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Production news round-up: Pearl Mackie cast in revival of The Birthday Party, and a musical based on Tina Turner’s life to open in West End

Director Phyllida Lloyd and Tina Turner. Photo: Hugo Glendinning
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This week in production news, Doctor Who star Pearl Mackie is to play Lulu in the revival of Harold Pinter’s play, The Birthday Party, and a musical based on the life of Tina Turner to run at Aldwych Theatre next year.


Pearl Mackie, who played Bill Potts in Doctor Who, has been cast in the West End revival of The Birthday Party. Alongside her in the cast are Toby Jones, Stephen Mangan and Zoe Wanamaker. It runs from January 9 to April 14.
Author: Harold Pinter
Director: Ian Rickson
Producer: Sonia Friedman Productions
Read original story here

Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson have been cast in a new tour of Yasmina Reza’s comedy, Art. The play opens at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on February 14, before touring until June 9.
Author: Christopher Hampton (translation)
Director: Ellie Jones
Producers: David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers
Read original story here

Swamp Studios is to stage a new production, Night at the Bombay Roxy, at a new Dishoom restaurant in the Bakers Building in Kensington, London. The production will run from November 27 to December 11. Inspired by Naresh Fernandes’ book, Taj Mahal Foxtrot, the performance is set in a jazz cafe in Bombay in 1949.
Director: Eduard Lewis
Producer: Swamp Studios
Read original story here

Esther Smith, who originated the role of Delphi Diggory in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, has been cast in James Fritz’s new play Parliament Square. It runs at Manchester’s Royal Exchange from October 18 to 28, before transferring to the Bush Theatre in London from November 30 to January 6.
Director: Jude Christian
Design: Fly Davis
Cast also includes: Damola Adelaja, Seraphina Beh, Lois Chimimba, Kelly Hotten, Joanne Howarth and Jamie Zubairi
Producers: Royal Exchange and the Bush Theatre
Read original story here

A new production of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book will tour the UK follows a run at the Royal and Derngate in Northampton. It will run from November 28 to Sunday 31 and then embark on a UK national tour from January 25, starting at Chichester Festival Theatre.
Author: Jessica Swale
Director: Max Webster
Music: Joe Stilgoe
Producer: The Children’s Touring Partnership and the Royal and Derngate

The Listening Room, a play which uses recordings of victims and offenders of violent crimes, has transferred from London’s Old Red Lion Theatre to the Theatre Royal Stratford East. It runs until September 30.
Author: Harriet Madeley
Director: Max Barton
Producer: Crowded Room

Theatre Royal Stratford East in London has announced a new season of work its Gerry’s Studio space, running from October to December 2017. It includes Worklight Theatre’s ensemble show Fix, which looks at addiction, and an event called the Binaural Dinner Date, which is part-interactive performance, part-dating agency. Other highlights include the world premiere of Joy from Clamour Theatre Company, and Hotpencil Press and Vital Xposure’s The Butch Monologues.

Making It Rain, an examination of issues surrounding the sex work industry, is to have its UK premiere at the King’s Head in London. It will run from September 28 to October 7.
Author and performer: Nicole Henriksen
Producer: The King’s Head Theatre

Alice Bailey Johnson will lead the cast of the London revival of Insignificance. Simon Rouse, Tom Mannion and Oliver Hembrough have also been cast in the comedy, which will run from October 18 to November 18, at the Arcola Theatre. Press night will be October 23.
Author: Terry Johnson
Director: David Mercatali
Producer: Arcola Theatre

Tara Theatre, London, has announced its autumn season, from September 28 to November 25, with a mixture of plays, poetry and puppetry shows. The upcoming shows include productions from Black Theatre Live, and the coming of age tale Big Foot. The season also includes Neil Gore’s We Are the Lions, Mr Manager!,and Child of the Divide.

