Category Archives: NEWS

NEXT WEEK AT EASTWOOD PARK: Dazzling Drag in Blanche and Butch

Dazzling new drag is on show  in Robert Softley Gale’s Blanche and Butch which comes to Eastwood Park Theatre. Birds of Paradise Theatre Company presents the show, which tells the witty and poignant story of three disabled drag queens, on 7 October.

Blanche & Butch are backstage in a mist of hairspray and sequins as they reminisce about life as a troupe of disabled drag queens. Butch sings touching ballads – he’s all about regrets and reflection. Blanche, all camp and pop songs, lip-syncs – well, tries to – his “unique speech pattern” means nothing ever syncs.  And who’s the other guy?​

Inspired by Noel Greig’s 2006 play “Heelz On Wheels”, Blanche & Butch tells the witty and poignant story of the lives, loves and losses of the three disabled men who used to be the sensational ‘Heelz n Wheelz’.



Written by Robert Softley Gale, who will star alongside Garry Robson and Kinny Gardner, Blanche & Butch is an outrageous new show that challenges the boundaries of PC, through high quality camp and original storytelling. Directed and designed by Kenny Miller, Blanche & Butch will include original songs by Akintayo Akinbode, with live music played by Amelia Cavallo. Talking about Blanche & Butch, Writer Robert Softley Gale said:

‘As a disabled, queer man I look to different camps to work out where I fit in to the world. Drag queens have always intrigued me. ‘Blanche & Butch is a personal and political production that surrounds three disabled drag queens. It has taken over a decade to write and looks to explore gender, identity, equality and disability through cabaret, camp songs and frocks.’

Tickets are on sale now! Buy ten and get one free:–Butch

NEWS: First look pictures of The Band – The Take That musical

New photography has been released providing a glimpse of what fans can expect  from this brand new musical, which kicked of its UK tour earlier this month in Manchester. David Pugh, Dafydd Rogers and Take That’s UK Tour of Tim Firth’s The Band, with the music of Take That, got underway at the Manchester Opera House on Friday 8th September.

Advance box office for the tour has now topped a record-breaking £10million and is set to entertain audiences in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Band charts the story of what it’s like to grow up with a boyband.  For five 16 year-old friends in 1992, ‘the band’ is everything.  25 years on, we are reunited with the group of friends, now 40-something women, as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

The Band will be played by AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon, who, as Five To Five, won BBC’s Let It Shine.

Glasgow King’s 26 – 30 June 2018

Edinburgh Playhouse – 10 – 14 July 2018.

All Images copyright Mark Crockett


NEWS: Cast announced for the only Scottish date of Strangers on a Train

Christopher Harper (Coronation Street), John Middleton (Emmerdale), Jack Ashton (Call The Midwife) and Hannah Tointon (Mr Selfridge) lead the cast in a brand-new production of the spellbinding thriller Strangers on a Train.

Based on the world renowned 1950 novel by Patricia Highsmith made universally famous by the classic Oscar-Winning Alfred Hitchcock film. In the great tradition of Hitchcock, this spine-chilling tale aims to delight you with its dark wit while having you on the edge of your seat from the start.

A fateful encounter takes place between two men in the dining carriage of a train crossing America. Guy is the successful businessman with a nagging jealousy; Charles is the cold, calculating chancer with a dark secret. A daring and dangerous plan develops from this casual conversation setting in motion a chain of events that will change the two men’s lives forever.

Mon 22 – Sat 27 Jan 2018 at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow 


A team from Scottish Opera’s Education Department is travelling to Beijing in October to stage a show about the Emperor of China’s Terracotta Warriors.

900 pupils from Fang Cao Di International School will take part in workshops with the Company’s arts education specialists for a week, before performing the imaginative cross-curricular show Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army on November 3, at Beijing Xiedao International Conference and Exhibition Centre.

Warriors! is composed by Alan Penman with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse. Pupils learn the words and songs in their own classrooms and are then helped by the Scottish Opera team to prepare for a performance in front of classmates, friends and family.

The production tells the true story of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, who was desperate to rule forever. Over many years, Qin Shi Huang assembled an army of 8000 soldiers, horses and chariots to watch over him in the afterlife. All the warriors were armed to the teeth, but were made entirely of clay.

Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army was originally commissioned in 2015 in partnership with the five Scottish Confucius Institutes based in the Universities of Edinburgh, Strathclyde, Glasgow, Heriot Watt and Aberdeen, and this is the second time the production will be performed by pupils from Fang Cao Di International School. In 2016, around 200 pupils learnt the songs and performed the opera, which is mainly sung in English with some words in Mandarin. The ‘pilot’ visit was deemed such a success by the teachers that the team from Scottish Opera was invited to return and work with a cast of pupils nearly four times larger for one gigantic performance.

