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Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall (Photo by: Keith Pattison)

London Theatre News Today: Friday 21 May

Published 21 May 2021

Casting announced for Lady Chatterley’s Lover

(From top left clockwise): Georgia Lennon, Michael Pickering, Zoe Rogers, Sam Kipling, Emma Linders and Jake Halsey-Jones.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover will be brought to life by a cast of experienced talent with new up-and coming star Georgia Lennon (One Enchanted Evening, Glastonbury Abbey; Beauty and the Beast, Grand Opera House, Belfast) playing the role of Lady Chatterley.

Lennon’s voice is not to be missed and this is the chance to catch her in the West End for a strictly limited run before she goes onto be a regular West End leading lady! Alongside her, the aloof and wonderfully sarcastic gamekeeper Mellors will be brought to life by Michael Pickering (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, London Palladium; Starlight Express, Germany). Lennon and Pickering will be joined by Zoe Rogers (42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane) as Hilda, Jake Halsey-Jones (Hamilton, Victoria Palace Theatre) as Tommy, Sam Kipling (All-Male Pirates of Penzance, Palace Theatre) as war hero Sir Clifford and Emma Lindars (Groundhog Day, The Old Vic; Made in Dagenham, Adelphi Theatre) as Mrs Bolton, Clifford’s nurse.

Director Sasha Regan comments, “It’s exciting to be breathing new life into such a renowned and loved classic. Having worked alongside some of these wonderful singers before, I can’t wait to get this cast into rehearsals and start re-creating this passionate time-honoured story. This is an incredible platform to be able to nurture the hottest new talent and I’m particularly excited to have Georgia Lennon playing Lady Chatterley as I know she is a star in the making.”

The new musical adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s infamous literary classic, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, will come to the West End for a strictly limited run this summer. Crafted by composer John Robinson (Behind the Iron Mask, Duchess Theatre; Closer to the Sun, Harold Pinter Theatre), this world premiere at Shaftesbury Theatre will reenergise Lawrence’s sensation for a new audience. Grab your tickets to see this intense and fiery classic! 

The Mirror And The Light will open at the Gielguld Theatre this November

Nathaniel Parker as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall (Photo by: Keith Pattison)

Producers Playful Productions and the Royal Shakespeare Company have announced that the third and final novel in the Wolf Hall trilogy, The Mirror and the Light has been adapted for the West End stage. The world premiere will run at the Gielgud Theatre from Thursday 23 September – Sunday 28 November, with an Opening Night on Wednesday 6 October. Tickets go on sale on Thursday 27 May.

The play will be the concluding chapter of Dame Hilary Mantel’s multi award-winning novels about the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell, all commissioned and developed for the stage by Playful Productions. The Olivier and Tony Award-winning Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies were hailed as landmark and must-see theatrical events and sold out their London runs in 2014. The Mirror and the Light has been adapted for stage by Mantel herself alongside Ben Miles, who will return to his role as Cromwell to complete the trilogy.

Nathaniel Parker joins him, resuming his Olivier Award-winning and Tony Award nominated role as Henry VIII. Jeremy Herrin, who was nominated for an Olivier Award for the first two productions, returns to direct. Wolf Hall won the prestigious Man Booker Prize in 2009, and Bring Up the Bodies won in 2012, making Mantel the first woman ever to have received the award twice. Bring Up the Bodies also won the Costa Novel Award, the first time the same novel has won both this and the Man Booker.

The trilogy charts the riveting rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the ruthless court of Henry VIII. England, 1536. Anne Boleyn’s fate has been sealed by the executioner. Jane Seymour must deliver King Henry a healthy heir. And to the disgust of Henry’s nobles, Thomas Cromwell continues his ruthless ascent from the gutters of Putney to the highest rank beside his master. But with the threat of invasion and the King’s legacy tottering, Cromwell is vulnerable and his enemies are poised to strike. The further you climb, the harder you fall.

The production will feature scenic and costume design by Christopher Oram who won both Olivier and Tony Awards for his work on Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies and music by Stephen Warbeck.

Mark your diaries and be sure to visit our Theatre Tickets page when the show goes on sale on 27 May.


The Old Vic today announces full casting for Bagdad Cafe

Le Gateau Chocolat

The Old Vic today announces full casting for Bagdad Cafe, adapted and directed by Emma Rice.

Full cast includes Nandi Bhebhe, Le Gateau Chocolat, Bettrys Jones, Patrycja Kujawska, Nadine Lee, Sandra Marvin, Kandaka Moore, Renell Shaw, Gareth Snook and Ewan Wardrop.

Smack bang in the middle of nowhere (or was it somewhere on the legendary Route 66?) two women are thrown together by chance. Stranded tourist Jasmin stumbles out of her unhappy marriage and finds herself at Brenda’s remote cafe and motel.

Ordinarily, no one would choose to stay at the Bagdad Cafe but in the dust and isolation, unexpected and extraordinary friendships begin to blossom. The lost are found as individuals transform into an eclectic community bound by music, magic and some very strong coffee.

