The Corn Exchange, Newbury, and New Greenham Arts
0845 5218 218 (calls will cost 2p per minute plus your telephone company’s Access Charge)
The Corn Exchange, Newbury. Visitor information is here.
New Greenham Arts, 113 Lindenmuth Way, New Greenham Park, Newbury. A map is here.
Productions are at the Corn Exchange if no venue is shown.
Richard III, 21st July, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Fairies and Dragons of the Desolate Plain, 23rd July, 19:45 at The Corn Exchange
In 1917, against the bloody backdrop of the Great War, two girls proved that Fairies played at the bottom of their garden. Troops carried images of the Piper of Dreams and enduring tales of Angels and other magical folk feature in many letters and stories from the front. Newbury Youth Theatre’s latest devised production explores these themes through the eyes of young people and inspired by songs and stories from the worlds of fairyland and war.
Dinosaur Zoo, 28th to 29th July, daytimes at The Corn Exchange
Dinosaur Zoo brings these awesome prehistoric creatures to life as you’ve never seen them before. From cute baby dinos to teeth-gnashing giants, marvel and interact with extraordinary life-like dinosaurs in this imaginative and hilarious live show. But watch out. Not all of these ravenous reptiles are as tame as they seem… Direct from the West End, this international hit show offers guaranteed fun for all the family ages 3+.
Marty MacDonald’s Toy Machine, 1st August, 11:30 at The Corn Exchange
Everyone at Marty MacDonald’s Farm is delighted with the special delivery that’s arrived – the Toy Machine that makes all of the toys in the world! But then they realise that Crafty the Crow has been up to mischief and it shouldn’t really be there at all… Worse still, the machine has stopped working, so they need to fix it before the Toymaker comes to get it back! Join Marty, Sally the Scarecrow, Pongo the Pig, Molly-Moo the Cow and Sheena the Sheep in a fun, musical, interactive adventure to repair the Toy Machine, save the day and give the world back its toys! Age guide: 2 - 7 years.
Oddly, 4th August, 11:30 at The Corn Exchange
A fun tale based on the much-loved children’s book written by author Joyce Dunbar. This story is about a curious boy from the city who sets off in search of three unusual creatures. Deep in a strange and tranquil forest he discovers the Lostlet, the Strangelet and the Oddlet. Together the new friends find surprising ways to make their hopes, dreams and wishes come true. Norwich Puppet Theatre’s adaptation visually reimagines the story with a magical mix of puppetry, visual tricks, masks and original music. Age 3 to 8.
The Deep Blue Sea, 1st September, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Speed Dating: The Musical, 7th to 8th September, 19:30 at New Greenham Arts
What happens when you throw twelve strangers together in a bar with nothing but five minutes to impress and get to know the other person? Last performed in the West End in 2008, this updated version of Speed Dating: The Musical, written by Newbury-based writer and composer, Jamie Ledwith, is having its world premiere this September. Will anyone end up together? Will she truly find happiness? And why has that man got a dictaphone? All that is concealed is soon to be revealed...
24 Hour Plays 2016, 17th September, 19:30 at New Greenham Arts
Celebrate the talent and skill of young people in your local community. Working alongside professional artists, six groups of 16 - 21 year olds will be given a topic and 24 hours in which to create a short piece of theatre using live musical accompaniment. Come along and see what they have created!
Cymbeline, 29th September, 19:00 at The Corn Exchange,
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Oklahoma!, 5th to 8th October, 19:30 and 14:30 on Saturday at The Corn Exchange
The original feel-good musical. From the minute the rugged cowboy Curly steps on to the stage singing Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’ we know that all will be right with the world. This colourful production overflows with well-known songs such as I’m Just a Girl Who Cain’t Say No, Surrey With a Fringe on Top, Kansas City, People Will Say We’re in Love and, of course, the rousing title song itself! Celebrating the vigour of America’s pioneering spirit with classic tunes and boot-stomping dances, we follow Curly and the girl of his dreams, Laurey, as they travel down love’s highway on an extremely bumpy surrey ride. A Nomads Musical Theatre production.
