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    Competition: Win tickets for Little Boxes in Manchester

    Whilst 99% of our coverage is in London, that doesn’t mean there isn’t theatre outside of the capital. Manchester is a perfect example, we are certainly seeing more and more happening up in the North West. We even have a couple of reviewers lurking and we’re always looking for more (if you’re interested do get in touch, more info here).

    So, our latest competition is the opportunity to win a pair of tickets to see Alphamum Productions‘ Little Boxes when it plays at Manchester’s 53two in November (prize can be for either 16 or 17 November). There are four ways to enter, and we’ll count each one as a seperate entry, so you can quadruple your chances.

    Email us at with “Great things come in little boxes” in the subject line.Share our pinned Facebook post and comment below the original post “Great things come in #littleboxes”.Quote tweet this Twitter post with the phrase “Great things come in #littleboxes”.Like this Instagram post and comment “Great things come in #littleboxes”.

    Do you spot the trend in all the ways to enter? Entries must be made by 7pm on 29 October 2021.

    Terms and conditions for the competition can be found below.

    If you aren’t successful in the competition, you can still buy tickets to see this show via the below link.

    Little Boxes

    After a successful run at VAULT Festival 2020, with sell out shows, multiple 4- and 5- star reviews and an “Offie” Short Run Commendation, Little Boxes is coming to Manchester.

    “… ticks all the right boxes” London Pub Theatres ★★★★

    Little Boxes follows Joann Condon (Little Britain, Dad’s Army the Lost Episodes), as she explores the boxes she has “found herself in” throughout her life:  The hopes and dreams of a child, the frustrations of an acting career, the tensions of being a parent, the grief in losing loved ones, the fear of being…herself.

    “Condon promises we will laugh and cry … and laugh and cry we did” Phoenix Remix

    Described as “funny, touching and at times heartbreaking,” by London Pub Theatres, Joann uses personal anecdotes to highlight assumptions and judgements made about her based-on looks, age, gender and background.  This phenomenon of classifying people is called ‘social categorization’ by psychologists, and most of us can relate to these experiences.

    “a joyful delve into one woman’s life, celebrating the successes, the heartbreak, and everything in between” The Plays the Thing

     ★★★★★ Spy in the Stalls                             ★★★★ Broadway Baby

     ★★★★     Theatre Weekly                           ★★★★ London Theatre1

    “It’s natural for people in our lives to want to force us into nice little boxes,” says Condon, “but the scary thing is, you often end up putting yourself in that same box.” 

    We want to use these performances in Manchester to launch a tour in 2022 and look forward to bringing Little Boxes to a broader audience.

    To make the performance more accessible we will be having a BSL interpreted performance on Wednesday 17th November at 7:30pm and we also have 2 tickets at £2 for each performance for unemployed or low income audience members.

    Starring: Joann CondonWritten by: Joann Condon and Leonie RachelDirected by: Daniel BrennanProduced by: Alphamum Productions and Lights Down Productions


    The prize is for two tickets to a performance of Little Boxes at Manchester’s 53Two on either 16 or 17 October 2021. No alternative dates or cash alternative is available.

    Competition closes at 7pm on Friday 29 October 2021. Winner will be selected at random from all eligible entries, and will be notified no more than 3 days after the closing date. The winner has 3 days to accept the prize and provide contact details, otherwise a new winner will be chosen at random.  All additional expenses are the responsibility of the prize winner. Editor’s decision is final. More

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    Interview: Ardent Theatre asks us to Rethink

    Andrew Muir and Georgia Bates on new play Rethink and the struggles for actors outside of London

    For our latest podcast interview we caught up with Andrew Muir, writer and joint Creative Director of Ardent Theatre, and Georgia Bates, who will be appearing in their latest production, Rethink, which is on at The Union Theatre from 26 to 30 October.

    The pair talk about how the play was inspired by this 2020 government ad campaign suggesting those in the arts could retrain during lockdown for alternative careers. We also delve into the difficulties of becoming an actor when you live outside of London, and don’t have the financial backing to relocate full time to London.

