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Salisbury Playhouse

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NEWS

For press inquiries please contact:

Jill Harding PR & Media Officer
Tel.: 01722 345153
Email: jill.harding@salisburyplayhouse.com

 

SPRING/SUMMER SEASON ANNOUNCED AT SALISBURY PLAYHOUSE

Tickets on general sale from Friday, November 7

 

  • Janie Dee and Clive Francis star in a new production of 84 Charing Cross Road
  • Looking ahead to the General Election with Laura Wade’s darkly comic play Posh
  • Horror and horticulture combine in the fun-filled musical Little Shop of Horrors
  • Stage ’65 members play their part in marking the Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary
  • The hilarious Jeeves and Wooster in a West End production of Perfect Nonsense

 

A packed programme of drama, comedy, music and politics – from the signing of the Magna Carta to the ambitions of today’s political elite – awaits audiences at Salisbury Playhouse.

 

Olivier Award winner, Janie Dee, and Clive Francis lead the cast in 84 Charing Cross Road from February 5 to February 28. The play centres on the 20-year friendship struck up when American Helene Hanff started writing to London bookseller Frank Doel. The play premiered at Salisbury Playhouse in 1981 after being adapted for the stage by James Roose-Evans who returns to direct this Salisbury Playhouse production.

 

As election fever hots up, Salisbury Playhouse and Nottingham Playhouse present a timely production of Laura Wade’s darkly comical play Posh from March 12 to April 4. Based on Oxford’s elite Bullingdon Club, which counts David Cameron and Boris Johnson among its former members, Posh features a group of toffish young men with drinking, ambition and revolution on their minds.  Posh was adapted as the film Riot Club in September and has been critically acclaimed for its razor sharp portrayal of privilege and politics.

 

Predatory plant Audrey II bursts out of his pot and into Mushnik’s Flower Shop as Salisbury Playhouse presents Little Shop of Horrors from April 23 to May 16. This feel-good show, packed with rock n’ roll and Motown-style songs, is not your garden-variety musical but is full of boy meets girl, plant eats world entertainment.

 

Direct from the West End, there will be comedy capers from Jeeves and Wooster from May 19 to May 23. P.G Wodehouse’s delightful double act will be caught up in an evening of Perfect Nonsense that’s sure to have the audience laughing out loud.  

 

The Spring/Summer season starts with an ingenious adaptation of Jerome K Jerome’s classic tale of boating misadventure Three Men in a Boat from January 27 to January 31. Packed with musical hall songs, physical comedy and the best of Britishness, Three Men in a Boat comes to Salisbury after two sell-out tours.

 

Other visiting productions in the Main House include Arthur Miller’s powerful post-war drama All My Sons, Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory’s beautiful production of Romeo and Juliet and George Bernard Shaw’s controversial and revealing play Mrs Warren’s Profession.

 

As Salisbury prepares to mark the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, Stage ’65 youth theatre members will be performing at Salisbury Cathedral in June.

 

A busy programme of innovative new plays, comedy, re-imaginings of classic tales, gripping drama and family shows will be presented in the Salberg this season  And the popular celebration of theatre in the region Theatre Fest West returns from March 30 to April 11.

 

Tickets for go on general sale from Friday, November 7. Tickets for 84 Charing Cross Road are already available. Contact the box office on 01722 320333 salisburyplayhouse.com.

For press inquiries contact PR and Communications Officer Jill Harding on 01722 345153 or jill.harding@salisburyplayhouse.com.

 

 

 

 

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Public asked to vote for Salisbury Playhouse in UK's Most Welcoming Theatre Award 

Salisbury Playhouse is one of over 220 arts venues taking part in the Most Welcoming Theatre Award in association with Smooth Radio. The winner will be announced at the annual UK Theatre Awards ceremony in London’s Guildhall on Sunday 19 October 2014.

Online voting for this public award is open via the Smooth Radio website – smoothradio.com -and closes on Monday 29 September. To ensure a fair and competitive process, the public voting system will be partially weighted by theatre capacity to ensure smaller venues have as equal a chance of winning as larger theatres.

Presented by UK Theatre, the annual UK Theatre Awards are the only nationwide awards to honour creative excellence and the outstanding achievement seen on and off stage throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Julian Bird, Chief Executive, UK Theatre, said: “It has been great to see the tremendous level of public support for regional theatre since the launch of My Theatre Matters! last year. Following the success of last year’s inaugural public vote and with the support of Smooth Radio, we are delighted to be running this exciting Award again. Theatres play important roles at the heart of our local communities and this vote provides a platform for the public to get more involved in the UK Theatre Awards and shout about how much they value the work of their local venue.”

Sebastian Warrack, Executive Director of Salisbury Playhouse, says “We know we have a very loyal and supportive audience and would love the public to get behind us by voting for Salisbury Playhouse.  Winning the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre Award would be a fitting way to acknowledge the hard work our staff members and volunteers do here”.

UK Theatre Awards are supported by a number of major organisations involved in theatre across the UK including The Stage, Harbottle & Lewis, Theatre Tokens, Big Group, White Light, John Good and Smooth Radio.

Further details about UK Theatre and the UK Theatre Awards can be found at uktheatre.org/awards.

To vote please visit www.smoothradio.com/events/vote-for-your-favourite-theatre/. Voting closes at 11.59pm on Monday 29 September 2014. 


