Theatre in Wales

The latest theatre, dance and performance news


As the nights draw in, The New Theatre will brighten up the autumn with an electric new season. There’s an exciting blend of prestigious drama, blockbuster musicals, dance extravaganzas, satirical comedy and, of course, the swashbuckling Christmas pantomime – PETER PAN! The New Theatre is bursting with acclaimed drama from timeless classics, exhilarating work by some of today’s best-loved playwrights to ground-breaking plays that are destined to become the classics of tomorrow. The season opens with a new stage adaptation of Wilkie Collins’ gothic ghost story THE HAUNTED HOTEL with veterans of stage and screen William Gaunt and Susannah York. Two of Britain’s most popular television actors come to the New Theatre - Martin Shaw plays Sir Thomas More in the historical masterpiece A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS and Tom Conti stars in Tom Stoppard’s tale of love and adultery THE REAL THING. There is a double helping of Shakespeare’s most captivating tragedies in Wales Theatre Company’s astounding new version of HAMLET in both English and Welsh and Bill Bryden’s fiery tale of doomed lovers ROMEO AND JULIET. Finally the Almeida Theatre’s critically acclaimed drama FESTEN comes to the New Theatre prior to a Broadway transfer. The complete breadth of musical theatre is catered for in the new season. From the majesty of 19th century Far East in Gilbert & Sullivan’s THE MIKADO and the massive West-End hit production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I, to the infectious 50s rock n roll of the No. 1 musical GREASE. Family favourite JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, Orbit Theatre’s production of GODSPELL and Willy Russell’s BLOOD BROTHERS also all feature in a season packed with musical greats. A night of burlesque brilliance awaits in THE CIRCUS OF HORRORS while the steamy Latin dance feast LADY SALSA and the glitz and glamour of STRICTLY BALLROOM DANCING promise to keep the winter blues away. Fans of BBC Radio 4’s DEAD RINGERS will be in for a treat as they bring their biting topical satire to the New Theatre for just one night. Birmingham Stage Company continue their unrivalled record for colourful theatre for young people with the world premiere of Terry Deary’s HORRIBLE HISTORIES and an enchanting tale of discovery in KENSUKE’S KINGDOM. Abounding in adventure and festive magic there’s Paul Nicholas, Mike Doyle, Tony Wright and Aston Merrygold starring in our annual Christmas pantomime PETER PAN.

A night of eerie apparitions opens the season from Tuesday 13 to Saturday 17 September as William Gaunt (No Place Like Home, Next of Kin) plays a theatrical impresario who summons a company of actors to an empty Victorian theatre in order to enact a ghost story for private performance in Wilkie Collins’ THE HAUNTED HOTEL. Susannah York (They Shoot Horses Don’t They?) also stars in this unnerving tale of the supernatural packed full of ingenious twists as sudden disappearances and horrific spectres culminate in a chilling climax in a haunted hotel in Venice.

In this 120th anniversary year of the original production of THE MIKADO the internationally revered Carl Rosa Company bring arguably the most popular of Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic operettas to the New Theatre from Tuesday 20 to Saturday 24 September. Dripping with sumptuous colour this authentic and exuberant tale of love, marriage, executions and heroics set in the magnificent Japanese court of Titipu, uniquely features the Oscar-winning costumes from Mike Leigh’s hit film Topsy Turvy.

Ground-breaking 3D visual effects and ingenious interactive elements help bring Terry Deary’s best-selling series HORRIBLE HISTORIES to the New Theatre from Tuesday 27 September to Saturday 1 October. Two hideously hilarious shows, TERRIBLE TUDORS and VILE VICTORIANS, bring history alive focussing on the yucky details of life in the 16th and 19th centuries that the text books usually ignore.

Always up to the minute, the hilarious BBC sketch show DEAD RINGERS is bringing its biting satire to the New Theatre for one night only. Join accomplished comedians Jon Culshaw, Jan Ravens, Kevin Connelly, Phil Cornwell and Mark Perry on Thursday 29 September as they mercilessly lampoon the rich and the famous in a recording for the new Radio 4 series.

