A right Royal return is set to wow audiences at Norwich Theatre Royal as it unveils its brand new season. SIX returns to the city where it first premiered as a fully- fledged show before it became an international musical phenomenon.
The sassy and stylish history lesson with attitude heads a brand new season which also includes another international musical smash, a diverse programme of exciting drama, and a feast for dance fans with a children’s classic and a celebration of international hip hop.
Those Tudor queens turned pop princesses will grace Norwich with their presence in summer 2020. SIX started its success story at Norwich Playhouse in summer 2018 before becoming an international theatre phenomenon and it returns to the Theatre Royal on July 14-19. It sees the six wives of Henry VIII taking to the microphone Spice Girls-style to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an 80 minute celebration of 21st Century girl power.
Also confirmed for a Norwich run is the smash-hit international musical hit Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. Layton Williams (Bad Education, Matthew Bourne’s Lord of the Flies) and Shane Richie (Alfie Moon in EastEnders) reprise their roles from the hit West End production of the show which tells the story of sixteen-year-old Jamie New who doesn’t quite fit into life on a council estate in Sheffield. He does not like being there and is terrified about the future but is set to be a sensation. Funny, fabulous and feel good, this family musical will entertain all ages when it runs from June 1-6
There is also a wide range of drama to entertain audience beginning with the newly re-launched Children’s Theatre Partnership which presents Holes on April 15-18. Based on the multi-award-winning novel and Hollywood blockbuster, it tells the story of Stanley Yelnats who finds himself accused of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to a labour camp He is tasked with digging one hole a day but believes strange things are happening. Can Stanley and his fellow inmates get to the bottom of this mystery and outwit the fearsome Warden?
The following week, another story popular with all ages is brought to life with A Monster Calls from April 21-25. Based on Patrick Ness’s piercing novel, it sees thirteen-year-old Conor and his mum coping with life after his dad moves away. As his mum gets ill, his grandmother starts interfering and his schoolmates will not look him in the eye, Conor is woken one night by a monster knocking at his window. The play is directed by Sally Cookson, who also directed the imaginative and atmospheric production of Jane Eyre which came to Norwich in 2017, and this new production aims to offer an insight into love, life and healing.
A dramatic new version of the Harold Pinter classic The Birthday Party is on stage from May 12-16 following on from a two-year West End celebration of the playwright. The mysterious Stanley Webber receives a visit in a dilapidated seaside boarding house from two mysterious strangers. Who are they, why do they want to see Stanley on his birthday, or is it actually his birthday? Star casting is to be announced for this new production of a darkly comic masterpiece.
There is plenty more family entertainment when the highly-anticipated stage production of the David Walliams book Billionaire Boy arrives in Norwich on July 22-25 and tells the story of the mega-rich 12-year-old Joe Spud who has everything he could want in life apart from friends. This amazing new production comes from The Birmingham Stage Company who created the award-winning stage versions of Gangsta Granny and Horrible Histories.
Meanwhile the magical production of Peter and the Wolf runs from July 3-4. Classical ballet, spoken word and physical theatre combine in this re-imagining of the fairy tale from Birmingham Royal Ballet. Set to a brand-new score, it explores the relationship between the seasons and human communities, and also cements Norwich Theatre Royal’s strong relationship with Cuban dance supremo Carlos Acosta, the newly-appointed director of Birmingham Royal Ballet.
After a sold-out performance in 2018 and a host of community activities, the hip hop festival Breakin’ Convention returns on May 29 and 30. Some of the world’s top hip hop performers will be flying into the city including South Korea’s acclaimed Jinjo Crew and France’s Géométrie Variable who will share the stage with the cream of the region’s hip hop talent. DJs, graffiti artists and freestyle sessions will also be taking place across the two days.
More of Norfolk’s top dance performers will also be on stage in 2020. The English Youth Ballet presents Swan Lake on June 19 and 20 with its internationally renowned principal dancers, plus 100 locally-cast young people. In addition, the Broadland School of Dance celebrates well-loved and inspiring artists on November 24. The Norwich-based Heather Millan School of Dance celebrates iconic music, film and television stars in Stage Door on February 2. Striking routines and sensational costumes are promised by the Stella School of Dance in Jump Aboard The Journey on May 24.
A host of family favourites are also en route to Norwich Theatre Royal. Peppa Pig and her friends are set to have the Best Day Ever in a brand new live show on April 11-12. Other favourites with younger audiences including Fireman Sam, Noddy, Shimmer and Shine, Digby Dragon and Wissper star in Milkshake Live – Milkshake Monkey’s Musical on May 27.
Musically, the BBC Big Band counts down to Yuletide with A Swinging Christmas on December 1, Fisher Stevens celebrates the music of Neil Diamond in A Beautiful Noise on April 26 and George Hinchliffe’s Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain brings its distinctive interpretation of a host of hits on May 10.
John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “To welcome the comedy genius of Jennifer Saunders to Norwich in Blithe Spirit is a real coup for us. It will be a chance to see this fantastic production before it heads to the West End. Some incredible drama which mixes fabulous writing and some imaginative direction is also set to entertain during 2020.
“And for fans of musicals, it is a right Royal treat to welcome the sass and panache of international hit SIX back to Norwich in the city where the show first toured. It is definitely going to be a season of quality packed with a wide range of entertainment.”