Tag Archives: NEWS


• WMGICF turns eighteen in style with over 500 shows at 60 venues and over 140,000 tickets on sale

• Comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short usher in the festival with a curtain-raising performance at the SSE Hydro

• Jimmy Carr, Stewart Lee, Arabella Weir, Frankie Boyle, Jerry Sadowitz, Trevor Noah plus many more set to appear.


The Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival (GICF) reveals its full programme, as this hugely popular event in the city’s cultural calendar returns 12 – 29 March 2020. 60 venues across Glasgow are taking part – the most ever in the festival’s history.


The eighteen-day comedy extravaganza features international stars Trevor Noah, Steve Martin and Martin Short at the SSE Hydro and performances from household names including Jimmy Carr, John Shuttleworth, Dane Baptiste, Arabella Weir, Stewart Lee and Fascinating Aida.


It’s a bumper year for home grown talent with Janey Godley, Susie McCabe, Jim Smith and Jerry Sadowitz all gracing the stage of the King’s Theatre. Other top Scottish acts appearing across the festival include Rob Florence and Iain Connell in ‘Uncles’ at the Tramway, Craig Hill, Phil Differ, Fern Brady and Alan Bissett at Oran Mor, Frankie Boyle at the Stand, Elaine C Smith at Oran Mor, Phil Kay at Blackfriars, Darren Connell at The Stand, and Des Clarke at the Garage.


Comedy fans on the look out for critically acclaimed stand up can catch rising stars at a series of specially programmed venue takeovers. At the Old Hairdressers, Berk’s Nest present a line up including Desiree Burch, Jordan Brookes, Mawaan Rizwan, Sophie Duker; and Gilded Balloon are bringing Jayde Adams, Micky Overman and more. ARG are popping up in Blue Arrow and the Hug & Pint with a line up that features Evelyn Mok, Mat Ewins, Adam Hess and Annie McGrath. Local cult favourites CHUNKS descend on the State Bar promising Richard Brown, Planet Caramel, David Callaghan, and a gender-swapped live read of the screenplay to the 1995 Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls.


As well as stand up shows in some of the city’s biggest venues and intimate gigs in pubs, the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival features plays, sketches, improv, film and comedy for kids. This year’s theatre line up includes a brand new play from Chris McQueer at the Tron, Jason Manford in whodunnit Curtains at the King’s, and A Play, A Pie and A Pint at Oran Mor. Families can head to the Tall Ship, the Scottish Mask & Puppet Centre, and The Stand to catch laughs for little ones.


Other shows offering something a little bit unusual include a dog-friendly comedy club at Drygate, Hoppy Days beer tasting with comedy, Ray Bradshaw signing his show in BSL live as he performs, a drag parody of First Wives Club, and a special free show of dementia-friendly comedy at the Fred Paton Day Care Centre.


Events take place every day throughout the festival and tickets for all shows are on sale now, with some performances already selling out.


Sarah Watson, Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival Director, said: “We’re so excited to launch GICF 2020 with our biggest and most international programme to date. To have a comedy icon like Steve Martin performing at the event with Martin Short is just amazing, but to also feature Trevor Noah in the same year – well it’s just a dream come true.  They’ll set the tone for the festival’s eighteenth year as we welcome performers from all over the world, while also shining a spotlight on all the incredible Scottish talent that can be found in Glasgow in March.”


Ruairi Perry, Head of Blended Whisky Brands at Whyte & Mackay, said: “For the 3rd year running it is an absolute pleasure to partner with the Glasgow International Comedy Festival! We’ve had a very busy year as a brand, having celebrated our 175th year by launching our new look smoother bottle and also a ‘lighter spirit drink’ at 21.5% ABV – ideal for those looking for a brilliant tasting spirit but with lower alcohol.


There’s nothing light about the programme for this year’s festival – it’s packed again with top class acts from Scotland and around the world. It is amazing to see record number of venues involved across the city in 2020 with a fantastic blend of new talent and household favourites on offer. As a whisky born and bred in Glasgow, we are very proud that festival goers will be enjoying a dram or 2 of Whyte & Mackay whilst enjoying a great laugh & night out. Slàinte!”


