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Production news round-up: Orlando Bloom returns to West End and Matthew Kelly to star in Alan Bennett play

Orlando Bloom will return to the stage in the West End for the first time since 2007 in Killer Joe. Photo: Amanda Friedman
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The latest production news includes a return to the West End for Orlando Bloom and casting for the UK tour of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art.


Orlando Bloom will return to the West End stage later this year to star in the comic thriller Killer Joe. He will play a detective who moonlights as a killer-for-hire in the play, which runs at Trafalgar Studios from May 18 until August 18. Press night will be on June 4.
Author: Tracy Letts
Director: Simon Evans
Producers: Emily Dobbs Productions and Empire Street Productions

Matthew Kelly and David Yelland are to star in a new tour of Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art. It begins on August 30 at York Theatre Royal, before touring to venues including Salisbury Playhouse, Richmond Theatre, the Lowry and the Palace Theatre in Southend. It runs here from November 19 to 24, with more dates yet to be added.
Author: Alan Bennett
Director: Philip Franks
Design: Adrian Linford (sets) and Johanna Town (lighting)
Producers: Original Theatre Company and York Theatre Royal

Matthew Kelly and David Yelland to star in The Habit of Art tour

George Blagden, Sebastian Roche and Olivia Ross have joined the West End cast of Tartuffe, alongside the previously announced Paul Anderson and Audrey Fleurot. Tartuffe runs at the Theatre Royal Haymarket from May 25 to July 28.
Author: Christopher Hampton
Director: Gerald Garutti
Cast includes: Jaz Deol, Zachary Fall, John Faulkner, Paikan Garutti, Annick Le Goff, Claude Perron and Vincent Winterhalter
Producer: Theatre Royal Haymarket

Angela Griffin and Trevor White have been cast in a new dystopian thriller play imagining the impact of Donald Trump’s wall between Mexico and the US. Building the Wall will have its UK prier at the Park Theatre in north London from May 2 to June 2, with press night on May 4.
Author: Robert Schenkkan
Director: Jez Bond
Producer: Park Theatre

Trevor White and Angela Griffin will star in Building The Wall at the Park Theatre. Photo: Tomas Turpie

Harry Potter actor Oliver Phelps has joined the cast of The Case of the Frightened Lady, which opens at Milton Keynes Theatre on May 21. It then tours to locations including Coventry, Southend, Brighton, Leeds and Bury St Edmunds until August, with more dates to be announced.
Author: Edgar Wallace
Director: Roy Marsden
Cast includes: Deborah Grant, Gray O’Brien, Denis Lill, Philip Lowrie, April Pearson, Ben Nealon, and Glenn Carter
Producer: Bill Kenwright’s Classic Thriller Theatre Company

Seasonal rep is returning to the Leatherhead Theatre for the first time in almost 30 years, with a series of three professional plays presented by Hordern Ciani. Leatherhead Rep will run from April 17 to May 5, featuring Yes, Prime Minister by Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn, a new musical adaptation of The Secret Garden by Dave Simpson based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn.

Producer and co-founder of Leatherhead Rep Katherine Mount (left) with the rep company

Hackney Empire in London has announced Aladdin as its 2018 pantomime and 20th anniversary production. Aladdin runs from November 24 to January 6, with press night on December 5.
Author and director: Susie McKenna
Music: Susie McKenna
Producer: Hackney Empire

The Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh has announced the full programme for Traverse 1 during Traverse Festival 2018 in August. Highlights include What Girls Are Made Of, Nigel Slater’s Toast, Underground Railroad Game and Check Up: Our NHS at 70.

Children’s show The Star Seekers, by the Wardrobe Ensemble, is to run in the National’s Dorfman Theatre in London from August 8 to September 1.
Director: Helena Middleton
Cast includes: Jesse Meadows, Ben Vardy and Jack Drewry
Producers: The National Theatre and the Wardrobe Ensemble

TV presenter Ethan Mechare has created a one-man show about being a naked house cleaner for a year. Coming Clean: Life As A Naked House Cleaner is to tour the UK, opening in Clerkenwell, London, on April 6, and visiting Belfast, Hillsborough, Margate, and other London locations until June 9.
Director: Jill Patterson
Producer: Ethan Mechare

Ethan Mechare. Photo: Melanie Leigh Wilbur

Northampton’s Royal and Derngate has announced a Christmas double bill of world premieres for its Made in Northampton 2018 season. Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, adapted by Emma Reeves and directed by Theresa Heskins, will run from November 27 to December 30. Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb’s The Everywhere Bear will run at the venue’s Underground Studio from November 29 to January 6, 2019.

