Sunday, October 24

Interviews

Casualty legend Tony Marshall talks about a revival of Jitney at Leeds Playhouse
Interviews

Casualty legend Tony Marshall talks about a revival of Jitney at Leeds Playhouse

August Wilson is now seen as one of the great voices of 20th century drama, but his poetic works reflecting on the experiences of black Americans aren’t performed that often in this country. Now Jitney about the trials and tribulations of eight drivers offering low-cost rides in their jitney cabs to a poor community in 1970s Pittsburgh gets a welcome revival as a part of Leeds Playhouse’s new season. Tinuke Craig directs a strong cast including Casualty legend Tony Marshall who spoke to our Yorkshire Editor Paul Clarke. So, what’s Jitney about? It’s based in Pittsburgh in 1977 and the word jitney derives from the cabs being five cents a ride. It’s for the local community instead of using the other cabs, so it’s people taking other local people shopping and so on. It’s just ano...
Layton Williams comes back north in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand
Interviews

Layton Williams comes back north in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Leeds Grand

Bury lad Layton Williams kicked off his stage career travelling down the M62 to join the Billy Elliott training academy in Leeds before graduating aged 12 to take on the lead role in the West End. He went onto play young Michael Jackson in Thriller – Live and as an adult won critical acclaim playing Angel in the 20th anniversary tour of Rent. Now he’s back up north at Leeds Grand Theatre playing Jamie New in uplifting musical Everyone’s Talking About Jamie which has just been made into an Amazon Prime movie. For people who are new to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, how would you sum up the storyline? Jamie is based on a real character who was the subject of a documentary on BBC Three. I remember watching it years ago and it was about him wanting to be a drag queen and wanting...
imitating the dog take on the undead
Interviews

imitating the dog take on the undead

Nobody ever accused imitating the dog of not being ambitious but in Dracula: The Untold Story they are taking on one of the world’s biggest cultural icons. Typically, they are twisting the timeless classic to look at the Transylvanian prince of the undead from a totally new perspective.  As well as the usual innovative visuals they have become famous for over the last two decades this co-production with Leeds Playhouse will use the stage to create a live graphic novel. Our Yorkshire Editor Paul Clarke spoke to imitating the dog’s co-artistic director Andrew Quick to find how they are reimagining Bram Stoker’s classic tale of Count Dracula’s bloodlust. This might be your biggest challenge as Dracula is such an iconic figure to virtually everyone on the planet. You’re right...
A new show aims to tackle Islamophobia….in a car park
Interviews

A new show aims to tackle Islamophobia….in a car park

Bradford based Common Wealth are a political theatre company who specialise in creating pieces in unusual spaces and this time they are using open sided multi story car parks to stage a new work challenging Islamophobia. Their artistic director Evie Manning co-directs Peaceophobia along with members of Speakers Corner, who are a political collective run by women and teenage girls in Bradford. It’s focused on the experiences of young British Pakistani men growing up in the shadow of the Bradford Riots, 9/11 and police harassment, and how their cars and faith become a sanctuary for them.                                 &nb...
Spotlight on Rhys Whitfield or ‘Raoul’, The Phantom of The Opera
Interviews

Spotlight on Rhys Whitfield or ‘Raoul’, The Phantom of The Opera

The Phantom of The Opera returns to Her Majesty’s Theatre which has been its home since October 1986 and has been seen by over 140 million viewers worldwide.  After an extended period of closure, the play has recently re-opened with new cast members and we caught up with new West End cast member Rhys Whitfield, who takes on the role of Raoul, after playing the same role for the UK tour. To book tickets for The Phantom of The Opera go to https://lwtheatres.co.uk/whats-on/the-phantom-of-the-opera/ You are stepping into the role of Raoul and following in the footsteps of many great performers over the last 35 years.  How have you individualised the role to suit your own style? I suppose by trying not to shy away from the chances to bring humour and levity to the role.&...
Spotlight on Kayi Ushe or ‘Simba’ in The Lion King
Interviews

