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For one week only, Springers AODS proudly present Grease at Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre this June

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Get out your leather jackets and pull on your bobby socks with Rydell High’s senior class of 1959!
Grease follows the journey of Danny and Sandy, alongside the T-Birds and the Pink Ladies, as they navigate high school to the unforgettable rock n’ roll soundtrack that defined generations. Featuring the irresistible songs from the major motion picture such as “You’re The One That I Want”, “Summer Nights” and “Greased Lightening”, it’s a show you don’t want to miss!
Springers AODS will be performing Grease at Chelmsford’s Civic Theatre from the 11th-15th of June.
To purchase tickets,please visit or alternatively call the Box Office on 01245 606505.



Were you a member of The Chelmsford Ballet Company?

As part of The Chelmsford Ballet Company’s 70th anniversary celebrations, it is inviting past members of the company to get back in touch, to share stories, and reveal any archive material (such as photographs, newspaper clippings) that they may have to form part of this special year. Past members have also been invited to watch a rehearsal of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, followed by afternoon tea, the chance to meet the dancers and share stories about the company.
This special day will form part of the company’s year-long plans to celebrate its history, stage its anniversary production at the Civic Theatre from 20-23 March, and look ahead to the next 70 years. The Chelmsford Ballet Company will present A Midsummer Night’s Dream & 70th Anniversary Celebrations, accompanied by a historic performance from its past repertoire, choreographed by Annette Potter. Annette was appointed as Artistic Director 10 years ago, and 10 years later much of The Chelmsford Ballet Company’s success is attributed to her involvement with the company at many different levels.
The Chelmsford Ballet Company has a fascinating history, and many members have passed through its doors over the past 70 years. The company president, Elizabeth Baker (pictured in blue), was a dancer with the company over 30 years ago. This particular image is from the first performance of Annette Potter’s with the company in 1987 – it was here she met her husband, and 32 years later they are both still integral to the company’s DNA. Another member, Kathy Gregitis, joined as a dancing member in 1967 and remains an associate member – her last show with The Chelmsford Ballet Company was in 1997. The company’s patron, Christopher Marney, danced with the company, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, and is now Artistic Director of Ballet Central. Another dancer with the company, Lee Mead, needs no introduction. Many of the Company’s dancers have also gone on to study at vocational schools such as English National Ballet School and Central School of Ballet and then dance professionally.
The company is, therefore, looking back as much as it is looking forward, and past members can play their part in the celebrations too. For more information and to RSVP as a past member, contact Jacqui Murphy (Heuer), dancing member 1987-1989, on
Tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream & 70th Anniversary Celebrations are on sale from the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford. Call the box office on 01245 606505, or visit