Friday 19 September 2014

Janie Dee to star in new production of 84 Charing Cross Road at Salisbury Playhouse

 

Public booking opens Friday 17 October

84 Charing Cross Road
By Helene Hanff
Adapted for the stage by James Roose-Evans

A Salisbury Playhouse Production in the Main House
Thursday 5 – Saturday 28 February 2015

Janie Dee will star in a new production of 84 Charing Cross Road at Salisbury Playhouse, where the play was premiered in 1981. James Roose-Evans, who wrote the stage adaptation and directed the original production, returns to direct this new production which runs from Thursday 5 to Saturday 28 February 2015.

84 Charing Cross Road tells the story of Helene Hanff who, in 1949, wrote to Marks and Co. Booksellers of 84 Charing Cross Road, in search of the rare editions she was unable to find in New York. Her books were dispatched with polite but brisk efficiency. Helene soon found herself in regular correspondence with bookseller Frank Doel, laying siege to his English reserve with her warmth and wit. As letters, books and quips crossed the ocean, a friendship flourished that would endure for twenty years.

Janie Dee’s recent theatre credits include Blithe Spirit at the Gielgud Theatre and Noises Off at the Old Vic and the subsequent West End transfer. She has won Olivier Awards for her roles in Carousel at the National Theatre and Ayckbourn’s Comic Potential.

The stage adaptation of 84 Charing Cross Road premiered at Salisbury Playhouse in 1981 before going on to huge success in the West End and on Broadway, winning numerous awards for writer and director James Roose-Evans. It was also made into a film starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft. This new production is designed by Norman Coates.

84 Charing Cross Road runs at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 5 to Saturday 28 February 2015. Public booking opens on Friday 17 October. For tickets or further information please contact the Box Office on 01722 320333 or visit www.salisburyplayhouse.com


Thursday 18 September 2014

Salisbury Playhouse announces cast for its pantomime, Mother Goose

Salisbury Playhouse is delighted to announce the cast for its 2014/15 pantomime, Mother Goose, which runs from Wednesday 3 December to Saturday 10 January.

Salisbury’s favourite panto dame, Kieran Buckeridge, returns in the title role and Ella Vale, who has recently performed at the Playhouse in Sleeping Beauty and Dick Whittington and His Cat, will play Demonica Baddegg.

Completing the cast are Lucy Faint as Milly Dillydally, Howard Coggins as Squire Dillydally, Lacy Jordinson as Priscilla the Goose, Johanne Murdock as Fairy Flutter and Simon Nehan as Billy Goose. The chorus will be made up of two teams of local young performers.

The creative team from last year’s hugely popular pantomime is back including writer Andrew Pollard, composer Kieran Buckeridge, director Joyce Branagh, designer Keith Orton, musical director Rebekah Hughes, choreographer Maggie Rawlinson,  lighting designer Peter Hunter and sound designer Mark Noble.

With lots of laughs, live music, a magical goose and plenty of audience participation, Mother Goose promises to be the perfect family treat this Christmas. Mother Goose runs from Wednesday 3 December to Saturday 10 January with morning, afternoon and evening performances. For tickets or more information please contact the Box Office on 01722 320333 or visit the show page.

 

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Free Open Day 

Salisbury Playhouse will be opening its doors and offering everyone the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes at the free Playhouse Open Day.

Visitors will have the opportunity to take part in backstage tours that will take in little-seen parts of the theatre, such as the costume department and the scenery workshop, and will be able to tread the boards in the transformed Main House.

A selection of family activities will be running, suitable for all ages, and there will be the chance to look back through the decades as the Archivists display vintage photographs, posters and programmes.

There will be the chance to join question and answer sessions with actors and to meet the staff and volunteers who make Salisbury Playhouse one of the UK’s leading regional theatres and an important part of the community.

With competitions to enter and a range of food and drink available, this is a perfect family day out. The free Playhouse Open Day takes place on Saturday 25 October from 10am. 


Monday 15 September 2014

South West theatre companies invited to join regional celebration

Salisbury Playhouse is calling out to South West theatre companies and performers to take part in Theatre Fest West 2015 – a celebration of the most imaginative theatre from the region. Now in its fourth year, the 2015 festival will be bigger and better than ever.

Submissions are being accepted for productions that are available during March and April 2015 and Salisbury Playhouse would like to hear from artists and companies that are either based in or have stories to tell about the South West.

Companies that have performed at Theatre Fest West in the past include Hampshire theatre company Forest Forge, Exeter-based Theatre Alibi and Up in Arms with Barney Norris’ Visitors, a new play set on Salisbury Plain. Performances have also taken place in more unusual spaces, such as Kilter Theatre’s The Last Post which was performed in a converted Luton van parked outside the Playhouse.

Gareth Machin, Salisbury Playhouse’s Artistic Director, says “Theatre Fest West has become an important part of the region’s theatre calendar. It allows us to celebrate the variety of excellent work that is produced within the South West and gives us the opportunity to collaborate with a wide range of theatre practitioners”.

Submissions are welcome from professional companies who have work ready to showcase. Companies interested in taking part in Theatre Fest West 2015 should e-mail info@salisburyplayhouse.com with a summary of the production and company and details of the scale and costings. Please put Fest West in the e-mail subject line. The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2014.


Wednesday 10 September 2014

Fun for all at Salisbury Playhouse this half term

Salisbury Playhouse has a wide range of shows and activities for all ages this half term as part of the 2014 Family Arts Festival.

The UK-wide Family Arts Festival launches its second year with award-winning writer Michael Morpurgo as the 2014 patron and a major partnership with Center Parcs. With over 500 organisations hosting over 2,000 family friendly arts events, Salisbury Playhouse will be one of those taking part.

