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May 2019

 
22 May 2019

Northcott co-production The Life I Lead starring Miles Jupp set for West End run

Following a critically acclaimed UK premiere at Exeter Northcott Theatre, leading stand-up comedian, presenter and actor Miles Jupp is to bring his heart-warming show about the life of Walt Disney’s consummate English gentleman, David Tomlinson, to London’s West End.

Written by James Kettle and co-directed by Selina Cadell and Didi Hopkins, The Life I Lead was co-produced by the Northcott and Jonathan Church Productions.

It opened in Exeter in February before touring the country and will now play at the Wyndham’s Theatre from 16 – 21 September 2019.

Daniel Buckroyd, Artistic Director and Chief Executive at the Northcott, said:

Our audiences gave Miles such a wonderful start to his tour when he opened The Life I Lead in Exeter earlier this year, so we’re thrilled that he’s now going to be performing the show and flying the flag for the Northcott in the West End.

“Regional Theatres like the Northcott play a crucial role in spotting and developing new talent and great ideas and we’re never prouder than when we see a show we’ve ‘Made In Exeter’ having such success nationally.” 

Best remembered for playing ‘Mr Banks’ in Disney’s classic film Mary Poppins and ‘Professor Emelius Browne’ in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, British actor David Tomlinson was renowned for playing the classic English gent: forthright, proper, and a loveable fool. His meeting with Walt Disney came to encapsulate his incredible life full of adventure and heartbreak. The Life I Lead sees Miles Jupp bringing David Tomlinson’s remarkable story to life.

Miles Jupp’s performance is practically perfect in every way” – Evening Standard

As a World War Two fighter pilot, his early life contained action and adventure; but he suffered huge heartbreak with the tragic death of his first wife, and his fight to have his son Willie recognised as one of the first British cases of autism. The man who portrayed one of cinema’s most famous patriarchs was also defined by his relationship with his own father – a remote eccentric, who was hiding an extraordinary tragicomic secret.

The Life I Lead is a richly comic and moving tale of fathers and sons across the generations and fills in the blanks behind a very well-known face. The production enjoyed a UK tour from February – April 2019, opening at Exeter Northcott and including a two week run at London’s Park Theatre.

Described by the Telegraph as “a very British tour-de-force”, Miles Jupp has appeared as a performer across a wide range of genres – from stand-up comedy and theatre to major television series and Hollywood films. His extensive screen credits include the award-winning BBC2 sitcom Rev, The Thick Of It, Outnumbered and Gary: Tank Commander, as well as the popular children’s TV show Balamory, The Crown on Netflix, Howards End for the BBC, and The Durrells and Bad Move for ITV, as well as appearances on Have I Got News For You, QI, Mock the Week, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Live At the Apollo and James And Jupp. His film credits include George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, Michael Winterbottom’s The Look Of Love, Nigel Cole’s Made In Dagenham and Jon Stewart’s Rosewater. In 2012, Miles made his National Theatre debut in Alan Bennett’s People and in 2015 went on to perform in the theatre’s critically acclaimed production of Rules for Living alongside Stephen Mangan. He has also appeared in The Way Of The World at Northampton Royal Theatre, A Death In The Death Of Joe Egg at the Glasgow Citizens and Neville’s Island in the West End.

James Kettle is both a narrative and entertainment comedy writer, and a long-time collaborator with Miles Jupp; lead writer of BBC Radio 4’s The News Quiz, and numerous episodes of In and Out of the Kitchen (BBC). His other writing credits include four series of the Rose D’Or nominated Tom Wrigglesworth’s Hang Ups, three series of Can’t Tell Nathan Caton Nothing, four series of Wordaholics and he also writes live tour material for comedians such as Joe Lycett, Jason Byrne, and Susan Calman.

20 May 2019

Eight-year old Exeter schoolboy to make stage debut at Northcott with English Touring Opera

A primary school pupil has been chosen to make his professional stage debut alongside professional opera singers and musicians.

Ted Brough, aged 8 and a student at Exeter School, will perform with English Touring Opera (ETO) when it brings its new work to the Exeter Northcott Theatre on May 21.

