departure with a dinner in his honor at the local fish and chip restaurant.

‘My Brother and I’
Just as Captain Mainwaring gives the go-ahead for a sherry party with local dignitaries, his drunken brother, Barry, turns up to spoil the occasion.

‘Never Too Old’

The final ever episode of ‘Dad’s Army’, originally broadcast on Sunday 13 November 1977. The wedding reception of Lance Corporal Jones and Mrs Fox is interrupted as the platoon are put on full invasion alert.

Jack Lane said, “We love ‘Dad’s Army’ as much our audiences do and it is a privilege for us to have the opportunity to share our delight in our nation’s best-loved sit-com with audience’s all over the UK, Our aim has always been to be as true to the original, in finding the voices and mannerisms of the characters, as possible. No messing about it with it or trying to be ‘cleverer than it was’ by sending it up.”

Sound Designer Daniel Barnes.  Original Production directed by Owen Lewis. Produced by Engine Shed and Something For The Weekend.

David Benson

Best-known for his performance as Noel Coward in the BBC’s classic war-time comedy ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’. David exploded onto the theatre scene with his first solo show ‘Think No Evil of Us: My Life With Kenneth Williams’, in 1996. The show became an instant classic, winning praises from audiences, critics and Dames Maggie Smith and Barbara Windsor for the accuracy of his portrayal as the ‘Carry On’ star. He followed this with a succession of solo shows on a wide variety of subjects, including Frankie Howerd, Dr. Johnson, the death of Diana Princess of Wales and an award-winning examination of the Lockerbie bombing.

David was a member of the National Theatre’s smash hit comedy ‘One Man, Two Guvnors’ with James Corden, playing 1,015 performances of the show. He appears in the film ‘Blade Runner 2049’ as a hologram of Liberace!

David was nominated for a BBC Audio Best Actor Award for his portrayal as Frankie Howerd in ‘Frankie Takes a Trip’.

David describes Dad’s Army Radio Show as “the best idea I ever had” and inviting Jack Lane to perform it with him, “the second best idea I ever had!”

Jack Lane

Jack founded Engine Shed Theatre Company in 2010. He soon adapted three episodes and two Christmas specials of the classic BBC sitcom ‘Steptoe and Son’ receiving approval from the original writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. In 2015 Jack premiered ‘Wisdom of a Fool’, a self-penned one-man play based on the life and career of comedy icon, Norman Widsom. The play opened to critical acclaim and was endorsed by Wisdom’s estate before embarking on an extensive tour.

Theatre includes: ‘A Christmas Carol’, ‘Dad’s Army Radio Show’ (Edinburgh Festival/National Tour), ‘Wisdom of a Fool’ (National Tour), ‘The Ambassadress’ (workshop), ‘Great Britain’ (ASM, Theatre Royal Haymarket), ‘Gretel and Hansel,’ ‘Cue for a Song’, ‘Steptoe & Son’, ‘From Turner To Houston’, ‘National Theatre Connections’, ‘Steptoe & Son Christmas Special’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, ‘Aladdin’, ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens’, ‘Confusions’, ‘Annie’, ‘That’s
Entertainment’ (The Capitol, Horsham) and as Max Bialystock in ‘The Producers’ (The Hawth).

Film includes: ‘7 Days’ (Pixel Revolution Films)

TV includes: ‘Twirlywoos’ (BBC/Ragdoll)

Radio includes: ‘Casting the Runes ‘(Bafflegab Productions) and ‘Barbara Windsor Celebrates’ (BBC Radio 2)

David Benson (@DavidBensonSays)
Jack Lane (@RealJackLane)

2021 Tour Dates

Middlesbrough Theatre
15, 16, 17 July

Crazy Coqs, Brasserie Zedel London
Thurs 29 July, Fri 30 July, Sat 31 July (+ mat)
Plus a livestream on Friday 30 July

Corn Hall, Diss
Friday 3 September

Ashford Revelation
Saturday 4 September

Chequer Mead, East Grinstead
Saturday 11 September

Blackpool Grand
Wednesday 15 September

Alnwick Playhouse
Friday 17 September

Queens Hall, Hexham
Saturday 18 September

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
Tuesday 21 September

Town and Gown Theatre, Cambridge
Thursday 23 – Saturday 25 September

Theatre Royal, Winchester
Tuesday 28 September

New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth
Thursday 30 September

Taunton Brewhouse
Friday 1 October

Queens Theatre, Hornchurch
Sunday 3 October

Brook Theatre, Chatham
Thursday 7 October

Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Southampton
Saturday 9 October