Activities at Salisbury Playhouse include a free Playhouse Open Day on Saturday 25 October when the Playhouse will open its doors to allow visitors a rare glimpse behind the scenes, as well as demonstrations, displays, family activities and questions and answer sessions. On Thursday 30 October there is another opportunity to take a look at rarely-seen parts of the theatre in the Children’s Backstage Treasure Hunt.

On Wednesday 29 October there is a special laugh-out-loud experience for under threes as Curious comes to The Salberg. Cake making gets messy, the kitchen meets the garden and mischief conjures up a birthday surprise in this perfect introduction to the theatre. At the end of the performance children are invited to create their own recipes by digging in the soft soil.

An enchanting story of a young child’s hopes and dreams, pleasures and losses, Match is in The Salberg on Friday 31 October. Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic The Little Match Girl, this is a heart-warming, magical tale for those aged 2 and over, with beautiful storytelling, puppetry and live music.

In Tony & Mike (or The Country Owl and The City Squirrel), Tony the Owl has his peace and quiet ruined by the arrival of Mike the Squirrel, who is loud, cheeky and likes to party. Featuring puppetry, music and a squirrel flying machine, this is a story about making friends, being different and why that’s OK. Perfect for those aged three plus, this production is in The Salberg on Saturday 1 November at 11am and 2.30pm. The 2.30pm show will be a Relaxed Performance, which is particularly suitable for those who might find it difficult to sit quietly and still for an entire performance, or who are uncomfortable with sudden lighting changes or loud noises. Extra spaces have also been made for wheelchairs.

For those who would like to take to the stage themselves there is the opportunity to work with directors and technicians, using props, costumes and lighting to make a special show. Five to seven year olds can create a play called Halloween Adventure on Monday 27 October while Vicious Victorians will be the theme for eight to eleven year olds on Tuesday 28 October. 

Former Children’s Laureate and bestselling author of War Horse, Michael Morpurgo comments: “I am delighted to be Patron of the 2014 Family Arts Festival. The enormous range of events presented across the UK means there will be something to delight, and share with, all members of the family across the generations. I encourage you to make a day - or a week - of exploring the fun, interesting and entertaining events in your area this autumn half term.” 

For tickets or more information on Salisbury Playhouse’s activities and shows please contact the Box Office on 01722 320333. All events taking part in the Family Arts Festival are listed on www.familyartsfestival.com.

 

Friday 29 August 2014

Casting announced for Separate Tables at Salisbury Playhouse 

Casting has been announced for Salisbury Playhouse’s production of Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables which runs in the Main House from Thursday 16 October to Saturday 8 November.

Jane How, who will be familiar to television audiences as Den Watts’ mistress, Jan, in EastEnders and Don’t Wait Up, will play Mrs Railton-Bell. Her recent stage credits include Trevor Nunn’s Fatal Attraction at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Robert Perkins, who played Sergeant Ray Steele in The Bill and was recently in the touring production of Dial M for Murder, will play Major Pollock and Mr Malcolm.

Following his run in the Playhouse production of Bedroom Farce, Graham Seed, best known for playing Nigel Pargetter in Radio 4’s The Archers, will play Mr Fowler. He will be joined by fellow Bedroom Farce cast members Penelope Beaumont, Mawgan Gyles, Emma Noakes, Emily Wachter and Eleanor Wyld.

Completing the cast are Kirsty Besterman, who last performed at Salisbury Playhouse in Dangerous Corner, Petra Markham and Carol Starks.

Separate Tables is a funny and moving portrait of the lives, loves and quirks of the guests of a Bournemouth hotel in the Fifties. The production is directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Gareth Machin, and designed by Tom Rogers. Lighting is by Howard Hudson with sound by John Leonard.

Like Bedroom Farce, this production of Separate Tables is performed in a transformed Main House with seating surrounding the stage. Separate Tables runs from Thursday 16 October to Saturday 8 November. For tickets or further information please contact the Box Office on 01722 320333 or visit the show page


Thursday 24 July 2014

Young people wanted to join special panel at Salisbury Playhouse

There is the opportunity for young people to learn more about the theatre and to share their views as Salisbury Playhouse is looking for volunteers aged 14-21 to join its new Young Ambassadors scheme. The group of ten will meet monthly to work on a range of projects and to discuss how the Playhouse’s work links to young people within the community.

The Young Ambassadors will have the opportunity to meet with members of Salisbury Playhouse staff and other professionals working within the theatre industry, to attend VIP nights and will manage a blog series detailing activities and events. They will have the chance to review productions and will be advocates for the theatre, sharing information and opportunities with young people in the local area.

Gareth Machin, Artistic Director, says “The Young Ambassadors scheme is one of a variety of ways in which we work with members of the community. It is a fantastic way for young people to learn more about the theatre, to share their views with us, and would reflect well on college, university and job applications. I am very much looking forward to working with the panel over the coming year”.

Meetings will take place on the last Thursday of each month during term time. For more information on how to apply to be part of the scheme please contact Dave Orme, Youth Theatre Director, on 01722 345167 or youth2@salisburyplayhouse.com. The closing date for applications is Monday 1 September 2014.


Wednesday 23 July 2014

Casting announced for Bedroom Farce at Salisbury Playhouse

Casting has been announced for the first show of the Salisbury Playhouse autumn/winter season, Alan Ayckbourn’s ingenious comedy Bedroom Farce, which runs from Thursday 4 September to Saturday 4 October.

Graham Seed, best known for playing Nigel Pargetter in Radio 4’s The Archers for nearly 30 years and whose many theatre credits include Accolade at the Finborough and the national tour of Journey’s End, will play Ernest with Penelope Beaumont, who recently appeared in Mark Rylance’s production of Much Ado About Nothing at The Old Vic, playing his wife, Delia.