Frankenstein, 11th to 12th October, 17:45 at The Corn Exchange
A brand new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic horror masterpiece fusing ensemble storytelling, live music and stunning theatricality.
King Lear, 14th October, 19:00
See Theatre at the Cinema.
An Elephant in the Garden, 20th to 21st October, 19:00 at The Corn Exchange
By Michael Morpurgo. 1945. Dresden, Germany. Lizzie, her mother - and an elephant from the zoo, flee the Allied fire-bombing in the end-game of the Second World War. Escaping the Allies’ advance from the West - and also the advancing Russian armies from the East - this extraordinary trio of refugees meet: a downed RAF officer, cowering in a barn; a homeless school choir on the run and their Countess saviour, harbouring them from the Nazis; and the mechanised American cavalry, appearing over the horizon. It is Lizzie’s story – but Marlene, the elephant, is the heroine. Plodding, obdurate, opportunistic, load-bearing, indestructible, cheering - Marlene embodies the stubbornness of the human will and how it will do everything to survive. Age guide: 9+.
The Entertainer, 27th October, 19:15
See Theatre at the Cinema.
Be Brave and Leave for the Unknown, 1st November, 19:45 at The Corn Exchange
In the aftermath of a terrible tragedy, a couple sit across a table in a suburban living room, between them a chasm opens, their courage deserts them and the only choice is to run or hide… In a world where there is so much to fear, when taking the smallest of steps can be terrifying, it sometimes feel as if we have forgotten how to be brave. Or have we? Inspired by true stories of ordinary people in extra-ordinary situations RedCape’s exhilarating new show explores the nature of bravery both epic and domestic, large and small.
1972: The Future of Sex, 3rd November, 20:00 at New Greenham Arts
It’s 1972. An era of possibility, polyester and pubic hair. Ziggy Stardust is on Top of the Pops, Penny is writing an essay on Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Christine is watching Deepthroat. Brian is confused. The Wardrobe Ensemble tell the story of the class of ‘72 with a handsome funk guitarist and some space-hoppers. Was it easier back then? Where did we go wrong? A brisk romp through the ins and outs of those excellently awkward first sexual encounters.
The Wizard of Oz, 5th November, 20:00 at New Greenham Arts
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a show for the entire family to enjoy and is co-produced by Le Navet Bete and Barbican Theatre Plymouth. Directed by Mark Laville, it is a unique version of the story everybody knows and loves. Prepare yourselves for a physical comedy bonanza of ridiculous characters, live music and song, hilarious dances, utter stupidity and much much more. Join Dorothy and Toto on their fantastical and downright chaotic travels along the Road of Yellow Bricks meeting the usual (sort of) suspects along the way - an unbelievably idiotic Scarecrow, a Tin Man straight from under the Iron Curtain and a Lion whose West-End dreams seem just Over The Rainbow - as well as some characters, you might not expect.... Will they make it to the Emerald City or will the Mighty Oz and his powerful Green Army stop them in their tracks? Will Shirley the Wicked Witch of the West be slightly more wicked than you could ever imagine? Will a squadron of Winged Monkeys end up in your lap? This really is a long, long way from Kansas...
Shakespeare Schools Festival, 7th to 8th November, 19:00 at The Corn Exchange
Shakespeare Schools Festival is proud to present a series of unique performances by children from all over Berkshire. All are welcome to this inspiring evening of theatre. Whether you are a parent, friend or another local school, Shakespeare Schools Festival is a wonderful way to experience the language, magic and possibilities of Shakespeare.
Cinderella, 25th November to 31st December at The Corn Exchange
Expect mischief, mayhem and plenty of silliness in the Corn Exchange's 2016 Pantomime - Cinderella! Poor old Cinders slaves away all day, clearing up after her gruesome ugly sisters. But with a sprinkling of fairy dust and a particularly large pumpkin her luck is about to change! Will the hunky Prince Charming fall head over heels? And will Cinderella make it home by the time the clock strikes midnight? Prepare for an action-packed tale full of songs, mischief and plenty of magic. Our ever popular pantomime has become a fun-filled tradition for the families of Newbury and beyond.