Capitol Theatre, Horsham
Wednesday 13 October

Burbage Festival, Leicestershire
Friday 15 October

Canterbury Festival
Thursday 21st October




Twitter: @DadsArmyRadio

Facebook: DadsArmyRadio



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

New dates are announced today for the return of Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution at London County Hall on the Southbank. As the Government Roadmap will not permit the return of full capacity audiences by the planned reopening date of 18 May, performances will now resume from 3 August 2021. The production is booking through to 20 March 2022. Tickets are on sale at  Casting is to be announced soon.

Since opening to critical acclaim in 2017 Witness for the Prosecution has captured the imagination of thousands who have been gripped by the case of Leonard Vole, accused of murder in cold blood. Director Lucy Bailey (Oleanna, Ghosts, Love From A Stranger) thrillingly places the audience in the thick of the action, as Agatha Christie’s enthralling tale of justice, passion and betrayal unfolds around them.

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 designed by William Dudley, with lighting by Chris Davey, sound design by Mic Pool and casting by Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG.

Eleanor Lloyd Productions and Rebecca Stafford Productions present…
Witness for the Prosecution

By Agatha Christie
Directed by Lucy Bailey
Designed by William Dudley
Lighting Design by Chris Davey
Sound Design by Mic Pool

London County Hall
The Chamber, County Hall, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 7PB
Currently Booking from 3 August 2021 to 20 March 2022.
Box Office: 0844 815 7141

Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm and Sunday at 3pm.

Christmas Schedule: 21 December 2.30pm & 7.30pm, 22 December 2.30pm & 7.30pm, 23 December 2.30pm & 7.30pm, 24 December 2.30pm, 27 December 7.30pm, 28 December 2.30pm & 7.30pm, 29 December 2.30pm & 7.30pm, 30 December 7.30pm, 31 December 2.30pm,  2 January 1.30pm & 6.30pm.


Tickets from £12
No booking fees if booked via the official website

Our exclusive VIP Jury Ticket will place you in the heart of the courtroom action. Jurors will receive a complimentary programme and 2 complimentary drinks (soft drink, beer or house wine) to be redeemed pre-show or at the interval.

Witness for the Prosecution is offering a range of Courtroom Gift Packages, including packages to sit on the Jury.  For more information please visit

For information about the Premium Experiences on offer at Witness for the Prosecution, please visit

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

Janie Dee to star in new digital production of Terence Rattigan’s ‘All On Her Own’

Janie Dee to star in new digital production of Terence Rattigan’s ‘All On Her Own’

Jack Maple & Brian Zeilinger-Goode for MZG Theatre Productions will produce a brand new digital production of Terence Rattigan’s one-woman play, All On Her Own, starring award-winning actress Janie Dee and directed by Alastair Knights, with Jack McCann as assistant director and original music by Lindsey Miller. The show will be available to stream for eight performances only via from 16 to 21 February 2021. More information about the production is available at or the direct link

A powerfully atmospheric one-woman play, All On Her Own tells the story of Rosemary who, alone at midnight in London, has a secret burden to share that is both heartbreaking and sinister.

The play began life as a piece for television, broadcast on BBC2 on 25 September 1968.  It was first performed on stage at the Overground Theatre, Kingston, Surrey, in October 1974 and was most recently seen at the Garrick Theatre in April 2015 starring Zoe Wanamaker as part of the Kenneth Branagh Season.

Terence Rattigan is one of Britain’s greatest playwrights.  His many successful plays include French Without TearsAfter the DanceFlare Path, Man and BoyThe Winslow BoyThe Browning VersionHarlequinadeThe Deep Blue SeaSeparate Tables, In Praise of Love and Cause Célèbre.  Sir Terence Rattigan died in 1977.  Royalties from this and other Rattigan works benefit Denville Hall and the King George V Fund for Actors and Actresses.