They are joined by Mawgan Gyles, who was in last year’s Salisbury Playhouse production of Dangerous Corner, and David Partridge, who last performed at the Playhouse in The Recruiting Officer. Completing the cast are Niall Costigan, Emma Noakes, Emily Wachter and Eleanor Wyld.

Bedroom Farce takes place in three bedrooms as three couples prepare for a night out. Each couple is interrupted by the overbearing Susannah and Trevor and their ‘relationship problems’ in one of Ayckbourn’s most popular plays that shines a light on the trials and tribulations of Seventies marriage.

Bedroom Farce is directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Gareth Machin, who most recently directed the hit production of Chris Chibnall’s Worst Wedding Ever. The production is designed by Tom Rogers, whose recent work at Salisbury Playhouse includes The Recruiting Officer and Joking Apart. Lighting is by Howard Hudson and sound by John Leonard.

This funny and touching play is performed in the round in the specially reconfigured Main House and runs from Thursday 4 September to Saturday 4 October. For tickets or other enquiries please contact the Box Office on 01722 320333 or visit the show page on our website. 


Tuesday 8 July 2014

Salisbury Playhouse to offer 18 month placement as part of national training scheme 

Salisbury Playhouse is delighted to be working again with the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme to offer a young director an 18 month placement, working alongside Artistic Director Gareth Machin.

The RTYDS is committed to providing unique opportunities for early career and emerging directors to work with professional regional theatre companies to develop their craft as a director and to learn about the operations of theatre buildings and about cultural leadership.

The RTYDS selects up to four theatre companies to take part in this scheme and works with the artistic directors of the selected theatres to choose four young directors from a pool of some of the brightest new talents in the UK. The scheme can claim an impressive list of past participants – many directors have been or are now artistic directors of the UK's leading theatres.

Gareth Machin says “RTYDS is the most prestigious and successful training scheme for theatre directors in Great Britain. We are proud to be hosting the scheme for the second time in three years, particularly as it is absolutely consistent with our commitment to nurture and offer opportunity to the very best emerging theatre artists. I am excited about the new creative energy and ideas the director will bring to the organisation and am looking forward to working closely with the successful director over the coming months”.

For more information or to apply please visit www.rtyds.co.uk. The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Monday 4 August 2014. 

 

Monday 7 July 2014

Mind the Gap works with primary school pupils

Members of Mind the Gap, Salisbury Playhouse’s drama group for over 50s, have been working with young people from St Mark’s CE Junior School as part of The Milford Street Bridge Project.

The Milford Street Bridge Project is a community heritage and arts project, best known for the two large murals under the bridge which takes the ring road over Milford Street.

In 2013 they received funding to produce a website and Educational Resources for local schools. The Educational Resources, aimed at children in Salisbury primary schools, consists of six PowerPoint presentations on themes arising from their archives: Growing Up, Celebrations, Shopping, Schools, Eileen O'Leary (a young Salisbury woman who died on the Titanic) and the Titanic. As well as photos, information and audio clips, the presentations also include ideas for expanding children’s learning through oral history, dance, drama and art. To go alongside the presentations there are five boxes of handling objects for children to hold, play with, examine and wear.

Over the last few weeks children at St Mark’s Junior School have been trialling the packs and enjoyed some sessions working with experts. Mind the Gap has been working with children in Year 5 on the "Growing Up" theme, focussing in particular on playing games. They have explored games "then and now", at home, at school and on The Greencroft.

Rebecca Seymour, Project Manager of Mind the Gap, says “It is really moving to see Mind the Gap working with Year 5 pupils.  The work they created in last week’s session based on children’s playgrounds was lovely.  They are all getting on so well and the children have been very caring and respectful to the members of Mind the Gap”.

More information about The Milford Street Bridge Project can be found at www.milfordstreetbridgeproject.org.uk


Tuesday 1 July 2014

Playhouse maintains its Arts Council funding to 2018

Salisbury Playhouse is delighted that Arts Council England will continue to fund the organisation at the same level to its current funding, until 2018, as part of the National Portfolio Funding Programme announced today.

As an arts and educational charity and a nationally recognised producing theatre, last year Salisbury Playhouse’s work reached over 110,000 people through its productions and community activities. It contributed more than £9 million to the local economy and regularly draws audiences from Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and further afield.

In the past year Salisbury Playhouse has had tremendous success with the world premiere of Worst Wedding Ever from Broadchurch creator Chris Chibnall, while its participation activity has included the culmination of the START and Beginners Please projects which have introduced young people from 17 local schools to theatre for the first time.

Sebastian Warrack, Executive Director, says “This news is a vote of real confidence from the Arts Council in the organisation and means we can continue to entertain and engage with the people of Salisbury, Wiltshire and well beyond”. 

 

Monday 23 June 2014

Playhouse project introduces hundreds of local teenagers to theatre

Nearly 600 young people from across Wiltshire have been learning more about theatre and the arts thanks to START - a project run by Salisbury Playhouse. 

This year the project has seen six local schools taking part: Clarendon Academy, Oak Lodge Secondary Special School, Pewsey Vale School, Hardenhuish School, Wellington Academy and Avon Valley College. Some of the schools will be sharing their work in a performance on the Main House stage at Salisbury Playhouse on Thursday 26 June.