Councillor David McDonald, Depute Leader of Glasgow City Council and Chair of Glasgow Life, said: “Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival is always a keenly anticipated highlight of the city’s cultural calendar and this year the programme is guaranteed to be hugely popular. Glasgow has produced some of the finest comedians who have ever taken to the stage and has welcomed some legendary performers and this year the Whyte & Mackay Glasgow International Comedy Festival ensures that legacy continues.”


Keep up to date with all the latest news by registering at glasgowcomedyfestival.com and follow on Facebook and Twitter @glasgowcomedy.




In Spring and Summer 2020, thousands of primary school children across Scotland will perform Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army as part of the Scottish Opera Primary Schools Tour. Pupils in primary 5, 6 and 7 will rehearse and perform this opera, which recounts the tale of the terracotta warriors of Xian.
It begins on Monday 13 January at Milngavie Primary School, and will visit over 50 schools around Scotland during the Spring term, including in Glasgow, Edinburgh, East and West Dunbartonshire, Clackmannanshire, North and South Lanarkshire, Angus, Aberdeen, Fife, Moray, Falkirk, East Lothian, the Highlands and Dumfries and Galloway. (Full list of participating schools below.)
The tour continues in the Summer term on Monday 20 April, visiting schools in Aberdeenshire, the Borders, East Dunbartonshire, Edinburgh, East Renfrewshire, Angus, South Lanarkshire, Fife, Argyll and Bute, Ayrshire, Glasgow, Moray, Dumfries and Galloway and Shetland.
Warriors! tells the true story of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, who was determined to cheat death and rule over his country forever. Over many years, Qin Shi Huang assembled an army of 8000 soldiers, horses and chariots to watch over him in the afterlife. The warriors were all armed to the teeth, but made entirely of clay.
Composed by Alan Penman with lyrics by Ross Stenhouse, pupils learn the opera’s words and songs in their own classrooms and are then helped by the Scottish Opera team to prepare for a performance in front of pupils, friends and family. It allows them to learn in an exciting, creative and challenging way, further developing their music education. Performing in front of an audience instils a confidence that will continue to help pupils in the future, whatever path they follow. Teachers from schools which have already taken part agreed that the Primary Schools Tour broadened the children’s cultural experiences, improved team work skills, increased cultural confidence as well as singing ability, and supported the aims of Curriculum for Excellence.
Between January and November 2019, 132 Scottish schools took part in in the Primary Schools Tour, which was established by Scottish Opera 48 years ago. Teachers are provided with high quality teaching resources, including a support pack to help introduce the music and related activities, an advance visit from a specialist choral musician, and a day-long workshop with a team of experience arts educations specialists and performers.
Warriors! 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. In 2016, around 200 pupils from the Fangcaodi International School, Beijing 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 Scottish Opera was invited to return and work with a cast of pupils nearly four times larger.
In October 2019, three singers from Scottish Opera returned to China, and with around 200 pupils from the Kunming Fangcaodi International School learned and performed our second opera based on Chinese history, The Dragon of the Western Seas, which tells the story of Kunming’s most famous citizen, Admiral Zheng He.
Scottish Opera’s Director of Outreach and Education, Jane Davidson said: ‘Our annual Primary Schools Tour is one of the longest established programmes at Scottish Opera – every year over 9,000 children across Scotland take part in these performances with many more thousands of friends and families coming to see them in action.
‘We continue our work with the Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools (CISS), bringing back Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army, which tells an important story from China’s history. Pupils get to exercise their creative muscles and experience the added confidence and excitement that comes from performing for an audience of their peers, family and friends.’
In 2018 Scottish Opera was granted 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 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. The ‘classroom’ at the Company’s Edington Street production studios, holds resources on Chinese performance, arts and culture. It is 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.
Warriors! The Emperor’s Incredible Army is supported by The Mickel Fund, The Cruden Foundation, The Stevenston Charitable Trust, Martin Connell Charitable Trust, David & June Gordon Memorial Trust, Harbinson Charitable Trust, The R J Larg Family Trust, Alma & Leslie Wolfson Charitable Trust and Scottish Opera’s Education Angels.
More details about Warriors! are available from www.scottishopera.org.uk/join-in/opera-for-schools/


The Citizens Theatre today announces two new productions: Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?, performed by the Citizens Theatre’s new Care Experienced theatre ensemble and Adrift, performed by the Citizens Young Co.

