MODERN SPANISH CLASSIC Ay, Carmela!: Post-show Q&A with director and cast @ Cervantes Theatre
Sep 28 @ 7:30 pm – 10:15 pm
Ay, Carmela! runs at London's Cervantes Theatre from 24 September to 13 October 2018

Ay, Carmela! runs at London’s Cervantes Theatre from 24 September to 13 October 2018

After The Swallow earlier this year, I’m delighted to return to the Cervantes Theatre, London’s home of Spanish and Latin American writing, to chair two post-show Q&AS: Ay, Carmela! in September and Lorca classic Yerma in November.

Written in 1986, José Sanchis Sinisterra‘s stage play Ay, Carmela! was also famously made into a 1990 Spanish film starring Carmen Maura.

Madalena Alberto

Madalena Alberto

At the Cervantes Theatre, in the English version, Portuguese-born West End star Madalena Alberto (Evita, Piaf, The Vote, Zorro) will take the title role. The production is directed by Paula Paz, co-founder and associate director of the Cervantes.

Carmela and Paulino are a couple of travelling entertainers who mistakenly cross the border that separates the two opposing sides of the last Spanish Civil War. Surprisingly they end up in Belchite – at a square that the National Army has just liberated. Both actors will be forced to improvise a theatrical evening to celebrate the defeat of the enemy. What begins as an entertaining tribute to the victors ends as a tragic comedy.

One of Spain’s most respected contemporary writers and directors, José Sanchis Sinisterra is the multi-award-winning author of more than forty plays, including Terror and misery in the first Franquismo (1979), Ñaque o De piojos y actores (1980) and Ay, Carmela! (1986).

For the Ay, Carmela! Q&A on Friday 28 September 2018, I’ll be joined by director Paula Paz and other members of the company.


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TWIST & TURN COMEDY-DRAMA Kids Play: Q&A with writer, director Glenn Chandler, creator of Taggart @ Above the Stag Theatre
Oct 3 @ 7:30 pm – 9:45 pm
Kids Play runs at London's Above the Stag Theatre from 18 September to 14 October 2018

Kids Play runs at London’s Above the Stag Theatre from 18 September to 14 October 2018

After its award-winning premiere at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, thrilling new two-hander KIDS PLAY – which is written, directed and produced by Taggart creator Glenn Chandler – has transferred to London’s Above the Stag theatre for a limited season.

KIDS PLAY is about the things a lonely boy will do for love. Theo is a gay 17-year-old student in need of cash. Greg is a married businessman with an odd fetish. When the two meet up in a hotel room in Brighton during the conference season, a financial transaction takes place between them, but nothing turns out quite as either of them expected.

An emotional corkscrew of a play with surprises galore, KIDS PLAY takes us on an often hilarious and sometimes dark journey into the psycho-sexual needs of two lost souls on a hot summer night.

Glenn Chandler, the creator of Taggart, the world’s longest-running detective series said about this latest of his stage plays:

“I wanted to do something that had as many twists as a Taggart plot but which was about sex, not murder. Prostitution has a bad press, whether it’s about presidents and Russian whores, MPs exposed by the tabloids, or the sorrowful plight of those caught up in the evil world of sex-trafficking, and yet it’s the world’s oldest profession.

“Today, in spite of the dangers, hundreds of students – male and female – sell themselves online to help put themselves through college and university.”

Chandler wrote previous Above The Stag Theatre shows Fanny and Stella: The Shocking True Story, The Sins of Jack Saul and Cleveland Street The Musical. With his own company, Boys of the Empire Productions, he has also transferred his recent Edinburgh hits Lord Dismiss Us and Sandel to the theatre.

With KIDS PLAY, Chandler returns to Above The Stag with a compelling new drama that defies expectations and continually pulls the rug out from beneath the audience’s feet.

For the post-show Q&A after the performance on Wednesday 3 October, I’ll be joined by Glenn Chandler and the play’s two stars, Joseph Clarke and David Mullen.