In a co-production with The Old Vic, Emma Rice (Romantics Anonymous, Wise Children) and the Wise Children Company bring Percy and Eleonore Adlon’s iconic 1987 film Bagdad Cafe to The Old Vic stage with their signature playful, visual and emotional style. After a long year apart, we invite you to join us for a joyful celebration of togetherness, hope and friendship.

Audience members will have the unique opportunity to see themselves on stage as part of a digital choir who will sing out the end of the show. All they have to do is submit a video recording of themselves performing the track ‘Calling You’ from Bagdad Cafe for a chance to be featured as part of the performance. Full details will be announced shortly and people can register their interest here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/GRLDJ37

Bagdad Cafe will be playing live at The Old Vic from 17 July – 21 August and will be available to watch as part of the In Camera series from 25 – 28 August. Find out more about The Old Vic’s new season in our story below!

Related Article: The Old Vic announces new ‘Back Together’ season
We talked to Kate Varah, Executive Director of The Old Vic, to find out more about the newly announced 'Back Together' season and more!


The Almeida Theatre announces a new season for 2021

Following the Almeida‘s reopening this week with Six Artists in Search of a Play, today the theatre announces a new season featuring the following:

• World Premiere of and breathe… by Yomi Ṣode a theatrical adaptation of poems from his forthcoming collection Manorism. Directed by Olivier Award-winning director Miranda Cromwell, featuring David Jonsson.

• A run with in-person audiences for Lolita Chakrabarti’s Hymn, following a string of sold-out live stream performances earlier this year.

• World Premiere of Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied Tunisia by Josh Azouz, directed by Eleanor Rhode.

• The Tragedy of Macbeth, directed by Yaël Farber, featuring Olivier-nominated James McArdle and four-time Academy Award-nominated Saoirse Ronan, making her UK stage debut.

• The first London revival of Spring Awakening, the award-winning musical by Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, directed by Rupert Goold. Cast includes Laurie Kynaston and Amara Okereke.

• The Key Workers Cycle – a collection of new plays by Francesca Beard, Sonali Bhattacharyya, Josh Elliott, Annie Jenkins, Eno Mfon, Nessah Muthy, Danusia Samal, Yomi Ṣode and Molly Taylor celebrating the stories of those who keep our daily lives running, performed by professional actors, local community participants and key workers. Produced in partnership with All Change and Clean Break.

• Productions will be filmed and released digitally where possible.

• and breathe…, Hymn, Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied Tunisia, The Tragedy of Macbeth and Spring Awakening will all get Almeida For Free performances (all tickets free to 25s and under).

• Previously postponed productions of Jeremy O. Harris’ “Daddy”: A Melodrama, Beth Steel’s The House of Shades and Carmen Nasr’s The Maladies will be staged in 2022.

 Almeida Artistic Director Rupert Goold said today, “Although still battered and bruised by the last 14 months, and keenly aware that many within this industry continue to suffer as a result of the pandemic, this announcement today feels like an exhalation and moment to pay tribute to the endurance and creativity shown by so many friends and colleagues. We’re announcing six new productions, including three world premieres (four if you include Hymn which plays to in-person audiences for the first time), plus two classic revivals, and a list of writers, directors and actors who are largely new to the Almeida.

“As with our brief re-opening to audiences in December last year, considerable work has gone into ensuring that the theatre is safe and in line with the latest COVID government guidelines, including upgraded fresh air ventilation. We will initially go on sale with social distancing in place and this will be reviewed as the government guidelines change.

“It’s particularly exciting to announce Almeida For Free performances across the whole season, with all tickets for those performances available for free to anyone 25 and under, alongside our long-standing commitment of £5 tickets for those aged 25 and under across all runs.

“I want to thank everyone that has supported us since we first closed the theatre in March 2020. We wouldn’t be here without you. We can’t wait to fully open again as a theatre for London and Islington and are delighted that we can pay tribute to some of our extraordinary local residents in January 2022 with The Key Workers Cycle. Over the coming months we will be recruiting local community participants to get involved with the production.”

Herding Cats announces on-demand extension

Sophie Melville as Justine and Jassa Ahluwalia as Michael (Credit: Danny Kaan)

With Lucinda Coxon’s Herding Cats opening last night at Soho Theatre and via live stream until 22 May, New York-based, Olivier-winning, and Tony-nominated OHenry Productions and Stellar, in association with Soho Theatre, today announce the on-demand extension of the run. The production will be available on demand via Stellar from 7 to 21 June, with tickets on sale from 24 May.

Directed by Anthony Banks, reunited with Coxon following their collaboration on the world première production, the staging is a hybrid of in-person and livestream theatre that marks a first-of-its-kind international collaboration. With Greg Germann performing live in Los Angeles, his character will be transmitted via video-link into the Soho Theatre where Jassa Ahluwalia and Sophie Melville are performing in-person, creating a unique live experience for the audience. Simultaneously, audiences across the globe can access the production as a live     streamed      theatrical experience that will combine the performances of both the American and British actors in real-time, ahead of a limited on-demand release.