Developed by the Citizens Theatre in close partnership with CELSIS (the Centre for Excellent for Looked After Children in Scotland), Scotland’s first Care Experienced theatre ensemble offers a positive, supportive and empowering space for young adults aged 18 – 26 to explore and learn about all aspects of a professional theatre, develop their creative talents, and tell the stories that are important to them.

The ensemble’s first production, Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles?, takes us to 1978 Glasgow with unemployment and violence prevalent and Scotland’s seminal punk band, The Jaggy Nettles, imploding.  Featuring live music, original songs and an abundance of Glaswegian banter, this hilarious new play is a story of friendship, deception and the power of punk.

The ensemble has been working with Writer and Producer (Citizens Learning) Martin Travers, and Director (Citizens Learning), Guy Hollands to create this new play to be performed in February 2020.

Guy Hollands commented, “At the Citizens we are passionate about broadening access to theatre and ensuring that the creative opportunities we offer people are engaging and meaningful.  Our new Care Experienced Ensemble has created a piece which will showcase its members’ talent and also how initiatives like this one can have a hugely positive impact on people’s lives.”

In January 2020, The Citizens Young Co. will present their new show, Adrift.  Set in a mysterious dreamscape, it is one person’s experience of contemplating their place and purpose in the world.  With her last memory being a bottle of pills before waking up in the middle of the ocean, Cammy must decide whether to go further into the beyond or go back to shore.

Current and former members of the Young Co. will be taking on production roles as well as performing on stage.  Former members Catriona McNicoll, who wrote the script, and Lauren Mitchell, who will assistant direct, will return to work with current member Cameron Rickards, the production’s sound designer.

Citizens Theatre Community Drama Director and Director of Adrift, Neil Packham commented, “Adrift is a story which will resonate with many young people today and I am extremely proud to be directing a group of incredibly talented, passionate and driven young actors.  It feels particularly special to be using a script written by a former Young Co. member.”

Launched in 2005, the Citizens Theatre Young Co. provides opportunities in acting, writing and devising for young people aged 18 – 22. Young Co. offers a unique insight into the world of professional theatre-making and offers a range of opportunities to be part of the wider creative life of theatre.

Adrift runs from Tue 28 – Fri 31 January. Whatever Happened to the Jaggy Nettles runs from Wed 12 – Sat 15 February. Both productions will be presented at Scottish Youth Theatre, The Old Sheriff Court.  Tickets available now online from citz.co.uk.


Scottish Opera and Disney Musicals in Schools are collaborating for the first time to give five primary schools in Scotland the opportunity to learn and produce their own Disney KIDS musical including The Lion King KIDS, Aladdin KIDS and The Jungle Book KIDS. The pupils will then perform two special shows in their schools and at Theatre Royal Glasgow. 

Following a selection process by Scottish Opera, the schools initially chosen to take part in the free, three-year Disney Musicals in Schools programme are Lawthorn Primary School in Irvine, Todholm Primary School in Paisley, East Plean Primary School in Stirling, Langlee Primary School in Galashiels and St Anthony’s Primary School in Johnstone. This is the first time the programme has taken place in Scotland, and five new schools will be chosen to take part in 2020, and another five the year after.  

This collaboration between Scottish Opera and Disney Musicals in Schools coincides with the return of Disney’s The Lion King, which is set to open its run at the Edinburgh Playhouse in December. 

The Primary 7 pupils from the five selected schools this month start working with two music and drama artists from Scottish Opera’s Outreach and Education Department, who will run step-by-step workshops covering every aspect of casting, rehearsing, staging and performing a 30-minute long version of one of Disney’s musicals. 

Disney Musicals in Schools features Disney KIDS musicals, which are shorter stage adaptions of classic Disney stories written expressly for primary school performers. The programme aims to build skills and confidence in both pupils and teachers, encourage participation and collaboration, and leave a sustainable arts legacy for years to come, especially in schools that are actively seeking greater engagement with the arts.