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What the critics say

★★★★★ “An absolutely riveting piece of theatre” – Theatre Weekly

★★★★★ “Ingenious. Take your tissues & prepare to be stunned” – Broadway Baby

★★★★★ “Powerful, moving & emotional” – British Theatre Guide

★★★★★ “It will engross you from the start” – Scotsgay

★★★★★ “A cracking piece of finely crafted drama” – UK TheatreWeb

★★★★ “Expertly crafted comedy-drama” – The Stage



WORLD PREMIERE PLAY The Sweet Science of Bruising: Post-show Q&A with writer and director @ Southwark Playhouse
Oct 6 @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm
The Sweet Science of Bruising runs 3-27 October 2018 at London's Southwark Playhouse

The Sweet Science of Bruising runs 3-27 October 2018 at London’s Southwark Playhouse

After The Cardinal, Dear Brutus and Rasheeda Speaking, I’m delighted to reunite with Troupe for the company’s latest, a major world premiere play, years in the making by London writer Joy Wilkinson.

“When that bell rings, your life is entirely in your hands.”

London, 1869. Four very different Victorian women are drawn into the dark underground world of female boxing by the eccentric Professor Sharp. Controlled by men and constrained by corsets, each finds an unexpected freedom in the boxing ring. As their lives begin to intertwine their journey takes us through grand drawing rooms, bustling theatres and rowdy Southwark pubs where the women fight inequality as well as each other. But with the final showdown approaching only one can become the Lady Boxing Champion of the World…

Based on historical research into 19th-century women’s boxing, The Sweet Science of Bruising is a fascinating new play by Joy Wilkinson (Verity Bargate Award winner and new series writer for Doctor Who). Featuring an ensemble cast and thrilling up-close boxing matches, this is an epic tale of passion, politics and pugilism.

Directed by Kirsty Patrick Ward (Chef, Scotsman Fringe First Award winner) and produced by Troupe, who return to Southwark Playhouse after their critically acclaimed productions of Dear Brutus and The Cardinal, and Rasheeda Speaking at Trafalgar Studios, which was nominated for five Off West End Awards.

The ten-strong cast for the premiere production are: Caroline Harker, Bruce Alexander, Sophie Bleasdale, Joe Coen, Ashley Cook, Kemi-Bo Jacobs, Alice Kerrigan, Jessica Regan and Fiona Skinner.

Following the 3.30pm Saturday matinee performance of The Sweet Science of Bruising on Saturday 6 October 2018, I’ll be joined by author Joy Wilkinson and director Kirsty Patrick Ward.


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SPECTACLE AT NATURAL HISORY MUSEUM The Wider Earth about Charles Darwin: Q&A with Dead Puppet Society creators @ Natural History Museum
Oct 9 @ 7:30 pm – 9:45 pm
The Wider Earth runs from 2 October to 30 December 2018 at the Natural History Museum in London

The Wider Earth runs from 2 October to 30 December 2018 at the Natural History Museum in London

Wow! A historic first for me: my first-ever post-show Q&A at the Natural History Museum. And not just that but to what looks like to be one of the theatrical events of the year!

A brand-new venue in the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum, the museum’s first performance theatre, will be unveiled for the European premiere of award-winning drama The Wider Earth, telling the story of a young Charles Darwin.

Join the 22-year-old Darwin on HMS Beagle’s daring, five-year voyage to the far side of the world, and discover the gripping story behind one of the most important discoveries in history. The Wider Earth features a cast of seven, remarkable puppetry, an original score and cinematic animations to bring to life uncharted landscapes.

Written and directed by Dead Puppet Society’s Creative Director David MortonThe Wider Earth was initially conceived in 2013 in Cape Town during a mentorship with Handspring Puppet Company, the creative team behind War Horse.

Bradley Foster plays the young Darwin in The Wider Earth

Bradley Foster plays the young Darwin in The Wider Earth

Bradley Foster plays the rebellious young Darwin in a cast that also features War Horse actors Ian Houghton, Andrew Bridgmont and Matt Tait, as well as Jack Parry-Jones, Marcello Cruz, Melissa Vaughan, Rory Fairbairn and Kim Scopes.