Friday 8 & Saturday 9 February | 7.30pm
Tuesday 26 February | 11.00am – 6.30pm
Friday 1 March | 7.30pm
Jerwood DanceHouse, Saturday 2 March | 7.30pm
University of Bedfordshire, Saturday 9 March | 7.30pm
Friday 8 March | 7.30pm
Friday 22 March | 7.30pm
Friday 5 & Saturday 6 April | 7.30pm
Saturday 20 April | 7.00pm
FRIDAY 10 MAY | 7.30pm
The new year brings a new and highly anticipated Spring Season at DanceEast, featuring three premieres, and a regional U.Dance platform.
The season commences with Epilogues, a premiere from James Cousins Company.
Inspired by stories of division and separation, this new production weaves three duets into one emotive evening. Two new works sit alongside the ‘visually breath-taking’ (The Stage) Within Her Eyes, in which the female dancer never once touches the floor.
“Strikingly original.”The Guardian
Presented by DanceEastand its performance company EncoreEast, Host promises to be a day of workshops, performances and debates focusing on the voice and experience of the older dancer. It will challenge assumptions about what the older dancer can bring to dance, how they want to be represented in performance, how they can dance and what they can dance about. Hostis suitable for dancers over the age of fifty, along with artists, practitioners and choreographers working with older dancers.
 Danced by an all-female cast, TRIBE’s debut work, Still I Rose channels the resilient, unapologetic nature of Maya Angelou’s poem. It is unflinching, relentless hope for the human spirit that binds this visceral dance work together. From pounding beats to stirring classical arias, the music drives the dancers forward.
Very beautiful and cinematic…like in Handmaid’s Tale – you’ve got to hold on to the last fragment of hope, that there’s a way out, a hope of change.” – Still I Riseaudience member.
After the success of the One Dance UK U.Dance National Festival in the East of England last year, DanceEastare honoured to be one of two Regional Platforms in the East this March.  The second regional platform will be at the University of Bedfordshire. U.Dance East 2019will provide youth groups from all over the East to come together and celebrate youth dance. Expect an energetic and diverse evening of performances from local dance groups as well as a special performance from DanceEast’s boys only performance company, Boys United.
Lost Dog’s new production, Juliet and Romeo reveals the true story of the well-known tragedy. It turns out they didn’t die, they grew up and lived happily ever after. Well, they lived at least. With Lost Dog’sblend of dance, theatre and comedy, this duet prepares to take on our culture’s obsession with youth and inevitable issues with longevity.
Squirmingly funny and no less heartbreaking.” – The Times.
Towards the end of March comes Humanhood’sfirst group piece, Torus. Drawing inspiration from their tribal roots, this production will take audiences on a journey of chaos and stillness. This will be the company’s first visit to DanceEast and audiences will not be disappointed.
DanceEast’s Company in Residence, Russell Maliphant Company premiere their new work, Silent Lines. Drawing upon extensive research into dance and anatomy, Silent Lines uses a variety of movement disciplines, animated video projection and lighting.
National Youth Dance Company and guest Artistic Director, Botis SevapresentMadhead, a unique evening fusing contemporary, physical theatre and hip hop. Botis Seva’schoreographic style combined with 38 young dancer’s energy and talent promises to make for an enthralling and energetic experience. Every year National Youth Dance Company visit DanceEast, and every year they impress. This year is very special as it will be the first time the company premieres their work outside of London, at the Jerwood DanceHouse.
DanceEast ends the packed Spring Season with Seeta Patel’sRite of Spring.  Using the South Indian classical dance form of Bharatanatyam, Seeta Patel takes on the challenge of reimagining Stravinsky’s iconic work. With intricate rhythmic footwork and expressive prowess, Rite of Spring is set to be one of the most exciting flirtations between East and West in current times. The production encourages audiences to look beyond notions of exotic and orientalist perceptions of Eastern classical arts and to experience something new.
Brendan Keaney, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of DanceEast says: “This is just the start of what we promise will be a really exciting year, we have lots of treats in store.”

‘Kiss Me Quickstep’ Casting announced for The Queens Theatre, Hornchurch

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Full casting has today been announced for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich’s sequin studded production of Amanda Whittington’s ballroom drama, Kiss Me Quickstep. The production opens in Hornchurch from 22 February – 9 March, transfers to Ipswich (13 – 23 March) and then will tour to Theatr Clwyd (26 – 30 March).
The cast includes David Birch (Matilda the Musical, Cambridge Theatre), Michelle Bishop (Sunset Boulevard, London Coliseum), Adrian Klein (Memorial, Barbican Theatre), Joshua Lay (Funny Girl, UK Tour), Abigail Middleton (Wondertown, The Bohemians), Garry Robson (The Who’s Tommy, Ramps on the Moon) and Vicki Lee Taylor(Carousel, Arcola Theatre).


Robin Hood announced as Queen’s Theatre’s 2019 pantomime

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 Bows at the ready! The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has announced this year’s panto spectacular will be the heroic Robin Hood, playing from Thursday 28 November to Sunday 5 January.
Deep in the heart of his foreboding Castle, the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham is taxing the poor to pile up his gold, whilst imprisoning brave Maid Marian and her hilarious Nurse Nellie. But the Sheriff hasn’t banked on the arrow-slinging hero Robin emerging from Sherwood Forest to target the hand of Marion and outwit the villain’s plans. Can Robin save the day with a little help from his band of Friar Tuck and plucky Merry Folk?
Written by Andrew Pollard and directed by Douglas Rintoul(the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director), this swashbuckling actor-musician panto, is twanging to the beats of pop hits from across the decades, traditional audience participation and laugh out loud family silliness.
Tickets go on sale to the public on Friday 18 January at 10am and can be purchased online at will be held at 2018 panto prices (£12.50 – £29plus a 65p QNew Transformation fee) until Sunday 31 March only, so audiences should book early for this Sheriff-busting Christmas adventure!
Queen’s Angels can access a 48-hour priority booking period from Wednesday 16 January 10am. Queen’s Angels are those who regularly support the Theatre’s work by making monthly donations. Audiences who would like to become a Queen’s Angel and receive priority booking to RobinHood and other future productions can sign up here:
The Queen’s Theatre has also confirmed it will be providing two adapted shows on Thursday 2 January, a Dementia-Friendly performance at 1.30pm and a Relaxed Performance at 5.30pm (for people who would benefit from a quieter environment including those with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders or a learning disability), as well as an Audio-Described performance on Saturday 4 January at 2pm.
For further details and to book, call the Box Office on 01708 443333or visit

