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Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev

London Theatre News Today: Monday 1 March

Hira Desai

By Hira Desai Published 1 March 2021

Professional opera singer and West End performer Georgi Mottram joins tomorrow’s Theatre Chat Live

In tomorrow’s Theatre Chat Live, we will be joined by special Guest, Georgi Mottram, a professional Opera Singer and West End performer (and founder member of Ida Girls who perform at West End LIVE). Georgi will be sharing a little about her work as a Breathwork practitioner and helping others in the industry along with some useful tips on how to combat your anxiety and stage fright.

Our Theatre Chat Live series is a great way to meet like-minded theatre fans, to learn about new stagey things, to chat about your fave theatre experiences and even to meet some West End stars. Previous episodes have included special guests Louise Dearman and Oliver Tompsett, both of whom have starred in Wicked as well as Aisha Jawando who plays the titular role in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical and who recently performed on the BBC’s Musicals: The Greatest Show.  Most recently, we were joined by reality TV star and theatre enthusiast Amy Hart and Danny Kaan, co-founder of the beautiful theatrical coffee table book, Dear Audience.

If you’d like to join us, all you have to do is hop onto Official London Theatre’s Instagram channel every Tuesday from 6pm. Our social media coordinator Jess will be waiting to welcome you! And in the meantime, check out the previous episodes in our Theatre Chat Live playlist below!

Donmar Warehouse announces transfer of socially distanced immersive theatre installation Blindness to Mexico City

Blindness at the Donmar Warehouse (Photo credit: Helen Maybanks)

Following its sell-out run at the Donmar Warehouse and alongside transfers to North America and the Netherlands, the acclaimed sound installation Blindness will transfer to Mexico’s Teatro De Los Insurgentes for a limited run from 12 March 2021.

Donmar Warehouse Artistic Director Michael Longhurst said:

“I am delighted that our production of Blindness is continuing on its global journey to Mexico. We are very proud to be helping theatres reopen safely during these uncertain times.”

Blindness is based on the dystopian novel by Nobel Prize-winning José Saramago, adapted by Simon Stephens and will be co-directed by Walter Meierjohann and Mauricio Garcia Lozano, with the voice of Academy-Award Nominee Marina De Tavira as the Narrator/Doctor’s Wife. It opened at the Donmar Warehouse in August with the voice of Juliet Stevenson. The Donmar was one of the first UK venues to reopen temporarily to the public with COVID-19 safety precautions in place.


Little Angel Theatre celebrates its 60th anniversary with an adventurous and enchanting year of work

Little Angel Theatre on Dagmar Passage. (Photo by Ellie Kurttz)

Little Angel Theatre first opened its doors on Saturday 24th November 1961 when a troupe of enthusiastic puppeteers under the leadership of John Wright found a derelict temperance hall in Islington and transformed it into a magical little theatre, specially designed for children and for the presentation of marionette shows. Now under the leadership of artistic director Samantha Lane and executive director Peta Swindall, boundary-pushing puppetry is at the heart of this unique theatre, which ignites the imaginations of the youngest minds and equips tomorrows puppeteers with the skills to become world-class artists.

Tucked away down a quiet Islington street, this 90-seat puppetry powerhouse has recently built a new global audience, reaching more families and young people than ever before throughout lockdown. With children starved of culture and interaction, Little Angel adapted fast to the closure of theatres last year and made their work quickly accessible through digital formats which have been watched all over the world, with productions and accompanying puppet making activities inspiring and engaging young audiences in more than 90 countries, receiving over 757,000 views. This success has enabled Little Angel to go further in supporting their large freelance theatre family, staff and community throughout the last year.

As well as being an internationally recognised theatre with productions touring throughout the UK and across the globe, Little Angel has its roots in Islington and works closely with its local, diverse community on participation events and activities throughout the year, giving away thousands of tickets so all can benefit and enjoy this remarkable art form.

Samantha Lane and Peta Swindall

Samantha Lane, Artistic Director of Little Angel Puppet Theatre said:

“Over the past 5 years, we have presented 35 Little Angel Theatre productions, 29 were brand new and 6 were revivals, 13 were co-production and 13 of these toured nationally.  We have also presented over 100 visiting companies.  2019/20 was our most successful year to date, with our highest turnover and widest reach (over 90,000 people).

“On the 17 March we made the heart-breaking decision to close our doors and furlough 75% of our staff  – we had three fabulous shows running at the time, with one on tour, a really exciting season lined up, and a whole host of brilliant community and participation projects running and in the pipeline.  However, despite being closed, we wanted to continue to offer something positive and so we began fundraising and refocussing our output to digital content.  We have been overwhelmed by the success of this – with our content being viewed over 750,000 times across 90 countries.

“We have managed some live performance during the pandemic – with an outside puppet festival in the summer of 2020 and some live shows in the Autumn and Christmas 2020 (when permitted) but we cannot wait to properly reopen in May so that children and their families can continue to enjoy the magic of puppetry.”