The visually spectacular production also features 30 puppets representing the tropical wildlife Darwin encountered on his voyage. These incredible hand-made puppets are as much the stars of the show as the humans who operate them. From tiny Galápagos finches, to giant tortoises and a fossilised glyptodon, the puppets have been made following observations in the field and extensive analysis of anatomical drawings. Created over the past two years, the puppets have now had their final stages of fabrication and modification at the Darwin Centre in the Natural History Museum.

The new 357-seat theatre will allow audiences to enter the Museum after dark and pass the cutting-edge Darwin Centre, a working scientific laboratory full of zoological specimens including those collected by Darwin on his voyage. Led by paleobiologist Professor Adrian Lister, author of Darwin’s Fossils, the Museum’s scientists are working closely with the creative producers.


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EUROPEAN PREMIERE A Guide for the Homesick: Q&A with writer, director and stars Douglas Booth and Clifford Samuel
Oct 19 @ 7:45 pm – 9:30 pm
The European premiere of A Guide for the Homesick runs at the West End's Trafalgar Studios 16 October to 24 November 2018

The European premiere of A Guide for the Homesick runs at the West End’s Trafalgar Studios 16 October to 24 November 2018

After the West End transfer of Milly Thomas’ Dust in September, I’m back at Trafalgar Studios for the European premiere of Ken Urban’s 2017 American thriller in October. It also happens to be my third post-show Q&A with Stage Traffic (after 3Women and Late Company) and my third with director Jonathan O’Boyle (after Dear Brutus and Rasheeda Speaking).

Can you confess your greatest fear to a stranger?

In A Guide for the Homesick, Teddy is searching for a friend for the night. Jeremy is searching for a beer. Worlds apart and miles away from home, two strangers, consumed by their own secrets, find each other in a hotel room in Amsterdam.

Jonathan O’Boyle directs Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending, Speech and Debate) and Clifford Samuel (McMafia, The Events) in the European premiere of Ken Urban‘s tender and bittersweet play about conscience and connection.

A Guide for the Homesick is designed by Jason Denvir, with lighting by Nic Farman and sound by Max Perryment. It follows Stage Traffic’s productions of Jordan Tannahill’s Late Company and Katy Brand’s playwriting debut 3Women, also at Trafalgar Studios.

For the Q&A after the 80-minute performance on Friday 19 October 2018, I’ll be joined by writer Ken Urban, director Jonathan O’Boyle and stars Douglas Booth and Clifford Samuel.


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‘THE FULL MILITARY MONTY’ Soldier On returns: Post-show Q&A with writer/director Jonathan Guy Lewis & cast of veterans @ The Other Palace
Oct 29 @ 7:30 pm – 10:45 pm
Soldier On runs at London's The Other Palace from 25 October to 24 November 2018

Soldier On runs at London’s The Other Palace from 25 October to 24 November 2018

In March, I chaired perhaps my largest post-show Q&A ever when Soldier On had its London premiere at the Playground Theatre. Now, as it returns from a sell-out tour and transfers to The Other Palace, I’m so pleased to be invited back to talk to this incredible company…

What happens when a company of ex-soldiers becomes a company of actors? A theatrical band of brothers.

Soldier On is inspired by the stories writer/director Jonathan Lewis (writer of multi-award-winning Our Boys) workshopped with British servicemen and women and their families over a five-year period.

The result is “as funny as it is heart-breaking” and lifts the lid on the vastness and complexity of Britain’s often overlooked and incredibly broad military community, the wives, partners, mothers, children and, of course, the servicemen and women themselves, and how they cope with the emotional, mental and physical effects and stresses of modern military service and its after-effects.

In a bold initiative, and putting the play’s premise into action, the cast includes ex-service personnel as well as professional actors from producer Amanda Faber’s award-winning theatre company, The Soldiers’ Arts Academy cic.