The Offies for Queens Theatre, Hornchurch announced

The Offies (Off West End Theatre Awards) announced their 2019 finalists earlier this week, and the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is delighted to be shortlisted in three categories.
These nominations are as follows:
  • BEST MALE IN A MUSICAL – Mark Inscoe in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
  • BEST MUSICAL DIRECTOR – Adam Gerber & Tom Self for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
  • BEST MUSICAL PRODUCTION – Once at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
Winners will be announced at the award ceremony on Sun 3 Feb at Battersea Arts Centre.

Exciting stage premiere of Malorie Blackman’s acclaimed young adult novel Noughts & Crosses comes to Mercury Theatre Colchester 

 Following their critically acclaimed production of Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, Pilot Theatre, in co-production with Mercury Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Derby Theatre and York Theatre Royal will stage Sabrina Mahfouz’s exciting new adaptation of Malorie Blackman’s (Dr Who) critically acclaimed young adult novel of first love in a dangerous fictional dystopia Noughts & Crosses. 
Directed by Pilot Theatre’s Artistic Director Esther Richardson (Brighton Rock), the new adaptation will be at Mercury Theatre Colchester from Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 March. 
Told from the perspectives of two teenagers, Noughts & Crosses is a captivating love story set in a volatile, racially segregated society and explores the powerful themes of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world. 
Sabrina Mahfouz’s new adaptation is based on Malorie Blackman’s first book in the Noughts & Crosses series for young adults, which has won the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award among other accolades. A BBC adaptation of Noughts & Crosses is due to be screened in 2019. 
Noughts & Crosses’ exciting young cast will feature by Heather Agyepong (Girls, Talawa Theatre, High Tide & Martha Rose Wilson Prod and So Many Reasons, Fuel Theatre & Ovalhouse Theatre); Billy Harris (Boots On The Ground, Tangled Feet and 13, Tobacco Factory Theatre); Doreene Blackstock (Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare’s Globe; Cymbeline and Hamlet, RSC ); Jack Condon (East, King’s Head Theatre and Last Man Standing, Theatre N16) ; Daniel Copeland ( Invincible, Orange Tree Theatre and The Jungle Book, Leeds Playhouse); Lisa Howard (They Don’t Pay? We Won’t Pay, Northern Broadsides and Flood, Slung Low and Hull City of Culture 2017); Chris Jack (Brighton Rock, Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal and Our Town, Royal Exchange Manchester) and Kimisha Lewis (Last Dream (on earth), National Theatre of Scotland and Send: A game of textual tennis, Lyric Hammersmith). All actors will also play ensemble roles. 
Malorie Blackman has written over 60 books for children and young adults, including the Noughts & Crosses series, Thief and most recently her science fiction thriller Chasing the Stars. Her work has also been adapted for TV with the 6-part adaptation of Pig-Heart Boy winning a BAFTA and Noughts & Crosses currently in production for the BBC, with Roc Nation (Jay-Z’s entertainment company) on board to curate and release the soundtrack as Executive Producer. A stage adaptation of the book, by Pilot Theatre, will run from February 2019, under the direction of Esther 
Richardson. In 2005, Malorie was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her distinguished contribution to the world of children’s books, in 2008 she received an OBE for her services to children’s literature and, between 2013 and 2015, she was the Children’s Laureate. Malorie has also recently written for the new Doctor Who series on BBC One and the fifth novel in her Noughts & Crosses sequence, Crossfire, will be published by Penguin Random House Children’s in summer 2019. 
Malorie Blackman said about the production: 
“I’m thrilled that Noughts & Crosses is being adapted for the stage by Sabrina and produced by Pilot Theatre and a talented consortium of theatre makers whose aim it is to develop theatre for younger audiences.” 
Noughts & Crosses will be the first co-production between Pilot Theatre, Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Mercury Theatre, Colchester and York Theatre Royal who have recently formed a new partnership to develop theatre for younger audiences. From 2019-2022 the consortium will commission and co-produce an original mid-scale production each year. Each production will play in all the consortium venues as well as touring nationally. Schools workshops and outreach projects, along with free digital learning resources, will be available alongside each of the productions. 

