Newbury theatre guide
Find out about theatre events coming up in and around Newbury and West Berkshire, reaching out to Oxford, Basingstoke and Reading. This site is updated very frequently - see What's new below.
In the spotlight
See What's on for a list of everything.
News and special events
Newbury Musical Theatre Society are preparing for their Autumn Production of Pirates of Penzance. There is a sing through on Tuesday 29th April, 19:30 at Falkland School, Andover Road and another pre-audition meeting on Tuesday 6th May, 19:30 also at Falkland School, Andover Road. At both meetings there will be chances to hear some of the music, learn a bit about the show and characters etc and also be handed the audition pieces. Auditions will be on Sunday 11th May 2014.
BATS are producing Jesus Christ Superstar in Basingstoke from 13th to 17th May. More info in Coming Soon.
Newbury Spring Festival are offering discounted tickets at £5 each instead of £19.50 to events they think may be of interest to you musical theatre lovers. The events are:
- The Sea Cabinet, 17th May, 19:30 at
the Corn Exchange.
The Sea Cabinet is the latest highly acclaimed project from musical adventurer Gwyneth Herbert who writes superb melodies and has a poet's grasp of the world around her. A song cycle of beautiful and intricate explorations of the sea in all its magic, majesty and mystery. Every day, a woman walks the beach alone. She collects each discarded or washed up object she finds and takes it home, cataloguing it with the care and rigour of a scientist. These objects are placed in The Sea Cabinet, and each one sings with the memory of a secret sea-set story.
- Unexpected Opera's Opera Naked, 20th May, 19:30 at
the Corn Exchange.
Opera Naked is 'operatic cabaret': a unique mix of great music, revealing honesty and playful comedy. Why do some people want to sing opera, and what does it take to do it? Discover the naked truth with four professional singers whose lives are laid bare by a comic compère. Share their struggles and triumphs while enjoying some of opera's greatest hits – sung from the heart. Experience the power of opera, with famous arias from Madama Butterfly, Carmen, Tosca, I Pagliacci, Tannhäuser and more.
- Call Me Merman - Rosemary Ashe, 21st May, 19:30 at
the Corn Exchange.
Rosemary Ashe, Olivier Award nominated star of London's West End, pays tribute to Ethel Merman, the legendary first lady of the musical comedy stage. Belting out her songs with merry abandon, Ethel Merman helped electrify the Broadway musical. Call Me Merman visits all of the Broadway star's biggest shows from the Gershwins' Girl Crazy in 1931, which made her a star overnight, through to Styne and Sondheim's Gypsy in the 1960s. This is a fun filled irreverent evening of music and laughter with excerpts from Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Madam and many more.
You can book these special rates at the Corn Exchange box office by phone or in person, using the discount code VENUE.
And Newbury Spring Festival are again offering young people free tickets to most festival events in return for a review. The Critics must be between 16 and 30 to take part. There is also a prize for the top 3 reviews, which are judged by a professional panel of national journalists. More information here.
OK, Spring is here (brrr!) and it can't be long til Summer, with all the lovely open air productions. We've got the first crop of them listed here - thirteen so far, and for a change, nearly half of them aren't Shakespeare.
The Watermill Theatre is one of three winners (out of 179 applications) for the Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Scheme which provides six-month placements in major theatres throughout the UK for emerging professional theatre composers, and Paul Herbert will join The Watermill.
Digital Theatre have now got downloads or online rentals of Globe Theatre productions of Henry VIII, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 and The Merry Wives of Windsor for sale.
There's an interesting article by the Watermill's Tei Williams about the process in staging a Watermill production, from choosing the play through to the opening night. It's here.
If you're under 25, you can get Watermill tickets for £10 from the box office. This is for performances from Monday to Thursday. You can also get Student Standby tickets on the day for £3.
You can get the latest updates via RSS or Twitter (@NewburyTheatre). If you don't know what RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is, this may not be for you (find out more here), but if you're using an RSS reader already, this is a good way to keep up to date with the changes to this site.
