16 June 2020

News Catch-up - 16th June 2020.

Hello all.

I hope that you're all keeping well and healthy. Can you believe we're in the middle of June already? I know this year has certainly been different but it's flying by! It's been a little while since I've updated some news so below I've brought together some of the latest things you can keep up with during this continuing lockdown. Even without live theatre lots of theatre's and companies are creating magnificent online content.


The Pandora Network - The Nightlight Circus
The Pandora Network is launching a new online interactive experience called The Nightlight Circus, with tickets on sale now.

Following on from a hugely successful sold-out launch of their first experience, Burying the Hatchet, the experience is an interactive week-long mystery-solving that guests can take part in from the comfort of their own home. Guests listen to the initial brief and over the course of a week interact online with live ‘Field Agents’ who provide the evidence and clues to consider, working together to solve the case.


The Pandora Network has been written, produced and performed by Electric Goldfish a new creative
partnership between immersive theatre companies Faceless Ventures; Incognito Experiences; and
Nick Hutson Music; and as well as being designed for a remote, and international audience who are
in lockdown; it has also been entirely produced by the creators remotely whilst in lockdown.
For anyone that likes the mystery genre in theatre, television shows or film, this experience allows
them to not just watch the mystery unfold but to be a part of the action themselves.

The experience will run between 18th - 24th July and 2nd - 8th August. Limited tickets are available now https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/faceless-ventures/e-drdrxo

Emerging Midlands Writers Sought for SeaView Writers' Room
The Belgrade Theatre Coventry in partnership with Strictly Arts Theatre Company, Fix 8 Films, Run
Home Productions and Audio Bassment are seeking emerging writers based in the Midlands to be part of the writers’ room for their upcoming digital TV series, SeaView.

Set to premiere in 2021, SeaView is an original urban, science-fiction drama, drawing on the experiences of working-class communities in the West Midlands. Inspired by a true story, the series follows Steven, a young man destined for great things who finds himself trapped by the destiny of others.


The series will make its debut with an exclusive screening at the Belgrade Theatre in 2021, followed by an online release. The project is the product of a groundbreaking new collaboration that will see theatre and film production companies work together in exciting new ways.

Now the Belgrade is offering a fantastic opportunity to up to seven of the region’s most exciting up-and-coming writers to be part of its first writers’ room ahead of Coventry’s year as City of Culture in 2021. Each writer will get the chance to work on one episode, alongside playwright Sophie Ellerby and the Belgrade’s 2021 Co-Artistic Director Corey Campbell.

Successful applicants will be supported to learn and develop key screen-writing skills, and provided with the space to imagine and create their own ideas.

The writers’ room will run from 6.30pm-8.30pm every Thursday from Thursday 16 July 2020 –
Thursday 15 October 2020, with the final read-through taking place during the week commencing
Monday 19 October 2020. 

All applicants must be based in the Midlands.

To apply, please send an example of your work to Sofia Stephanou at sofia.producer@gmail.com
by 5pm on Monday 29 June.

This can be in any form you choose – a script, poetry or prose – but it should show a clear journey and give a strong sense of your writing style. Along with your writing sample, you should also include an up-to-date CV and a cover letter (one-page only) explaining how being part of the Writers Room will help you to develop you as a writer and what you hope to achieve.

Halls The Musical
Current West End stars have come together during lockdown to perform the opening number, ‘Flat
15B’, from brand new, British musical: Halls.

The launch video, which features Grace Mouat (& Juliet, SIX), Millie O’Connell (Be More Chill, SIX), Olivia Moore (Waitress, Heathers), Tarinn Callender (Hamilton, Come From Away), Cameron Burt (Mamma Mia), Sophie Isaacs (Heathers, Kinky Boots, SIX) and Alex Thomas-Smith (Bat Out of Hell, Dear Evan Hansen), also introduces new Guilford School of Acting (GSA) graduate Matteo Johnson who was involved in the workshop process of Halls in 2019.

Launching the song ‘Flat 15B’ sees the London public premiere of the musical’s opening number which presents music and lyrics by George Stroud and Jennifer Harrison.


Halls follows eight, first-year, university students from all different backgrounds and upbringings, being brought together when they are all allocated the same flat in Halls of Residence: Flat 15B. The
musical follows all eight characters as they grow and develop over the academic year, highlighting the highs and lows of going to university. Halls explores many aspects of uni life including; freshers week, exam stresses, flat arguments, the cost of student living, romance, and self-acceptance. We watch as characters find their feet in a world where their decisions are now entirely their own. The musical’s pop-rock, contemporary soundtrack provokes feel good, upbeat vibes that reawaken nostalgic, first year at uni, memories.

Halls will be making its London debut in 2021 and writers George Stroud and Jennifer Harrison have
committed to casting at least two new graduates in the production to help provide a platform for
performers at the start of their career.

Primrose Path - Mannequin Mouth
Chriss and Damon are in love. They have rules, they have roles – and they play games. Sometimes, they hurt each other. When they play. Such is love. Chriss and Damon are in love.

Every new game, every new scenario, the question remains: how far are they willing to go together? Chriss and Damon are in love. How far is too far? Stitches won’t always be sufficient. They are going to hurt each other. They have hurt each other. Chriss and Damon are in love.

Primrose Path is a twisted exploration of love and its extremities. The story examines the combined jealousy, competition, and obsession that lurk at the heart of the relationship between lovers Chriss and Damon. Follow this deluded, devoted couple as their corrosive ambition to ‘play’ leads them down an ever-escalating, all-consuming spiral of physical and emotional harm. Together they explore the oppressive inescapability of love, and learn just how far they will go to win emotional and physical dominance over each other.