Mercury Theatre’s £9m redevelopment confirmed following another major funding award

  • £1.2million from the European Regional Development Fund has been awarded to support the theatre’s redevelopment plans
  • The project, undertaken in partnership with Colchester Borough Council, has already received funding from Arts Council England, Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership
  • Public donations and grants from other major funders include Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Bernard Sunley Foundation and Sport England
The Mercury Theatre can today confirms its £9m redevelopment plan, Mercury Rising, will go ahead following an exceptional award of £1.2m from the European Regional Development Fund. Mercury Rising will see the theatre’s buildings and site completely renovated, improving and extending audience, production and workshop facilities. It will ensure the entire building is fully accessible as well as introducing an all-day café, a unique incubation space to support creative talent from across the region, and a brand new home for all of the Mercury’s creative learning and community activities.
With just £500k left to raise, the total committed so far has now reached £8.5m, the minimum threshold for work on site to begin. The funds to enable this exciting development have been secured from a range of national and regional funding bodies, meaning that in excess of £7.5m will be new money invested into the Borough. These funds have been brought in by the Mercury to support the town’s ambition to improve access to cultural opportunities for local residents.
Alongside overwhelming support for the redevelopment from the local community who have already raised over £300k in charitable donations to support the changes, funds have been secured from Arts Council England’s capital funding programme, Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, and now the European Regional Development Fund. The Fund seeks to support innovation and economic growth through the creation of jobs and the regeneration of communities. A further £500k has been pledged from major trusts and foundations including Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, Fidelity Foundation, Bernard Sunley Foundation and Sport England.
Now work will start on the next stage of the project with the demolition on the site beginning later this month. The project to build the new theatre is being managed by Colchester Borough Council, and the demolition will be carried out by local company Phelan Construction. The Mercury are committed to working with local businesses and have agreed that at least £7m of the total budget will be spent locally in order to help create and sustain local employment. The building work will not affect audiences until mid-2019, at which point the theatre will take an exciting season of work out to a temporary off-site performance space so that building work can commence on the main theatre. The project is due for completion and the new facilities will open to the public in mid-2020.
Executive Director Steve Mannix said:
“The Mercury Theatre is at the centre of Colchester’s community and economy. Audiences are growing year on year as our work grows in scale and ambition, while the theatre supports more and more jobs in the local economy. This is a pivotal moment for the theatre and for the region – a moment of opportunity for us to push artistic boundaries, to better our facilities for the community, and to develop the regional economy by providing a creative hub of national standing for the East of England.”
He added
“Bringing £3.6m into the local economy annually, as well as over 100 jobs locally, the Mercury is already at the centre of the region’s creative industries, but there is so much more we can do. The existing theatre was built 45 years ago, following the founding of the Repertory Company some 35 years before that – through this project, we will ensure the theatre is a place for our community to enjoy for many generations to come.”
Councillor Tim Young, Portfolio Holder for Business and Culture and Deputy Leader of Colchester Borough Council said:
“We are delighted to be supporting a project that will rejuvenate an intrinsic part of the borough’s cultural offering.Colchester is bucking the trend in funding arts and culture initiatives which bring huge benefits and opportunities to residents.
“From its humble beginnings in 1937, the Mercury has become a theatre for Colchester and its communities. This project will cement the borough’s place as a centre for arts, and I am proud that the Council is playing a key part in helping turn the aspiration into reality.”
Hedley Swain, Area Director, South East, Arts Council England, said:
“Arts and cultural spaces are an essential part of their local community, not just for providing a source of entertainment and creativity, but also as social space where people can come together to enjoy a variety of experiences. The Mercury Theatre has always been a huge part of its local community. But Mercury Rising will elevate the venue to a new level, establishing it as a creative hub in the heart of East Anglia where artists can hone their practice and visitors can feel at home.”
Will Quince MP for Colchester said:
“The Mercury Theatre has a fantastic reputation for delivering top quality theatre, and sits at the heart of the cultural economy in our region. The theatre’s exciting redevelopment plans will be of huge benefit to our audiences and will ensure that Colchester remains at the centre of arts and culture for years to come.”
Councillor Sue Lissimore, Cabinet Member for Culture and Communities at Essex County Council said:
“This funding is great news for the Mercury Theatre and will give a great boost to the creative skills industry, hopefully inspiring future generations.”
Adam Bryan, Managing Director of South East Local Enterprise Partnership said:
“We were delighted to be able to support the Mercury Theatre with £1m of funding. The news that ERDF support has also been secured to allow the redevelopment to go ahead is very good indeed. SELEP’s role in supporting regeneration and economic development is a varied one. A thriving local arts scene is a vital component of any healthy and growing community and we wish the team behind the Mercury Rising project every success now that its future is assured.”