Vikki Stone has been announced to play Fleshcreep at the Lyric Hammersmith’s pantomime of Jack and the Beanstalk. She will appear alongside Cherrelle Skeete, Faith Omole and Kayla Miekle, and the show will rune from November 18 to January 6.
Author: Joel Horwood
Directors: Jude Christian and Sean Holmes
Producer: Lyric Hammersmith

Tea Break Theatre has announced the return of the thriller Dracula to Sutton House, London, from October 17 November 4. Press night will be October 19.
Director:Katharine Armitage
Producer: Tea Break Theatre

Tales of Bribal, a collection of classic stories from the Indian sub-continent, will tour the UK later this year. It runs from October 8 to November 5, as part of Big Imaginations Festival, which presents children’s shows across the North East.
Author: Sayan Kent
Director: Trina Halder
Producer: Mashi Theatre, in association with the Spark Arts for Children and supported by Z-arts


A musical based on the life of Tina Turner has confirmed a run at the West End’s Aldwych Theatre next year. Tina runs from March 21, with a press night on April 17. It is currently running until June 16.
Authors: Katori Hall with Frank Ketelaar and Kees Prins
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Design: Mark Thompson (set), Bruno Poet (lighting), Kevin Steinberg (sound)
Choreographer: Anthony van Laast
Orchestrations: Ethan Popp
Nicholas Skilbeck (musical supervision)
Producers: Stage Entertainment, Joop van den Ende and Tali Pelman, in association with Tina Turner
Read original story here

Clare Burt will join the cast of Big Fish the Musical at London’s the Other Palace, starring alongside the previously announced Kelsey Grammer. The musical runs at the London venue from November 1 to December 31, with press night on November 7.
Authors: Andrew Lippa (music and lyrics), John August (book)
Director: Nigel Harman
Producer: Big Fish Productions, Selladoor Worldwide and Baiyue Culture Creative, with associate producers Dominic May and Underbelly Productions
Read original story here

Australian performer Anna O’Byrne, who has previously performed in The Phantom of the Opera in the West End, will lead the cast of The Woman in White at the Charing Cross Theatre. O’Byrne will play Laura Fairlie, alongside Chris Peluso and Carolyn Maitland.
Director: Thom Southerland
Producer: Patrick Gracey, Steven M Levy and Vaughan Williams with the Really Useful Group
Read original story here

Bananaman the Musical has announced its world premiere at Southwark Playhouse. The show is based on the comic book character of the same name, and will run at the London Theatre from December 15 to January 20. Press night will be on January 4. Casting to be announced.
Author: Leon Parris
Director: Mark Perry
Producer: Sightline Entertainment and Beano Studios
Read original story here

Former cast members of Queen musical We Will Rock You will return to perform the band’s most famous songs in a one-off show with the BBC Concert Orchestra. Four performers from the West End production of We Will Rock You at the Dominion Theatre, will perform at the London Coliseum alongside a rock band and the full concert orchestra. It will take place on September 21.
Conductor: Richard Sidwell
Read original story here


The Birmingham Royal Ballet has announced its first relaxed performance. The Sleeping Beauty is being adapted to cater for those on the autistic spectrum, with a learning disability, or a sensory and communication disorder. The performance will take place on February 20 at the Birmingham Hippodrome and will have a shorter running time, with changes to lighting, sound and seating. The Birmingham Royal Ballet also has announced Sleeping Beauty Dreams, a programme that provides dance students the chance to perform with the company’s dancers. The scheme will culminate with a performance on February 19. The Sleeping Beauty runs at Birmingham Hippodrome from February 13 to 24 before touring.
Read original story here

The Almeida Theatre’s ongoing digital film project Figures of Speech, will feature Noma Dumezweni, Cush Jumbo and Russell Tovey, performing some of history’s most significant speeches. The project continues with a new film each week over the next month. It’s first series, launched in May, featured actors including Ian Mckellen and Nicola Walker.
Director: Anthony Almeida
Read original story here

Dance company Protein is to tour its new show Border Tales following a run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It tours from November 2-21. The piece explores stereotypes about multicultural Britain, and is developed from research conducted with migrants and refugees across Europe, Palestine, India and the UK. The locations it will tour to include Hampshire, Bournemouth, Leicester and London.
Director: Luca Silvestrini
Producer: Protein Dance Company

The Sex Worker’s Opera, which has a cast comprised of 50% sex workers, will tour the UK for the first time in autumn. It opens at the Mumford Theatre in Cambridge on November 4 and will travel to Sheffield, Weston-super-Mare and London, where it runs at the Ovalhouse until December 2.
Directors: Siobhan Knox, Clare Quinn and Alex Etchart
Producer: Experimental Experience

Liverpool’s celebrated LGBT+ arts and culture festival, HOMOTOPIA, now in its 14th year, has announced its return. There will be 50 events to mark 50 years since the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, that will include film, theatre and cabaret. Unity Theatre will host it’s theatre programme which will run from November 1-11 with at least six performances.

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