“We are particularly excited to open with an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Smartest Giant in Town as it is such a joyful story, full of kindness – two things  we all need a little bit of right now.  But we’re also excited to continue with our digital offer.  This year Little Angel Theatre turns 60, and we are celebrating the makers behind the form through a new digital series – People Behind the Puppets – where designers will be interviewed by our very own puppet Angel.”

Here are some of the highlights you can look forward to in Little Angel Theatre’s new season:

  • A ‘choose your own adventure’-style live digital production of Sean Taylor’s Where the Bugaboo Lives directed by Little Angel artistic director Samantha Lane and designed by Ellie Mills. From 14 March – 2 May. Tickets on sale from 1 March (£13.50 per household).
  • Julia Donaldson’s The Smartest Giant in Town is brought to life in a new coproduction with Fierylight. Samantha Lane directs and collaborates on the adaption with Barb Jungr. From 21 May (subject to government guidelines). Tickets on sale soon.
  • New digital series People Behind the Puppets celebrates 60 years of groundbreaking puppetry design as Little Angel’s very own puppet ‘Angel’ interviews makers including Toby Olié and Alison Alexander. Weekly from 1 April.
  • Inspired by a brand-new Joseph Coelho poem, The Wishing Tree will see ‘magical trees’ appear throughout Islington this Summer designed by artists including Sam Wilde and Ingrid Hu and populated by puppets made by local children. From June 2021.
  • Created with young people at Great Ormond Street, Little Angel’s co-production with GOSH ‘If Not Here…Where?’ has been adapted into a digital production that can continue to tour hospitals and hospices throughout the summer transporting some of the most isolated children to a magical fantasy world.

If you would like to check out more family-friendly theatre, please head over to our Family Theatre Fun page where will be highlighting where you can enjoy family theatre online alongside a collection of theatre games, educational resources, activities and much more!


Strictly Come Dancing stars Pasha Kovalev and Anya Garnis present Rise Up With Arts live-stream variety show featuring stage stars

Anya Garnis and Pasha Kovalev

The First Global Livestream ‘Variety Show’ airs on March 27, 2021 – World Theatre Day. It will raise money for charities and features stars from the world of theatre, music and dance, celebrating the magical connection and transformative power of the Arts.

Anya says: “Having not been able to perform throughout 2020 and seeing many of my friends struggle without a creative outlet due to the pandemic, we decided we had to take matters into our own hands and create a virtual experience that could bring the Arts back to life”.

The show is an uplifting collaboration between some of the biggest names across the industry. Award winning Film producers, Award winning Songwriters, Actresses, Musicians, Broadway stars and those from The West End, Strictly Come Dancing, So You Think You Can Dance, Dancing With The Stars and more… the result is a show of ‘Variety’ of unity and support for the arts by the arts and for the people by the people.

Profit from ticket sales will support the incredible British charity Theatre Support Fund+ creators of the iconic ‘The Show Must Go On’ design which to date has raised £600K working with charities such as Acting For Others, Fleabag Support Fund and the NHS Covid-19 urgent appeal.

And The Actors Fund – Since March 18, 2020, The Actors Fund (USA) has provided more than $19 million+ in emergency financial assistance to over 15,000+ people who work in performing arts and entertainment. *See below for more details.

Rise Up With Arts will star the following guests:

  • Pasha Kovalev – Co-Creator of Rise Up With Arts – One of Strictly Come Dancing’s Favourite Pro’s who lifted the Glitterball in 2014. He still holds the record for the most 10’s! He will be interviewed about his life in the Arts and will be dancing in the show.
  • Anya Garnis – Co-Creator of Rise Up With Arts – Anya’s professional dancing career has seen her as a finalist on USA’s So You Think You Can Dance, Burn The Floor, Las Vegas’ Dancing With The Stars and Strictly Come Dancing.
  • Don Black OBE British Lyricist whose works include musicals, movie and hit songs with Andrew Lloyd Webber, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson and James Bond theme tunes Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever and The Man With The Golden Gun.
  • Arlene Phillips CBE is a showbiz legend, honoured for her services to dance and charity. She is a choreographer, theatre director, talent scout, television judge and presenter, who has worked in many fields of entertainment.
  • Lisa Riley English actress who starred in BAFTA winning BBC drama Three Girls, Emmerdale, You’ve Been Framed, panelist on Loose Women and contestant on Strictly Come Dancing.
  • Kevin Clifton Professional Dancer Strictly Come Dancing and Burn The Floor.
  • Winner of the 16th series of Strictly with celebrity partner Stacey Dooley.
  • Duncan James singer, actor, and television personality. A member of the boy band Blue, and starred in many hit musicals and the British Soap “Hollyoaks”
  • Robin Windsor British professional Latin and Ballroom dancer best known for his appearances in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
  • Kerry Ellis The First Lady of West End musicals with leading roles in Les Miserables, Wicked, Oliver, Cats, Miss Saigon, Chess, The War of the Worlds and RENT.
  • John Logan received the Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critic Circle and Drama League awards for his play Red. As a screenwriter, Logan has been three times nominated for the Oscars and has received Golden Globe, BAFTA, WGA, Edgar, and PEN Center awards. His film work includes Skyfall, Spectre, Hugo, The Aviator and Gladiator.
  • The lead cast from 14 times Tony Award nominated Moulin Rouge The Musical! Stars from the musical Chicago and jazz performed by Benny Benack III from Jim Caruso’s Birdland New York who have been hosts to Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett and Count Basie.