Casting announced for chilling revival of Ayckbourn’s Haunting Julia at Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

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The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch has today announced the cast for its revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s chilling ghost story, Haunting Julia, which runs from 1 – 17 November. For those who love all things paranormal, it’s the perfect entertainment to delve into to keep the Halloween spirit alive for a little longer this autumn.
The production sees Matthew Spencer’s return to the Hornchurch stage, following his performance in the Queen’s Theatre’s world premiere production of The Invisible Man last year. His other credits include 1984, Playhouse Theatre & International Tour and The Woman in Black, Fortune Theatre & Tour. He will be joined by Sam Cox as Joe (A Woman of No Importance, Vaudeville Theatre, West End and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Young Vic) and Clive Llewellyn as Ken (Twist of Gold, Polka Theatre and Beckett In Brixton, National Theatre).  
Haunting Julia tells the story of Julia Lukin, a nineteen year-old musical prodigy – nicknamed ‘Little Miss Mozart’ in the tabloids. She was composing symphonies aged eight. By nineteen the world was at her feet… until her dead body was found mysteriously in a dingy attic. Twelve years on and her father Joe has never come to terms with this. Was it really suicide? Or was someone else with Julia the night she died? Joe wants answers and tonight he will get them…
This hauntingly tense study of grief and the supernatural is punctuated with trademark wit from Alan Ayckbourn. Ayckbourn is an Olivier and Tony Award winning playwright and has written more than 80 plays which have been produced in London’s West End and New York, as well as around the world. Ayckbourn’s inspiration for Haunting Julia came from the thrilling stage adaptation of The Woman in Black, written by Susan Hill, adapted for the stage by Stephen Mallatratt. The original production of Haunting Julia was performed at the Stephen Joseph Theatre and had its first performance on 12 April 1994, with a London premiere on 27 May 2011.
A Sign Language Interpreted Performance of Haunting Julia will take place on Wednesday 14 November at 7.30pm and Audio Description is available via a headset at all performances from 5 Nov.
Haunting Julia runs at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch from 1 – 17 November. Tickets are £12.50£29 (plus an additional 65p QNew Transformation fee), with £8tickets available for Under 26s(Tue – Thu & previews).
For more information about Haunting Julia at the Queen’s Theatrecall the Box Office on 01708 443333or visit  


Once receives six London theatre award nominations at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

 Once company - Photo credit Mike Kwasniak

The Queen’s TheatreHornchurch is thrilled that its regional premiere of Once, co-produced with the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, has received six nominations in the prestigious Off West End Theatre Awards.
Assessors from The Offies (Off West End Theatre Awards) have nominated Once for Best Musical Production, Ben Goddard for Best Musical Direction, Emma Lucia for Best Female Performance in a Musical,Daniel Healy for Best Male Performance in a Musical, and Sean Kingsley and Samuel Martin for Best Male Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.
The website, which champions London’s independent theatres, launched the annual awards – also known as The Offies – in 2010 to celebrate excellence in productions outside the West End. The Queen’s Theatre is one of over 80 participating venues across the capital and a final shortlist of nominees will come out early next year.
Featuring an ensemble of cast of actor-musicians, Once tells the unforgettable story of a Dublin street musician and a funny Czech woman, drawn together by their shared love of music. As they assemble a band from her wild family and his quirky mates, the music flows and they fall slowly in love.
★★★★★‘A phenomenal production’ spyinthestalls
★★★★★‘Moving, beautifully produced musical that’s good for the ears and heart’ Everything Theatre
★★★★★‘Cracking performances all-round, from an outstanding cast of actor-musicians, combined with hauntingly novel songs and music’ ActDrop
Once runs at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch until Saturday 20 October. For more information about the show call the Box Office on 01708 443333or visit