Herding Cats is a chillingly funny play about a generation negotiating intimacy and independence in the 21st century. Meeting the demands of modern life is as impossible as herding cats for Justine, Michael and Saddo. To deal with work, Justine talks – a little too much – to her roommate Michael who earns a living by chatting with strangers like Saddo. But all three will soon find that in a cold, disconnected world, words may not be enough.

Click here to find out where you can enjoy more theatre online.

Olivier Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley to star in musical CABARET

Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley

The KIT KAT CLUB in London’s West End will open its doors this November with the musical CABARET starring Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, Tony and Olivier Award winner Eddie Redmayne as ‘The Emcee’ and Bafta Nominee and British Independent Film award winner Jessie Buckley as ‘Sally Bowles’.

Director Rebecca Frecknall said today “It’s such a privilege to have the opportunity to direct Cabaret, a show that has always been dear to my heart. It’s thrilling to be able to approach this classic and important musical at a time when its themes and atmosphere feel so contemporary and resonant. I’m in awe of my incredible creative team who have come together to create a bold new production as well as a new ‘Kit Kat Club’, a bespoke home where we can truly embrace and unlock the world of Cabaret for a new audience”.

One of the most successful musicals of all time CABARET features the songs Wilkommen, Don’t Tell Mama, Mein Herr, Maybe This Time, Money and the title number. It has music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, book by Joe Masteroff. Based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood.

CABARET at the KIT KAT CLUB will star Eddie Redmayne (Red in the West End and Broadway, Richard II at Donmar Warehouse, the films The Theory of Everything, The Trial of the Chicago 7, Les Misérables and the Fantastic Beasts series) as The Emcee and Jessie Buckley (the National’s Romeo and Juliet, A Little Night Music in the West End, Fargo, Chernobyl and the films Wild Rose and I’m Thinking of Ending Things) as Sally Bowles. It will be directed by Rebecca Frecknall (the Almeida’s Olivier Award winning Summer and Smoke, The Duchess of Malfi, Three Sisters), set and costume design is by Tom Scutt (A Very Expensive Poison, Constellations, King Charles III, Jesus Christ Superstar, collaborations with Sam Smith, Christine and the Queens) with choreography by Julia Cheng (founder of the House of Absolute, Philharmonia Orchestra Artist in Residence, recipient of the runner-up prize for Hip Hop Dance futures, Resident Choreographer for the Royal Academy of Dance, Judge and mentor for BBC Young Dancer and Breakin’ Convention – the UK’s biggest Hip Hop Festival, collaborations with London Fashion Week, Google and Dr Martens). Musical supervision and direction is by Jennifer Whyte (Les Misérables film, Caroline Or Change, Parade). Lighting design is by Isabella Byrd (Heroes of the Fourth Turning and Light Shining in Buckinghamshire – both in New York, Daddy – A Melodrama at the Almeida and The Flick at the National theatre) with sound design by Nick Lidster (City of Angels, Passion, Pacific Overtures and Parade at the Donmar Warehouse, Sweeney Todd and On The Town for English National Opera, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables and Miss Saigon). The casting director is Stuart Burt and the associate director is Jordan Fein.

Dates, further details and full casting to be announced soon.

Sharon D Clarke appointed as Vice President of ArtsEd 

Two women stand facing each other wearing graduation robes

Today, ArtsEd announced the appointment of Sharon D Clarke to the post of Vice President. 

Sharon has forged an exceptional career, garnering critical acclaim for dramatic and musical roles on stage and on screen. In 2019 she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her standout performance in Caroline or Change. In 2020, she won the Olivier for Best Actress for her sensational portrayal of Linda Loman in the Young Vic’s production of Death of a Salesman. The latter also made Sharon the first person to be nominated in all four performing categories of the Olivier Awards. In 2017 she was awarded an MBE for services to drama.   

Watch Sharon’s performance at the 2019 awards:

This extraordinary breadth of success and experience make Sharon a perfect fit for ArtsEd, which offers world-class training in both Acting and Musical Theatre.   

On her appointment Sharon said: 

Attending the ArtsEd 2018 Graduation Ceremony I was delighted to see Olivia Hibbert, who I had just worked with at The Hackney Empire on King The Musical. I couldn’t have been more proud watching her receive her Degree. 

I have had the joy of working with many ArtsEd alumni and applaud them for the talented triple threat performers, choreographers, directors, producers; beautiful humans with good work ethics, that they nurture and guide and enrich this industry with. 

I am truly delighted and honoured to be appointed Vice President of this wonderful Conservatoire of Excellence who are addressing change at a grass roots level, ever pushing forward to Equality, Inclusivity and Diversity, I look forward to us working together.” 

Chris Hocking, ArtsEd Principal said of Sharon’s appointment: 

“Sharon’s outstanding and varied career speaks for itself, and I’m thrilled that she is joining the ArtsEd family as Vice President. Her integrity, her passion and her commitment to creating change where it needs to happen in our industry will be an inspiration to us all. I very much look forward to introducing her to our students and to working together.

Sharon joins David Grindrod and Robert Powell in the role of Vice President. ArtsEd’s President is Andrew Lloyd Webber. 


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