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Production news round-up: War Horse returns to the National and Lulu makes West End come-back

Thomas Dennis, Tom Stacy, Lucas Button and Lewis Howard. Photo: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg Thomas Dennis, Tom Stacy, Lucas Button and Lewis Howard in the UK tour of War Horse. Photo: Brinkhoff/Moegenburg
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This week’s production news includes the return of War Horse to the National Theatre in London and a new Alan Bennett play at the Bridge Theatre. In musicals, Lulu will make a return to the West End after three decades, and casting has been announced for An Officer and a Gentleman – The Musical.


A new Alan Bennett play called Allelujah! is to run at the Bridge Theatre in London from July 11 to September 28, with press night on July 18.
Director: Nicholas Hytner
Design: Bob Crowley (set and costume), Natasha Chivers (lighting) and George Fenton (music)
Producer: Bridge Theatre
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War Horse is set to return to the National Theatre later this year to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. The play, which is set during the First World War, will run at the NT from November 8 to January 5, 2019, as part of the current UK tour.
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Directors: Marianne Elliott, Tom Morris, Katie Henry (revival director)
Producer: National Theatre

War Horse to return to National Theatre for First World War commemoration

Ciaran Hinds has joined the cast of Brian Friel’s Translations at the National Theatre, alongside the previously announced Colin Morgan. The plays runs in the Olivier from May 22, directed by Ian Rickson, and the cast also includes Dermot Crowley, Aoife Duffin, Adetomiwa Edun, Michelle Fox, Laurence Kinland, Seamus O’Hara, Judith Roddy and Rufus Wright. The National has also announced that Rufus Norris’ production of Macbeth will tour the UK following its run at the theatre. The London cast includes Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff, but the touring cast has not yet been announced.
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Work from writer Rajiv Joseph and a new play about IVF will feature in the Hampstead Theatre’s latest season. Joseph’s Describe the Night, a “darkly comic fantasia on Russian themes”, will run at the London venue from April 30 to June 9. Genesis Inc., a new play from Jemma Kennedy, explores the privatisation of human reproduction.

Linda Bassett has withdrawn from the Donmar Warehouse’s production of The Way of the World due to personal reasons. She will be replaced in the role of Lady Wishart by Haydn Gwynne. The production runs from March 29 to May 26, with press night on April 5.
Author: William Congreve
Director: James Macdonald
Design: Anna Fleischle (set), Peter Mumford (lighting), Ben and Max Ringham (sound)
Movement: Francine Watson Coleman
Cast also includes: Fisayo Akinade, Alex Beckett, Gabrielle Brooks, Phoebe Francis Brown, Sarah Hadland, Jenny Jules, Simon Manyonda, Caroline Martin, Tom Mison, Justine Mitchell, Christian Patterson, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Nathan Welsh
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EastEnders actor Charlie Brooks and Patrick Ryecart are to join the cast of the world premiere of Monogamy. The production opens at the Festival Theatre in Malvern on May 2 before embarking on a UK tour, for which dates have been added at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from May 15 to 19 and the Richmond Theatre in London from May 28 to June 2. There will also be a five-week season at London’s Park Theatre from June 6 to July 7, with press night on June 11.
Author: Torben Betts
Director: Alastair Whatley
Producers: Tom Hackney for the Original Theatre Company, Ghost Light Theatre Production and Eilene Davidson

EastEnders actor Charlie Brooks joins cast of new Torben Betts play

Greenwich and Docklands International Festival in London has announced its 2018 dates, running from June 21 to July 7 in locations across Royal Greenwich, Docklands and Tower Hamlets. The first commissions to be announced include Fly by Night by Duke Riley, a co-commission with London International Festival of Theatre, This Is Not For You by Graeae Theatre Company, as well as several commissions by outdoor arts commissioning network Without Walls, including Helen Eastman Production’s Bicycle Boy, and Belly of the Whale by Ockham’s Razor.

Casting has been announced for Plastic by BAFTA-nominated playwright Kenneth Emson at the Old Red Lion Theatre in London. Plastic runs from April 3 to 21.
Director: Josh Roche
Cast: Madison Clare, Thomas Coombes, Louis Greatorex and Mark Weinman
Producer: Molly Roberts, Poleroid Theatre

Brighton Festival has released its full programme, with artist David Shrigley as guest director, including new alt-rock pantomime Problem in Brighton, which is written and directed by Shrigley. Other highlights include a reading of Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus, Calixto Bieito’s The String Quartet’s Guide to Sex and Anxiety, and Grand Finale by Hofesh Shechter. The festival will also feature circus acts including NoFit State Circus and Ceyda Tanc.

The Arcola theatre in London has announced its spring season, which includes the stage premiere of Mike Bartlett’s first play Not Talking. Other highlights include Will Self’s Great Apes and Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, a play about family strife in modern-day Nigeria. Marion Bott’s Moormaid, a production of D H Lawrence’s The Daughter-in-Law, and Rabiah Hussain’s debut play Spun also feature.