    You can follow us on Spotify or Itunes (plus many other other podcast providers) for future editions of our interview series. Further information can be found on our Podcast here

    Rethink @ Union Theatre

    Graduation is a day full of celebration and joy. The cloaks, the hats, the bubbles and the dreams all laid bare for the world to see. In July 2020, that class of graduating students had little to celebrate. There were no cloaks, no hats, possibly a bubble but whatever dreams there were, they were soon cut short when the world shut down.

    Rethink is a play about the aftermath of that sunny July in 2020, when six graduates from a performing arts course on the South Coast of England, are encouraged to think again, in the wake of theatre closures and lack of opportunity. What choice do they have? According to a Government-backed advertising campaign their next job could be in cyber, they just don’t know it yet. So, there’s the choice. It’s as easy as that. Isn’t it?

    Rethink plays between 26 and 30 October. Bookings via the below link. Tickets just £10 plus £1 booking fee. More

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    Interview: Andrew Lancel on his (not literal) Swan Song

    Actor Andrew Lancel talks about his latest role in Swan Song at Turbine Theatre.

    One of the shows that’s really piqued our interest this November is a new revival of Swan Song at the Turbine Theatre, Battersea Power Station. The star of this one-man play, Andrew Lancel, has appeared in so many TV and stage shows it would be hard to have missed him! Famously he played DI Neil Manson in The Bill and the creepy Frank Foster in Coronation Street, but he’s also highly regarded for his phenomenal portrayal of the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein in Epstein – the Man who Made the Beatles and in Cilla; as Brian Clough in The Damned United; and more recently as Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

    We caught up with Andrew to ask him about bringing the show from sold out performances in Liverpool to one of London’s newest, most passionate theatre spaces.

    Swan Song feels like a great show to get people back going back to live theatre right now. Can you tell us a bit about it?

    It’s ideal – it’s intimate  and I think people really feel a part of it.

    Whilst it’s set in the 90’s it feels topical. We all know a Dave and will be able to relate  to him in life and our school memories. He is always left behind because he can be a bit of an idiot but he’s also very funny.

    It’s billed as a bittersweet comedy – is there more bitter or sweet, or maybe a balance of both?

    Bang in the middle. (playwright) Jonathan Harvey is the master at this. 

    Are you and your character Dave Titswell alike in any ways? Do you wear a lot of beige? Is Dave a character that you recognise in real life?

    I’ve just got some beige boot socks but that’s about it! We look alike but that’s about it too – I think ..though I admit to liking the same music and soaps as him! It’s a cliche but we all know a Dave. Whilst he winds people up and can be a total dick, we do care for him. 

    You have an incredible, award-winning creative team on this show. How has it been working with Jonathan Harvey and Noreen Kershaw, and are you an honorary Scouser now?  You know she supports Bury, right?

    Yup – and I’ve watched bury a few times. Also we shot Hillsborough there. I’ve known them both for years and Jonathan and I only had one name written down for who we wanted to direct it. Noreen. Working with them both is a joy – their talent is endless.

    What is it about the Lake District and Liverpool dramas?? From Willy Russell to Jimmy McGovern, things always happen out of town, so you seem to be in good company!

    Hadn’t thought of that. In the original it was Swanage! It’s firmly rooted in Liverpool and takes us to the lakes – but this could be anywhere and anytime. 

    You have a fabulous background in musicals, starring in productions like The Sound of Music and Cilla. Will we get to hear you sing in this show? What have you enjoyed about the part of Dave?

    He’s hard work to play but great fun. I’m on my own up there but JH surrounds us with images and characters. A lot happens in the hour.. no singing but seriously bad dance moves!

    The original 1997 play was scripted for a woman. What do you think it brings to the narrative in changing it to a gay man?

    Well it was so I could do it for one! The original was wonderful – I wish I’d  seen it but I was far too young! It’s changed massively – obviously – but the heart is still the same. Need. Oh the need. 

    Do you think the story reflects on the teaching profession differently after what they’ve been through during the Covid pandemic?

    I remember when I did cardiac arrest a doctor telling me ‘we are hard done by’ and it feels very much like that now. They are and have been scapegoated and put under enormous pressure. So not much has changed .. which makes this play topical and accessible. It’s taken off with a life of its own – teachers love it- I’m thrilled about that. 