Casting announced for homecoming revival of cult classic Abigail’s Party at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is excited to be bringing Mike Leigh’s cult classic comedy Abigail’s Party home to its Essex roots from 30 August 22 September.
Playing the socially awkward, aspirational hostess Beverly is Melanie Gutteridge. She is best known for her roles as PC Emma Keane in The Bill and Amy in Not Going Out. Her recent credits include the British-American horror film The Watcher in the Woods(directed by Melissa Joan Hart) and on stage in Roaring Trade at the Park Theatre.
She will be joined by Liam Bergin(Danny Mitchell in EastEnders), Amy Downham(Jen Gilmore in Hollyoaks), Susie Emmett(she performed opposite Richard E Grant in the film The Man Who Married Himself) and Christopher Staines(Hamlet, National Theatre) as Laurence.
According to Leigh, this delicious 70s comedy that cracks open social climbing suburbia was set in theoretical Romford and is notorious for its references to cheesy-pineapple and Demis Roussos. Made famous by the BBC Play for Today starring Alison Steadman, which was seen by 16 million viewers, audiences will not want to miss this great night out at the drinks party from hell!
This production is directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul (Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Rope, Made in Dagenham) and co-produced with Derby Theatre, Wiltshire CreativeandLes Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg.
A Sign Language Interpreted Performance of Abigail’s Party will take place on Wednesday 19 September at 7.30pm in addition to a Dementia Friendlyperformanceon Thursday 20 September at 1.30pm. Audio description is available at all performances.
Audiences can enjoy Abigail’s Party and two more Queen’s Theatre productions (Once and Haunting Julia) from just £45 (£15 per show) with a Jump the Q season ticket. £8 tickets are available for Under 26s (Tue – Thu & previews only).
The Queen’s Theatre and Derby Theatre have also commissioned a brand new play, Abi, which is a contemporary response to Abigail’s Party. Abi is part of Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series and is written by one of Britain’s most exciting new writers, Atiha Sen Gupta(Skins, Holby City). RETOLD is a series of new one-woman plays commissioned by Derby Theatre. It stars Safiyya Ingar(LAVA, Nottingham Playhouse; GrowthUK Tour, Paines Plough) and is directed by Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre’s Artistic Director. Abi runs at the Queen’s Theatre from 4 – 22 September.
Discounts are available for theatregoers who purchase tickets for Abigail’s Party and Abi together, or Abi and a Jump the Q season ticket.
For more information about Abigail’s Party or Abi at the Queen’s Theatre call the Box Office on 01708 443333or visit



The Reject Theatre company are returning to the stage with their latest production The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Headgate Theatre, Colchester

The Rejects were originally formed in 1988 by its founding members Stephen Emery, Barry Hester and Kevin Richards. Bringing a fresh new approach to the theatre they performed to critical acclaim The Long and the Short and The Tall, Bouncers, Twelve Angry Men, Private Wars and The Dumb Waiter amongst others. The company finally disbanded in the 90s as the members pursued their careers but now Kevin Richards and Barry Hester have decided to bring the company back to life again. So…. the first of the newly reformed Reject played a revival of their smash hit Bouncers in August 2017 at The Headgate Theatre, Colchester and again in October 2017 at Zinc Arts Theatre in Chipping Ongar.
Following the revival of Bouncers, the company have recently brought their version of the hilarious play, A Bunch of Amateurs, written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, to local theatres. This was very well received at ZincArt Theatre in Chipping Ongar and the production had a further outing in January 2018 at the Headgate Theatre in Colchester where it was a sell-out. The Company is currently working on its latest production, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice by Jim Cartright.
Performing nightly at 7:45pm from 30th May to 2nd June. This award-winning comedy tells the story of a shy reclusive girl named Little Voice and her larger-than-life mother Mari. I
 In this heart-warming tale, Little Voice, desperately missing her dead father, spends her time locked in her bedroom listening to his old record collection and perfecting astonishing impersonations of famous divas such as Shirley Bassey, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland and Dusty Springfield. Her remarkable talent remains a secret until she is overheard by a local talent scout.
 Cast: Tamara Anderson, Barry Hester, Kieran Bacon, Robyn Gowers, Kevin Richards Diana Easton and John Sullivan
Suitable for age 12+
Tickets: £13.50, £11.50 (conc)

