Production news round-up: Christopher Eccleston will play Macbeth and Strictly Ballroom the Musical announced for West End

West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Strictly Ballroom the Musical in 2016
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In this week’s production news, Christopher Eccleston is to make his debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company next summer playing the title role in Macbeth and Strictly Ballroom the Musical is to debut in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre.


Christopher Eccleston is to make his debut at the Royal Shakespeare Company next summer playing the title role in Macbeth opposite Niamh Cusack. Macbeth is one of three new Shakespeare productions in the RSC’s summer 2018 season, alongside Romeo and Juliet and The Merry Wives of Windsor. The RSC will also stage a new musical, by Sam Kenyon, about the life of “anarchic theatre revolutionary” Joan Littlewood, called Miss Littlewood.
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Zoe Wanamaker, Toby Jones and Stephen Mangan are to star in a 60th–anniversary production of Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party. It will run in the Harold Pinter Theatre from January 9 to April 14, with press night on January 18.
Director: Ian Rickson
Design: The Quay Brothers (set), Hugh Vanstone (lighting), Simon Baker (sound)
Music: Stephen Warbeck
Producer: Sonia Friedman
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The world premiere of Howard Brenton’s The Shadow Factory has been announced to run at a new theatre in Southampton. Brenton’s latest work will run at NST City from February 7 to March 3, with press night on February 15.
Director: Samuel Hodges
Producer: Nuffield Southampton Theatres
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Sharon Duncan-Brewster has been cast in a new play by Chris Thorpe at London’s Royal Court Theatre. She will perform alongside Jonjo O’Neill in Victory Condition, which is directed by Vicky Featherstone and will run from October 5 to October 21. It will run in rep with B by Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderon, translated by William Gregory, for which the cast will include Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Paul Kaye, Sarah Niles and Danusia Samal.
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Austentatious, an entirely improvised play in the style of a Jane Austen novel, will run at the Piccadilly Theatre later this year. The comedy play features performers including Amy Cooke-Hodgson and Andrew Hunter Murray, and runs in the West End on three dates – December 5, January 23 and February 13. It will also tour the UK.
Producers: Austentatious and Underbelly Productions
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A production by students from South Africa is transferring to London’s Royal Court following a run at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town’s The Fall will run at the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs from September 26 to October 14.
Authors: Ameera Conrad, Oarabile Ditsele, Kgomotso Khunoane, Tankiso Mamabolo, Thando Mangcu, Sizwesandile Mnisi, Sihle Mnqwazana and Cleo Raatus
Producer: Baxter Theatre Centre at the University of Cape Town
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Natasha J Barnes is to star in a revival of thriller play Tryst at the Tabard Theatre in west London. She will lead the cast alongside Fred Perry. It runs from October 12 to November 5, with press night on October 17.
Author: Karoline Leach
Director: Phoebe Barran
Design: Max Dorey (Set), Max Drury (lighting), Dave McSeveney (sound)
Producer: Tabard Theatre
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A post-apocalyptic version of Macbeth is being staged in the Bussey Building in Peckham, London, from October 31 to November 18. Press night is on November 2.
Author: William Shakespeare
Director: Paul Tomlinson
Cast: Henry Proffit, Guy Dennys, James Duffy, Jared Fortune, James Pearse, Jake Sullivan and Tony Portacio
Producer: Devil You Know Theatre Company
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In Our Hands, a devised play about a fisherman, is to tour the UK from September 13 to October 13. It will visit locations including Milton Keynes, Maidenhead, London, Norfolk, Margate, Bedford, Canterbury, Kendal, Weymouth, Weston-super-Mare, Oxford and Tunbridge Wells.
Music: Jo Walker
Cast: Luke Breen, George Bellamy, Molly Freeman, Matthew Lloyd, Hattie Thomas
Producer: Smoking Apples

Factory Girls, a physical theatre show from Korea about oppression, loyalty and finding your voice, will open at the Farnham Maltings before embarking on a UK tour. It will visit locations including Peterborough, Portsmouth, and Jackson’s Lane in London where it will run until October 13.
Author: Chin-O Yu, adapted by Yangson Project
Director: Park Ji-hye
Cast: Son Sang-Kyu, Yang Jo-Ah and Yang Jong-Ook
Producer: Farnham Maltings


Strictly Ballroom the Musical is to debut in the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre. It previously ran at West Yorkshire Playhouse will open in London on April 11, 2018, with previews from March 16. It is currently booking until July 21.
Authors: Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin and Craig Pearce (book)
Director and choreographer: Drew McOnie
Producer: Global Creatures
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Five Guys Named Moe has extended its run at the pop-up Marble Arch Theatre in London. The musical is now booking until February 17, 2018.
Author/director: Clarke Peters
Producer: Underbelly
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Joanna Riding, Lauren Samuels and Carly Bawden will appear in Romantics Anonymous at Shakespeare’s Globe. The show is based on the film Les Emotifs Anonymous, and runs from October 20 to January 6. Press night will be on October 27.
Authors: Michael Kooman (music), Christopher Dimond (lyrics), Emma Rice (book)
Director: Emma Rice
Design: Lez Brotherston
Cast also includes: Marc Antolin, Philip Cox, Joe Evans, Dominic Marsh, Gareth Snook and Natasha Jayetileke
Producers: Shakespeare’s Globe in association with Radio Mouse Entertainment


Cabaret show La Soiree is to have its first West End run later this year, playing at the Aldwych Theatre. It runs from November 24 to February 3, while a family-friendly show will run alongside on Saturdays and throughout the Christmas holidays.
Producers: Brett Haylock, Mark Rubinstein and Mick Perrin
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Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright and Eileen Atkins are to be the subject of a new documentary film on the BBC. Directed by Roger Michell, it is called Nothing Like a Dame and follows the four performers as they reflect on their lives and careers. It will be broadcast on BBC2.
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Seventy performers, including a choir of twenty stroke survivors, will perform on stage at the Victoria and Albert Museum on October 14 in a new opera. Hospital Passion Play will be performed as part of Stroke Odysseys, a project to improve the lives of people affected by brain injuries.
Author: Orlando Gough
Director: Karen Gillingham
Producers: Rosetta Life and Garsington Opera

West End musical The Wind in the Willows has been filmed for release online by BroadwayHD, with producers also hoping to release it in cinemas and on TV at a future date.