More to be announced…

Tickets are available here until 28 March for £21 and the show will be available on Zoom livestream on March 27th from 7:30pm and is available on air throughout March 28th.


Presenters and performers announced for 21st Annual WhatsOnStage Awards

Cast of HAIR at the 21st Annual WhatsOnStage Awards (Photo credit: Danny Kaan)

The 2021 WhatsOnStage Awards will be streamed live from Turbine Theatre on Sunday 14 March, in a unique ceremony celebrating theatre and its audiences. The ceremony will be presented by Jodie Prenger and Tom Read Wilson, featuring Amy Hart and Oscar Conlon-Morrey, with performances from musical theatre stars representing shows that were cut short in 2020, or are due to open in the coming years.

Sita McIntosh, Chief Operating Officer of WhatsOnStage, said today, “With no live performances at the moment, we like every Award show, have had to rethink how best to celebrate our industry and the amazing people who work in it. We are delighted to be able to bring together this stellar line-up of musical theatre talent, showcasing some of the amazing shows that were cut short by COVID-19 and highlighting those that audiences can look forward to. We are hugely grateful to everyone contributing their time and their talent. We can’t wait to “raise the curtain” on Sunday 14 March at 7pm.”

The line-up is as follows:

  • Cedric Neal will perform “Gotta Start Somewhere” from Back to the Future the Musical, which is gearing up for an eagerly anticipated West End opening at the Adelphi Theatre after its Manchester run was disrupted by the pandemic.
  • Lizzie Bea, set to lead the West End revival of Hairspray later this year at The London Coliseum, will perform “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel.
  • Ivano Turco will perform “Only You, Lonely You” from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brand new West End musical Cinderella, opening at the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
  • Blake Anderson, Cleve September, Danielle Fiamanya, Frances Mayli, Grace Mouat, Jodie Steele, Jordan Luke Gage, Layton Williams, Matt Croke, Millie O’Connell and Sophie Isaacs will perform “Let The Sunshine In” from Hair. The outdoor revival of the show played on a jetty outside the Turbine Theatre last year and will be returning for performances at The London Palladium and on tour later in 2021.
  • Stage star Siubhan Harrison will perform “Head Over Feet” from Jagged Little Pill, which was nominated for the most Tony Awards of the season (15) last autumn.
  • Emma Kingston will perform “I Can Do Better Than That” from The Last Five Years after appearing in socially distanced outdoor revival of Jason Robert Brown’s musical at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.
  • Danielle Fiamanya and Matt Croke will perform “Crazy Rolling” from Moulin Rouge!. Fiamanya recently appeared in Curve’s The Color Purple virtual production, while Croke performed another number from Moulin Rouge! on The Voice UK earlier this year, earning public acclaim.
  • Alexia Khadime and Christine Allado will perform “When You Believe” from The Prince of Egypt, which had its gargantuan West End production at the Dominion Theatre temporarily halted by the pandemic last year, but is now set to return.
  • Dom Hartley-Harris and Alex Thomas-Smith will perform “I’ll Cover You” from Rent, returning to the roles of Collins and Angel after a smash-hit run at the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester was cut short by the pandemic.
  • Jamie Muscato will perform “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story, having led the show when it was mounted at Curve Leicester in winter 2019.
  • Oscar Conlon-Morrey and Amy Hart will make appearances to highlight some of the work being done by the theatre community on and off the stage.


Paul Harvard’s GHBoy now available to stream online

James Quaife Productions today announces that the world première production of Paul Harvard’s debut play GHBoy is now available to stream online via Vimeo on Demand. Filmed on 15 December 2020, the day before a lockdown cut short the production’s run at Charing Cross Theatre, the recorded version will be available from today. Tickets are £9.99 for a 48-hour rental period.

James Quaife, producer, today said, “After our run of GHBoy was delayed and then cut short by lockdowns last year, we were determined to bring the production to those that were unable to catch it in person. We are so proud of this company production and so, even with minimal equipment and no time to reset scenes for camera, we really wanted to share this recording for audiences across to country to enjoy at home.”

The burgeoning party scene of East London hides a dark secret: a swathe of young men dying unexpectedly, with whispers of an unnamed killer.

In the midst of all this, Robert is grieving the death of his father. He desperately wants to be a better person, but trapped in a pattern of substance abuse and infidelity, he has a lingering fear that he will never find love and acceptance. Unexpectedly, his boyfriend Sergio proposes, compelling Robert to turn his back on addiction and self-sabotage – before he destroys this final chance at happiness.

But first, he must confront a truth buried deep within his subconscious, something he himself doesn’t yet fully understand.

Don’t forget to check out our Virtual Theatre Fix page where we are showcasing theatre you can enjoy online.


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