Scottish Opera’s Director of Education and Outreach, Jane Davidson said: ‘Our annual Primary Schools Tour is one of the longest established programmes at Scottish Opera – every year around 8,500 children across Scotland take part in these performances with many more thousands friends and families coming to see them in action. We are delighted to be invited to bring our interpretation of one of the most iconic figures in Chinese history, Qin Shi Huang, to Beijing and we hope that Chinese pupils enjoy performing Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army as much as their Scottish counterparts.’

Mr. Fei Liu, Headteacher at Fang Cao Di School added: ‘This collaboration with Scottish Opera was inspired by their unique approach towards learning and teaching in schools, which promotes the benefits of cross curricular learning through the artform of opera: the component elements of music, visuals, movement and storytelling support pupils’ understanding of a wide range of core curriculum subjects. This chimes with our school’s philosophy and our curriculum which includes ethics, mathematics, science, technology, wellbeing and the arts and aims to cultivate in pupils an affection for China and an international vision, so we are looking forward to working together for this special performance of Warriors!

Scottish Opera was this week awarded Confucius Classroom Hub status by Hanban, the headquarters of Confucius Institutes worldwide, making it the first opera company in the world to be selected for this accolade. It is one of four new hubs based outwith a school setting; the others are the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the Scottish Schools Football Association and the Royal Zoological Society at Edinburgh Zoo.

Scottish Opera will be opening its own ‘classroom’ at the Company’s Edington Street production studios, where resources on Chinese performance, arts and culture will be kept. It will be used as a rehearsal space for Chinese-related programmes.

Confucius Classrooms are hubs usually based in schools and serving the local community. The concept promotes joint planning of cultural activities, sharing ideas and resources to stimulate the learning and teaching of Chinese language and culture.

WHAT’S ON OCTOBER: New, original Scottish Comedy at Websters

Two sell out shows from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2017 are combining to bring Glasgow a night of brand new, original, Scottish comedy.

Glass Knuckles Productions presents Deep Fried by John Gerard Crossan and Kyle Hamill. Told from the grimmest fast food establishment in the country, Deep Fried follows new boy Daniel and his layabout colleagues as they face the trials and tribulations of the fast food life; grease, grime, and their a**e of a boss. Filthy laughs in an even filthier restaurant.

Weegie Hink Ae That? presents Where Ye Fae?. To make all the s***e in the world seem a bit less s***e… wan sketch at a time. From politics to Scotch pies, from fitbaw to songs about seshin, we cover it aw. Through the use of Scottish culture and humour ‘Where Ye Fae?’ will have yer wee belly chuckling from start to finish. Sketches, songs, a couple ae guys in thongs? Why not? Anything for the cause… Soo Weegie Hink Ae That?

Tickets- £11.50 Adults/ £10 concessions

Suitable for 14+

NEWS: Kevin Bridges’ Sketch Inspires Eastwood Park Theatre to Offer Free Tickets


A Kevin Bridges sketch has inspired Glasgow’s Eastwood Park Theatre to offer free theatre tickets to those who ‘assemble the troops’ for a group night out.

They’re offering a special ‘Bring a group of 10 people and one person can go free’ so social events planners can reap the rewards of their efforts!

See Kevin here:

Eastwood Park Theatre is calling on social event planners to step forward and reap the rewards of their efforts by claiming a free theatre ticket for their forthcoming shows.

Whether you’re the What’s App group chat coordinator or a fan of creating Facebook events to get the gang together, prove you’re the planner when you book more than ten tickets for a single show and you’ll get yours free.

Anthony McReavy, of East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure, said:

“Group event organisers are the unsung heroes of a night out! They work tirelessly to ensure that dates suit people, collect money for tickets, answer questions and help people along the way. We have lots of great shows coming up this autumn that are ideal for groups, especially our ‘Girls’ Night Oot’ in October”.

He added, “We also have top tribute nights featuring music legends such as George Michael and Buddy Holly and theatre performances including A Streetcar Named Desire and Edinburgh festival favourite Butterfly and Out of the Bad. The organisers can either claim their freebie for themselves or nominate a friend, who might be celebrating a birthday or special night, to come for free.”

Book ten tickets and you’ll only pay for nine – see the full programme of autumn/winter events at Eastwood Park Theatre and book now:


Paisley has been chosen as the site for Scottish Opera’s production of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera Pagliacci (The Clowns) in July 2018. The performances will take place at the city’s Seedhill Playing Fields in a huge tented structure, and Scottish Opera is inviting local people from across Renfrewshire and beyond to be part of the performing company of up to two hundred.

Pagliacci tells the story of Canio, the leader of a troupe of travelling players, who discovers his wife Nedda is having an affair. His jealousy erupts before an unsuspecting audience, as the play-within-a-play takes a tragic turn.