Over a 17-week period, the Scottish Opera teaching artists guide pupils through music and movement, and work with staff to give them experience in singing, stage directing, choreography and stage management. In addition, there are visits from set and costume design specialists to help staff create the costumes and props required for the performance. The schools are also provided with a Disney Show Kit including scripts, director’s guide, music score, choreography DVD, and rehearsal and accompaniment CDs. 

Disney Musicals in Schools was first launched ten years ago as an outreach initiative designed to develop theatre programmes in New York Elementary Schools, and then in London in 2016

Jane Davidson, Head of Outreach and Education at Scottish Opera said: ‘SOE is delighted to be Disney Musicals in Schools’ very first Scottish partner in the delivery of Year 1 of a three year in-depth, skill building programme for schools. This unique programme is designed not only to introduce teachers to the key elements involved in preparing their pupils to stage one of Disney’s classical musicals but also, through interaction with parents and families, to help establish the role of the arts as a valuable tool in consolidating the school at the heart of the community it serves. Both organisations are firm advocates of the power of the arts to support integrated learning; to enhance attainment levels and to build a child’s capacity to achieve their potential and we hope that access to the extensive learning and teaching resources we have to offer, will help them to support their pupils even more effectively in the future.

Nancy Shakerley, Education and Outreach Manager, Disney Theatrical Productions commented: ‘We are delighted to join forces with Scottish Opera to bring Disney Musicals in Schools to Scotland. Creativity is at the heart of everything we do, and we are committed to helping young people, their teachers and their schools access the arts. Schools play a vital role in igniting the spark of creativity in their young people and it is our aim that initiatives like Disney Musicals in Schools inspire not only the next generation of theatregoers but theatre makers on and off stage.’ 

Jacqueline McBurnie, Head Teacher at St Anthony’s Primary School in Johnstone added: We are delighted to be part of this exciting project. It will allow our children to have an experience that would have been beyond their wildest dreams. What makes it even more fantastic is that it will be happening at a time when the school will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. What a way to celebrate as a community!’ 

NEWS: The award-winning Bat Out of Hell Comes to Glasgow in November 2020

The producers of the award-winning Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, featuring Jim Steinman and Meatloaf’s greatest hits, are delighted to announce that the production will come to Scotland for the first time next year as part of its debut UK tour.

The hit show will run at the King’s Theatre in Glasgow from Tuesday 10 November until Saturday 21 November.

Tickets go on sale to ATG Theatre Card holders on Friday 6 December at 10am with general sale starting on Monday 9 December at 10am.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical wowed critics and public alike when it played limited seasons at Manchester Opera House, London Coliseum and London’s Dominion Theatre from 2017 – 2019. The musical also ran successfully in Canada, Germany and at New York’s City Centre last summer.

Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical won the Radio 2 Audience Award for Best Musical at the Evening Standard Awards and was nominated for 8 WhatsOnStage Awards, including Best New Musical.

Bat Out Of Hell became one of the best-selling albums in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide.  16 years later, Steinman scored again with Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell, which contained the massive hit I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That).

For the stage musical, the legendary and award-winning Jim Steinman has incorporated iconic songs from the Bat Out Of Hell albums, including You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, Bat Out Of Hell, I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) and Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, as well as two previously unreleased songs, What Part of My Body Hurts the Most and Not Allowed to Love.

In Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical, the electrifying rock songs of Mr Steinman propel an epic story of rebellious youth and passion as Strat, the immortal leader of The Lost, has fallen in love with Raven, the beautiful daughter of the tyrannical ruler Falco.

The UK tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical has book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman, direction by Jay Scheib, with musical supervision and additional arrangements by Michael Reed, set and costume design by Jon Bausor, original costume designs by Meentje Nielsen, video design by Finn Ross, lighting design by Patrick Woodroffe, sound design by Gareth Owen, orchestration by Steve Sidwell and casting by Anne Vosser.

The UK tour of Bat Out Of Hell – The Musical is produced by David Sonenberg, Michael Cohl & Tony Smith, with executive producer Julian Stoneman.