Janie Dee’s much celebrated theatre work includes The Boyfriend (Menier Chocolate Factory); FolliesWomen of Troy and Carousel (Olivier Award) at the National Theatre; Antony and Cleopatra (Hollywood Bowl and Barbican), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Russia and Asia tour) and All’s Well That Ends Well for Shakespeare’s Globe; Hello, Dolly! (TMA UK Theatre Award) and The King and I at Curve Leicester; My One and Only (also West End), A Month In The Country and Three Sisters at Chichester; Noises Off at the Old Vic and in the West End; Hand To GodBlithe SpiritDonkey’s Years and Calendar Girls in the West End.  Janie won the three most prestigious awards in British Theatre – the Olivier Award, the Evening Standard Award and Critics’ Circle Award – for Best Actress in a Play, as well as the Obie and Theatre World Best Newcomer Award in New York, for her hilarious and heartbreaking performance as Jacie Triplethree in Alan Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential.  Janie numerous screen credits include Chimerica, Love Hurts and House of Cards, and she has appeared alongside Colin Firth in Harold Pinter’s Celebration for Channel 4, opposite Martin Shaw in P.D.James’s Death in Holy Orders and The Murder Room, as Zac Efron’s mother, Mrs Samuels, in Me and Orson Wells, and as Jan Clements in the feature film Official Secrets with Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes.

Alastair Knights’s theatre credits Include A Little Night Music (Opera Holland Park), Sitting (Hong Kong ArtisTree), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (UK Tour), The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Spitfire Grill (Union Theatre – BroadwayWorld Award for Best New Production of a Musical), Stephen Sondheim’s Putting it Together (St. James Theatre), Dream Queen (Shakespeare’s Globe) and My Fair Lady (60th Anniversary Concert).  He also directed The Elaine Page Show for Sky Arts.  Alastair is the founder and curator of RE:act, the new writing and artist development initiative that provides a regular platform for the work of emerging theatre-makers.

All On Her Own is produced by arrangement with The Terence Rattigan Charitable Trust with thanks to Alan Brodie Representation. For further information visit and


Performances: 16 to 20 February at 7.30pm, 19 February at 9pm, 20 February at 2.30pm & 21 February at 5pm

Running time: approximately 25 minutes

Ticket pricing: £8 + booking fee

For tickets and to stream, visit

For more information about the production, visit



©Rah Petherbridge Photography

Previously announced to run until 17th February, the Olivier nominated creators of Alice’s Adventures Underground, Les Enfant Terribles are delighted to announce a further three weeks for their innovative and immersive online adventure that blurs the lines between theatre, gaming, escape room and board game. Sherlock Holmes: An Online Adventure. “The Case of the Hung Parliament” will now run from 27th January to 10th March 2021. Public or private shows are available to purchase here.

Sherlock Holmes:  An Online Adventure

“The Case of the Hung Parliament”

The Home Secretary, The Foreign Secretary and the Lord Chamberlain, have all been found hanging, in their own chambers. Each victim died on their birthday, and on that day had received a card with a mysterious quote written in it. But what does this mean? Where’s Sherlock? And what will you do next with 75 minutes left to solve the case before the murderer strikes again?

In collaboration with virtual reality company LIVR and suitable for 12+, Les Enfants Terribles are utilising the last 15 years’ experience of creating live immersive shows and expanding their repertoire with this online ‘whodunnit’ which will invite audiences alongside live actors to follow in the footsteps of the great detective himself as they encounter live performances, immersive 360 technology and more than 100 clues to discover and solve.

Don the deerstalker and become Baker Street’s finest detective. Travel back to Victorian London and delve into the world of Sherlock Holmes where powers of deduction will be required to solve the case before time runs out. As the newest recruits of Scotland Yard, audiences will have to make their own conclusions and decisions by interviewing suspects, reading reports, searching for hidden clues and researching old facts.

Written by Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo with inspiration taken from the 2016 live show The Games’ Afoot, this online, multi-sensory and intricate world will premiere on 27th January with tickets on sale now.

Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / Website


Les Enfants Terribles present:

Sherlock Holmes:  An online Adventure.  The case of the Hung Parliament

27 January – 10 March 2021

Ticket Prices:

Public Shows £15pp.

Book a private show for £90 and play with up to 6 players.

Public and Private shows available. Public shows (play with other members of the public) private shows (tickets can be purchased for the whole slot for one group).

A variety of slots are available – please check the website for availability.

Running time is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.