A dazzling musical spectacular awaits audiences as JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT returns to the New Theatre from Monday 3 to Saturday 8 October. Receiving standing ovations all over the country, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s re-telling of the Biblical story of Joseph, his eleven brothers and the coat of many colours has become a family favourite and is packed full of unforgettable songs such as Any Dream Will Do and Close Ev’ry Door to Me.

The nation’s favourite television actor, Judge John Deed’’s Martin Shaw, treads the New Theatre boards from Monday 10 to Saturday 15 October as Sir Thomas More in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS. This beautifully crafted play by Robert Bolt tells the moving story of More and his choice between abandoning his own integrity and facing death at the hands of the despotic Henry VIII.

Another accomplished star of stage and screen, Tom Conti (Shirley Valentine, Reuben Reuben), stars in Tom Stoppard’s THE REAL THING from Monday 17 to Saturday 22 October. Conti is Henry, a playwright who was revelling in the success of his new play about adultery, starring his wife Charlotte … until she discovers he is having an affair! This intelligent and touching comedy drama about life imitating art sparkles with Stoppard’s (Arcadia, Shakespeare In Love) trademark droll dialogue and witty repartee.

Cardiff’s own Orbit Theatre will have feet tapping when one of the liveliest and most moving musicals, GODSPELL, comes to the New Theatre from Tuesday 25 to Saturday 29 October. Based on the Gospel according to St. Matthew this colourful look at Christ’s time with his disciples can’t fail to raise spirits.

The Wales Theatre Company present a unique and bold new staging of Shakespeare’s cornerstone play HAMLET from Wednesday 2 to Saturday 12 November. A country on the brink of war is thrown into fatal turmoil when the ruling family is torn apart by the battle between a son and step-father. Prince Hamlet suspects his uncle of murdering his father, to usurp his position both as King and husband of Queen Gertrude. 20 actors directed by Michael Bogdanov will perform this tale of one man’s moral dilemma in both English and Welsh performances.

Audiences will be “whistling a happy tune” when the truly spectacular smash-hit West End production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s legendary musical THE KING & I comes to the New Theatre from Tuesday 15 to Saturday 26 November. This time-honoured classic follows the heart-warming and poignant story of the King of Siam’s tentative relationship with a British schoolmistress and features an array of beautiful melodies, including Shall We Dance?, Hello Young Lovers and Getting to Know You. Following phenomenal reviews this production boasts a visual spectacle of dazzling costumes and stunning sets.

GREASE is the word as the well-greased quiffs and side-burns of the T-Birds and 1950s sassiness of the Pink Ladies are back to rock the New Theatre from Monday 28 November to Saturday 3 December. The world’s No. 1 musical is packed with explosive energy and all the infectious hit songs from the much-loved movie, such as Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’ and You’re The One That I Want!

Audiences will dance their winter blues away with the heat of the hypnotic beats of LADY SALSA from Monday 5 to Saturday 10 December. The Cuban music and dance spectacular that has intoxicated audiences world-wide, interweaves the revolutionary history of the Caribbean island through the sexy rhythms of red hot rumba, mambo, cha-cha and the sensational salsa. Twenty gorgeous dancers in glittering costumes and a funky live band will transport audiences to the steamy streets of Havana in this whirling kaleidoscope of dazzling colour and seductive glamour.

Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without the New Theatre pantomime and this year is no exception. From Saturday 17 December 2005 to Saturday 28 January 2006 Paul Nicholas, Wales’ own Mike Doyle, ITV’s Fun Song Factory’s Aston Merrygold and Capital Gold’s Tony Wright will take children of all ages on a magical adventure to Never Never Land in PETER PAN. J.M. Barrie’s swashbuckling tale of the boy who never grew up will enchant and excite as Peter and the Lost Boys battle the dastardly Captain Hook and his band of pirates.