Website:  www.BatOutOfHellMusical.com

Twitter & Facebook:  @BatTheMusical


Opera Highlights is back on the road on February 4, with four singers and a pianist journeying to 17 venues the length and breadth of Scotland, from Lerwick in the north to Castle Douglas in the south.

Following 17 performances in Autumn, the same Opera Highlights but with a new cast is travelling the highways and byways by land, sea and air. The Spring tour begins in Bathgate, then visits Birnam, Markinch, Campbeltown, Bowmore, Arrochar, Bunessan, Arisaig, Beauly, Cumnock, Castle Douglas, Callander, Lerwick, Peebles, Fochabers, Alford and Rutherglen.

Set in a beautiful garden, director Roxana Haines’ production features a playlist of operatic classics and must-hear rarities, curated by Scottish Opera’s Head of Music Derek Clark. Highlights include Delibes’ ‘Flower Duet’, Vaughan Williams’ ‘Blue larkspur in a garden’ and many more from the likes of Mozart, Lehár and Scottish Opera Composer in Residence, Samuel Bordoli.

Scottish Opera 2019/20 Emerging Artist repetiteur Michael Papadopoulos is the Pianist/Music Director, and is joined by soprano Zoe Drummond; mezzo-soprano Jade Moffat; tenor Andrew Irwin and baritone Arthur Bruce, The Robertson Trust Scottish Opera Emerging Artist this Season.

Roxana Haines, who directed Scottish Opera’s hit Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Fox-tot! this summer, said: ‘After a successful Autumn tour I am pleased to revive this Opera Highlights show, where the cast cordially invite you to a party on your doorstep. This Spring we have a brand new cast to guide you through our story which takes place in luscious gardens and magical flora and fauna of Opera. The stage has been set, decorations unpacked and the guests have all arrived but, the problem is we’re still not sure whose party this is…

‘As the evening progresses, the connections between our characters unravel through music from the likes of Handel, Donizetti and Mozart, and lighter pieces from Gilbert & Sullivan and Vaughan Williams as well as a new work by Samuel Bordoli. Prepare for an evening of charm, magic and love in all its operatic forms in a show that highlights the joy and absurdity of opera.’

This Opera Highlights tour is supported by The Friends of Scottish Opera, JTH Charitable Trust and The Scottish Opera Endowment Trust. Tickets are on sale from 11 December.

Image: Julie Broadfoot

NEWS: DREAMGIRLS UK Tour announced

Sonia Friedman Productions has announced that hit musical Dreamgirls, will embark on its first ever UK tour, opening in Bristol in September 2020 before dates in Milton Keynes, Blackpool, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Birmingham, with further venues throughout 2021 still to be announced. Tickets will go on sale this week with specific box office information available at Dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk.

Featuring the classic songs ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going’, ‘Listen’ and ‘One Night Only’, this sensational, multi-award winning new production of Dreamgirls had its critically acclaimed West End Premiere in December 2016 at London’s Savoy Theatre, 35 years on from opening on Broadway.

Meet The Dreams – Effie, Lorrell and Deena – three talented young singers in the turbulent 1960s, a revolutionary time in American music history. Join the three friends as they embark upon a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.

In 2006, Dreamgirls was adapted into an Oscar® winning motion picture starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx.

Casting for the Dreamgirls UK tour will be announced soon. This award winning production is Directed and Choreographed by Olivier® and Tony® Award winning Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon, Mean Girls, Disney’s Aladdin and Something Rotten!), with Set and Costume Design by Tim Hatley, Lighting Design by Hugh Vanstone, Hair Design by Josh Marquette and Music Supervision by Nick Finlow.

With Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen and Music by Henry Krieger, with Additional Material by Willie Reale, the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls, Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett, opened in 1981 and subsequently won six Tony® Awards. The original cast recording won two Grammy® Awards for Best Musical Album and Best Vocal Performance for Jennifer Holliday’s ‘And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.’