Written by: Oliver Lansley and Anthony Spargo

Directed by: Oliver Lansley and James Seager

Powered by:  LIVR

Costume design by: Samuel Wyer

Joe Pasquale & Sarah Earnshaw to tour in John Godber’s April in Paris

Joe Pasquale & Sarah Earnshaw to tour in John Godber’s April in Paris

In John Godber’s touching and hilarious classic, we go into the heart of one ordinary couple’s life as they go on both the journey of a lifetime and a journey into their relationship.  Al and Bet are in a rut.  Married for 26 years, their conversations are running dry and life has taken its toll. With his building work sparse and her shifts at the shoe shop getting few and far between there’s little to look forward to, apart from a possible ABBA tribute show in Wakefield and the odd trip to the pub. But Bet has dreams. She longs to walk with the Pharaohs in Egypt, sunbathe on golden beaches and climb Alpine mountains, all fuelled by her love of magazine competitions with holidays as prizes.  Finally, her luck changes; she wins a night away for two to Paris in April, via a luxury trip on P&O Ferries out of Hull.

John Godber says, “April in Paris is one of my favourite plays and I’m very excited about this new version with Joe and Sarah, directed by my long-time friend Richard Lewis. I hope that Al and Bet’s trip to the French capital helps to raise the spirits and even a laugh or two, as they rekindle their romance amidst the baguettes, Beaujolais and the steak tartare! The play’s message, that we need to be kind to each other, seems to me to be more relevant now than it ever was before!”

Joe Pasquale and Sarah Earnshaw had begun the second UK tour of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em when theatres were closed by the Government because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so they are delighted to be able to go out on the road again, as Joe explains:

“To say I’m excited about performing April in Paris would be an understatement, for lots of reasons.  One of the things that is so important is that we (Sarah Earnshaw, Richard Lewis and all at Limelight) will be on the front line with one of the first shows back into the theatre after such an horrendous year…. and we shall be flying the flag, so to speak, to the naysayers who say it can’t be done.  Well, Richard and his team have proved them wrong; if you think outside the box, anything can be achieved.”

Producer and director, Richard Lewis added, “As I’m sure most people are aware, it is an extremely challenging time for the theatre industry.  It has effectively been banned for over eight months now and has created great hardship – for artists, for theatres and for producers.  As we move into the New Year, it is already clear that only venues that can function with restricted capacity will be allowed to open.  It is hugely challenging for theatres to find the type of product that can operate with these limitations.  This is why I am particularly delighted and proud that Limelight Productions has been able to create a show that can help bring live performance back to its audience.  John Godber’s April in Paris starring Joe Pasquale and Sarah Earnshaw is a funny, touching comedy that lifts the spirits. It will bring a little sunshine into the life of everyone who sees it, and I hope audiences will be encouraged to help support this initiative to bring back live performances.”

Comedian Joe Pasquale has delighted audiences with his live stand-up tours for over 30 years. Along the way he’s voiced characters for Hollywood movies Garfield: A Tale of Two Kittens and Horton Hears a Who!, children’s television animation Frankenstein’s Cat and starred in The Muppets’ 25th Anniversary Show.  Joe made his theatrical debut in 1999 in Larry Shue’s The Nerd, followed by the touring productions of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Mel Brooks’s The Producers. In addition, Joe took part recently in ITV1’s The All New Monty: Who Bares Wins, he was crowned ‘King of the Jungle’ in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here in 2004, appeared on five Royal Variety Performances, hosted his own ITV special An Audience with Joe Pasquale, at times hosted The Paul O’Grady Show for Channel 4 and hosted the long-running television series The Price is Right for ITV.  Other recent TV credits include a celebrity edition of Total Wipeout; Guinness World Records Smashed and Virgin One’s The Prisoner X.

Prior to playing Betty, Frank’s long-suffering wife in Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em, Sarah Earnshaw most recently starred as Connie in The Nightingales (Theatre Royal Bath & UK Tour) and Jennifer Lore in the UK Tour of Nativity – The Musical.  Her other theatre credits include Travels With My Aunt (Chichester Festival), The Lady of the Lake in Spamalot (West End and UK Tour) and the original London cast of Wicked.

The National Tour of April in Paris is produced by Limelight Productions.