Ted Brough

The casting is part of ETO’s push to encourage a younger audience to find out about opera, which also includes a new half-price ticket deal for the under 35s.

It comes as the Northcott launches a fresh drive to champion local talent by offering professional opportunities to young people when casting for its next pantomime, Beauty and the Beast.

ETO contacted the school as part of a push to recruit 17 youngsters around the country to appear in its professional production.

Ted, who attends the independent school has won a “small but pivotal” role in Macbeth as Banquo’s son.

The youngster, who will tread the boards in a professional theatre for the first time, said: “I am really excited about performing in Macbeth. My sister was recently in a school production of Macbeth and was brilliant. She is really jealous I am going to be on stage at the Northcott. My Dad was an actor too, so I hope he can help me.”

English Touring Opera will visit Exeter Northcott Theatre from 21-25 May, with a live orchestra and large chorus.

Image from Macbeth

The cast combines internationally celebrated stars and exciting young singers with local talent.

The season of “Kings and Queens” sees the company bring three new productions: Verdi’s first Shakespearian masterpiece, Macbeth, Mozart’s Greek opera, Idomeneo and Rossini’s rarely performed Elizabeth I.

In all three operas anguished leaders attempt to hold onto power, preserve peace and calm a stirring populace.

Ted will join established operatic names from as far afield as Russia, Australia, India, the US, Armenia, as well as from around the UK.

Ted will appear on stage at the Northcott

In making his stage debut, Ted follows in the footsteps of father Jamie, who worked as a professional actor in London before one of his plays was turned into a film and directed by actor David Morrissey.

Jamie, who is now Head of Drama at Exeter School, co-wrote Don’t Worry About Me with Morrissey, which is based on his stage play The Pool, a story set in Liverpool.

The film adaptation premiered at the 2009 London Film Festival and was broadcast by the BBC the following year.

Jamie said Ted, who has a sister, aged 9, and a younger brother, aged 5, had jumped at the chance to take on the role.

“He is a very bright boy who gets involved in drama at school so I put him forward and he was lucky enough to be chosen,” he added.

“It will be quite an experience for him.”

Tickets are available at www.exeternorthcott.co.uk

Specially-discounted £5 tickets for the under-35s have been set aside by ETO for its next new production at the Northcott in November.

15 May 2019

Emma Rice’s Malory Towers: full cast announced

Full casting has been announced for Emma Rice’s upcoming stage adaptation of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers, which opens in Bristol at the Passenger Shed before embarking on a UK tour.

Tickets go on general sale at 5pm on 16 May for the Northcott, where the show opens on from 17 September.

The piece follows new student Darrell Rivers as she starts at the eccentric Malory Towers school which is situated on a cliff top in Cornwall against the backdrop of the Second World War.

Left to right: Fran Mills, Rebecca Collingwood and Isuka Hoyle

It will star Rebecca Collingwood (Much Ado About Nothing) as Gwendoline Lacey, Mirabelle Gremaud (Wise Children) as Irene Bartlett, Vinnie Heaven (Cuckoo) as Bill Robinson, Izuka Hoyle (Sylvia) as Darrell, Renee Lamb (Little Shop of Horrors) as Alicia Johns, Francesca Mills (The American Clock) as Sally Hope and Rose Shalloo (The Selfish Giant) as Mary Lou Atkinson.

Co-produced by Rice’s company Wise Children with York Theatre Royal in association with Bristol Old Vic, Malory Towers has set and costume design by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, sound and video by Simon Baker and original music by Ian Ross.

Nostalgic, naughty and perfect for now, Malory Towers is the original ‘Girl Power’ story, filled with high jinks, high drama and high spirits, all set to sensational live music and breathtaking animation.

Darrell Rivers is starting school with an eager mind and fierce heart.  Unfortunately she also has a quick temper!  Can she learn to tolerate the infuriating Gwendoline Lacey, or value the kind-hearted Sally Hope?  Can she save the school play and rescue terrified Mary Lou from the grip of a raging storm?  If she can do these things anywhere, she will do them at Malory Towers!