From the passion of tango to the elegance of waltz and every dance step in between, STRICTLY BALLROOM DANCING promises to be a phenomenal evening of unmissable ballroom dancing from Monday 6 to Saturday 11 February. With choreography from TV’s Come Dancing stars Erin Boag and Anton Du Beke, this lavish, spectacular theatre show features a cast of professional ballroom dancers, backed by a live orchestra and two celebrity hosts.

“Ancient grudge breaks to new mutiny” when Bill Bryden’s stylish and fast-paced interpretation of ROMEO AND JULIET bursts onto the New Theatre stage from Tuesday 14 to Saturday 18 February. This tragic tale of ill-fated star cross’d lovers, bound by love but separated by blood, opens rather appropriately on St. Valentine’s Day. Set in a violent 15th century Verona, passionate family allegiance drives the Capulets and Montagues into an open warfare with heart-breaking consequences.

A burlesque barrage of the bizarre awaits the brave of heart as THE CIRCUS OF HORRORS rolls back into town with new shocks as well as old freakish favourites from Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23 February. Presided over by The Undead Ringmaster, Doktor Haze, and his live devil-driven rock ‘n’ roll band, The X Factor, expect lots of daredevil and downright dangerous circus acts, all performed with a forked tongue firmly in each cheek.

Younger audiences will be enthralled by the exotic voyage of discovery in Birmingham Stage Company’s KENSUKE’S KINGDOM. This new adaptation of Children’s Laureate Michael Morpugo’s best-seller comes to the New Theatre from Tuesday 28 February to Saturday 4 March, prior to its West End run. Winner of Children’s Book of the Year, this contemporary odyssey follows the story of Michael, whose dream sailing trip around the world becomes a nightmare when he is shipwrecked during a terrific storm. Separated from his parents, he must fight for survival on an isolated island in the Pacific. However he soon makes a startling discovery. This island is already home to one man – and this is Kensuke’s Kingdom!

Prior to a Broadway transfer, the Almeida Theatre’s multi Olivier-award nominated FESTEN plays at the New Theatre from Monday 13 to Saturday 18 March. Based on the hugely renowned cult movie that kick-started the much celebrated Dogme film movement, FESTEN is a compelling and intense drama offset with riotously black humour. Centred around a family meal for patriarch Helge Klingenfelt’s 60th birthday, his son Christian reveals a sinister secret that shatters the silence surrounding the family’s dark past. The explosive consequences set the tone for a celebration no one will forget!

From Monday 27 March to Saturday 8 April a firm favourite returns to the New Theatre – Willy Russell’s BLOOD BROTHERS. The captivating musical tale of twin boys, separated at birth and reunited by a cruel twist of fate, has scooped numerous awards over the years and is met with standing ovations at every performance.

Autumn and winter performances interpreted in British Sign Language are JOSEPH (Saturday 8 October, 2.00pm), GREASE (Saturday 3 December, 5.00pm), PETER PAN (Saturday 21 January 2006, 2.30pm, Sunday 22 January 2006, 1.00pm and Tuesday 24 January 2006, 7.00pm), KENSUKE’S KINGDOM (Saturday 4 March, 2.00pm) and BLOOD BROTHERS (Saturday 1 April, 2.30pm). On Saturday 22 October at 2.30pm THE REAL THING will carry a live Audio Description for visually impaired theatre-goers, as will GODSPELL (Saturday 29 October, 5.00pm), THE KING AND I (Saturday 26 November, 2.30pm), PETER PAN (Friday 27 January 2006 at 7.00pm, Saturday 28 January 2006 at 2.30pm), FESTEN (Saturday 18 March, 2.30pm) and BLOOD BROTHERS (Saturday 8 April, 2.30pm). These performances are interpreted or described by Erika James.

Tickets for all these shows are on sale now from the New Theatre Box Office on Cardiff (029) 2087 8889 or online at
web site

Monday, September 05, 2005back

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