Police Cops, 1st December at New Greenham Arts
Present day (1976). Straight-laced rookie Police Cop Jimmy Johnson is out to avenge his brother’s death, and he’s got to go it alone. With the help of his new partner – a retired renegade named Harrison – the pair begin to unearth the secrets that the case holds. Police Cops is a cinematic joyride, speeding down Adventure Avenue in a souped-up squad car. Oh, and the steering wheel is made out of guns.
The Night Before Christmas, 14th to 18th December, daytimes at New Greenham Arts
On the night before Christmas, Emily stares out of the window, hugs her teddy and waits excitedly for the morning, while in the corner a little mouse called Eddie can’t understand why only humans are allowed to get presents. So he sets off in search of Father Christmas to find out for himself. Along the way he dodges the family cat, gets directions from a cowardly robot and is given some unexpected advice from the magical fairy on top of the tree. Will Eddie get an answer? Will Emily get her wish? And what is that funny-shaped present sitting under the tree? Age guide: 2 - 7.
Reviews of Dick Whittington
27th November 2015 to 3rd January 2016.
Review from the Newbury Weekly News and the British Theatre Guide.
Another triumph from the pen of director Phil Willmott
Dick Whittington, at the Corn Exchange, until January 3
The weather outside may have been cold, wet, dark and windy but inside the Corn Exchange, with its welcoming refurbished foyer, there was an excited warm buzz of excitement as the enthusiastic audience waited for this year's pantomime, Dick Whittington, to begin.
Wittily written and splendidly directed by Phil Willmott, this fun family-friendly Christmas extravaganza has all the ingredients for a "purrrfect" seasonal entertainment and the Corn Exchange has "pulled the cat out of the bag" and has a huge hit on its hands.
This year's set and colourful sparkling costumes (James Maciver) are superb and the hard-working talented cast are terrific, including the young company of smiling, confident dancers.
Phil Sealey makes a welcome return as Sarah the Cook, the perfect dame, in every stage appearance wearing a more outlandish costume. He has impressive stage presence.
Making his seventh consecutive performance, the much-loved Mathew Grace is this year playing Billy the Cat and quickly established a joyous rapport with the audience who were more than happy to be in his gang.
Lizzy Dive is the bubbly Fairy Fuchsia, with a vivacious personality and a powerful singing voice who is determined to help Dick seek his fortune.
The action is set in Newbury Bottom, where there is going to be an election for a new mayor. King Atticus Ratticus, powerfully played by Oliver Broad, who is the consummate villain that the audience love to boo and is determined to become the "vermin in ermine" But will he succeed?
Christian James, making his second year's appearance as the romantic hero, is a convincing and loveable Dick Whittington who loses his heart to the delightful Alice (Phoebe Lewis). Both sing beautifully.
Playing the three brothers, Oliver Tattersfield is a dizzy policeman – "evening all" – a commanding roller-skating King Neptune and a striking Sultan who is betrothed to Alice. There is excellent support from Leah Carter and Joey Warne in the ensemble.
Holly Hughes' creative choreography is spot on, including a delightful energetic tap routine.
There is much to enjoy in this production, from flashy pyrotechnics, magical effects, masses of audience participation, dreadful, funny puns and a vibrant musical score, provided by Richard Baker.
My two young companions thought it was "awesome". Maisie, aged five, loved the happy ending when Dick and Alice married. She described the show as "sparkly and cheerful", while eight-year-old Henry enjoyed booing the rat king and joining in the singing competition. He said it was "imaginative and magical". You can't get better than that.
Make sure you add this show to your Christmas wishlist. Highly recommended.
For more details
see the Corn Exchange and New Greenham Arts web site at www.cornexchangenew.com.