|23 Apr||New season of student productions for Trinity term at BT Studio, Oxford.|
|23 Apr||Newbury Musical Theatre Society have got sing throughs and auditions for their autumn production of Pirates of Penzance between 29th April and 11th May.|
|22 Apr||Newbury Spring Festival are offering seats at £5 instead of £19.50 for some musical theatre / opera productions.|
|12 Apr||Touring dates in June for the Watermill's Hardboiled - the Fall of Sam Shadow.|
|9 Apr||Review of the New Era's The Passion ("a large ensemble cast worked hard to bring it all to life... this was a brave attempt to produce something worthy and both entertaining and enlightening" - NWN).|
|9 Apr||Review of the Watermill Senior Youth Theatre's Life Lessons ("a sparkling, witty play... a cleverly staged production... tremendous fun and played with total commitment from this young talented cast" - NWN).|
|9 Apr||Reviews of the Watermill's Sense and Sensibility ("delightful adaptation, well performed by a strong cast" - Newbury Theatre; "charming... assured adaptation" - The Good Review (four stars); "charming, funny and beautifully crafted" - Basingstoke Gazette; "for Austin devotees, this will certainly delight and newcomers to her work will be captivated. This is bound to be yet another hit for the Watermill" - British Theatre Guide).|
|8 Apr||Sinodun Players' next production in Wallingford is Stepping Out from 20th to 24th May.|
|8 Apr||Russell Players' next production in Swallowfield is Family Spirit from 15th to 17th May.|
|27 Mar||Mortimer Dramatic Society's production at the end of May is Third Week in August.|
|27 Mar||Loddon Players' production from 1st to 3rd May is Alan Ayckbourn's Confusions.|
|27 Mar||Faringdon Dramatic Society's June production is Steel Magnolias.|
|27 Mar||Boundary Players' next production in Tadley from 6th to 10th May is Terry Pratchett's Mort The Play.|
|27 Mar||The Basildonians and Goring Gap Players have a joint open air production of A Midsummer Night's Dream from 1st to 5th July.|
|27 Mar||Aldermaston Players' open air production is Treasure Island from 11th to 12th July.|
|27 Mar||Blewbury Players' summer open air production is Cider With Rosie from 16th to 19th July.|
|27 Mar||Studio Theatre Club's next production from 21st to 24th May in Abingson is Chekhov's Three Sisters.|
|27 Mar||St Peter's Players' next production is The Oxford Roof Climber's Rebellion in Wolvercote.|
|27 Mar||Lots of summer open air productions.|
|27 Mar||New season at Progress Theatre, including their summer open air production of Love's Labour's Lost... and Won.|
|25 Mar||The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company Players are holding a Read Through for their July producion of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie on Friday 28th March at URC Hall, High Street, Hungerford at 20:00. Auditions are on Friday 4th April at URC Hall at 20:00.|
|25 Mar||Nomads Musical Theatre's production from 27th to 29th March is Showtime Royale at New Greenham Arts, Newbury.|
Loddon Players' production is Confusions by Alan Ayckbourn from 1st to 3rd May. It's a set of five loosely related one act plays dealing with human eccentricities and loneliness: five self immolated characters on park benches, a mother unable to escape from baby talk, an unsuccessful seduction attempt, a fraught dinner encounter and a disastrous fete.
Death comes to us all. When it came to Mort, he offered him a job. But when Mort is left in charge for an evening, he allows his heart to rule his head and soon the whole of causality and the future of the Discworld itself, are at risk. Along the way, Boundary Players' production of Terry Pratchett's Mort The Play is at Tadley from 6th to 10th May.
BATS' next production from 13th to 17th May in Basingstoke is Jesus Christ Superstar. The legendary rock musical is set in Roman occupied Jerusalem during the last seven days of the life of Christ and seen through the eyes of Judas. This dynamic reinterpretation takes the musical back to its 1970s roots - a radical time when notions of faith and love were redefined.
The Sainsbury Singers' big spring production is Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel from 14th to 17th May. When Billy uses his charms to attract Julie at a local town fair, their relationship comes with an unexpectedly high price - their jobs. Desperate to bring an end to their financial worries, he agrees to take part in a robbery with tragic consequences.
In The Invisible Man, Ken Hill has turned H.G. Wells's gripping novel into a music-hall romp, combining tongue-in-cheek humour with tragedy and magic. The sinister Griffin arrives in the village of Iping with a bandaged face and an unsociable manner, but when he starts to remove his clothes the fun begins. Compton Players' production is from 14th to 17th May.
Bawdy, anarchic and lots of fun,The Box Theatre Company's modern version of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales takes the form of a storytelling competition. Set in the present, the approach is deliberately un-academic and the aim, to entertain, with all the spirit of the original’s sense of chivalry and satire. It's at the Watermill from 14th to 17th May.
Russell Players' next production in Swallowfield is Family Spirit from 15th to 17th May. When Arthur dies, he’s a little surprised to find not only that he died but he’s still in his old house. His guide explains that he’s being assessed to determine which way he goes next. A few problems arise, between his funeral and his final destination, that need to be sorted out.
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