The mixed cast brings a veracity and a genuine emotion seldom achieved in theatre. Audiences say they cannot tell who is an actor, or who is the veteran, and that question has them gripped from start to finish. The play employs music, dance and mixed media. It is by turns viscerally realistic, shockingly funny, and intensely emotional.

Lewis says, “Soldier On celebrates the power of Story in the healing process. Soldier On is here to say: You are not alone.”

Well known as an actor whose many screen and stage credits include Soldier Soldier, Jonathan Lewis’ playwriting credits include his 1991 hit Our Boys, based on his own experiences in a veterans’ hospital, which was revived in the West End in 2012; I Found My Horn; and A Level Playing Field.

After the performance of SOLDIER ON on Monday 29 October 2018 at The Other Palace, I’ll chair a post-show Q&A with writer/director Jonathan Lewis, Amanda Faber and members of the company.


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CLASSIC LORCA TRAGEDY Yerma: Post-show Q&A at London’s home of Spanish drama @ Cervantes Theatre
Nov 9 @ 7:30 pm – 10:15 pm
Yerma runs 29 October to 1 December 2018 at London's Cervantes Theatre

Yerma runs 29 October to 1 December 2018 at London’s Cervantes Theatre

After The Swallow earlier this year, I’m delighted to return to the Cervantes Theatre, London’s home of Spanish and Latin American writing, to chair two post-show Q&AS: Ay, Carmela! in September and Lorca classic Yerma in November.

The Cervantes Theatre, and its resident Spanish Theatre Company under artistic director Jorge de Juan, are renowned experts on the work of Spain’s great twentieth-century dramatist Federico García Lorca.

After acclaimed revivals of The House of Bernarda Alba and Blood Wedding, their presentation of Lorca’s Rural Trilogy now concludes with de Juan’s new staging of Yerma.

“When, my child, are you going to come?”

Lorca’s 1936 “tragic poem” centres on a woman with a desperate desire to become a mother. Under the pressures of social convention, she is driven to commit a horrific crime. The piece is adapted and directed by Jorge de Juan.

For the Yerma Q&A on Friday 9 November 2018, I’ll be joined by artistic director Jorge de Juan and other members of the company.


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NEW BRITISH SCI-FI MUSICAL Fanatical: Post-show Q&A with writers and stars @ Playground Theatre
Nov 20 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Fanatical runs 7 November to 7 December 2018 at The Playground in London

After The Buskers Opera at the Park Theatre in 2016, I’m delighted to be able to work with The Stable on another world premiere, British musical. I saw extracts from Fanatical performed at The Stable’s New Songs 4 New Shows concert in the West End. It’s hilarious – and it’s so exciting now to see the show developed for full production.

In a distant Galaxy – the ragtag misfit crew of cargo ship Angel 8 are under the command of fearless pilot Iris Aucht.

Meanwhile…at a conference centre, somewhere in England – a ragtag misfit collection of 1,000 fans gather from all across the UK for Eight Con One, the first ever official convention of the cult TV show Angel 8.

Angel 8 started as a comic created by reclusive British Sci-fi author Scott Furnish. Its first TV outing ended on a shocking cliffhanger. With eager anticipation at the promise of a second series, these enthusiastic devotees have come together to celebrate their beloved series and to meet Scott face-to-face and hear his keynote speech.

Fanatical tells the suspenseful, comic, and affecting tale about being true to oneself, finding love against the odds, and snatching triumph from the jaws of disaster – proving that no power in the universe can keep a story from its fans. Music and lyrics are by Matt Board and the book is by Reina Hardy.

The cast for the premiere production, directed by Shaun Kerrison, are: Suanne Braun (Stargate, Red Dwarf, Mamma Mia!, Cabaret), Stephen Frost (Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Blackadder, Have I Got News For You, Mr Bean), Sophie Powles (Emmerdale, Britannia High), Tim RogersAmy LovattAmber Sylvia EdwardsEddy Payne and Theo Crosby.

For the Fanatical post-show Q&A on Tuesday 20 November 2018, I’ll be joined by the writers and members of the company.


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