The project began in 2012 with support from The Prince’s Foundation for Children and the Arts to work with local secondary schools throughout the academic year, introducing young people to theatre. This scheme was designed to provide vital access to the arts at a time when financial constraints and the curriculum are putting pressures on drama education and can be delivered through English, Music, Performing Arts or other subjects.

The students, aged 11-18 years, have explored the world of theatre, how Salisbury Playhouse creates its work, and have seen a wide variety of productions. They have also benefited from backstage tours and workshops on a range of themes including careers, musical theatre, technical skills and Shakespeare.

Marnie Forbes, Project Leader, says “START has really developed this year and we have worked with schools from all over Wiltshire. Each school has a different need and we have been able to facilitate these, especially when curriculum changes and requirements are making studying the arts more problematic. The young people have been able to discover how productions are made, watch them on the stage and transfer useful creative skills such as leadership and problem solving to their own creative practise across the school”.

Schools taking part from September include Hardenhuish School and South Wilts Grammar School. There is still time for schools to join the project. For more information or to get involved please contact Eugenia Whitby on 01722 320117 or e-mail participation3@salisburyplayhouse.com


Friday 20 June 2014

Primary schools perform at Salisbury Playhouse as part of Beginners Please 

Over the next week local primary school children will be taking to the stage in The Salberg to perform for friends and family.

Over the last academic year Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils from 11 schools have been learning more about the theatre as part of Beginners Please, a project run by Salisbury Playhouse. They have had the opportunity to follow the work of the Playhouse, learn about the people who work there and the skills they need, whilst taking part in workshops and producing their own play to perform in the Salberg Studio.

This year the participating schools have been Woodlands Primary School, Amesbury Archer Primary School, St Martin’s Primary School, Broad Chalke CE Aided Primary School, Dinton CE Primary School, Bemerton St John CE Primary School, Pembroke Park Primary School, St Marks CE Junior School, Manor Fields Primary School, Pimperne Primary School and Harnham Infant School.

There is still time for schools to sign up to join the next Beginners Please project which begins in September 2014. For more information please visit the Participate section of the website or contact Eugenia Whitby on 01722 345165 or participation3@salisburyplayhouse.com

 

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Stage '65 Youth Theatre and Musical Theatre Salisbury perform together to commemorate start of First World War 

Rehearsals have begun for Oh What a Lovely War, the first collaboration between Salisbury Playhouse’s Stage ’65 Youth Theatre and Musical Theatre Salisbury, which will be performed in the Main House at Salisbury Playhouse from Monday 4 to Saturday 9 August. 

This stirring and satirical musical entertainment was an immediate hit for Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop when it opened in 1963. Through sketches and songs, such as Pack Up Your Troubles, Keep the Home Fires Burning and It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, the optimism of the Home Front and the horrors of the fields of Flanders are brought to life. 

Taking to the stage will be 60 members of Stage ’65 Youth Theatre and Musical Theatre Salisbury. Members of both organisations will also provide support in backstage roles, assisting with costume, props, lighting and sound. 

The opening performance will take place on the 100th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the First World War and is part of a programme of events taking place both locally and nationally to mark this occasion. 

Oh What a Lovely War is directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s Associate Director Mark Powell, with set design by Steve Howell, costumes by Karen McKeown and lighting by Peter Hunter. The Musical Director is Liz Weager and the Conductor is Ian Hooper. 

Director Mark Powell says “We are delighted to be collaborating with Musical Theatre Salisbury for this project. It is hugely exciting to be working with so many talented people of all ages and to be marking the centenary with such an iconic piece of theatre. We’re going to create a community spectacle not seen for years on the Playhouse’s stage.” 

Martyn Davies, Chairman of Musical Theatre Salisbury, says “It is both a pleasure and privilege for us to work with Salisbury Playhouse in this special way. Almost every family has some connection with the First World War which, for the cast and audience, will make Oh What a Lovely War an engaging, emotional and memorable experience”. 

A moving and funny evocation of the tragedy and pathos of one of the most ferocious conflicts in history, Oh What a Lovely War runs at Salisbury Playhouse for just one week from Monday 4 to Saturday 9 August. For tickets or further information please contact the box office on 01722 320333 or visit the show page


Saturday 10 May 2014

Salisbury Playhouse announces autumn/winter 2014-15 season

Public and online booking open Friday 16 May

  • The Main House is transformed for Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce and Rattigan’s Separate Tables
  • The team behind last year’s hit panto is reunited for Mother Goose, including the return of Kieran Buckeridge in the title role
  • The acclaimed national touring production of The Kite Runner
  • Mark Bruce’s magical and heart-wrenching dance theatre production of Dracula

Salisbury Playhouse has announced its Autumn/Winter 2014/15 season and, for the first time since the record-breaking Way Upstream, the Main House auditorium will be transformed with seating on all sides, bringing audiences closer to the action. This formation will be used for the first two Salisbury Playhouse productions, Alan Ayckbourn’s popular comedy Bedroom Farce, running from 4 September to 4 October, and the Terence Rattigan classic, Separate Tables, playing from 16 October to 8 November. Both productions will be directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Gareth Machin, with design by Tom Rogers and lighting by Howard Hudson.

Salisbury Playhouse is one of the few regional theatres producing home-grown, traditional pantomimes that can be enjoyed by all. This year sees the team behind the last two family pantomimes return, including writer Andrew Pollard, director Joyce Branagh and designer Keith Orton, with much-loved panto dame Kieran Buckeridge in the title role of Mother Goose, running from 3 December to 10 January.