Scottish Opera’s Music Director Stuart Stratford will conduct and Bill Bankes-Jones, founder of Tête à Tête Opera, will direct the promenade production, which is being specially created to be staged outwith the walls of Scottish Opera’s usual theatre venues.

Open to everyone aged 16 and over who enjoys singing, dance or drama or who would like to learn a new skill, those interested are invited to attend one of four taster events at Scottish Opera’s Silver Cloud Studio in Hillington in November. No previous performance experience is needed and those who take part will be right in the middle of the action, performing alongside The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, international soloists and a professional chorus. The Company also wants to hear from existing theatrical, musical, gymnastic, cheer-leading or sporting groups to be part of the carnival-like setting which will be created for the show.

The November taster sessions will be followed by an introductory weekend in January and weekly rehearsals for the landmark immersive production will begin in early March. The performances of Pagliacci (The Clowns) will be on 26, 28 and 29 July in Paisley, which has been shortlisted for UK City of Culture in 2021.

Former Scottish Opera Emerging Artist Nadine Livingston (La bohème, 2017) sings the role of Nedda. Making his Scottish Opera debut, Trinidadian tenor Ronald Samm will sing the role of her husband Canio. Robert Hayward (Bluebeard’s Castle, 2017) will return to the Scottish Opera stage as Tonio, the fool.

Stuart Stratford said: ‘Sometimes the best place to perform a piece is outside the theatre. An opera like Pagliacci is crying out for a different approach – I can’t think of a better way to present it, and to capture its energy, than with hundreds of performers from all walks of life.’

Alex Reedijk, Scottish Opera’s General Director said: ‘Since Stuart Stratford began his tenure at Scottish Opera as Music Director, he has been particularly keen to do a site-specific opera so I am thrilled we are coming to Paisley with what promises to be a spectacular production of Pagliacci. We are looking forward to getting local people involved in this exciting event – you don’t need to have any experience to take part, just lots of enthusiasm!’

Bill Bankes-Jones added: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of this pioneering project, and can’t think of anywhere better than Paisley to stage Pagliacci in conjunction with the formidable forces of Scottish Opera.  Creating a world where some performers visit a community mid-festival will be magical in Paisley, with its huge cultural heritage and the wonderful Sma’ Shot Day to trigger our imaginations.  I can’t wait to see how Paisley and Scottish Opera collaborate and inspire each other through this project.’

Paisley 2021 bid director Jean Cameron said: ‘We are thrilled Scottish Opera is bringing this production to Paisley next year. Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021 aims to bring some of the finest artists from Scotland and beyond to Paisley to work with our homegrown talent and for our local audiences to enjoy.
‘We have some fantastic choirs here in Paisley – at the last count there were 26 – and I am sure they will relish the chance to be part of this amazing production of one of the world’s best-loved operas. At the same time, we are excited at the chance to make use of a site which has never hosted anything of this kind – our bid aims to use every corner of Paisley to deliver the benefits of culture to those who stand to gain most, and this is a wonderful way to explore how that will work.’

Those who wish to find out more or take part in the production should contact Donna Macpherson: or 0141 332 9559

Community Taster Sessions

Silver Cloud Studio, North Point, Unit 20, 37 Gordon Avenue, Hillington Park, G52 4TG

Mon 20 Nov, 7-9pm

Tue 21 Nov, 2-4pm

Wed 22 Nov, 7-9pm

Thu 23 Nov, 7-9pm

Performance Diary

Seedhill Playing Fields, Paisley

Thu 26 July, 7pm

Sat 28 July, 7pm

Sun 29 July, 3pm

NEWS: Joyful performance for people living with dementia and their loved ones at Platform

Curious Shoes is a joyful performance specially designed for people living with dementia and their loved ones to share. It has been created by Magdalena Schamberger, Artistic Director of the arts in health charity Hearts & Minds.

Live music, movement and very few words bring this funny, entertaining and beautifully simple story to life. The audience will be invited to join the quartet of talented performers on their curious voyage of discovery.

Curious Shoes is designed for an intimate audience of 20-people. Using a range of different art forms, and a unique blend of structure and improvisations, it aims to encourage engagement and interaction between the audience and performers.

Magdalena Schamberger said “ Our approach provides time and space for people to respond in their own individual way.  It provides an opportunity for people with dementia to participate and share a creative experience with their loved ones and carers and to connect to the world around them.”

Curious Shoes is a bespoke performance designed with its audience at its heart. During development of the work between Autumn 2016 and Spring 2017 a focus group was invited to come into the rehearsal space to help inform the process. The group was made up of individuals who are living with dementia and their loved ones, carers and companions.