Part of Mannequin Mouth's ethos is about combating the limitations in the accessibility of theatre. Given the current COVID-19 crisis, and the theatre industry effectively being placed on pause, this is more important now than ever.

The live show of Primrose Path debuted in Exeter in May 2018 before touring to the Edinburgh Fringe in August that year. At the end of its run, we filmed the show over a number of days in its theatrical space without a live audience present. The cameras were therefore free to roam amongst the action, following the actors and thrusting the viewer directly into the middle of the performance. In this way, our filmed productions are recorded specifically to be watched at home, their own separate experience to the live show.

The film will be made available to watch online for free on our website from 7pm on Saturday 27th June.

As our debut show, Primrose Path is indicative of Mannequin Mouth’s commitment to creating raw and visceral theatre that will challenge and disturb its audience.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Props Go Under the Hammer
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, one of the most famous cars in the world, is coming up for auction.

The celebrated car, together with more than 100 props used in the 2015-2017 UK/Ireland touring musical stage production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, are set to go under the hammer at Hansons
Auctioneers on Father’s Day, June 21.

John Stalker, Music & Lyrics Executive producer of the stage show said: “There are very few Chitty
models anywhere in the world, so this is a unique opportunity to buy a bit of theatre and film
history”.

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “We’re thrilled to be selling Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I grew up watching the film and was spellbound by the magic of the flying car. It was part of my childhood, as it was for millions of people across the world. The Chitty we’re selling is a wonderful piece of theatre history, unique to the show it was used in and incredibly rare.”

Chitty’s price guide is set at £6,000 - £9,000 – which would be a steal for any successful bidder, as
the car cost £175,000 to build (including the lifting apparatus required to make her fly).


John Stalker continues: “The items, which were being stored in Bedford, are being sold as we have no plans to re-mount the tour so the car and props are surplus to requirements. We would love them to
go to a Chitty-loving home. The collection will appeal to anyone who loves theatre but particularly to
those who love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

Other items in the auction include the Child Catcher’s Bike (estimate £400-£600) and various
inventions from leading character, Caractacus Potts. These include an automated breakfast machine,
(estimate £500-£1,000), Edison, a remote-controlled family dog (estimate £500-£1,000), and an
automatic haircutting bicycle (estimate £200-£300), Chitty, ‘after the crash’ in a state of disrepair (estimate £1,000 - £2,000); Baron Bomburst’s car (estimate £1,500 - £2,000) and a 1920’s vintage motorcycle ridden by Truly Scrumptious (estimate £3,000 - £4,000).

Other props include Grandpa’s shed (estimate £1,000) and purple velvet thrones used by the Baron
and Baroness of Vulgaria (estimate £150 - £250).

The cast of the 2015-2017 touring stage production included Jason Manford; Lee Mead (Caractacus
Potts); Martin Kemp (Childcatcher); Phill Jupitus & Shaun Williamson (Lord Scrumptious/Baron Bomburst) and Michelle Collins &; Claire Sweeney (Baroness Bomburst).

The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Auction will be held at Bishton Hall, Wolseley Bridge, Staffordshire,
ST17 0XN, on Sunday, 21 June 2020. View the catalogue and bid in advance or live at
www.hansonslive.co.uk. To find out more, email: charleshanson@hansonsauctioneers.co.uk.

1 June 2020

Amélie London Cast Recording Release

The original London cast recording of Amélie The Musical is released this Friday, 5th June 2020.

The UK production which opened last year at The Watermill Theatre in Newbury and then extensively toured the UK before transferring to London's The Other Palace where it completed a sell-out run. The show is nominated for three Olivier Awards.

The cast album is produced by Sean Patrick Flahaven of Concord Theatricals and features the same multi-Grammy Award-winning team behind such original cast albums as Hamilton, Come From Away and Once.

The musical based on the 2001 French-language movie originated in America in 2015 and opened on Broadway in 2017. It features a score by Daniel Messé and Nathan Tysen with new orchestrations for the UK production by Barnaby Race. 

The show starred Audrey Brisson in the title role alongside Chris Jared as Nino and Caolan McCarthy, Emma Jane Morton, Faoileann Cunningham, Jez Unwin, Johnson Willis, Joshua Sneesby, Kate Robson-Stuart, Oliver Grant, Rachel Dawson, Samuel Morgan-Grahame and Sophie Crawford. 

The full album will be available from Friday (5th June) and you can pre-order and pre-save the album now from this link https://found.ee/amelie-mus. Pre-order the album ahead of release and you get the song Stay instantly.


Those who know me or have followed me for any period of time will probably know already how much this production means to me. I first saw it back in July last year at Leicester's Haymarket Theatre and was blown away by it. I gave it a glowing 5-star review on this blog and loved it so much that I went back to see it again the next day. I travelled to all the exotics locations to catch it again, Birmingham, Malvern, Woking, Eastbourne (5 hours each way for me!) and Reading. I caught it a further 3 times during it's London run.

The whole production just completely wrapped me up and made me feel safe. I knew I could just escape into this magical Parisian paradise and just be swept along by the story and the music. I've had therapy and things for my mental health but nothing touched me or helped me heal more than watching this show.

The astonishing work by the remarkable cast of actor-musicians still blows my mind. They created this beautiful sound and acted perfectly. The whole company, not just the masterpiece of a performance by Audrey Brisson were outstanding.

I'm SO excited for the release. I've listened to Stay on repeat for the past few days and from Friday I'll probably listen to nothing else but the album for a considerable amount of time. I can't recommend it to you all enough.

If you don't hear from me from Friday for a while then you'll find me escaped to Paris with the album!

Amélie The Musical's original London cast recording is avaiable from Friday 5th June. Visit https://found.ee/amelie-mus to pre-order or pre-save.
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