Over the past few years Salisbury Playhouse has established a strong following for its musical entertainments in The Salberg, and recent productions have included London Calling and Spread a Little Happiness. This year’s musical celebration is the travel-themed Come Fly with Me. This collection of music through the decades will be directed by Adam Lenson, who has worked extensively at The Menier Chocolate Factory, and will include favourites such as Fly Me to the Moon, Beyond the Sea and Leaving on a Jet Plane 

Salisbury Playhouse is delighted to be welcoming Nottingham Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse’s acclaimed production of The Kite Runner. Based on the best-selling novel and film, the production will visit Salisbury from 17 to 22 November as part of the national tour.

The celebrated Bristol-based Mark Bruce Company will bring its award-winning dance production of Dracula to the Main House for just two performances on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 November. The haunting and heart-wrenching tale is brought to life by a company of ten dancers in this magical production which won the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Dance.

A variety of touring productions will visit The Salberg including Theatre Centre with Muddy Choir, Living Spit with Elizabeth I: Virgin on the Ridiculous and there will be a fresh and inventive adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with all the characters played by just two performers!

With a wide selection of productions for young people and a range of complementary workshops and activities, there is something for everyone this season at Salisbury Playhouse.

Public booking opens on Friday 16 May with tickets available from the box office on 01722 320333 or from www.salisburyplayhouse.com

 

Thursday 1 May 2014

Award winning composers reveal all about putting on a show at Salisbury Playhouse

Olivier Award-winning songwriting partners George Stiles and Anthony Drewe are visiting Salisbury Playhouse for a special free event to accompany Betty Blue Eyes on Saturday 3 May.

Songwriting With Stiles and Drewe, presented by Musical Theatre Network, will give fans of musical theatre a fun insight into writing musicals and the journey involved in getting a production from page to stage.

Stiles and Drewe’s musicals include Betty Blue Eyes and Honk!, which won an Olivier Award for Best  Musical,  and they wrote the new songs for the Disney and Cameron Mackintosh production of Mary Poppins.

Songwriting With Stiles and Drewe takes place on Saturday 3 May at 6pm. Tickets are free and can be booked via the Salisbury Playhouse box office on 01722 320333. The event can also be combined with seeing Betty Blue Eyes, either at the 2.15pm or 7.30pm performance. 

 

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Shakespeare’s 450th birthday to be celebrated at Salisbury Playhouse

Salisbury Playhouse is celebrating William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday on Wednesday 23 April with Happy Birthday Shakespeare!, a special collection of performances  in the Playhouse Rehearsal Room.

A selection of scenes, sonnets, soliloquys and songs will be performed to celebrate the nation’s favourite playwright, presented by members of Salisbury Playhouse’s community groups and local musicians and performers.

A free afternoon event will include performances from Winterbourne Opera, Mind the Gap and students from Salisbury Playhouse and Wiltshire College’s BTEC Acting course. They will be joined in the evening by Salisbury Playhouse’s Stage ’65 Youth Theatre with Potted Pericles and Musical Theatre Salisbury with a selection of songs from Kiss Me Kate.

Mark Powell, Salisbury Playhouse’s Associate Director, says “It’s great that members of the wider community have volunteered to take the lead roles in celebrating Shakespeare’s special day. This will be a varied and relaxed entertainment for anyone to enjoy.”

Happy Birthday Shakespeare! takes place on Wednesday 23 April at 2pm and 7pm and tickets are available from the box office on 01722 320333. The afternoon event is free whilst tickets for the evening performance cost £5 which includes birthday cake!


Monday 17 March 2014

National Theatre Connections Festival returns to Salisbury Playhouse

Salisbury Playhouse will present five different plays by eight different schools and young theatre groups from Wednesday 7 to Saturday 10 May as part of the National Theatre’s Connections Festival. Every year ten brand new plays are written exclusively for Connections by some of the most influential British playwrights, giving young people aged 13-19 from all over the country access to the best new writing for theatre. From Plymouth to Inverness and from Belfast to Norwich, Connections celebrates great new writing for the stage and the energy, commitment and talent of young theatre-makers.

The five plays confirmed at Salisbury Playhouse are:

Same by Deborah Bruce - presented by Portal Theatre Company from Godolphin School, Salisbury and Ascendance Theatre Arts, Cardiff

Same is set in an old people's home in the week that Josie dies. Her teenage grandchildren reminisce about their memories of her, and the residents in the home feel the effects of her death on their lives as her funeral takes place. Is the gulf between the young and old as wide as it feels, or are we fundamentally the same inside whatever age we are?

Deborah Bruce says “It is very exciting to be part of Connections, and to have the unique opportunity to see several different interpretations of my play all at once and all over the country. Youth Theatre was such an important and precious part of my teenage life and I strongly believe in the importance of drama when it comes to imagining what it might be like to be someone other than yourself; an invaluable skill as a human being! I'm so looking forward to seeing how all these young performers have approached inhabiting the characters in my play”.

Horizon by Matt Hartley – presented by Berry Youth Theatre, Eastleigh

It’s the last day of the summer holidays and for one group of friends that means there is only one place to be: Horizon Shopping Centre. For some it's a chance to gossip and flirt, grab a milkshake and bargain in the sales, earn some money and catch a film, but for two sisters it’s everything they've come to resent: an image of what their future looks like. As closing time approaches a summer of resentment and frustration can no longer be contained and two sisters stand up and fight for what they believe in.

Matt Hartley says “NT Connections has been a joy from the very beginning. To be provided the platform to create a story that, I hope, reflects, excites and engages with a generation of future theatre makers across the whole country is a privilege. The passion and ambition shown by all the participants has helped to remind me why I wanted to be a writer in the first place”.