Facebook: AprilInParis

Twitter: AprilinParis2

28 – 31 January | WELLINGBOROUGH The Castle Theatre |

22 – 24 February | SOUTHAMPTON Mayflower Theatre | 02380 711811 |

2 – 3 March | CHESTERFIELD Pomegranate Theatre | 01246 345 222 |

4 – 6 March | COVENTRY Belgrade Theatre |

15 – 17 March | NOTTINGHAM Theatre Royal | 0115 989 5555 | | on sale 16 December

Further dates to be added



Image: L-R Martin Shaw & Jenny Seagrove -Love Letters – Theatre Royal Haymarket – Photos by Paul Coltas

Just eighteen hours after the end of the UK’s current lockdown, Bill Kenwright presents MARTIN SHAW and JENNY SEAGROVE in A.R. GURNEY’s Love Letters, directed by ROY MARSDEN, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

The play opened on 3 December 2020, the first day after the Prime Minister decreed that lockdown would end.

This production of Love Letters was previewed at Theatre Royal, Windsor as part of its five-week, five-day, five-play season.

“The two stars shine, while A.R. Gurney’s already bittersweet play here acquires an extra, decidedly Covid-era piquancy”
Dominic Cavendish Daily Telegraph 15 October 2020


Love Letters first opened in New York in 1989 and was a finalist in the 1990 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Gaining huge popularity, it has since played in theatres across the globe, attracting both real-life and on-screen couples to star as the protagonists. The last Broadway production in 2014 featured Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy.

When the young Andrew Makepeace Ladd III accepts an invitation to Melissa Gardner’s birthday party, Melissa writes him a thank you note… and a unique romantic friendship and delicately warm correspondence destined to last for almost half a century is born.

 Love Letters is the tender, tragi-comic story of the shared nostalgia, missed opportunities, and deep closeness of two lifelong, complicated friends. A play that could have been written for the Covid era about two people physically separated yet brought together by candid communication and shared confidences, a romance blossoming across the miles and the years.


The hugely popular TV series Judge John Deed ended its sixth and final series with one of TV’s most-watched cliff-hangers, keeping nine million TV viewers on tenterhooks as on-off lovers Judge John Deed (Martin Shaw) and barrister Jo Mills (Jenny Seagrove) were left in an empty wedding chapel.

Since then Judge John Deed has consistently topped polls of TV shows viewers most want to return.

Now Shaw and Seagrove are together again, live on stage, in a heart-warming love story…

In the interim, both have made several West End theatre appearances and Shaw has starred in several series as Inspector George Gently, while Seagrove has completed big screen appearances in Another Mother’s Son and Off the Rails.

Martin Shaw’s many West End successes include: Robert Bolt’s A Man For All Seasons and Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (both Theatre Royal Haymarket), Alan Bleasdale’s Are You Lonesome Tonight, Clifford Odets’ The Country Girl, Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men and most recently (and relevantly) as a tortured American presidential candidate in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man.

Jenny Seagrove last starred at the Haymarket in Alan Ayckbourn’s How The Other Half Loves and her many West End productions include Tennessee Williams’ Night of the Iguana, David Rabe’s Hurly Burly, David Hare’s The Secret Rapture, Noël Coward’s Present Laughter and Somerset Maugham’s The Letter.

Bill Kenwright presents…

LOVE LETTERS written by A.R. Gurney | Directed by Roy Marsden

Starring Martin Shaw and Jenny Seagrove

At the Theatre Royal Haymarket, London SW1Y 4HT

From 3 December 2020 – 7 February 2021

Box office telephone: 020 7930 8800

Box office website:

Performance schedule:

Wednesday 7.30pm | Thursday 2.30pm and 7.30pm | Friday 7.30pm | Saturday 2.30pm & 7.30pm | Sunday 2.00pm and 5.30pm

Running Time: 1hr 50mins (including interval)

Ticket prices: £47, £37, £32, £22, (Premiums £67)

Covid Secure: The Theatre Royal, Haymarket will be operating under current DCMS guidelines (including the wearing of face masks and social distancing) in order to ensure that customers can enjoy their visit in a safe and comfortable environment. Full information will be provided with tickets.

Family-run pub theatre The Old Red Lion announces new reopening season

Family-run pub theatre The Old Red Lion announces new reopening season

Acclaimed family-run pub theatre The Old Red Lion will reopen its doors this winter with an exciting new theatrical season, once again providing quality entertainment and hospitality to North London. Partnering with another local family business, Bombay Burrito, the pub will provide ‘substantial’ meals to patrons in line with the latest government regulations.