Tuesday 10 – Saturday 21 November 2020
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen
Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen AB25 1GL
01224 641122 | www.aberdeenperformingarts.com
Public on sale: 9.30am Friday 6 December 2019

Tuesday 24 November – Saturday 5 December 2020
Edinburgh Playhouse
18-22 Greenside Pl, Edinburgh EH1 3AA
0844 871 3014 | www.atgtickets.com/venues/edinburgh-playhouse/
Public on sale: 3pm Thursday 28 November 2019


The Scottish Opera premiere of John Adams’ Nixon in China takes place on February 18. Following three performances at Theatre Royal Glasgow, this new co-production with The Royal Danish Theatre and Teatro Real Madrid transfers to Festival Theatre Edinburgh for two further dates. 

John Fulljames, Director of Opera at The Royal Danish Theatre, directs an exciting cast including Eric Greene as Richard Nixon, Julia Sporsén (Ariadne auf Naxos 2018) as Pat Nixon, Mark Le Brocq (Anthropocene 2019) as Mao Tse-tung, and Hye-Youn Lee (La bohème 2017) as Madame Mao. The conductor is Joana Carneiro, Principal Conductor of the Orquestra Sinfonica Portuguesa at Teatro Sao Carlos in Lisbon. Designs are by Dick Bird, who last worked with Scottish Opera on The Mikado in 2016. 

Adams’ work, a collaboration with poet and librettist Alice Goodman and theatre director Peter Sellars, is inspired by Nixon’s much-publicised 1972 visit to China, the first time an American president had journeyed there. Hailed as the pioneer of a new kind of ‘docu-opera’, in his eclectic score Adams’ mixes a huge range of sounds from pre-recorded electronics to live passages echoing Wagner and Johann Strauss, alongside jazz references and big band sounds that evoke the 1930s of Nixon’s youth. Featuring fascinating archive footage from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum and The Richard Nixon Foundation, the opera, which premiered in 1987, is as much about the private moments as the public during the historic trip. It explores the experience of the wives as well as the husbands, and memory versus fact. 

Director John Fulljames said: Nixon in China is a classic opera; Nixon is a hero of Verdian complexity and Madame Mao’s vocal fireworks ranks alongside those of the Queen of the Night. This is a spell-bending score which established John Adams’ as one of the great twentieth century opera composers and put American opera on a world stage. Although the events of President Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to Chairman Mao in China have passed into history, this tale of the staging of global politics at the birth of the live media age feels more potent than ever. With a cast led by Eric Greene as President Nixon, and Julia Sporsén as Pat Nixon we have a great team to stage this myth about the ultimate powerlessness of the most powerful people in the world.’  

Those who wish to discover more about how the production was created can attend Nixon in China Unwrapped, one-hour tasters delving further into the show, as well as Pre-show Talks. Audience members with a visual impairment can enjoy the full opera experience at audio-described performances, which have a live commentary describing the action on stage without compromising the music. 