    The Turbine seems a lovely new addition to London’s theatre scene.  Have you been to check it out yet and if so, what do you feel the venue and its audiences will be like for the show?

    I love it. It’s perfect do this and I’ve seen wonderful things there. The area is beginning to bounce and now with the Tube.. wow, what a buzz. I think and hope they will be eclectic fun and up for a laugh.. and maybe a tear.. aren’t we all!?

    Our thanks to Andrew for giving up his time to chat to us. Swan Song comes to Turbine Theatre between 29 November and 4 December. Further information and tickets via the below link.

    The show also performs pre-London dates at The Coro in Ulverston on 19 and 20 November. More

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    Interview: Maia Kirkman-Richards tells us There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom

    There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom at The Little Angel Theatre recently got a whopping five stars from us.  It’s a puppet show for children from ages 5-11 that challenges human environmental damage by showing how it affects some of the animals impacted by businesses such as dirty palm oil production, and by plastic waste in the ocean.  Heavy stuff for our little ones to handle, perhaps?  But they all seemed to have great fun in the process and came out buzzing! We asked director and puppet maker Maia Kirkman-Richards to tell us a bit more about the show.

    So Maia, this might seem quite a challenging topic for children, but you’ve approached it very directly, simplifying rather than dumbing down. What’s been the response?

    It’s been incredibly exciting for me to work on this project, especially as it’s a show that genuinely encourages conversation from its audiences – something that I’ve really missed over the last couple of years.

    The show itself is based on two really beautiful adverts that Greenpeace created a few years ago, so to try and shy away from any of the discussion that they held just felt wrong, regardless of the age of our audience.  Having said that, ultimately our aim has always been to leave audiences feeling empowered and excited about the prospect of change and all the new opportunities that may bring – and I really feel like that excitement and eagerness for change has been largely reflected in the response to the show from the audience and reviewers.

    It felt really important that we placed our audience at the heart of this story and allowed their voices to be heard.  A beautiful result of that is that we are constantly engaging and hearing responses about the show, it’s subject matter and what we can do to make a difference.  I love hearing about the things that our young audience members passionately shout out – at this moment in time it feels like it’s the most authentic and heart-warming response that a director could hope for.

    The Rang-Tan story is probably well known to many people from the Iceland Christmas ad a few years ago, and is also a picture book by James Sellick.  How do you think puppetry works differently to other media in telling this story?

    Puppets are brilliant for allowing an audience to really invest a part of themselves within the characters and the story.  As a puppet designer, you are never looking to create 100% of the puppet, it’s really important to allow that neutral space for the audience to see and add an element of themselves in, that way they become invested and so when something happens to the puppet, the audience feel it too.  That emotional connection that an audience develops with a puppet is incredibly useful and important to our storytelling and kept every audience member as one of the show’s key protagonists.

    However, it was quite daunting when approaching this project to figure out how to transfer such an iconic series of adverts into something that would work physically on stage. The main question we needed to answer was how do we recreate so many different locations without it feeling like a slightly wasteful amount of set and props that would only get used once.  That would be pretty hypocritical of us right?! It was a joy to problem solve this with the creative team though and ultimately I’m proud of our choices.

    The puppets in the play are absolutely beautiful, and so creatively used.  Can you tell us about how you devised them?

    This was actually a really tricky one, and I definitely spent a lot of days and nights exploring different options!

    As a production we wanted to push to create a show that was more environmentally aware in its creation and this was a real challenge for me. In the process of creating these puppets, I discovered some incredible recycling centres across South London and really enjoyed having to think outside the box and wherever possible, use what was available to me.

    As for the visuals of the puppets, I wanted to create characters that although inspired from the animals in the adverts, they felt like they had their own identity and language.  It has been such a privilege to have the time to learn more about these animal’s habitats and the serious threats that they are up against, and I wanted to pay homage to that.  Each of the animal puppets in the show are covered in a bespoke fabric, made up of images of either their habitats, or the objects that threaten them.  Our Jaguar is entirely covered in ariel photos of the Amazon Rainforest burning, our turtle is covered in photos of plastic floating in the ocean and piling up on beaches, and our orangutan is covered in photos of palm fruits.  My aim with these puppets is always to ensure that you see the puppet and the animal first – the visual stories behind their fabrics is something that you have to search for as an active audience – I think that’s really exciting.