Offside has announced a UK tour of football grounds and theatres, running from May 8 to June 30. The production, inspired by real stories from women’s football, visits locations including Leeds, Belfast, York, Glasgow, Newport and Oxford.
Authors: Sabrina Mahfouz and Hollie McNish
Director: Caroline Bryant
Producer: Futures Theatre

Press image for Offside

The Wipers Times is to tour the UK again, following 2015 and 2016 tours, opening at the Nottingham Theatre Royal on August 28. The play, about a satirical newspaper, will visit Oxford, Exeter, Malvern, Leicester, Eastbourne, Birmingham and the Arts Theatre in London, where it runs until December 1.
Authors: Ian Hislop and Nick Newman
Director: Caroline Leslie
Design: Dora Schweitzer (set and costume), James Smith (lighting), Steve Mayo (sound)
Producer: Trademark Touring and The Watermill Theatre

A play about two women on a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico is to run at the Tristan Bates theatre in London from April 17 to May 5. Press night for The Gulf will be on April 19.
Author: Audrey Cefaly
Director: Matthew Gould
Producer: M. Green Productions

A play by 91-year-old writer will make its world premiere at London fringe venue Upstairs at the Gatehouse. Happy Warriors is set against the backdrop of the Second World War and is based on a true story about the relationship between Evenlyn Waugh and Randolph Churchill. It runs fro March 28 to April 22.
Author: James Hugh Macdonald
Director: Andrew C Wadsworth
Producer: WT Stage

Iris Theatre has announced an open-air summer season at St Paul’s Church in London. Running from June 20 to September 2, the season includes a production of The Tempest and an adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers by Daniel Winder.



Lulu is set to return to the West End for the first time in 30 years to take over the role of Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street. The Shout singer replaces Sheena Easton in the show’s first major cast change since it opened in April last year, while Ashley Day will join the company as Billy Lawlor, replacing Stuart Neal.
Authors: Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble (book), Harry Warren (music), Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer (lyrics)
Director: Mark Bramble
Producers: Michael Linnit and Michael Grade, with the Global Group of companies for Gate Ventures

Lulu returns to West End after three decades for 42nd Street run

Emma Williams, Jonny Fines and Ray Shell are to lead the cast of An Officer and a Gentleman – The Musical, when it premieres at Leicester’s Curve in April. They will be joined in leading roles by Ian McIntosh and Jessica Daley. The show opens on April 6, with press night on April 19, before touring until September.
Authors: Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen
Director: Nikolai Foster
Choreographer: Kate Prince
Design: Michael Taylor (set and costume), Ben Cracknell (lighting), Tom Marshall (sound), Douglas O’Connell (video)
Musical supervisor: Sarah Travis
Orchestrations: George Dyer
Cast also includes: Keisha Atwell, Andy Barke, Darren Bennett, James Darch, Nathaniel Landskroner, George Loannides, Joe Maxwell, Corinna Powlesland, Rachel Stanley, David Burrows, Vanessa Fisher, Aimee Hodnett, Kieran McGinn and Rhys Whitfield
Producers: Jamie Wilson with Gavin Kalin, Jason Haigh Ellery, Anthony Clare and Broadway Baby Productions
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Ray Quinn has been cast in the lead role in a new tour of Summer Holiday. He will play Don, the role made famous by Cliff Richard in the 1963 film of the same name, with further casting to be announced. The tour sets off from Liverpool Empire on May 8, before visiting locations across the UK until November 3.
Authors: Michael Gyngell, Mark Haddigan
Director/choreographer: Racky Plews
Orchestrations: Keith Strachan
Producer: David King
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Tyrone Huntley, Imelda May, Mica Paris, Ben Forster and Joe McElderry will all feature in birthday celebration event for Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London on June 17. West End casts of both School of Rock – The Musical and The Phantom of the Opera will also be performing at the event.

Tyrone Huntley in Jesus Christ Superstar. Photo: Johan Persson
Tyrone Huntley in Jesus Christ Superstar. Photo: Johan Persson

Print Room at the Coronet in London has announced its 2018 season, which includes the UK premiere of The Comet from Teresa and Andrzej Welminski, which is inspired by the life and work of Polish writer Bruno Schulz. Other highlights include Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf, presented by the National Theatre of Norway, and the previously announced maliphantworks2 from the Russell Maliphant company. Samuel Beckett’s How It Is (Part One), Albert Camus’ The Outsider and Love Lies Bleeding by Don DeLillo also feature.

CBeebies’ hit series Sarah and Duck will be brought to life on stage for a UK tour, launching in Hastings on March 25. Sarah and Duck’s Big Top Birthday will also visit locations including Ipswich, Windsor, Liverpool, Birmingham, Stamford and Southampton, where it runs until June 3.
Authors: Peter Glanville and Sarah Gomes Harris
Director: Roman Stefanski
Producer: MEI Theatrical in association with Polka Theatre

Metta Theatre is to present a new opera, Roles, at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on March 23. The opera takes five heroines of opera, who are showcased in the V&A’s Passion, Power, and Politics exhibition and reimagines them through a 21st-century feminist lens.
Authors: Poppy Burton-Morgan and Oliver Brignall
Directors: Poppy Burton-Morgan and Robin Norton-Hale
Producer: Metta Theatre in association with the V&A

Sasha Regan’s Iolanthe is to embark on a UK tour, opening at Winchester’s Theatre Royal on April 30. The production will visit locations including Beverley, Exeter, Bath, Cambridge, Malvern and the Greenwich Theatre in London, where it runs until July 28.
Authors: WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan
Producer: Regan De Wynter Williams

Underbelly Festival has announced the line up for its 10th year on London’s Southbank, which runs from April 6 to September 30. Headliners Circolombia and SOAP join the previously announced Circus Abyssinia and Circa’s Peepshow, while other highlights include Metta Theatre’s reinvention of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic in Metta’s Little Mermaid – The Circus Sensation. Comedy will include Gina Yashere, James Acaster, Nina Conti, Ruby Wax and Sara Pascoe.

Underbelly Southbank. Photo: David Jensen

Stratford Circus Arts Centre in London has announced a week of theatre, live art, cabaret and music performances to celebrate International Women’s Day, which will take place from March 6 to 9. The programme includes Helen Seymour’s debut solo show To Helen Back, cabaret performer Fancy Chance’s Flights of Fancy and Fighter by Libby Liburd.