Cast List 

Richard Nixon Eric Greene  

Mao Tse-tung Mark Le Brocq  

Chou En-lai Nicholas Lester 

Pat Nixon Julia Sporsén

Henry Kissinger David Stout  

Chiang Ch’ing (Madame Mao) Hye-Youn Lee  

First Secretary to Mao Louise Callinan  

Second Secretary to Mao Sioned Gwen Davies

Third Secretary to Mao Emma Carrington 


Creative Team 

Composer John Adams

Libretto Alice Goodman 


Conductor Joana Carneiro

Director John Fulljames  

Set & Costume Designer Dick Bird 

Lighting Designer Ellen Ruge  

Projection Designer Will Duke 

Sound Designer Cameron Crosby

Original Choreographer John Ross

Revival Choreographer Nathan Johnston  

Associate Projection Designer Hayley Egan



Performance Diary 


Theatre Royal Glasgow, 282 Hope Street, Glasgow G2 3QA

Tue 18 Feb, 7.15pm

Thu 20 Feb, 7.15pm

Sat 22 Feb, 7.15pm 


Nixon in China Unwrapped 

Fri 21 Feb, 6pm 

Nixon in China Pre-show Talk

Sat 22 Feb, 6pm 

Nixon in China Touch Tour

Sat 22 Feb, 6pm 

Nixon in China Audio-described performance 

Sat 22 Feb, 7.15pm 


Festival Theatre, 13–29 Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9FT

Thu 27 Feb, 7.15pm

Sat 29 Feb, 7.15pm 


Nixon in China Unwrapped 

Fri 28 Feb, 6pm

Nixon in China Pre-show Talk

Sat 29 Feb, 6pm 

Nixon in China Touch Tour

Sat 29 Feb, 6pm 

Nixon in China Audio-described performance

Sat 29 Feb, 7.15pm 


Tron Theatre’s Spring-Summer 2020 season is full-to-the-brim with some of the best work currently touring, as well as Tron Theatre Company’s own theatrical offerings, which this year involve two high-profile collaborations on exciting new work. Highlights will include:

• The Metamorphosis – a co-production with the internationally renowned Vanishing Point with Matthew Lenton’s highly inventive take on Franz Kafka’s best-known novel. 

• A hilarious, satirical musical about the climate emergency, Thank You For Doing Nothing, from the company that created A Super Happy Story (About Feeling Super Sad).

• The world premiere of The Secret Garden, Red Bridge Arts adaptation of the children’s classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

• Underwood Lane, continuing Tron Theatre’s relationship with John Byrne and in co-production with Renfrewshire Leisure, the world premiere of a new piece in John’s inimitable style.

•  Vanishing Point in co-production with Tron Theatre Company and Emilia Romagna Teatro Fondazione Company will present Matthew Lenton’s new version of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (10-21 March).  Taking what is probably one of Kafka’s best-known works, Matthew’s fresh and unpredictable style will shed new light on the complexity and contradiction of modernity.

The summer production in 2020 will be the world premiere of John Byrne’s Underwood Lane (2-18 July, 7.45pm). Created in co-production with Renfrewshire Leisure, Underwood Lane is vintage John Byrne, written in memory of his Paisley buddy, Gerry Rafferty and has it all: style, fierce love rivalry, broken hearts, dodgy dealers, religion, sex and death.

The main auditorium season opens with Celtic Connections (17 Jan – 1 Feb), after which the theatre programme gets underway with the return of Mark Thomas and his new show 50 Things About Us (6-8 Feb) a show that he describes as a sort of funny national edition of Who Do You Think You Are.

Following their hugely successful piece for younger audiences, Black Beauty, Red Bridge Arts have adapted another classic children’s novel The Secret Garden (Tue 11 & Wed 12 Feb).

Fringe First Award-winners LUNG bring us Trojan Horse (13-15 Feb), the story of a community torn apart by racial division, ‘British values’ and the culture of Prevent and we’re particularly pleased to be including Traverse Theatre Company’s frank, unflinching and gripping hit about class, culture and appropriation Mouthpiece (27-29 Feb).

Productions performance group The Flames challenge taboos surrounding ageing in Don’t Stop Me Now (Wed 1 Apr).

Matthew Xia’s first production as artistic director of Actors Touring Company will be Amsterdam (2-4 Apr), a strikingly original and audacious play in which stories of a devastating past are compellingly reconstructed to try and make sense of the present. 

Award-winning Silent Uproar return to the Tron after their sold out run of A Super Happy Story About Feeling Super Sad with Thank You For Doing Nothing (16-18 Apr), a hilarious satirical musical about the climate emergency and the men who profit from it. 

Intelligent and captivating, The Spinners (24 & 25 Apr) is Al Seed and Australian choreographer and dance Lina Limosani’s exhilarating ride into myth and imagination. 2Magpies Theatre bring the last visiting main house show of the season with Ventoux (28 Apr) which charts the parallel lives of Tour de France 2000 champions Lance Armstrong and Marco Patani asking the question ‘how far will we go to succeed?’

The Changing House programme opens with Summerhall’s 2018 Lustrum Award-winning show The Political History of Smack and Crack (20-22 Feb), an angry, funny love-song to a lost generation while performance artist Leyla Josephine attempts to understand what it means to be a dad in her unapologetic show Daddy Drag (26-29 Feb). Live music, dance, spoken word and video interweave in Theatre Gu Leòr’s new collaboration with the band WHYTE in association with Tron Theatre, Maim (6-14 March) which gives voice to the frustrations of the next generation who care deeply about the crisis facing their land and their language and Within Sight (19-21 Mar) is Ellen Renton’s new spoken-word theatre show based on her personal experience of living with albinism, addressing ableism within our society. Common Sense: A Vague Recollection Of A Show (26-28 Mar) is a poetic and visual work where the audience embark upon a journey with a writer who creates a new work in front of their eyes. This dynamic production from Portugal as already been performed in Germany and Belgium and this will be its UK premiere. 