    I loved how the audience and the animals become part of an actively shared world through the staging. Was this a conscious choice, or did it just evolve in the production process?

    Yes!  I have always been a big fan of creating work that feels genuinely accessible to lots of different types of audience.  For me, that means ensuring that people have different options of how to ‘watch’ a show – giving them plenty to look at as well as listen to, interact with and be a part of.  So it was definitely a conscious choice to involve the audience in as much as we could and place them right in the heart of the story, experiencing it alongside our puppet characters as it all unfolds. 

    Our Set Designer, Kate Bunce, created a really special set for this show and I loved all our early conversations about how to create something on a small scale that somehow still felt vast and all consuming.  Kate was so responsive to the show that we were creating (things were still changing in the final days of rehearsal!) but that meant that we could constantly push ourselves towards the most exciting visual options without limitations of what it had to look like.  Being truely responsive and adapting as you go is a real gift and not something that everyone can do, so I really lucked out with my creative team in that sense.

    There are so many details in the show that signal problem items in the home, and the urgency of the situation. It’s almost like a ‘Where’s Wally?’ once you start to spot them.  Did this help in constructing multiple layers of engagement for different age groups?

    Yes absolutely, I think that a lot of the time the layers built up quite naturally as myself and the team learnt more and more throughout the rehearsal process!

    As with a lot of work for children, you end up with such a wide age range of people in your audience (from babies to grandparents and everyone in between) so I was mindful to make sure that there was something for everyone.  So the ‘signals’ that you mentioned could be spotted not only in the puppets and props, but also in the set, the projection, the lighting colours, the speech and of the course the soundtrack. 

    Another thing I loved about the show was that the children were handed an opportunity to voice their opinions and get creative with solutions.  Have you had any follow-up responses from your audiences?

    I love that about the show too – it’s such a joy to hear the ideas that the audience passionately shout out in each performance.  I had an email come through just today to say that one young audience member had shouted out “Go in a boat and collect all the plastic bags from the sea!”.  It’s so important that our audiences feel like their voices are heard and that without them, change cannot actually happen. 

    I know that The Little Angel has had some lovely feedback emails from families after the show, chatting about how the show has impacted life beyond the theatre walls.  I read one that simply said ‘My son now says he’ll eat less snacks in plastic bags!’ – I think her son is a legend.

    What’s next for Rang-Tan and her friends?

    Good question!  We’re really hopeful that this is the start of the theatre industry opening back up and thriving again so that we can continue to share this production with new audiences around the country – starting with a National tour in autumn 2022. 

    There’s A Rang-Tan in my Bedroom and Other Stories runs at Little Angel Theatre until 7 November. Further information on this and other shows can be found via the below link. More

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    Interview: Who Cares? Matt Woodhead does

    Matt Woodhead on Who Cares? The play and the campaign.

    Our latest podcast interview is with Matt Woodhead, co-Artistic Director of Lung Theatre. Matt wrote Who Cares, a play about young carers. The play led to the creation of the Who Cares Campaign which has gone on to help hundreds of children who act as a primary carer for other members of their family.

    You can read a previous interview we did with Matt here. You can also see our review of the play when it was perfromed at 2019’s Edinburgh Fringe here.

    The radio version of the play is still available via BBC Sounds here.

    You can follow us on Spotify or Itunes (plus many other other podcast providers) for future editions of our interview series. Further information can be found on our Podcast here

    Who Cares? National Tour

    ‘The Alarm Rings. I take a breath. Then it starts’

    Sitting at the back of the bus, skipping the lunch queue and skiving lessons. At school Nicole, Jade and Connor are just like everybody else. But when they get home, things are very different. 

    Nicole started caring for her mum when she was four. Every morning Nicole helps her get washed, put on clothes and eat breakfast. Jade has always cared for her brother, but she never expected to look after dad as well – now she juggles two lots of appointments, two lots of prescriptions, two lots of assessment forms. Connor cares for his mum. But he doesn’t like to talk about it. 