Spotlight on Kayi Ushe or ‘Simba’ in The Lion King

The Lion King has returned in all its colourful splendour to The Lyceum Theatre.  As the existing cast welcome new members, we asked Kayi Ushe what it means to him to join the cast playing the role of Simba. To book tickets or find further information about The Lion King go to the website https://thelionking.co.uk/london/#booking-information Is Simba a role that you have always wanted to play? Being a part of the Lion King has always been a goal for me. There’s so much to explore in every aspect of the show. So, to get to play Simba, a character that has resonated with me and so many since childhood, is a blessing. As a new cast member to the team, how have your previous stage roles prepared you for this very energetic lead role? Simba is such a high energy rol...
Spotlight on George Asprey or ‘Scar’ from The Lion King
Interviews

Spotlight on George Asprey or ‘Scar’ from The Lion King

After a long period of closure, London gave ‘The Lion King’ a very warm welcome back to the stage.  Opening night was a ‘roaring’ success and all the smiles and standing ovations made the period of lockdown fade into the distant memory.  One of the characters making a triumphant return was Scar (George Asprey), whose lack of morals and slippery cunning, makes him the villain people love to hate. We asked George Asprey about his return to the role of Scar, his costume, playing a bad guy and Lego! To book tickets to see ‘The Lion King’ go to the website - https://thelionking.co.uk/london/#booking-information After such a long break from performing, how did you prepare for your return to the stage? I managed to keep myself physically fit during the lockdown perio...
Musical Theatre Returns to Cheshire
Interviews

Musical Theatre Returns to Cheshire

Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company are back! After a 2-year enforced absence from the stage due to Covid restrictions, Sunshine on Leith is set to become one of the first full scale musicals to be produced in Cheshire. North West End UK spoke to director Louise Colohan ahead of the show to discuss, amongst other things the challenges they have faced bringing theatre back to Cheshire. You directed the last Mid Cheshire production of Evita which was an unbelievable two years ago. Are you glad to be back at the helm for Sunshine on Leith? Mid Cheshire are a fantastic society and under the chairmanship of Sarah Sherwood are looking to putting on some really exciting productions. It is great to have some of the same creative team and crew return once again and we hope to be able to rep...
Leeds Playhouse’s Alexander Ferris talks about telling refugee stories in Freedom Project
Interviews

Leeds Playhouse’s Alexander Ferris talks about telling refugee stories in Freedom Project

The desperate scenes at Kabul Airport, or people paddling in inflatables across the English Channel, act as a stark reminder we live in a very unstable world and Leeds Playhouse’s Freedom Project aims to highlight the experiences of unaccompanied minors coming to this country. Leeds has a proud history of welcoming people fleeing oppression, and the Playhouse was the UK’s first Theatre of Sanctuary. The programme offers a range of creative spaces for refugees and people seeking asylum to express themselves and create networks of support as they find their feet in a new country. There are now at least 20 similar projects across the country, and this challenging production is performed by Theatre of Sanctuary alumni Hossein Ahmadi and Mohammadreza Bazarbashi, who themselves came here ...
Interview with Oliver Senton of ‘The School of Night’
Interviews

Interview with Oliver Senton of ‘The School of Night’

After a long time away from the stage, the Fraters are set to return with their first shows being held at a rather unique location; the ‘Willow Globe’ in Wales.  Following their inaugural gig many years ago at ‘Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre’, it seems only fitting now that they return to a replica of ‘The Globe’, that was grown organically by planting willow in the shape of Shakespeare’s magnificent theatre.  The School of Night’s unusual and eccentric type of improvising stimulates the literary appetite, whilst catching you off guard with their humorous sleight of hand.  This event at the ‘Willow Globe’ is to be held on the 11th of September at 3pm and 7pm. To book tickets for this event go to https://www.shakespearelink.org.uk/productions/2021/9/11/the-school-of-night ...