David Pugh and Theatre by the Lake are delighted to announce that their highly acclaimed production of Willy Russell’s EDUCATING RITA will run at Theatre Royal, Glasgow in 2020 as part of 40th anniversary UK tour.

Starring Stephen Tompkinson as Frank and Jessica Johnson as Rita, the play will  run from Monday 24 February until Saturday 29 February 2020.

The production is directed by Max Roberts.

EDUCATING RITA tells the story of married hairdresser Rita, who enrols on an Open University course to expand her horizons, and her encounters with university tutor Frank. Frank is a frustrated poet, brilliant academic and dedicated drinker, who is less than enthusiastic about teaching Rita. However, Frank soon finds that his passion for literature is reignited by Rita, whose technical ability for the subject is limited by her lack of education, but whose enthusiasm Frank finds refreshing. The two soon realise how much they have to learn from each other.

EDUCATING RITA was commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and played at the Warehouse Theatre, London in 1980, starring Julie Walters and Mark Kingston. Julie Walters reprised her role in the BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award-winning film opposite Michael Caine.

Born in Liverpool in 1947, Willy Russell left school at 15 and became a women’s hairdresser and part-time singer/songwriter before returning to education to retrain as a teacher. Russell’s other writing credits include the Olivier Award-winning musical Blood Brothers, and the hugely successful play Shirley Valentine, which won the Olivier Awards for Best New Comedy and Best New Actress, and a  Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play. The play was adapted for film and nominated for a host of BAFTA and Academy Awards. Willy Russell continues to be one of the most celebrated writers of his generation with works constantly in production throughout the world as well as in the UK.

Willy Russell said of this tour: “I am delighted that Stephen and Jess are returning next year to play Frank and Rita in the 40th anniversary production of Educating Rita, directed once again by the wonderful Max Roberts – I’m extremely proud to be associated with this marvellous production.”

Stephen Tompkinson’s television credits include ITV’s Torvill & Dean, BBC’s The Split, 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 and A Christmas Carol (Old Vic), Art and Tartuffe (National Tours).

Stephen Tompkinson said: “We had such a wonderful time touring and performing this last year around the UK.  Audiences respond so well to Willy Russell’s brilliant two-hander.  The response Jess and I receive and their affection for this play and these characters are overwhelming.  I’m thrilled to be a part of this production and to be sharing the stage with Jess again in even more cities next year.”

Jessica Johnson’s theatre credits include Call Me Mary Poppins, Goth Weekend, Kings and Queens, Each Piece and Anti-Gravity at the Live Theatre, Newcastle. She previously played Rita in Rebecca Frecknall’s 2017 production of Educating Rita at the Gala Theatre, Durham. Her television credits include Wire In The Blood (ITV), Coronation Street (ITV) and Cuckoo (Channel 4).

Jessica Johnson said: “Working with Willy, Max and Stephen earlier this year and developing the role of Rita in front of incredible audiences, has been the highlight of my career so far. It has been a total honour and now I get to do it again in the 40th anniversary production. I couldn’t be happier.”

Max Roberts is Emeritus Artistic Director of Newcastle’s Live Theatre. Under his direction, the Live Theatre has become one of the country’s most successful theatre companies with an outstanding reputation for developing new work. His Olivier Award-nominated production of Lee Hall’s Cooking With Elvis transferred to the West End’s Whitehall Theatre (now Trafalgar Studios) before touring nationally. He also directed The Pitman Painters, which transferred to the National Theatre and won Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards before opening on Broadway.


Educating Rita

Theatre Royal, Glasgow

Mon 24 – Sat 29 Feb 2020

Mon-Sat: 7.30pm

Wed & Sat: 2.30pm


0844 871 7647**

*fees apply

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