    ​Adapted from real-life testimonies, this bold and pertinent piece of documentary theatre examines our failing care system, the impact of austerity and what happens when a child becomes the parent.

    ​Made in partnership with The Lowry & Greater Manchester Charity, Gaddum and its Salford Carers Service. With funding by Arts Council England, Curious Minds and the Oglesby Charitable Trust.

    Full tour dates and booking can be found here More

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    Interview: Phoebe Angeni tackles anxieties head on

    Author: Everything Theatre

    in Features and Interviews, Podcasts, Runn Radio interview

    29 September 2021


    Mental Health and Wellbeing Awareness Day Interview (part 2)

    This interview was originally recorded as part of Runn Radio’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Awareness Day. The day consisted of interviews and talks on mental health.

    Phoebe Angeni joins us all the way from San Francisco to talk about her own journey with mental health from a very young age and how she has turned these around into positives in her writing and latest show, Itacha.

    You can find out more about Phoebehere.

    You can also download this podcast by clicking on the forward arrow and selecting the download option.

    You can follow us on Spotify or Itunes (plus many other other podcast providers) for future editions of our interview series. Further information can be found on our Podcast here More

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    Interview: Jen Roehrig breathes life into Mental Health

    Mental Health and Wellbeing Awareness Day Interview (part 1)

    This interview was originally recorded as part of Runn Radio’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Awareness Day. The day consisted of interviews and talks on mental health.

    Jen Roehrig talks about her own experiences with mental health, which were as a result of a freak medical situation, but affected her life for years. Jen talks about how, with the right help, she overcame her conditions and ultimately returned to education in her 40s. We also hear about how she hopes to take her experiences onto the stage with her upcoming work.

    You can find out more about Jen and her production company here.

    You can also download this podcast by clicking on the forward arrow and selecting the download option.

    You can follow us on Spotify or Itunes (plus many other other podcast providers) for future editions of our interview series. Further information can be found on our Podcast here More

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    Interview: Biting into Dracula: The Untold Story

    Andrew Quick of Imitating The Dog on bringing a grapic novel to the stage

    Episode 4 in our podcast interview series sees us moving outside of London for the first time, to chat to Andrew Quick, Artistic Director of Imitating The Dog. The company whose stated aims are:

    we are most interested in telling stories. We create beautiful, memorable images for audiences, and the work fuses live performance with digital technology, in order to serve the story in the best possible way. The work is always fresh and often surprising. We take risks.

    The podcast features the full version of the interview. An edited version was originally broadcast on our Runn Radio show on 15 September 2021.

    You can also download this podcast by clicking on the forward arrow and selecting the download option.

    You can follow us on Spotify or Itunes (plus many other other podcast providers) for future editions of our interview series. Further information can be found on our Podcast here

    Dracula: The Untold Story tours to the following venues. Further dates are possible though, so do check Imitating The Dog’s website for updates.

    Leeds Playhouse

    25 Sept – 9 Oct at 7.45pm

    (Mat: 30 Sept & 7 Oct at 2pm and 2 & 9 Oct at 2.30pm)

    Box office: 0113 213 7700

    Tickets on sale: NOW

    Liverpool Playhouse

    12-16 Oct at 7.30pm

    (Mat: 14 at 1.30pm & 16 at 2pm)

    Tickets on sale: NOW

    Derby Theatre

    19-23 Oct at 7.30pm

    (Evenings at 7.30pm & Wed 20th & Sat 23rd at 2.30pm)

    Box Office: 01332 593939

    Tickets on sale: 6 Aug

    Dukes Lancaster

    29 & 30 Oct at 7.30pm

    (Mat: 30 at 2.30pm)

    Box office: 01524 598500 (From 21 May)

    Tickets on sale: NOW

    Watford Palace Theatre

    2-6 Nov at 7.30pm

    (Mat: 4 & 6 at 2.30pm)

    Tickets on sale: NOW

    Mercury Theatre, Colchester

    9 & 10 Nov at 7.30pm

    (Mat: 10 at 2.30pm)

    Box office: 01206 573948

    Tickets on sale: NOW More