Curious Shoes was first performed at The Studio at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh in March 2017 as part of the Forget-Me-Not programme for people living with dementia.

Previous audience comments:

“To look at her this morning, and to look at her this evening, it is quite clear that she has got an excited buzz that I haven’t seen for a while” Family member

“I feel like I am shining inside” audience member with dementia

Curious Shoes is the culmination of the programme developed by Magdalena Schamberger through the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Breakthrough Funding awarded to her in 2014. Artful Minds is an innovative training programme for artists has also been developed by Magdalena as part of the project.

NEWS: Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson & Stephen Tompkinson to star in Yasmin Reza’s Art at the Theatre Royal

David Pugh & Dafydd Rogers will produce the 2018 UK & Ireland Tour of the Old Vic production of Yasmina Reza’s Olivier, Tony and Moliere award-winning comedy ART, translated by Christopher Hampton.

The production will star Nigel Havers, Denis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson as Serge, Marc and Ivan respectively. The tour will stop off at Theatre Royal, Glasgow from Tuesday 9 April until Saturday 14 April.

David Pugh said, “It is twenty years since Dafydd [Rogers] and I first produced the comedy masterpiece ART in the West End, and the original post-London tour played for 78 weeks. This time, we want to break our own record; in fact, we want to play as many theatres as Sir Ken Dodd has played in his wonderful career, and with this marvellous cast, we think we have every chance!”

Nigel Havers’s films include Chariots of Fire, A Passage to India, Empire of the Sun and The Whistle Blower. He has starred in many television productions, including The Charmer, Dangerfield, Manchild, and, more recently, the hit US series Brothers and Sisters, Lewis Archer in Coronation Street, Benidorm and Lord Hepworth in Downton Abbey.  His numerous theatre work includes The Importance of Being Earnest and Harold Pinter’s Family Voices, both directed by Sir Peter Hall for the National Theatre, Richard II and Man and Superman for the RSC, the hugely successful touring productions of Rebecca and Alan Bennett’s Single Spies.

Denis Lawson is known for his roles as John Jarndyce in the BBC’s adaptation of Bleak House, for which he was nominated for an EMMY award, and as DI Steve McAndrew in BBC1’s hit series New Tricks.  In film, his notable credits include the roles of Gordon Urquhart in the film Local Hero and Wedge Antilles in the original Star Wars trilogy.  On stage, he won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Jim Lancastar in Mr Cinders at the Fortune Theatre, and he was nominated for an Olivier for his performance as George in La Cages Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre.

Stephen Tompkinson’s television credits include five series of DCI Banks, four series of Trollied, seven series of Wild at Heart, six series of Drop the Dead Donkey (British Comedy Award Winner for Best TV Comedy Actor) and three series of Ballykissangel, and his films include Phil in Brassed Off.  His theatre work includes Spamalot, Rattle of a Simple Man and Arsenic and Old Lace in the West End, Cloaca (Old Vic) and Tartuffe (National Tour).


Theatre Royal, Glasgow

9-14 April 2018


Thur & Sat matinees, 2.30pm


0844 8717647

Image: John Swannell

NEWS: From New York to New Street for Paisley Arts Centre panto star

Actor Chris Alexander is swapping New York for New Street, in Paisley to take the role of the Dame in this year’s PACE panto, Snow White.

Scots-born Chris performed in New York as part of Ramesh Meyyappan’s production of Butterfly, which was part of the Brits Off Broadway Festival, at the 59E59 Theatre, in Manhattan, last year and earlier this year, Chris was back in the USA with the same production – an adaptation of Madame Butterfly – staged in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

But the Paisley Arts Centre, in New Street will be Chris’s stage from November 25 until December 30 when he stars in the pantomime Snow White.

Chloe Lupton

Dani Heron

Also appearing in the panto, written and directed by Ross Stenhouse are actors Chloe Lupton as Snow White; Dani Heron as the Evil Queen; Danny Holmes as The Prince and Nathan Byrne, taking the comic lead. And of course, there will also be 100 local youngsters who are members of PACE, taking part in the hilarious adaptation of the traditional panto.

Danny Holmes

Nathan Byrne

Tickets only recently went on sale and already more than half the seats have been snapped up.

The show is produced by PACE panto stalwart, Alan Orr who also takes on the role of musical director. Alan said: “Everyone at PACE is working their socks off to make this the biggest and best panto we’ve ever done. We’ll be performing a magical, fun-filled family show with laughter every step of the way and loads of audience participation.
Our Dame, Chris Alexander is a very experienced actor and is a really funny guy. He’s got natural comic timing and has experience performing in pantomime many times before.”

Tickets, priced from £9.50p are available from the Arts Centre Box Office, by logging on to <> or by calling 0300 300 1210.

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