The Wardrobe by Sam Holcroft – presented by Salisbury Playhouse and Wiltshire College’s BTEC Performing Arts (Acting) students, Nuffield Youth Theatre, Southampton and St Swithun’s School, Winchester.

Across five centuries of British history, small groups of children seek sanctuary in the same solid, old wardrobe. It's the safest place they know – but is it safe enough?

Sam Holcroft says “Writing for Connections has been a joy, for so many reasons. The extraordinary enthusiasm of everyone involved, from the National Theatre staff to the directors, to the hundreds of young performers taking part, was just so inspiring. Dreaming up multiple roles and scenarios  exclusively for young people was a unique and exciting challenge in itself. And the programme as a whole is awe-inspiring: every year it generates brand new, inventive plays for young people; every year the process of making each of these new plays helps to inspire a new generation of theatre-makers across the length and breadth of the UK. It was simply a privilege to take part”.

Angels by Pauline McLynn presented The Arnewood School, New Milton, Hampshire

A group of young strangers gathers in an old graveyard for a community project, watched over by three angels. Over the course of a day and night they talk, sing and bicker as they learn more about themselves and the lives they are living.

Heritage by Dafydd James presented by BAC Stage from Bridport Arts Centre

It's Mayday, and a group of misfit children are specially chosen to close the day's festivities; but as they gather together in uniform to rehearse the village anthem, all is not well. Tubbsy's hiding a cat in his bag; Deirdre-May's grieving her Nanna and Mark's turned up as Stegosaurus. As the rehearsal breaks down, they soon begin to suspect that they've been chosen for a far darker purpose... Heritage is a blistering black comedy with music that explores the darker side of nationalism.

Dafydd James says “Connections is such a gift and challenge for a writer: I've been able to write for a larger cast than usual, but also had to consider how a local concern about Welsh language culture could potentially resonate with groups throughout the UK. I love writing for/with young people: they challenge my world-view and encourage me to consider things from alternative perspectives. They surprise, invigorate, delight and humble me; and to have so many productions of Heritage happening simultaneously is mind-blowing”.

Ten companies chosen from around the country will go on to perform at the National Theatre from 2 – 7 July 2014.

The NT Connections Festival runs at Salisbury Playhouse from Wednesday 7 to Saturday 10 May with two different performances each night. Tickets cost £9 and are available from the Box Office on 01722 320333 or from the Salisbury Playhouse website


Tuesday 11 March 2014

Learn technical theatre skills with Salisbury Playhouse and Wiltshire College

Following the success of their Performing Arts course, Salisbury Playhouse and Wiltshire College are delighted to announce they will be offering a new course, training students in technical theatre from September 2014.

Having combined strengths to deliver the BTEC Performing Arts (Acting), Salisbury Playhouse and Wiltshire College Salisbury are now offering students the opportunity to study for a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Production Arts. The course is a high quality training programme for those who are interested in a career in theatre and event production.

Based at Salisbury Playhouse, students will be taught by a team of technical and directing professionals, giving them the best possible advantage when applying to higher level training, either at Drama School, University or Apprenticeships.

Learning alongside Salisbury Playhouse's productions, students will gain hands on experience in all areas of technical theatre, including stage management, lighting and sound, all of which will be underpinned by theory and context.

As part of the course, students will have the chance to gain their Gold Arts Award, a level 3 qualification worth 35 UCAS points, which develops personal and creative leadership skills.

In order to offer the best opportunities to the learners, a maximum of three students will be accepted onto this course which starts in September 2014.

Mark Powell, Associate Director at Salisbury Playhouse, says: “This is a unique opportunity for just two or three students to enjoy a concentrated and exciting course, alongside an acting company of their peers and professional artists. No other theatre in the UK is offering such a high standard of active engagement and we’re pleased that South West students can enjoy it first." 

Chris Brindley, is the Deputy Director at Wiltshire College Salisbury, with specific responsibility for Business, Arts and Technology. He said: “We are thrilled to be working in partnership with Salisbury Playhouse and this course demonstrates another exciting opportunity within the curriculum. We wouldn’t think of a better place to deliver the course than in a live working theatre.”

To express your interest or to find out more about the course please contact Louise Dancy at participation2@salisburyplayhouse.com or call 01722 345164.


Thursday 13 February 2014

Premiere of Chris Chibnall’s Worst Wedding Ever at Salisbury Playhouse

Broadchurch-creator Chris Chibnall’s new play, Worst Wedding Ever, will premiere at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 27 March to Saturday 19 April.

Worst Wedding Ever is a comedy drama set in West Dorset about a mother who, after her daughter’s original wedding plans begin to crumble, enlists the whole family to help make the day one she’ll never forget. With a marquee in the back garden, a hand-me-down dress, the pub band and two fully-functioning Portaloos, surely the day will pass without a hitch?

Carolyn Pickles will play Liz, the mother of the bride, whilst Rosie Wyatt and Rudi Dharmalingam will play the bride and groom, Rachel and Scott. 

Carolyn Pickles recently played newspaper editor Maggie Radliffe in Broadchurch and her other numerous credits include Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, May to December and Emmerdale. Rosie Wyatt recently appeared in the National Theatre’s international tour of One Man, Two Guvnors and in nabakov and Soho Theatre’s production of Blink. Rudi Dharmalingam has performed in The History Boys, both at the National Theatre and on Broadway, as well as in the National Theatre’s productions of Rafta Rafta and England People Very Nice.

The cast also includes Oliver Bennett, Richard Hurst, Martin Hyder, and Rebecca Oldfield as well as Lloyd Gorman, Glyn Kerslake and Christopher Talman who make up the live onstage wedding band.