Casting announced for regional professional premiere of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch

Full casting has been announced for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch’s regional professional premiere of the glamorously feel-good musical, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. It runs at the theatre from 27 April – 26 May.
Mark Inscoe is thrilled to be reviving the role of Bernadette having previously performed the part in the West End production. Playing Tick is Tom Giles (Ragtime, Charing Cross Theatre; Muse of Fire, Shakespeare’s Globe) and Adam will be performed by Daniel Bailey (Motown the Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre; The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre).
They will be joined by Miracle Chance, Michael Cuckson, Molly-Grace Cutler, Clara Darcy, Lemuel Knights, Natasha Lewis, Tom Self, Lauren Storer and Josh Tye.
Priscilla, Queen of the Desert will be directed by the Queen’s Theatre’s Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul (Rope, The Crucible, Made in Dagenham). He says, ‘Following on from our hit production of Made in Dagenham, I was keen to make another regional premiere of a great modern musical at the Queen’s Theatre. Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is absolutely ripe for a new, more intimate, stripped back, actor-musician midscale production. The film blew me away back in the mid-1990s – it’s a great story of friendship and empowerment and is packed full of top tunes, fierceness, fun and poignancy – what more could one ask for?
This uplifting and heart-warming production will be designed by Joanna Scotcher, musical director is Adam Gerber with lighting design by Mark Howland, sound design by Adam McCready, choreography by Darragh O’Leary and fight director Bethan Clark.
Based on the smash hit movie starring Terence Stamp and Guy Pearce, audiences are promised a highly entertaining new take on an iconic musical.
The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is delighted to announce that it will be providing a dementia-friendly performance on Thursday 24 May at 1.30pm in addition to an Audio Described Performance on Saturday 19 May at 2.30pm and a Sign Language Interpreted Performance on Wednesday 16 May at 7.30pm
For more information about Priscilla, Queen of the Desert at the Queen’s Theatre visit


Chelmsford Young Gen present ‘West Side Story’ 



Photos: Claire Jefferies
Chelmsford Young Gen are excited to be celebrating 50 years and are doing it in style, by performing one of the all-time greats of musical theatre – West Side Story!  Having received nominations and awards for their recent shows the Young Gen cast (from 8 – 18 years old) wow their audiences time and time again with the highest quality performances.
The rehearsals look amazing and this next production of West Side Story promises to be another outstanding musical. An award-winning adaptation of a classic romantic tragedy that explores the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, set in the west side of New York City.
The original 1957 Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robins, was an immediate ‘hit’ and has earned the place as a firm favourite of many ever since. With Bernstein’s magnificent score for the musical including “Something’s Coming”, “Maria”. “America”, “Somewhere”, “Tonight”, “Jet Song” and many more, along with the fantastic lyrics from Sondheim, you are guaranteed an incredible show!
Young Gen are directed by Jeremy Tustin with musical direction by Bryan Cass.
Performance Dates & Times:
Tuesday 17th, Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th & Saturday 21st Matinee: £16
Friday 20th & Saturday 21st Evening: £17
A £1.50 booking fee is applicable per transaction.
 To Book Tickets:
Visit the Civic Theatre Box Office, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1JG
Call 01245 606505
Online at









Developed by Perfect Pitch

Co-produced by the Mercury Theatre Colchester and TBO Productions

PIECES OF STRING  – Book, Music & Lyrics by Gus Gowland

Directed by Ryan McBryde; Designed by Fin Redshaw; Musical Direction by Paul Herbert

20 April – 5 May     A Made in Colchester production

Mercury Theatre Colchester and TBO Productions today announce the world première of the brand-new musical – Pieces of String with book, music and lyrics by Gus Gowland. The production, directed by Ryan McBryde and designed by 2017 Linbury Prize Finalist Fin Redshaw, opens on 27 April at the Mercury, and runs until 5 May.
When Jane returns from her father’s funeral to start clearing the house she grew up in – packing away the family photographs, closing a chapter – she isn’t prepared for the untold story she’s about to discover threaded through her past, a story that threatens to unravel her relationship with her own children and shake her understanding of who she is.
A new musical set simultaneously in the 1940s and in the present day, Pieces Of String tells how Jane’s father, Edward, came back from the Second World War with a secret that would change his life forever – a secret that he would carry until the day he died.
With hauntingly beautiful music and a heart-rending human story, Pieces Of String is a tender, funny, emotionally-charged exploration of how three generations of one family learn to deal with a story that nobody’s been brave enough to tell until today.
Times may have changed but some battles still need to be fought.