Headlong Theatre has announced a production of Meek, a play exploring state control in a theocratic society. Meek runs at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre from July 31 to August 26 as part of the Fringe Festival before embarking on a UK tour.
Author: Penelope Skinner
Director: Amy Hodge
Producer: Headlong in association with Birmingham Repertory Theatre

The Greenwich and Docklands International Festival is to stage a 25th anniversary production of Jonathan Harvey‘s Beautiful Thing. The site-specific dance-theatre production will take place in the play’s original Thamesmead setting as part of this year’s programme. It runs from July 3 to 7. The line-up also includes the world premiere of This Is Not For You by Graeae and directed by Jenny Sealey, as well as Icarus by Southpaw Dance Company, which is also new. The outdoor festival runs from June 21 to July 7.

The London premiere of Secret Life of Humans is to run at the New Diorama Theatre and Greenwich Theatre in London, following a run at the Edinburgh Fringe. Previews begin on April 10, with press night on April 12, with the show running until May 5.
Author: David Byrne
Director: David Byrne and Kate Stanley
Cast: Andy McLeod, Andrew Strafford Baker, Olivia Hirst, Richard Delaney, Stella Taylor
Producers: New Diorama Theatre, Greenwich Theatre and the Pleasance

The stage adaptation of David WalliamsGangsta Granny is to tour the UK, opening at Hertford Theatre on March 22. It will also visit locations including Bath, Cheltenham, Inverness, Dartford, Newcastle, Grimsby, Dublin, and Nottingham, where it finishes on July 15.
Author and director: Neal Foster (adaptation)
Producer: Birmingham Stage Company

Harold and Maude has extended its run at the Charing Cross Theatre in London by six weeks, and will have a new cast. Linda Marlowe and Patrick Walshe McBride will takeover from Sheila Hancock and Bill Milner in the play, which will now run until May 12.
Author: Colin Higgins
Director: Thom Southerland
Producers: Steven M Levy and Vaughan Williams

Linda Marlowe is to star in Harold and Maude at the Charing Cross Theatre


Knights of the Rose, a new musical featuring classic rock bands including Bon Jovi and Meatloaf, is to run at the Arts Theatre in London from June 29 to August 26. Press night is on July 5.
Author: Jennifer Marsden
Director and choreographer: Racky Plews
Design: Diego Pitarch
Producer: Romance of the Rose Productions

Mark Inscoe is to revive the role of Bernadette in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert the Musical at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, having previously performed the part in the West End. Priscilla runs at the Hornchurch venue from April 27 to May 26.
Authors: Stephen Elliot and Allan Scott
Director: Douglas Rintoul
Cast includes: Tom Giles, Daniel Bailey, Miracle Chance, Michael Cuckson, Molly-Grace Cutler, Clara Darcy, Lemuel Knights, Natasha Lewis, Tom Self, Lauren Storer and Josh Tye


Performance artist Scottee has announced his first dance show, choreographed by Lea Anderson. Called Fat Blokes, the production will star Scottee and will have its first performances at Home in Manchester in May before officially opening in November as part of the Being a Man Festival in November.

Dance maker Roberta Jean is to bring her craft inspired work Brocade to Sadler’s Wells’ Lilian Baylis Studio for its London premiere from May 31 to June 1. The show will then travel to Findhorn on the Moray Coast, and will finish with a week in Edinburgh, where it has been selected for the Made in Scotland showcase from August 13 to 17.
Music: Angharad Davies and Roberta Jean
Design: Grant Anderson
Cast: Stephanie McMann, Helka Kaski, Laura Dannequin, Kirsty Arnold, and Roberta Jean
Producer: Roberta Jean

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