Left to right: Rose Shalloo, Rene Lamb, Mirabelle Gremaud and Vinnie Heaven

Adapted and directed by Emma Rice, this is a show for girls, boys, and all us grown up children who still dream of midnight feasts and Cornish clifftops.  With set and costume design by Lez Brotherston, lighting by Malcolm Rippeth, sound and video by Simon Baker and original music by Ian Ross.

Emma Rice on Malory Towers…

“I’ve always been drawn to the years that followed the Second World War. It’s a time that feels close enough to touch, as I vividly remember my grandparents and how the war affected their lives. My Mum’s parents – poor and largely uneducated – decided that their children would have access to all the things that they hadn’t. I don’t know how they managed it on a railway worker’s pay, but my mother was sent to a remote grammar school in Dorset: Lord Digby’s School for Girls.

 “Whilst not a boarding school, Lord Digby’s was an extraordinary place of learning that changed my mother’s, and by extension my own, life. The tendrils of passion and education that Lord Digby’s stood for reach out across 60 years and more. They reached out over my inner city comprehensive education and have shaped my own beliefs and choices to this day.

“My adaptation of Malory Towers is dedicated to the generation of women who taught in schools in that period. With lives shaped by the savagery of two wars, these teachers devoted themselves to the education and nurture of other women. It is also for the two generations of men that died in those same wars, leaving us with the freedom to lead meaningful, safe and empowered lives. And it is for Clement Attlee and his Labour government of 1945 who looked into the face of evil and chose to do what was right. These people changed the political landscape in their focus on care, compassion and the common good.

“Malory Towers was written at the heart of this political revolution, and embodies a kindness, hope and love of life that knocks my socks off. ‘Long live our appetites and may our shadows never grow less!’ the girls cry.

“My mother wrote to her teachers at Lord Digby’s until they died and is still friends with many of the girls she met there. And when I see my Mum, born into the poorest of rural backgrounds, enjoying Dickens and Almodovar and speaking French to her childhood pen-friend, I am stopped in my tracks. She went on to dedicate her life to the NHS and the helping of others whilst never losing her appetite for life, culture and hope. I salute her, and I cheer the education that threw this mind and soul into the air and said, “be a woman that the world can lean on.

“So that’s why I am making Malory Towers, with gratitude, hope and sheer pleasure! I call it my ‘Happy Lord of the Flies’ and it is joyfully radical to its bones. Imagine a world where (left to their own devices), people choose kindness. Imagine a world where difference is respected and arguments resolved with thought and care. Imagine a world that chooses community, friendship and fun. Now that’s a world I want to live in and, at Malory Towers, you can!”

The show is officially licensed by Enid Blyton Entertainment, a division of Hachette Children’s Group (HCG). Karen Lawler, Head of Licensed Content at HCG, says, “Enid Blyton created incredible female characters at Malory Towers: strong, capable and always, always kind. ‘Women the world can lean on,’ in Enid’s own words. We share Emma’s passion for these characters and we couldn’t be more excited to see Emma’s vision of Malory Towers come to life.”

Age Recommendation: 8+

 

Notes to Editors

Emma Rice is the proud and excited Artistic Director of her new company, Wise Children. She adapted and directed the company’s debut production, Angela Carter’s Wise Children (The Old Vic/UK tour). As Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe (2016/18), she directed Romantics Anonymous, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Little Matchgirl (and Other Happier Tales). For the previous 20 years, she worked for Kneehigh as an actor, director and Artistic Director. Her productions for Kneehigh include: The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Tristan & Yseult, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, The Wild Bride, The Red Shoes, The Wooden Frock, The Bacchae, Cymbeline (in association with RSC), A Matter of Life and Death (in association with National Theatre), Rapunzel (in association with Battersea Arts Centre); Brief Encounter (in association with David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers Productions); Don John (in association with the RSC and Bristol Old Vic); Wah! Wah! Girls (in association with Sadler’s Wells and Theatre Royal Stratford East for World Stages); and Steptoe and Son. Other work includes: the West End production of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Oedipussy (Spymonkey); The Empress (RSC); and An Audience with Meow Meow (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). Brief Encounter was revived earlier this year at the Empire Cinema Haymarket.