Chelmsford Theatre Workshop present ‘Mad Forest’ by Caryl Churchill

13th to 17th February 2018

Directed by Tom Tull

Mad Forest rehearsal 3 - Copy

In 1990 the playwright Caryl Churchill and ten students from the Central School of Speech and Drama travelled to Bucharest to research and develop a new play. Whilst studying in Romania, they spoke to local drama students and their families about the revolution that was unfolding before them. Mad Forest involves real-life statements from people that were living through the revolution. The play creates a web of interwoven perspectives on the impact of the revolution, giving the audience insights into the revolution including the use of Verbatim theatre. The play lays bare how political and social upheaval can split families and their loyalties.

Professional ballet dancer joins The Chelmsford Ballet Company for Snow Queen

James Parratt in action

The Chelmsford Ballet Company takes on the classic Snow Queen this yearwhich will see professional ballet dancer James Parratt join the much-loved company cast as Kay.
James Parratt trained at Penny Taylor School of Dance and went on to train at Central School of Ballet, where he graduated with a BA Hons in Professional Dance and Performance. Whilst at Central James competed in the Genée International Ballet Competition, where he was a Finalist. During his third year of training James was a part of Ballet Central, and performed with Kidd Pivot in Polaris, choreographed by Crystal Pite at Sadler’s Wells.
After graduating in 2016, James moved to Dresden, Germany where he was a Guest Apprentice with Semperoper Ballet, and he performed in Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon. He then danced with New English Ballet Theatre where he performed pieces by Jenna Lee, Daniela Cardim and Valentino Zucchetti at Sadler’s Wells and other UK theatres.
Based on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic fairytale, Snow Queen tells the age-old story of the fight between good and evil. Audiences will be swept along a magical journey with siblings Gerda and Kay, danced by Georgia Olley and Parratt respectively. The Chelmsford Ballet Company will return to its classical roots with this tale; Gerda seeks to break the cruel spell cast by the Snow Queen, embarking on adventure through enchanted forests, meeting fantastical animals, and seeking to triumph over evil.
The Chelmsford Ballet Company will perform Snow Queen from 21 – 24 March 2018 at the Civic Theatre, Chelmsford. Tickets are now on sale; to purchase tickets, contact the box office on 01245 606505 or visit



our house logo

Coming to the Civic Theatre this November…
Young Generation will be performing Our House, the Olivier Award-winning musical by Tim Firth, featuring the fantastic songs of Madness.
This is definitely one you will want to see!
 Our House promises an unforgettable evening of fun and energy, with a moral and emotional storyline that tells the story of how one decision can change your life.
The musical is based on the story of Joe Casey, who, on the night of his sixteenth birthday, breaks into a building site and finds himself at a crossroads. The police turn up and he has to decide; does he stay and help, or does he flee? At this point the musical splits into two, following the story of ‘good’ Joe and ‘bad’ Joe, as the consequences unravel and his life unfolds.



A pacey, multi-layered story with a great pop score from 80s Ska band Madness. Featuring all their top hits including House of Fun, Baggy Trousers, Driving in my Car,It Must Be Love and, of course, Our House.
Young Gen are directed by Sallie Warrington with musical direction by Bryan Cass. For a fabulous evening of high energy dancing and great songs, book your tickets today!
Performance Dates & Times
Tuesday 7th, Wednesday 8th: £16 (concessions £14)
 Thursday 9th & Saturday 11th Matinee: £16.50 (concessions £14.50)
Friday 10th & Saturday 11th Evening: £17 (concessions £15)
 To Book Tickets
Visit the Civic Theatre Box Office, Fairfield Road, Chelmsford, CM1 1JG
Call 01245 606505
Online at
A £1.50 booking fee is applicable per transaction, except for cash and debit payments made in person and by telephone.
Follow Young Gen on twitter @cygams, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Plus visit