Rules for Living, The Weir, Reasons to be Cheerful, Man To Man, The Band

Rules for Living – tour starts 8 September

Two plays take off on tour with English Touring Theatre.

The first is Royal & Derngate Northampton and Rose Theatre Kingston’s production of Sam Holcroft’s darkly funny play Rules for Living.

Sam Holcroft other credits include the adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox and The Wardrobe, Edgar And Annabel, Dancing Bears, While You Lie, Pink, Vanya and Cockroach.

Simon Godwin directs a cast made up of Jane Booker, Jolyon Coy, Ed Hughes, Carlyss Peer, Laura Rogers and Paul Shelley.

The sound designer and composer is Mark Melville and the movement director is Shelley Maxwell.

Christmas day will never be the same again. Everyone creates their own rules for living but when they are stuck to too rigidly and the drinks are flowing the festivities go with a bang.

This regional première opens at Royal & Derngate Northampton then visits Cambridge Arts Theatre, Theatre Royal Windsor, Theatre Royal Brighton, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich and Rose Theatre Kingston.

The Weir – tour starts 8 September

The second English Touring Theatre tour to start in September is their co-production with Mercury Theatre Colchester of Conor McPherson’s The Weir.

Adele Thomas directs a cast made up of Louis Dempsey, Sean Murray, John O’Dowd, Sean O’Mahony and Natalie Radmall-Quirke.

Composition and sound design is by Richard Hammarton.

The Weir is set in a small Irish town where the arrival of a young stranger, haunted by a secret from her past has a story more chilling and more real than any folklore.

This chilling, modern classic won the Olivier Award for Best New Play when it was first seen in 1997. Playwright and screenwriter McPherson's credits include The Veil, The Dance of Death, The Night Alive and The Girl from the North Country.

The Weir opens at Mercury Theatre Colchester then visits Harrogate Theatres, Cheltenham Everyman, Cast Doncaster, Bristol Old Vic, Exeter Northcott Theatre, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Lighthouse Poole, Lawrence Batley Theatre Huddersfield and Yvonne Arnaud Guildford.

Reasons to be Cheerful - tour starts 8 September

A new production of part gig, part play, Reasons to be Cheerful is to tour.

The fully accessible punk musical features the hits of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and a new song written exclusively for the show.

"If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong" by members of Ian Dury’s band The Blockheads and performer John Kelly is a protest song, with producers, pioneering disabled-led theatre company Graeae, using Reasons to be Cheerful as a base from which to lead a movement to create new protest songs across the UK.

Reasons to be Cheerful is written by Paul Sirett and directed by Jenny Sealey with choreography by Mark Smith and musical direction by Joey Hickman. The musical supervision and arrangements are by Robert Hyman.

The cast and band are made up of Beth Hinton-Lever, Gerard McDermott, Joey Hickman, Max Runham, Stephen Lloyd, Stephen Collins, Dan McGowan, Karen Spicer, Wayne ‘Pickles’ Norman and Jude Mahon.John Kelly is lead vocals, the on-stage band is completed by Paul Sirett, Nixon Rosembert and Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth.

Reasons to be Cheerful visits Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Derby Theatre, Nuffield Southampton Theatres, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, West Yorkshire Playhouse Leeds, Liverpool Everyman and Theatre Royal Stratford East.

"If It Can’t Be Right Then It Must Be Wrong" can be downloaded free of charge from Graeae’s web site by all Reasons to be Cheerful ticket holders.

Man To Man – tour starts 8 September

One-woman play Man To Man is dubbed a modern German fairy tale, inspired as it is by the traditions of German storytelling.

It tells the life story of a woman called Ella Gericke, who adopts the identity of her dead husband to survive in Nazi Germany.

Written by Manfred Karge, it has been translated by Alexandra Wood and it is performed by Maggie Bain.

Bruce Guthrie and Scott Graham direct. The play has music by Matthew Scott.

Man to Man was first seen at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival of 2015. This production is presented by Wales Millennium Centre.

It opens at the Bute Theatre Cardiff (Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama) before visiting Wilton’s Music Hall London, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Edinburgh Traverse Theatre, Newcastle Northern Stage, Liverpool Everyman Theatre and then New York Brooklyn Academy of Music.

The Band – tour starts 8 September

The tour of The Band opens with a spectacular £10 million+ of advance box office sales.

The Band has a book by Tim Firth and music by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers and Take That. It is produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, and Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Mark Owen, Robbie Williams.

This new musical tells the story of a group of now 40-something women as they look back at growing up infatuated by a boyband as they try once more to fulfil their dream of meeting their heroes.

Kim Gavin and Jack Ryder direct a cast made up of BBC’s Let It Shine winner AJ Bentley, Nick Carsberg, Curtis T Johns, Yazdan Qafouri and Sario Solomon collectively known as 5 to 5, Rachel Lumberg, Faye Christall, Emily Joyce, Alison Fitzjohn, Jayne McKenna, Katy Clayton, Sarah Kate Howarth, Lauren Jacobs, Rachelle Diedericks, Martin Miller and Andy Williams.

The Band visits Manchester Opera House, Sheffield Lyceum Theatre, Bradford Alhambra Theatre, Southampton Mayflower Theatre, Llandudno Venue Cymru, Stoke Regent Theatre, Cardiff Wales Millennium Centre, Liverpool Empire Theatre, Norwich Theatre Royal, Canterbury Marlowe Theatre, Hull New Theatre, Leeds Grand Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Royal, Bristol Hippodrome, Birmingham Hippodrome,, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Northampton Royal & Derngate, Nottingham Theatre Royal, Glasgow King’s Theatre and Edinburgh Playhouse.