Reflecting on the eventful year, the post-lockdown season of work will offer a streamlined programme of eclectic new writing, providing a live platform for shows that were denied their run at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, or were created during lockdown. With financial aid from the Arts Council England Cultural Recovery Fund, the venue is now able to welcome back theatre makers and audiences as it continues to champion fringe theatre.

Alongside the already announced digital Christmas production December written by The Old Red Lion’s Artistic Director Alexander Knott, the season will include: the world premiere of David Shopland (My Father The Tantric Masseur; Soho Theatre) and Shereen Roushbaiani’s (Doctors, BBC) Saving Britney, a hilariously heart-breaking take on celebrity obsession and nostalgia to the backdrop of the #FreeBritney movement; John Berry’s dark comedy Happenings about the lengths we’ll go to live when nothing is happening; and Stephanie Dickson’s BARK, a thought-provoking look at terminal illness and finding your place in the world.

Damien Devine, Landlord and Executive Director, comments, “I’m delighted to finally be fully re-opening the Old Red Lion after a difficult few months for us, and the hospitality industry as a whole. The whole family has pulled together to make this possible, and I’m proud of the way we have adapted to the ever-changing challenges of keeping the venue COVID secure. We look forward to welcoming the public back in time for the festive season, and really encourage everyone to support independent and family-run pubs like us during the critical Christmas period.”

Managing Director Helen Devine adds, “We are particularly grateful to be in receipt of a grant from the Arts Council Culture Recovery Fund to enable us to open the theatre for the first time since March. We’re excited to welcome theatre-makers and audiences back to the ORL, with a season of live shows in our socially-distanced auditorium as well as our first ever online production.”

To remain Covid-Secure, and ensure social distancing is adhered to, The Old Red Lion, has reconfigured the theatre space to accommodate live audiences. The theatre will run with a reduced capacity of 20 people, offering two performances each evening (6pm and 8.30pm). Social distancing will be in effect throughout the venue, with the use of facemasks and the NHS check-in app as mandatory requirements.

Having helmed the pub for 21 years, the Devine family are keen to ensure a safe reopening and support the local community with their theatre and sports offerings, a must for any Norwich City fans due to the pubs close affiliation with the Capital Canaries. Alongside the implementation of food service, the theatre space can now also be transformed into a bookable socially distanced sports lounge to screen large gaming events. The pub also features two outdoor seating areas with TVs, available for bookings of groups of six from mixed households. The year has been devastating for the hospitality sector, but Damien Devine, Landlord and Executive Director, has rallied his family to make the reopening possible.

The rest of The Old Red Lion’s theatre season includes Big Fan’s Campfire, Matthew Gouldesbrough’s Truth/Reconciliation, and Adam Elliott and Olivier Malam’s The Count of Monte Cristo as follows:

Campfire (produced by Big Fan)
Written by Big Fan
Friday 18th and Monday 21st December
The Campfire is an improvised comedy-horror show. We are to horror what darts is to sport and what Ed Sheeran is to grime. So, come join us around our Christmas Campfire as we improvise some of the spookiest nonsense you’ve ever seen since Jennifer Aniston’s appearance in The Leprechaun 2.

BARK (produced by Joseph Blake)
Written by Stephanie Dickson
Thursday 17th and Saturday 19th December
Helen and Grace, two women who meet in the TV room of a hospital, become unlikely but firm friends. With Christmas coming up, Helen plans something special, only for the night to fall into ruin when she discovers something about her new friend that will change everything.
As they battle their illnesses and try to understand their place in the world, they face the ultimate question: What does it mean to live?

December (produced by Bag of Beard)
Written by Alexander Knott
Sunday 20th December – Tuesday 5th January 2021
December, written by Alexander Knott, is inspired by the character of Bob Cratchitt in A Christmas Carol and had been due to run as a live production over the festive season. The production has now been reimagined for an online audience, with the show being filmed in and around the Old Red Lion Theatre Auditorium. A split of profits will be donated to homelessness charity Hackney Winter Night Shelter.

Truth/Reconciliation (produced by Elegy)
Written by Matthew Gouldesbrough
Monday 28th – Wednesday 30th December
Two people come apart.
Two opposing stories.
They can’t both be true, right?
Performed by a real-life couple, ’Truth/Reconciliation’ is a reflective show about the nature of truth, the need to tell stories and theatre itself.