The production is directed by Salisbury Playhouse’s Artistic Director, Gareth Machin, with design by James Button, musical supervision by Kate Edgar, lighting by Peter Hunter and sound by Mark Noble.

Chris Chibnall is a stage and television writer who created Broadchurch, the most talked about television drama of 2013. The American version is currently in production and Chris is writing Broadchurch 2 which will be filmed later this year. Chris’s stage work includes Gaffer! and Kiss Me Like You Mean It which was shortlisted for a Meyer-Whitworth Award.

Salisbury Playhouse is producing Worst Wedding Ever as part of its commitment to commissioning and producing original drama from the south west. Over the coming years it will continue to champion the unique perspective of the region through further productions.

Worst Wedding Ever runs at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 27 March to Saturday 19 April and is kindly sponsored by Frank and Elizabeth Brenan. For tickets and other enquires please contact the Box Office on 01722 320333 or visit the show page


Tuesday 11 February 2014

Casting announced for brand new touring co-production of Betty Blue Eyes

A 21-strong team will take to the stage this spring in the new touring production of the musical comedy Betty Blue Eyes, playing at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 24 April to Saturday 17 May, in its co-production with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Mercury Theatre Colchester and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Set in 1947 austerity Britain, Betty Blue Eyes tells the story of humble chiropodist Gilbert Chilvers and his ferocious wife Joyce. When an invitation to the social event of the year fails to materialise, the Chilvers resolve that they must do whatever it takes to get their fair share of the banquet’s centrepiece – a rations-busting illegal pork roast!

Fresh from his role with The Book of Mormon, Haydn Oakley stars as Gilbert Chilvers. Amy Booth-Steel, direct from appearing in the National Theatre’s The Light Princess, will play Gilbert’s wife, determined social-climber Joyce Chilvers.

Haydn’s extensive theatre credits include Wonderful Town at Manchester Royal Exchange, The Secret Garden at Edinburgh Festival Theatre and Passion at Donmar Warehouse. He has also appeared in Wicked and Spamalot.

In addition to The Light Princess, Amy’s stage credits include the National Theatre’s production of She Stoops To Conquer, the UK tour of One Man, Two Guvnors and the role of La Rosa in Sister Act at The London Palladium. Amy also made the final 12 in the BBC’s search for Nancy in I’d Do Anything.

Playing Mother Dear, Gilbert’s interfering mother-in-law, is Sally Mates. No stranger to musical theatre, Sally was in the original RSC and West End cast of Les Misérables. She appeared in the 25th

anniversary concert at the O2 Arena, as well as the 2012 film. Sally has also appeared in the West End productions of Godspell and Fiddler On The Roof, as well as on popular TV shows Midsomer Murders and Wire In The Blood.

Completing the cast are Laura Baldwin, Adam C Booth, Ricky Butt, Rebecca Louis, Kate Robson-Stuart, Oliver Izod, Tobias Beer, Jenni Bowden, Rachel Knowles, Lauren Logan, Matt Harrop, Kit Benjamin and Anthony Ray, 

Betty Blue Eyes is directed by Mercury Theatre Colchester’s Artistic  Director Daniel Buckroyd whose recent work includes adapting and directing the national tour of Michael Morpurgo’s The Butterfly Lion and directing last year’s production of  Howard Goodall’s The Hired Man. 

Choreography is provided by Andrew Wright, winner of the 2013 What’s On Stage Award for Best Choreographer, and nominated at the 2012 Olivier Awards and the 2011 Broadway World Awards. His numerous credits include the West End and touring production Singin’ In The Rain, Barnum at Chichester Festival Theatre and Stepping Out at Salisbury Playhouse.

Musical Direction is provided by Richard Reeday, with design by Sara Perks, lighting by Mark Dymock and sound by Adam McCready. 

Betty Blues Eyes runs at Salisbury Playhouse from Thursday 24 April to Saturday 17 May as part of a national tour. For tickets or other enquiries please contact the Box Office on 01722 320333 or visit the show page


Thursday 6 February 2014

Third Annual Theatre Fest West Launched

Salisbury Playhouse has announced the programme for Theatre Fest West 2014, a celebration of the most imaginative theatre from the region. Now in its third year, Theatre Fest West is bigger than ever, welcoming companies from across the south west to take part in events at Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre and Trowbridge Arts during April. 

Highlights at Salisbury Playhouse include Visitors, the new play by Barney Norris, which opens Theatre Fest West on Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 April. In a farmhouse on the edge of Salisbury Plain a family is falling apart. Stephen cannot afford to put his mother into care and Arthur cannot afford to stop working to care for his wife. When a young stranger moves in to care for Edie the family is forced to ask if they are living the way they wanted. Presented by Up in Arms, Visitors stars Linda Bassett, whose many screen credits include East is East, Calendar Girls and Larkrise to Candleford. 

Following their hugely popular 2012 production of The Crowstarver, Exeter-based Theatre Alibi returns on Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 April with Hammer and Tongs, which digs deep into the human compulsion to argue the toss. From farcical fisticuffs at a wedding disco to squabbling for control of the TV remote, this is a very human comedy – physical, funny, absurd, musical, moving and absolutely bloody minded. 

Forest Forge Theatre Company presents Battles Lines on Tuesday 15 April – a trilogy of short plays that explores the region’s experiences of war. Covering the First and Second World Wars whilst also encompassing modern warfare, this trio of plays has been written by David Haworth and explores the way war has shaped the lives of generations. The first play, The Call Up, is performed in the af


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