Happenings (produced by Printers Playhouse)
Written by John Berry
Monday 4th – Friday 8th January 2021
In these tough times, Life’s a struggle. There are unfulfilled expectations. Humdrum existences needing an injection of life. Millions wishing something would happen to them, to fill the void in their lives. Clearly everyone “else” is happy. Online celebrations and holiday pics prove it. Jane can’t take it anymore. She needs that something, anything! But how far is she willing to go to get it? Jo didn’t understand. Jo is happy to just get along. Having normal couple conversations and disagreements. Why do they see the world so differently? Maybe “Mad Fran” has the answer. She at least has the life experience that would suggest she could help.

Saving Britney (produced by Fake Escape)
Written by David Shopland with Shereen Roushbaiani
Wednesday 13th – Saturday 16th January 2021
She was on national TV by the time she was seven. She was an international superstar by sixteen. By 25 she was committed to a mental institution. For Millennials like Jean, they grew up with Britney Spears. They listened to her music. They watched her movies. She was their idol. Over the course of an hour we see the iconic star from Jean’s perspective; why the Princess of Pop influenced her life and how the connections shared between them eventually lead Jean to an unbelievable moment of self-discovery.
Inspired by the #FreeBritney movement, Saving Britney is a hilarious and heartbreaking look at celebrity obsession, sexuality and growing up in the early noughties.

The Count of Monte Cristo (produced by Rather Nifty)
Written by Adam Elliot and Oliver Malam
Tuesday 26th – Saturday 31st January 2020
Three intrepid actors embark on an ambitious attempt to bring to life the classic novel, The
Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (author of The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas). Adventure, intrigue, romance and revenge. Like Oceans 11 but live, onstage and with one fewer George Clooneys. Our story starts in 1815 (Ancient France). Employee of the month and all-round nice guy, Edmond Dantes, is wrongfully imprisoned, betrayed by those closest to him. After years of suffering, hidden away in an island prison, he escapes and methodically sets a web of intricate traps with which to take his vengeance. Who will suffer, who will be spared? Will Dantes realise his revenge or will it consume him?

All shows will be at 6pm and 8.30pm on their respective dates, bar December which is viewable online on-demand.
The Old Red Lion, 418 St John St, Islington, London EC1V 4NJ
The nearest underground station is Angel (Northern Line) which is a short walk from the venue.
Tickets are available to book online at Prices vary.
Pub bookings Tables can be booked by email, or by phone, 020 7837 7816
Twitter: @ORLTheatre

Your invitation to visit The Secret Garden

Your invitation to visit The Secret Garden

The Company of Ten’s Christmas production is a spell-binding retelling of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic The Secret Garden, a tale of transformation through the power of friendship.

Young Mary Lennox is orphaned in India and goes to stay with her uncle in Yorkshire. She doesn’t fit in to her new surroundings, but then she meets Dickon, whose life revolves around nature. Together the two grow closer and discover a secret garden – and as the garden transforms so do the lives of Mary, her uncle and her invalid cousin, and the power of new life casts its blessing over everyone.

According to the Sunday Independent, ‘Neil Duffield’s adaptation is as faithful as it is light in touch… there is joy here, there is hope, and there is a startling level of pure magical transcendence… An absolute ‘must see’.’ The Stage said that it ‘holds an audience of children spellbound’.

In other words, it’s the perfect family show for Christmas!

Director Katherine Barry is delighted to be bringing such a timeless classic to the Abbey Theatre stage. “If there was ever a time when we all needed a little bit of Christmas magic in our lives it is now. I love the story of The Secret Garden with its emphasis on making things better and beautiful through the transformative power of friendship and care.

“My cast of six players and I spent the first few weeks rehearsing via Zoom which was a new one for me. Everyone has worked tremendously hard and they have adapted to the new way of doing things brilliantly. We have been on the stage for a couple of weeks now and really enjoy the freedom that brings. We can’t wait to share our show with audiences whether in the theatre or at home watching us via the internet.

“The message of The Secret Garden is a pertinent one for us today, I think. Everyone has had a lot to deal with over the past year and I wouldn’t blame anyone for feeling a little gloomy. But caring for each other and working together will create a better world and a brighter future.”

Performances take place on the Abbey Theatre mainstage from Saturday 19 – Wednesday 30 December 2020 at various time. To book tickets please go to or call the box office on 01727 857861.